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Can I drink Alcohol on a Low Carb Diet?

Can I Drink Alcohol on a Low Carb Diet?

(contributed by Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP)

The short answer:  yes, but…

First, discuss with your doctor whether the use of alcohol may negatively impact your health.  Potential dangers include interacting with medications you may be taking and/or worsening certain chronic conditions you may have such as fatty liver, gout, and hypertension.

Should you and your doctor feel that occasional alcohol is safe for you, it can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a low carb lifestyle.  For example, there are lower-carb alcohol options that you can choose such as dry wines and spirits.  You can also use sugar-free mixers to enjoy low-carb variations of your favorite drinks like a rum and diet coke or a Moscow Mule made with diet ginger beer.

Remember however, that even if your doctor feels moderate alcohol is safe for you, it still can stall or greatly slow weight loss.   

General rules for alcohol use with low-carb diets:

  1. Choose dry wines (cabernet, pinot noir, chardonnay, Chablis, zinfandel), champagnes, spirits and (very) low carb beer if any beer at all. Remember to only combine with sugar-free mixers.

  2. Limit your consumption. Too many drinks can not only add up in calories from the alcohol but also limit your ability to steer clear of the dessert tray or reaching for snacks when you’re not hungry. Know the size of your pour and be aware of your limit!  We generally advise patients to stay under 1 drink per day.

  3. Try to avoid dessert wines like ports and sherries due to high sugar content. Likewise, avoid fruit-flavored cocktail mixers and dark beers. 

 

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Magnesium: A Mineral that Matters

Magnesium: A Mineral that Matters

(contributed by Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP)

You may know magnesium as a mineral that is important for the function of all our muscles:  low magnesium levels may cause painful cramps in our arms and legs, particularly after we’ve done very intense exercise.  Magnesium is also critical for the function of our heart muscle, and when our levels get too low, serious arrhythmias may result. 

Magnesium is also critical for over 300 other metabolic and enzymatic reactions in the body.   In particular, the relationship of magnesium to blood sugar levels is an area of active study.  As a part of glucose metabolism, magnesium drives many of the reactions in the process of breaking down blood sugar.  

Magnesium deficiency is known to aggravate insulin resistance, because without magnesium, more insulin is required to metabolize blood sugar.  The pancreas pumps out more insulin, driving fat storage and increased hunger, leading to increased food intake.   When an individual is insulin resistant to begin with, the presence of low magnesium levels can feed an ongoing vicious cycle of worsening insulin resistance.

Some smaller studies have shown that giving individuals who are insulin resistant magnesium supplements improves insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar control.  Whether magnesium can outright prevent diabetes or cause weight loss on its own is not completely clear.  While they don’t quite recommend supplements to prevent diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes consume increased quantities of magnesium-rich foods.  These include vegetables and legumes, for example.

If you eat a lower carb or ketogenic diet, you may experience increased urination which means that you will lose extra water-soluble minerals including Magnesium.  So, remember the importance of this vital mineral.  You’ll be doing your muscles and your heart a favor, and maybe even put a damper on the cycle of metabolic syndrome that previously blocked your weight loss efforts. 

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Low Carb Travel Tips

Low Carb Travel Tips

(contributed by Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP)

Travel can be exhausting, even more so when you are committed to a healthier lifestyle. Even with careful planning, the unexpected can throw a wrench into things.  Canceled flights, traffic delays, and schedule changes are just a few of the things that can play havoc with your dietary plans.

Here are the best ways to set yourself up for success:

  1. Be Prepared

No matter how big or small the trip, having on-the-go food options will relieve a lot of stress.  Have a meal before leaving home, bring backup snacks, and seek out low-carb options.  Sticking to the basics can help you stay on plan and keep you from getting overwhelmed. Most restaurants and grocery stores will have healthy protein choices and vegetables available.

Look for a bun-less burger with salads, or a grilled protein with veggies and olive oil – it doesn’t have to be fancy.  Remember, proper trip preparation takes practice, but it will get easier over time.

  1. Do your food recon beforehand

Before leaving for your trip, scope out the food scene where you’re going.  Websites like TripAdvisor or Yelp are great resources for this!  And most restaurants have their menus available online.  You can even call a restaurant ahead of time to inform them of your dietary needs.  Most chefs will appreciate the opportunity to be better prepared to serve you, and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications.    

  1. Assert your needs – don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

Traveling with family or colleagues can be especially challenging.  It can be helpful to explain beforehand why you’re committed to a low-carb lifestyle.  The more people understand why you’re making the choices you are, the more likely they’ll be to support you and they may even give it a try themselves.  Another tip: try grocery shopping together for what you want when you arrive.

  1. Move past slips

Even when we try our best, sometimes we go a bit off plan. If you do, it’s important not to spend time beating yourself up. Show yourself some compassion – acknowledge you did the best you could under the circumstances, and then determine to make the next good choice to help you get back on track.

  1. Most of all – enjoy yourself!

At the end of it all, trips and vacations are meant to be enjoyed. Brainstorm ahead of time all the ways to have a good time there that don’t involve food. Go on a hike or walk to explore your new area. If you’re visiting loved ones, focus on spending time with them.  Try not to be obsessed about every meal…just do your best. 

Happy Travels!

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How to Read Food Labels

How to Read Food Labels

Any time you pick up a jar or container of food, you’re sure to see a complex-looking label on the back. It’s the nutrition label, describing the ingredients and nutritional information for the product, which is required by law to inform consumers. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to read the label correctly, the provided information will be of little use.

Nutritional labels on food offer helpful information about what you’re eating. Whether you’re on a diet, have food allergies, or are just paying closer attention to what you’re eating, knowing how to read food labels is a must.

Here’s everything you should know about a nutritional label, from top to bottom.

Serving information

The first thing you’ll see at the top of a nutritional label is the serving information. This tells you what the average serving size is, as well as how many servings are in the container.

Serving sizes vary based on the product. For cooked pasta, it might be one cup, but for sweets, it might be two cookies or pieces of candy. These sizes are loosely based on the average amount people eat of that particular food item.  It’s important to pay attention to serving size, because the rest of the nutritional information is almost always based on one serving, not the entire container. So, if you eat two servings in one sitting, you’ll be getting twice the nutrient content and calories listed on the label.

Some packages include nutritional information based on the full container in addition to or instead of a single serving. Each label will state whether its information is based on a serving or the whole container.

Calories

Below serving size, you’ll find calorie information. This provides the total calorie count per serving. This section may also show how many calories are from fat, which is important if you’re monitoring your fat intake.

Nutrient breakdown

Next, you’ll find a breakdown of the nutrients present in the food. This includes macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).  The fats and carbohydrates sections may also list out the types of each, such as saturated fat or fiber and added sugar. Knowing the difference between these types of macronutrients and what they do is important.

Sodium and cholesterol are also usually included alongside fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Micronutrients are listed below the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

The total amount of each nutrient per serving, calculated in grams, is listed next to the nutrient. Next to that, there’s a percentage. This is the Percent Daily Value (%DV) for the nutrient.  Percent DV tells you what percentage one serving of that food provides of the recommended daily intake based on the government’s nutritional recommendations. For example, if the %DV for protein is 10 percent, it means one serving makes up 10 percent of the protein you should be eating each day.  A low %DV is five percent, and a high % DV is 20 or more. “Low” or “high” could be good or bad, depending on the nutrient and your general dietary choices.

It’s usually recommended you do not exceed 100 percent daily intake of some nutrients, like saturated fats. However, you should aim to reach 100 percent or more of other nutrients, such as vitamin D and fiber.

Percent DV is based on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet and the average recommended value of each nutrient so if you eat fewer or more calories each day these percentages won’t be correct.

Ingredients

Finally, the nutritional label may contain an ingredients list. All food products containing more than one ingredient are required to have an ingredients list.

Ingredients are listed in descending order based on weight. Usually, the first ingredients listed are the most prevalent. Take a close look at the first few ingredients, since these make up the majority of what you’re eating.

It’s also helpful to know how to recognize the “sneaky” names for things like added sugar, which may appear several times in an ingredients list. There are at least 56 different names for sugar that appear frequently in ingredient lists.  Here are a few of the more common ones…barley malt, corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, lactose, fructose, maltose, mannitol, maltodextrin, maple syrup.

Careful observation goes hand-in-hand with education

Understanding how to read nutritional labels means little if you don’t understand how different macronutrients and micronutrients affect your body. Consult your doctor or a dietician to understand what amount of fats, proteins, carbs, and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

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The Importance of Drinking Water Throughout the Day

The Importance of Drinking Water Throughout the Day

One of the most common pieces of health and wellness advice you’re bound to hear over and over again is to drink lots of water—and for good reason! There are tons of great health benefits associated with proper hydration. In addition to preventing dehydration, drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help you slim down, fight fatigue, elevate your mood, enhance your skin and improve your digestion.

But how much water should you be drinking each day and what can you do to make sure you’re drinking enough? Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of drinking more water, including exactly how much to drink each day. We’ve even got a few quick tips to help you develop good habits for daily H2O consumption.

The many benefits of drinking more water

The benefits of staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day are virtually endless. Not only does it contribute to healthy digestion and prevent several adverse medical conditions, you’ll look and feel better too. Grab a water bottle and drink up! Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Prevent dehydration: It may sound obvious but drinking plenty of H2O prevents your body from becoming dehydrated. Beyond avoiding severe thirst, dehydration can be a very dangerous condition, especially chronic dehydration. It’s a problem easily avoided by drinking water regularly throughout the day.
  • Slim down: Did you know water has no calories? Also, drinking cold water can have a positive impact on your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. It can even assist in eliminating waste from your body, contributing to a slimmer physique.
  • Fight fatigue: As mentioned, it’s crucial for you to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. When you’re dehydrated, you may feel tired and groggy, and experience muscle fatigue. Conversely, drinking water can provide you with increased energy levels, along with better concentration and improved mental alertness.
  • Improve mood: Are you the type of person who gets cranky and irritable when you’re hungry? Eating usually fixes the problem. But did you know not drinking enough water can lead to some grumpy side effects, too? Dehydration can contribute to stress, tiredness, lack of focus and a generally negative state of mind. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep your “glass half full!”
  • Enhance skin: Drinking water can also prevent signs of aging, improve your skin tone and prevent pimples. Dehydrated skin is more prone to wrinkling. Using a moisturizer is one way to keep it supple but hydrating from the inside out is your best bet for enhancing the appearance of your skin. Drinking plenty of H2O will also increase circulation and blood flow, while flushing toxins out of your body. The result is healthy, clear skin and a beautiful, glowing complexion.
  • Digest better: Common side effects of dehydration are bloating and constipation, both of which are associated with poor digestion. Consuming water can have a positive effect on your digestive tract by allowing waste to pass through your body. Good hydration can reduce constipation, bloating and other inflammatory health conditions affecting your gut and bowels.

How much water is enough?

All these benefits are great, but you’re probably still wondering: How much water is enough each day?

There’s no perfect answer, but there are some great benchmarks. For starters, aim to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink around 75 ounces of water. There’s also the 8×8 rule: eight ounces of water eight times a day. 

Something else to keep in mind is that if you feel thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Have a glass of water right away to get back on track.

Quick tips for drinking more water

  • Get a water bottle you like! Believe it or not, using a water bottle you like can increase the amount you drink each day.
  • Keep your water bottle filled up and keep it with you at all times––at your desk, in the car and anywhere else you go throughout the day.
  • Set an alarm on your phone or download a water reminder app to remind you to drink water regularly throughout the day.
  • Build drinking into your habits. Every time you stand up or send a text message, make it a rule to take a sip of water.
  • Don’t like plain water? Try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime. Drinking tea also counts toward your daily water consumption.
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Don’t Forget to Exercise…even with a busy schedule!

Don’t Forget to Exercise…even with a busy schedule!

With a hectic lifestyle, exercising might be low on your list of priorities. Whether you’re consumed with work, family, travel, a social life, a side hustle, a major life event, or all of the above, finding time to exercise is critical in remaining healthy and happy. But when your schedule is busy, it can be extremely difficult to fit a sweat session onto your calendar.

Keep reading to discover the benefits of working out regularly, including how morning versus night workouts affect your body. You’ll also learn how to stay fit while at your desk, why any movement is beneficial, and how to prioritize daily physical activity!

Make time for the gym, day or night

When is the right time to work out? In general, the best time to sweat each day is when you have the time, whether that’s in the morning, on your lunch break, or in the evening. However, you might yield different benefits with physical activity depending on the time of day. Here’s how making time for exercise, day or night, can boost both your mental and physical wellness.

Advantages of a morning workout

Are you a morning person? It may play to your advantage. For people who don’t totally love working out, pre-work exercise can work well because it allows you to check it off your list first thing in the morning. It makes you feel accomplished and ready to tackle the day ahead, as opposed to dreading an after-work workout. Other benefits to working out in the morning include increased energy and elevated mood throughout the day, as well as lower blood pressure and a decrease in cortisol (a stress-response hormone).

Benefits of exercising in the evening

If you’re more of a night owl and can’t find the motivation to get moving in the morning, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Getting your sweat on in the evening allows you to get a longer workout in if you have more hours to spare. It’s also a superb way to let go of pent up stress after a long day at work. Evening workouts may also help you build muscle faster and get to sleep more easily.

How can you work out at your desk?

When it comes to working out, every little bit of movement counts. You can even make some adjustments and develop certain habits to sneak some exercise in at your desk!

One of the more obvious solutions is to get a treadmill desk or a standing desk. With a treadmill desk, you can send emails and take calls while burning calories as you walk in place. With a standing desk, you won’t burn quite as many calories, but you’ll burn more than if you were sitting all day. Plus, you’ll reap additional benefits such as increased blood flow and better focus.

If you can’t come by a standing desk, don’t worry: Your traditional desk-and-chair setup is a personal gym in disguise! There are tons of discrete workouts you can do in mere minutes to help you stay active throughout the day. Here are a few:

  • Squats onto your chair
  • Triceps dips from your desk
  • Calf raises while holding the back of your chair
  • Glute squeezes while sitting or standing
  • Wall sits
  • Stationary lunges
  • Incline pushups from your desk
  • Various stretches

See daily exercise as a priority

You’ve got a lot of priorities. And while your main focus might be on work, family or other obligations, it’s also crucial to view daily exercise as a priority. How can you hold yourself accountable to working out regularly? You can sign up for an exercise class, meet up with a friend for a walk or jog, invest in a standing desk, or put your workouts directly on your calendar. Just make sure you’re doing something to prioritize fitness each day.

At a minimum, keep your body moving

Even if you feel like you don’t have time to exercise every day, it’s important to keep your body moving. Whether you’re completing a 30-minute workout, running for an hour, exercising at your desk, standing instead of sitting, or walking on your lunch break, the goal is to keep your body moving no matter how busy you are. Every minute counts.

Be adaptable; exercise around life

The best way to make sure you exercise in the middle of your busy schedule is to be adaptable. Exercise around your life. With a hectic calendar, there’s a good chance that no two days will look exactly alike, and the same goes for working out.

You might have time for a spin class on Monday, but on Tuesday, you may only get the chance to take a brisk walk on your lunch break. Wednesday might be filled up with meetings, so you take the stairs and try to sneak in some workouts at your desk.

Prioritizing exercise will look different for everyone––do what works for you! Just make sure you’re making the time for fitness and not giving it a backseat to everything else life throws at you.

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10 Ways to Enjoy a More Active Family Life

10 Ways to Enjoy a More Active Family Life

One of the best ways to increase your personal wellness is to find someone to hold you accountable, and for you to do the same for them. Who better to do this with than your own family? Whether you and your partner are looking for a way to get motivated or you have young kids who need to learn the importance of wellness, making fitness a family activity is a great idea. 

Not sure how to get started? Below are 10 ways to enjoy a more active family life. You’ll get the dual benefit of spending time with the people you love, while also making fitness and activity a priority. Give any or all of them a shot:

  1. Enjoy a brisk walk: Walking is the easiest way to get the whole family up and moving. Take a walk around the block, head to a nearby park, stroll through the local cemetery or hop on a local path for a quick jaunt. If you have a dog, it’s the perfect excuse to put on your walking shoes.

  2. Go for a bike ride: Biking is a great alternative to walking and something everyone can enjoy. Find a scenic bike trail nearby and put a few miles in. If you live near a lake or lengthy park, scenic rides are a great way to spend an afternoon. Plus, biking is easy enough to enjoy, yet strenuous enough to leave you feeling accomplished after.

  3. Run for a cause: Lace up those shoes and put on a bib! Entering the family in a 5k run/walk or any other short distance run is a run way to encourage a little healthy competition. Run together, see who finishes first or make a few new friends while your team races for a good cause.

  4. Go for a swim: If your family is more aquatically inclined, trade in running shoes for a swim cap and hit the pool. Swimming is a wonderful way to condition your whole body and offers zero impact compared to running. Everyone from toddlers to grandparents can enjoy time spent in the water.

  5. Take a hike: If you live in an area rife with hiking trails, make them your destination for a weekend excursion. Hiking not only builds stamina and burns calories, it connects you to nature and exposes you to the natural beauty of the world around you. Pack a map and some trail mix for the whole family!

  6. Vacation and explore: Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean lazing by the beach all day. Pound the pavement in a major metropolitan city or kayak and hike through untamed wilderness. Take a vacation to a place the whole family can explore and spend time doing things, instead of staying cooped up in a hotel room.

  7. Divvy up the chores: Your family can get active and stay fit without leaving home. Take the growing list of chores and divvy them up, giving everyone jobs to accomplish. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathroom or reorganizing the garage, there’s bound to be plenty of calories burned.

  8. Play a sport: There are so many sports to consider and plenty of opportunities to join recreational leagues. Enroll you and your partner in an adult kickball league, sign the kids up for soccer, or hoop it up in your own driveway with a family game of Horse. Sports keep you active and teach skills like hand-eye coordination and decision-making.

  9. Get involved with the community: Community events are a great place to enjoy time with family, stay active and get to know the neighborhood. Walk through the local farmer’s market, sign up for a community cleanup day or traipse through the neighborhood visiting rummages. You’ll stay active and meet your neighbors!

  10. Go on an adventure: One of the best ways to stay fit is simply to see the world as an adventure. Take the family geocaching, be tourists in your own city or make it a point to explore nearby destinations you’ve never been to. With the spirit of adventure, you’ll spend more time up and active than you do sitting on the couch.

Each of these activities can accommodate your whole family, no matter how many of you there are. See what activities are most popular with everyone and get out there to try those first! Or, toss them all into a hat and take turns picking which activity you do next. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you stay active and do it as a family!

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8 Ways to be a Little Healthier at the Office

8 Ways to be a Little Healthier at the Office


If you work an office job, you’re spending 40 or more hours each week confined to a desk. Naturally, this causes some health concerns. Sitting, looking at a computer monitor, eating convenience food and stressing all take a toll. But it’s hard to escape these habits! You can’t just abandon your work.


Despite being cooped up in an office five days out of the week, there are a few ways to be a little healthier at work. Here are eight simple things you can start doing today to improve your health. Give them a try one by one, until you’ve incorporated each of them into your workday routine:

  1. Take breaks: Taking a lunch break is nice, but the real benefit to your health comes from hourly breaks. At the end of every hour, take two minutes to stand up, stretch and breathe deep. You’ll feel stress melt away! Limbering up also helps prevent muscle fatigue from sitting all day. Two minutes is all it takes. Refill your water bottle, go to the bathroom or walk a lap of the office.
  2. Stand, don’t sit: If possible, try to stand as much as possible at work. If your office will allow a standing desk, get one! Sitting for extended periods of time will cause compression in your lumbar spine, strain your hamstrings and quadriceps muscles, and reduce your circulation. Standing remedies these problems, keeping you healthy and fit.

  3. Keep drinking water: Drinking more water is something most people need to do. Try filling up a water bottle and making it your goal to drink at least 8oz of water per hour. Keep track by filling up a 16oz water bottle every two hours. You’ll start to feel the positive effects of better hydration in just a few days. You’ll be more alert, have more energy, enjoy a better complexion and feel generally better.

  4. Keep your workspace clean: A clean workspace has both physical and mental wellbeing benefits. Physically, a clean workspace is less prone to germs and bacteria. Mentally, the cleaner your workspace, the more organized and on top of things you’re likely to be. Take a few moments each day to give your area a once-over. Tidy it up, clean up any trash and make sure it’s sanitized.

  5. Invest in ergonomics: Ergonomics focus on best practices for supporting the body’s biomechanics. Things like sitting up straighter, looking forward and supporting the low back are all examples of ergonomics in action. Design your workspace to be ergonomic by getting a supportive chair and ensuring your computer monitor is properly positioned. Ergonomics go a long way towards helping you feel comfortable throughout the day.

  6. Manage stress: Stress is unavoidable at work. Learning to manage it is a great way to avoid a slew of health problems. Stress can cause everything from inflammation, to autoimmune reactions, to physical pain! Avoiding these issues means learning how to recognize when you’re stressed and having an outlet for it. Use a stress ball, get up and go for a cooldown walk, put on some calming music—whatever it takes to give you room to process stress appropriately.

  7. Take the stairs: make the conscious decision to embrace physical effort! While your coworkers are cramming into the elevator, take the stairs and get a small workout right away in the morning. If you work on a floor in the teens, build yourself up to climb a few floors at a time. At the end of the day, take the stairs down as a last triumph before leaving work. As much physical activity as you can work in will help offset sitting for eight hours at a time.

  8. Vary your tasks: It’s easy to get involved in one task as the hours fly by. Do your best to switch things up and vary your work. When you focus too intently for too long, your body suffers. Your muscles tense up, eyes strain, back hunches and more. Your mental health can suffer too—especially if task fatigue sets in. Try to keep yourself engaged with new tasks every half hour if possible. The variability will do your mind and body good.

It doesn’t matter how much money you’re making or how happy you are with your work, there’s no substitute for good health. Take these tips to heart and try incorporating them into your day. The more you can include, the better you’ll feel when the weekend rolls around and the real fun begins!

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Summertime Healthy Weight Loss Tips

Summertime Healthy Weight Loss Tips


Summer is almost here! Many families welcome this time for vacations, and relief of pressures of the school/work year.

However, watching your weight can be tricky with disruption of your regular routine. Plus, the hot sticky weather can make us feel heavy and bloated. Here are some tips to keep you feeling and looking your best for fun in the sun.

Watch the alcohol.
With summer parties and barbeques, sugary cocktails like mojitos and mai tais are everywhere, along with calorie-and carb-rich beers. If you are not careful, these can quickly pack on unwanted pounds. Also, drinking alcohol typically results in over-eating by dis-inhibiting feelings of fullness- basically, when we drink, we tend to overeat! Excess alcohol can also cause dehydration, making you feel extra fatigued from a long beach day. Instead of the sweet cocktails, take an “alcoholiday” – go for sparkling water with lemon, lime, or a slice of orange. If you must drink, choose a wine spritzer or a low-carb “lite” beer, and alternate one alcoholic drink with one glass of water.

Follow the 75/25 rule
Try to fill your plate with 75% watery vegetables like greens, and 25% protein. Eating more greens gives you extra vitamins and boosts hydration, and choosing protein over starches will help you feel less bloated and sluggish. Adequate protein is also critical to maintaining your lean body mass, and helping you recover from exercise.

Choose beverages wisely.
Try junking the juice – while it does contain antioxidants and vitamins, juices flood your body with excess sugar it doesn’t need. Eating the whole fruit is a far better choice – you get a higher fiber to sugar ratio. Also, flavored coffee drinks give us far more sugar than is good for us. Instead of the usual syrup-ey mocha frappe, try swapping your drink for an iced black coffee or flavored unsweetened tea.

Pack healthy snacks
Having fresh, healthy items in your cooler will make it far less likely that you will reach for junk. Try freezing individual yogurt cups – they’ll stay cool till you are ready to nosh. Go for sugar-free Greek yogurts for extra protein without the extra calories and carbs – a good brand is Oikos Zero. Fresh watermelon slices or a berry salad (strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry) make great sweet treats that everyone, especially kids, really love out at the beach or on the trail. Nuts also can be nutritious and filling, but they also are high-calorie. Measure out ¼ cup portions in individual baggies to be sure you don’t overdo.

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13 Ways to Lose Weight Naturally

13 Ways to Lose Weight Naturally

To lose weight naturally means that you’re not going to extreme measures, such as surgery, to get rid of excess pounds. You’re making changes to your lifestyle that will help you lose weight.

Highly restrictive diets that promise fast results may be enticing, but these plans aren’t sustainable in the long run. Though it takes more time to meet your goals, natural weight loss is best achieved through a combination of eating fewer calories and exercising.

However, we know that losing weight is simple in theory and much harder to put into practice. So we’re sharing 13 simple ways to lose weight naturally and help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.

1 | Drink Water

Not only do we need to stay hydrated for our bodies to function properly, water is also one of the easiest ways to cut back on calories. Drinking a glass of water before each meal will help you feel full and eat less.

Replacing other high calorie beverages, such as soda or juice, with water will reduce your calorie intake.

2 | Exercise Regularly

Getting a moderate amount of exercise has been shown to have numerous health benefits, aside from helping with weight loss. People who get regular physical activity are at lower risk for a host of chronic health problems.

Exercise has also been shown to play an important role in maintaining weight loss. Once you’ve done the hard work of losing weight, even moderate amounts of exercise will help prevent you from regaining the weight.

3 | Eat Whole Foods & Avoid Processed Foods

Nutrient-dense, single-ingredient foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and eggs, provide many of the key components of a healthy diet. These foods are typically more filling and lower in calories.

Processed food is loaded with added sugar and fat, which makes it a poor choice if you’re trying to lose weight. What you gain in convenience, you lose in nutritional value.

4 | Cut Out Added Sugar

Added sugar is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of weight gain. It also contributes to chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s very difficult to eat in moderate levels unless you avoid processed food and sugary beverages.

By eating mostly whole foods, you can decrease the added sugar in your diet. At this point, there’s no distinction between added sugar and naturally-occuring sugar on nutritional labels, so you have to check carefully for hidden sugar in items that appear healthy, such as yogurt or oatmeal.

5 | Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping might not jump out at you as an important factor for natural weight loss, but in multiple studies, individuals who got plenty of sleep had better weight loss results than those who didn’t. One possible reason might be that the earlier you go to sleep, the less time you’re awake to eat.

When you’re tired, you’re less likely to be physically active. We also tend to make poor food choices when we’re fatigued. Getting enough sleep can even benefit those with a genetic predisposition to obesity.

6 | Eat Fiber

Despite the numerous benefits of fiber for weight loss, the average American gets roughly half the daily recommendation of 14 grams per 1000 calories. Fiber-filled foods can help with hunger control and with the regulation of blood sugar levels, helping you to eat less without feeling deprived.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts are all good sources of fiber. Soluble fiber found in the flesh of plant-based foods forms a gel-like substance in the gut, slowing the absorption of sugar and fat.

7 | Eat Healthy Fats

For a long time, fat got a bad rap so there are a lot of misconceptions about what type of fat we should be eating. Eating a moderate amount of healthy fats can actually help you lose weight.

Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, avocado, and tree nuts, can help lower blood pressure and bad LDL cholesterol levels when replacing saturated fats in your diet.

Polyunsaturated fats, specifically Omega-3 fatty acids found in several types of fish, can have a multitude of positive effects such as reducing inflammation and fat build-up in the liver.

8 | Don’t Drink Your Calories

High calorie beverages, such as soda, juice, and many coffee drinks, are some of the worst saboteurs of a natural weight loss plan. Our brain recognizes liquid calories differently than those from solid food, so we often consume more calories while reaping no nutritional benefit.

Sugary drinks also make it easy to consume large amounts of fructose in a short period of time. Fructose can only be metabolised by the liver. When the liver is overloaded with fructose, it is forced to convert the fructose to fat.

9 | Supplement with Lovidia

We believe strongly that the patented Gut Sensory Modulation science behind our hunger-control pill, Lovidia, can be a valuable tool if you’re trying to lose weight naturally.

While Lovidia is not a magic pill, it can help you overcome hunger and cravings without unpleasant side effects. You can read more about Gut Sensory Modulation in our post, Understanding Weight Loss Supplements, Pills, Shakes, and Vitamins.

As always, we recommend you talk to your doctor or health care provider before taking any supplement, including Lovidia.

10 | Weigh Yourself Regularly

While your overall health is certainly not defined by the number on your scale, studies show that weighing yourself on a regular basis can be an asset when you’re trying to lose weight naturally. One possible reason is that you’re more aware of your progress or the negative consequences of poor food choices.

Be sure to weigh yourself at the same time each day for accurate results. If stepping on the scale every day seems to make you obsess over the number, try weighing yourself every few days instead.

11 | Cut Out Refined Carbs

At this point most of us know that not all carbohydrates are created equally. As carbohydrate foods are more refined, or processed, they typically decrease in nutritional value. Wheat is refined to produce white flour that creates a softer texture, but the fiber and vitamins are removed during the refining process.

The fiber in whole grains prevents carbs from being immediately turned into blood sugar so your body uses some of the carbs as fuel or to create muscle mass. Refined carbs also often have added fat and sugar, making the food even less healthy.

12 | Eat Protein-rich Foods

Protein is the nutrient that gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to losing weight naturally. It takes more energy to digest and metabolize, which means your body uses more calories to process it than other nutrients.

Protein also makes you feel full faster and increases the hormones that signal fullness to your brain. Chicken, fish, and lean beef are all great sources of protein. For a more portable option to take with you on-the-go, try string cheese, hard boiled eggs, and smoothies made with protein powder.

13 | Try Intermittent Fasting

There are several different methods of intermittent fasting, including the 16/8 method and Eat Less Days (alternate day fasting.) Regardless of the method you choose, the purpose is to significantly reduce calories at some times, while eating “normally” the rest of the time.

While studies show that there are numerous potential benefits of intermittent fasting, one reason it is so helpful for natural weight loss is its simplicity. The easier a weight loss program is, the more likely you are to succeed.

Wrapping It Up

To lose weight naturally, you need to use more calories than you consume. Each of these 13 tools can help you to reduce your caloric intake or maximize your caloric output. This combination will help you succeed in losing weight and keeping it off long term.