Table of Contents
- 1 MAINTAINING YOUR PROGRAM: THE LIVE IT! PHASE
- 2 TRACKING YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRESS
- 3 ADAPTING THE BEST WEIGHT LOSS DIET
- 4 Exercise, Activity, and Health
MAINTAINING YOUR PROGRAM: THE LIVE IT! PHASE
It’s time to transition to the second phase of The Best Weight Loss Diet, the Live It! phase. In this phase, you’re focusing on a lifestyle change. You’ll be taking the habits from Lose It! , learning some new skills, and developing long-term lifestyle changes in diet, physical activity, and behaviors that will help you not only lose weight until you reach your weight goal, but also help you feel better and improve your overall health. The more you can tailor this plan for yourself, the more success you’ll have.
Everybody has different goals. Some people want to lose a lot of weight; some people want to lose a little weight. Other people want to focus more on their health or want to be able to move more and be more active with their family. A great goal for everyone is just feeling better and increasing their quality of life. There are many different types of goals, and they should be personalized.
A common goal is to lose weight. With regard to weight-loss goals, medical studies show that in general, people may not be totally realistic. They may want to have a goal weight that they haven’t weighed since high school. It’s important to have a realistic goal from the beginning.
The danger in setting unrealistic weight-loss goals is that people focus too much on the numbers on the scale without focusing on how to reach that goal. And when they don’t see the numbers on the scale change as quickly or as much as they want, people get frustrated. They throw in the towel, ignore the weight they’ve already lost, and end up gaining the weight back.
One way to make goals more realistic is to break them up into short- and long-term goals. For example, maybe your short- term goal is to lose five pounds or five percent of your weight. Once you’ve reached that goal, then you can make another goal. That makes your long-term goals more achievable. Weight goals are outcome goals.
Activity and dietary goals are often performance goals, which are based on a process or an action. It’s something you do that helps you achieve your outcome goal. A performance goal with activity might be to start walking 15 minutes a day, four days a week. You’re gradually going to build that up over time, so your goals can continue to change.
A common feature of a performance goal is that it should be SMART: s pecific, m easureable, a ttainable, r elevant, and t ime-limited (or t rackable). Think about your performance goals. What can you do in physical activity and in diet to help you achieve your goals for weight loss, feeling better, and other outcome goals? Apply the SMART concepts to your performance goals and ultimately change your lifestyle and reach your outcome goal.
The Live It! phase offers a more specific plan for how many calories you should consume each day to lose weight and what foods you should eat to help you stay within that calorie limit. This is done by setting pyramid serving targets. The food choices in these targets are based on The Best Weight Loss Healthy Weight Pyramid, which is basically your playbook for healthy eating.
The pyramid serving targets serve two purposes:
They can help you lose weight so that you reach the goal for weight loss that you established, and they will help you maintain your weight loss by establishing a healthy- eating program that you can enjoy for a lifetime. The serving targets teach you how to eat healthy, and after doing it long enough, it becomes habit.
DID YOU KNOW? What you think of as a serving may actually be a portion. A serving is an exact amount of food, based on common measurements such as cups, ounces, and tablespoons. A portion is the amount of food you put on your plate. A portion of food may contain several servings.
To create your individualized plan based on serving targets, you’ll need to perform three steps:
1. Determine your daily calorie target.
● To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than what you’re currently consuming. To do this, it helps to set a target. In the Live It! phase, your goal is to lose about one to two pounds a week. That means consuming at least 500 to 1,000 calories a day less than you normally do. If you eat 500 fewer calories than you usually do each day and keep your activity level about the same, you should lose about one pound in a week, because 3,500 calories equals about a pound of body fat.
● You can adjust your calorie target based on your own goals and how quickly you want to lose weight. If you feel exceptionally hungry or lose weight too quickly, consider moving up to the next calorie level. If the weight isn’t coming off quickly enough, you can move down a calorie level. But if you do this, don’t drop below the lowest level listed because you may not get enough nutrients.
2. Determine your daily serving targets for the different food groups in the Healthy Weight Pyramid.
● This program focuses on servings from food groups in The Best Weight Loss Healthy Weight Pyramid rather than on calories. Tracking servings is much easier than counting calories, and it gives a close-enough measurement of calorie intake. It also provides a guide to what kind of foods to eat, ensuring that you get a balanced diet.
● The food groups on the pyramid are vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, protein and dairy, and fats. The servings for carbohydrates, protein/dairy, and fats groups are upper limits. Try not to exceed them. The closer you stick to the targets for these food groups, the more likely you are to be successful in losing weight. Alternatively, the servings targets for vegetables and fruits are lower limits. You should eat at least the number of servings listed, and you can eat more if you want to. In general, for better weight management, limit the number of servings you eat of most foods, but increase the number of servings of fruits and vegetables.
DID YOU KNOW? Studies show that eating more vegetables and fruits is a key factor in weight management. Vegetables and fruits are low-energy-dense foods that will fill you up but not provide a lot of calories. 3. Learn to quickly estimate serving size for each of the different food groups.
● To lose weight and keep it off, it’s important to learn how to estimate servings so that you can control your portions. The bottom line is to be able to look at different foods and quickly estimate how much equals one serving.
The BEST WEIGHT LOSS HEALTHY WEIGHT PYRAMID
What’s important in The Best Weight Loss Healthy Weight Pyramid is not only the number of servings, but the types of food that you’re eating. The goal is to promote weight loss, but also improve your health. For example, if you ate 600 calories from jelly beans in a day, you’d lose weight, but this isn’t the healthiest way to do it. Within each of the food groups, healthier choices are recommended.
At the bottom of The Best Weight Loss Healthy Weight Pyramid are fruits and vegetables, and the most servings from fruits and vegetables is recommended. You can eat virtually unlimited amounts of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. This can help not only to manage your weight, but it can also help lower cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, reduce risk of many types of cancers, decrease the risk of heart disease, and increase longevity.
Estimating Your Servings Estimating your servings at meals is a great way to control the calories you consume. Unfortunately, the eye can be deceiving. Most people habitually, and unintentionally, underestimate the number of servings they eat and consume more calories than they realize. Here’s an exercise to help you get a better sense of servings:
Pour dry cereal into a bowl until you have what you think is about half of a cup, which is a serving size for many cereals. Don’t use a measuring device; just depend on your own estimation. Now pour the cereal out of the bowl and into a measuring cup. How close did you come to half of a cup? Most people imagine it as being a greater amount than it actually is.
You can also pour in the bowl the usual amount of cereal you take. Then, pour it out into the measuring cup and see how many servings were in your bowl. Often, people eat two or three servings of cereal during breakfast. Try this exercise with favorite foods that you frequently eat. The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to identify at a glance what a serving is, and the more control you’ll have over your portion sizes.
In the carbohydrates group, whole grains are recommended. They’re healthier than refined grains, such as sugar and refined flour. Whole grains are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and cancer and increased longevity compared to refined grains.
In the protein and dairy group, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein are recommended. Fish and beans are healthy sources ofprotein. Some people worry about not getting enough protein when they are eating a plant-based diet like The Best Weight Loss Diet. But on a plant-based diet, the bottom line is if you get enough calories and eat a variety of foods, you’ll get enough protein. Studies have shown that eating plant protein is associated with greater longevity than animal protein.
DID YOU KNOW? There are the same number of calories in one regular-sized typical candy bar as there are in a small apple, orange, pear, and banana combined.
In the fats food group, healthy fats—such as olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and nuts—are recommended. Some types of fat have health benefits. Olive oil, for example, is associated with increased longevity. Unsaturated vegetable oils, such as soybean and canola, which are liquid at room temperature, are healthier than saturated fats, such as lard, which is solid at room temperature.
DID YOU KNOW? Approximately 85 percent of men and two-thirds of women eat more protein than they need.
At the top of the pyramid is sweets. You are allowed—if you want—up to 75 calories of sweets each day. This isn’t going to increase your overall calorie intake that much, but it makes the whole program more of a lifestyle approach rather than a strict diet. It helps free you from the dieter’s mentality that a diet is negative and really hard to do. If you want to keep it healthy, go for dark chocolate, which has antioxidant compounds and appears to lower blood pressure.
DID YOU KNOW? Studies have reported that eating just one ounce of nuts—a small handful—at least four times weekly will decrease the risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as help you live longer.
TRACKING YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRESS
Research has shown that people who track their efforts are more successful in reaching their health goals than those who don’t track. In this lecture, you will learn about tracking your progress. To help you track more effectively, you will learn background information on calories, servings, and influences on how much we eat.
If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn through activity in the day, you’ll lose weight. People sometimes say that they’ll come up with a plan to lose weight that doesn’t involve paying attention to calories—that calories don’t count. But ultimately, they do.
There are things that modify the equation of calories in– calories out. For example, it’s been shown that the amount of sleep that you get each day can influence your weight. People who sleep too little or too much tend to weigh more than people who get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Sleeping more or less than this may affect hormones, appetite, and metabolism in subtle ways
Nonetheless, calories do count—although you won’t be counting calories in The Best Weight Loss Diet. This diet uses servings rather than calories. Within each food group, each serving—whether it’s a piece of fruit or a piece of fish—has about the same number of calories. So, you’re doing the same math, but in bigger units.
You may have wondered why someone who has more weight to lose gets to eat more calories than someone who only needs to lose a few pounds. You might be thinking that a person who falls into the obese category of the BMI chart should eat even less than the person who falls into the overweight category. But here’s why it doesn’t work that way. The more someone weighs, the more calories he or she burns at rest.
People sometimes think that they must weigh more because they have a low metabolic rate, but that’s not true. The more people weigh, the more lean tissue, or muscle, they have. About 20 to 35 percent of extra weight is lean tissue to support that extra weight. So, as weight increases, fat tissue increases quite a bit, but muscle tissue also increases. So, with increased weight there is increased muscle mass, and because muscle tissue burns calories even at rest, increased weight is associated with increased muscle, which is associated with an increased resting metabolic rate. This is why calorie goals increase with increasing weight.
While resting metabolic rate, or resting energy expenditure, increases with increasing weight, total energy expenditure may not increase with increasing weight. This is because total energy expenditure includes physical activity energy expenditure, so if someone who weighs more is less physically active, his or her resting energy expenditure may be greater than someone who weighs less, but his or her total energy expenditure—which is important for managing weight—may be less because of decreased physical activity.
Research studies have shown that in general, we underestimate the calories that we eat. It varies widely, but this occurs in everyone, even people who aren’t trying to lose weight. And it may be more prominent in people who are trying to lose weight. In general, we underestimate our calorie intake by about 20 percent. This isn’t anything intentional or devious; we’re just not good judges of how many calories we eat.
DID YOU KNOW: Everyone eats about 20 percent more calories than they think they are eating.
One of the reasons why is because the amount of food you see on your plate doesn’t always correlate with calories.
If you start out at 1,200 calories as a goal for the day, you may perhaps eat 20 percent more than that. That’s okay—and expected—and a buffer has been built into The Best Weight Loss Diet for that, so you should be able to lose weight even though you may be taking in a few more calories than you think.
The other reason you start out at a fairly low calorie target in The Best Weight Loss Diet is you’re allowed to eat all of the fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables you want. You might consume a few more calories overall, but this is already factored into your plan. You’ll still be eating fewer calories than you were before and should still be able to lose weight.
Sometimes, determining the number and type of servings in your meal is challenging. When you’re eating out or preparing more complex meals, one of the skills to develop is deconstructing the recipe or food into its various food groups so that you know the number of servings you’re eating. There will be times when you may have the calorie information of a food readily available, but it’s difficult to deconstruct the item to determine the individual food group servings. When that happens, you can convert the calories to servings of the food group that the item is closest to.
As you’re recording your food intake, keep track of your overall serving targets as you go through the day. At the end of the day, you want to achieve those serving targets through your various meals and snacks. This is the way that you control calories and the amount of food that you eat to achieve your weight-loss goal, and it’s easier than trying to count calories in all of the different foods that you eat.
Keep in mind the difference between a serving and a portion. A serving of food is a specific amount of food equal to a certain number of calories, but a portion is the amount of food that you put on your plate. That may be one serving, two servings, or three servings.
Most people eat more than one serving in a typical portion. By paying attention to servings, you can pay attention to the portion on your plate, and you should reach your serving and, therefore, your calorie target for the day. There are various ways of trying to keep portion control in check while you’re meeting your serving targets. Try to rely on hunger rather than habit. You can eat all the servings of vegetables and fruits that you want, so if you want to beat the system, you can have generous amounts of vegetables and fruits at your meals or as snacks.
You may be used to being a member of the “clean plate club.” This is, in part, because people don’t want to waste food. However, once you’ve taken food, you don’t have to eat all of the food on your plate. The habit of cleaning your plate may not be benefiting you because it just increases the number of unneeded calories you consume.
DID YOU KNOW? It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the sensation of fullness in the stomach to reach the brain.
The time to make the decision of how much food to take is when you are dishing up the food. If you take a smaller amount initially and reach your serving goals, you can still achieve satiety and fullness and not overeat. Realize when you’re full and satisfied. You can better appreciate this by incorporating mindfulness when you’re eating. Eat slowly, pay attention to the taste and texture of your food, and enjoy it. When you do feel a sense of satiety or that you’ve had enough, then it may be time to stop. Practice this and soon it will become easier and more automatic.
Beneficial Eating Habits To set yourself up for success, here are five steps to take every time you eat:
Eat smaller portions and serve smaller amounts.
Take slightly less than what you think you’ll eat.
Using a smaller plate or bowl makes less food seem like more.
Focus on your food. Watching television, reading, or working while you eat distracts you.
Before you know it, you’ve eaten more than you want to.
Practice being mindful and focus on what you’re eating.
Because it’s important to be aware of serving sizes versus portion sizes, make sure that you can see what you eat.
Don’t eat directly from a container.
Seeing food on a plate or in a bowl gives you a better sense of portion size and, therefore, number of servings. Because we know there’s a delay between being full and feeling full, be sure to eat slowly.
When you eat too quickly, your brain doesn’t get the signal that you’re full until it’s too late and you’ve already overeaten.
This is also part of being mindful when eating.
Don’t feel obligated to clean your plate.
Stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied.
Those extra bites of food that you’re trying not to waste add unneeded calories.
Eventually, you’ll learn to take smaller portions to begin with so you don’t waste food.
TRACKING FOOD AND ACTIVITY
Keeping track of your eating and activity routines is important for a number of reasons. Tracking can help you identify a starting point in your health and fitness journey. Once you know this starting point, you can begin to establish a realistic road map to get to where you want to be in the future. Sometimes people see tracking as a demonstration of the things that they didn’t accomplish. But tracking is actually a much more positive exercise. Think of tracking as an opportunity to highlight everything you did achieve.
It doesn’t matter what tool you use to keep records. Tracking can take any shape you desire, and it will help you be mindful of what you’re doing to improve your diet and physical activity habits. It really is necessary to write down everything you’re eating and doing, at least for a while. This is because people tend to significantly underestimate how many calories they consume and overestimate the amount of physical activity they do. Especially in the early stages of your weight-loss plan, it’s easy to misjudge how much you’re eating and how active you are.
As long as you enter information correctly, tracking provides objective feedback on your diet and physical activity efforts so that you can see how well you’re sticking with your plan. It also makes you more mindful. It helps you pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth and how much (or how little) you’re moving your body. Seeing your eating and activity behaviors written down also keeps you honest and holds you accountable to yourself.
Another advantage to tracking is that it reveals eating and activity patterns you might not be aware of. Recognizing that unwanted patterns exist is your first step toward overcoming them. Tracking also helps with realistic goal setting. Having an objective record of where you are now compared to where you want to be sets you up for success. It allows you to develop small, achievable goals and build on them gradually over time.
Finally, tracking gives you motivation. When you see that you’re meeting your daily and weekly goals and targets, you’ll feel inspired to build on those successes.
Write down everything you eat and all the physical activity you do. Choose a method that works for you, such as a notebook that’s customized to your needs; printouts you find online; The Best Weight Loss Diet Journal , a workbook designed specifically for use with The Best Weight Loss Diet to track both food and activity; a smartphone app; free or fee-based logs found on the internet, such as The Best Weight Loss Diet online program; and spreadsheets or word-processing documents. A wearable fitness tracker can measure your activity, such as steps, distance traveled, or calories burned.
Most people benefit from a tracking system that’s easy to use, not one that’s so complicated it becomes an obstacle. It should also be something you can keep handy when you need it. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If one tracking system ends up being too cumbersome or not detailed enough, try another until you find one that’s right for you.
In the first weeks of Live It! , you might find it most useful to log everything you eat and all of your physical activity each Rules for Successful Tracking Whatever tracking system you choose, successful tracking comes down to a few basic rules:
Write everything down. This includes the snacks and quick nibbles throughout the day. It all adds up and contributes calories. Don’t view your records as do-or- die objectives. Instead, think of them as experiments. You’re testing out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t fret over your records. If one day you forget to jot down what you ate or your activities, that’s okay. Estimate as best you can and get back on track.
If you have trouble remembering to write things down, set up a regular reminder, such as an email or chime on your phone or computer that occurs at certain times of the day. Keep it simple. Your tracking system doesn’t have to be elaborate. All that matters is that you record key information that will help you determine if you’re meeting your goals and targets, and if not, why not. Do it right away. You’ll be more likely to keep accurate records if you log the information right after you eat and exercise.
DID YOU KNOW? Research shows that people who track their physical activity struggle less with staying physically active, exercise more often, and lose significantly more weight.
As time goes by, you may only need to track habits that relate to the targets and goals you’re focusing on for the week. When tracking, remember to be honest. The more accurate your records are, the more useful they’ll be. As a baseline, the following is what you should track. Then, as you progress, you can customize this list to your needs. › Write down the amount of food you ate. In some cases, you may need to estimate. Then, convert the food in your meal into Healthy Weight Pyramid food group servings.
Also record the time of day and which meal it is, or if it’s a snack. For some people, additional details such as hunger level and mood are beneficial.
› Track your daily physical activity. Along with structured activities, such as walks and aerobic workouts, record other activities that get your body moving, including recreational activities and everyday chores. Record how long you do each activity. You can also record the distance you walked, biked, or jogged. Pay attention to intensity. In general, the higher your heart rate, the higher the level of intensity.
› Record your weight. Some people prefer to weigh themselves daily. Many people prefer to weigh in every few days or once a week. Don’t get caught up in the small ups and downs on the scale; focus on trends over time.
› Measure and record your waist circumference every few weeks. Your waist size can also tell you whether you’re making progress on your weight-loss goals.
When you meet a goal, take a moment to celebrate. Then, build on that success by modestly increasing your goal. If you don’t meet a goal, instead of getting discouraged, focus on problem solving. What kept you from reaching the goal? Is it something you can change?
ADAPTING THE BEST WEIGHT LOSS DIET
Now that you have your goals, your targets, and an idea of how The Best Weight Loss Diet helps you track your food intake to reach those goals, you’re going to learn about customizing the diet for your own needs. Many people have special dietary needs, whether they have a medical condition or an ethical or religious restriction. The Best Weight Loss Diet is consistent with all of these eating patterns. In this lecture, you’ll learn how The Best Weight Loss Diet can be customized to fit your specific dietary needs.
VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN DIETS
If you’re following a vegetarian diet, customizing The Best Weight Loss Diet comes down to modifying the foods in the protein and dairy group and not consuming meat or other animal products, depending on the type of vegetarian diet you follow. Some vegetarians eat eggs while others don’t, and some consume dairy products while others don’t. Some people avoid all animal products, including eggs, dairy, and even honey; these people are considered vegans. All of these needs can be addressed so that people who follow a vegetarian or even a vegan diet can still follow The Best Weight Loss Diet with some modifications.
Over the years, people have had various concerns with regard to a vegetarian diet. Oneconcern is that on a vegetarian or vegan diet you’re not getting enough protein, because you’re not eating meat and other animal products. The fact is that most people eat more protein than they need.
DID YOU KNOW? The majority of people eat more than the recommended dietary allowance for protein, which is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. For somebody who weighs 70 kilograms, or 154 pounds, that would be about 56 grams of protein per day.
Even if you’re not getting the recommended dietary allowance, it’s set high enough to meet 98 percent of the needs of the population. So, meeting the recommended dietary allowance for protein virtually ensures that you’re getting enough. For vegetarians and vegans, there are many other sources of protein aside from animal products. Beans are an excellent source of protein, for example. And most foods, including carbohydrates and even vegetables, contain small amounts of protein. The bottom line is that if you eat a variety of foods and you get enough calories, you’ll get the right types and amount of protein.
Another concern on a vegetarian or vegan diet is that there may be other nutrients that people aren’t getting enough of. One of them is vitamin B-12, which is only found in animal products. The amount of B-12 that we need is only two to three micrograms a day and dairy products and eggs contain vitamin B-12. Vegetarians who consume those foods are not at risk for a B-12 deficiency, but those who follow a vegan diet should take a B-12 supplement.
Another nutrient that has been mentioned to be of concern on a vegetarian diet is iron. The iron that is in meat is absorbed better than iron from plant products. For this reason, the amount of iron that is stored in the body is lower on a vegetarian diet. However, having iron stores that are too high may not be beneficial for health. In addition, there is no higher incidence of iron-deficiency anemia in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians.
THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating primarily plant- based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. It replaces butter with healthier olive oil and emphasizes using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. It also limits red meat to no more than a few times a month, while including fish or possibly poultry in the diet at least twice a week. It also offers the option of drinking a small amount of red wine in moderation.
This style of eating has wide- ranging benefits, and the general recommendations track pretty closely with what is recommended on The Best Weight Loss Diet. People who want to follow a Mediterranean diet can pretty easily modify The Best Weight Loss Diet so that the two diets are consistent with each other. In a Mediterranean diet, the fats group that contains olive oil might be increased a little, so you may want to decrease foods in other groups to keep the overall calorie intake consistent with your goal.
DID YOU KNOW? Research has shown that a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. It’s associated with a lower level of low-density, or LDL, cholesterol—the “bad” type of cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries. The Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer as well as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who follow a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
THE DASH DIET
On the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, you’re encouraged to eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. With an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, the Mediterranean diet is very consistent with The Best Weight Loss Diet. The DASH diet also includes whole grains and low-fat dairy products. It includes some fish, poultry, and legumes and encourages a small amount of nuts and seeds a few times a week. You can eat red meat, sweets, and fats in small amounts.
The DASH diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat. It focuses on reducing sodium intake: staying below 2,300 milligrams a day for moderate reduction and below 1,500 milligrams a day for significant reduction. All of these aspects of the DASH diet are consistent with The Best Weight Loss Diet.
DID YOU KNOW? The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. government includes recommendations for healthy eating patterns that meet the dietary guidelines. These include a vegetarian diet, the Mediterranean diet, and the DASH diet.
THE PALEO DIET AND THE RAW FOODS DIET
A few other dietary trends are the Paleo diet and the raw foods diet. There is less evidence supporting the health benefits of following these diets than the dietary patterns that have already been discussed. The Paleo diet includes more protein and fewer carbohydrates. While eating fewer refined carbohydrates has health benefits, it is still desirable for health reasons to include some whole-grain carbohydrates. And consuming more animal protein from red meat—another key part of the Paleo diet—may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. There are risks in eating a raw foods diet, as cooking can destroy harmful bacteria. In addition, eating only raw foods can be very restrictive.
Another trend is the gluten-free diet. Within the carbohydrates food group, The Best Weight Loss Diet recommends whole grains that do contain gluten. Whole grains have been associated with many different health benefits. Whole grains, such as whole-wheat products that contain gluten, are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, a lower risk of dying from heart disease, increased longevity, and other health benefits. People with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity should avoid gluten. But for most people, if you can tolerate whole grains, including them in your diet will help you improve your health and manage your weight.
What’s the Deal with Gluten?
Up to one percent of the population has celiac disease, an immune condition where the body reacts against gluten. These people can develop serious health complications if they eat gluten over a period of time. People with celiac disease should avoid foods that contain gluten, and this includes grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Another small group of people—a few percent—have gluten sensitivity.
They don’t feel as good when they eat foods that contain gluten. They may get bloating and have diarrhea, and sometimes they describe a brain fog. These people won’t develop the serious health complications that people with celiac disease can develop, but they will improve the way they feel if they avoid gluten. So, they should probably avoid gluten, too.
However, approximately 30 percent of the population is following a gluten- free diet because they believe it will improve their health. These people are misinformed. For most people, including whole grains in their diet will help improve their health and manage their weight.
CREATING A PRACTICAL EATING PLAN
The Best Weight Loss Healthy Weight Pyramid outlines the principles of eating a certain number of servings and eating the right foods in the right amounts to both better manage your weight and improve your health. But we don’t eat according to the pyramid, per se. We don’t put food on a pyramid; we put food on a table.
The U.S. government has a guide tool, MyPlate, that illustrates how foods should go on our plates. Instead of a plate,The Best Weight Loss guide uses the Healthy Dining Table, which was developed because we don’t just put food on one plate—we may have a few different plates.
On The Best Weight Loss guide plate, which is similar to the MyPlate tool, half the plate should be vegetables, about a fourth should be from the carbohydrates group, and about a fourth should be from the protein and dairy group. That’s the basis of what most of us eat. However, at many meals, we also have other foods. We have a salad plate on the side, and that encourages more vegetables. We may have fruits and fats, either with the meal or as a snack. There are also sweets, perhaps eaten for dessert. This is an entire dining plan, an entire dining table of the way we eat.
Another important aspect of this is fluids, which people sometimes don’t get enough of. Although water is the best choice for fluid, there are other good sources, too. Coffee has been shown to decrease the risk of certain health conditions, such as diabetes, liver disease and liver cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. It can also improve cognitive speed, improve mood, and decrease the risk of depression.
Tea is also a good fluid for most people. Green tea has been shown to have health benefits, including possibly protecting against prostate cancer. Alcohol is another fluid that people consume. For people who drink alcohol, moderate consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and overall mortality. Moderate consumption is defined as, on average, no more than one drink a day for women and men older than age 65 and no more than two drinks a day for men younger than age 65.
Some people like to be told what to eat, to make choices easy. Other people like to be more flexible, and that’s why The Best Weight Loss guide teaches people about serving sizes—so they can design their own menus and choose their own foods.
DID YOU KNOW? Some people think that if they drink more fluid and have to go to the bathroom more, their kidneys have to work harder, but it’s just the opposite: If you’re drinking more fluid and staying hydrated, it’s good for the body and good for the kidneys. The kidneys don’t have to concentrate the urine, so they don’t have to work as hard.
It’s important to be practical with this; most people don’t have hours and hours to spend in the kitchen. And the real challenge is modifying your habits in what you eat. So, you may need to modify the foods that you currently eat to fit The Best Weight Loss Diet and try new foods that fit this plan.
Healthy Food Preparation Part of what determines the nutritional value of food is the way it’s cooked. Five basic healthy cooking techniques that will help you get the most out of your meals are searing, sautéing, roasting, baking, and grilling. Here are a few tips for using these methods:
The most important thing about searing and sautéing is making sure you have a hot pan. If you’re not sure if it’s hot, put a little water on your fingertips and flick them at the pan, listening for a sizzle. If you cannot hear a sizzle, it is not hot enough yet. When roasting vegetables, spread them out on a baking sheet. If the vegetables are overcrowded, they’re just going to steam. You can finish cooking seared salmon by placing it on a sheet pan and putting it in the oven. When grilling chicken or salmon, it’s time to flip it when you can see the white starting to cook around the corners. Use a small amount of olive oil or canola oil when using any of these methods.
In changing what you eat to fit The Best Weight Loss Diet, don’t be afraid to try new foods and modify old foods that you currently eat. To make this as easy as possible, these changes should fit certain criteria:
› They need to be practical.
› The foods should taste good.
› The foods you eat should fill you up.
› They should be low in calories.
› They should fit The Best Weight Loss Diet plan.
› They should be health-supporting. And if they fit The Best Weight Loss Healthy Weight Pyramid, they will be.
It takes some adjustment to make new foods and new meals. But you will establish a routine, and it will become part of a new habit. Here are some steps you can take to get to this point:
› Planning can make a big difference. Stock up on groceries on the weekend and make a plan for using those foods during the week.
› Pay attention to practicality, enjoyment, and taste. If your plan fits those criteria, it’s much easier to keep up over the long term.
› Convenience is important. There may be times when you’re strapped for time, so keeping certain foods around so that you can make a healthy meal relatively quickly is a big help.
› Be flexible. It’s important to plan and have a routine, but life is going to get in the way. When you’re traveling, for example, you may need to be flexible. But there are things you can plan for even when life gets in the way. For example, fast- food chains have some items on the menu that are relatively healthy.
Exercise, Activity, and Health
Exercises like yoga promote balance and flexibility. Balance training is recommended for people who are 60 years old and over. Balance is important because falls are a very big problem, and balance training has been shown to reduce the risk of falls. Exercise can also improve your mood. Getting active not only helps you blow off steam when you’re stressed out, but it also affects your brain chemistry in a way that improves your mood. It helps increase the production of your brain’s feel- good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Regular exercise can also increase self-confidence, relax you, and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. It can even improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression, and anxiety.
All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life. And if you feel physically better—whether in terms of your energy and endurance or feeling good about how you look in the mirror—that will improve your mood, too. Exercise helps boost your everyday energy levels. Regular exercise makes your cardiovascular system more efficient, which means that oxygen and other nutrients get where they need to go to nourish your brain and body.
Having more energy is good for you, and it’s good for your relationships. One way that exercise can enhance your relationships is if you work out with a buddy—whether it’s your spouse, your kids, or a friend. You can even use exercise as a way to make new friends, by taking a class or joining a club or league. Exercise also helps you sleep better, as long as you do it at the right time of day. Because exercise affects your body’s energy efficiency, your body will use its downtime more efficiently, too, and you’ll get deeper, more refreshing sleep. The only exception is that if you exercise too vigorously late at night, it may keep you from falling asleep.
When it comes to your cardiovascular exercise program, start slowly and build up gradually. Increase what you do by setting SMART performance goals. By incorporating exercise into your lifestyle, you can markedly improve your health and burn more calories. When you start exercising, you should choose activities that you enjoy, make it a priority in your schedule, and focus on continuing it over the long term. Walking is a great form of exercise. It’s easy to do just about anywhere and doesn’t require a lot of equipment other than good shoes. If you don’t enjoy walking or want to keep variety
Expanding Your Physical Activity Plan It’s important to understand the difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity is all the different movements we do throughout the day. Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and is performed to improve conditioning and health. As you plan your physical activity, keep these three main strategies in mind: Reduce the amount of time that you sit. Get more fit with exercise. Keep at it by establishing goals, including performance goals using SMART criteria.
in your exercise, there are many alternatives to walking, such as swimming, biking either outside or on a stationary bicycle, yoga, Pilates, and dancing.
Some people like to exercise in the afternoon. If you’re a morning person, that may be the best time for you to exercise. Every day isn’t the same, so it’s important to be flexible yet still try and get exercise in your schedule somehow. Focus on keeping it up over the long term. If you enjoy it, it’s practical, and you make it a priority in your schedule, it’s easier for you to sustain it. While some people like to do the same thing over and over again, other people like variety, so you may try different activities or cross-train with different exercises.
Aerobic exercise is very important for weight illness. However, if you have a management because it burns a lot of calories. More and more evidence suggests that resistance training, or strength training, helps with weight management. All types of resistance training involve working chronic illness, you may want to try to incorporate whatever physical activity you can to help with long- term health. With injuries, it is key to not do too much activity, particularly with the injured body part, because it may make it even more difficult for your body to recover from the injury.
DID YOU KNOW? If you have an illness or injury, you may need to modify your physical activity. In general, when you’re sick, it’s a good rule of thumb to rest and let your body fight the illness.
You can also exercise using the weight of your own body as the resistance, as you do with exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and standing squats. Regardless of the method you choose, begin slowly. If you start with too much resistance or too many repetitions, you may damage muscles and joints.
Try to do resistance training two to three days a week. You can work your whole body during each session, or you can focus on your upper body during one session and your lower body during the next. To allow time for your muscles to recover, take at least one day off before working the same muscle group again.
Here are some basic guidelines for safe, effective resistance training:
› Complete all movements slowly and with control. If you’re unable to maintain good form, decrease the weight you’re using or the number of repetitions you perform.
› Breathe normally and freely. Exhale as you lift a weight and inhale as you lower it.
› Stop if you feel pain. The intensity level should be somewhat hard, but you shouldn’t feel pain.
› Change your routine frequently to avoid injury and prevent boredom.
DID YOU KNOW? Whatever type of physical activity you do, tracking can help. As you continue to do physical activity, you can continue tracking with the habit tracker like you did in the Lose It! phase, or you can do it in more detailed ways, such as with The Best Weight Loss Diet Journal , by writing down what you do every day on paper, or with some type of technology.
› Listen to your body. Mild muscle soreness for a few days after starting resistance training is normal. Sharp pain and sore or swollen joints can mean that you’ve overdone it.
› Before your workout, do a few minutes of low-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking on a treadmill, to warm up your muscles. Stretch your muscles after you finish your resistance work.
› If you’re new to resistance training, consider working with a certified professional at a fitness center to learn proper technique or look for a class offered through a community education program.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STRETCHING
Another important part of exercise is flexibility. As we grow older, we all get a little stiffer, and part of quality of life is maintaining good range of motion of different joints. Stretching and flexibility can help with this. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to stretch whenever you exercise. Many people stretch before they exercise, but the best time to stretch is after you exercise, when your muscles are warm. If you’re particularly tight, you might want to stretch every day or even twice a day. You might consider signing up for a yoga or tai chi class, which promotes flexibility.
When stretching on your own, here are the key points to keep in mind: › Warm up first. Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of injury, including pulled muscles. Just like with strength training, you can warm up by walking or doing another favorite exercise at low intensity for about five minutes. › Target major muscle groups. Focus on your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders. Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use at work or play.
› Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Try to hold your stretches for 30 to 60 seconds, if possible. Then, repeat the stretch on the other side. For most muscle groups, a single stretch is usually sufficient.
› Don’t bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle. These tears leave scar tissue as the muscle heals, which tightens the muscle even further, making you less flexible and more prone to pain.
› Focus on pain-free stretching. You may feel tension while you’re stretching, but it shouldn’t hurt. Back off to the point where you don’t feel pain and hold the stretch.
› Relax and breathe freely. Don’t hold your breath.