There are so many weight loss programs out there these days that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and not know which weight loss program is right for you.
Some high protein, low carbohydrate weight loss programs have unpleasant side effects such as excessive flatulence, and the lack of carbohydrates can make you cranky while further increasing your cravings for sugary, sweet foods. Other weight loss programs require you to keep track of points.
I don’t know about you, but anything that involves math tells me it’s already too complicated for me to follow! And then there’s exercise. Everybody knows that exercise is good for you. If you’re like most people, you don’t have time to spend hours working out in a gym. You most likely barely have time to complete your daily duties as it is.
So How Does One Go About Losing Weight In Our Fast-Paced Society?
The key to permanent weight loss is good old fashioned diet and exercise. But of course, you already know that. The problem is finding the time to eat healthy and work out without it disrupting your current lifestyle too much. You will quickly exhaust yourself if you suddenly begin eating healthy and working out every day if you are not already doing these things.
It’s too much of a shock to the system all at once and you’re setting yourself up to fail. To start, just incorporate a few small changes into your lifestyle and give yourself time to get used to the changes before adding more. Eventually, eating healthy and exercising will become a permanent lifestyle change and you won’t spend much time thinking about your weight anymore.
Change Your Eating Habits
Before diving right into a brand new eating plan, try to make some minor modifications to your current eating habits. If you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, try replacing the heavy cream with light cream, and replace the sugar with an artificial sweetener such as Splenda.
There are many artificial sweeteners on the market these days. Splenda is one of the only ones derived from sugar itself, so when it’s mixed with food, it tastes just like sugar. It doesn’t have any kind of aftertaste that some artificial sweeteners have. It can also be used in baked goods as well.
Another way to slash your caloric intake is to use garlic powder on your foods instead of butter or margarine. Of course, garlic powder won’t taste so good on your blueberry muffin, so try using a low calorie butter spray such as “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” Or, if a dish you are making calls for butter, try adding Butter Buds instead.
Salad dressings can do severe damage to your efforts to reduce calories. A single serving of ranch dressing can add up to 240 calories to your healthy greens. Substitute full-bodied dressings for ones that are low fat or low calorie. If the taste of low fat or low calorie dressing is more than you can stomach, try a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette instead.
If you eat a lot of ground beef, try substituting ground turkey in your meals. It is lower in fat and still provides a lot of flavor. Do the same for bacon. Switch out your bacon for turkey bacon.
Water Instead Of Soda
Remove soda from your diet and drink water in its place. If you find that bottled water is too plain for your liking, there are numerous alternatives out there. Try fruit flavored water. Or drink tea (just don’t add sugar). Crystal Light makes little to-go packages (Crystal Light on the Go) that are designed to be mixed with a single bottle of water.
It might take a little adjustment to get used to drinking water instead of soda, but the benefits outweigh any misgivings you might have. Once your body is used to being adequately hydrated, you will lose inches and pounds of water weight that you probably didn’t even know you were lugging around.
Incorporate your eating changes for six days a week. One the seventh day, eat and drink whatever you’ve had a craving for during the week.
Start Incorporating Exercise
Once you’ve given yourself a few weeks to get used to your eating changes, the next step is to slowly begin adding exercise to your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be much. No need to run out and purchase a gym membership. Simply commit to exercising no more than twenty minutes a day.
How and How Often Should I Exercise?
This can be in the form of taking a walk around the block, or playing ball with your kids. Take the stairs at the office instead of the elevator. Walk around the office parking lot a few times on your lunch break. Park in the far parking lot. Use the treadmill or exercise bike for twenty minutes. Just about everyone has a spare twenty minutes a day. If you have time to watch a half hour television show, you have time to exercise for twenty minutes a day.
Exercise for twenty minutes, six days a week. On the seventh day, congratulate yourself for a job well done. Skip your exercising and eat and drink whatever you want. Have a full-bodied cup of coffee. Eat bacon slathered in butter. Drink a liter of soda. Eat and drink whatever you’ve been craving all week. You’ve earned it and it won’t wreck all the progress you’ve made.
The Gluten Free Diet for the Carbs Lover in You
Each year, medical professionals discover more and more of their patients suffer from digestive conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or constipation, due to sensitivity to gluten. People suffering from an allergy to gluten are commonly affected by a disease known as celiac disease.
What Is The Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that inhibits the absorption of certain food nutrients due to an allergic reaction to gluten, which is a protein derived from wheat, rye, and barley. People affected with celiac disease can experience damage to their small intestine and other parts of their digestive system, if their condition is left undiagnosed and they eat foods with gluten or wheat protein.
One problem with diagnosing celiac disease is the fact that its symptoms are similar to common ailments, such as gas or a common stomach ache. Other common symptoms of celiac disease include chronic diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal bloating or pain.
Celiac disease differs from gluten sensitivity, because with celiac disease the body usually produces antibodies to attack gluten. While a person may not have celiac disease, it does not mean that the person is not suffering from a gluten sensitivity, which is most cases carries the same symptoms of celiac disease less the intestinal damage.
What to Eat With Celiac Disease?
Once diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity a person can be left with a dilemma: “What am I going to eat that doesn’t have wheat in it?” Although more restaurants and grocery stores have taken notice of celiac disease, few offer a wide range of alternative food options, other than typical Atkins-like dishes or pure vegetarian dishes, such as hamburgers without buns or salads without croutons.
These alternative dishes are certainly more healthy than the typical fast food takeout since removing bread often removes up to 200 calories from any dish, but they still may leave a person craving carbohydrates. Fortunately, a person with celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity, or a person simply interested in a gluten free diet, can continue to eat many of their favorite foods, so long as they modify certain ingredients, and in many cases, prepare the food themselves.
The Gluten Free Diet
Contrary to popular restaurant menu choices, a gluten free diet does not require the removal of all carbohydrates. Instead, people following a gluten free diet can enjoy their same favorite dishes by substituting alternative carbs using alternative flours, including brown rice flour, millet flour, or corn flour, to make breads and dough.
Other Sources of Carbohydrates
Other sources of gluten free carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, rice, corn, quinoa, bananas, and a variety of foods modified to be gluten free, such as gluten-free pasta. To keep things simple, people with gluten free dietary restrictions should shop primarily in stores that cater to directly to their needs.
For example, BabyCakes, a popular vegan dessert chain located in New York and Los Angeles, creates a variety of gluten-free cupcakes and donuts using rice flours and other non-spelt flours. Spelt is a type of flour consisting of a variation of a wheat grain, which some people with celiac disease can tolerate, but others cannot.
Grocery stores, like Whole Foods, serve gluten free pizza made from special gluten free flour and other fresh ingredients in their hot food sections. In fact, health based grocery stores, including Whole Foods and Trader Joes, tend to offer the most extensive food options for people maintaining a gluten free diet.
Gluten Free Products In Supermarkets
These grocery stores carry products ranging from flour-less brownies, corn tortillas, gluten free bagels, gluten free pancakes, and rice milk. Easy access to gluten free foods makes it easier to shop for food, and decreases the risk that a person suffering from celiac disease will mistakenly buy a product with gluten. Luckily, the awareness of celiac disease is increasing, and many local supermarkets are beginning to carry brands that recognize it.
Additionally, people on a gluten free diet should beware of hidden sources of gluten. These sources can be found in certain alcoholic beverages, homeopathic remedies, cereals, granola bars, certain cheeses, vinegars, soy sauces, moisturizers, and even some medications. Consult your doctor to prepare a list of basic foods and products to avoid.
While following a gluten free diet may involve special attention to food preparation, shopping habits, and most of all, carbs, many people continue to enjoy their favorite carbs recipes by changing ingredients. In the long run, a gluten free diet can help people to become healthier and improve the overall function of their digestive system.
The Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet was created over 20 years ago by French doctor, Pierre Dukan. Similar to the Atkins diet, the Dukan diet consists of primarily lean proteins during the first phase to boost a person’s metabolism.
Unlike the Atkins diet, the Dukan diet consists of four phases where carbohydrates are reintroduced to the diet, and eventually, a person may eat whatever they like in moderation. The four phases of the diet are:
The Attack Phase
In the “Attack” phase, a dieter eliminates everything except lean proteins even sugar consumption. Also, the protein for the lean meats must be from non-dairy sources.
The Cruise Phase
During the second phase, “the Cruise” phase, the Dukan diet permits dieters to add non-starchy vegetables to their initial diet of purely lean proteins. Non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, leafy greens, romaine lettuce, celery, and more.
The Consolidation Phase
Consolidation, the third phase of the Dukan diet, consists of lean proteins, all vegetables, all fruits, and all non-lean proteins for 10 days. The purpose of this phase is to reacquaint the body with its natural eating habits.
The Stabilization Phase
Finally, stabilization, the fourth phase of the Dukan diet, consists of eating anything you want, so long as you sacrifice one day per week to the purely lean protein diet. Over the course of the entire Dukan diet process, low impact physical exercises, such walking, are recommended to achieve weight-loss.
Compared to other diet plans, the Dukan diet does not require calorie counting, or all protein for the duration of the diet, unlike the Atkins diet. Many Europeans in France and worldwide have said that the Dukan diet makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight, because you can eat whatever you like.
Side Effects of The Dukan Diet
Side effects of the Dukan diet may include bad breath, constipation, and fatigue. However, these minor disturbances may be well worth the sacrifice for those seeking to lose weight.
The Dukan diet also requires generous servings of oat bran and water in the initial stages. Despite widespread success in Europe, many American physicians claim the diet is nothing more than a fad diet not support with any scientific data to prove its weight-loss claims.
Exercise Is Still Important
Further, the Dukan diet may be highly successful in Europe, simply because Europeans tend to exercise more than Americans as part of their culture anyway. On the other hand, America has seen soaring rates in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type II diabetes diagnoses because of its obesity epidemic.
The Dukan Diet for Obese
Coincidentally, Dr. Pierre Dukan derived the Dukan diet from his research and observations of one of his highly obese patients, who struggled to lose weight. From his interactions with his obese patient, Dr. Dukan learned the connection between food and emotions in relation to the need for survival.
Obviously, a person will lose weight if they change their eating habits by removing the fat from their diets. However, the success and the fame of the Dukan diet is likely dependent on whether the diet actually helps people to keep the weight off and maintain their new figures.
Up Day Down Day Diet
Dr. James B. Johnson, M.D. is the inventor of the UpDayDownDay(UD DD) diet. He studied on white mice at first to see how their bodies would react to eating a low amount of calories one day and a high amount the next day. The mice that were not on the UD DD diet aged at a normal rate. The mice that were on the UD DD diet did not age as fast and seemed all around healthier.
On your up day you can eat whatever you want just do not knowingly overeat. Just stay in your calorie range. After you have a few down days your up days will seem huge. But in fact before you were probably eating 2-3 times as much before.
After 2-3 weeks you will notice that your mood will improve! Your energy will increase and you will feel healthier.
Which Diet is Best for Women?
Mental health complications plague women and are often exacerbated by the nutrition and diet choices made. If you are struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, or mania, your diet may be the one way in which you can control, to some extent, these complications in your life.
Types Of Diets
The first step to gaining control over your diet is to understand what core diets we typically choose from and what category you fall in to – western, traditional, or modern.
For women who struggle with depression and anxiety, along with other mental health complications, are typically those women who consume what is known as a western diet. A western diet is a diet that is low in fresh fruit, low in vegetables, low in whole grains, and a diet in which there is not enough dairy consumed. Essentially, a diet that is western in nature is one that is high in carbohydrates and may cause insulin resistance.
Modern diets are those that are full of high protein and low in carbohydrates and are typically the diets that women, with depression and anxiety, find that are best for their mental health. In these women, the reduction of carbohydrates is important as it reverses the implications and physiological damage caused by western diets.
Traditional diets are those that have a nice balance of fresh fruits, meat, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy and these traditional diets are best for women who are may be at-risk for mental health complications, including depression or anxiety, but who are not yet suffering or not yet diagnosed. Ultimately, it is this diet that can reduce health complications and is used as a preventative diet whereas modern diets are utilized to correct nutritional or dietary deficiencies that may lead to mental health complications.
For many women, complications of mental health are associated with not only diet but also a pre-disposition based on genetics or environment. If you are a woman who is concerned about your mental health, determine what type of diet – western, traditional, or modern – that you may be consuming and find the best way to modify your diet to improve your emotions and mental well being.
You didn’t gain all your weight overnight, so don’t expect to lose it overnight. By following these simple tips, you will lose weight. And you’ll barely notice the minor changes you’ve made to your daily schedule. Since you’ve lost the weight by making a lifestyle change, you will find that your weight loss is more likely to be permanent.
- “Celiac Disease” – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases – NIH.gov.