Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weight loss tips

Trying to drop a few pounds for summer?  Everyone knows that better nutrition and exercise are good ways to burn off calories and drop some pounds.  But are there some easy tips that can enhance weight loss?  Sometimes it is stress that is adding pounds, especially to our stomach area.  How?  According to Dr. David Greuner from New York City Surgical Associates, when we are stressed our bodies produce more cortisol.  This causes our blood sugar to rise and our bodies to store more fat.  Not a good picture. So reducing stress may help reduce those inches around your midsection.  What are some tips to try to lose a few pounds or to keep that weight off? 
1. Kitchens – keeping healthy snacks handy is one way to be sure you are eating healthier.  Researchers have studied snacking behaviors in cluttered kitchens and in a more organized, standard kitchen.  They found people ate more cookies in a cluttered kitchen.  So maybe straightening the kitchen counters and putting out healthy foods will help you reach for a healthier snack.  Another idea is to keep the more unhealthy snacks out of sight but keep the healthier snacks in easy reach.  A bowl of fruit on the counter, cut up vegetables ready to eat.  Nuts in the pantry ready for a quick pick me up.
2. Peppermint – who would think peppermint had anything to do with weight?  Smelling peppermint may actually reduce your hunger pangs and lead you to eat less.  They have actually studied this. People who regularly smelled peppermint ate less calories and less calories from more unhealthy choices like saturated fat and sugar.  But researchers say the peppermint smell shouldn’t come from eating a lot of peppermint candy.
 3.Take a snooze – yes, they have linked more sleep to weighing less.  They even have a book entirely about sleep, “The Sleep Solution:  Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It”, by Dr. W. Chris Winter.  His theory is that if you don’t get enough sleep, your hunger signals are thrown off. So you might eat more calories or indulges in a big bedtime snack.  Another theory is you will be too tired to hit the gym or go for a walk.  Winter noted that when we get enough sleep, we are in a better mood, make better food choices and get in some exercise.
What are some other ways to help control your weight that don’t involve dieting or exercise?  Not that dieting and exercise aren’t good, but it helps to have some tips to keep off any weight you have lost or to keep on the plan you have started.
      4.  Water – drinking a glass of water before and between meals has long been recommended.  Some studies have found that drinking water before meals can help reduce the calories you eat and thus lose more weight.  Other studies have found that soup also works.
      5.  Eggs or protein for breakfast – protein has “staying power” so having some eggs at breakfast leads to less hunger.  One study, Egg breakfast enhances weight loss, compared an egg breakfast to a bagel breakfast.  They found the 2 egg breakfast led to more weight loss.  The study noted that eating foods that keep you feeling full longer, can help you lose weight.  Even compared to eating a breakfast with the same calories.  Nothing wrong with eating cereal or bagels for breakfast.  Just make sure you have some protein like milk, yogurt or eggs in your breakfast to get that “staying power”.
      6. Coffee – for so long many people thought coffee was bad for you. Apparently not.  Coffee has plenty of antioxidants  which are the new thing for healthy benefits.  Drinking coffee can temporarily boost your metabolism.  Not much, about 3-11%, but this increases some fat burning.  But drink it black and not loaded with cream or sugar.  If you do need “cream” in your coffee, substitute some 2% milk.  You will get some extra protein, calcium and vitamin D. 
  7.  Green Tea – another easy thing to add to your day.  Another beverage that is loaded with healthy antioxidants.  Green tea is thought to help burn the fat and lose some weight and help with weight maintenance. Green tea has also been found to suppress hunger and make you feel full.  So if you are trying to drop a few pounds, or want to keep off the weight you have lost, enjoy some green tea.

       8.  Cut down on Added Sugar – sugar is added to so many foods.  Even catsup has added sugar.  But read labels and see if you can cut back on the added sugar.  Buying real, 100% juice, with no added sugar is a better choice than Sunny D or Hi-C.  Switching out soda for plain water would cut out a lot of added sugar.  Also, look at the ingredients and cut back on foods with high fructose corn syrup.   Some studies have shown that high fructose corn syrup seems to favor fat production.  You can buy bread, catsup and many other foods that clearly note that no high fructose corn syrup has been added.

       9.  Eat More Whole Grains -  MyPlate recommends half the grains we eat should be whole grains. Yet, many Americans have no whole grains in their day.  Refined grains like white bread, white crackers, white rice, have been stripped of many nutrients and most of the fiber.  Choose some whole grain cereal like oatmeal, try different brands of whole grain bread to find one you like.  Choose the brown rice instead of white rice or try some Quinoa.
    10.  Spice it up – spices have almost no calories, are loaded with antioxidants, and some spices can boost your metabolism.  The boost is temporary but every little bit helps.  Ever watch someone eat hot, spicy food in a restaurant?  They feel hot and start to perspire as their metabolism gets a boost.  What spices?  Cayenne pepper is one spice.  Dr. Oz has a slide show on 9 Spices That Will Fire Up Your Metabolism”.  Add some cinnamon to your oatmeal in the morning.  Enjoy some ginger tea.  Add some nutmeg and cinnamon to a sweet potato. Turmeric is a hot topic spice as some people take turmeric to reduce inflammation.  The spice may also help lower blood sugar levels and help burn fat.
Some easy weight loss tips to try this week.  Enjoy that cup of black coffee, add some cinnamon to your oatmeal, drink more water, or add some protein to your breakfast.

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