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5 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting

Weight loss is a complicated beast, and there are a lot of things that we do over time that affect our weight. Instead of dieting, I suggest cultivating healthy habits that support your ultimate goals and enable you to feel great all the time. Here are some tips that when incorporated into your lifestyle can help you to feel slimmer and more energetic.

1. Stop eating late at night

Your body is not very good at digesting food late at night. It’s winding down from the day and slowly moving towards rest, and since you’re most likely not very active at that time of day the food isn’t used for energy and is stored pretty inefficiently. Eating late at night is the probably the best way to put on pounds, so try and stop eating anything after 8:00 pm. If you find yourself wanting to eat, drink water or tea, and if you really are hungry (and not just bored), eat something easy to digest like fruit or soup.

2. Drink more water

Being properly hydrated is extremely important for all functions of the body, but when it comes to keeping a healthy weight it’s especially necessary. Drinking plenty of water helps to flush toxins from the body that can interfere with the optimal functioning of hormones that regulate how your food is used and stored, your metabolism, and your hunger levels.

Not only that, but many times when we are thirsty we take that as a signal we’re hungry so we start eating. Instead of giving our body what it wants we end up eating unnecessarily and not satisfying our craving. Next time you feel like going for a snack in between meals, try slowly drinking a glass of water and see if that tempers your hunger.

3. Have smoothies or juices for breakfast

The best way to start the day is with something light and extremely nutrient dense. Juices and smoothies are a great source of macro and micronutrients, will give you energy and fill you up, and are easily digested and used by your body.

4. Stop watching TV

If you have time to watch TV, you certainly have time to get off your ass and get in shape. TV is a time suck and can distract you from all of the other amazing things out there. If this is too extreme, try rewarding yourself to one hour of tv for every thirty minutes of exercise. If and when you do watch, choose one or two shows you want to watch and then turn the TV off when they’re done. This way, you don’t end up mindlessly flipping through channels and end up accidentally watching Shahs of Sunset.

5. Only snack on whole fruits and nuts

Fruits are really good for your body. They contain fiber, B vitamins, electrolytes, and are powerful sources of antioxidants. Your body digests them really fast so it’s best to eat them on an empty stomach, and you can eat as much as you want. Nuts are an excellent source of Omega-3s which help your body use stored fat for energy, and they also have a lot of protein which makes you feel full and satiated. Snacking on foods that provide your body with nutrients makes your hormones function more efficiently, and will reduce cravings for processed and refined foods that encourage your body to put on weight.

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Why Fat Isn’t the Enemy

Over the last few years, fat has been demonized. It’s been named the source of our health problems as a society and is associated with all kinds illnesses. As a solution, a large majority of the population now seeks out non-fat or low-fat foods in order to help them keep their calorie count down for the day.

The most critical point to note about making food choices based around fat content is that so many crucial nutrients are missed in this process. Foods that are meant to have fat, things like yogurt, meats, nuts, milk, and oils, have fat for a reason. Yes, eating too much unhealthy fat will lead you to gain weight, but what many cautious consumers tend to misunderstand is the important function fat plays in our bodies’ overall health, and that eating foods injected with artificial additives actually encourages your body to gain weight.

Not all fat is created equal

By now most of us have heard about essential fatty acids (EFAs), omega-3s, omega-6s, saturated fat and trans fats.

In brief:

            Enjoy Omega-3s plentifully

            Eat in moderation: Saturated fats from animals and omega-6s

            Avoid like the plague: Trans fats (partially or fully hydrogenated ANYTHING)

The reason certain fats are called ‘essential’ is because we don’t make them naturally in our bodies, so we must get them from out diet.

EFAs are extremely important for a number of things ranging from healthy hair and skin, to metabolism regulation, to brain health.

The last point is especially important to note, as our brains are 80% fat. Researchers believe that 60% of Americans are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, and that inadequate amounts of EFAs can lead to various health issues including anxiety, depression, ADD and even Alzheimer’s disease. 

Eat fat to lose weight

Healthy fats that come from nuts, avocados, flax and hemp seeds should be included in every meal. Omega-3 fats will not make you gain weight and can actually aid in weight loss. This is possible due to the fact that they help you feel more satisfied after a meal, and more importantly, studies shows that they improve insulin sensitivity.

Insulin sensitivity means that your body responds quickly to insulin, and thus doesn’t require a lot of it to store carbohydrates. When you have high insulin levels, you have high fat storage. Having a high sensitivity to insulin keeps your levels low and allows your body to release fat more easily.

EFAs are extremely good at reducing inflammation, something that precedes obesity and also causes the body to become resistant to a hormone that tells us when we’re full. 

Eat food that grows on a plant, don’t eat foods made in a plant

I harp on this all the time, but eating chemically injected foods that are ‘generally regarded as safe’ by the USDA just don’t cut it for a healthy lifestyle. They mess with your hormones, your brain, and your skin, and certainly won’t help you feel or look good.  

If you’re looking for a healthy diet, it’s simple. I suggest eating things that are naturally low in calories – fruits and vegetables- and things that are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids– nuts, avocadoes, olive oil, hemp seeds, flax and coconut oil. Feel free to enjoy wine, chocolate and coffee, but maintain whole foods high in fiber and nutrients as the core of your diet. 


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5 Beliefs That Lead Us to Gain Weight

I talk to people all the time who are so confused as to why they’re gaining weight. They tell me they don’t eat much and when they do it’s low fat, or they pay so much attention to calories and carbs that this should be thinner. They’ve tried so many ways of slimming down to no avail, all of which ended in frustration and usually a carb-fest. Why is it so hard for us to be thin?

Let’s look at the broad picture…

Americans are fatter than ever before and we’re getting larger by the generation. From the outside this would seem unlikely: everywhere we go we see new ways to lose weight, fat free foods, and gyms on every corner. We have access to the highest quality food and information about nutrition, but we continue to get heavier and sicker every single year. Of our $2 trillion healthcare budget $1.5 trillion is spent treating preventable diseases. If we are supposedly more educated, more active and more aware than ever before, why are we still gaining weight?

As food has become more of a hot topic it’s become much more complicated. The healthiest foods for us have one ingredient, are grown in the ground and have an expiration date. These foods are making up smaller fractions of our diets as they’re being replaced with complex, more elaborate versions of food.

What’s making things even more difficult are the multitudes of diets that are out there now: gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian, Paleo, non-fat, low-fat, low-carb, GMO-free, blah blah blah. How are we supposed to eat anything when everything is bad for us??!

These diets lead people to eat all kinds of things that really aren’t good for them, and on top of that, dieting, as it turns out, is the biggest pre-cursor for weight gain.

Many things affect the way we do (or don’t) gain weight- genetics, environmental factors, our inner ecology, and our body types. The nice thing to know is that there are healthy ways to control our weight and give our bodies what they need, while still enjoying what we eat. For many people it’s the beliefs around food that lead to the development of sickness and weight gain in certain people. Here are some beliefs we hold as a society that lead us to unsuspectingly gain weight, and why it’s so important to change these beliefs.

1. All calories are created equal

A lot of people seem to believe that it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you watch your calories. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What’s much more powerful than how many calories we consume is what certain foods cause our hormones to do.

Our hormones govern everything in our bodies. Hormones such as insulin, thyroid hormone, cortisol and estrogen regulate our weight, energy levels, concentration, immune response and more. The food we eat has an enormous influence on our hormones and has the power to disrupt their delicate balance, which can lead to lots of problems, one of which is weight gain. If your hormone balance is off this can increase cravings for sugar and carbs, encourage you to eat more in a sitting and more often, feel less satiated after a meal, and cause your body to store more food as fat. This imbalance will do much more harm to your waistline than an extra 100 calories from an avocado or olive oil will

For instance, something may be very low in calories, but still contain high-fructose corn syrup. What you’re eating may be low fat, but when it enters your body and you digest it, high fructose corn syrup causes a huge spike in insulin levels, which instructs your body to store fat. This accelerates insulin resistance and obesity, and causes resistance to leptin, the hormone that signals to your brain that you are full. The same effects happen from foods with artificial sweeteners, pesticides, hydrogenated oils, and refined flours and sugars.

Ingesting less calories will not prevent you gaining weight, especially if the foods you are eating are loaded with ingredients made in a lab. When the body detects a toxin it extracts it from the blood stream and puts it in a fat cell to protect the organs from the toxin. People who have very toxic systems tend to gain weight quickly because their body is doing it’s best to protect the vital organs from the toxins.

There needs to be a shift in thinking that values quality of calories over quantity.

Although there is no perfect combination for the right hormone balance, the right foods, consistent exercise, good sleep, and stress management will certainly help. High fiber, whole foods (leafy greens, mushrooms, ginger, flax, quinoa, and water, to name a few) help stabilize your metabolism, improve the efficacy of your kidneys and liver, strengthen your digestion, and reduce inflammation. These are the things your body needs to be thin and energetic, not fewer calories.

2. Fat free foods will help us lose weight

With so many items out there to choose from, food companies have devised clever ways to market their products. Unfortunately these labeling tactics can be deceptive and misleading. Because of our country’s obsession with dieting and being thin, a lot of foods are marked as low fat or fat free. What we fail to consider is how something with supposedly zero calories can still taste good. The way the food industry makes things taste good while having no calories or fat is to artificially enhance the flavor through processed additives such as high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. Things like yogurt, cereal, bagels, lean cuisines and sodas usually have these chemical additives in them.

Artificial sweeteners not only fail to satisfy your hunger the way real sugar would and leads to overeating, but they have an extremely high glycemic load resulting in insulin production and increased fat storage. They also inhibit the hormone leptin that increases your metabolic rate and signals to your brain that you’re full.

There are numerous other risks associated with consuming artificial sweeteners such as depression, anxiety, headaches and brain tumors, but for those most concerned with vanity they will most definitely lead to weight gain.

If you are eating something that comes in a package, flip it over and read the ingredients. If there are artificial sweeteners and chemical additives, there is a 99% chance that those ingredients will encourage your body to put on weight.

The lowest calorie foods are not advertised as such because they come naked, as they are, in the fruit and vegetable section. If fruit and vegetables are organic they are our best bet to reduce our chances of unsuspectingly consuming chemicals and additives that contribute to weight gain.

3. Dairy is good for us

I’m sorry to say this, but dairy has the nutritional content of cardboard.

There is a school of thought that full fat, whole milk and cheese provides enzymes and probiotics important for a healthy system. This may have been true when people raised their own cows but with commercial dairy this is typically not the case. There are many reasons not to eat dairy, so I’ll just make it straightforward:

· Dairy products are so highly pasteurized and processed that any nutritional value the might hold is completely gone by the time it hits grocery shelves.

· Dairy cows are injected with a genetically engineered hormone called rbGH to produce dairy year round instead of only when they are pregnant. This can lead to extreme weight gain in humans and also can be a precursor to diabetes and lead to heart disease or cancer.

· Milk from cows is perfectly suited to turn a 65-pound calf into a 400-pound cow within a year because of its high protein and mineral content. Unless you’re seriously trying to bulk up, you don’t need milk.

· If you are eating dairy from a cow that has been fed grain for some or most of it’s life, chances are that cow has spent its life very ill. Evolutionarily speaking, a cow’s stomach is designed to digest grass, not grain, so the grain creates an acidic environment in the stomach and cannot be properly digested. In order to prevent cows from becoming sick they are fed a steady flow of antibiotics. This is not a nutritious source of food.

Everything noted above will lead you to gain weight. If you are concerned about getting enough calcium, make sure to eat lots of leafy greens and you will be fine. If you can’t give up dairy entirely, as I know many people can’t, treat it as an indulgence, not a nutritious part of your diet, and enjoy it in moderation.

4. Eating well is too expensive

Yes, eating whole organic foods does cost more and take more time than packaged low-fat foods and diet drinks. However, what’s far more expensive is being sick. There are no excuses for this one. Cheap food high in calories and low in nutrition will cause you to gain weight, and often leads to many more serious health problems. Much of your health is in your own hands, and you have the power to protect yourself from sickness and disease with high quality, whole foods.

5. Portions should be large, we must eat quickly

Thousands of years ago when we were cavemen food was sparse. When it was available it was eaten in abundance, and the excess was stored as fat because it was unclear when the next full meal would be.

For some reason we still eat this way.

Eating should be a slow, luxurious experience, but most people act as though someone is going to rip the fork out of their hands any minute so it’s best to eat as much and as quickly as possible. When we eat at such a pace we fail to recognize when we’re full and eat much more than we need.

Portion size has grown drastically over the last hundred years. One Canadian study found that people overestimate the size of an appropriate portion and underestimate the amount they actually eat. The result is huge portions that lead people to overeat.

Another issue is that people don’t eat regularly enough. Skipping meals or substituting coffee for food means that when we actually sit down to a meal we eat way more than we need. Prepare for the day with some healthy snacks like nuts, fruit and chopped veggies so that when you feel hungry you’re prepared. This will prevent you from eating way too much later on.

Avoid overeating by using smaller plates, actually measure things when you cook, and share meals with a friend when out at a restaurant.

There are many reasons why we as a country are over-fed and under-nourished. A large part of this is due to the fact that we’re consuming more things created in a lab than ever before. These come as additives in our packaged foods, pesticides on our fruits and vegetables, and hormones in our animal products. Protect yourself by being mindful, reading labels and considering the source of your food before you buy it. When it comes to nutrition keep it simple, buy things with less than five ingredients, and make the majority of what you eat fresh vegetables.


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Food Combining

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Have you ever eaten a really healthy meal like wild rice, fresh wild caught fish, and a big salad but then felt groggy and tired afterwards? Why are you feeling sleepy and slow after eating a meal that should give you energy? Probably because you are combing the wrong types of food!  Kimberly Snyder, clinical nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution introduced me to the theory of food combining.

Our bodies digest enzymatically, means different enzymes are used to breakdown the different types of macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Unfortunately, we don’t have one universal enzyme that can digest everything. Since it takes so much energy to digest our food, food combining helps take the burden off of our bodies and allows that energy to be used elsewhere like burning fat or detoxing heavy metals. If you don’t properly combine your food, it will get stuck in your digestive tract and the undigested food stays there and putrefies, creating a toxic environment that makes your blood more acidic and allows yeast, viruses, cancer cells and parasites to grow inside you. In short, it makes you more prone to illness. Proper food combining is a system of eating foods that combine together efficiently to assist digestion so that your digestive tract does not have to work so hard to give you the nutrients you need for energy. It is the easiest most non-restrictive way to get rid of bloating, drop some pounds, and allow your skin to glow!

 Here is how is how it works:

 Proteins + Starches = do not mix

Proteins + vegetables = mix

Starches + vegetables = mix

Different starches = mix

Different proteins = do not mix

Fats + protein = do not mix well, pair moderately

Fats + starches = do mix

Fruits = ALWAYS eaten on an empty stomach

Fruit + raw greens = mix

Bagels and cream cheese, egg sandwiches, sushi rolls, meat and potatoes are all bad food combinations! In the stomach, protein requires an acidic environment in order to break down, whereas a starch requires an alkaline environment. When an acid and an alkaline are put together they neutralize each other.  Since these enzymes neutralize each other, the food is not breaking down naturally but your body continues to try to break it down with more enzymes and this cycle results in exhaustion. All of your energy is going to this process and it’s not making any headway. Other side effects can include gassiness, bloating, or heartburn. Now this food is passing through your digestive system very slowly, and since our bodies are a warm 98.6 degrees, this allows the food to literally rot. Improperly digested foods have no nutritional value which means all that work was for absolutely nothing!

Vegetables are very easy for our body to digest and are great to pair with protein. Fruit is the quickest for our bodies to digest so should be eaten first, on an empty stomach.  It passes through our digestive tract in about 20 minutes. That means if you eat fruit after eating say, scrambled eggs, it is going to get stuck behind food that is going to take a lot longer to digest. This gives the fruit time to rot and putrefy.

 A simple way to think of it is eating light to heavy. This is the order of fastest digesting foods to slowest:

 Fruit

Greens

Non-Starchy vegetables

Starches

Protein

So start with your salad, then eat your rice, and finish with your grilled fish. This will give your optimal results and not create any digestive issues or drain your energy. Remember, this doesn’t mean you can’t have something, it just means you need to change the order in which you eat it. Obviously, we can’t be perfect and eat this way all the time. Don’t stress yourself out but give it a go and see how you feel. I promise that it works!