A Month’s Worth of Weight Loss Tips
Forget the weight-loss shakes, the fat-gram counting, the food combining, or the pre-packaged diet meals. Forget the total revamp of your eating habits, too. Losing weight can be as simple as eating breakfast or adding a salad at lunch. Here is a month’s worth of tried-and-true painless tricks to help you drop a few pounds and feel a lot healthier, with only a hint of effort.
1. Include two fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and snack. You’ll meet your daily quota of 5 to 9 servings, feel full, and automatically cut back on fat and calories. It’s as simple as adding a cup of watermelon and a glass of OJ along with cereal for breakfast, a big salad to accompany a turkey sandwich at lunch, two steamed vegetables at dinner, and a few pieces of fruit for snacks. I’ve had clients lose up to 30 pounds adopting this one trick alone!
2. Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast are much less likely to overeat later in the day. A healthful breakfast only takes 5 minutes and is as simple as juice, fruit, and cereal.
3. Bring foods with you. Pack one snack for each 4 hours you’ll be gone. Pack your briefcase, glove compartment, or desk drawer at work with oranges, apples, yogurt, bread sticks, string cheese, and other quick-fix healthful snacks.
4. Eat regularly. Plan a mini-meal or snack every four hours. That way you will be comfortably full after a meal, avoid feeling ravenous, and be less like to overeat in the long run.
5. Eyeball portions. A 1/2 cup serving of rice is the size of your fist, an ounce of cheese is the size of a large marble, a 3-ounce serving of meat is the size of a cassette case, and 2 Tbsp of salad dressing is the size of a ping pong ball.
6. Divide your plate. Fill 3/4 of your plate with vegetables, grains, beans, and fruit; the other 1/4 can be extra-lean meat or nonfat milk or milk products. Said another way, take three bites of plant-based foods for every one mouthful of meat or milk.
7. Have a specific plan. Approach all food-related situations with a specific plan as to what and how much you will eat, how you will refuse unwanted food offers, and what you will do instead of overeating.
8. Include your favorite foods. If you love a glass of wine in the evening or a cookie at the mid-morning break, then drop something else during the day or walk an extra mile at lunch.
9. Drink water. Meet your daily quota of 6 to 8 glasses, curb appetite, and possibly avoid late-night cravings by keeping bottled water in the refrigerator or filling a container with 8 glasses of water and drinking one glass every one to two hours.
10. Eat slowly. It takes up to 20 minutes for signals from the stomach to reach the brain; if you are wolfing down food, you could be stuffed before those signals hit. Instead, put the fork down between bites, focus more on the conversation, take small bites, or wait 15 minutes before going back for seconds.
11. Cut 100 calories each day. Lose one pound a month by simply replacing that candy bar with an orange and banana, the 1/2 cup granola with 2 cups of Cheerios, or 1/2 cup of frozen broccoli in cheese sauce with 1/2 cup steamed fresh broccoli.
12. Take a supplement. Your vitamin and mineral needs remain the same no matter what your calorie intake. A broad-range multiple vitamin and mineral supplement will fill in the nutritional gaps on those days when calories drop below 2,000.
13. Lose weight gradually. You are more likely to lose fat weight and maintain the loss if you take it slow – no more than 2 pounds a week. Better yet, forget the scale and monitor your weight by how your clothes fit or by the notch on your belt.
14. Focus on health, not your waistline. Eat for health and you automatically adopt the best weight-management diet in the world. Successful diets fit easily into your daily routine and nourish your body, soul, and tastebuds.
15. Use Timesavers: Buy pre-cut and bagged lettuce for a salad, baby carrots for a stew, pre-cut fruit for a snack, the pre-made hummus as a dip or sandwich spread, or steam frozen plain vegetables for dinner.
16. Choose minimally processed foods. Grab the potato, not the chips; the corn, not the corn oil; the whole wheat bread, not the doughnut; and the plain green peas, not the frozen peas in cheese sauce and you’ll automatically cut calories and fat, without feeling hungry.
17. Move. Besides exercising daily, take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride your bike, walk up the escalator, stretch while standing in line, use a hand-help basket instead of a grocery cart, and throw out the “labor-saving” devices.
18. Eat consciously. Don’t nibble while cleaning up the kitchen, taste-test while cooking, eat from the serving bowl, or graze from someone else’s plate.
19. Cut out or limit alcohol. Alcohol stimulates appetite and erases your willpower. Limit wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages to special occasions. Serve these beverages in small glasses and intersperse alcohol with calorie-free beverages.
20. Throw it out. If those brownies or homemade cookies beckon to you, get rid of them…now! Drown them in water, dump them down the disposal, feed them to the dog, or bury them under garbage in the trash.
21. Brush your teeth. This can stop the cravings or uncontrollable grazing from the refrigerator by eliminating the taste of food from the mouth and signaling the body that eating is over.
22. Add beans to a salad. Healthy salads and soups are more satisfying and will help curb hunger pangs longer if you add a handful of kidney beans, 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast, or other stick-to-the-ribs items.
23. Sweeten with spice. Use sweet-tasting spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, rather than sugar to desserts and snacks to add flavor, but no calories.
24. Try one new food every day. New foods and tastes liven up any menu and help prevent the boredom and discouragement that comes from repeatedly eating the same foods. Add mangos to a chicken dish, raspberries or winter pears to a salad, jicama to the vegetable platter, or jalapeno relish to a grilled cheese sandwich.
25. If you can’t live with it, don’t buy it. Just say ‘no’ to tempting foods at the grocery store if they are likely to beckon you to indulge at home. Also, store tempting foods out of sight.
26. Don’t open the menu. Order off the menu low-calorie items, such as steamed vegetable platters, grilled chicken salads, or sliced tomatoes. Or, order from the soup, salad, and low-fat appetizer sections and skip the entrees altogether.
27. Go spicy. Overeating and food cravings can be an underlying search for flavor. Add chilies to chicken sandwiches, salsa to scrambled eggs, or curry to sauces. Try hot cuisines, such as Thai, Sichuan, or Indian.
28. Stay busy. Keep your hands busy by sewing, manicuring your nails, addressing envelopes, or exercising during your crave-prone time of day, such as watching TV or reading.
29. Buy smaller plates. You may find that you are just as full eating smaller portions that fill a smaller plate as you were with a large plate packed with food.
30. Include foods in the daily diet that contain the three ingredients for weight loss: protein, water, and fiber. These three fill you up on fewer calories. For example, add legumes (a perfect example of a food that contains all three) to salads, and burritos. Or, snack on fiber-water-rich foods, such as watermelon.
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The Latest Must-Read Nutrition News
1. What Foods Lower Heart Disease?: Cutting back on saturated fats lowers heart disease risk, but only if the calories are replace with the right kinds of foods, according to a study from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study (121,701 women) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (51,529 men), using only information from participants that were free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at the start of the study. Diet, lifestyle, medical history, and newly diagnosed diseases were assessed at baseline and every two to four years for up to 30 years. Results showed that people who removed even 5% of energy intake from saturated fatty foods with an equivalent intake from either polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, or carbohydrates from whole grains showed a 25%, 15%, and 9% lower risk for heart disease, respectively. In contrast, replacing the same calories from saturated fatty foods with refined grains or sugars showed no reduction in heart disease risk.
Li Y, Hruby A, Bernstein A, et al: Saturated fats and sources of carbohydrates in relation to risk of coronary heart disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2015; 66):1538.
2. Death in a Can: Soft drinks and other sweetened beverages seriously damage the heart, increasing the risk for heart attack or fatal heart disease by at least 35% and diabetes by at least 26%, according to a review of studies from researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked with increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Both glucose and fructose appears to be major players in this damage, with putative underlying mechanisms including increased calorie consumption, adverse glycemic effects, increased liver metabolism of fructose leading to fat genesis, production of uric acid, and accumulation of belly, i.e., visceral, fat. Sugar-sweetened beverages account for one half of added sugars in the American diet. One can of regular soda contains about 35 grams, or nine teaspoons, of sugar. Being in liquid form means that sugar rapidly enters the bloodstream, warn the researchers.
Malik V, Hu F: Fructose and cardiometabolic health. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2015;66:1615-1624.
3. Stop at the Cork: Beyond sniffing the wine cork, no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, according to a new statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Alcohol use of any kind during pregnancy can cause thinking and behavioral problems that last a lifetime for the fetus. “No amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe and there is no safe trimester to drink alcohol,” the report states. All forms of alcohol are included in this warning, including beer, wine, and liquor. The report also states that there is no safe lower limit level below which drinking is not associated with any harm to the developing fetus. All women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant should avoid all alcohol. In short, “…avoid pregnancy if drinking and avoid drinking if pregnant.”
Williams J, Smith V, Committee on Substance Abuse: Fetal Alcohol spectrum disorders. Pediatrics 2015;136:e1395-e1406.
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Food & Mood Tip –
Put a Lid on the Sugar Glut
Americans have a love affair with sugar that has grown to obsessive proportions. My father growing up on a farm in Oregon in the early 1900s consumed about four teaspoons of added sugar a day, which grandma used in her homemade pies, jams, and breads. Fast-forward to the present, where last year each American averaged 31 teaspoons of added sugar every day, an almost eight-fold increase in the past 100+ years, and three times the recommended upper limit of 10 teaspoons. If you are that average person, you ate almost 100 pounds of added sugar last year! Never in the history of the human species or the planet has any animal ever eaten so much refined sugar. There appears to be no limit to our sugar cravings. Yet, our bodies were not designed to eat this much sweet, which explains why research continues to show an association between excess added sugar intake and weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, depression, and a host of other ills. Make a vow this year to cut back. Read labels: 4 grams = 1 teaspoon, so a food that has 32 grams of sugar has 8 teaspoons. Vow to not buy any processed food that contains more than one teaspoon of added sugar.
Mood-Boosting Recipe of the month –
Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables with Thyme Vinaigrette (From The Food & Mood Cookbook by Elizabeth Somer and Jeanette Williams)
This rich and filling salad goes well with roast chicken, turkey, or pork. It is a beautiful addition to a holiday menu, too. If you have leftovers, make a one-serving frittata by placing 1 cup of this rice/vegetable dish in a small frying pan along with two whipped eggs. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until eggs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Salt to taste.
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (amount will vary depending on rice)
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1 /2 inch slices
1/2 pound shiitake, crimini, or Portobello mushroom, stems removed and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into quarters
2/3 of a large yellow onion, cut into 1-inches wedges
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
1) In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil. Add rice, cover, return to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until rice is done, approximately 50 minutes (kernels crack, revealing the fluffy white interior). Amount of fluid will vary depending on rice; you may need to add additional broth or drain rice when done. Makes approximately 3 cups of cooked rice.
2) Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, blend olive oil, vinegar, thyme, and garlic. Set aside.
3) While rice is cooking, spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray. Arrange carrots on one side and mushrooms on the other side of one sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Spray a second cookie sheet and arrange red peppers and onions on opposing sides, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Place both cookie sheets in oven. Roast vegetables for approximately 30 minutes or until tender, turning twice.
4) Drain rice if necessary, transfer to a medium bowl, and blend in vinaigrette. Add vegetables while rice is still warm. Thoroughly stir and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend and mushrooms to absorb some of the liquid. Serve at room temperature. Makes 6 cups.
Nutritional Analysis per cup: 195 Calories; 25% fat (5.4 grams);
Your Nutrition Questions Answered
1. What has more calories a tablespoon of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil?
Butter has 108 calories and olive oil 119 calories per tablespoon. In short, they both have about the same calories, but butter is mostly saturated fat (associated with a higher risk for disease) and olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat (associated with a lower risk for disease).
2. Is it true that you should eat the crust because it is the most nutritious part of the bread?
The crust does have some antioxidants that one study found were effective in lowering cancer risk. There also might be a bit of fiber in the crust. However, by far the most nutritious part of the grain is the germ, which is found only in 100% whole-grain bread and is throughout the slice. It is the germ that is rich in vitamins, such as vitamin E, and minerals, such as zinc and chromium.
See Next Month for Answers to These Questions…
1. Do raw foods contain enzymes that help you digest food and keep you healthy?
2. The radiation from microwave ovens creates harmful compounds in food, right?
Label Lingo –
The term “enriched” when it comes to grains is not exactly accurate. When food manufacturers strip the whole grain of its outer coating and germ, they leave only the white starchy middle. They have removed most or all of the phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They “enrich” it with 4 nutrients, iron, vitamins B1, B2, and niacin, to levels that were previously there, plus adding folic acid. All of the other compounds are gone. Thus enriched bread is a sad substitute for the original grain.
Food Finds/Food Fails:
1. Fresh Express Tender Garden Mix lettuce: It’s not surprise that a mix of spinach, red butter lettuce, red cabbage, and shredded cauliflower and broccoli should be rich in nutrients. Pour this bag of veggies into a bowl and for only 35 calories you get 70% of your days requirement for vitamin A, 310% for vitamin K, 80% for vitamin C, and 20% for folic acid. You also get a hefty dose of fiber and only 65 milligrams of sodium. Besides, this salad mix is delicious!
2. Bolthouse 100% Carrot Juice: While so many bottled juices are packed with sugar from concentrated white grape, apple, and/or pear concentrate, this juice is just carrots. Like Mother Nature intended. The bottle says it is two servings, but in reality you’re likely to drink the whole thing. That’s OK, since you’ll be getting only 140 calories, but a whopping 1,060 milligrams of potassium, tons of vitamin A, and even a touch of protein.
3. Earthbound Farm Organic Powermeal Asian Noodle Bowl: This one can be a “Find” if you cut way back on the dressing. Otherwise, you’re getting 660 milligrams of sodium per serving, 14 grams of fat with 2 of them coming from saturated fat, and almost a teaspoon of added sugar. However, the spinach and kale are an essential addition to any diet, so just toss most of the dressing and you’ll be fine.
1. Artisan Vegan Field Roast Hand-Formed Burger: I find some of the worst items in the grocery store in the health food section! The first ingredient in these junk burgers is highly processed wheat gluten, followed by palm fruit oil. Each burger packs 340 calories before you even start adding the bun and sauces, with 24 grams of fat (that means 64% of the calories come from fat!) Two teaspoons of that fat is saturated. You also will down 510 milligrams of sodium, which is a third of your entire day’s allotment. I wouldn’t eat these burgers if I was starving!
2. Farmhouse 100% Long-Gram Rice: Mexican Style: Salt is the second ingredient, which explains why a measly serving supplies 780 milligrams of sodium. They should rename this grain “100% Long-Grain Hypertension.”
This Month’s Menu Ideas:
Put know how into practice with this simple, nutritious meal plan. Eliminate the snacks if you want to cut additional calories. And, with all the menus in my newsletter, feel free to tweak to your food preferences and choices.
1/2 toasted Cinnamon-Raisin Bagel topped with: 1 Tbsp. Fat-free cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. Crushed pineapple, and 1 tsp. Sunflower seeds
1/2 Cantaloupe filled with: 6 ounces nonfat lemon yogurt and 1 tsp. Lemon peel
Caffe latte made with 1 cup nonfat milk
1 ounce nuts
1 slice Vegetable-cheese pizza, topped with these extras: 1/4 cup sliced green peppers, 5 sliced mushrooms, and 1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes.
Raw vegetables and dip: 1/4 cup Broccoli spears, 1/4 cup Cauliflower flowerets, 1/4 cup sliced jicama, sliced, with 3 Tbsp low-calorie blue cheese dressing
1 cup nonfat milk
4 ounces roasted chicken breast
1 serving of Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables with Thyme
1 cup steamed broccoli
Iced tea or water
1 cup frozen grapes
25 stick pretzels
Nutritional information: 1804 calories, 18% fat (36 grams), 62% carbohydrates, 20% protein.
What has Elizabeth been up to?
December 7th: Elizabeth spoke at the Pop Warner Superbowl Parent’s Clinic in Orlando, Florida.
December 28th. Elizabeth was on AMNorthWest (KATU, Channel 2 in Portland, OR). Topic: Super Easy, No-Fail Diet New Year’s Resolutions