Tag Archives: weight loss tips

self love

Self Love for Weight Loss: The Importance of Being Nice to Yourself

Would you look at your best friend and tell her that she’s not good enough? Not pretty enough? Not thin enough? Would you tell your mom or sister or cousin that she’s terrible for veering off of her “diet” and that she should beat herself up over it and get lost in the guilt? No? Then why do you do it to yourself?

We tend to be harder on ourselves than other people. We give others compassion and understanding, but yet we berate ourselves and talk down to ourselves for every “mistake” that we make. This behavior is self-destructive in all aspects of your life – and weight loss is no different.

Self Love for Weight Loss

Beating yourself up after overeating not only derails your progress, it can be downright harmful to your self-esteem and self-worth. On the other hand, being kinder to yourself can actually lead to longer lasting habit changes for several reasons.

When you speak kindly to yourself, it helps create feelings of worthiness, which then translates to enthusiasm and motivation. Also, change tends to come more easily when you’re in a place of self-acceptance. You may not be exactly where you want to be weight-wise right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accept yourself for where you are – and work to get to where you want to be.

Tips to Bolster Self Love

Self love and self-compassion is not something that happens overnight. Like any other habit, it gets time to get used to. You have to practice to solidify the habit and make it something that comes naturally. When you find that you’re starting to talk negatively to or about yourself, take a deep breath and remember these tips.

  1. Change negative to positive. If you eat a cookie or veer off your diet plan, don’t say things like “I cheated” or “I can’t believe I ate that”. Instead, replace that negativity with positive words that act as support and encouragement. You can say something like “I made a choice to eat that cookie, but that’s okay. It didn’t ruin my whole day and I’m going to get right back on track.”
  2. Focus on progress, not perfection. You’ve probably heard this one before, but do you do it? You’re not going to change your entire lifestyle overnight, but no one expects you to. Every little change is a step in the right direction. Eventually, these little changes add up and you find that you’ve changed your lifestyle in major ways. Celebrate every little victory. Did you skip dessert? Celebrate! Did you incorporate a workout in your day? Celebrate! Did you drink enough water? Celebrate! Every health choice you make deserves positive reinforcement.
  3. Recognize – and accept – your vulnerabilities. Everyone is vulnerable at some point. It doesn’t make you weak. In fact, recognizing, and accepting, your vulnerabilities makes you strong. Take note of when you’re more inclined to make unhealthy choices. Is it when you’re stressed out or feeling sad? Is it in social settings? Recognize these scenarios and tell yourself that it’s okay, but work to figure out what can prevent the self-sabotage. When you’re stressed, try calling a friend and talking for 10 to 20 minutes instead of reaching for that bag of chips. Or come see us! Our team is made up lots of wonderful people that are here to support you.
sleep and weight loss

Tips for Better Sleep

When you’re feeling sleepy at the office, you might be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee and a sugary snack from the vending machine for a little pick-me-up. When the clock strikes five, you may skip the gym and stop at the drive-thru on the way home because you’re just too dang tired to even think about cooking. You end up sinking into the couch with a cheeseburger in one hand and the remote in the other. Even though you were sure you were going to pass out as soon as your butt hit the chair, suddenly you can’t sleep.

If this cycle sounds familiar, your sleep pattern may be to blame. On the surface, the connection between sleep and weight loss seems obvious. When you don’t get enough sleep, your energy dwindles and you reach for a comfort food, like potato chips, or some coffee or soda. The immediate result is a quick burst of energy, but the longer-term effect is unwanted pounds, more sleep loss, and negative health consequences.

Sleep and Weight Loss

When you’re sleep deprived, your metabolism suffers and your hormones go out of whack — two physiological processes that are essential for weight loss. Sleep deprivation ups the body’s production of ghrelin, a hormone that signals when it is time to eat. To make matters worse, when the body doesn’t get enough sleep, it reduces production of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that your belly is full. This combination of effects can spell disaster for your weight loss plan.

Although the exact amount of sleep you need is based on different personal factors, most people need about 7.5 hours of shut-eye a night. Increasing that won’t magically help you lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, getting seven hours a night helps boost your metabolism and helps you shed pounds.

If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep at night, it is time to make a change. Follow these tips to start giving your body the rest it needs.

Skip the Caffeine

It’s fine to start your day with a cup of joe, but skip caffeine in the afternoon. When you down caffeinated drinks after about 2pm, your body stays stuck in sleep’s lighter stages at night instead of getting the deeper rest it needs.

Get Exercise

Physical exercise can boost the quality of your sleep, and it doesn’t matter much when you do it. Aim to get at least one hour of exercise each day to sleep better at night.

Forego the Midnight Snack

If you are about to hit the sheets, stay away from midnight snacks, especially things like pizza or chicken wings. These fatty, greasy foods can cause heartburn and keep you up. If your stomach is grumbling close to bedtime, opt for a lighter snack, like a cup of low-fat cottage cheese or an apple. If battling bedtime cravings is a regular issue for you, try Crave-a-Way to conquer the temptation.

 

tart cherries

Five Fruits that Help You Lose Weight

When low-carb diets become popular, fruit was shunned along with other high-carbohydrate foods like oats and sweet potatoes. But while it’s true that fruit is high in carbohydrates, it’s also true that certain fruits can help you lose weight, rather than preventing weight loss. As long as you’re not overdoing it, fruit can be an essential part of your weight loss plan.

Apple

We’ll start with the apple because it’s in season. Plus, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. In addition to their vast health benefits, apples contain a lot of fiber. This fills you up faster, keeps you full longer, and boosts your metabolism. Most of the fiber is in the apple’s skin, so try not to peel before eating.

Grapefruit

Several studies show that eating half of a fresh grapefruit before meals helps boost weight loss and reduces visceral fat, the type of belly fat that’s the most problematic. Grapefruit can also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance, a metabolic condition that can progress into Type 2 Diabetes. Specifically, ruby red grapefruit contains lycopene, a phytochemical that can reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Tart Cherries

A study done by the University of Michigan reported that rats that ate tart cherries over a period of 12 weeks showed a 9 percent greater reduction in belly fat than rats who didn’t consume the cherries. Tart cherries can also change the way your fat genes express themselves.

Berries

Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries contain lots of polyphenols. These are antioxidant substances that help you lose weight and also stop fat from forming. In a study done by Texas Woman’s University, mice that ate 3 servings of berries per day experienced a 73 percent decrease in the formation of fat compared to mice who didn’t eat any berries.

Stone Fruits

“Stone fruit” is the name for any fruit that contains a large pit in the center. Examples of stone fruits include plums, peaches, and nectarines. Stone fruits can help prevent metabolic syndrome, the name for a group of symptoms (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess visceral fat, and high cholesterol levels), which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The polyphenols in stone fruits affect the way fat genes express themselves, which reduces belly fat.

family style

5 More Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

Last week, we discussed some of the most common roadblocks to weight loss. You know, those things that sneak in under the radar even when you’re “doing everything right”. If you’ve gone through that list and haven’t had your “ah-ha” moment yet, keep reading. Here are 5 more things you might be doing to sabotage your weight loss, without even realizing it.

1. You Skimp on Veggies

Veggies are chock-full of nutrients that keep you healthy, but that’s not the only reason we love them. Veggies are also low in energy density. This means that they are both extremely filling, but very low in calories, so you can eat enough of them to keep you full without adding a lot of extra calories to your day. Start your meals with a green salad and make sure that at least half of your plate is covered with non-starchy vegetables, like spinach, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and green beans.

2. You Never Cook

Eating out can be a gamble, even if you’re choosing “healthy” options. The problem with eating out is you have little to no control over the finished product. Even a healthy meal may be cooked with ingredients you’re trying to avoid, like certain oils or butter, which can contribute unwanted calories and fat. If you’re eating most of your meals out of the home, try to spend a little more time in the kitchen. We know that you’re busy, but if you can commit to a few hours in the kitchen a week – and you spend some time meal-planning – you can make a major difference in your diet for the week.

3. You Eat Meals “Family Style”

Eating “family style” means that when you cook a meal, you bring everything over to the table – a roasting pan full of chicken, a bowl full of mashed potatoes, and a pan full of green beans – and allow everyone to serve themselves. The problem with this is that when the food is easily accessible, you tend to eat more. Instead of eating this way, leave everything in the kitchen and fix your plate there (paying attention to your portion sizes). Research shows that doing this may help you eat up to 19 percent fewer calories.

4. You Eat Too Close to Bedtime

Eating too late at night can increase body temperature, blood sugar, and insulin levels, which makes it more difficult for your body to burn fat, both while you’re sleeping and the next day. Try to eat at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you have to snack, choose a slow-digesting carbohydrate, like an apple, which doesn’t spike blood sugar and is loaded with fiber that can help keep you full.

5. You Have an Un-diagnosed Medical Issue

If your only issue is an inability to lose weight and you have no other symptoms, this probably doesn’t apply to you, but we thought it was worth mentioning anyway. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, and up to 60 percent of those affected don’t even know they have a problem! In addition to other symptoms, like fatigue and brain fog, hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, can prevent you from losing weight. If you’ve checked off everything on this list and the list from last week and you’re still not seeing results, ask your doctor to check your thyroid to make sure it’s functioning properly.

sleep

5 Habits that Guarantee Long-Term Weight Loss

There’s a problem with the way the world looks at weight. For many, weight loss is considered a short-term thing. You have a big event coming up, or summer is creeping up on you, so you have to scramble to lose those pounds that you put on during the rest of the year. Or you reach a point when you become so fed up with how you feel and look, that you decide it’s time to get really strict with yourself and start a weight loss regimen that is full of deprivation.

Once the event is over, or winter comes around again, it’s back to old habits. The weight slowly creeps back on and before you know it, you’re back to scrambling to try to lose the weight. The problem with this is that it misses the big picture. When you focus on weight loss as a goal for a specific event or reason (other than your health and confidence), it becomes a chore – and one that is not attainable for the long-term.

The people who are most successful with losing weight – and maintaining that weight loss – are those who realize that you need to create habits that are conducive to a happy, healthy body. That doesn’t mean crash dieting or depriving yourself of everything you love. It means making small changes to the daily habits that, collectively, make up your life. So what are the most important habits? Well, it will probably come as no surprise that healthy eating and regularly exercising make the list, but you may be surprised at some of the other contributing factors.

1. Put Diet in the Forefront

Diet is not a four-letter word. Well, it is, but not in the way people make it out to be. Your diet is simply the foods that you choose to eat. Diet should not be synonymous with deprivation and sadness and it should never be something you’re forced to be on. In order to maintain long-term weight loss, you need to view your diet as a long-term strategy. It’s your way of life. It’s the way you always eat.

You should be focusing on clean, whole-foods at least 80 percent of the time (all the time). Your regular eating plan should consist of lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. You can veer off this track every once in a while – for special occasions or when you want to enjoy a glass of wine at night – but then get right back to it.

2. Make Exercise a Hobby

Exercise is also an important factor for maintaining a healthy weight, but it’s not as important as you may think. Now, hear me out: many people think that as long as they’re exercising regularly, they can eat whatever they want; but this is not true. The problem is that people tend to overestimate the amount of calories they’re burning during exercise and underestimate how many calories they’re actually eating during the day. Obviously, this combination is not a good one when you’re trying to lose or maintain weight.

The key to making exercise a routine is to find something that you love doing. You shouldn’t be forcing yourself to sweat; eventually, it should become enjoyable. If you hate the treadmill, stay off of it! Join an aerobics class or take up swimming. The best thing you can do is turn your exercise into an enjoyable hobby.

3. Figure Out to Manage Your Stress

Stress can prevent you from reaching or maintaining your ideal weight even if your diet is pristine and you exercise 7 days a week. Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable part of modern life; the key is in how you deal with that stress.

Do you do anything to manage your stress levels? (And no, drinking two glasses of wine when you get home from work doesn’t count). You need to incorporate healthy, stress-reduction activities into your daily routine, until they become a habit. Meditate for 10 minutes in bed before you start your day, take a hot Epsom salt bath at night, write in a journal releasing any and all negative thoughts before bed. There’s no right or wrong way, but it’s important to find whatever way works for you.

4. Kick Your Sugar Habit

Added sugar isn’t just bad for your waist line, it’s bad for your health. Over the years, our consumption of added sugar has increased dramatically – and with some major consequences.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is ditch added sugar. This means no sugar in your coffee and ditching that after-dinner sugar fix. It may seem like a difficult thing to do, and we agree, those sugar cravings can be hard to kick, but the sooner you do it, the better.

5. Get Enough Sleep

In today’s fast-paced world, sleep has lost its place as a priority. We prioritize work over sleep, exercise over sleep, watching TV over sleep. Part of the problem is that many of us don’t realize how important sleep is for our well-being.

Sleep is when your body recovers from all the stressors of the day. Quantity is important, but so is quality. It’s ideal to make sure you’re getting 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night on a regular sleep schedule. We know you probably thought your days of a bedtime were over, but a self-imposed bedtime may be one of the best things you do for your health.

alcohol

Can I Drink Alcohol While Trying to Lose Weight?

One of the questions that we’re asked often is: how bad is alcohol really for weight loss? Can I still drink alcohol when I’m trying to lose weight?

With Memorial Day and more outdoor events and cookouts approaching, we figured now would be a good time to answer this question for you. For those of you who are just looking for the short version, the answer is yes, you can still drink when you’re trying to lose weight, but the key is to be selective with what you’re drinking and how much you’re consuming.

The Statistics on Booze

Fox News Magazine estimates that 36 percent of men and 21 percent of women consume alcohol each day. It’s also estimated that approximately 45 million Americans are trying to lose weight. With these numbers, it’s a pretty good guess that many of these people who drink daily are also trying to lose weight.

When starting a weight loss plan, you’ll often find alcohol on the “no” list. Because alcohol is full of empty calories – meaning it contains calories with no real nutrition – it’s best to avoid it completely, but if you’re able to consume it in moderation, you’ll still be successful with your weight loss goals.

Counting the Calories

Alcohol itself contains 7 calories per gram — almost double the 4 calories per gram from protein and carbohydrates and 2 calories short of the 9 from fat. Unlike the other calorie-containing nutrients though, alcohol doesn’t offer you anything else, like vitamins or minerals and it doesn’t provide a feeling of satiety, meaning that no matter how much you drink, you won’t feel full.

In addition to the calories in the alcohol itself, many cocktails contain mixers like soda or sugary syrups that pack a wallop in both calories and sugar. It’s easy to take in 200 to 300 calories in one mixed drink. While a 4-ounce glass of red wine contains 95 calories, a margarita packs a whopping 550 calories. One of those a day in addition to your regular meals and you could put on a pound per week.

Lowered Inhibitions

It isn’t just the calories alone that make alcohol a questionable choice on a weight loss plan; it’s alcohol’s tendency to lower inhibitions. After you’ve had a few drinks, you’re more like to choose foods that you’re trying to stay away from. Pizza at midnight may not be a good choice, but when alcohol clouds your judgement, you may be less likely to realize that.

Metabolism Mix-Up

The metabolism of alcohol also disrupts the way your body burns fat. As you can imagine, a properly working metabolism, especially when it comes to fat-burning, is vital to your weight loss success.

Normally, the liver metabolizes the calories from fat and allows you to use them for energy. When you drink alcohol, your liver prioritizes its breakdown over the metabolism of fat. As a result, your body uses the calories from the alcohol as energy and stores the fat, which can prevent weight loss – and even cause weight gain.

Drinking Smartly

We’re not here to blow your buzz (pun intended) and tell you that alcohol is completely off limits, but if you do decide to indulge here and there, make sure you’re making smart choices. Don’t drink more than the recommended amounts – no more one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Remember, a drink is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor, not whatever amount you can fit in one cup.

Choose wine, light beer or a low-calorie mixer, such as club soda, over juice or cola. Avoid fancy cocktails like margaritas, mojitos, and Long Island Iced Teas, which typically have lots of added sugar. Always eat a satisfying meal before indulging in some cocktails. Some people are tempted to skip dinner to save on calories, but this can backfire. You’ll feel the effects of the alcohol more quickly and be more likely to binge on unhealthy foods later.

workout

Maintaining Weight Loss May Come Down To Your Traits

For many people, losing weight is the easy part; it’s keeping it off that’s the struggle. That’s why fad diets or weight loss trends don’t have much staying power. Sure, they’ll help you lose the weight, but most of them aren’t sustainable, so once you’ve reached your next step – maintaining weight loss – you’re left high and dry.

So what is one to do? The first step is realizing that the key to a healthy weight and overall wellness is to resolve to change your lifestyle permanently. Successful weight loss isn’t about New Year’s resolutions or quick fixes; it’s about switching your mindset. You have to realize that this is going to be something you’re going to have to work at. You’re going to have to take each day at a time and make making good choices a long-term habit, rather than a month-long “diet”.

There is actually research in the fields of neuroscience and neuropsychology that shows that people who are able to achieve their goals consistently have similar mental patterns. The good news is that many of these mental patterns can be learned over time, so if these things don’t come naturally to you, you can rewire your brain by practicing them regularly.

Traits of People Who are Successful with Weight Loss

  • They focus. In this modern world, it’s hard to stay focused. Even when you’re doing one thing, you’re probably thinking about another. This is distracting and forces you to split your attention. People who are able to focus on the current task – like their workout or their meal – are able to work more efficiently.
  • They prioritize. A lot of people say they just don’t have the time to exercise or to prepare healthy meals, but often, the truth is that these things are not a priority. Take an honest look at your life and your schedule. Are you prioritizing what’s important or are you spending too much time on distractions?
  • They are organized. Physical clutter translates to mental clutter. When your outside world is in disarray, it’s difficult to stay on track. Clear some physical clutter and watch how that alleviates your mind.
  • They have goals. It’s important to have specific goals. It’s not enough to say “I want to get healthy”, you need to know exactly how you plan to get there. Write out action steps and daily or weekly goals.
  • They are flexible. Yes, it’s important to have a schedule to keep yourself organized, but it’s also vital that you’re able to roll with the punches. For example, if you wanted to work out in the morning before work, but you overslept, be flexible enough to fit in your workout before dinner, don’t just skip it because you missed your scheduled time.

Do you have any of these traits? Do you have any traits that you think should be added to this list? Let us know!

thanksgiving

10 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Although the real reason for this holiday – giving thanks and practicing gratitude – is spelled out right in its name, let’s be honest: a big part of Thanksgiving is the food. And although we might not like to admit it, typically that food is full of fat, calories, and sugar – things that don’t really go hand in hand with weight loss. But just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to completely blow it. You can still enjoy the holiday healthily with your friends and family with these simple tips.

1. Eat Before Dinner

Yes, you read that right. One way to help keep you on track during Thanksgiving is to eat BEFORE the big meal. Many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast or lunch in an effort to “save” the calories from these meals for later, but this method of thinking actually works against you. If you skip meals, you’ll end up feeling ravenous later in the day and you’re more likely to overindulge or reach for the extra fatty, extra carby options on the table. Instead eat a healthy breakfast, like oatmeal or a veggie omelet prior to heading out the door for your big meal.

2. Wear Your Sunday’s Best

A lot of us have a tendency to pre-plan our Thanksgiving outfits. We may choose stretchy pants or a loose flowing shirt to prepare for the bloat and discomfort that comes after eating too much. Instead of doing this, wear a form fitting dress or fitted slacks. Doing so will force you to be a little more mindful of what you’re eating since the discomfort of being too full will be harder to ignore.

3. Ditch the Alcohol

Alcohol isn’t just a major source of calories, it also lowers your inhibitions, so you’re more likely to eat more than you would if you had a clear head. We’re not telling you that you shouldn’t imbibe at all, but set a limit for yourself of one to two drinks. Opt for wine or vodka and club soda over fancy, sugary cocktails.

4. Get Active

Instead of giving yourself the entire day off, hit the gym or go for a walk first thing in the morning. If you’re out of town visiting friends or relatives, ask them to join you. That way, your still engaging in family time while also paying attention to your health goals. Another way to get some exercise in is to round everybody up for a walk or a game outside after the meal. It’s tempting to just veg out on the couch, but if you resist this urge, you can get a nice calorie burn post-dinner. As a bonus, moving after a big meal can help improve digestion.

5. Take 10

When you finish your first plate, wait at least 10 minutes before reaching for a second serving. You may not even realize your full until you give your body time to register the meal it just ate. Another reason to wait 10 minutes is that that’s the time it usually takes for a craving to subside.

6. Drink Up (Water, That Is)

Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal. This helps to fill up part of your tummy and may reduce your hunger. Many times, thirst is mistaken for hunger and the best way to quench it is with some fresh water.

7. Focus on Family

During Thanksgiving, there is a lot of focus on food, but the holiday is really about family, friends, connection, and gratitude. Try not to put so much focus on what you can and can’t eat, and instead focus on good company and good conversation. When you shift your mindset, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on what the holiday is really about.

8. Volunteer for the Cleanup Crew

Instead of moving right to the couch after your meal, volunteer to help clean up. The movement will help get the food moving through your digestive system, and you’ll burn approximately 100 calories in an hour of clean-up. Bonus points: your host will be happy.

9. Bring a Better-For-You Dish

If there is something that you absolutely cannot live without this Thanksgiving, make a healthier version of it and offer it to bring it to dinner. That way, you’ll know for sure there will be something healthy for you to eat and you won’t feel like you’re missing out. If you’re the one hosting, put a healthy spin on all dishes. In most cases, your guests won’t even know. If you’re low on ideas, we have some modified recipes for you to check out.

10. Be Gentle with Yourself

The most important thing you need to do to stay healthy on Thanksgiving is be gentle with yourself. If you overindulge or don’t stick to your intended plan, forgive yourself and move on. One day of indulgence isn’t going to throw you completely off track, but guilt and stress can do a number on your health, so be mindful and have fun!

Memorial Day weekend

Tips for Sticking to Your Goals During Memorial Day Weekend

This Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of summer. It also marks the official start of outdoor BBQs, longer days and the foods and drinks that come with them. Burgers, beers, and desserts abound — so how do you enjoy Memorial Day Weekend without completely falling off the wagon? Do you have to avoid BBQs and all social interaction? Hide on your couch with a salad and your water? Of course not! Read on for some tips that will help you navigate your next cookout so you can leave feeling like you did your body good.

Bring a Dish

We consider bringing your own dish a type of insurance policy. If you don’t know the menu at the BBQ you’re going to, bringing a healthy dish ensures that you’ll have something to eat while you’re there. It’s also a bonus because you’ll be helping your host out by making less work for him/her. You can pick something that’s healthy, but still a crowd pleaser. Try a quinoa and bean summer salad, Caprese salad with low-fat mozzarella or a brown rice pasta salad.

Snack on Veggies

At most cookouts, it’s a pretty safe bet that there’s going to be some cut up veggies and dip. If you feel the need to snack before eating your meal, choose the veggies and fill up on those. Veggies are loaded with fiber so you’ll actually feel more satisfied after a handful of carrots than you would after a handful of potato chips. And that will make you less likely to overeat later. But skip the dip, if you can.

Skip the Bun

If bringing your own dish is out of the question, opt for a hamburger without the bun. Skip the mayonnaise and ketchup (which generally contains high-fructose corn syrup) and top it with lettuce, tomato, onion, and some mustard. Bonus points if you make it a salad. Most cookouts have one lonely salad sitting somewhere in the corner. Fill your plate with veggies from the salad, top it with your burger, and use mustard and/or salsa as a dressing. It’s surprisingly delicious AND filling.

Be Choosy with Booze

You might be looking forward to unwinding this Memorial Day weekend with a few cocktails – and that’s not totally out of the question; but overdoing can cause calories to add up quickly. Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, so after a couple drinks, those chips that you’ve been avoiding suddenly don’t seem so harmful. Some alcohol choices are better than others, so stick to those. Opt for a wine spritzer instead of beer or some vodka with club soda and a squeeze of lime instead of a margarita. Sip your drink slowly and make sure to drink a glass of water in between each cocktail.

Bring Your Own Meat

Okay, this one might be a little more out there, but it’s worth mentioning. If you’re going to a Memorial Day weekend cookout where you know the host well and you know the grill will be fired up, bring a couple of chicken breasts or put together chicken chicken kabobs with lots of extra veggies. When the grill-master throws burgers and dogs on the grill, ask him/her to also cook the chicken for you. It won’t take much extra work and you’ll be satisfied knowing that you have a lean source of protein to keep you full.

weight loss tips

5 Science-Backed Weight Loss Tips That Work

The weight loss industry is loaded with myths, old wives’ tales, and just downright bad advice. With the world focused on quick fixes, it can be difficult to differentiate between what’s real and what’s just a marketing scheme developed to try to take your money. We’re big fans of science, so we’ve compiled a list of 5 science-based weight loss tips that actually work.

These suggestions may not be mind-blowing to you. In fact, you’ve probably heard most of them before, but we wanted to make sure you know the WHY behind each suggestion. Sometimes, when you know why you’re doing something, it’s easier to stick to it.

So without further ado, here are some science-backed weight loss tips:

1. Drink water before meals.

Drinking approximately two cups of water about 30 minutes before a meal can help you eat fewer calories and lose up to 44 percent more weight, according to one study. Drinking water also boosts your metabolism up to 30 percent for about an hour after consumption.

2. Use smaller plates.

This one is more of a mind trick. When you use smaller plates, you fool your mind into thinking you’re eating more because less food fills up the plate. Use an appetizer plate instead of a dinner plate for meals.

3. Do cardiovascular exercise.

You probably already know that cardiovascular exercise helps burn calories, which can help you lose weight, but the weight loss benefits go beyond that. Cardiovascular exercise is particularly effective at helping to reduce belly fat (also called visceral fat) – the fat that can accumulate in your belly and around your organs and contribute to metabolic syndrome.

4. Chew slowly.

Sometimes people tend to eat faster than their brains are able to register that they’re full. You can help prevent this by eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly and carefully. Eating slowly not only gives your brain time to catch up to your mouth, it also gives your body time to release the hormones associated with satiety.

5. Don’t drink calories.

With the exception of whole food protein shakes that replace a meal, you should not drink any calories. Studies show that liquid calories may contribute to weight gain – and the inability to lose weight – more than any other aspect of your diet. This not only applies to the obvious, like soda, it applies to fruit juice, coffee drinks, and sweetened teas.

Need support losing weight and putting these tips into action? Give us a call! It’s what we do.

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.

strange weight loss tips

Strange Weight Loss Tips That Work

You probably already know that combining a healthy diet with exercise will help you shed those excess pounds, but is there anything else you can do to speed up the process? The short answer is yes. We scoured over research to find some strange weight loss tips that actually work.

While we’ve heard some of them before, some of them were new to us too. They may seem out of the box at first, but don’t knock ‘em til you try ‘em! You may just end up losing more weight in the end.

When eating out, sit at the end of the table.

This tip was actually from one of the doctors on the show The Doctors and we thought it was a great one. When you’re out with a group of people at a restaurant, the waiter tends to place bread or chip baskets in the middle of the table. Make it a point to sit at the end of the table so it’s more work for you to get to that basket and it’s not sitting right in front of you screaming in your face.

Eat spicy food.

Cayenne pepper helps boost your metabolism, so eating spicy food regularly can actually help promote weight loss. This doesn’t mean dump some cayenne pepper on your plate of chili cheese fries, but consider adding a little kick to your healthy meals.

Eat in front of a mirror.

It may seem vain, but it works. Eating in front of a mirror has been shown to decrease the amount of calories that you take in by nearly 33 percent.

Go for individually wrapped treats.

We generally like to encourage eating fresh, whole foods, but when you do reach for a piece of chocolate or candy, stick to individually wrapped varieties. Research shows that individuals eat 30 percent less candy when they actually had to unwrap each piece first. It’s a lot harder to eat a handful of wrapped candy than it is to pop a handful of M&Ms into your mouth. This is especially relevant with Halloween just a couple weeks away.

Light vanilla-scented candles.

Research shows that the smell of vanilla has been shown to reduce dessert cravings. Instead of reaching for that vanilla ice cream, light a vanilla candle or put a couple capfuls of vanilla extract in a coffee cup in the oven and bake at 300°F for about an hour.

Turn down the lights.

Researchers at Ohio State University did an animal study that found that mice who slept in total darkness – as opposed to dim lights from the television or other electronics – were less prone to obesity than those who snoozed in complete darkness. While we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that these findings translate to humans, it can’t hurt to try!

Shut off the TV.

People who watch less TV during the day tend to burn more calories on average than people who spend more time in front of the television. This may be because you’re forced to do something other than sit, but whatever the reason, it works.

Get a smaller plate.

Another one of our strange weight loss tips is to eat from a smaller plate. When you have a bigger plate, you tend to serve yourself more because you’re trying to fill up that empty space. Save yourself some calories by using smaller plates and bowls. You’ll still be satisfied and you’ll trick your brain into thinking that you ate more than you actually did.

Surround yourself with blue.

Research shows that the color blue acts as an appetite suppressant, so people tend to eat about one-third less when in a blue room. On the other hand, red, yellow, and orange tend to boost appetite. Get yourself a blue tablecloth and a blue tablecloth and you may take in fewer calories.