Category Archives: weight control

Tips for fixing a healthy Thanksgiving meal

The holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving looming large on our calendar. Here are some very useful tips from Rush University Medical Center for fixing that holiday meal without taxing your friends and family.

Prepare a feast fit for … your waistline
Thanksgiving is known for quality time around the table with friends and family — and for its large portions of indulgent dishes.

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It is easy to overeat when faced with so many delicious foods. In fact, research suggests the average Thanksgiving meal contains a whopping 3,000 to 4,500 calories, which is far more than the average man or woman needs in an entire day.

Here are some tips and tricks to lighten up some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes — so you can impress your friends and family with a feast that’s as nutritious as it is delicious.

To reduce sodium:
Use reduced sodium, or unsalted chicken broth or stock when making mashed potatoes or stuffing.
Add flavor with herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme and garlic instead of salt.
Canned vegetables tend to be high in sodium, so read the labels and choose low sodium varieties. Or opt for fresh or frozen veggies instead.
To cut sugar:
Sugar provides texture and tenderness to baked goods such as muffins and cakes. However, baked goods often contain a lot of sugar.

Cutting the sugar in your recipe will save you excess calories without compromising your dessert. Start by reducing the sugar by one quarter. If you’re satisfied with the taste and texture, try cutting the sugar in half. This can save you approximately 200 to 400 calories (for ¼ cup and ½ cup of sugar, respectively) per recipe. Continue reading

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Morning mushrooms may be key weight control tool – Study

Shades of Alice in Wonderland!  A new study demonstrates that mushrooms may have near magical powers in making your body feel as full as if you had consumed meat – when protein levels are matched. This could be really good news for anyone who feels concerned about reducing his saturated fat consumption from red meats.

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If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then mushrooms may be one of the most imperative ingredients. A new study on satiety published in the October issue of the journal Appetite indicates that eating a mushroom-rich breakfast may result in less hunger and a greater feeling of fullness after the mushroom breakfast compared to the meat breakfast.

“Previous studies on mushrooms suggest that they can be more satiating than meat, but this effect had not been studied with protein-matched amounts until now,” said gut health and satiety researcher and study author Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, professor at the University of Minnesota. “As with previous published research, this study indicates there may be both a nutritional and satiating benefit to either substituting mushrooms for meat in some meals or replacing some of the meat with mushrooms.” Continue reading

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5 Habits that work for weight loss – Harvard

I think that deciding to live a healthy life is a far more rewarding goal than ‘losing a few pounds.’ Unfortunately, I think peoples’ eyes glaze over contemplating the general idea of living a health life. Whereas, lopping off a few offending pounds resonates. Statistics show that 60 percent of us are overweight and half of those folks are outright obese. So, we need to know some weight loss techniques. I think Harvard does a good job on this list from the Harvard Heart Letter.

1. Make time to prepare healthy meals

Home-cooked food tends to be far lower in calories, fat, salt, and sugar than restaurant food and most processed food. But it takes time and effort to choose recipes, go to the store, and cook. Take a close look at your weekly schedule to see if you can carve out a few hours to devote to meal planning and shopping, which is more than half the battle, says Dr. Blackburn. It could be on Sunday afternoon or in 15- to 30-minute increments throughout the week. Continue reading

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Empty calories: What you need to know – MNT

I think calorie-counting is a very valuable tool when you are first getting started on weight control and living a healthy life. But, there are calories and there are calories. You need to know the food value of the calories you are consuming. You don’t want to eat a lot of empty calories.

Put simply, empty calories are calories that come from foods or drinks that have little or no nutritional value.

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There are many common sources of empty calories. People may choose to limit or eliminate these foods and drinks from their diets to stay healthy and within their ideal weight range.

Helping children limit empty calories can set them up for a healthy life in the future. It can also help stabilize their energy and decrease mood swings.

Avoiding or limiting empty calories is a simple step toward a healthier diet and lifestyle.

What are calories?

Calories are units of energy. Scientifically, a gram calorie (cal) is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram (g) of water by 1° C.

From a scientific perspective, what is typically called a “calorie” is actually a kilogram calorie (kCal). This is a unit of energy made up of thousands of “small calories” equal to the large calorie often used to measure the energy in food.

Calories are an essential part of the diet. The body needs to burn calories to do the simplest tasks, such as breathing or blinking. When physical exercise is thrown into the mix, even more calories are required to stay healthy and alert.

The amount of calories a person needs every day can vary widely. Most recommendations are based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day. However, this number may be higher or lower depending on the individual and their habits.

A registered dietitian can help determine a person’s ideal caloric intake based on activity level, age, sex, metabolism, and height.

What are empty calories?

Continue reading

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10 Metabolism secrets to help shed pounds – Infographic

The aim of this blog is not to simply lose weight. It is to live a healthy, happy and long life and to have all our mental faculties functional till the end. I am including this infographic because it has a lot of good information on those very things – as well as losing weight.

Eat less; move move; live longer.

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Tony

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Keeping your weight in check as you age

I am aging along with everybody else on this earth. That has important aspects and implications. Me at 30 is not the same as me at 50 nor me at plus 70. It helps to know what to expect.

Most of our lives we hear that thinner is better. That is true, but for older folks activity becomes a more important factor. We have to be able to continue to do all our activities. As WebMD says, “It’s less about what you weigh and more about how much of your weight is muscle instead of fat. Your doctor can tell you if your weight is on track, in light of your age and overall health.”

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Don’t cop out. “My metabolism is slowing” is a fact from our 20’s onward. It’s not a reason to stop working on your weight and health. If you stop being active, your body will shift to more fat and less muscle. Fat doesn’t burn calories, so an inactive person will gain weight. Eat less, move more is the mantra of this blog and should be of every person.

Being active works muscles and allows you to consume more calories. Sedentary oldsters are the ones with weight and health problems. You can have some cake and eat it, too, just choose a reasonable amount.

WebMd makes a good point about aging and eating, “Those corners you cut when you were younger (huge portions, happy hours, little to no exercise) You can’t get away with that any more. But age does not have to equal weight gain.”

Check out my previous post on strength training. Even if your muscles have slacked off with you, you can revive them and revitalize yourself. Muscle loss isn’t permanent. Health clubs have free weights, weight machines and there are numerous exercises you can do just using your own body weight including yoga that will build muscle.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle due to aging. This results from lack of activity, hormonal changes and poor nutrition. Eat less and move more. Sarcopenia does not have to be a permanent condition.

The bottom line is that your health doesn’t have to shrink and your waistline doesn’t have to bulge as you age. But, you do have to take an active part in the process. As you age, your margin of error does shrink. So, pay close attention to what and how much you eat. Get out there and get some exercise. Walking is a very good way to start. It works your muscles and clears your mind as well as burning the odd calorie.

Check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off for more guidelines.

No one likes folks who don’t practice what they preach. About 10 years ago my weight got out of control and I ballooned over 220 pounds. I took off 50 pounds in a year, but that only got me down to the mid-170’s. You can read How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

I am now 77 years old and wear the same size pants I wore in high school. I ride my bike around 6000 miles a year here in Chicago. My resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. I have weighed in the low 150s for six years. If I can reach this level of health, there is no reason you can’t, too. Just decide to do it.

Tony

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Walnuts Activate Brain Region Involved in Appetite Control – Study

Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. So, it is always  useful to learn more about how various inputs like food and exercise impact the brain. Here is some fresh info on walnuts from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

  • Double-blind test bolsters observational data that walnuts promote feelings of fullness.
  • Results provide a quantitative measure for testing other compounds’ ability to control appetite, including potential medications for the treatment of obesity.
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Fascinating how walnuts also suggest the shape of the brain.

Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have demonstrated that consuming walnuts activates an area in the brain associated with regulating hunger and cravings. The findings, published online in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, reveal for the first time the neurocognitive impact these nuts have on the brain. Continue reading

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No Weight-Loss Protection from Vitamin D – Tufts

I have said time and again that losing weight is not a good goal. Instead, work at living a  healthy life, eat intelligently and exercise regularly. Do that and you will never have to lose weight. I have been doing it since six months into writing this blog and now, eight years later, I have fluctuated about five pounds on either side of my 155 pound weight.

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This info from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter, highlights postmenopausal women, but has wider implications.

While losing weight can protect you against chronic diseases, it does come with a downside – especially for postmenopausal women: Studies have shown that obese older women who lose weight also lose lean muscle mass and bone mineral density (BMD), particularly if they are inactive, potentially putting them at greater risk of frailty and falls. Continue reading

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How often should you weigh yourself?

The waistline on your pants keeps shrinking for some reason. You joined a health club and even went there and sweated. So you have decided you want to get serious about this weight loss thing.

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Should you be weighing yourself every morning? Are you going to be bummed if those 30 minutes on the elliptical machine haven’t pared some pounds overnight?

Welcome! You are beginning to learn that weight loss and weight control are mental as well as physical. In fact, I think they are more mental than physical. They are also things that occur over a continuum, as opposed to overnight. I you are carrying extra baggage, it took you a while to accumulate. Give yourself adequate time to unload it.

So, what about weighing in regularly? The answer is … Yes. It is a good idea. You need to get feedback on your efforts. You also need information on more than a weekly basis.

There are a few important things to keep in mind, though. First of all, your weight can vary by one or two percent on a daily basis just based on hydration and elimination. So, you can’t take a daily jump or drop in weight too seriously. Keep the trend in mind. Remember, you didn’t put the weight on overnight, so you can’t expect to take it off that fast. In fact, a good rule to keep in mind is that one pound to 1.5 pounds a week is a good healthy rate of loss. You want to lose permanently, not just water weight. That’s why you are eating intelligently now and working out regularly.

One of the most important aspects to daily weighing is not to feel guilty or get frustrated if you don’t see immediate results. Keep a level head and your eyes on your goal and you will be successful.

I wrote a page on How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off. There are a lot of very useful guidelines in it. I know they work because I used them myself over the course of writing this blog for the past four plus years. Check ’em out. They couldn’t hurt. And good luck!

Finally, I would like to make one further suggestion. If you have success shedding pounds, and I hope you do, take a moment to reflect on what got you there. You have eaten intelligently and exercised regularly. I have a secret for you. If you continue to eat intelligently and exercise regularly you will never have to worry about your weight again. Wouldn’t that be lovely?! I hope you will consider it as an alternative to going back to your careless ways and packing on extra pounds again.

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Tony

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More bad news for expanding waistlines

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers make the case that metabolic syndrome is the new silent killer and that the “love handle” can be fatal.

I have posted on obesity in general and expanding waistlines in particular. If you want to read further on these subjects, check the links at the end of this post.

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University make the case that metabolic syndrome — a cluster of three of more risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes — is the new “silent killer,” analogous to hypertension in the 1970s. As it turns out, the “love handle” can be fatal.

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In a commentary published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics , the authors describe how being overweight and obesity contribute to metabolic syndrome, which affects 1 in 3 adults and about 40 percent of adults aged 40 and older. Clinicians have traditionally evaluated each of the major risk factors contributing to metabolic syndrome on an individual basis. There is evidence, however, that the risk factors are more than just the sum of their parts.  Continue reading

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How often should you eat – Infographic

I just stumbled across this infographic and it seemed intelligently constructed and  particularly informative. Enjoy!

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Tony

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5 Tips on choosing healthy protein foods – Harvard

Unlike the weather, everyone talks about protein but they usually try to do something about it, too. MedlinePlus says, “Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids.

“You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.”

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Here are some tips from Harvard on getting the most benefit from protein.

1. Upgrade the protein on your plate. The Healthy Eating Plate encourages you to eat protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, tofu, fish, chicken, or eggs in place of less-healthy options like red and processed meats.

For example, try a turkey or black bean burger instead of a traditional beef burger. Or slice up a fresh-roasted chicken breast or salmon for your sandwich instead of using processed high-sodium lunch meat.

2. Don’t stress too much about protein quantity. Most reasonable diets provide plenty of protein for healthy people. Eating a variety of healthy protein-rich foods—for example an egg with breakfast, some turkey or beans on your salad for lunch, and a piece of salmon or tofu with a whole grain side dish for dinner—will ensure that you get all the protein and protein building-blocks (amino acids) you need. Choose higher-protein foods instead of bulking up with pricey protein shakes or powders, since some of these are loaded with sugar or other additives.

3. Try a meatless Monday—or more. Diets high in plant-based proteins and fats can provide health benefits, so try mixing some vegetarian proteins into your meals. Going meatless can be good for your wallet as well as your health, since beans, nuts and seeds, and other minimally-processed vegetarian protein sources are often less expensive than meat. Eating plant protein in place of meat is also good for the planet. It takes a lot of energy to raise and process animals for meat, so going meatless could help reduce pollution and has the potential to lessen climate change.

4. Eat soy in moderation. Tofu and other soy foods are an excellent red meat alternative. In some cultures, tofu and soy foods are a protein staple, and we don’t suggest any change. But if you haven’t grown up eating lots of soy, there’s no reason to begin eating it in large quantities. And stay away from supplements that contain concentrated soy protein or extracts, such as isoflavones, as we just don’t know their long-term effects.

Scan the Nutrition Facts label before you buy highly-processed vegetarian “fake meat” foods, since these are often as high in sodium—or higher in sodium—than their processed red meat counterparts.

5. Shift the balance of carbs and protein. Cutting back on highly processed carbohydrates and increasing protein improves levels of triglycerides and protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the bloodstream, and so may reduce your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other type of cardiovascular disease. This shift may also make you feel full longer, and stave off hunger pangs.

Tony

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Good health in simple steps – NIA

Living a healthy life is simple but not easy. This infographic from the National Institute on Aging makes it very clear.

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Is your child fat?

As you can see from this post, lifelong good health starts early. There are excellent tools here to make sure your children get off to the right start.

Tony

IS YOUR CHILD FAT? Here’s a question a growing segment of our PARENTAL population is going to have to begin asking themselves. The need to face REALITY is NOT based on aesthetics but rather the diseases and traumatic life altering compromises our children face if we continue to avoid this topic. The argument, “we should […]

via IS YOUR CHILD FAT? — All About Healthy Choices

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The Sweet Truth About Chocolate

Herewith my reminder from last year on Valentine’s Day Eve.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

In view of Valentine’s Day tomorrow and tons of chocolate being consumed in honor of it, I thought it might be useful to get a taste of chocolate’s impact on our health.

Medical News Today says, “Throughout the years, chocolate has been on the end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, and its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

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“However, ‘the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential.’
The potential benefits of eating chocolate may include:
▪    lowering cholesterol levels
▪    preventing cognitive decline
▪    reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.

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Weight loss facts that work

Since eating temptations abound around Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share these observations on weight.

“…. There are facts about obesity of which we may be reasonably certain — facts that are useful today,” says researcher Krista Casazza, PhD, RD, from the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a prepared statement, WebMD reported.

Here they are:

1. “Your genes are not your destiny. Moderate environmental changes can promote as much weight loss as even the best weight-loss drugs.”

I love this one. So often people use ‘bad genes’ as an excuse for their weight problems, ignoring completely their own bad eating habits.

2.”Even without weight loss, physical activity improves health.”

Another winner. I have reiterated this statement in at least 25 different posts on this blog. Eat less; move more; live longer.

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3. “Physical activity or exercise in the right amounts does help people lose weight.”

Amen. Listen to Uncle Sam.

4. “Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss helps people keep the weight off. Think of obesity as a chronic condition.”

Likewise, I think of good eating and exercise habits as chronic, too.

5. “For overweight children, involving the family and home environment in weight-loss efforts is ideal.”

6. “Providing actual meals or meal replacements works better for weight loss than does general advice about food choices.”

Both 5 and 6 sound like first rate advice.

7. “Weight-loss drugs can help some people lose weight.”

I am not going to argue with the experts here, but I sincerely doubt that the weight stays off if they don’t change their eating and exercise habits. I repeat my recommendation to pay attention to what you eat and exercise regularly. That will melt the pounds away. You won’t need drugs.

8. “Bariatric surgery can help achieve long-term weight loss in some people.”

The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health. Our tax dollars at work.

I would like to say for the record that I don’t believe losing weight works. It is only temporary at best. If, instead, you get your head on straight and aim to live a healthy life by eating intelligently and exercising regularly, I can promise that you will never have a weight problem.

Tony

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