The Truth about Carbohydrates

Are foods rich in carbohydrates the main culprits of weight gain? Most people trying to lose weight would avoid foods such as pasta, potatoes, bread, rice and cereals. Also, with low carb diets gaining popularity, this opinion seems to have become more consolidated.

Additionally, people often hear that the wheat in foods such as pasta and bread causes bloating, which has led to the belief that cutting out carbohydrates from our diets will help in weight loss.

This has left quite a few people confused whether they should include foods rich in carbohydrates in their weight loss diets.

Do Carbohydrates Actually Lead to Weight Gain?

Most health experts agree that there is no actual proof of carbohydrate rich food leading to more weight gain than any other food group. Ultimately, it all boils down to the excess of calories we consume which leads to weight gain, regardless of where those calories are coming from.

In most cases, it is the fat we consume with the carbohydrates which increases the calorie content. So, the creamy sauce we eat with pasta, the butter on the bread or fried potato would be the main culprits. Diets that recommend cutting out carbohydrate rich foods to lose weight work by reducing the calorie consumption. If a weight loss diet cuts out certain foods like potatoes, pasta, bread or rice, it also cuts out the calories. This is what leads to weight loss.

Most carbohydrate rich foods, especially the unprocessed ones, like wholegrain cereals, whole meal bread and whole wheat pasta contain a lot of minerals and vitamins, are low in fat content and are an important source of fiber. Cutting out these carbs makes it difficult to meet the daily recommended intake (18 grams a day) of fiber. Fiber is necessary for a healthy digestive system and to avoid conditions like hemorrhoids, constipation and diverticular diseases. Also, foods high in fiber are more filling than other foods, so they are a great choice for losing weight. Apart from that, there is also evidence that wholegrain found in carbohydrate rich foods such as whole wheat pasta, wholegrain cereal, oats and brown rice have a number of other health benefits such as keeping the heart healthy and helping to control our blood sugar levels and weight.

What You Should Do

Do not cut out carbohydrates completely from your weight loss diet. Opt for high fiber carbohydrates, such as wholegrain cereal, brown rice, whole meal bread and whole wheat pasta. They pack in more fiber and nutrients than the white processed varieties, thus helping to fill you up more. Also avoid adding too much of fat to these foods.

5 Weight Loss Myths Busted!!

It seems everyone is trying to lose weight these days. However, many people end up resorting to unhealthy and unproven methods for weight loss, usually with unsatisfactory results.

Here we will discuss and bust some of the most common weight loss myths, which in fact sabotage one’s weight loss goals.

Myth I: Starchy foods make one fat and should be reduced to achieve weight loss.

The truth, however, is that there are number of food items which are low in calories and fat such as rice, bread, beans and fruits. These food items only become high in fat and calorific content when they are consumed in huge quantities or when they are combined with other high fat foods such as butter, mayonnaise, sour cream or ketchup. The body needs foods which are high in starch (also know as complex carbs) as they are a major source of energy.

Myth II: Non-Fat or Low-Fat means no calories.

A food labeled as non-fat or low-fat does not necessarily mean that they contain no fat. They just have a lower calorific content as compared to their full fat versions. However, more often than not, the calorific content of these non-fat or low fat food products is the same (if not more) as the full fat versions. You must check the nutritional labels on the food items to know more about the calorific content. Also, low-fat foods do not mean that you can eat more.

Myth III: Eating after 7:30 pm leads to gain in weight.

It makes no difference at what time of the day you eat. You gain weight only because of the food you eat and the quantity you eat. If you consume more calories than you burn, your body will store it away and you will gain weight.

Myth IV: Only drastic diets lead to weight loss.

Of course, eating just oranges for a whole week will inevitably lead to weight loss. However, do you really think you can eat just oranges for the rest of your life for permanent weight loss? Such weight loss goals are not realistic. Every one of us will eventually get frustrated and bored with such drastic diets and crave that hamburger. The trick to achieving sustained weight loss is to gradually modify your dieting habits so that you can stick to it.

Myth V: You need to give up your favorite foods to lose weight.

That is simply not true. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods will not work in the long term. It is human nature that when you try to avoid something completely, you inevitably end up breaking the resolution. Once you break the resolution you simply give up and get back to your old ways and start piling on those pounds. Instead, you should allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods every now and then.

Moderation is the key here.

Less Known Causes of Weight Gain

Been on a weight loss diet plan but those extra pounds never seem to go away?

Well, you are not alone. Many people get frustrated because they keep on gaining weight even when they are regularly exercising and are ensuring a calorie controlled diet. Even when one follows a weight loss diet plan and a strict exercise regimen, there are still some other factors that might be sabotaging all your weight loss efforts. And more often than not, it is not just a single factor but a combination of factors that is responsible for the weight gain.

Let us take a closer look at some of the most surprising causes of weight gain.

    • Lack of Sleep: The human body works best when it is fully rested. When one does not get sufficient sleep, the body undergoes physiological stress and starts storing more fat, thus leading to weight gain. Also, some people resort to midnight snacks and other unhealthy foods when they are unable to sleep, thinking that eating will help them get better sleep. This will, however, only lead to weight gain.
    • Too Much Stress: We live in very demanding times. The stress resulting from juggling so many responsibilities, coping with financial pressures and living a fast paced life can set off a biochemical process that puts our body into a ’91survival’92 mode. As a result of this process, the body slows down its metabolic rate, starts storing fuel and releases hormones (such as leptin, and cortisol), which lead to obesity of the abdominal region. People also reach out for unhealthy snacks and foods in a bid to cope with the stress. This, however, does not work because eating will not address the real stressors and lead only to weight gain.
    • Medications: Certain prescription drugs used for the treatment of mood disorders, seizures, depression, migraines, diabetes and blood pressure can lead to weight gain. Some hormone replacement therapies, steroids and even some oral contraceptives may lead to a gradual increase in weight. All these drugs work differently to cause gain in weight. Some may increase your appetite, others may change the way your body stores fat. According to experts some of the most common medications which lead to weight gain are antidepressants, antipsychotics, steroids, heartburn medications, etc.
    • Medical Conditions: Sometimes people gain weight because of medical conditions. One of the most common medical conditions that leads to weight gain is hypothyroidism. A deficiency in the thyroid hormone results in loss of appetite, decreased in the metabolic rate and weight gain. Another condition known as Cushing’92s syndrome, which is caused by excess cortisol, also results in weight gain.

Sleeping and Weight Loss

Losing sleep over not being able to lose weight?

Well, losing sleep might be the very reason why your weight loss progress is being sabotaged!

Just read on to find out more on how sleep affects your weight loss progress.rnrnStudies by researchers have shown that women who sleep for five hours or less every night usually weigh more than those who sleep for at least seven hours a night. There is substantial medical evidence to suggest that weight loss and sleep are connected. A 2010 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in fact said that cutting down sleep reduces the benefits of weight loss programs and dieting.

In the study, dieters lost the same amount of weight when they got a full night’s sleep as they did when they slept less. However, when the dieters got sufficient sleep, the amount of fat lost accounted for more than half of the total weight lost. When the sleep hours were insufficient, the amount of fat lost accounted for only one-fourth of the total weight lost. Also, dieters felt hungrier when they cut back on their sleeping hours. Researches have also suggested that the number of hours you sleep (possibly even the quality of sleep) may affect hormonal activity which in turn is related to one’s appetite.

How Hormones Affect Sleep and Weight Loss: The hormones leptin and ghrelin play a major role in controlling when one feels hungry or full. Ghrelin (secreted in the gastrointestinal tract) is the hormone which triggers our appetite. It also reduces energy consumption by the body and promotes fat retention. Leptin (produced in the body’s fat cells) on the other hand, sends off signals to the brain when one is full. When you do not get sufficient amount of sleep, there is an increase in the levels of ghrelin in the body, with a simultaneous decrease in leptin levels. As a result you feel hungrier and you won’92t feel as satisfied even after you eat. The combined effect of these two sets the perfect stage for overeating, which in turn leads to weight gain. Getting adequate sleep will help to maintain the right hormonal balance thus halting any weight gain from loss of sleep.

So if you are on a diet plan or a weight loss program, make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Experts suggest that you should get at least seven hours of sleep.

Quit Smoking? How to Avoid Weight Gain

One of the worst parts of quitting smoking, apart from nicotine cravings, is the weight gain. Studies have shown that the average smoker gains around eight pounds after quitting.

However, this weight gain can be curbed with just a few changes in your lifestyle. You will have to choose healthier food and exercise more.

Causes of Weight Gain after You Quit Smoking: According to studies, heavy smokers burn up to 200 calories a day. This is because smoking increases the body’s metabolic rate, the rate of burning calories and fat. When you quit smoking, your metabolism will slow down a bit. This will lead to weight gain as you are burning less calories even if your calorie consumption is still the same. Also, when people quit smoking, they tend to substitute smoking with eating and reach out for snacks often, thus increasing the calorie intake. Moreover, even food tastes better after you quit smoking. The combination of a low metabolic rate along with higher calorie consumption will result in weight gain.

What You Should Do: If you want to avoid gaining weight after you quit smoking, controlling your food habits and getting enough physical exercise will help you immensely. Exercise obviously helps to burn more calories. Apart from that, exercising will also help the smoking cessation plan. Exercising will help you in relieving stress, reducing depression and improving your mood. People who are reaching out for food as a replacement of nicotine can keep themselves occupied with exercise. Exercise also helps to beat nicotine cravings. Exercise five days a week for about half an hour. You don’92t have to start high intensity workouts. Even a brisk walk for about 30 minutes will help a great deal.rnrnAlso try putting together healthy snacks, so whenever you feel the urge to eat after quitting nicotine, you don’t end up eating unhealthy high calorie foods. You could try vegetable sticks, sunflower seeds, fresh fruit, fat free yogurt or herbal teas. Try and remove temptations such as high fat foods.

6 Tips for Fast Weight Loss

Quick Weight LossBeen thinking of starting a weight loss program but just can’t seem to find the time?

All you need to do is to alter your lifestyle a little toshed a few pounds. Here are some quick weight loss tips that work.

  • Reduce sugar intake: Many studies have associated sugar to higher calorie consumption. When you consume something sweet, you will simply want to eat more. Moreover, sugar consumption leads to the excretion of chromium from the body. Chromium is what helps the body to form calorie burning lean tissue.
  • Reduce fat intake: Higher fat intake leads to obesity. Ideally only 25% of your calorie intake should be from fat, and even that fat should be non-saturated. Most processed foods fall into the saturated fat category, so it would be best to avoid them.
  • Drink lots of water: Drinking water is very effective for weight loss. Usually people mistake thirst for hunger and tend to overeat. Next time you feel like grabbing a snack, go drink some water first. Drinking water also adds volume to your food, thus making you feel full faster. Water is also necessary for the proper distribution of nutrients in the body.
  • Exercise: Exercise is necessary for faster weight loss. Exercising regularly will help you burn more calories and keep the lost weight away. You just need to increase the duration of the workout after a few weeks. Start with 30-minute sessions, thrice a week and gradually increasing it to 45-minute sessions, five times a week.
  • Strength Training: Most people will be involved in cardio and aerobics exercises as part of their weight loss program. Another form of exercise, strength training, is also quite effective for weight loss. Strength training helps to build more muscles and boosts the body’92s metabolic rate, which leads to faster weight loss.
  • Increase fiber intake: Increasing your fiber intake helps you curb hunger. Increased fiber in your food is more filling, thus making you feel fuller. Fruit, whole grain cereals and vegetables are high in fiber. Avoid eating processed foods, as they are low in fiber and high in calorie content.

 

Just incorporating these tips in your daily life will help you lose weight faster. However, for better and sustained results, you may need to seek help from an experienced professional.

How to Choose the Right Weight Loss Program

Tried a number of weight loss diets and programs but nothing seems to be working? With the huge number of weigh loss plans and diets available today, it becomes quite difficult to choose the right one. Here are a few things you need to consider to help you choose the right weight loss program.

1. Decide on how much weight you wish to lose. Do you want to lose just a few pounds in a few days or are you considering losing more weight? In order to decide, you will need to check out the potential weight loss offered by the weight loss program you choose. However, you will have to put in effort to achieve that potential weight loss.

2. Decide how much you are willing to change your lifestyle. Do you socialize a lot? Does your work involve attending parties? Do you eat out often? You might have to change some of these habits. Choose a weight loss program that is flexible, as it will affect your ability to stick to the program.

3. Decide how much you are willing to exercise. All weight loss plans will suggest some form of exercise. Think realistically about how much time you will be able to devote to exercising in your daily routine. There is no point of joining a weight loss program if you are unable to schedule the recommended exercises.

4. Decide on how much you are willing to spend on the weight loss program. Do you want a weight loss plan with a onetime fee or monthly payments? Also look up their diet plans to check for any exotic ingredient, as they might not be easily available or may be too expensive.

Keeping these things in mind will help you choose the right weight loss program. However, remember to consult a professional, who can tell you about the right body weight you need to achieve according to your body type and height. Also, you need to consult a physician before starting a weight loss plan in case you are suffering from any medical condition.

5 Ways to Prepare Yourself Mentally for Weight Loss

Prepare Yourself Mentally for Weight LossTried a number of weight loss programs, but still far from a perfect figure?

Read a million books on weight loss diets but still unhappy with the results?

Are you feeling low or distressed due to this?

Did you know that successful weight loss begins with a positive outlook?

The way you think is key to achieving your weight loss goals. Read on to find out how you can prepare yourself mentally before beginning on any weight loss program.

Successful Weight Loss: Preparing Yourself Mentally for Weight Loss

Here are a few things that will help you prepare yourself mentally for achieving weight loss:

    1. Compile a list of all the negative things you keep thinking about yourself. These may include – ‘I don’t exercise much’, ‘I can’t manage things’ or ‘I will never be able to look like that’. Then compile a second list of all the things you love about yourself. Make sure this list is longer. Next take the first list and write a counter belief against the negative thoughts. Trash the first list symbolically and focus on all the positive counter thoughts and the things you love about yourself. Place this list in a prominent location, so you can see them everyday. This will help you feel good and think more positively about achieving your goals. Try and be the person who you have described in the list.
  • Don’t take any negative criticism, neither your own nor from anyone else. You are the creator of your self image. Everyone makes mistakes and you can learn from them. Don’t criticize yourself for making mistakes. Just focus on the learning.

 

  • Forget about the failures of the past. Take charge of your thoughts and focus on the present. Don’92t focus on yesterday’s failures, such as thinking that you should not have had that chocolate cookie. Just make sure you avoid giving too much into temptation again.

 

  • You cannot change your past, but you can work on the present for a better future. Resolve to make changes in your present. Don’t accept excuses to postpone making changes to your diet, exercise regimen or lifestyle. Make those changes today. Chalk out a success plan.

 

After you are armed with positive thoughts about yourself and have a success plan chalked out, you can go ahead with the physical aspects of losing weight, such as changing your dietary habits and exercising.

Does Skipping Dinner Really Help You Lose Weight?

Trying to lose weight? You think skipping dinner will help you do that?

Think again. Skipping dinner might help you to some extent, but it definitely is not the right way to go about losing weight. Read on to find out more.

Skipping Dinner to Lose Weight: Does it Work?

People often think skipping dinner will help to cut down lots of calories. Weight loss experts will also suggest that skipping meals will cut back your calorie intake. But it does not necessarily imply that you will lose weight.rnrnWhen you skip dinner, your body goes into preservation mode. Your body starts using up the stored proteins, fats and carbohydrates as sources of energy. When these sources of energy are depleted, the body looks for other fuel sources to keep the brain and nervous system functioning properly. If the glucose levels in your body are not adequate, the body starts breaking down liver and muscle tissue to create glucose. The body tries to preserve the remaining protein and starts metabolizing the fat through the process of ketosis. This may lead to fatigue, nausea, decreased blood pressure, elevated uric acid levels and constipation.rnrnAlso, when you skip dinner, the metabolism rate also slows down. The natural fat burning mechanisms is also lowered. The body starts holding on to calories and storing them as fat, instead of burning it up for energy. This makes the whole point of skipping dinner to lose weight futile.

What You Should Do Instead

Instead of just skipping dinner, change the way you eat dinner. Try and eat your dinner earlier in the evening. Avoid eating three hours before you go to bed. This way the body gets enough time to digest food and start burning up the calories. At night, your body will burn even more fat as the blood sugar level goes down. This leads to the release of testosterone and other growth hormones at night, which help to melt the fat.rnrnLeave heavier food stuff for the earlier meals of the day and have lighter foods for dinner, such as salads. If you get cravings at night, have healthy snacks such as fruits or vegetables. Also, maintaining a healthy metabolic rate requires a regular flow of adequate calories. Exercising also helps to rev up the metabolism and burn up more calories, whereas skipping meals just slows the metabolism rate down. Instead of skipping meals, just reduce the overall calorie intake in all your meals.rnrnSkipping dinner to lose weight is definitely not a healthy option. So think before you skip dinner to lose weight again.

How to Control Weight Gain Associated with Aging

Once you cross the 40 mark, you tend to gain weight and the weight that you gain with age is difficult to get rid of. So, it is important to become a little more conscious and take necessary precautions as we age.

Let us first understand the factors responsible for weight gain as we age.

Reduced Testosterone or Estrogen: Aging leads to a lack in the testosterone hormone in men with the result that their metabolic rate declines and they lose lean muscle tissues. They will burn fewer calories than before due to reduced metabolism resulting in fat accumulation and, ultimately, weight gain. In case of women, it is the estrogen hormone that falls in intensity leading to a decline in metabolism and an increase in weight.

Lack of Activity: At a young age, we usually indulge in more physical activity than as we grow older. Due to this, our muscle mass decreases and we put on weight.

Body Process: As we age, the process that our bodies work in slows down. Due to this, the body’s ability to burn fat keeps declining.

Tips to Keep Weight Gain with Age in Control

Here are some tips to check the weight that you gain with age:

Increase Physical Activity: There are many ways to get involved in increased physical activities. Exercising, especially in the morning, is one of the best. Since the body may not necessarily supply as much energy as it used to when you were young, the exercise regimen and types must be decided keeping that in mind. You can also take a long stroll in the park in the evening, join dance classes or walk instead of traveling by car. Increased physical activity means high metabolism and muscle building, resulting in preventing fat accumulation.

Stop Dieting: Dieting to lose weight with growing age is not a good option. This actually works against your weight loss goals and makes you put on more weight. So, it is better to keep your diet healthy and ensure that it includes a good quantity of fruits, vegetables, juices, nuts and fiber.

Protein Diet: With rising age, our digestive system tends to slow down, making it difficult to digest a high protein diet. However, this does not mean that you stop consuming protein, as it helps build muscles. Make sure to exercise regularly to keep your digestive system up and running.

Calories: Try to ensure that your calorie intake does not exceed or fall below the standard required level of 1,200 calories a day.You can also join a community working towards the same aim to stay motivated in your weight loss goals.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary.