A breakfast made up of simple carbohydrates causes a spike in blood sugar which is followed by a drop in blood sugar. This creates a roller coaster ride of hunger, cravings for carbohydrates, and decreased energy levels.
Simple carbohydrate breakfast items may include:
low-fiber sugared cereals
white toast with jelly
Does that mean that you can never eat these items? Of course not. But to reduce hunger, aim for a nutrient-rich breakfast with a high satiety factor. Satiety is the ability of a meal to offer a feeling of prolonged fullness. Including fiber, fat, and protein in your meal can slow the overall release of glucose into the blood, which allows an appropriate release of insulin. This increases the overall satiety of the meal -- keeping you full longer.
High fiber, complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains) have low glycemic loads, and they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Eating these healthy carbohydrates in combination with healthy fats and lean protein further improves the satiety of the meal. For instance, choose whole-grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or salmon, or a whole-wheat muffin or waffle with fruit spread or almond butter.
Also try varying the size of your breakfast. For example, you may find that increasing the amount of food eaten at breakfast, and balancing this out by decreasing the amount of food eaten at dinner, more closely matches your personal hunger profile.
Experiment with various combinations until you find a variety of meals that provide you with satiety for a few hours. Remember, being hungry 3 to 5 hours after eating is normal. Individuals vary in their sensitivity to blood sugar swings so it may take some time until you find what meals provide optimal satiety for you.
The phrase "diets don't work" means that diets don't work in the long run. You may temporarily lose weight, but traditional approaches to dieting are not usually effective. If you simply go on a diet and don't permanently change your lifestyle, you will eventually gain back the weight.
Approximately 90 to 95% of dieters fail to keep the weight off permanently. This means that traditional dieting has a dismal success rate of only 5 to 10%.
It is estimated that about half of American women are on a diet at any given time. Despite this large number of dieting individuals, one-third of Americans obese.
So, what is the answer? We must revamp our lifestyles and permanently incorporate self-loving behaviors that include consuming healthy foods and performing daily enjoyable activities.
Crash diets are punishing, ineffective, and are often motivated by self-loathing and body dissatisfaction. Few people can sustain such a negative way of life. Instead, focus on the positive. Don't force yourself to live on grapefruit, bacon, or cabbage soup. Instead, find healthy foods that you enjoy. If you don't like to run, don't. Find a form of exercise that is enjoyable to you. You will find that making positive, healthy changes to your lifestyle can be very rewarding and reinforcing. The end result is a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle that is permanent.
As you lose weight, your body needs fewer calories to maintain the new you. This reduced need for calories makes it especially hard to lose the last 10 pounds. Try some of these tips to push through a plateau and reach your goal weight.
Move more throughout the day.
The calories burned by adding small bouts of movement to your day add up. Do everything you can to keep moving. Take a quick break from the computer, and walk a flight of stairs at the office. When watching television, do some push-ups or crunches during the commercials.
Add a workout.
Consider adding an extra workout to your week to boost calorie burn. If you simply can’t squeeze in another walk or fitness class, get up a few minutes early and do a 15 minute circuit workout. Pick several exercises such as jumping jacks, squat jumps, planks, front kicks, and bicycle crunches, and do each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit until you have completed 15 minutes.
Change your exercise intensity.
A small change in your normal intensity will boost calorie burn. If you walk for 30 minutes per day, add speed intervals. Walk very fast (like you are late for an appointment) for 1 minute, and then recover by walking at your normal pace for 3 minutes. Continue this pattern for the entire workout. The same can be done with cardio machines, biking, or running. Adding a new route that includes hills is another way to increase intensity.
Challenge your strength.
It is easy to get into a rut with strength training, but muscles must be challenged with increased weight and new movement to strengthen and grow. You can increase the number of repetitions, or the amount of weight, or better yet, try some new moves. Trade weights and machines for challenging exercises using your body weight such as side planks, plank push-ups, wall-sits, reverse lunges, and jump squats.
Alter your pattern.
Do you exercise in the mornings? Morning workouts are effective because you are less likely to skip out later in the day, but it isn’t the best time to exercise for everyone. Maybe you wake up sleepy and don’t push as hard as you would if you exercised in the afternoon or evening. Regardless of your regular workout time, try switching two or three of your workouts to a different time of day to boost calorie burn.
Cut out alcohol.
A glass of wine can halt weight loss, even if it fits into your calorie budget. When acetate from alcohol is available for energy, it becomes much more difficult for the body to burn fat. Try cutting out alcohol completely for a few weeks to reach your goal weight.
Refresh your snacks.
Limit your snacks to 200 calories or less, and make sure they are a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your snacks. The water they contain will hydrate you, and the fiber will help you feel full longer.
Eat more fresh foods.
Does your diet consist of many packaged and pre-made foods? Even “diet” varieties can contain hidden salt and preservatives that make you retain water and feel bloated. Add more fresh foods to your meal plan. If you don’t have time to make them yourself, take advantage of salad bars, and healthy wraps and sandwiches in the deli of health food stores. Changing your diet to include more fresh foods and fewer foods from a package may be the nutritional boost you need to get past those last 10 pounds.
Eat more often.
Have you given up between-meal and bedtime snacks in order to cut calories? It might be time to add them back in. A well-balanced snack between your meals, or a bedtime snack, gives you energy and reduces hunger. That extra energy will help you push through tough workouts so you’ll burn more calories, and you will be less likely to overeat at meals.
Re-evaluate and recommit.
Weight loss can be a long journey and as you near your goal weight, it is easy to let minor distractions get you off track. Take time to assess your current situation. Maybe you are already within your healthy weight range, and losing those last 10 lbs is no longer necessary. It’s okay to reevaluate your goal weight throughout the weight loss process. If you decide they do need to go, recommit to the healthy habits that got you to where you are now, and those last few pounds will be history.
Mindless eating and drinking as you mingle at a party can send your caloric intake through the roof. When you are the host, lead by example. Follow these tips to throw a party that is healthy without sacrificing the fun.
Serve a meal.
Offering a variety of finger foods encourages people to try a little of everything, which can lead to overeating. By having guests sit down to a full meal, you can help them avoid the temptation. A meal around the table will encourage conversation, and define a beginning and end to eating for the event.
Offer smaller portions, and more courses.
A meal spread over four courses feels elegant, and allows you to serve smaller portions. Try cucumber cups filled with shrimp salad for an appetizer, a chilled gazpacho soup, an entrée of fish or chicken with fruit salsa and roasted vegetables, and a small portion of a decadent cake for dessert.
Have guests make their meal.
Take some of the pressure off yourself and let your guests assemble their own meal. Create a fun taco, pasta or salad bar with grilled meats, vegetables, and fresh toppings. This approach encourages creativity and mingling, and provides the benefit of having a meal instead of snacks. With lots of healthy toppings, your guests will have the option to make nutritious choices.
Offer a variety of drinks and mixers.
Fancy, signature cocktails are fun, but all of those juices and mixers are high in calories. You don’t have to cut out the alcohol, but provide a variety of light beers and use club sodas and flavored waters as mixers.
Don’t get overwhelmed.
Keep each course simple, and choose foods you can prepare ahead of time. Stressing out over the event could lead to overeating.
Make health a side note.
While your goal is to keep your party as healthy as possible, don’t make that the focus for your guests. The goal is to make fun parties with healthy foods the norm, and not the exception. After a party like this, guests will realize they aren’t missing out on anything, except for the calories.
Harboring a poor body image can do more than just hinder your weight loss efforts. It can make you downright miserable. Your journey to becoming a healthier person will benefit greatly if it is preceded by self-love and self-respect.
Start by recognizing that the only opinion that matters is your opinion. Self-respect originates from the self – not from others.
Break the vicious cycle of dieting. In order to do this, you need to first recognize the cycle, which typically follows this pattern:
You have feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body.
You start a crash diet in an attempt to lose weight.
You are not able to maintain the unrealistic requirements of your crash diet.
You regain the weight that you lost (and oftentimes surpass your original body weight).
Your feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body are worse than when you started.
There is one simple secret to avoiding this trap: Do not crash diet. Crash diets are not sustainable and they do nothing to teach you healthy habits. Instead, try to convert your existing lifestyle into a healthy one. Luckily, you are already on the right path by using MyFoodDiary.com.
Chronic dieters who have experienced repeated failure commonly bash themselves with negative self-talk. Re-wiring those negative self-talk tapes is the first step in learning self-love.
A good place to start is with positive affirmations, which are statements that affirm positive characteristics about you. This can provide a gateway to achieving self-love. We don't fully understand how positive affirmations work, but we know that they do.
Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day and repeat the saying out loud to yourself -- preferably while looking in the mirror. Affirmations should use words and phrases such as respect, cherish, care for, love, dignity, beautiful, treasure, worth it, whole, complete, esteem, confidence, health, acceptance, and responsibility. Create your own uplifting affirmations that have meaning for you. An example may read something like this:
"I am beautiful, complete, and whole. I respect and cherish my body and its amazing and miraculous functions. I love and care for myself at all times."
Repeat them throughout the day, especially when you recognize negative self-talk replaying in your mind. Affirmations gently remind you of your focus, and help you dismiss destructive thoughts.
Start journaling your thoughts and feelings. This is another powerful tool for identifying negative self-talk, and challenging it. Each day, commit to writing something in the Personal Notes section of your account. You do not need to write about anything specific -- just write at least 3 paragraphs a day. Sooner or later, ideas and feelings will start to surface and you can confront them in writing. Always end your journal entry with a positive affirmation.
Be patient and gentle with yourself. Take special time out on a daily basis, and allow yourself to decompress. Remind yourself that you are more than what is on the outside and that people come in different shapes and sizes. Refuse to succumb to the shallow criteria often put forth by society. Explore your interests and talents, and focus your energies on experiencing life through those channels. Instead of concentrating on how you look, direct your energy and thoughts to how you feel when you eat well and move your body. Always view your dietary intake and exercise as ways in which you are caring for and nurturing your body -- not as a way to simply lose weight.
If you continue to struggle, consider finding a counselor or a therapist to help you work through some of these issues. Oftentimes, having an objective party to challenge your self-defeating beliefs can be helpful. Know that each of us has a purpose and a reason for being here, and rarely does it have anything to do with how we look.