Wednesday, February 22, 2017

8 Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off

Whether your watching weight after stepping on your bathroom scale, as a New Year’s resolution, or per your doctor’s orders, these tips have great slim-down potential and will arm you with the information needed to keep the weight off for more than just a few months.

Our daily nutritional intake should be balanced. Following a balanced diet is vital to keep the body in balance and for a healthier heart and strong bones. These tips are not intended to be used as a “diet” (in the dieting sense) merely to inform and provide guidance for your journey towards better health and wellness.

These eight easy-to-follow tips are based upon extensive research using the 2005 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a starting point, emerging science and nutrition tips gleaned from Prevention magazine. The information below is intended to assist you make better decisions about your health. It is not intended to be a substitute for treatment or advice from your healthcare provider. As with any medical decision, consult your physician before starting an exercise program and major changes in your daily diet. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, seek competent medical care.

Keep salt in check and balance your mineral intake.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation for daily sodium intake is 2,300mg. Most Americans consume more than twice that amount while forgetting to balance their diet by eating potassium-rich fruits and vegetables and failing to get a sufficient amount of calcium.

One doesn’t necessarily need to sacrifice your palate and scrimp on the amount of salt on your food. As long as you balance your sodium intake and boost your consumption of other mineral-rich foods containing potassium, calcium and magnesium. Potassium in produce, for instance, will help lower blood pressure and counter the effects of sodium.

In 2006, the second National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES II), which included in excess of 7,000 participants and followed them for almost 14 years, produced one curious finding. People who ate less sodium were more likely to experience fatal heart attacks or strokes. Having too little sodium in you system might very well affect the central nervous system and blood pressure.

No one is ready to suggest that we should overindulge in salt and there is still speculation that sodium restriction may not prolong life as previously believed. Many people do not experience a spike in blood pressure with increased sodium intake. Research is still ongoing. Consult your primary caregiver before drastically altering you sodium intake.

The importance of daily protein.

Protein has an amino acid — leucine, found in fish, poultry, dairy and meat — is essential for developing lean muscle and the amount you receive is important. You should be eating two servings of protein (2- or 3- ounces per serving) every day. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne found that women who consumed the same number of calories, while increasing their protein intake, lost more weight and retained more lean body mass compared to those on a diet lower in protein. Why?

While most Americans get more than double the needed protein, it doesn’t serve them well. Eating more than 6 ounces per day does not provide any additional benefits. It backfires. Too much protein doesn’t allow the body to utilize the protein’s amino acids effectively. The excess protein will cause you to exceed your daily caloric intake and the extra calories will likely be stored as fat.

Not crazy about meat? Beans offer a healthy way to add protein and other helpful nutrients. Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario found that the darker the bean the better, but don’t discount soybeans — which are yellow. “In addition to preventing heart disease, soy foods and soy protein appear to protect against breast, prostrate ,and colon cancer,” explains James Anderson, M.D., a professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Kentucky.

Fiber-rich whole grains and you.

Whole grain foods include oatmeal, brown rice, wheat germ and whole-wheat bread. “Whole grains contain at least 2 g of fiber per serving,” says Joanne Slavin, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota.

Prevention magazine recommends getting 3-4 servings of whole grains a day to boost your energy level, heart health and wellness overall. Combined with a minimum intake of 25-30 mg of fiber a day, whole grains may also be slimming. For those having a diet of whole wheat versus refined grains, the potential for weight loss is higher. This is probably true because eating fiber-rich whole grains will “stick to you” and help prevent overeating by decreasing your hunger pangs.

Other benefits from eating more fiber-rich whole grains is a healthier heart. “Dietary fiber accounts for 80% or the heart protection you get from whole grains,” says Anderson. Fiber studies are showing that fiber is emerging as a preventive (and treatment) for diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

Eat fresh produce every 2-3 hours.

Snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables during the day instead of soda, chips and candy will aid in weight loss. Three of these snacks a day will help you lose about a pound per week. The new Dietary Guidelines suggest 13 servings per day for very active people — teenage boys for example. For the rest of us, 7-10 servings is more realistic and still offer you superb disease protection and provide the best nutritional value for your calorie intake. A produce-rich diet arms your body against diabetes, heart disease and assist in cancer prevention.

Ideally, include at least one serving a day of the most beneficial produce, preferable whole: dark green (broccoli, kale or greens), orange (squash or carrots) red (tomatoes) or citrus (oranges, grapefruit). To maximize your body’s disease fighting ability while losing a pound or two enjoy a piece of fruit or celery and carrot sticks every few hours.

Eat mixed nuts daily.

“As a nutritionist, I always say ‘eat a variety of foods’, and that’s really important when it comes to nuts,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University. Each type of nut has a different nutritional value and, subsequently, varied benefits. Brazil nuts, for example, are a great source of selenium and walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Recent research has shown, according to Rodale, that most varieties of nuts — such as walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts — contain beta sitosterol and campesterol. These plant chemicals have the ability to lower harmful blood cholesterol levels.

An ounce of nuts have 180 calories. Be sure to control portions sizes and concentrate on enjoying them as a snack. For optimal results, choose unsalted nuts. It doesn’t matter if they are dry-roasted or ground into a butter. The benefits and calories are the same.

Eat small servings of fish twice weekly.

Fish is the one of the best sources of fats that assist in reducing the risk of heart disease — omega-3 fatty acids. Fried fish doesn’t count. University of Washington researchers discovered that fried fish eaters received none of the healthy benefits from fish that was broiled, grilled or baked. In fact, their risk of heart attack increased. The unhealthy fats present from frying fish (and other foods as well) negate the beneficial ones. Additionally, Barbara Olendzki, R.D., nutrition program director at the University of Massachusetts Medical School recommends trimming away the skin and fat before preparing.

Watch your fats.

Pick your battles! Get rid of trans fats and keep saturated fats — found in dairy and meats — to a minimum. For optimal heath and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and eye disorders (and even make your skin more supple) make a conscience effort to consume more monounsaturated fats such as flax seed and olive oil, which contain more heart-healthy ligands than other oils. Most of us already ingest sufficient amounts of polyunsaturated fats from processed foods made with corn, soybean or sunflower oils.

More is not necessarily better. Experts suggest limiting yourself to about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of these healthy fats out of a total of 4 1/2 tablespoons per day.

Drink fluids.

Replacing lost fluids can work wonders for your waistline. A recent National Academy of Sciences found that after drinking 17 ounces of water, the participants’ metabolic rates increased by 30% within 10 minutes and peaked about 40 minutes later. Don’t worry. You don’t need to chug as much water as the men and women in the study. Most women need eleven 8-ounce cups of fluid each day, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be water. A cup of tea counts, plus tea injects your system with a powerful infusion of antioxidants and pholyphenols. Juice and an occasional soda also counts — just watch the sugar.

Prevention magazine surprisingly reported, “booze counts towards your daily liquid quota, meaning you can consume alcoholic beverages in moderation if you are not at risk for certain types of hormonal cancers.” They are not condoning drinking seven drinks on Friday night, nor did they encourage anyone to start drinking. If you’re already drinking a glass of wine everyday, that’s fine. Wine has proven to have health benefits, but there isn’t any added benefit to consuming more than that. Check with your doctor.

More from Associated Content

“Laziness, Exercise and the Health of the Union”
“10 Nutrition Tips for Better Health.”

Personal Experiences
Prevention magazine
University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter (1995). Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005)
Cohen, H.W., et al.”Sodium Intake and Mortality in the NHANES II Follow-up Study.” AM. J. Med. 2006
Kitchenmandu: A nutrition blog for men and stay-at-home dads.
Rodale pamphlet: “Lose it fast, make it last.” (2007)

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