This summer, take advantage of the (finally) warm weather and find a way to get out of the house and boost your health and wellness. Instead of hiding in the A.C, take advantage of the sunshine and get your hands dirty this summer by starting a garden of your own. In addition to being a great form of exercise, planting a vegetable garden can help you to grow your own produce, making eating right even easier—an added benefit for your medical weight loss efforts.
Whether you are planning on digging out a portion of your backyard or just getting started with a small container garden, growing your own fruits and vegetables is a rewarding experience. Think about this: it is hard to think of it as dieting when you are enjoying the literal fruits of your labor.
When planting your garden, go for more nutrients. You can do this by planning out what vitamins you are hoping to achieve out of your efforts and plotting the plants accordingly. Don’t forget to also consider which crops will best grow in your area in Illinois.
Consider this guide when deciding what foliage you are going to plant this year:
- Calcium: You don’t need a cow to have natural sources of calcium in your backyard. Plant leafy greens like kale and spinach, in addition to broccoli, Chinese cabbage and turnip greens for calcium.
- Iron: Iron is not limited to red meats. You can grow this nutrient by planting green peas, potatoes, kidney beans and spinach, as well as lima and garbanzo beans.
- Magnesium: Important for moderating nerves and maintaining heart health, magnesium can be grown in your backyard through soybeans, black-eyed peas, kidney and pinto beans, spinach and potatoes
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is important for your immune system, improving white blood cells which help to fight off infection. You can get this nutrient by planting kale, carrots, spinach, cantaloupe and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C: One of the more popular nutrients talked about, vitamin C is also important for your immune system. To plant vitamin C, go for sweet peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon.
Planting all of these would be a huge task. If you are just getting started then pick a few simple plants that range in nutritional value and see how it goes. Tomatoes, carrots and kale are all pretty easy starter plants for the gardening novice. Then again, if gardening in general just doesn’t sound like fun to you, look for these plants at your local farmers market or produce store. While you may not reap the same physical rewards from growing the plants yourself, the nutritional value is still the same.
Bright and bustling beaches, sparkling swimming pools, blissful and lively concerts and festivals, the great outdoors in the brilliant light of the summer sun—the onset of summertime brings many different things to mind for many different people. But if you’re going through a medical weight loss program, other things may be occupying your mind as the warmer month’s approach, like how you’re going to safely navigate the many dangerous food choices that summer may present to you.
Cutting calories is a big part of any successful weight loss plan, but just because you are cutting down on fat doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice flavor. These great summer foods pack in more healthy content than your typical summer treat, and they taste great too!
- Avocado. Also called alligator pear for its green, bumpy skin and tapered shape, the avocado is a powerhouse of nutrients. A good source of Vitamins C, B6, K and folate, avocados also contain high levels of fiber, potassium and healthy unsaturated fats. Avocados are full of their own antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help improve your vision and may help fight some forms of cancer, but also improve your absorption of antioxidants called carotenoids from other foods.
- Arugula. Fresh, leafy greens are among the best choices for any diet, and arugula may be the best of the best. Arugula makes for a far superior salad base to iceberg lettuce, with four times the amount of iron, eight times the calcium and five times the content of Vitamins A, K and C. Unlike other salad greens, arugula is actually classified as a cruciferous vegetable, making it a cousin of broccoli and cauliflower. Along with their other excellent nutritional qualities, these kinds of vegetables have been linked to protection against some forms of cancer.
- Boysenberries. Though perhaps not as well-known as the blueberries and raspberries crossed to create them, boysenberries pack in healthy doses of the nutrients found in both. Chock full of Vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium, boysenberries also contain nearly twice the antioxidant content of blueberries, which are frequently touted as a “superfood” for their own antioxidant levels. These antioxidants are called anthocyanins and give boysenberries their rich color in addition to fighting the ravages of agents in your body called free radicals. Boysenberries are cholesterol free, low calorie and even provide one gram of protein per cup.
This doesn’t have to be the summer of boring health food. Foods like the three above are great for your health and their vibrant flavors and colors may make you forget about those other treats you used to crave.
For many people, achieving a goal weight is only half of the weight loss battle. Avoiding setbacks and weight regain can be just as much of a struggle as actually losing the weight. Maintaining your weight loss requires the same level of commitment it took to lose weight, and you have to stay dedicated to keeping up with most of your newly developed habits.
Avoiding Regain after Weight Loss
Some helpful tips to keep that excess weight off for good are:
- Keep a food diary. Keeping a log of what you are eating will help keep you on track with making healthy food choices even after you’ve reached your initial weight loss goal. You can use your diary to avoid any excessive bingeing or snacking that may seem harmless at first, but could actually add up in the long run.
- Watch your portion sizes. Even if you are making smart choices when it comes to your food, you still want to watch your portion sizes. Large serving sizes can lead to excess calories and overeating.
- Weigh yourself regularly. Don’t become obsessed with the scale! But, it is important to continue to monitor your weight. Remember that weight is lost and gained slowly and you may not notice the subtle changes. Weighing yourself regularly allows you to spot up-trends quickly and make the appropriate corrections.
- Keep exercising. Experts agree that exercise is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy weight. You’ll keep your metabolism burning and hang on to the lean muscle you’ve gained while you were losing weight. You may be tempted to skip the workouts when you’re not working towards a goal, but regular physical activity needs to be part of your everyday lifestyle if you’re going to maintain a healthy weight and body.
- Don’t skip meals. When you stop paying close attention to what you’re eating, you may be tempted to slip back into old habits, like working through lunch or skipping breakfast. Continue to eat regular meals at about the same time every day to prevent a slowdown in your metabolism, which can cause a regain.
It can be tempting to give yourself a break after you’ve worked so hard to lose weight. Consider rewarding yourself with a special trip or purchase instead of diving into the junk food you’ve been staying away from. Remember that the longer you continue to practice your healthy habits, the easier it will be for you to keep your weight off in the long term.
During medical weight loss, you’ll be making a number of changes—most notably to your diet. During this time, you may find it difficult to break certain food habits you’ve grown accustomed to. One of the hardest habits to overcome during dietary changes can be comfort eating. Comfort eating, as the name suggests, is eating to make yourself feel comforted. You may associate certain foods with warmth, security or relaxation. You may turn to these comfort foods when you’re feeling tired, stressed or sad. However, comfort eating can quickly derail your weight loss efforts if it becomes a frequent occurrence. If comfort eating is one of your harmful habits, it is important that you find ways to cut comfort eating from your routine.
How to Stop Comfort Eating
For starters, you’ll want to take a realistic approach to eliminating and preventing comfort eating. For example, it is not realistic to assume that you will never again find yourself in a situation where you want to be comforted by your favorite homemade dishes or snack foods. However, you can create a list of alternative habits or activities that you can partake in instead of indulging in those foods to comfort you when you’re feeling sad, tired, stressed or lonely.
Some possible alternatives may include:
- Going for a walk
- Calling a friend
- Watching a favorite movie
- Writing in a journal
- Trying a new hobby
During medical weight loss, keeping a food journal can also be an effective way to stay on track with your diet and avoid any excessive eating habits. If you keep a log of what you are eating and how you feel when you are eating it, you will be able to pinpoint your negative eating habits and work to eliminate them.
In order to successfully avoid comfort eating long-term, it’s most important that your newly adopted behaviors are some things that you enjoy doing. You should also consider how easy it will be to turn to your new comfort strategies. The new activities you add to your list should be just as easy as reaching for a bowl of ice cream, or you’re less likely to rely on them when the time comes.
Think you have what it takes to go Gladiator? Just when we thought that barefoot running and the trendy Paleo diet were all the back-in-time fitness fads one year could handle, gladiator fitness has taken to the scene and it has fitness gurus, celebrities and those simply trying to shed a few pounds fighting up a sweat.
Sticking to a traditional workout plan is tough for a lot of people during medical weight loss. The monotony of going to the gym and doing the same thing over and over again prompts many people to lose interest in the program. By mixing up your workout with interesting, new routines you can stay active, get fit and have fun while losing weight.
Work Out like a Gladiator
Gladiator fitness is based on the ancient Roman gladiator fighting style. Participants dress in tunics, funky sandals and eccentric head gear as they lift and learn to handle heavy weaponry, including a sword and shield. Once they are in the traditional garb, the participants are instructed in how to fight like a gladiator. They learn proper footwork and how to handle their sword during a fight, with constant arm movements and thrusts of the weaponry at an opponent.
Don’t worry—the swords are not entirely authentic. While they are heavy and shaped to match any Spartacus-inspired tale, the weapons are blunted and a bit safer to handle than a traditional sword would be. In addition to the swords, which are appropriately referred to as the Gladius, the up and coming gladiators learn to use a trident—yes, the three-pronged spear Neptune himself held onto.
Gladiators-to-be learn how to attack and defend themselves using the heavy weaponry and how to move around with the heavy equipment. When all is said and done, the gladiator fighting experience offers:
- An intense full body workout
- Cardio activity with strength training
- A fun and innovative workout
It doesn’t feel like a traditional workout because you aren’t at the gym lifting weights and running on a treadmill, which gives a lot of people the motivation to keep at it.
Sword Fighting Exercises
Gladiator workouts are gaining popularity, and with Hollywood stars jumping on it quick it won’t be long before gladiator-inspired workouts hit an area near you. There is no reason to wait for that to happen though. There are a few other combat-inspired workouts that can help get you in shape and make you feel like a warrior.
- Medieval Sword fighting. These workout classes work to teach you strength and agility. You receive a great cardio workout while also exercising your brain for strategy and swiftness while working with an opponent.
- Jungshin Sword fighting. This is a full body workout that incorporates the high-energy moves of kickboxing and the meditation and focus of yoga with sword fighting.
If you are looking for a creative workout then perhaps you are brave enough to take a stab at sword fighting. Keep in mind, that these warrior workouts are higher intensity exercises. Talk to your weight loos doctor before jumping into any difficult routines.
Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of hunger. One is psychologically perceived, while the other is physical or “real” hunger. It is this first kind, the so-called “head hunger” that arises among people who have problems controlling their food intake. It is related to emotional eating and is not an actual physiological response to the body requiring more food, but instead it is simply an urge to eat because of habit, or seeking comfort. During a medical weight loss program, meal replacement plans like the OPTIFAST program can help you to control your portion sizes and calorie intake so that you remain full, eat less and lose weight.
It is important to recognize the difference between physical hunger and “head-hunger” so that you will not overeat or derail your weight loss efforts.
Recognizing the Difference
Physical hunger is a physiological sensation that often feels like a gnawing, empty craving for something substantial. This feeling is brought on by an interaction between your digestive system, your endocrine system and your brain. Physical hunger can be defined as:
- An instinctive and protective mechanism that ensures that your body is getting the proper amount of fuel needed to function.
- A physical reaction that includes chemical changes in your body that are related to low glucose levels in your body several hours after eating.
The appetite from head hunger comes from the development of a habit of turning to food in times of emotional stress and tends to be an immediate craving. Mental hunger can be defined as:
- A sensory or psychological response to food that triggers an involuntary response such as salivating or stomach contractions.
- A conditioned response to food.
Once you can successfully recognize the difference between when you’re really hungry compared to when it’s just in your head, you can continue to move forward towards your weight loss goals and away from harmful eating habits.
Some tips to determining if you are actually hungry are:
- Pay attention to the time. Determine when the last time you ate was, and whether or not it is time to eat again.
- Drink lots of water. Sometimes, you may feel hungry if you are slightly dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water and determine how you fell afterwards.
- Stop and think about why you’re ready to eat. Are you bored, or anxious or upset? Negative and complacent emotions can lure us towards food as a comfort.
- Snack smart. Avoid unintentional hunger cues by enjoying snacks that are healthy and full of protein or fiber. This will regulate your blood sugar throughout the day and keep you fuller, longer.
- Write it down. Try keeping a food journal that records what you eat and your state of mind when you chose to eat. This may help you to realize when you’re eating for the wrong reasons.
When it comes to medical weight loss, you want to make sure that you are taking the necessary steps to reaching your weight loss goals. Be smart about what you eat, but also why you’re eating it. If you believe that you are eating for any reason other than physical hunger, stop and think it over. Make sure you are making the most out of your weight loss journey and avoiding harmful eating habits.
Superfoods have been making a splash with their healthy and beneficial properties. If you are losing weight through a weight loss program, you may have heard that superfoods are rich in the nutrients and antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy. Unfortunately, some of these superfoods come with a large price tag, making it difficult to eat them on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t include the essential nutrients from superfoods into your diet.
The truth is, the some of the same nutrients found in expensive superfoods can be found in foods commonly located in your kitchen.
Superfoods and their Affordable Alternatives
- Goji Berries. These berries contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene and are high in ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity). The nutrients in these berries prevent and stop the spreading of cancer; they can also boost your immune system. The downside? Goji beeries are generally $13 to $30 per pound.
What can you eat to get the same benefits?
Blueberries are a superfruit themselves and contain more ORAC than goji berries at a much lower price. Also, apricots are a good source of beta carotene as well.
- Pomegranates. Pomegranates contain polyphenols that reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and seem to protect against the natural decay of mental abilities that come with age.
What can you eat to get the same benefits?
Instead of spending big money for pomegranates or pomegranate juice, just grab a cup of your favorite tea or 100% unsweetened cranberry juice. Other options include strawberries, Concord grapes, parsley and artichokes.
- Spirulina. This is a type of blue-green algae that is packed with B12 and is known for its high protein levels. Spirulina is cancer-fighting, immune boosting and is a helpful aid in weight loss. However, a pound of this superfood is about $30 to $40.
What can you eat to get the same benefits?
There’s no need to spend big bucks on spirulina when you can get protein from nuts, soybeans, dairy products and any meat or fish. The other nutrients such as Vitamin K, folate, calcium and magnesium can all be found in leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce.
- Acai berries. These berries are one of the most talked-about superfoods. They contain antioxidants like anthocyanins that slow down the growth of cancer cells, and they reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, these berries are imported from South America and are often sold at a higher price after they have been processed, reducing the amount of ORAC.
What can you eat to get the same benefits?
Although acai certainly seems to live up to its reputation as a superfood, you can find the same antioxidants in blueberries, Concord grapes and black beans.
Other affordable superfoods include:
- Purple cabbage
- Sweet potatoes
Superfoods don’t have to be super-expensive. During your weight loss program, you can find the same nutrients in common, less costly foods that are easy to find in your local grocery store.
When you think about your medical weight loss program it’s important that you view your process of losing weight as a journey. Though you’re not physically leaving the confines of the city where you live, your weight loss efforts will be a mental transition, as much as a physical one. Like with any journey, whether it involves relationships, education or travel, you’re bound to encounter a few potholes or “pitfalls” along the way.
Some people will allow these setbacks, pitfalls or plateaus to derail their efforts towards their weight loss goals. You are able to overcome any and all setbacks with the right mindset to remain on track with your weight loss journey. By making a few mental and physical changes during you weight loss program, you can remain on course with your weight loss and wellness goals.
During your medical weight loss program, there are some things to keep in mind:
On Time, Not Record Time
You want to ensure that you are entering any weight loss program with realistic expectations in mind. Start with a goal weight in mind and then work with your doctor to determine an appropriate expectation from your program.
Sometimes, it may be hard to let go of unrealistic expectations. Maybe, despite your doctor’s advice you still expect to lose a lot of weight rapidly.
It’s healthier and safer to lose weight with medical weight loss at an average rate than at lightning speed. Studies show that people who experience rapid weight loss are more likely to regain weight in the long run. Understand that your program is meant to help you lose weight, but not overnight. Have patience with your program and you’ll soon realize the results were worth the wait.
Not All Patients Lose Weight Equally
As you continue forward with your weight loss efforts and healthy new lifestyle, know that your personal weight loss journey will differ from others. While one person may lose weight in a certain amount of time, you may lose weight at a slightly slower rate. And that’s okay.
Each struggle with weight and road to weight loss and wellness is different. Try not to compare yourself with other medical weight loss patients and focus on your personal experience to remain on track with your goals.
Expect Some Potholes
Not everyone is perfect, so you can’t expect your efforts for weight loss to be entirely flawless. You very well may encounter a few potholes along the way. No matter what the case, there’s always room to undo what you have done.
Each day is a new day to make up for a previous weight loss pitfall, but it’s up to you to honor your mistake and work twice as hard to correct it.
Weight Loss Will Vary
Weight loss not only varies day to day, it varies week to week and month to month. With this in mind, you must know that measuring your weight loss too frequently can lead to possible discouragement. Depending on how closely you stick to your weight loss doctors guidelines, your weight loss results are bound to vary.
Weighing yourself on the scale every five days may not be the best idea for some patients. A more accurate gauge of weight loss success may be for you to measure yourself every two weeks or so. Talk with your weight loss doctor about an appropriate timeline for weighing your weight loss results.
These are only a few potential roadblocks you may encounter along your personal weight loss journey. No matter what the case, you can find an alternate route. If you’re having trouble with any aspect of your medical weight loss progress, don’t hesitate to speak with your medical weight loss doctor.
As you lose weight with the help of a medical weight loss program, you’ll notice that all of the temptations that existed before you started your weight loss journey haven’t gone away. The shop next to your office won’t stop selling donuts, and it’s likely that the rest of your family may still keep unhealthy foods around the house. One of the most important ways to be successful with your medical weight loss is to create a healthy environment for yourself.
Making a Healthy Environment
To make a positive environment that promotes healthy weight loss and gives you the best chance at success, you can:
- Make time for relaxation. Set aside time every day to relax—this can be reading a book, listening to music, taking a warm bath, doing yoga or practicing meditative techniques. Making time to relax can go a long way in combating the stress that comes from unhealthy environments that you can’t control.
- Have a food plan. Know what you’re going to eat ahead of time. Meal replacement plans, such as OPTIFAST and OPTITRIM can help you do this. As well, if you know what you’re getting from the grocery store ahead of time, you can prevent impulse buying, which usually results in the purchasing of sweet and sugary treats. Planning your meals may reduce your temptation to binge on unhealthy foods.
- Practice healthy eating techniques. This means, eating only when you’re hungry and not because you’re bored or stressed out. As well, try learning mindful eating strategies, such as slowing down the pace at which you eat or eating without distractions. Practicing healthy eating techniques can help prevent overeating.
Losing weight will prompt many changes in your life, but by forming positive lifestyle habits, you can create a healthy environment to deal with those changes and promote long-term weight loss and wellness.
It may seem like a strange concept, but journaling can actually enhance your weight loss efforts. Take time and think about when you eat. Sure, you may be making healthier choices during your weight loss program, but are you really paying attention to what and how much you are eating? Chances are, probably not, especially when it comes to snacks or food you grab on the go. Journaling what you are eating, how you were feeling when you were eating it and how much exercise you’re getting will help you to fully realize what you are putting into your body and how it will affect your weight loss progress.
The Benefits of Keeping a Journal during Weight Loss
- You see how many calories you are actually consuming. Sometimes, we aren’t aware of how many calories we eat in a day. When you think back on it, it may seem like your low calorie snack and nutritious dinner were smart choices, but what about the little things you let slide by? Those add up too.
- It will limit excessive snacking and extra bites in between meals. A handful of small chocolates or a few bites of someone else’s dish seems harmless, but these can add unnecessary calories. If you’re journaling, you will become more aware of these often mindless habits and be able to control them more efficiently.
- You’ll see what’s really in your diet. Sometimes we think we are eating better than we actually are. You may think you are eating vegetables and fresh fruits 4-5 times a week, but after documenting it, the numbers may be a lot smaller.
- You will better understand why you eat. In your food journal you want to include how you felt when you were eating. You may have been bored, stressed or sad. If you notice that you are eating for any reason other than hunger, you can eliminate these habits.
Gaining control of eating during weight loss can sometimes be challenging. Journaling is a great way to become more aware of your eating patterns and habits. This can help you lose more weight and keep you on track with all of your weight loss and lifestyle goals.
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- The Weight Loss Benefits of Gardening
- Nutritious Superfoods for Summertime
- Weight Management after Weight Loss
- Cut Out Comfort Eating during Weight Loss
- The Warrior Workout
- Physical Hunger vs. Mental Hunger
- Healthy Alternatives to Pricey Superfoods
- Avoid Setbacks with Medical Weight Loss
- Creating a Healthy Environment for Weight Loss
- Food Journals for Weight Loss
- Food and Diet Myths Exposed
- Great Sleep for Weight Loss
- Hike Healthy with These High-Energy Trail Foods
- Prolonged Sitting Boosts Bad Health
- Flu Shots less Effective for Severely Overweight Individuals
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