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How to Avoid Self-Sabotage During Weight LossHow to Avoid Self-Sabotage During Weight Loss


How to Avoid Self-Sabotage During Weight Loss

You are likely familiar with the pattern -- you get close to your goal weight and then sabotage your efforts by indulging in unhealthy foods or skipping workouts. The self-sabotage phenomenon is common, especially when goals are within reach. This can indicate that you have not fully realized the difference between wanting to be fit and actually being fit.

Living with the daily desire and dream of being fit can be consuming. It not only causes you to put your life on hold, it gives you an excuse for not fully living in the moment and provides a scapegoat for all things gone wrong. When you're overweight, it's easy to make excuses when a situation doesn’t go well: "If I wasn't overweight, then he would like me," or "I can take that chance on a new career once I lose weight." It's a comfortable fantasy without risk.

When you actually reach your goal weight, a primary self-protection mechanism is gone. You have reached the goal of being fit, the one thing that you have been waiting for and dreaming of for years. The excuse that weight once offered is no longer valid. It can be a scary and unnerving situation that leaves you feeling vulnerable. If things don't work out, then who or what is to blame?

It takes courage to live life and roll with the punches, but you can do this without losing weight. Start now and the transition won't be so difficult once you reach your goal. To work through this, begin by assessing what role weight plays in your life. Start a journal and answer these questions:

  • What positive aspects does it offer you?
  • How does it protect you?
  • Can you find alternative ways to protect yourself without hiding?
  • What does being fit mean to you?
  • What internal qualities do you have? In your mind, can you maintain these qualities and still be thin? If not, why?
  • Does being fit threaten you in some way? Why?

Self-exploration takes time and patience, but the result can help you get past those issues that hold you back. There are many resources that can help, including Web sites, books, and professionals such as registered dietitians and nutritionists. Be patient and trust that you can resolve internal conflicts by facing them and working through them, one by one.

15 Bites and Nibbles That Keep You From Losing Weight15 Bites and Nibbles That Keep You From Losing Weight


Bites and Nibbles That Keep You From Losing Weight

If you are a chronic nibbler, you may be eating more calories than you realize. A healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner can easily be undone by a bite here and a nibble there. It is easy to convince yourself that those bites don’t count, but the calories quickly add up. Below is a list of foods that are commonly nibbled when cooking at home, at the office, and at social gatherings.

  • One fried chicken wing: 150
  • One tablespoon of cookie dough: 120
  • One egg roll: 90-150
  • One-inch cube of cheddar cheese: 110
  • One tablespoon of peanut butter: 95
  • One pig in a blanket: 94
  • Five Almond M&Ms: 85
  • Two pieces of strawberry licorice: 80
  • One tablespoon of icing: 70
  • One tablespoon peanuts: 50
  • Ten jelly beans: 40
  • One cocktail meatball: 35
  • One pizza roll: 35
  • One tortilla chip with queso: 31
  • One potato chip with onion dip: 18

Be mindful of every bite and be sure to add each one to your food diary. If you can’t overcome the need to nibble, substitute lower calorie options that are also nutritious, such as a few grapes or berries.

18 Tips for Mindful Eating18 Tips for Mindful Eating


Tips for Mindful Eating

Research suggests that mindful eating can help you lose weight and keep it off. Defined as being fully aware and present during a meal, mindful eating contributes to healthier food choices, slower eating, improved hunger signals, and enjoyment. There are many ways to incorporate more mindful eating into your day.

Change your menu.

It is easy to fall into a rut, eating the same breakfast and lunch day after day. Trying new foods, cooking styles, and types of cuisine will make you more mindful of what you put in your mouth.

Take small bites.

Big bites contribute to eating too quickly. This prevents you from truly enjoying your food. Reduce the size of your bites by at least 1/3 and chew slowly to improve your focus at meal time.

Put down the fork.

Set down your fork at least every two to three bites. This pause will slow your eating and create a more mindful experience.

Use chopsticks.

Forks allow you to scoop up large portions of food, but chopsticks restrict how much you can hold in each bite. It takes practice, but as you learn, you will become more focused on the details (texture, taste, weight) of the food you are eating.

Stay focused.

Avoid being distracted by thoughts of dessert, your next meal, or the snack you plan to have later. If you find this difficult, start making your meals more interesting and flavorful. Incorporate new foods with fresh ingredients that you look forward to eating.

Stop negative thinking.

Classifying a food as good or bad and berating yourself for eating something unhealthy brings negative thinking to the table. Eating should be a pleasurable experience, not one that leaves you feeling guilty. Appreciate the positive aspects of your meal.

Use your table.

The car, couch, and desk create an environment for multi-tasking, removing the focus from your meal. Use your kitchen table when eating at home. Dress it up with a vase of flowers and placemats for an inviting place to relax while you enjoy healthy food.

Reflect on your food.

Take time to think about the food you are eating. Consider where the food came from, what it looks like on the plant or in the ground, and who grew it. This creates a sense of gratitude. Appreciation for your food is a key factor in mindful eating.

Take note.

As you chew, pay attention to the textures, temperature, flavor and crunch of the food. You may discover new elements you haven’t noticed before, which can make your eating experience more enjoyable.

No need for speed.

The faster we complete a task, the more we accomplish. Unfortunately, allowing mealtime to follow this pattern leads to overeating. It also reduces satisfaction and your ability to listen to hunger cues. Slow down, focus, and stop when you are full.

Make it a meal.

Eating from a bag or box makes it difficult to track serving sizes. Regardless of what you eat, grab a plate or bowl and sit down. Measure out portions of crackers, dips, cheeses, nuts, and seeds. Not only does this give you time to consider your food choices, it will keep you from going overboard on servings.

Take one bite.

Make an effort to take one bite of food at a time. Chew it slowly and swallow before picking up the fork and knife for the next. The taste, textures, and flavors will come to life -- increasing how much you enjoy the meal.

Work for your food.

Serve peanuts and pistachios in the shell. Eat oranges and bananas that require peeling. Enjoy cherries and olives with the pits still intact. Removing the inedible portions during the meal will help you eat at a slower pace.

Sip your drink.

The liquids you drink during a meal help to increase fullness. When this liquid is water or unsweetened tea, you can feel fuller without added calories. Additionally, stopping to sip a drink between bites slows your eating.

Stay in the present.

The television, laptop, and Smartphone take attention away from the food causing mindless eating. Give yourself a 20 to 30 minute break from the screen to focus only on your meal.

Serve a pretty plate.

Take the time and effort to set out your meal in a way that makes you appreciate it’s appearance. Use a pretty plate or bowl, add garnishes like fresh herbs or lime slices. Enjoy both the look and taste of your healthy meals.

Assess your hunger level.

When eating out you have less control over serving sizes so it is important to take note of your hunger level. Before your meal, decide how much food will satisfy your hunger and take the rest home for a later meal.

Eat a meal alone.

You may have a family to feed or coworkers that insist you eat lunch together, but dining solo from time to time can help you return to mindful eating. Whether it is a 15-minute breakfast or a dinner alone, dine quietly by yourself and incorporate mindful eating practices.

6 Things to Know About High Protein - Low Carb Diets6 Things to Know About High Protein - Low Carb Diets


High Protein - Low Carb Diets

There are many forms of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. Some are prescribed by doctors to control conditions such as diabetes. Others put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. It’s important to define what the eating plan entails to determine if it will benefit your long term health -- beyond a quick-fix for weight loss. Here are a few things to think about before cutting out carbs.

  1. Carbohydrates do not “make you fat.” Carbohydrates are macronutrients and the primary energy source for the body. Eating carbohydrates does not directly result in weight gain -- although a diet high in refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, processed grains) is likely to be high in calories. Large portions and excess calories are the culprit when it comes to weight gain, not carbohydrates.

  2. High protein diets may stress the kidneys. The byproducts produced when kidneys break down protein can be harmful when concentrations becomes too high in the bloodstream. That being said, in a study by the Indiana University School of Medicine, researchers found that after two years of eating a high protein, low carb diet no harm to kidney function was detected in healthy obese patients when compared to those eating a standard low-fat diet. But even researchers caution that those involved had no evidence of chronic kidney disease or other illness before adopting this eating style. High protein diets are strongly discouraged for anyone with reduced kidney function.

  3. High protein diets can be high in saturated fat. High protein diets that rely on animal products for increased protein can increase saturated fat intake. The American Heart Association advises limiting saturated fat intake to less than seven percent of total calories per day to reduce risk for heart disease. When increasing protein, it’s important to include plant-based sources. Beans, nuts, and seeds provide protein along with healthy fat, fiber, and important vitamins and minerals.

  4. High protein diets may affect bone health. Research shows that high protein diets, especially those high in meat products, can increase acid levels in the body. In high acid conditions, calcium from the bone breaks down to help neutralize the acid which weakens the bones over time. This is especially concerning for postmenopausal women who may already be experiencing accelerated bone loss due to drops in estrogen levels.

  5. Low carbohydrate diets can be low in micronutrients. When restricting carbohydrate intake so much that it reduces or eliminates your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you are at an increased risk for nutrient deficiencies. These foods contain valuable vitamins and minerals necessary for health. They also contain unique phytonutrients that cannot be found from other sources (including supplements).

  6. Low carbohydrate diets can be low in fiber. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are the best sources for fiber. Fiber improves digestive health, lowers blood cholesterol, and helps to control blood sugar. Cutting out foods rich in fiber causes you to miss out on these healthy benefits. Recommended fiber intake is about 25 grams per day. It is nearly impossible to consume this amount of fiber when cutting out these naturally fiber-rich foods.

Benefits of Weight Training for Weight LossBenefits of Weight Training for Weight Loss


Benefits of Weight Training for Weight Loss

Minimize muscle loss.

For many people, a desire for weight loss has resulted in extreme measures. A drastic reduction in calories can cause a loss of lean muscle mass, but regular strength training helps to repair this damage. When you include strength training while consuming a healthy amount of calories and protein, you can build muscle mass and reduce further muscle loss.

Boost fat loss.

Studies conducted by strength training expert, Wayne Westcott, PhD., show that women who performed strength training exercises two to three times per week for eight weeks gained 1.75 pounds of muscle, but lost 3.5 pounds of fat.

The stronger you are, the more you can do.

The stronger you are, the more efficiently you can perform day-to-day activities. Improved strength also allows you to work harder during workouts which results in more total calories burned for weight loss.

The truths and myths of boosting metabolism.

The extra calories burned from increasing muscle isn’t as high as once believed, but the boost is still worth the effort. It was once thought that each pound of muscle burned up to 50 extra calories per day. While it is still a topic of debate, many researchers believe that a pound of muscle actually burns somewhere between 7 to 15 extra calories per day. It’s estimated that a pound of fat burns 2 to 3 calories.

According to the American Council on Exercise, most individuals gain 3 to 5 pounds of muscle after 3 to 4 months of strength training. Let’s say you replace 3 pounds of fat with 3 pounds of muscle. Using the estimate that 1 pound of muscle burns 10 calories and 1 pound of fat burns 3 calories, you will burn 21 extra calories a day. In a year, this results in losing over 2 pounds. While this is a small number, considering the many benefits of weight training, this added bonus certainly doesn’t hurt.

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