Posts Tagged ‘Belly Fat’

One of the Biggest Struggles with Nutrition

"I can’t eat vegetables … I don’t like any of them."

That’s what one of our clients recently told us.

None.  She said she doesn’t like ANY of them … can’t stomach them.

To be honest, she’s not far off from the rest of the population.  A recent study showed just 25% of the population at the absolute minimum recommendation of 3 servings daily.

Do you?

I’ll admit that eating veggies regularly DOES take a little more thought and prep than many other foods, including fruit.  But  you tell me — is a few more minutes of prep time worth:

  • Hitting your weight loss goals
  • Slashing your risk of cancer
  • Decreasing the risk of getting sick
  • And the list goes on…

So here are 5 insanely easy ways to eat more …

  1. Try spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti — slice it in half, roast in flesh side down for about 45 minutes on 350, or until tender.  Take it out, remove the squash with a fork, which looks just like spaghetti strands, top with your favorite sauce and voila.
  2. Add veggies to an omelet — it’s an easy way to up your intake — start your day on the right foot.  Check out our healthiest breakfast in the world video to see how we get about 7 servings in that meal alone!
  3. Replace 1 meal per day with a large salad (and add lean protein to it and a handful of nuts, like almonds)
  4. Replace 1 current snack with veggies with hummus
  5. Make veggies the base of your meals — if you have pasta, fill a bowl with veggies first and add pasta to the top.  Same with stir fry or even the omelet recipe in #2.  This way you have more veggies than the other part of the meal.

And, for those who say "they don’t like any veggies," I think it means what you’re used to hasn’t been good.  Maybe canned veggies which are loaded with sodium and little flavor.  Try branching out and eating ones that are a bit more unique. 

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The Human Fat Loss GPS

I was driving the other day to meet with a company we work with — heading to Nashville TN.  It’s a straight drive from Louisville…except when there is construction and some areas of the highway are closed to 1 lane and there’s instead a TON of traffic.

Fortunately the GPS then offered a detour telling me that there was traffic ahead.  It’s smart like that.

Usually.

fat loss GPSFor those who have them, it also tells you when you make a wrong turn that you need to make a U turn to get back on track.

And it got me thinking.  Wouldn’t it be cool if our bodies inherently had one of those for food choices?

We go out with friends one night, have some drinks, appetizers, dinner, dessert, more drinks.  Repeat.

The ‘problem’ with doing this is not that it was one night of a lot of junk calories and alcohol, but instead it’s that the one night usually turns into a downward spiral of continued poor choices.

THAT is what leads to overweight, obesity … and gaining belly fat.

If you had that Human GPS, though, it would simply tell you to "make a U Turn" after your "diet challenged" evening. :-)

And it’s exactly how you have to think.

If you have 1 "bad" night out.  No worries.  It’s part of the 10% rule we talk about — eat well 90% of the time and allow a little "freedom" the other 10%.  Then just get RIGHT back on track and it will be like you never skipped a beat. 

 

 

Bust Through A Weight Loss Plateau

Everyone who has ever tried to lose belly fat has faced it…

The dreaded fat loss plateau.

And it can truly be a game changer.

Weight is coming off quickly, motivation is super high … early on in the weight loss game, it can almost feel "easy."

And then suddenly, weight comes to a screeching halt.  Interestingly, depending on the person and often the personality in how they react to stressful situations, this plateau can go one of two ways.

  • It can set a person back where they quickly revert to old habits and put weight back on.

OR

  • It can be the "kick" to a fat loss jumpstart and get you into high gear to once again get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Now keep in mind plateaus are normal and are to be expected.  We always describe fat loss like stairs — there will be some weeks where it drops, then others where it stabilizes.  While weight comes off more quickly the heavier a person is; weight loss never looks like a slide, where it just continues to go down and down, day after day, week after week.

So here are a 4 effective "bust through your fat loss plateau" strategies. 

  1. If you bite it, you must write it. Writing down what you eat and drink works.  Do you have to do it forever?  Nope.  But it works.  And usually as a person is trying to lose weight, they start strong and then portions start to increase over time and you let a little slack out.  Going back to a food journal helps reel things back in.
  2. Ramp up your workout intensity.  We wrote earlier about report on study out this month that just 5% of the population exercises vigorously on a daily basis.  Enough said — walking is great for general movement, but there needs to be more intensity than that several times/week to truly lose belly fat.
  3. Think small.  Small, baby steps, go a really long way.  Don’t look at the big picture, but look at what simple, baby steps will help you get to that big picture down the road.  Think about the progress and steps of how to get to your outcome — not just look at the outcome and wish you were there.
  4. Go back to basics.  As we are making solid fat loss progress, it’s easy to get a little "arrogant" and try to test the grounds for just how many glasses of wine, how many sweets, desserts, larger plates of pasta, etc can be eaten while still making progress.  Go back to what worked from the beginning … tighten up those reins a bit and then watch your progress continue.

 That’s it — 4 simple strategies to break through any plateau.  The key is to not let a set back side track you, where you quickly resort to old habits.  Stick to the plan.  If you don’t have a plan, create one and get right back on it.  Those sticking points are the exact reason we created the 21 Day Fat Loss Jumpstart – it is the plan to save you the time from planning!

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Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat

Late last year, I’m sitting in an office building with the agent of an NFL Player and the player himself.  We were working together to help the player lose weight.

While there was some initial success, he hit a little plateau.  His agent asked the player "what are you drinking?" 

"Crystal Light, diet soda, and water only.  Chris said no liquid calories."

And his agent blew through the roof — "NO WONDER HE ISN’T LOSING" he said to me, "I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU TOLD HIM HE CAN USE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS.  Didn’t you see the report — artificial sweeteners cause you to GAIN weight more than regular sugar!!!"

And that’s when it got a little awkward in the room.

But that’s how the meeting started.  And I’m now put on defense to defend my position…in front of the player himself who I did in fact tell "no liquid calories" because soft drinks and slurpees were a regular addition to the daily diet.

In another post I talked about if you should use Stevia.  And just last week I talked about the new study suggesting artificial sweeteners cause heart disease.  But now we’re shifting our focus to cover some more specifics about sweeteners — and there are a bunch, like Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), Sucralose, Saccharin,  and Aspartame. 

Are they a better option than calorie containing sugar options when trying to lose weight and burn belly fat?

Let’s delve into them a bit and discuss some of the realities and myths with calorie free sweeteners.

Each of the artificial sweeteners has an "acceptable daily intake" (ADI) — meaning according to the FDA, you should not consume MORE than the amounts listed below per day.

  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal) = 18-19 cans of diet cola
  • Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low) = 9 to 12 packets
  • Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One) = 30-32 cans diet lemon-lime soda
  • Sucralose (Splenda) = 6 cans diet cola

Fair enough?  Now depending on who you talk to, or what you read, you’ll hear all different opinions — "I only use sucralose, because xxxx" or "stevia is natural, so I use that…"

If you look at the values above, you may notice that according to the ADIs, the max for Splenda is just 6 cans of diet cola/day, whereas Equal is 18-19 cans.  Does that mean Splenda is more of a concern than Equal?  It might.

But as a side note, if you’re drinking THAT many diet colas/day, your diet needs an overhaul as there are absolutely zero positive qualities to diet colas (or any diet soda for that matter).

Let’s cover a few of these in more detail.  

Sucralose (Splenda):

While this one has received safety approval from the FDA, it’s surely not without controversy.  Picking sides with this is like jumping in to the Health Care Reform debate!

But I’m ready to go for it.

First, the upside of Sucralose:

  • it has virtually no aftertaste
  • it’s stable when heated so you can cook and bake with it
  • it’s stable at different acidities (pHs) so it can be added to things like lemon juice without affecting its sweetness
  • it has a proven track record of safety in many research studies.

Cons:

  • anecdotally (meaning personal stories) have tied intake to migraine headaches
  • may affect healthy bacteria in the gut, according to animal data
  • it may cause weight gain? 

This last one is a bit more controversial.  In a nutshell, one study using rats fed them different quantities of sucralose.  At the end of the 24 week study, the rats consuming sucralose gained weight compared to the ones that didn’t take any in.  And that’s the study this players agent was referring to.

Weird.  Zero calories, how can it cause dangerous belly fat to creep up on us?

I will say at this time I’m not impressed with the data showing artificial sweeteners cause us to gain belly fat … I clearly need to see more research to support this theory. The thought was that while artificial sweeteners themselves don’t have calories, they "trick" the body into craving more sweet foods…

…voila, belly fat and overall weight gain is through the roof.  

It’s correlation data, but if I remember anything from statistics, it’s that correlation doesn’t mean causation.  In a nutshell, the correlation that those who used diet soda weighed more doesn’t mean the diet soda itself caused them to gain weight.  More research clearly needs to expore this.  Keep in mind, also, that the doses used in this particular study were very high if we tried to extrapolate these findings to humans.  At this point I just don’t buy into that conclusions of this data and am surely calling for more.  That’s what I said to this players agent.

Again, another red flag for me here is that the "maximum" recommendation is 6 cans of diet cola — for some, that’s a ton, but for others, that’s breakfast.  Regulate your intake!

By the way, the agent and I never did come to an agreement — I’m still 100% confident that to have a person switch from 1-2L of regular soda each day (what this player drank) to diet soda is a huge positive step.  Perfect?  Nope.  Better.  Absolutely. 

Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal):

You’ve seen the little pink packets … pink packets of poison, according to some.  Like the others, this has the stamp of approval from the FDA.  But opponents of this suggest it causes migraines, causes cancer,brain tumors, and evil belly fat.

Like the others, the research is mixed — some studies show a negative effect, others show a positive effect.  

I hate to give the "more research is necessary" answer, but, well, it’s the best answer to give.

I talked about my feelings on the weight gain and artificial sweeteners with sucralose.

As for cancer — it’s a hard one to pin down.  These data are all done in animals, usually given very high doses, to see what happens.  

For some reason the review boards look very unfavorably at loading up humans with artificial sweeteners and seeing if they cause cancer (please read that with the intended sarcasm); therefore, we’re reliant on animal data.  But even if there is that chance, that concerns me … stamp of approval or not!

Like I mentioned in another blog about sugar and high fructose corn syrup, I don’t like the idea of artificial … I don’t want artificial ingredients in my body and try to limit them as much as possible.  I do that by knowing what I’m eating, being able to pronounce all ingredients, and eating foods as close to the earth as possible. 

With that said, I AM supportive of making the transition to calorie free drinks if someone is a regular soft drink (or juice, or sweetened tea) drinker

But as a whole, artificial sweeteners aren’t a favorite.  

We also have yet to find one without an off flavor.  Call us crazy, but we want to eat a food that, well, tastes like food — not have some bitter aftertaste that’s CLOSE to being real, but not quite there.

I’d personally rather have a REAL sweetener, infrequently.  Moderation.  That’s a very unsexy word in marketing and the media, but it’s true. 

You want a cookie? 

Eat a cookie — occasionally. 

Is a fat free, sugar free, calorie free flavored chocolate chunk piece of cardboard REALLY going to help out your desire for a cookie? 

Not a chance. 

Eat the real thing, on occasion, then get over it.  Fair enough?

Eating real foods is what will help you live as healthfully as possible, burn belly fat, and look and feel great!

 

10 Super Simple Fat Loss Strategies

You don’t have to put yourself through an extreme "diet" to lose fat. All you need to do is make minor lifestyle changes to your diet. Now you may be thinking, what does that entail? Well it’s not really complicated — it’s just a bit of planning, a little cooking, a large amount of self-control.

At the end of the day, though, these simple little tricks can help you no matter what your goals — lose that last 10 or if you’re trying to find a jump start.

  1. Plan ahead. If your only options are a vending machine and fast food, try to pack meals and snacks the night before. That way your never left with your stomach growling during the day or on you’re way home. Planning will allow you to be successful.
  2. Don’t taste foods while cooking. While this may not seem like much, just an extra 100 calories each day means at least a ten pound gain at the end of one year. Simply tasting foods can easily exceed that.
  3. Cook in bulk. Do this on a Saturday or Sunday, when you have more time than usual, and use those leftovers throughout the week for lunches and dinners.
  4. Exercise in the morning. Nothing magical about this time, but when it’s out of the way, nothing else can take priority.
  5. Shop for the week. Plan the meals for the week on a Sunday and shop for the items needed that day. If your refrigerator is empty on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, for example, it’s likely you’ll turn to fast food!
  6. Write your goals daily. Keeping a diary of goals helps with permanent success. Then you can look back and reflect on your progress.
  7. Include a fruit and/or vegetable in every meal. That way you are getting your nutrients in and avoiding snacking on something that is unhealthy. It will also keep you fuller longer and keep you from overeating later on.
  8. Use vegetables as your base and build meals around them. For example, fill up a bowl with sauteed veggies and add pasta on top of them. This way the bulk of your meal is low calorie, high nutrient vegetables.
  9. Earn your carbohydrates through exercise. The more you exercise, the more you can eat, but always pick quality, high fiber carbs.
  10. Use fresh herbs as a replacement for sodium. They are loaded with flavor, high in nutrients, but have zero calories.

Mohr Results Bottom Line: Small steps go a very long way.  Start with these 10 and your results will skyrocket!

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