Want to Eat Better? 6 Quick Fixes to Improve Your Diet

Want to Eat Better? 7 Quick Fixes to Improve Your DietA few simple steps can help you eat better and improve your diet overall.

When your diet isn’t as good as you’d like it to be – and you know you’d like to eat better -  it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.  There’s so much information floating around about what constitutes a ‘healthy diet’ – but sources may not always agree.  Does eating better mean you should go gluten-free? Or vegetarian?  Will you have a better diet if you eat only raw foods? Or should you eat like a caveman?  There will always be trends in diets and diet advice, but just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t mean that the latest diet fad is the one for you.  The trick is finding ways to eat better from now on – not just until the next trend comes along.

Eating Better – Make it Personal

When you break it down, the basic components of a healthy diet are really pretty simple – lean protein, plenty of vegetables and fruits, some starches in the form of whole grains or beans, a bit of “good” fats for flavor, and fluids to keep you hydrated.  Then, you put all of that into a meal pattern you can live with, and you’re good to go.

The key in all of this is to find foods that you truly enjoy eating that are also good for you. They’re out there – trust me.  With literally thousands of foods to choose from, you should be able to find – with a little experimentation – plenty of things to eat that fill the bill.

Just because everyone is eating kale (and you simply can’t get it past your lips) doesn’t mean you need to eat it.  There are plenty of other leafy greens you can try that offer up a similar nutrition profile.  Choking down something that you hate – just because it’s good for you – is hardly a habit in the making.

Six Tips for a Better Diet

Make Healthy Protein Choices

One problem in choosing which proteins to eat is that -  if you’re not careful – you can end up eating a lot of fat, too.  If fatty cuts of meat, sausages and ground beef are your go-to proteins, start thinking about what you would be willing to eat instead.  An easy first step is to ditch the ground beef and replace it with ground poultry breast – in most recipes, the difference isn’t that noticeable.  When you’re ready to try adding more fish to your diet, you might try starting with something familiar – maybe for you that means shrimp or canned tuna.  Look at your everyday recipes and see where you might substitute these for fattier meats – maybe in a pasta sauce, a wrap, or in tacos.  Canned beans are convenient, mild in flavor and very low in fat – you can make a vegetarian stew, add them to soups, or whirl them in the blender with a little olive oil and garlic for a healthy dip for raw veggies.  Tofu is worth a try, too – it’s got a very mild flavor that works well in soups and stir-fried dishes, or you can try roasting it.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Those who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables often say it’s not because they don’t like them – it’s just that they don’t always have them on hand, or that these foods simply spoil before they get around to eating or cooking them.  The easiest work-around here is to stock your freezer with loose pack fruits and veggies – frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh – and you don’t have to worry about spoilage.  Then, it’s  easy to add fruits to your morning protein shake or your yogurt, or to add veggies to soups, omelets, pasta dishes, and stir-fries.  Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, and cut up veggies in the refrigerator –having them visible and ready-to-eat will encourage you to eat more.  Make a goal to have a fruit or veggie with every meal or snack.  When you go out to eat, order double veggies and skip the starch, or start your meal with a colorful salad or veggie soup.  And get in the habit of having fruit for dessert.  If taste is what’s stopping you from eating enough vegetables,  find some new ways to season them.

Swap in Whole Grains for Refined Grains

This is probably one of the easiest ways to improve your diet.  When you switch from refined grains (like white bread, white rice, refined pasta, flour tortillas) to whole grains, you get a big boost in nutrition and fiber, too.  You can find whole grain counterparts for all your usual refined grains, so start experimenting with whole wheat pasta, brown rice, corn tortillas and 100% whole grain bread.   For side dishes, you might want to experiment with other grains, like quinoa or wild rice.

Eat Healthy Fats in Small Amounts

Fats – even the “good” ones – pack quite a few calories.  That’s why you should focus on reducing your overall fat intake – by steering clear of high fat snack foods, desserts and fried foods – and allowing yourself small amounts of healthy fats to supply necessary fatty acids.  Nuts, avocado, olive and canola oils are considered healthier than other fats, so find ways to incorporate these foods into your diet.  Avocado makes a good replacement for mayonnaise or butter, and nuts – in small amounts – can contribute healthy fats to salads, vegetable dishes, hot cereal or yogurt.  Rather than grain-based oils, switch to olive or canola oils when you cook.

Drink More Water and Tea

Good nutrition and plenty of fluids go hand-in-hand. Water serves many functions in your body, not the least of which is that it helps you digest your food and it helps transport nutrients to your cells.  If you don’t drink as much liquid as you should, try to foster the habit by keeping a water bottle nearby during the day.  If you don’t care for plain water, have tea instead, or make your own spa water by adding some fresh fruit or cucumber slices or herbs to flavor your water.

Eat Healthier Snacks

Snacking is not a bad thing if you do it right.  A well-chosen snack can help keep you from getting overly hungry between meals (which can lead to overeating when you finally do sit down), and having a snack means an opportunity during the day to sneak in some extra protein, vegetables, fruit or even some calcium-rich dairy. Ideally, you’ll want a combination of protein and carbohydrate to get the most staying power from your snack.  You can get really creative or you can rely on quick and easy fresh fruit, raw vegetables with hummus, nuts, edamame beans, protein bars and cartons of yogurt.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Trying to Eat Less Sugar? Five Tips to Help You Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Trying to Eat Less Sugar? Five Tips to Help You Reduce Your Sugar IntakeIf you want to eat less sugar, you’ve got to know where to look.  Sugar hides in hundreds of everyday foods.

Trying to eat less sugar is difficult – and not just because we like it so much.  Sure, it’s hard to give up something that tastes so good… but what really makes eating less sugar so tough is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to avoid it.

There is so much sugar added to so many foods that the average American adult eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar – that’s 350 calories’ worth – every single day.  To put another way, that means we’re each eating about 3 pounds of sugar a week, or 150 pounds a year, or nearly 18% of our total calories from sugar alone.  Where is all this sugar coming from?

What are Added Sugars?

Some sugars naturally occur in foods – like lactose (natural milk sugar) or the natural fructose that adds sweetness to fruits.  Those aren’t added sugars – they’re just a component of these foods in their natural state.

But added sugars are just what they sound like – they’re sugars that are added to foods during processing, or during preparation, or at the table.

When spread jam on your toast, or sprinkle sugar in your coffee, or when a recipe calls for a sugary ingredient, you’re adding sugar to your food, of course. But it’s the processed foods we eat that dump lots of added sugar into our bodies.   As foods are processed – becoming further and further removed from their natural state – a lot of sugar is often added along the way.  A small fresh apple has some natural sugar in it – maybe 15 grams or so – but process it into sweetened applesauce and you’ve now got another 15 grams of added sugar per serving.  Natural whole wheat has virtually no sugar in it -  but process it into sugary cereal flakes and you could be eating a few tablespoons of added sugar in every bowlful.

Sugar In Foods – The Sugar You See

Some added sugars are pretty obvious – like the jams and jellies, table sugar, honey or syrup we put on our foods.  Then there’s the 53 gallons of sugary soft drinks that the average American consumes every year – which accounts for about a third of our total added sugar intake.   We also get plenty of sugar from treats like cakes and cookies, candies and frozen desserts.  These are the sugars we can see – but nearly a quarter of the sugar we eat is hidden away in processed foods.

Sugar In Foods – The Sugar You Don’t See

Unless you are a fanatic about reading ingredients labels, there’s a good chance that you’re eating sugar you didn’t even know about – and in places where you wouldn’t expect to find it.  I’ll bet you didn’t think a serving of pasta sauce could harbor nearly 5 teaspoons of sugar, or that 80% of the calories in ketchup come from sugar.  Once you start looking at ingredients lists, you’ll find sugar in everything from soups to salad dressings.

 5 Tips for Cutting Your Sugar Intake

  • Read Nutrition Labels.  This is really the first step in reducing your sugar intake for a couple of reasons.  First, sugar comes in many forms, so you’ll want to read your ingredients list carefully for words other than just “sugar” – sucrose, glucose, dextrose, latose, maltose, brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltodextrin, corn syrup, molasses are just some of the many, many forms of sugar added to foods.  On the flip side, be aware that those sugars that naturally occur in foods – the lactose in milk and the fructose in fruit, for example – will show up on the nutrition facts panel as “sugar” even though no sugar is added.  The nutrition facts panel on a package of frozen, unsweetened strawberries might list 10 grams of sugar per serving, but that’s just the natural fructose in the fruit.  Check the ingredients list to be sure – which, in this case, should just say, “strawberries”.
  • Sweeten foods yourself.  Many foods that come pre-sweetened – like cereals, yogurt, salad dressings or ‘alternative’ milks (like rice, hemp or soy) have surprising amounts of sugar.  Some varieties of instant oatmeal have more than a tablespoon of added sugar (in a very tiny packet – and who eats just one?), some single-serve yogurts pack 30 grams (7 ½ teaspoons) of sugar, and vanilla-flavored rice, hemp or soy milks can have more than 3 teaspoons of added sugar in an 8-ounce (240mL) cup.  Even if you add your own sugar to these foods, you can certainly get by with less.  To cut sugar even further, try sweetening cereal with a sliced banana or a handful of berries. And here’s another trick – try dropping a whole date or a few raisins and a few drops of vanilla extract into your carton of unsweetened ‘milk alternative’.  It adds lots of flavor with just a trace of sugar.
  • Enjoy naturally sweet flavors.  Your taste buds may be so over-saturated with sugar that you’ve lost your appreciation for foods that are naturally (but not overly) sweet.  Fruits are an obvious substitute for sugary desserts, but sweet spices – like cinnamon, nutmeg or clove – add sweet notes to fruits, cereals or yogurt in place of sugar. 
  • Cut back on liquid sugar.  It’s an obvious suggestion, I know.  But when you consider that half the US population consumes a sugary drink on any given day, or that 25% of American adults take in 200 calories a day from sugary beverages, it’s a suggestion worth repeating. Curb your intake of soft drinks, sweetened coffee and tea drinks, and fruity drinks like lemonade.  Instead, try flavorful teas, or add some citrus peel or a slice of fruit to your water for a calorie-free beverage.   
  • Picture how much sugar you’re eating.  Sometimes it helps if you visualize how much sugar you’re actually eating, so here’s a tip for you.  Every four grams of sugar that’s listed on the nutrition facts panel is equal to a teaspoon of sugar – or about one sugar cube.  A soda label that lists 36 grams of sugar in a serving may not sound that bad … but when you picture the nine sugar cubes it contains, you just might think twice about drinking it.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Drink More Water: 7 Ways to Boost Your Intake

Water can be more refreshing when it’s cool.

Need to drink more water?  Try these tips for boosting your water intake every day.

“I should drink more water.” It’s something I hear from clients all the time. They know their water intake isn’t up to par – but they just can’t figure out how to drink more water than they usually do. When I ask people why they don’t drink enough water, I usually hear one of two things – many tell me that they just haven’t established a regular water-drinking habit, and lots of people I talk to say that they just “don’t like water.” I probably don’t need to remind you why drinking enough water is so important… but I’m going to anyway, because it might help “drive you to drink.”

 RELATED ARTICLE: Don’t like plain water? Here’s how to get your 8 glasses a day

Why it’s Important to Drink Enough Water

Your body is more water than it is anything else – about 60-70% of your body weight is water.   And the fluid in your body is involved in an amazing number of important tasks.  You need to drink enough water so that your body can properly digest your food and deliver nutrients to your cells – and to get rid of substances that your body doesn’t want. Without enough water, controlling body temperature would be a challenge, your joints would lack lubrication and your muscles would tire more quickly, too.  The bottom line is this:  every cell, tissue and organ needs water in order to function properly.

7 Tips to Help you Drink More Water

If you find it hard to drink enough water every day, here are some tips that might help you.

  • See it. It can be really helpful if you can actually see the amount of water you plan to drink and to track your progress over the course of the day.  Put the amount of water you plan to have in a pitcher on your kitchen counter or keep it at your desk.  It will serve as a reminder to drink more, and you’ll be motivated to sip on it as the day goes by – and meet your goal of finishing it.
  • Cool it. Cold water often seems more refreshing than room-temperature water.  Try stashing a bottle of water in your freezer, and carry it with you during the day.  It will stay cold for several hours, and you might be encouraged to drink more.
  • Wake up to it. “Morning mouth” is a reminder that most of us are naturally a bit dehydrated in the morning. So, keep a glass of water by your bed, and drink it first thing – before your feet even hit the floor.
  • Sip it. Try sipping through a straw.  Maybe it’s just more fun, maybe it’s that you take larger sips of water –  I don’t know why this works, but lots of people tell me that they drink more water when they use a straw.
  • Flavor it. Make your own spa water.  Add a slice of fresh lemon or lime, some cucumber, a few berries, some fresh mint or a slice of fresh ginger to your water.  It makes it feel special and adds a hint of refreshing flavor.
  • Eat it. Treat water like an appetizer and start your meals with a glass of water.  Not only will you work more water into your day, it might curb your appetite a bit, too.
  • Track it. Just like keeping track of your calorie intake, keeping track of how much water you drink can help a lot, too. That’s why the pitcher-on-the-desk trick works so well – at any moment, you can see how much water you’ve had and how much you need to drink before the day is over. If you want to go high tech, there are apps for your phone that can send you drinking reminders, keep track of your progress and even give you a virtual pat on the back when you’ve met your goal.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

3 steps to help you achieve your body composition goals

3 steps to help you achieve your body composition goalsIf weight loss or weight maintenance is one of your goals this year, understanding how to keep a good energy balance, how to burn calories with exercise and how to maintain lean muscle mass during the process may help you to finally achieve your body composition goal.

Many people I meet want to lose body fat, gain lean muscle mass and eventually maintain a healthy body weight. In my opinion, the only way to achieve this is to start with understanding your body and striving to find the best balance for you. We are all individuals with likes and dislikes, so finding your individual balance is the key to long- term success. 

I feel that finding balance is not finding a set formula that you will stick to forever. Instead, it’s about making a commitment to adjusting to your body’s ever changing needs.

Today I want to give you some tips to help you make positive choices that will help to keep your body progressing toward your ultimate desired body composition. Here are my three tips that can help anyone—regardless of their current activity level.

Find balance with your nutrition plan

Controlling your nutrition with calorie intake and the types of foods you eat should be the primary focus of any healthy active lifestyle plan. In addition, exercise should always be part of your long-term body composition strategy because the health benefits associated with exercise are vast and definitely worth the time commitment.

Many people believe that if you’re exercising, you can eat what ever you want. The truth is that it’s very difficult to burn the number of calories found in just one large glass of soda. It’s true that exercise burns calories, but not enough to allow you to eat poorly. My favorite quote is “you can’t out train a bad diet.”

Burning calories with exercise is a pretty simple concept to understand. Calories are in essence your body’s fuel source. The more you move and the harder you work, the more overall fuel you will burn. The number of calories each individual burns varies from person to person and all exercises are not created equal when it comes to calorie burning. Thirty minutes of high intensity exercise will burn more overall calories than 30 minutes of low impact exercise. The mode of exercise you choose and the amount of time you commit to exercise can make a difference in your overall results.

Improving your body composition is not just a numbers game. You can’t just think about calories consumed vs. calories burned because the quality and source of the calories plays an important role. For example, 200 calories consumed by eating sugary fast food has a very different effect on your body than consuming 200 calories from fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s why I always say that finding your balance through both diet and exercise is important to long-term body composition success.

Perform a balanced and well-rounded exercise routine

Exercise is essential for long-term weight management and achieving great body composition results. Performing a balanced routine that challenges you enough to improve, but doesn’t challenge your body to the point of injury is essential. A balanced routine should include stretching, an element of resistance training, and a focus on cardiovascular activities including an activity that helps you to improve your endurance level. You don’t have to combine all of these elements into one fitness session, but each week try to ensure you’ve checked each box. A great starting commitment is 30 minutes of exercise on five days of the week.

Make a mental commitment to becoming the best you can be

I often talk about finding your athlete mentality and believing in your body’s ability to achieve greatness. The majority of our physical actions start out as a thought, so if you keep your thoughts positive, your actions will tend to be positive too!

I understand that changing your thought process into a more positive mindset can be a challenge for many people, especially if they’ve struggled to achieve their ultimate body composition goals in the past. I believe that a change in attitude is a gradual process that involves making small changes that help boost your overall confidence. As your confidence level soars, positivity seems to follow naturally. Set yourself up for success by understanding it takes a nutritional, physical and mental commitment to achieve your goals. Start today and create positive healthy habits both physically and mentally. It makes long-term success more achievable.

I read a quote recently that said “The body achieves what the mind believes.”  It made me get focused on my goals, and I hope reading this today will help you to do the same!

 Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

25 Healthy Snacks for 150 Calories or Less

Stay consistent with healthy snacks.

Snack smart! Here are 25 great snacks with 150 calories or less.

Snack smart! Here are 25 great snacks with 150 calories or less.

If you’re running out of healthy snack ideas, today’s post is for you. Ideally, healthy snacks should consist of some beneficial carbohydrates and a bit of protein. The protein helps to satisfy your hunger, and the healthy carb sources (like fruits, vegetables and whole grains) have water and fiber in them, so they help to fill you up.

We all get into ruts with our eating, and snacking is no exception. If you’re turning to the same old snacks every day, here are some healthy snacks to try—all for 150 calories or less.

Protein Snack Bar – There are plenty of snack bars to choose from with 150 calories or less. For the most staying power, look for one that has some protein—10 grams or so per serving is a good target.

Mini Smoothie – Whip out your blender and make a snack-sized smoothie with ½ cup (125 ml) low-fat milk, ½ cup (75 g) of frozen berries and a scoop (12 g) of vanilla protein powder. About 140 calories, 8 grams of protein.

Greek-style Vanilla Yogurt and Fruit – One single-serve (5.3 oz/150 g) carton of yogurt + ½ cup (75 g) sliced strawberries. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. About 145 calories, 13 grams of protein.

Low-fat Cottage Cheese + Chopped Veggies – ¾ cup (160 g) low-fat cottage cheese + ½ cup (60 g) chopped mixed veggies (carrots, cucumber, peppers). Add a few twists of fresh ground pepper. About 130 calories, 21 grams of protein.

Vegetables and Hummus Dip – 1/3 cup (80 g) hummus + cucumber, carrot, celery sticks. About 150 calories, 6 grams of protein.

Nonfat Latte – Made with 12 ounces (360 ml) low-fat milk or soy milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon. About 150 calories, 6-12 grams of protein.

Hard-boiled Egg on Tomato Slices – Slice a medium fresh tomato and one hard-boiled egg. Top tomato slices with egg slices, season with salt and pepper. About 120 calories, 6 grams of protein.

Edamame Soybeans – Drop 1 cup (150 g) frozen edamame soybeans (in the pod) into boiling water for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce. About 150 calories, 12 grams of protein.

Tuna + Avocado – Pop open a single-serve can or pouch (2.5 oz/75 g) of tuna and mix with ¼ medium avocado, mashed. About 150 calories, 18 grams of protein.

Turkey Sticks – 3 ounces (90 g) roasted turkey breast wrapped around ½ medium cucumber cut into sticks. About 120 calories, 25 grams of protein.

Tortilla + Beans – Heat up two corn tortillas, top with 1/3 cup (50 g) cooked black beans and tomato salsa. About 140 calories, 7 grams of protein.

Vegetable Soup + Low-fat Cheese – Heat up one cup (250 mL) of low sodium vegetable soup and top with 1 ounce (30 g) grated nonfat mozzarella cheese. About 150 calories, 14 grams of protein.

Rice Cake + Nut Butter – Spread one rice cake with 1 TBSP of almond butter. About 135 calories, 5 grams of protein.

Shrimp + Cocktail Sauce – 3 ounces (85 g) cooked whole shrimp dipped in 3 TBSP of salsa or cocktail sauce. About 150 calories, 20 grams of protein.

Quick Spinach and Egg Cup – Put ½ cup (75 g) frozen chopped spinach in microwaveable coffee mug. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Pour 1 beaten egg, seasoned with salt and pepper, on top and microwave another 90 seconds, stirring after 45 seconds. About 100 calories, 6 grams of protein.

Quick Quinoa Salad – Mix together ½ cup (90 g) cold leftover cooked quinoa, with ¼ cup (30 g) minced veggies/parsley + 1 oz (30 g) fat-free feta cheese. Drizzle with lemon juice, season with salt & pepper. About 150 calories, 16 grams of protein.

Sweet Potato with Yogurt – Top ½ medium baked sweet potato with ½ cup (100 g) of plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt. Sprinkle with nutmeg. About 115 calories, 10 grams of protein.

Quick Bean Salad – Mix ½ cup (80 g) cooked white beans + 1 small chopped tomato + 1 TBSP of low-fat Italian salad dressing. About 150 grams, 8 grams of protein.

Tempeh Wraps – Slice 2 ounces (60 g) tempeh into long sticks. Wrap with thinly sliced cucumber. About 120 calories, 11 grams of protein.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans – Drain a 1-pound (454 g) can of garbanzo beans. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast on cookie sheet at 400 degrees, 30 minutes or until crunchy. Let cool. 1/3 recipe = about 150 calories, 12 grams of protein.

Turkey Jerky + Fruit – 1/8 medium-sized cantaloupe melon + 1 ounce (30 g) low sodium turkey jerky. About 100 calories, 14 grams of protein.

Soy Nuts + Fruit – 1/3 cup (30 g) dry roasted soy nuts + 1 small peach. About 150 calories, 11 grams of protein

Oatmeal with a Protein Boost – Cook 1 packet of low-sugar instant oatmeal in water; stir in 1 TBSP (6 g) plain protein powder. About 150 calories, 9 grams of protein.

Salmon and Crackers – Mix 2 ounces (60 g) canned salmon with 1 TBSP of Dijon mustard. Spread on a 4 medium-sized whole grain crackers. About 145 calories, 13 grams of protein.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Nutrition question? Ask Susan, our Registered Dietitian

Nutrition question? Ask Susan, our Registered DietitianHaving trouble sorting through the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of good nutrition?

It seems every day we hear about a new diet to try or a new superfood to eat – but how can you tell what’s true and what’s a trend? As a Registered Dietitian, I can help you get to the bottom of all your questions about healthy eating. Add your nutrition question in the comments section below and I’ll select the most popular questions to answer.

Twitter AMA Chat

I’m also hosting an ‘Ask Me Anything’ chat live on @Herbalife on Wednesday, June 11 2014 at 10am PCT. Please tweet your questions to #AskSusan or post them as a comment here. I’ll answer as many of your questions as I can, so mark the time in your calendar and let’s set a date to chat!

Ever wonder how to create a personalized meal plan?  Are you looking for tips on how to subdue those unhealthy snack cravings?  Is there a thing as eating too much kale? Does when we eat have an impact on our weight? Your nutrition questions can cover anything – including questions about food, dieting, cooking and healthy eating, such as:

•    Will a gluten-free diet really help me lose weight?

•    How can I get more protein in my diet?

•    Is fruit really “all sugar”?

•    How can I deal with stress eating?

•    Can you eat too much of the right foods?

•    What are the best fats to use when I cook?

Whatever your nutrition question, just ask me! No nutrition query is too big or small because there are bound to be other people who need to know too. And, if you think you have the perfect diet then please share your advice below. We’re all looking for good advice about food, dieting and nutrition.

I’ll also be providing short answers in the comments below so make sure you check back regularly.

Susan is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife and is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Why weight maintenance can be so hard – and what you can do about it

Why weight maintenance can be so hard – and what you can do about it | Herbalife nutrition adviceFor many, weight maintenance is a lot harder than losing weight in the first place. Five weight maintenance tips to help you stay at a weight you’re happy with … without driving yourself crazy.

When it comes right down to it, weight loss is a fairly straightforward proposition.  Making better food choices, cutting back on your calories and getting more exercise pretty much sums it up.  But once you’ve lost the weight, you might find that weight maintenance is a lot more difficult.  Maybe you are so “done with dieting” that you just can’t wait to go back to eating the way you used to.  Maybe you feel that you lost weight because you’ve been eating so carefully – and now you’re worried you’ll put it all back on if you eat any other way. Maybe you’ve met your target weight, but you don’t look quite the way you expected you would… and you don’t have a clue as to what you should do next.

You’ve Lost the Weight – Now What?

When you’re in the process of losing weight, you have a task at hand.  You’ve got a goal to reach and – as long as things are going right – you’re moving closer to your goal all the time. And you’re getting great feedback – you see changes in your body and on the scale. Your clothes are getting looser. Your friends and family are encouraging you to keep up the good work. And, as you’re losing, you’re focused every day on change – like making better food choices, changing your exercise habits or changing the way you deal with stress. Every day you’ve had a goal you wanted to reach.

Now that you’ve “crossed the finish line”, though, the compliments and encouragement are becoming less frequent. Now that your weight is stable, you no longer have the thrill of buying smaller and smaller clothes. Now that you’ve reached your goal, the scale doesn’t move (much). While you were losing weight, you got very used to change – and now, your goal is not to change. Your goal now is for things to stay just as they are.  Every. Single. Day.

So part of the problem is this: the goal of “keeping everything just as it is” is harder to grasp than the goal you had before, which offered a reward – in the form of reaching a particular weight, or size, or shape. Maintenance, in other words, may not feel all that rewarding.

Why Weight Maintenance Can Be Harder Than Losing

It’s important to have the right mindset once you’ve reached your goal weight. If you’re thinking, “I’m so glad that’s over with”, a little attitude adjustment might be in order. Yes, you’ve reached your goal, but you never really “cross the finish line”. Weight maintenance after weight loss can be so challenging because:

-  You have to keep working hard at making the right food choices and getting plenty of exercise in order to keep the weight off … maybe even harder than someone who weighs exactly what you do now, but who has maintained that weight all their lives.
-  You realize you can’t go back to your ‘old’ way of eating
-  Your calorie needs may not be as high as they were – since calorie needs are based, in part, on your body size.
-  You have a new body that feels different than the old one, and you may not feel comfortable in it yet.
-  Your body doesn’t look the way you expected it would.
-  Your weight loss may not have changed your life as much as you thought it would.

Tips to Help You With Weight Maintenance

-   If you feel like you know what you need to do to lose weight, but you’re not so sure what you need to do to maintain that loss, keep in mind that weight loss and weight maintenance are really two sides of the same coin. It’s not as if you’ve crossed some invisible finish line (and that your diet is ‘over’) – and you’re now free to shift gears and do something else.  What you did in order to get your weight down is more or less what you’ll need to continue doing in order to maintain that loss.
-  That said, if the diet you stuck to during the weight loss phase was very restrictive, you’ll want to work towards eating more normally.  Part of this process involves learning to do things like making wise choices in restaurants, dealing with cocktail and dinner parties, working in a treat from time to time, or lightening up your cooking style.  As you practice eating normally, you’ll learn that you can trust yourself to manage your weight.
-  Keep your expectations reasonable.  When we see photos of celebrities who have dropped 30 pounds in 30 days, we expect we should be able to do that, too – and that our bodies should look like theirs when we’re finished.  But not only is crash dieting an unhealthy approach to weight loss, it’s not an approach you can – or should – adopt for the long term.  Accept that slow and steady is not only a safer way to lose weight, it also gives you time to practice making the positive lifestyle changes that will help you to look and feel your best in the long run.
-  Rather than setting a single number as your maintenance weight, allow yourself a modest range of a couple of pounds or kilos. Most people’s weight fluctuates a little bit – and as long as your average weight over time doesn’t shift, you’re doing a good job at maintaining. The best weight for you is the one you achieve once you’ve established a healthy eating pattern and an active lifestyle that you can maintain for life.
-  Since weight loss itself is so goal-oriented, you’ll want to set some new goals for yourself during weight maintenance. Think outside the box a little bit so you’re not just focused on the scale.  Maybe set a new fitness goal, like mastering a new yoga pose or shaving a few minutes off your morning run – or a food-related goal, like cooking more meals at home, or revising some recipes to make them healthier.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.


Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

How a few small diet changes can add up to big results

A Few Small Diet Changes Can Add Up to Big Results | Herbalife Nutrition AdviceMaking a few small dietary changes every month can add up to big results. Taken together, this month’s suggested changes could save you enough calories to drop nearly 25lbs / 11kgs in a year !

You might have heard that it takes only a few weeks to establish a new eating habit – which would suggest that those diet and lifestyle resolutions you made at the beginning of the year should have taken hold by now.  But in reality, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to forming new eating habits – for some, a new habit may well be established after a few weeks, but for others it could take much longer for dietary changes to comfortably settle in.

My guess is that those who take the ‘baby steps’ approach to dietary changes probably do a bit better than those who try to tackle too much at one time.  That’s one reason I suggested at the end of last year that you might try making just a few small changes every month throughout the year – rather than taking on a lot of big changes at once.  The idea is simply this: taken together, many small changes over time can lead to big results.  And, since little dietary changes are easier to practice every day, you’ll always be reinforcing those new eating habits for a lifetime.

Did you Stick to New Year’s Resolutions?

If you made diet resolutions in January, how are you doing? Are you sticking with your plans? Or did you try to do too much at once?  Did you just fall right back into your old habits?  Do you even remember what you promised yourself you were going to do?  If you haven’t made the progress you’d hoped you would, there’s a good chance that you either tried to do too much at once, or the changes you tried to make were too drastic.

Making Diet Changes – A Few Small Steps for This Month

Sticking with the idea that “small changes add up to big results”, here are my suggestions for  three small diet changes you might want to try this month.  Taken together, they could add up to some pretty impressive results.

Small Diet Change #1: Leave a few bites of food on your plate.

The practice of leaving a few bites of food on your plate is designed to help you get in touch with your ‘fullness’ signals.  Training yourself to stop eating when you’re comfortably satisfied will help you learn how much food you actually need at a sitting.  One way to do that is to leave a few bites on your plate so you can practice paying attention to your internal signals.  Too often, we rely on an empty plate to tell us we’re finished eating – and by then we may have eaten a lot more than we should.

Big Result #1: It’s been estimated that a single bite of food averages about 25 calories.  Let’s suppose you leave 2 bites of food on your plate at two meals every day.  That’s a daily savings of 100 calories – and in a year’s time, that could add up to a 10lb /4.5kg weight loss.

Small Diet Change #2: Double the veggies and cut the starch.

If most evenings you sit down to a typical meal that consists of a protein, a vegetable and a starch, try making this change just three times a week. Simply omit the starchy portion of your meal – the rice, the noodles, the potato – and double up on your vegetables.

Big Result #2: A portion of cooked rice, noodles or potato has well over 200 calories, while the same amount of cooked vegetables has about 50 calories.  Every time you make this change, you’ll save about 150 calories.  Make this change three times a week for a year, and you’ll save enough calories to lose almost 7lbs / 3kgs.

Small Diet Change #3: Switch from fruit juice to whole fruit

If you’re counting on fruit juices to help meet your recommended daily fruit servings, you could shave quite a few calories if you switch to whole fruit instead.  One problem with fruit juice is that it lacks the filling fiber that you find in whole fruits.  So, a typical glass of fruit juice might contain the equivalent of several pieces of fruit, but it won’t be nearly as filling.  While you may not eat 2 or 3 oranges in a sitting, it’s not difficult to drink the calorie equivalent in glass of orange juice.

Big Result #3: Let’s say you eat a whole orange instead of drinking a 12-ounce (375mL) glass of orange juice in the morning.  Every time you do that, you save about 100 calories (and you’d pick up about 3 grams of fiber, too).  Now suppose you make that swap 5 times a week.  That one little change could save you enough calories to drop 7.5 lbs / 3.4kgs s in a year.

Did you make some small changes in January that are still working for you?  Please share your success!

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

A Few Small Diet Changes Can Add Up to Big Results

A Few Small Diet Changes Can Add Up to Big Results | Herbalife Nutrition AdviceMaking a few small dietary changes every month can add up to big results.  Taken together, this month’s suggested changes could save you enough calories to drop nearly 25 pounds in a year !

You might have heard that it takes only a few weeks to establish a new eating habit – which would suggest that those diet and lifestyle resolutions you made at the beginning of the year should have taken hold by now.  But in reality, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to forming new eating habits – for some, a new habit may well be established after a few weeks, but for others it could take much longer for dietary changes to comfortably settle in.

My guess is that those who take the ‘baby steps’ approach to dietary changes probably do a bit better than those who try to tackle too much at one time.  That’s one reason I suggested at the end of last year that you might try making just a few small changes every month throughout the year – rather than taking on a lot of big changes at once.  The idea is simply this: taken together, many small changes over time can lead to big results.  And, since little dietary changes are easier to practice every day, you’ll always be reinforcing those new eating habits for a lifetime.

Did you Stick to New Year’s Resolutions?

If you made diet resolutions in January, how are you doing? Are you sticking with your plans? Or did you try to do too much at once?  Did you just fall right back into your old habits?  Do you even remember what you promised yourself you were going to do?  If you haven’t made the progress you’d hoped you would, there’s a good chance that you either tried to do too much at once, or the changes you tried to make were too drastic.

Making Diet Changes – A Few Small Steps for This Month

Sticking with the idea that “small changes add up to big results”, here are my suggestions for  three small changes you might want to try this month.  Taken together, they could add up to some pretty impressive results.

Small Diet Change #1: Leave a few bites of food on your plate.

The practice of leaving a few bites of food on your plate is designed to help you get in touch with your ‘fullness’ signals.  Training yourself to stop eating when you’re comfortably satisfied will help you learn how much food you actually need at a sitting.  One way to do that is to leave a few bites on your plate so you can practice paying attention to your internal signals.  Too often, we rely on an empty plate to tell us we’re finished eating – and by then we may have eaten a lot more than we should.

Big Result #1: It’s been estimated that a single bite of food averages about 25 calories.  Let’s suppose you leave 2 bites of food on your plate at two meals every day.  That’s a daily savings of 100 calories – and in a year’s time, that could add up to a 10-pound weight loss.

Small Diet Change #2: Double the veggies and cut the starch.

If most evenings you sit down to a typical meal that consists of a protein, a vegetable and a starch, try making this change just three times a week. Simply omit the starchy portion of your meal – the rice, the noodles, the potato – and double up on your vegetables.

Big Result #2: A cup of cooked rice, noodles or potato has well over 200 calories, while the same amount of cooked vegetables has about 50 calories.  Every time you make this change, you’ll save about 150 calories.  Make this change three times a week for a year, and you’ll save enough calories to lose almost 7 pounds.

Small Diet Change #3: Switch from fruit juice to whole fruit

If you’re counting on fruit juices to help meet your recommended daily fruit servings, you could shave quite a few calories if you switch to whole fruit instead.  One problem with fruit juice is that it lacks the filling fiber that you find in whole fruits.  So, a typical glass of fruit juice might contain the equivalent of several pieces of fruit, but it won’t be nearly as filling.  While you may not eat 2 or 3 oranges in a sitting, it’s not difficult to drink the calorie equivalent in glass of orange juice.

Big Result #3: Let’s say you eat a whole orange instead of drinking a 12-ounce (375mL) glass of orange juice in the morning.  Every time you do that, you save about 100 calories (and you’d pick up about 3 grams of fiber, too).  Now suppose you make that swap 5 times a week.  That one little change could save you enough calories to drop 7 1Ž2 pounds in a year.

Did you make some small changes in January that are still working for you?  Please share your success!

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

What Are Carbohydrates? How Many ‘Carbs’ Do You Need?

Do you know your good carbs from bad?

Do you have a good handle on carbohydrates? Essentially, you get carbohydrates from a wide range of foods, and you need them to keep your body’s engine running.

Just what are carbs, anyway? As much as people talk about carbohydrates, you’d think that everyone actually knows where we get our carbs and how much carbohydrate we should be eating every day–or not. In truth, carbohydrates have been both praised and punished—in part because they’re largely misunderstood. Continue reading "What Are Carbohydrates? How Many ‘Carbs’ Do You Need?"