You’ll know when you’re seriously taking your nutrition seriously. Instead of simply logging what you eat and drink and monitoring your calories burned on the MyPlate app, you’ll be playing it like a game -- plugging in different snacks and meal combinations ahead of time -- chasing the perfect day of macronutrient consumption.

 

I’ve been using the MyPlate app by Livestrong for over three months now, and since I’m finally meeting my daily protein goal of 142 grams pretty regularly, I’m turning my focus to managing what percentage of my calories come from protein, fats and carbohydrates -- the macronutrients, or macros if you want to sound cool.

 

The MyPlate app uses recommendations for macronutrient consumption taken from The Zone Diet, which is 40 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fats. Achieving the perfect day of macronutrient consumption takes careful planning and is even harder than eating a gram of protein for each pound of your body weight.

 

The closest thing to a perfect day of macronutrient consumption I’ve managed was 39 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 33 percent from fats and 29 percent from protein. Those meals consisted of the following:

Breakfast (600-700 calories)

Shredded Beef and Bean Chili Cheese Sandwich

Slow cook some boneless beef cuts on low-to-medium heat with a can of kidney beans, a can of chili beans and a can of whole tomatoes. Add tomato paste. I add a bit of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce and a squeeze of mustard as well. Spice it up with chili powder, cayenne and black pepper. Cook for eight hours or until the beef is falling apart.

 

Pour a cup of chili over a sliced hamburger bun like an open-faced sandwich. Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the chili. You can add a fried egg to make the shredded beef and bean chili and egg breakfast sandwich and boost your protein consumption further.

Chocolate Whey Protein Milkshake

Blend four ounces of 2% milk with one scoop of Super Advanced Whey Protein (either chocolate or vanilla), a third cup of strawberries, half a banana, and half a peach, or apple, or orange -- whatever you want. You can even blend vegetables.

 

Whey is the best way to reach your daily protein goals without breaking the bank or eating too much tuna or eggs. Plus, mixing whey with milk adds slower-acting casein protein and healthy fats. Adding juice adds more carbs, but a splash of orange juice with your milkshake is actually fantastic. If I’m already using an orange I hold the orange juice, though.

 

Macronutrient Breakdown: 35 percent carbs, 39 percent protein and 26 percent fats. This is an ideal breakfast given the caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown. There’s even room for more carbohydrates and fats, which you could get from adding a fried egg and a few more fruits to the smoothie.

Snack (60 calories)

Newman’s Own High-Protein Pretzels

While 18 pretzels result in 22 grams of carbohydrates consumed, Newman’s Own High-Protein Pretzels also carry 5 grams of protein per serving. Plus, all profits go to charity, and the pretzels are delicious despite their lack of salt and overall healthiness. I generally only eat half a serving after my big breakfast.

Lunch (500-600 calories)

Tuna Cottage Cheese Half Sandwich

The easiest way to cut carbs is to make sandwiches with one slice of bread instead of two. Open a can of white tuna in water and drain it. Stir in a tablespoon or two of cottage cheese instead of mayonnaise, salad dressing or Miracle Whip. You’ll cut down on the fat, and it’s a nice little protein boost to an already high-protein lunch. Mix in some chopped onion and celery if you like, and add salt and pepper to taste. I sprinkle a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on the tuna, and use a teaspoon or so of Durkee’s Famous Sauce (because a tablespoon is 80 calories) and a tablespoon of spicy brown mustard on my bread.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Bring four cans of reduced sodium chicken broth to a boil and add chopped carrots, onion and celery. After the vegetables are cooked thoroughly, add two cans of chicken breast and two cups of rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or add a few teaspoons of Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce if you like it spicy.

 

I don’t usually have a glass of 2% milk with lunch, but I did on this day.

 

Macronutrient Breakdown: 59 percent carbs, 25 percent protein, 16 percent fats. While this lunch isn’t close to macronutrient consumption perfection, it keeps your protein consumption consistent and made up for the carbohydrates I didn’t eat for breakfast. Ideally, you would attempt to keep your macronutrient goals consistent for each meal, but that’s an even more difficult game to win and requires even more planning.

Snack (160 calories)

Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts

A serving of 39 Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts is 13 grams of fat, but fats are better than carbs when you’re turning your body into a fat-burning machine. Those 39 peanuts also carry seven grams of protein and seven grams of carbs with them, making them the ideal snack to make you feel full without packing on carbs.

Dinner (120-250 calories)

Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare chicken thighs by washing and removing the skin. Lightly grease a deep pan with extra virgin olive oil and finely chop some garlic. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and then flip them, just to get oil on both sides. Then sprinkle garlic over each side, along with any other spices you’d like to use. Bake to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.   

 

Macronutrient Breakdown: 0 percent carbs, 33 percent protein and 67 percent fats. Again, this meal hardly meets the macronutrient goals of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fats. But it does make up for my carb-heavy, fat-light lunch. I’ll usually eat this with a side of green beans or other vegetable to get some carbs into the mix. You can even slice up the chicken and add it to an alfredo sauce to eat over whole grain pasta if you want to work in more carbs.

Snack (200-250 calories)

Chocolate Casein Protein Milkshake

Whey protein is digested and absorbed by muscles quickly, whereas casein protein will continue to feed your muscles all night while you sleep, leaving you more refreshed in the morning. That’s why cottage cheese or a glass of milk are recommended before bed. The casein proteins in dairy products make for the best way to help your muscles recover and continue burning fat while you sleep.

 

Don’t use acidic fruits in your evening protein shake or you’ll subject yourself to potential heartburn that could keep you up all night. Stick to strawberries and bananas -- no oranges.

 

As you can see, The Zone Diet requires careful planning, and chasing the perfect day of macronutrient consumption starts with figuring out the right foods to consume. Once you narrow those down, you can mix and match in order to consume 40 percent of your calories from carbs, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fats at every meal.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information
Friday, 28 July 2017 21:06

Get six-pack abs and never do crunches

Crunches and sit-ups used to be the go-to exercise for those pursuing six-pack abs, but we know a lot more about the effects of those movements on the body. Crunches are one of the worst exercises for the lower back and can contribute to herniated disc injuries. And if you’ve already had surgery for a herniated disc like me, crunches can bring back that pain in the lower back. That’s why in my pursuit of six-pack abs I’ve ditched the crunch, but still manage to find exercises that blast the abdominal region without causing lower back pain. Here are six exercises that will make your six-pack pop without hurting your lower back.

1. The ab wheel

Instead of doing weighted crunches, which put even more pressure on your lower back than your upper-body weight already does, I substitute a 1 minute ab workout on the ab wheel.

 

Weighted crunches are just like any other weightlifting exercise: they build muscle, but sometimes sacrifice flexibility and even cause injury. While it’s important to build the abdominal muscles in order for them to be seen, it’s far more important to lose body fat, and you can’t just target abdominal fat. That’s not how fat-burning works. In order to show off your six-pack abs, your body fat needs to be between six and 13 percent, so you can do all the crunches you want and never see your abs.

 

That’s why you can get away with doing a more controlled exercise that you will feel in your abs and not your back. By “controlled” I mean it requires entire body control and tends to work your core muscles. Add controlled exercises like the ab wheel into a workout regiment that’s already designed for burning a lot of fat, and you won’t miss the crunches at all.

2. Boat pose

Another exercise that requires total body control and works the abs is the boat pose. This is where you lean back from a seated position with your feet suspended in the air and your hands at your sides. Do this for a minute and you’ll feel your abs going to work to keep your feet suspended, but your lower back won’t bark at you because there’s no movement involved with the lower back. Your back should be straight the entire time.

3. Crunchy frog

Another controlled exercise that’s a play on crunches, the crunchy frog starts from the boat pose, but with your arms outstretched at your sides. Then you bring your legs into your chest and wrap your arms around them before returning to boat pose and repeating the action. This variation on the crunch doesn’t force you to lift your upper-body weight using your lower back as the fulcrum. Instead, you lift your lower-body weight using your butt as the fulcrum. It’s a fantastic exercise that you will feel working all six muscles in your six-pack abs, as well as the lower abdominal muscles.

4. Bicycle crunches

Unlike traditional crunches, bicycle crunches don’t require your lower back to act as a fulcrum to lift your upper-body weight. Instead, alternately bringing your legs back towards your chin, and with your hands behind your head, turning into your leg and touching your opposite elbow to your knee takes pressure off the lower back. They can also end up being quite the cardio workout that will burn a ton of fat if you do them quickly, but a controlled motion is always best to avoid injury.

5. Leg Lifts    

Again, avoiding the lifting of your upper-body weight while using your lower back as a fulcrum is the key to avoiding lower back pain. While leg lefts use your lower back as a fulcrum, you’re lifting your lower-body weight rather than your upper-body weight, which is easier on the lower back than traditional crunches.

 

Just lay flat on the floor and slowly lift your feet to a 90-degree angle. Then slowly lower them back to the ground. You’ll feel this working your entire abdominal region and the upper part of your thighs and your back won’t be barking because of leg lifts.

6. Forearm plank (with variations)

More and more people are using static exercises like the forearm plank in the place of crunches. Why? Because there’s no movement, which means no risk to joints or the back. It’s also really difficult.

 

Push-ups have been a staple exercise for such a long time because they safely build muscle in multiple muscle groups. You can feel push-ups working your chest, biceps, triceps, abs and even upper back -- and all you’re lifting is your own body weight. Well, forearm planks are similar, except instead of lifting your body weight, you’re suspending it.

 

Get in a push-up position but lift yourself up by your forearms and stay there for a minute. It will be one of the hardest exercises you do -- until you try the variations of the forearm plank.

You can work the sides of your abdominal region by supporting your body weight on just one forearm. Put your left forearm on the ground and turn sideways, looking to your right and keeping the side of your left foot planted on the ground. Keep your back straight while suspending yourself. Stay in this position for a minute, if you can. Then do the other side.

 

Again, building up your ab muscles is only half the battle (or a third of the battle, really). Your six-pack abs will never be seen if you don’t burn the fat around those muscles, so work in 20-minute sprint sessions or jump rope interval training to shed that fat.

 

Of course, none of this does any good if you’re not focusing on nutrition as well. You can do all the ab exercises you want, but you won’t get any closer to showing off your six-pack abs if you keep eating fatty foods or too many calories.

 

The pursuit of six-pack abs is like the game of golf with calories being the strokes. You can limit your strokes on the golf course in two ways: through your short game and your long game. You can focus on chipping and putting or driving off the tee, but one without the other is still going to inflate your score. Focus on both and you’ll start shaving strokes. Focus on both exercise and nutrition and you’ll start shaving calories, allowing your six-pack abs to show.

 

Consuming tons of protein will also help. Whey protein is especially best after workouts because it not only feeds your abdominal muscles but helps you burn fat when you’re not working out. Getting enough sleep is also important, as is eating within an hour of waking up. Also, breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day, with lunch next largest and dinner the smallest. Snacking is most important, as smaller meals and more snacking increases your metabolism to burn fat all day.

 

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information

Meeting your weight loss goals doesn’t have to be expensive or snack-free. Snacking can actually be good for you as long as it’s done in moderation. Snacking will actually make you eat less during meals, and spreading your calories throughout the day rather than eating three traditional meals will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories and fat while at rest. I eat over 1,000 calories in snacks per day and have lost 12 pounds in two months and fit into my high school jeans.

You can keep snacking, too, as long as you know which snacks are best for you and which to avoid. Obviously, eating Hostess Twinkies every day isn’t going to be good for you. The 260 calories in two Twinkie cakes is more than even M&Ms, as is the 43 grams of carbohydrates packed into those golden cakes.

The high-calorie snacks not named Twinkies are Oreos, Chips Ahoy!, Lay’s Potato Chips (pick your flavored poison), Cheetos, Fritos Corn Chips (Chili Cheese and Original), and my personal favorite, Fritos Honey BBQ Flavor Twists. All come in packing 160 calories per serving, and all come with between nine and 10 grams of fat. I understand you probably love a snack on this list, and I feel for you, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy that snack. Just do so in moderation.

You don’t have to sacrifice taste for nutrition, and you don’t have to pay more for healthier snacks, either. While Smartfood Delight Sea Salt Popcorn is supposed to be healthy, it still has 140 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving. And at 50 cents an ounce, it’s the most expensive snack I found at Wal-mart. Another surprise was Sun Chips, which come in with 140 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving, all for 42.6 cents per ounce. They do have a lower salt content than most chips, with just 120 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Now that you know which snacks to avoid, here are the 5 healthiest and affordable snacks on the market.

5. Stauffer’s Animal Crackers

To my personal delight, Stauffer’s Animal Crackers came in with the second-lowest fat content (2 g) and fourth-lowest calorie content (120) per serving. Animal Crackers also have just 7 grams of sugars per serving, but don’t eat too many. They had the third-highest carbohydrate count (24 g), but at just 8.25 cents per ounce, they are an absolute steal.

4. Snack Pack Pudding

Snack Pack Puddings impressed. The chocolate flavor packs just 100 calories, which was second-best, and each serving comes with just two grams of fat. While the protein content leaves a lot to be desired (less than a gram per serving), the 7.12 cent-per-ounce price was the best of all the snacks studied.

3. Greek Yogurt

It took me awhile to get on the Greek yogurt bandwagon, but I’m on it for good. Brands matter when it comes to Greek yogurt, though. The Dannon Light Banana Cream Greek Yogurt packs just 80 calories, nine grams of carbs, and no fat per serving, while Chobani has 130 calories, 18 grams of carbs and 2.5 grams of fat. Yoplait impressed with 15 grams of protein per serving. At 18.9 cents per ounce, it’s a bit more expensive than the cheapest snacks here, but the protein content makes Greek yogurt very valuable. It was cheaper per ounce than Pepperidge Farm’s Cheddar Goldfish and Chex Mix.

2. Triscuits

In the head-to-head matchup between Triscuits and Wheat Thins, Triscuits took it in a knockout. With just 80 calories per serving, Triscuits took the title for lowest-calorie snack. They were second only to Greek yogurt with 13 grams of carbs, and their 2.5 grams of fat per serving is half as much as Wheat Thins. The only category Wheat Thins won was in cost. Triscuits were 27.5 cents per ounce, while Wheat Thins were 24.3 cents per ounce.

1. Fruits and Vegetables

I know you’re thinking, “Well, duh!” But to give you a sense of how fruits and vegetables stack up against some of the packaged snack foods, there’s just 46 calories in a cup of strawberries and just 11 grams of carbs and not even half a gram of fat. And they’re 8.9 cents per ounce when in season. A serving of carrots is just 15 calories and eight grams of carbs. They run 7.6 cents per ounce, so when you’re considering what you want to snack on during the week, don’t forget about fruits and vegetables.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information

I’ve been using the MyPlate app by Livestrong to log my daily meals and exercise for two months now, and not only have I lost weight (almost 13 pounds to be exact) and fit into my high school jeans, but I’ve hardly increased my exercise habits because of what I’ve remedied regarding my daily food intake.

I wrote a piece called “10 ways to enjoy losing weight” when I was just starting to use the MyPlate app, and the folks at Livestrong were kind enough to grant me access to the “locked” exercises that come with a paid membership. I haven’t used any of them yet and still managed to cut an inch off my waist and lose 13 pounds. This only affirms my hypothesis that nutrition is more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight, and most of us aren’t consuming what we should and would be surprised by what’s in the foods we eat.

There are plenty of ways the MyPlate app can help you lose weight, but here are the five things that helped me and opened my eyes the widest. 

1. Having a Specific Goal Really Works

Having a specific weight and timeline in mind is the only way you’ll achieve your weight loss goal. You can’t reach a goal without having one. Simply wanting to lose weight isn’t enough. You have to want to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date and then want to keep it off.

The first thing MyPlate does when you begin to use the app is ask you your height, weight, age, gender and weight loss goal. That’s how MyPlate determines the number of calories you should consume each day.

I’m a 31-year-old, five-foot, 11-inch male that weighed 185 pounds, and I wanted to lose 1.5 pounds per week and get back down to my college weight of 170 pounds. MyPlate recommended a diet of 1,645 calories per day, and while that’s less than the 1,800-calorie-diet recommended for a man, I assure you it’s plenty, especially if you eat the right foods. I managed to average just 1,469 calories per day and never felt hungry once in the last two months. I would guess my actual intake was higher because I think we subconsciously think are portions are smaller because we want them to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if my daily average is actually more than to the lowest recommended diet for men of 1,500 calories per day. 

How active you are during the day also plays a big role in your daily calorie recommendation. Since I sit in front of a computer for a living, I don’t burn a lot of calories naturally throughout the day, which is why my calorie recommendation is low. I do, however, bicycle often and do a lot of walking when I take public transit downtown for a ballgame, so more often than not I met my goal of 250 calories burned per day. And when I didn’t, I still generally burned 100 calories. I averaged 272 calories burned per day over the first two months of using MyPlate.

I managed to do a pretty good job of meeting my net calorie goals, so, naturally, I lost weight. To maintain my weight, I can start consuming the 1,800 calories recommended for a man per day as long as I continue my exercise habits, which shouldn’t be too difficult since I hardly changed any of my exercise habits. 

2. Carbs are Killers

As I stated in my previous piece about nutrition, I knew cutting carbohydrates would be the key to reaching my weight loss goal. I’ve been known to enjoy an IPA or two and have a childlike love for Stauffer’s Animal Crackers. I love sourdough and garlic bread. I’m a snacker, too, so a lot of the crap I was putting in my body came between meals. MyPlate helped me manage my snacking by logging my carbohydrates and scaring the hell out of me.

While I’m still struggling to cut carbs due to a limited budget and the affordability of breads, I wouldn’t have come in under my goal as often as I did had I not known what my problem was. I managed to nearly cut microbrews out of my diet entirely. I think I’ve had six in the last two months, and two of them I drank yesterday, which accounted for almost 500 calories and 36 grams of carbs.

2. It’s Okay to Cheat Once a Week

The debate over “cheat days” has not been settled and likely won’t, but I can tell you that I feel best when I go slightly over my daily calorie limit once per week. You can see those days pretty easily on my calorie intake graph, and it’s something that happened naturally. My body wanted to consume more, so I abided. 

Restricting calories limits the body’s leptin production, which is the hormone responsible for maintaining our energy levels and weight loss. So while cheat days only raise your metabolism slightly the following day, the way I feel the next day makes it worth the extra calories regardless of the limited effect on my metabolism.

Yesterday was a cheat day for me, and today I woke up rejuvenated and ready to work. I’ll probably go work on my scooter engine after this, which wouldn’t have been the case yesterday, when I wanted to do as little as possible and fell asleep watching baseball at eight o’clock. 

Cheating doesn’t mean you get to eat whatever you want for a day, though. It generally means you can splurge during one meal, but you still shouldn’t eat more than your body needs at any time. I made that mistake yesterday at lunch despite finishing just half of a Red Cow blended burger and barely touching some fries covered in gravy. I felt pretty terrible the rest of the day. So while you can eat foods with a bit more fat and sugar on cheat days, it’s not a reason to eat until you feel sick.

3. Cutting out Fat is Easy

I managed to cut my fat intake after the first few weeks of using the MyPlate app thanks to a Ninja 900-watt blender. I realized the fatty foods I was eating were generally snacks and fatty meats. Replacing the fatty hamburger and pork with turkey, chicken and fish was easy, and while I still eat both pork and hamburger, I do so in much smaller portions.

The one thing I knew I had to do was eat more fruits and vegetables. Even when I tried to eat more fruits and vegetables during those first few weeks, I’d generally only do it for one meal per day (generally breakfast). Then I invested in a blender, and now I consume more than the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

I’m also replacing less-healthy snacks with healthy ones. I have up to two blended smoothies per day, usually containing three servings of fruits and vegetables each. Plus, I add two tablespoons of hemp protein powder in an attempt to reach my seemingly unattainable goal of 123 grams of protein per day.

4. There’s Sugar and Salt in Everything

I managed to cut into my sodium intake substantially, and I never put salt on anything! I was against salt more so than sugar going into this little experiment. I know where that salt has gone, too. It’s been replaced by sugar.

My substitution of fruit smoothies for crackers and other snacks has been a key to cutting my daily sodium intake. I’m a sucker for Dot’s pretzels (360 mg, 17% sodium daily value), Frito’s Honey BBQ Flavor Twists (180 mg, 7% sodium daily value), and Roasted Garlic Triscuits (135 mg, 6% sodium daily value). Those numbers are all per serving -- not per box -- and I can eat half a box, and in the case of Dot’s pretzels, half a bag. I used to be able to eat a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos -- and not one of those small bags. I don’t do that anymore thanks to my blender.

I have not been able to cut my sugar intake substantially, though. I’ve managed to come in under my recommended daily sugar intake of 33 grams a dozen times in roughly 60 days. I gave up ketchup and mostly cut out barbecue sauce in an attempt to cut down on sugar consumption, and nothing’s changed. I still go over my recommended sugar intake almost everyday.

 

The foods highest in sugar that I’ve eaten the last two months are sodas and juices I’ve used to mix with my smoothies and the fruits also in those smoothies. And if I cut out the three or four ounces of soda or juice I use in my smoothies, I’m still going over the daily recommendation for sugars. The only way I see a way around sugars is to eat nothing but vegetables and nuts and drink nothing but water, which I’m not ready to do. I focused on salt.

5. Logging Your Meals and Exercise is Too Easy Not to Do

Just because I can fit into my high school jeans doesn’t mean I’m done with the MyPlate app. I’ll probably never stop using it. It’s a part of my life now, and that doesn’t bother me. People use their phones for worse things than logging meals and exercise.

I’m still only using the free workouts, of which I’ve done five or so times over two months, and they really work. I did the 7-minute Cardio Sculpting Workout yesterday because it was my “cheat day” to eat, and my butt and legs are sore. I’m looking forward to really getting into the locked “Gold” exercises, which I’ll review in another two months. The 10-minute Abs Workout doesn’t require any gym equipment, so I’ll start with that one.

MyPlate even counts my steps, so if I walk or run a few miles or climb steps, the app automatically subtracts those calories burned from my net intake for the day. The amount of time you’ll spend logging your meals everyday amounts to a few minutes per day. If you can’t take a few minutes out of your day to learn about what you’re putting in your body, you’re not dedicated enough to your weight loss goals.

You can’t just get down to your weight and stop logging your meals and exercise, but the beauty of MyPlate is that it’s too easy not to use. Regardless of where I am I can log my meals and exercise. It might be harder to do when eating out, but that’s because restaurants that don’t have more than 20 locations aren’t required to post nutrition facts on their menus, or anywhere. You can still find a similar recipe for a restaurant menu item and add the ingredients one by one, though. Since using the MyPlate app I’ve been less inclined to eat out because I know those foods are less healthy by design. The foods from fast food chains and restaurants are designed to be addictive, and that’s just more sugars and salt I don’t need.

Livestrong’s MyPlate app is a perfectly reasonable way to start losing weight. It’s doesn’t cost anything but the few minutes per day before or after each meal (I recommend before). I also recommend subscribing to the Livestrong blog. You’ll notice they have valuable information. Try MyPlate for two weeks without changing a thing like I did, and you’ll see what’s going into your body and want to change for your body’s sake.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information

Obesity is an epidemic in America. Overall, 38 percent of U.S. adults are obese and 17 percent of teenagers are obese, the Center for Disease Control reported in 2016. More than two-thirds of Americans are at least overweight. There is a difference between obese and overweight, though.

The obese are less likely to be physically active or are physically unable to be physically active, which is why this complete nutrition guide is for the immobile. You can lose weight without exercising. Use the following tips to start losing weight without knowingly altering your calorie intake and without exercising.

Week One: Change the Way You Eat

When overcoming obesity, you have to start somewhere, and if you have trouble moving, you have to start with the way you eat. I’m not talking about a diet or counting calories. There are things you can do before, during and after consuming food that will help keep you from overeating.

America’s obesity problem stems from increases in portion size since the 1980s, and those portions continue to grow as body weights increase. It’s corporate food taking advantage of an addiction it created, much like the tobacco industry. Don’t be a pawn in their game.

Know Your Serving Sizes

A serving of meat is three ounces, which is the size of a bar of soap. A hamburger serving is the size of a hockey puck. A serving of pasta is the size of your fist. A serving of vegetables is the size of a baseball, and a serving of fruit is the size of a tennis ball. A serving of peanut butter is the size of a ping pong ball. If you guide your portions based on the recommended serving sizes, chances are you’ll end up consuming less and losing weight. If you use smaller plates, you’ll also end up eating fewer calories, and research shows that people eat less off red plates than white or blue plates.

Plan Your Meals for the Week

Plan what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for an entire week. Having a plan keeps you from replacing potentially nutritious meals with fast food and puts you in control of your nutrition goals instead of some high school kid inside a drive-thru window. Having a plan will also help you avoid skipping meals, which isn’t good for you either. I log my meals for the next day using the MyPlate app from Livestrong. Logging meals a day in advance gives me an idea of my calorie, fat, sugar and sodium wiggle room for snacks throughout the day. It also helps me save money because I’m less likely to eat out when my meals are already planned.

Make a Grocery List

Impulse buying contributes to the American obesity epidemic. If it never seems like the healthy foods are on sale, it’s because they seldom are. But if you enter the store with a list of foods you know you need, and you don’t waver from that list, you’ll leave having saved some calories and some money.

Drink More Water

Drink a glass of water before every meal and more water in general. Are you drinking half a gallon of water each day? Chances are you’re not. The daily recommended water intake is eight, eight-ounce glasses. With one before every meal that’s just three per day, so be sure to stay hydrated. It’s literally the easiest way to lose weight.

Prepare Your Eating Environment

Eating in the proper environment can help prevent overeating. A study conducted by a Cornell researcher found that people eating in fast food restaurants where the lighting was dimmer and the music more soothing ate 175 fewer calories than those who ate in the same place with the lights brighter and the music louder. And don’t eat in front of the television, as you’ll be more likely to forget how much you’ve eaten.

Eat Slower

It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you’ve eaten enough, so eat slower and you’ll be less likely to overeat. And chew your food thoroughly.

Eat a Big Breakfast

People who eat more in the morning and less at night lose more weight, and starting your day with warm food high in protein helps you feel fuller and less hungry later. Consume 350 to 400 calories and 25 grams of protein every morning and you’ll be on your way to losing weight.

Eggs are my go-to breakfast food because they’re cheap, quick to make, high in protein and are delicious when mixed with vegetables. Non-fat Greek yogurt is also a great breakfast food if you’re on the go. Mix it with granola and fruit for the perfect parfait.

If you have a blender, a plant-based, protein shake is a great way to get a serving of fruits and vegetables along with protein without the fat. I use hemp-based protein because it improves heart health, and BodyBuilding.com put together multiple lists of delicious shake recipes here and here so you never get sick of them. If you can push back your breakfast to later in the day, it lowers the amount of time you’ll have to eat throughout the day, too. This way you’re less likely to consume too much in one day.

Eat More Frequently but Eat Smaller Meals

Another reason obesity is a problem is the amount of time Americans have to actually sit down and eat. It’s very important that you sit down to eat, and that you actually eat more often. You just want to tone down the size of your meals and spread them out throughout the day so your metabolism stays high and you burn fat throughout the night. Eating smaller meals more frequently also keeps your appetite in check so you don’t wake up starving. Try to eat five smaller meals per day instead of three large meals.

Eat More Satisfying Foods

Eating foods that satisfy your hunger is a key to eating fewer calories and overcoming obesity. WebMD put together a chart with examples of satisfying foods, as well as unsatisfying foods. I bet you can guess where Twinkies, Snickers, potato chips, cheese puffs and french fries fell. A turkey sandwich on wheat bread topped the list of satisfying foods, with oatmeal on its heels and bean burrito coming in third. A vegetarian refried bean burrito is an even healthier option.

Don’t Avoid a Midnight Snack

Avoiding food before bedtime can actually keep you from losing weight. Just don’t overeat before going to bed and make sure you’re consuming protein instead of carbohydrates and fat. Your body burns more calories digesting protein than carbs and fat. Another protein shake is perfect before bed because it might boost your metabolism, according to a Florida State study. Adding a cup of rooibos tea could reduce stress hormones that trigger fat storage and hunger. Some of the best midnight snacks are turkey and cottage cheese, because they’re both high in protein and contain tryptophan, the amino acid that puts you to sleep on Thanksgiving. Speaking of sleep…

Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep

Fitbits wouldn’t monitor sleep quality if it wasn’t important to fitness. It’s incredibly important to get at least seven hours of sleep each night because people who get more sleep have the proper balance of leptin and ghrelin hormones that help control appetite. If you create a routine that you do an hour before sleep each night, like brushing your teeth and then reading for an hour, your body will be better prepared to sleep, and you won’t be counting sheep.

If you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and do something unstimulating. That doesn’t mean watch television or stare at your phone or tablet. Looking at a screen before bed not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but can make you more tired and less alert in the morning. If you still struggle sleeping or can’t seem to breathe while sleeping, get checked for sleep apnea. Oh, and the colder you can handle the bedroom while sleeping, the more calories you’ll burn in your sleep.

If you’re looking to overcome obesity and aren’t physically able to be physically active, week one of the “Overcoming Obesity” nutrition guide for the immobile can help you become mobile. We still won’t advocate exercise in week two, either, because you don’t need to exercise to lose weight. Week two of the “Overcoming Obesity” program will focus on nutrition -- not a diet.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

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