Saturday, July 24, 2010

Successful Weight Loss Tips

Okay, for those of us still anticipating getting into a bikini before the end of summer, let’s get real and talk about how to lose a few pounds. For many people weight loss is a chronic endeavor; all too often the shedding of pounds is a temporary event followed by a steady regain of lost weight. Most popular diets are unsuccessful in the long run because they fail to address the multi-faceted nature of what successful, permanent weight loss necessitates. While no single blog post can possibly cover this vast subject, below are some helpful tips.

1. Exercise is essential for weight loss:
This is nothing new, but exercise is probably the most important predictor of whether you will succeed at long term weight loss and weight loss maintenance. In order for exercise to be helpful in weight loss, you should strive for a minimum of five 30 minute sessions per week. One caveat, be certain to find something you enjoy so that you'll be more apt to stick with it. Try walking with a friend, joining a sports league, participating in outings, hiking, running, or try some classes at your local gym. Once you give exercise a chance, you will begin to enjoy its positive benefits on your psyche as well; you will literally become "hooked" (trust me!)

2. Keep a food diary for triggers that hinder weight loss:
Keeping a food diary can be a huge asset in successful weight loss. Devote some time each day to record what you have eaten and how much, your hunger level prior to eating, and any feelings or emotions present at the time. A food diary can provide a large amount of self-awareness. It can identify emotions and behaviors that trigger overeating, foster greater awareness of portion sizes, and help you discover your personal food triggers. Study any patterns that emerge from your food diary and identify where you may be able to make more healthful changes. A food diary provides an added benefit of keeping you focused on and committed to your goals.

3. Stay focused on being healthy, NOT on becoming thin:
Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motivation changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mindset to think about selecting foods that will help your body's health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body's weight. Focus on eating high quality, nutrient dense REAL food.

4. Weight loss and portion control:
With the advent of "super-size" meals and increasingly huge portions at restaurants, our concept of normal serving sizes is a distant memory. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume at a sitting. When necessary, divide your food in half and ask for a take home bag. It is all too easy to be a "plate cleaner" even when served enormous portions. Learn to pay attention to your hunger level and stop eating when you feel comfortably full, not stuffed.

5. Lose weight slowly with small changes:
It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat. Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping our metabolism elevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can each day without gaining weight. Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week. One pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. By making small changes like eliminating 250 calories a day from food and expending 250 calories a day from exercise, you can lose one pound (of mostly fat) per week.

6. Eating slowly can lead to weight loss:
Did you ever notice that thin people take an awfully long time to eat their food? Eating slowly is one method that can help take off pounds. That's because from the time you begin eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Fast eaters often eat beyond their true level of fullness before the 20 minute signal has had a chance to set in. The amount of calories consumed before you begin to feel full can vary significantly depending on how quickly you eat. So slow down, take smaller bites and enjoy and savor every tasty morsel.

7. Weight loss through eating more fat (yes, more), but do it wisely:
If you were around for the low-fat diet craze of the 90's, you may have found yourself convinced that fat is the dieter's worst enemy. But that's not necessarily true. Fat is actually considered a vital nutrient. It is an important part of your diet: It can not only be beneficial ... it's essential! Fat supplies essential fatty acids for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption and regulation of bodily functions. Not to mention that eating enough fat may actually help you manage your weight loss efforts by providing a better sense of satiety than other lower fat foods. This is because it helps you feel fuller longer than other lighter fare. For example, if you eat a reduced-fat cheese and egg white omelet in the a.m., your tummy may grumble by the time you've settled into your cubicle; but if you use a small portion of regular cheese, that morning meal may have longer staying power and keep you hunger-free until noon. The reason is fat actually takes longer to digest than some other types of foods. Since it sticks around in your stomach a while, you'll feel fuller longer and will be less inclined to eat until you feel a sense of hunger again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sushi is Good For You!

Sushi is at the top of my list of favorite thought it would be fun to learn how to make it. It turns out that there is a lot more work involved that I thought. That being said, I have a much greater appreciation for all the hard work that goes into making sushi taste so yummy! Available in almost every city, sushi is much more than just a tasty meal. In fact, scientists believe it is one of the reasons why the Japanese are among the healthiest people in the world. The Japanese diet of raw fish, vegetables and rice is one of the healthiest in the world and as a result, their rates of heart disease are among the lowest in the world. On average, each person in Japan consumes around 100 grams of fish every day, in forms such as sushi, tempura and sashimi. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are linked to heart protection and improved circulation. Rice is the staple of the Japanese diet and is a good source of energy and provides a supply of protein. Wasabi is thought to cleanse the palate and has also been found to aid in cancer prevention and prevent blood clots, if eaten regularly. The Japanese have been eating sea vegetables for centuries and they use seaweed in large amounts in their diet because of its concentrated mineral content. Up to a quarter of Japanese food contains seaweed to boost flavor and is rich in iodine, copper, calcium iron and magnesium. Ginger is a popular flavor-enhancer in sushi dishes and is widely known to have therapeutic effects, including aiding digestion. Soy sauce is made from fermented soy beans and is widely used in Japanese cooking. There are some definite benefits linked to a higher consumption of foods rich in soy. For those of you who are gluten-intolerant (like me), the only issue here is the soy sauce. The good news is that San-J makes a wonderful wheat-free soy sauce. San-J is available at Whole Foods Market and most any Health Food store.

If you live in Richmond and are interested in learning how to make sushi, please visit the link below.