This is the 3rd month of Nashua Nutrition’s 6-month plan. For this month’s challenge we ask you to cut down the soda and sugary juices. Drinks that contain added sugar and added flavors have a high-calorie count. Think about the fact that a can of soda (12 fl.oz) can have about 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. That’s about 8 teaspoons of sugar! If you swap a few of your high calorie, high sugar drinks for low a or no-calorie drink you will save a few hundred calories a day.
Check out some of our favorite swaps that not only help you consume less calories and sugar, but may also help you lose weight.
We all know by now that calories are essential to weight loss, right? If you’re still not acquainted, a quick primer: Energy balance determines how much you weigh. If you consume more calories than you need, you’ll gain weight. If you create a caloric deficit (by eating less than you need) you’ll lose weight.
Weight loss is ultimately a numbers game. A deficit of 3,500 calories equals 1lb of weight loss. Therefore, to lose 1lb per week, you need to create a daily deficit of 500 calories by reducing your intake. How do you reduce your calorie intake without sacrificing the food that you love, or worse, feeling famished? Here are some easy ways to cut back.
Try zoodles. Zucchini noodles, that is. A small, specialized peeling tool allows you to create zucchini noodles, boosting your intake of micronutrients and fiber with practically no calories. You get a larger serving size and cut out needless calories from pasta.
Give up the wine. As well as beer, and other sources of alcohol. Alcohol does not help you stay full, and it can increase your risk of breast cancer. A mere 5oz of wine (just over ½ cup) contains 120 calories. Have a glass three days a week and that’s an extra five pounds in a year.
Use the 75% rule. Instead of changing what you eat (giving up the foods and tastes you love), you can change how much you eat. Try eating ¾ of your typical portion size of grains, fats, and protein, and fill up the remained of your plate with low-calorie vegetables.
Try open-faced. Open-faced sandwiches are a Scandinavian tradition. By eating a sandwich on one slice of bread instead of two, you can trim your meal by 100 calories.
Stop snacking! America’s endless grazing has grown out of control. Snacking was rare in the 1970’s, when we first began tracking weight data, but has grown more and more common as obesity trends have emerged. Now, we consume about 500 calories a day in snacks alone! Trade out all your snacks for sliced veggies, sans sauce or dip. You can also find some low-calorie snacks and treats at our store.
You’ve probably heard coworkers, friends, and family members overpraise the virtues of food prepping. “I do three hours of cooking every Sunday!” they tell you chirpily.
Food prepping is great way to eat well and save money. However, if you’d rather spend three hours of your time doing something more exciting, you can try our “no cook food prep” idea. This is a great way to prep food that is an easy, healthy, go-to options sitting in the fridge, but you don’t spend hours cooking these meals.
If you assemble a virtual “fresh bar” of ingredients that can be mixed and matched to create no-cook or low-cook meals- things that you can grab and go, or dishes that can be assembled in less than 5 minutes. Our favorites?
Veggies: Go big here! Broccoli, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, different lettuces and herbs, radishes, cabbage, onions, sprouts, beets, snap peas, green beans, and asparagus can all be housed in different containers and used for salads, snacks, and stir-fries.
Proteins: Hard-boiled eggs, portioned deli meat, canned tuna or salmon, cottage cheese, yogurt, and string cheese.
Carbs: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and other “hand-held” fruits are perfect, fiber-filled sources of carbohydrate that require no prep. Simple!
Sauces: Portion cups of salad dressing, hummus, or cooking sauces to grab and go and put in a pan with some protein and veggies.
All said, there are still times where it’s just not going to happen, or when you crave something you just don’t know how to prepare healthfully. Let’s face it, creamy dishes and high-cal, slim-downs take time and energy, and sometimes you want something that tastes indulgent without having to spend two hours researching on Pinterest.
In those circumstances, it’s best to have some go-to meals stashed in the freezer. These easy, portion-controlled options give you a taste of the flavors you love, without the extra 700+ calories that would come from restaurant fare or a “traditional” recipe.
What is the best way to use these dinners? Get creative! Turn fettuccine alfredo into a rich, garden-fresh entree by adding a bag of frozen veggies and some lemon zest, or combine cheese steak macaroni with sautéed peppers and onions. Find a new combo that’s super-satisfying? We’d love to hear!
It’s the elephant in the room after undergoing tremendous weight loss. You have lost weight, and now have a lot of extra skin you’d like to be rid of.
Although weight loss benefits many areas of our lives, it can take a toll on our skin. When we’re gaining weight, it stretches slowly, over a period of weeks and months and years, to accommodate our growing girth.
Unfortunately, when we shrink back down, the skin is unable to reduce itself at the speed we are losing weight. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to improve the tautness of your skin. Although surgery is indeed an option, most people would rather avoid it if necessary.
If you have some extra skin you’d like to minimize, consider trying these tweaks before talking to a doctor or dermatologist about other, more invasive procedures and therapies. Some of these methods, although simple, pack surprisingly potent results when performed repeatedly over a period of months.
Exercise can be divided into roughly three categories: resistance exercise, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching. Although all three are important with regards to total health (including weight loss and weight maintenance), resistance training can help increase lean tissue in areas that are difficult to tone with cardiovascular exercise.
While cardiovascular exercise burns more calories overall, it typically increases muscle tone only in the lower body, because of its weight-bearing nature. Although swimming provides a whole-body cardiovascular workout that efficiently tones from head to toe, the majority of us rely on running, walking, cycling, or elliptical trainers, all of which focus on the lower body, rather than the upper body.
As such, upper body tone often lags behind lower body tone, especially when weight loss has occurred: sagging skin on arms can be bothersome, but resistance training shores up muscle underneath so that skin lays slightly flatter and is less inclined to jiggle.
If you’re new to resistance training, consider booking one or two sessions with a personal trainer. A personal trainer can walk you through some effective upper body exercises and assure that you’re performing the routine properly, with the right weights or materials (hand weights, bars, resistance bands, machines, etc).
Add resistance training to your workout. Developing a solid base of muscle can help reduce sagging flab. Toning exercises create lean muscle and help anchor hanging fat to the body. Muscle also helps your problem areas appear more firm.
Our skin is the largest organ we have, and the quality of our diets affects the appearance of our skin- a diet that is high in carbohydrate causes your body to hold onto more water, which can make you look and feel bloated in all the wrong areas.
Try reducing your consumption of high-carbohydrate foods, and focus your diet on lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables and low-fat or fat free dairy. It’s also important to stay hydrated, which improves the appearance and elasticity of the skin.
There are a number of natural ingredients that work to promote skin health, reducing dryness and improving the appearance of the skin. Lotions with Vitamin E and Vitamin D, as well as collagen-firming creams can improve the tautness of skin.
Sugar found itself trending in 2014, but the trend status wasn’t a particularly positive one. Instead, it could be considered more of a “negative trend”- sugar was talked about, certainly, but the commentary was not at all flattering.
Between obesity, diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease, sugar consumption is proving to be, perhaps, more perilous than we could have ever anticipated.
Sugar consumption in the United States clocks in at an eyebrow-raising 22.5 teaspoons per day: compare that to the recommended intake of 5 teaspoons per day (as per the World Health Organization).
However, most of us would remain adamant that our sugar consumption is not all that high; Is it really possible that we’re consuming that much sugar when we eschew soda and pass by the office candy bowl?
As it turns out, it’s very possible, especially since much of Americans’ sugar consumption comes from “invisible” sources of sugar in products like ketchup, breads, and other prepared foods. These products don’t taste sweet in the sense that we associate with candy or soda, so they pass by undetected.
Kicking the sugar habit is easier said than done, especially for those of us who enjoy sweet treats as part of our regularly scheduled programming. After all, if we’re exercising and eating healthy, what’s a cookie a few times a week?
While we’d never condemn an occasional indulgence, it’s important to make sure that you’re really are eating moderately, and that means identifying and removing invisible sources of sugar from your diet.
The following tips can help you avoid sugar, and cope with the transition from sugar-saturated to sugar-free.
Avoiding hidden sugar:
Be wary around packaged foods, even if they look or sound healthy. Scan the ingredient list for the following words: sugar, brown sugar, glucose, agave, agave nectar, nectar, cane juice, cane sugar, honey, syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup. While some of these are touted as being healthier than “regular” white sugar, the body processes them the same way.
Coping with a sugar craving
The best forms of distraction are “action distractions”, processes that mimic the sensations of eating or drinking, or actions that otherwise move you away from the source of sugar.
Chew a piece of sugar-free gum. The taste and sensation of chewing can help kick a craving to the curb.
Sip a cup of tea, coffee, or zero-Calorie flavored liquid (seltzer water, etc.). The warm liquid is soothing and provides the sensation of consumption.
Take a walk, or do an activity that requires you to move your body and concentrate- anything from yoga, stretching, knitting, even doing a puzzle, crossword, or playing with a pet.
Eat a sweet, lower sugar snack. Berries with yogurt, apples with cinnamon and low-fat whipped cream, and bananas with peanut butter are all good options.
Especially among medical professionals, the discussion regarding the appropriateness of bariatric procedures is a heated one.
With strong proponents on either side of the argument, who’s right? Is bariatric surgery a healthy, valid way to lose weight, or a dangerous tool that fails to promote healthy behavioral change
While the jury’s out on the appropriateness of bariatric procedures, both sides continue to collect evidence, through research and studies assessing the nutritional status, quality of life, and lifespan for patients who have undergone bariatric procedures.
Thus far, research supports the idea that morbidly obese individuals who undergo bariatric procedures lengthen their lives.
A decade-long study published in the January 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association, found that obese individuals who had undergone bariatric surgery lived longer than obese adults who had not received a surgical weight loss procedure.
When comparing these two groups (comprised of 2,500 individuals), obese individuals who had not undergone weight loss surgery were 10% more likely to die in the decade following the study: the surgical group reduced their likelihood of death to 14%, while 24% of the non-surgical group died within the 10 years of the study’s inception.
A second, larger study comprised of 29,000 individuals and published in the March 2014 Journal of International Cardiology, found that bariatric procedures reduced the likelihood of heart attacks and related deaths by 40%, relative to a group of obese individuals who had not undergone a weight loss procedure.
Bariatric Surgery: The Pros and Cons
There are undoubtedly many factors to consider when assessing the pros and cons of weight-loss surgeries (bariatric procedures).
For many, the negative aspects of bariatric procedures simply pose too great a risk to warrant their use in common surgical practice. Whether through gastric banding or gastric bypass, weight loss surgeries are serious, invasive surgical procedures, and the possibility of infection and surgical complications is a very real one. Furthermore, the cost of these procedures is very high, and may not be covered by insurance.
Even when the costs and risk of bariatric procedures are accounted for, the fact remains that emotional and behavioral change is a requirement for a healthy recovery once the procedure has been performed. Most hospitals will not allow a patient to receive a bariatric procedure without first meeting with a team of psychologists and dietitians, who will assess the patient’s emotional readiness to undertake serious postoperative dietary and lifestyle changes.
Is bariatric surgery a good option for you?
Only your doctor and healthcare team can tell you whether or not you are a good candidate for a bariatric procedure. However, if you are morbidly obese and have a secondary condition because of your obesity (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), weight loss surgery may help reduce your risk of serious complications and death from those conditions.
If you decide to undergo bariatric surgery, Nashua Nutrition, offers bariatric products for pre- and post-surgery.
If it feels like your resolution is the same every single New Year’s, take notice of the following tips. All of them will help you put your best foot forward, even if the last time you stepped in a gym was this time last year. Let’s make 2015 the year it finally sticks for you.
1. Make a plan.
It isn’t enough to aspire to something; you must also have a plan to carry you towards the action stage of your achievement. Make sure that your plan is specific and that your goals are realistic.
Specific: Who, what, when, and where? (See tip #2)
Realistic: Does your goal address who you are now, and the challenges you face? Or are you setting your goal too high, at a place you’d like to be already? Often, we start out a few steps ahead of where we already are, so we’re tired from the start, and less confident in our ability to succeed.
Get a fitness tracker
2. Stick to a schedule.
Busy is the new normal. Set a schedule, and stick to it; make your scheduled time non-negotiable. Recognize that if you give yourself an out, you’re more likely to take it.
3. Start Small.
Behavioral change is a process, and too much too soon will have you running back to the comfort of your former, exercise-free life. Instead, set a small goal of 15-20 minutes a day, or a few days a week. Then build from there, giving yourself time to adapt, physically and emotionally.
4. Forget what you know about exercise.
People who struggle to exercise consistently typically struggle due to their preconceived notions of exercise. Typically, this is due to prior, negative experiences.
Based upon your previous experiences, you can stack the deck in your favor. If you’re really honest with yourself- about what you like and what you don’t– you’re one step closer to finding an exercise routine you can stick with, long term.
5. “Better” is best
To quote Voltaire, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
We often get so caught up in “the perfect” (doing the “best” form of exercise, even if you hate it, or expecting to enjoy exercise to the point of euphoria), that we fail to recognize the “good” in what we are able to do, in the ways we enjoy doing it. Don’t aim for perfect. Aim for better.
6. Seek Support from Strangers.
Family and friends are the people we cling to for advice, support, and motivation, but they can also limit us: their belief systems can get in the way of new ways of thinking and living, and even reinforce our negative behaviors. Seeking out new friends with similar goals and beliefs can help you stay accountable to your goals. There are support groups that provide accountability from peers, without jeopardizing the existing relationships you have with friends and family.
The new year is just around the corner. With a new year we tend to have new beginnings and new resolutions. This year, Nashua Nutrition wants to help you with your health resolution. If you want to be healthier this year we have a six-month plan to help you reach your goals and be a healthier and happier you. The hardest thing is sticking to your resolutions, but with this plan you do not have to sacrifice everything at once. Take a look at the month-by-month plan.
Print this out before January 1st and begin a healthier and happier you!