Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Stop Smoking Without Gaining Weight

cigarette_butt.jpgA weight loss patient came to me venting her frustrations over weight gain after she quit smoking.

She was at her breaking point and ready to start smoking again to get the extra weight off.

Smoking is the last thing you want to do to try to maintain a healthy weight. Even if your weight might be normal, your overall health is suffering.

Here are the ideas that I reviewed with her to get her on track to reaching her weight loss goals, while ridding that extra frustration.

Begin an exercise routine if you haven't already. This is the number one thing that helps most former smokers. Since smoking does burn extra calories, you can replace your previous calorie burn with exercise burn! An added bonus is that exercise helps to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety that you may be dealing with. Focus on eating mindfully. It is important not to become an emotional eater when you quit. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, many will reach for comfort food. Focus on your true physical hunger levels instead. Have snacks for munching readily available. When you do feel the need to put something in your mouth out of habit, grab a piece of sugar free gum or hard candy. Popcorn, fresh fruit, carrots, and other raw vegetables are good for crunching.Remove trigger foods and beverages from the home. This includes alcohol which may make you want to start smoking again, and contributes to empty calories in the day. Keep junk food and other "comfort" foods out of the house so you are not tempted.Eat 3 regular small meals and 2 or 3 healthy snacks in your day. This will help to tame your increased hunger levels. Yes, there are plenty of people out there who still smoke! Even though the rates have drastically dropped, people still need all the support they can get.

Those of you who have struggled with "food addiction" know what addictive behavior feels like. So, next time you meet someone who is struggling, you can share some of these tips.

If you have quit smoking, what strategies worked for you?

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Couple Loses Over 100 lbs on the 17 Day Diet

kurt-georgia-after.jpgHere's a great story about a couple who did the 17 Day Diet together and lost over 100lbs.

This couple emailed us directly and aren't connected with 17 Day in any way other than using the program to lose weight.

Georgia: Starting Weight: 188lbs

Size: 16-18

Health: I was struggling with menopause and hot flashes! I easily gained at least 25 pounds with nothing seeming to work, plus I had stomach/digestive issues, was out of breath, not happy with myself, and I had no energy.

Kurt: Starting Weight: 285lbs

Size: 2XL-3XL w/42 inch waist

Health: One year prior he had 2 heart stents put in, was a full blown diabetic needing more and more insulin to try to maintain blood sugars, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and taking several medications for both symptoms/diseases just to try to keep them at a fairly normal level--still high, but somewhat controlled.

First of all, my clothes didn't fit and I refused to buy larger. My thighs rubbed together to the point they were chaffing and it hurt to walk. I also began to notice that my stomach seemed to be resting on my lap when I sat. kurt-georgia-before.jpg
Us BeforeOn top of that, I was recouping from an accident where my leg and foot were severely injured. The healing was very slow and shoes were not fitting right (due to my feet being 2 different sizes). I love my husband and didn't want to lose him to heart disease or diabetes and Kurt didn't want to die from them either. He had no energy, bad color in his complexion, and his feet hurt from diabetes. He was also outgrowing his clothes.
A person that Kurt did business with told him about the 17 Day Diet and obviously it was working for him. The man also told him about others in his family also on the diet and their success stories. Kurt and I had been thinking about going back on Atkins or South Beach--which we had used in the past, but just couldn't get excited about it.

When Kurt came home and told me about it the diet, Kurt was not only excited about it, but it was something he wanted to do, so I was all for it. I loaded the book on my Kindle, read it, and began preparing for "D" day which was May 15, 2011.

We were amazed! After the only 3 days Kurt had lost 10 pounds and I had lost 5. It just continued from there. I spent most of the 1st 17 day phase concentrating so much on the meal plans, shopping lists, etc, that it was pretty easy and the 17 days went by quickly.

As the weight started coming off, it was easier to exercise. I really didn't exercise until the 3rd phase. I did, however, make sure that I did something outside of sitting on the couch like cleaning, laundry, yard work, etc, so that I had some form of workout for at least 17 minutes each day. Presently, I exercise about 3 times a week on the treadmill for about 45 minutes. Kurt does a lot of walking with his job, but some days will make extra effort to walk between buildings on the fairgrounds vs. riding.

Today, we both have so much energy, more confidence, and like our new bodies. We both hit our 50 pound weight loss goals in August 2011 and have actually surpassed them. We still want to lose about 5-10 more pounds.

Kurt now wears size L-XL and 34/36 waist pants. I am now a size 6-8. He only takes 3 pills a day now and no more insulin shots! His doctor actually shook his hand and congratulated him. Prior to the diet, we spent so much money on medications.

The most expensive thing about the 17 Day Diet was purchasing new clothes! But, what fun! We laugh that we can now bend over, tie our shoes, and breath at the same time. Kurt is an avid hunter and has found that the his lighter weight has easily helped with his pheasant and deer hunting.

We get so many compliments and are continually telling people about the 17 Day Diet. We consider this a lifestyle change and will be on it forever. However, the best part of this diet is that my husband will now be around for a long time!
If you don't see the scale move--don't get discouraged. I always feel that this is a time when my body seems to be reshaping itself.If you get bored with meals, go to the 17 Day Diet recipes site. There are so many awesome recipes by very creative people which helps keep up motivation.Always continue to reference the book for each phase/chapter as you go through. I find that I have missed items or forgotten things in between time.If you can do this as a couple or family, all the better. For those who don't need to lose the weight, the meals can be easily modified for them.

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The Aquavore Diet

aquavore_diet_book.jpgDr. William H. Dunn, a cancer doctor, wrote the book, The Aquavore Diet. His goal is for everyone to understand how to minimize cancer risk through a healthy diet.

The Aquavore Diet gives a plan on how to do so by eating foods with higher water content.

The idea is that maintaining good hydration status will help the body detoxify, improve metabolism, stop dehydration, increase feelings of satiety, and improve the function of the hypothalamus. All of this will help to reduce weight, and keep the body healthy.

The Aquavore Diet notes that over time we have begun to choose high calorie, low moisture foods. We get hungry and thirsty and may reach for that salad or apple, but the smell and temptation of the other foods seem much more appealing.

Dr. Dunn suggests that by eating these low moisture foods, they never satisfy our original thirst. We keep eating and eating to try to satisfy that hunger, but since the food is low moisture, all we ingest is excess calories. This leads to a weight problem.

Just like insulin resistance, The Aquavore Diet suggests we get "thirst" resistant. As we age, many of us can get by with less and less water. But, we need to turn this around in order to improve the body processes. Dr. Dunn says it is as simple as drinking a little more water every day, or eating foods with a lot of moisture. Cook meats at low and slow temperatures like in soups or stews, but focus on eating more plant proteins.Consume more fish and seafood.Any fresh fruit or vegetable including beans and potatoes.Broths or soups.Nuts.Limit alcohol to only one or two small glasses of wine per day because it can have dehydrating and other negative health effects beyond that.Jello for dessert.You may eat any ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates as long as you focus on eating high moisture foods and keeping the glycemic index of foods lower. Dr. Dunn does suggest not to consume too much protein (no more than 30% of your total calories), but the key to this diet is consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables which happen to have high moisture and high fiber contents. The Aquavore Diet also recommends always starting a meal with soup or at least a salad. As with any diet, it is always good to ask your doctor or dietitian first.

Overall, I think this is a sound diet, and I like that you have the flexibility to choose what you want. The diet is very similar to following any clean eating or whole foods diet plan. I think it would work well for many people.

What do you think? You can learn more about or purchase The Aquavore Diet here .

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Friday, December 2, 2011

What are Plant Phytochemicals?

mixed_berries.jpgYou may have read health articles discussing phytochemicals and how they are so good for you.

But, have you ever wondered what exactly they are and what they do for you?

Simply put--phytochemicals are plant chemicals just like the name says. Phytochemicals are also known as antioxidants, but not all phytochemicals are antioxidants. Some act like hormones or stimulate enzymes.

No need to try to get the science straight--there are thousands of phytochemicals out there. Basically, they are active components in plants that benefit human health.

Betalains: Found in beets, and are just beginning to be researched more thoroughly. But, they have been shown to display anti-cancer properties.Carotenoids: A very common antioxidant found in orange and yellow plants--one of the most highly ingested phytochemicals. Flavonoids aka Polyphenols: Found in the purple, blue, and red plants. These are a large group of phytochemicals including quercetin (in onions), catechins (in green tea), anthocyanins (in berries), and isoflavones (in soy), just to name a few. These are some of the most thoroughly researched phytochemicals, and are the reason we know the variety of health benefits of green tea and berries.Phytoestrogens aka Lignans: Found in grains and seeds, and can act like estrogen. Phytoestrogens are still being studied for their effect on breast cancer and prostate cancer. Phytosterols: Known for their ability to lower total cholesterol levels. Found in nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetable oils.Organosulfides and other sulfur phytochemicals: Found in cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts. Think of these as the smelly phytochemicals (from the sulfur) that have very high anti-cancer properties.Oxalates: A healthy phytochemical, but those prone to kidney stones should limit their oxalate vegetable intake.Resveratrol: We all know this one as the antioxidant found in wine. It is known as the youth antioxidant that can help slow the aging process. Red wine contains other phytochemicals like phytoestrogens and anthocyanins. No need to know all these terms. More importantly, remember that fresh fruits, vegetables, and any plant product contain plenty of disease-fighting phytochemicals. So, focus on eating a majority plant-based diet and you will get all the phytochemicals you need to keep you strong and healthy!

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BPA Contamination: Which Foods Should You Avoid?

canned_green_beans.jpgBPA, Bisphenol A, has been all over the news as a dangerous byproduct that humans may ingest from plastic products.

Did you know that BPA from canned green beans is likely higher than any BPA you can ingest from a plastic bottle or other food source?

Now, you may be wondering what's so bad about BPA and if you need to stop eating canned green beans?

Disrupted endocrine function: BPA can act like an estrogen hormone in the bodyIncreased cancer risk: primarily the hormone-based cancers like breast and prostateDecreased fertilityCould interfere with neurological developmentObesityReduced thyroid functionDiabetesHeart DiseaseAsthmano-bpa.jpg Canned soups and vegetables: Rinse these foods to get off some of the BPA, or try Eden Brand or Native Forest productsCanned infant formulaCanned soda and anything else in a can since it has a plastic liningFood in plastic containers with the number 7 on the packageNon-food item: Paper receipts contain BPAResearch has found significant health concerns with high levels of BPA, but humans are only consuming, on average, very low and slow doses. Therefore, it would be only imperative for pregnant women, babies, children, and women who may become pregnant to monitor their BPA intake. Most water bottles are now BPA free. Plastic containers are the least of my worries nowadays. If you are concerned, you can always buy glass containers.

I pay more attention to the packaging of my foods, and look for labels to say that the packaging is BPA free. But, as always, focus on eating more fresh and unpackaged foods, and we will have one less thing to worry about!

Do you avoid BPA?

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prevent Cold and Flu with a Healthy Diet

sneeze.jpgAs many of us approach the cold months of the year, flu season begins to peak. I fair pretty well most years and seem to avoid a lot of sick days. It got me wondering if diet has anything to do with staying cold-free.

Well, I did my research, and there is some evidence that a few key nutrients can ward off the common cold and the flu.

Sunflower Seeds: Are an excellent source of vitamin E--one of the highest natural sources! Natural vitamin E found in foods is a powerful antioxidant and immune booster. Most nuts and seeds are also a good source of selenium and zinc which can help the body detoxify.Garlic: Contains a phytochemical, called allicin, which can kill bacteria and viruses, and is thought to improve the immune system. Spinach: Any leafy green vegetable contains abundant nutrients. But, spinach is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that can help ward off disease. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, and zinc (just to name a few). Mushrooms: Another good source of selenium and zinc. In addition, mushrooms were used as one of the world's first antibiotics. There is even a mushroom called the maitake mushroom that is used in cancer prevention and treatment. There is a long history of use of mushrooms for illness prevention.Yogurt: We all know now that yogurt contains probiotics which can improve the healthy bacteria in the intestines. Healthy intestinal bacteria are a key for proper immune health. Look for yogurts that contain vitamin D, and you will get an additional health boost.Citrus Fruits: One piece of citrus fruit can contain over 100% of your daily value for vitamin C. Peppers are also a great source. Vitamin C has long been studied for its properties in curing a variety of illnesses. Tea with Lemon and Honey: Tea is detoxifying. Lemon is a natural antibacterial. Honey is a combination of an antioxidant and antibacterial. All three combined make a nutritious and almost medicinal drink!Water: Helps to flush out toxins, and maintain hydration. Proper hydration is key to keeping the metabolism strong and healthy.Of course, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. This is the first step in preventing the flu. But, aside from proper hygiene, I will be eating healthy this cold and flu season just in case any of these nutritious foods can help keep me disease-free.

What about you, do you feel like certain foods can prevent the cold and flu?

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Required Reading: The Best Nutrition Books

popular_diet_books.jpgI've read quite a few books on diet and nutrition over the years. I figured it was about time I created a "best of" list.

The following are books that I believe stand above the throngs of mediocrity and hype that pervade the "Diet and Health" sections of bookstores.

In no particular order, here are 7 "must-reads" of Nutrition and Diet books.

A true classic in the world of nutrition, this instant classic is an eye-opener to where we've been, where we are, and where things are going when it comes to what we are consuming. A very informative, comprehensive and well-balanced "how to" guide when it comes to navigating your grocery store aisles. It's a big book but finish it and you will be well-armed for grocery store dominance! Tom became an "under the radar" e-book legend with his groundbreaking "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" offering and then followed it up with no-nonsense, evidence based and easy-to follow "Body Fat Solution". A true "total package" book that is destined to be a classic. Yes Mr. Pollan has 2 books in this distinguished list. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Pollan takes this simple concept and weaves it into another classic with his very engaging diatribe on "nutritionism" and the politics and other factors that impact what we eat. Overeating is a monumental issue in our overindulgent society. Kessler tackles the root of the problem and provides some sound solutions to help overcome it. This book is a very thought-altering reading experience. The Fat Loss Troubleshoot is as comprehensive a manual as you will find on the subject - tackling a myriad of issues that are stand in the way of you and the body and health that you want. It's a matter-of-fact, un-sugar-coated and evidence-based journey with a conversational tone. This book is nothing short of epically complete. A bit overwhelming in terms of the volume of content (I see this e-book as part manual, part encyclopedia) but man alive you get it all here - metabolism, exercise, nutrition, and supplements. It's best digested in bits, but it's an invaluable resource all the same.

Which books have you read that have helped you? Please list your "Reading Essentials"

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