Health Benefits

CDC: Forty percent of cancers linked to overweight or obesity

A recent article by Internal Medicine News covered an October report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention citing that “being overweight or obese significantly increased the risk of developing at least 13 types of cancer.”

The study compared statistics between 2005 and 2014, showing that obesity-related cancers* increased by 7%. They found that 40% of nearly 1.6 million of all cancer diagnoses were people with overweight- or obesity-related cancers. The rates were more pronounced in older people (50-74 years of age) and women (possibly because of female-specific cancers). Although, during that same time period, incidences of cancers unrelated to body weight decreased by 13%.

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD…

A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended – and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers – so these findings are a cause for concern. By getting to and keeping a healthy weight, we all can play a role in cancer prevention.

Doctor for Life bridges the gap to fight overweight and obesity and chronic disease. Our Healthy Weight Lifestyle approach helps mitigate these negative statistics with screening and prevention. Our lead physician is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.

Dr. Cheryl…

Even though the effects of unhealthy weight on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mortality and other health outcomes are widely known, there is less awareness that unhealthy weight gain is associated with increased risk of certain cancers. There are opportunities for Clinical Intervention, and at DFL, we have all the available tools with services and programs to fight these dreadful diseases.

*Excluding colorectal cancer


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http://www.mdedge.com/internalmedicinenews/article/149108/obesity/cdc-forty-percent-cancers-linked-overweight-or-obesity

 

 

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Aarika JohnsonCDC: Forty percent of cancers linked to overweight or obesity
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Let’s Play the See-Saw Game

Full-fat On One Side, Low-fat On the Other Side

For the last several decades (beginning post-WWII, following Dwight D. Eisenhower suffering heart problems, Ancel Keys’ crusading for the avoidance of fat and cholesterol, etc.), the American population has been told, advised, warned, etc., that FAT is a dangerous enemy (at one point, it is said that Americans feared fat more than they feared communism); that Americans (and the entire world should follow our example, because we couldn’t be wrong on any account), should reduce, eliminate, and avoid EVERY opportunity where fat reared its ugly head. LOW-FAT became the new dogma, it was quickly embraced (even after some faulty and ill-planned research studies and agencies did not provide concrete evidence showing fat to be dangerous) by the general medical community and tortuously forced upon the lay people.

I am a huge proponent of critical thinking… and like to stir the critical thinking pot in other people as well. An important question that must be asked: what occurred post-WWII in terms of food, diet, fat, etc.? Without having to dig too deep, one would realize that the consumption of butter decreased, while the consumption of margarine and vegetable-based cooking oils increased. This is in large part due to Ancel Keys’ work, in which he strove to convince people to switch from (natural) fats like butter, egg yolks, milk, cheese, meat, steaks, etc., and use highly-processed vegetable oils instead. Keep in mind that the food pyramid was soon to come on the horizon, too, and its foundation was built upon carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Cardiovascular disease rates started climbing higher and higher each year, and currently, it is ranked the top killer in the United States. Obesity and diabetes has also been on the rise as well. Is it any wonder that the top causes of mortality in the US are closely linked with nutrition? The single most dangerous weapons of mass destruction, at least here in America, are our eating utensils (spoon, fork, and knife). A diet that has largely consisted of carbohydrates (processed and refined, mind you), and void of critical fats, does not seem like it has worked in our favor. Fortunately for protein, it has been sitting somewhat quietly on the sidelines, letting carbohydrates and fats go at each other’s throat.

There have been some wobbling in nutrition recommendations in the recent years. A heated debate on whether fats, saturated fats, butter, coconut oils, etc., have been our foes, or friends, continues picking up momentum. As always, on the nutritional field, there are constantly two sides to the same story. Which side is correct? The side that has more monetary / financial backing? The side that has more scientists, medical doctors, nutritionists, etc.? Keep in mind, the popularity is not always right. In many cases, it isn’t.

To truly understand whether fat is going to put a person 6 feet under at an earlier age, or whether it can extend the human life and confer excellent health benefits, one must look back in history to monumental work conducted by a gentleman named Dr. Weston A. Price. Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948), was a Cleveland dentist, who gained the title: “Isaac Newton of Nutrition.” In his search for the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration that he observed in his dental practice among the children that were frequenting his office, he shifted from test tubes and microscopes, to unstudied evidence among human beings. Dr. Price sought the factors responsible for fine teeth among the people who had them- the isolated “primitives.” (At this point, you’re probably thinking, “What does fat have to do with teeth?” You’ll find out in just a few lines). The world became his laboratory. As he traveled, his findings led him to the belief that dental caries and deformed dental arches resulting in crowded, crooked teeth, and unattractive appearance, were merely a sign of physical degeneration, resulting from what he had suspected: nutritional deficiencies.

Price traveled all around the globe in order to study isolated human groups, including sequestered villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, Eskimos and Indians of North America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribes, Australian Aborigines, New Zealand Maori and the Indians of South America. Wherever he went, Dr. Price found that beautiful straight teeth, freedom from decay, stalwart bodies, and resistance to disease and fine characters, were typical of primitives on their traditional diets, rich in essential food factors. When Dr. Price analyzed the foods consumed and prepared by isolated primitive peoples, he found that they provided at least four times the calcium and other minerals. BUT, MOST IMPORTANTLY, he found TEN times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, and organ meats (Oh, you mean, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, affect health, as well as bones, and teeth? Yup!) in their diets.

The importance of good nutrition for mothers during pregnancy has long been recognized, but Dr. Price’s investigation showed that primitives understood and practiced pre-conception nutritional programs for BOTH parents. Many tribes required a period of pre-marital nutrition, and children were spaced to permit the mother to maintain her full health and strength, thus assuring subsequent offspring of physical excellence. Special foods were often given to pregnant and lactating women, as well as to the maturing boys and girls in preparation for future parenthood. Dr. Price found these foods to be very rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and D nutrients found only in animal fats (Wait, you mean, fat is important for health, and pregnancies, and children, and growing healthy bodies? Yup!). Keep in mind, FAT-SOLUBLE vitamins are ONLY found in FAT-CONTAINING sources. Does watermelon have any fat in it? Have you ever heard anyone say that watermelon is a good source of Vitamin A? Think again.

These primitives with their fine bodies, homogeneous reproduction, emotional stability and freedom from degenerative ills stand forth in sharp contrast to those subsisting on the impoverished foods of civilization-sugar: white flour, pasteurized milk, and convenience foods filled with extenders and additives (among a host of other unhealthy and/or untested compounds). This circles back to the depiction of the Food Pyramid that was based on an overload of carbohydrates making up one’s meal. Bread, brown rice, white rice, pasta, cereals, etc., do NOT provide adequate / natural sources of Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Not for this topic, but some carbohydrates ARE quite healthy.

So, to briefly highlight some recent nutritional news, a study was released in which it was discovered that low-fat diets are linked to a higher likelihood of death at an earlier age by almost 25%. The study appears to have studied ~135,000 individuals who had reduced their consumption of fats, when compared to those people who were consuming greater amounts of butter, cheese, and meats. Those who had a lesser consumption of fat were consuming more bread, pasta, rice…but unfortunately missing out on the essential vitamins. The article can be found at the link below:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/29/low-fat-diet-linked-higher-death-rates-major-lancet-study-finds/

Not enough convincing information? There’s plenty more which shows some benefit to including more full-fat products in one’s diet. How about yogurt, for reducing the risk of diabetes?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/07/full-fat-milk-may-drastically-reduce-risk-of-diabetes—study/

Not enough convincing information? How about the possibility that a low-fat diet may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease? Keep in mind (pun intended) that fat is critical for cells, and cholesterol is a HUGE component of the neuronal “wiring”, i.e., electrical circuits and connections. So if a human being has been on a low-fat, cholesterol-free diet for a large part of their life, they may not have adequate “supplies” for sharp, quick nervous system / brain / spinal cord connections and function.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170607223327.htm

On the see-saw, the full fat wins (think about it; full-fat equals MORE fat, heavier…while low-fat contains less, is lighter, it will be up in the air). Always remember, “Food without fat is like life without love.”

 

The Fat Dietitian,

Daniel Andras, M.S., R.D., L.D.

 

 

Aarika JohnsonLet’s Play the See-Saw Game
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A Look at Body Composition Analysis

bcascale

Over the years, two key indicators have measured a person’s health risk due to weight: pounds (or kilograms) and body mass index (BMI). While that still holds true today, research has determined that these factors alone do not tell the whole story. In order to accurately assess your true health risk, you need to know your body’s composition. That is, a reading of fat, muscle and water percentage will give you critical information for creating an effective strategy for safe, long-lasting weight loss.

The ultimate goal in losing weight is to know that the right type of weight is coming off, which means reducing fat and increasing or maintaining muscle mass.

So what is used to measure a body’s composition? Up until the 1990’s, the closest we could get to determine body fat percentage was through the use of calipers. Calipers work by pinching a fold of skin on various parts of the body. They may be effective in reading the fat percentage of specific body sections, but they do not provide the most accurate total body fat percentage.

Then through medical technological advancements, the DEXA scan was introduced, which is known as the gold standard of body composition measurement. The DEXA machine works by having a patient lie down motionless on a table while the scanner moves over each part of the body. After five to ten minutes, results are generated showing the detailed percentages of fat, muscle and water in the entire body as well as compartments of the body (e.g., left arm, right arm, torso). The procedure is a breakthrough in body composition analysis (BCA), but it remains generally inaccessible due to its high costs, ranging from $100 to $300 per session.

Luckily today, there is a much lower cost analysis option with measurement capabilities that are close to those of the DEXA. It comes in the form of a scale that is just like the one you see in our office, but with features that make the critical difference in measuring your health risk profile.

The BCA scale utilizes bioelectrical impedance to determine a person’s water weight, fat mass, and predicted muscle mass for the body and each major body component This non-invasive method sends a low-level electric current through the body,. Body composition is calculated from the resistance to the flow of the electrical current. Don’t let this scare you! It’s safe and you don’t feel a thing.

Body composition analysis is fast and simple. The BCA scale reads results within seconds. Regular BCA scale readings make it easy for medical providers to fine-tune your weight loss program based on how you are progressing. For instance, if you’re exercising and the traditional scale shows that you’ve gained pounds, you may feel discouraged. However, the BCA scale may show that you’ve lost body fat, an indicator that the added weight may be muscle produced from your fitness activities. This is exactly the direction you want to go! Higher muscle percentage beats higher fat percentage any day of the week.

If you haven’t measured your body composition and feel that your weight may be the source of your health issues, go ahead and make an appointment with our office. The earlier you know your body’s breakdown, the sooner you can take steps to improve your health and well-being.

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Why Losing Weight Gets Harder as You Age (And What You Can Do About It)

older-adult-fitnessThe saying “youth is wasted on the young” might just hold the most meaning when talking about weight loss. In our early years, we rarely give a second thought to the consequences of splurging on late night milkshake and fries. It may create temporary uncomfortable feelings, but we can bounce back the next day with fairly little effort. And then we do it again and again, because our young, energy-efficient bodies give us the runway to do so. How wonderful, right?!

But then life plays a cruel joke on us as we creep up in age. At first the changes are subtle. Recovery time from splurges lengthens and we notice that it’s not as easy as it used to be to shed unwanted pounds. Then before we know it, we feel stuck in a place we really don’t want to be. The weight either won’t come off (or stay off) and the cycle of discouragement sets in. Should we just surrender to the ravages of time and suffer the consequences of the natural aging process?

No! And we’ll tell you why and how.

In order to beat Father Time at his aging game, we need to take a look at the main culprits that make it harder to lose weight as we move on in years.

Muscle Loss – You may not realize it, but your body begins to lose muscle mass after the age of 30. Muscle is the body’s best calorie burner, and the more muscle your body has, the higher your metabolism will be. Losing muscle tissue lowers your metabolism, so even though you may be eating the same amount as when you were younger, you will begin to store excess calories in the form of body fat.

Calorie Needs – As you age and naturally lose muscle mass, your body requires fewer calories in order to maintain your current weight. If your calorie intake stays the same as your metabolic rate slows, and you don’t increase your physical activity, weight gain becomes unavoidable.

Stress– As we age, we often take on new life responsibilities, such as building a career, raising a family, and keeping up with mortgage payments. All of these responsibilities can create high levels of stress, which has a very real impact on health and well-being. What you may not know is that the stress you’re dealing with may be a contributor to overeating and weight gain. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is associated with fat accumulation along the midsection of the body. The more cortisol produced, the more stubborn belly fat to battle. Even more discouraging, higher cortisol levels also result in increased calorie consumption. In a British study, researchers found that people with high cortisol levels were more likely to snack in order to cope with the daily hassles in their lives than low-cortisol producers.

Now, let’s talk about how we can turn back the hands of time, at least physically:

Build Lean Muscle Mass – A proven way to build and maintain lean muscle mass is to eat greater amounts of protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds. Protein provides the building blocks for healthy muscle and generally increases satiety levels, which results in less hunger and therefore less calorie consumption. If you don’t consume the excess calories, they have no chance for your body to store them as fat.  But remember, don’t overdo it on the protein. Too much protein can backfire on you in the form of unwanted stress on your organs’ ability to successfully metabolize it. Balance it with foods with high fiber and healthy fats.

Exercise is another important tool in fighting muscle loss that comes with age. According to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine, after an average of 18 to 20 weeks of progressive resistance training, adults can gain over two pounds of lean muscle mass, and increase their overall strength by over 25 percent. To ensure safety and success, speak with your medical provider before starting any exercise program.

Reduce Calorie Consumption– This always sounds like a major downer, but many people confuse cutting back on calories with having to eat less. The best thing to do is choose foods that have high nutrient density. This means you can eat more, but without all the extra calories your body doesn’t need. Next time you’re at the market, choose high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help you feel full.

Reduce Stress– The path to stress reduction might not be as clear as that for building muscle mass or cutting back on calories, but it is critical to reduce stress if you are trying to lose weight. There are actually many different proven ways to do this. One popular way is through increasing activity levels.. A simple 20-minute workout can reduce stress, clear your mind, and burn extra calories. Many people today are also enjoying the stress-busting effects of meditation. There are several different forms of meditation, so explore them to see which might suit your preferences and lifestyle. And if you are unsure about which action to take to reduce stress, at a minimum, just talk to someone. Let them know about your pressures and desire to more effectively manage them. The process of revealing your thoughts to an empathetic supporter provides stress relief on its own.!

If you can identify the specific weight loss challenges in your life, you can take the necessary actions to achieve healthy weight loss, which has the high probability of reviving some of that same energy you felt when you were younger. The end result of effective weight loss could mean that we can live with the wisdom and grace that only age can give us, but in a younger-feeling, healthier body. Now that sounds pretty wonderful to us.

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Does Your Weight Increase Your Risk of Injury?

knee_painObesity can hurt us, and not just with greater risks of serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. It affects our bones, joints, ligaments and tendons, which we need for optimal mobility in our busy daily lives. When our skeletal and muscular systems are compromised, physical injuries are more likely to occur.

About one in five people suffer an injury that requires medical attention, and research shows a link between obesity and higher injury risks in adults.. According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, the odds of sustaining an injury are 48 percent greater for those who are living with obesity. Obesity may limit what a person can do physically (like climbing up a flight of stairs), making it easier to get hurt.

Let’s examine areas of the body that are more prone to injury due to increased pressure on them by excess weight.

Knee joints. Obesity can increase wear-and tear on knee joints and cause osteoarthritis (OA). When you walk across a flat surface, the force exerted on your knees is about one-and-a-half times your body weight. That means a 200-pound person puts 300 pounds worth of pressure on their knees with every step. Obese men and women are five times more likely to suffer from OA. OA can lead to torn ligaments and other serious knee injuries that may require surgery.

Back. Disc degeneration occurs naturally as you age, but excess weight may speed up the process and lead to injury. A study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found that men and women suffering from disc degeneration had significantly higher body mass indexes (BMI). In some cases, pain from disc degeneration can lead to disability from work. Excess weight, particularly in the abdomen, can shift your center of gravity, putting more stress on your back muscles.

Where are you most likely to injure yourself? According to the Center for Disease Control, the leading cause for injury is falls in or around the home. This is likely from a lack of peripheral sensation, general physical weakness, and instability while walking or standing. According to a study from Ohio State University, individuals living with obesity were twice as likely to suffer an at home injury compared to those at healthy weights.

Obesity also presents dangers at work. An eight-year study published in PLOS ONE found that obesity increased the risk of work-related injury by 20 percent. The list of occupational injuries is staggering- broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, concussions, internal injuries, slips, trips, stumbles, falls.

Workplace injuries can also become a financial nightmare for people suffering from obesity. A study by Duke University found that medical costs for morbidly obese employees were seven times higher than for employees with recommended weights.

So what can you do to lower your risk of injury?

You guessed it- weight loss! A study published by the Journal American Medical Association found that obese men and women who participated in a diet and exercise program were able to lose 10 percent of their body weight were able to improve mobility, knee function, and quality of life. We know it’s easier said than done, but the effort will be well worth it in the long run.

There are times when injuries are out of our control. But managing weight is one thing we can do to lower our risk of injury and improve our overall health. Talk to your medical provider about your weight loss options.

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Exercise or Diet: Which is More Important For Weight Loss?

diet-and-exerciseIf you are exercising regularly, but don’t see the numbers going down on the scale, you might be misguided about the best way to lose weight. Many people fall into the trap that exercise alone will make the pounds come off. The training montages in action movies, extreme weight loss programs on TV, and fitness success stories can motivate us, but they paint an unrealistic picture about the role of exercise in losing weight. How has this idea gained so much credit?

The human body contains fat mass and lean mass, which includes muscle. It’s scientifically proven that muscle is the body’s best fat burner, and that having more muscle will lead to weight loss. And how do you get more muscle? Because it is most associated with muscle development, the most popular answer is through exercise. This probably explains why it is widely accepted as a primary weight loss solution.

The truth is, it is extremely difficult to lose weight from exercise alone. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. In order to burn off that pound, you would need to bike ride for about seven hours. But wait, we haven’t even counted the calories you’re consuming from food. If you are consuming 2000 calories a day, you would we need to work out for four hours a day just to maintain the same weight. You would end up working out over 40 hours a week to lose weight, and that’s if everything is perfect.

It is much easier to cut calories out of your diet than burn them through exercise. Let’s go back to the example of the pound of fat. If you regularly eat two small bags of potato chips a day, you’re consuming about 500 calories from these snacks. If you cut this treat out for one week, the calories you save will add up to a pound of fat.

Increasing physical activity has many health benefits, but the part it plays in weight loss isn’t as large as the public may think. Let’s take a look at the role of exercise in the different stages of weight loss:

Weight Loss Beginner

You are now on the road to weight loss, and like any journey, you must choose a path. The key to losing weight is consuming fewer calories than you burn, and developing healthy eating habits is your ticket to long-term success. First you need to know how many calories you’re eating. This sounds easy enough, but more often than not we eat a lot more than we think. A study by Cornell University found that overweight people tend to underestimate the calories they are consuming by 40 percent. The best way to count calories is to record your meals in a food journal.

As a weight loss beginner, you will need to increase your knowledge of your calorie sources- proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and sugars. Each of these sources can have vastly different effects on hunger, metabolism, and regions of the brain that control food intake. Protein-rich foods will boost your metabolism and curb your appetite while sugary foods may reduce your brain’s ability to release signals of fullness, causing you to eat more. As you increase your nutrition knowledge, you will find foods that both facilitate weight loss and you enjoy eating.

Now that you’re eating healthier, you will begin to notice the number on the scale going down. Weight loss will bring about changes to your body mass composition. As you shed pounds, your ratio of lean mass to fat mass will improve. This means you will start having more muscle tissue than fat from dieting alone. And as we all know, muscle is our body’s best calorie burner!

Continuing to Lose Weight

You have lost weight and noticed differences in how you look and feel.  But after your initial weight loss, you may struggle to lose more weight and hit a plateau. As you weigh less, your body will require fewer calories or more physical activity to sustain your lower body weight. This is a time when you can start to consider exercise as part of your weight loss program. The added exercise will help build muscle and burn more calories to help break the plateau. Hitting a plateau should also encourage you to reexamine your eating habits. You may be have grown comfortable with your food plan and begun overestimating your portion sizes.

Maintaining Your Weight Loss Success

Now that you’ve reached your weight loss goal, this isn’t a time to revert to old unhealthy habits. Managing weight is a lifelong process. Exercise is a marker for long-term weight loss. In a study published in the journal Obesity, more than half of all participants that were successful at losing weight were able to keep it off through diet and exercise alone after 8 years. Find an exercise program that works for you, and keep that weight off!

Bottom line: What you consume is most important for achieving weight loss. Exercise has many health benefits but shouldn’t be viewed as a be-all end-all weight loss solution. However, as you develop your nutritional knowledge and healthy eating habits, exercise plays an important component in long term weight maintenance.

rfosterExercise or Diet: Which is More Important For Weight Loss?
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How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?

Stepping on the scale is not always easy, but weighing yourself is a necessity to track your weight loss progress. How often should you weigh yourself? It’s a common question, and one that can vary from person to person.

The Science

A study published in PLOS One found those who weigh themselves daily lose the most weight. The research was based on 2,838 weight observations from 40 individuals. Going longer than one week or one month without stepping on the scale was associated with weight gain, while the average time between checks without gaining weight was 5.8 days. During the maintenance phase of weight loss, researchers recommend weighing in weekly.

Although this study was smaller, other larger studies back up regular weigh-ins. Another study published in the journal Obesity, based on about 3,000 individuals who had lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for one year, found regular weigh-ins were associated with lower BMI and better cognitive restraint. Researchers believe monitoring weight regularly allows individuals to catch weight gain early and make behavioral changes sooner to prevent the scale from continuing to escalate.

The Takeaway

Stepping on the scale is a part of losing weight. Don’t dread it or be scared of it; embrace it as something that will get you where you want to be. Your weight tells you if your plan is working. If the number on the scale is going down, great, keep up the good work. If the number on the scale is going up, step back and evaluate where you can make improvements.

Considerations

However, particularly if you weigh yourself daily, keep in mind that weight can fluctuate throughout the day and week. A small weight gain isn’t necessarily a cause of alarm. For the most consistent measurement, weigh yourself at the same time of day, and keep in mind that the number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Your body composition, which measures how much lean muscle and fat your body weight is composed of, gives you the most accurate indication of your weight loss progress.

If the thought of stepping on the scale every day gives you too much anxiety, it may not be the best plan for you. A weight loss plan isn’t set in stone. It can be adjusted at any time. If you’re seeing results by weighing yourself on a weekly basis, there is no need to change it. The most important thing is that you’re losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

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Savor Your Food: 5 Tips To Slow Down While Eating

Eat slowly, eat less. You’ve probably heard it before, but most people still eat too fast. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your body to signal that it’s full. So when you eat too quickly, you end up eating more. A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found eating slowly led to lower hunger ratings in both normal weight and overweight people. So if you have some weight to lose and feel you may be racing through your food, there is a way for you to train yourself to slow it down.

knife and fork with clock plate

Eat regularly. When you’re starving, your eyes become bigger than your stomach, and you want to scarf down whatever food is placed in front of you, regardless of its flavor. Avoid this situation by scheduling meals within four hours of each other. This way, you won’t be ravenous when you sit down to eat and are more likely to focus on your food and savor the flavors.

Sit down. Eating on the go, standing at the counter, or on your couch is a surefire way to eat too quickly. Sitting down at the table allows you to focus on the meal in front of you and keep track of how much you have eaten. It’s harder to keep track of how much you have eating when you’re getting up constantly to go to the fridge or grazing all day.

Turn off the tube. The television is a distraction. One study found viewers ate almost double when watching an action flick than those watching a talk show. Why? The action flick was more distracting. Get rid of this distraction completely by turning off the TV while you eat. You will survive 30 minutes without background noise and feel better about your weight loss progress.

Put your utensil down between each bite. If you’re having trouble slowing down, one technique that may help is putting your utensil down between each bite. This allows you to focus on the flavor while chewing your food before taking another bite, giving your brain more time to signal that your body is full.

Eat on a smaller plate. We’ve all been raised to “clean our plates.” So it should come as no surprise that we tend to finish all food in front us, regardless of how big that plate is. Try this: next time you sit down for a meal, serve yourself on a smaller plate. You’ll get that same satisfaction of finishing your food, but in reality you’ll be eating less than you usually do.

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Clean Your Pantry: 5 Foods to Toss for Good

shutterstock_258367139-300x207When boredom strikes, your pantry may be one of the first places you turn. But if your pantry is filled with high-calorie, high-fat foods, over time, the scale will tip in the wrong direction. Counter these temptations by tossing the junk food and replacing it with wholesome, nutritional snack options. It’s time to give your pantry a healthy makeover by tossing the following five foods for good!

Baked Goods: It’s time to ditch those lingering holiday treats in your pantry. The refined sugar and saturated fat won’t do your weight loss plan any favors. Keeping a stash of sweets in your cabinet will only tempt you to give into your cravings. And by now, the holiday treats won’t taste fresh, so why waste the calories?

Replace with: Dark chocolate
When your sweet tooth strikes, you don’t have to feel so guilty indulging in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is high in anti-inflammatory flavonoids, meaning it has antioxidant properties that help protect your heart. Stick to one serving, which is about a one-inch square, for a healthier alternative to cookies and brownies.

Sugary Cereals: Breakfast is an excellent way to kick-start your day, as long as you eat healthy, energy-boosting foods. Don’t be fooled by a stamp of good health on the box. Read the food label. Some cereals have as much sugar as a candy bar. If it has more than 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (4 to 6 grams) per serving, you should steer clear.

Replace with: Oatmeal
Old-fashioned oatmeal is a five-star breakfast pick. A recent study published by the Harvard School of Public Health found eating more whole grains can reduce your risk of a cardiovascular disease-related mortality by 15 percent. Spice up your oatmeal by adding fresh fruit, peanut butter, or cinnamon.

Microwave Popcorn: While popcorn is accepted as a healthier snack, most microwaveable popcorn is drenched in fat-laden butter, and some of the bags contain chemicals that can hurt your health in the long term.
Replace with: Stove-popped popcorn
Use canola oil to pop your popcorn on the stove and season with salt. If you like an extra kick, throw in some chili powder or hot sauce for a reduced-guilt snack.

Dried Fruit: Not all dried fruit is created equal. The healthier options simply drain the water, making for an excellent on-the-go snack, but others have added preservatives and sugars, making for a less healthy version of its fresh fruit counterpart. Read the nutrition label. A long list of ingredients is a red flag to throw it in the trash.

Replace with: Fresh fruit
An apple a day—you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit to keep you feeling full. Plus, you’ll never get bored with so many fiber-packed options.

Crackers: Crackers may taste good, but they are not the best complement to your favorite dip, lacking in nutritional value. Most brands have very little fiber, so you may eat more to feel satisfied.

Replace with: Fresh vegetables
Satisfy your crunchy craving with fresh vegetables. Carrots and broccoli take on the flavor of any dip and pack a powerful fiber punch!

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4 Tips For Dining Out While Losing Weight

Who would ever think that going to a restaurant could be a stressful event? But for millions of people trying to lose weight, it’s a reality. Between the tantalizing dish options and social fear of being labeled “the dull one” by friends, it takes a lot of willpower to stay on track. Or does it? There are actually a few tricks you can rely on to ensure that you don’t stray from your plan and still have a good time. 

1. Start By Getting Full.

While your dinner companions dive into the bread sticks that usually come before your meal, you can feel satisfaction in having knowledge they don’t. If you start by eating foods with a lot of fiber, like a salad or veggie appetizer, you will wind up eating less overall. Studies have shown eating a low-calorie first course enhances the feeling of fullness and lowers the total number of calories eaten during the meal. Be aware of how much dressing is used on your salad or appetizer. The recommended amount is no more than two tablespoons. To make things easy ask for the dressing in a cup on the side.

2. Stay Away From Sugary Drinks

Try to avoid beverages that contain large amounts of sugar (yes, this means you margaritas). Drinks that are high in sugar are also high in calories, and research from Harvard University found that people who drink sugary beverages do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food. Drink water or unsweetened tea and to avoid the excessive calorie consumption in drinks. If cocktails must be a part of the experience, look for a less sugary option, like wine or beer. And of course always use common sense when consuming alcohol!

3. Contol Your Pasta Portion

Eating at an Italian restaurant? If you decide to go with a pasta dish, be very aware of the portion distortion that often happens at a restaurant. The normal serving size of a cup of pasta is only 220 calories. According to research from New York University, a typical dinner portion of pasta at a restaurant can be 480 percent larger than a cup. That’s over 1,000 calories! Try sharing a plate of pasta or eating half and taking the rest home in a doggy bag. This will help you avoid eating too many calories at once and save money on the bill!

4. Make Healthy Swaps

The side dishes that come with your main course can be switched for healthier alternatives that pack a high nutritional punch without taking away from the overall meal experience. For instance, if your dish comes with white bread or rice, ask the waiter for brown rice or whole-grain bread. Swap out French fries for steamed vegetables. Just like your starter salad or vegetable appetizer, these friendly swaps will make you feel fuller faster due to their high fiber content. So don’t be afraid to ask the server questions about the options available to substitute into your meal.

The last important thing to remember about eating out is this: if you feel like you succumbed to temptation and “slipped up,” don’t beat yourself up. You have the confidence and information to know how to correct your course if you veer off path. It happens to the best of us every now and then. That’s life, so embrace every second of it!

rfoster4 Tips For Dining Out While Losing Weight
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