To understand how you can lose weight and reap all the health benefits you need to know a little about your body's furnace.
Everything you eat that contains carbohydrates, from Caesar salad to a slice of cherry cheesecake, is ultimately converted into glucose (blood sugar) which is what your body's cells use for energy.
Any excess is stored as fat.
In the lean times (when you're on a diet and exercising plan for example), your body will burn fat for energy to keep you going.
That's how you lose weight.
Glucose gets into cells with the help of insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas.
This system works pretty efficiently when you're eating a variety of foods such as whole grains, protein, and fat, which are digested and absorbed slowly for energy over the long haul, as well as simple carbohydrates, which are digested and absorbed quickly.
But if your diet favors these fast burning carbs, your insulin production system has to work overtime.
The pancreas must produce more insulin to open up cells and allow in all the sugar.
So far, so good, but as your body realizes it's full with fuel, two dire things happen.
It stops burning fat stores for energy and it begins storing more of the food you eat as fat.
So you gain weight.
Your insulin levels plummet once all the glucose is either feeding your cells or packed onto your belly and hips.
But with blood sugar bottomed out, too, you're left tired, moody, and hungry for more sugary foods to boost your energy levels.
If your diet continually requires lots of insulin, this hormone can eventually become less efficient, a condition called insulin resistance.
So your pancreas produces still more.
But when extra insulin circulates, it can damage your heart and create problems.
People with pre-diabetic conditions or diabetes are up to four times as likely as healthy people to get heart disease and are at increased risk of cancers of the breast, uterus, colon, and pancreas.
In a Danish study, 25 people who raised their daily protein levels to the amount recommended (up to 25% of daily calories) lost 10% more belly fat than dieters who ate more carbs.
Ideally, you want aerobic exercise most days of the week, along with strength training which also attacks abdominal fat and is an important part of any weight loss program.
The eating plan that follows was developed by nutrition expert Ann Fittante, RD, at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Seattle, and is based on the glycemic index (GI), a system that ranks foods by how much and how quickly they raise blood sugar.
Eating low glycemic index (GI) foods frequently during the day (three meals and three snacks) has been shown to keep blood sugar levels on an even keel for hours.
There's growing evidence that a low glycemic index (GI) eating plan can help you crank up your metabolism, lose weight, keep it off, switch off cravings and make you feel energetic, even when you're eating fewer calories.
Protein fills you up and boosts metabolism, so you'll burn more calories, even up to 3 hours after you eat.
Dairy foods can help you lose weight and protect against metabolic syndrome, which raises your risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
The following plan even includes daily snacks and treats, such as wine and chocolate to help fight the deprivation that dooms so many diets.
The following are typical serving sizes.
*** Your Metabolism & Fruit;
1 med. whole fruit (apple, banana, peach, pear, etc.)
1/4 c. dried fruit
1 c. fresh, frozen, or canned fruit (berries, melon, grapes, etc.)
*** Your Metabolism & Vegetables;
1 c. raw, leafy vegetables
1/2 c. cooked vegetables
6 oz. vegetable juice
*** Your Metabolism & Grains;
1 slice whole grain bread
1/2-1 c. cooked or dry cereal
1/2 c. cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta
3 c. popcorn sprayed with Extra Virgin Olive or Macadamia oil.
1/2 c. cooked whole grain pasta
1/2 c. cooked quinoa or barley
*** Your Metabolism & Protein;
3 oz. cooked beef, pork, poultry, or fish (the size of your palm).
1 1/2 oz. reduced fat cheese.
1 oz or 2 Tbs. almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
1 Tbs. nut butter.
4 oz. tofu.
1/2 c. cooked beans.
*** Your Metabolism & Dairy;
8 oz. (1 c.) 1% (or fat free) milk.
1 c. low fat, fat free plain or fruit yogurt (150 calories or less per 6 to 8 oz. serving)
*** Your Metabolism & Good fats;
Get 25 to 30% of your daily calories from fat, including daily servings of the good fats your body needs most, such as olive, canola, or flaxseed oil; ground flaxseed; and avocado.
The nuts mentioned under protein also provide healthy oils such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and peanut and almond butters (these servings can be in addition to your protein servings).
1 oz. or 2 Tbs. nuts/seeds (5+ servings per week).
Limit added oils (preferably extra virgin olive oil) to 1 Tbs. per day.
*** Your Metabolism & Treating Yourself;
If you're happy with your weight, or weight loss, you can have one or two treats every day.
Try to limit each one to 80 to 150 calories.
1/2 oz. dark chocolate.
Frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet, or sherbet: 120 calories or less per 1/2 c. serving.
4-6 oz. wine.
12 oz. beer.
1-1/2 oz. liquor.
So what does one do if out at a dinner party or out at a restaurant?
You can use these two simple rules to stay on your plan:
1. Fill half your plate with vegetables and/or fruit.
2. Fill the rest with roughly equal amounts of whole grains and other high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and a good source of healthy fat.
Your Daily Plan;
Don't worry about counting calories.
On this plan, if you follow our guide to daily servings, you'll get about 1,600 calories or less (for serving sizes, see "Size Your Servings").
You'll also have one or two snacks or treats daily.
Here's a typical day;
2-3 good fats
Trouble losing weight?
Cut out treats and have just one 80-calorie snack a day, such as a serving of fruit, popcorn, or an ounce of string cheese, plus two 25-calorie-or-less snacks (raw veggies, green salad dressed with vinegar, seltzer with lemon or lime, unsweetened tea).
Foods & Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
Pineapple contains bromelain which is used by gastroenterologists to treat gastrointestinal disorders...it’s that good!
Bromelain helps the pancreatic cells break down food substances so that they can enter the energy pathways.
And unfortunately, pina coladas don’t count.
If you’re not completely sold on the farmers markets yet, here’s another argument for you:
Research shows that dieters with higher levels of pesticide chemicals stored in their fat cells had reduced metabolism.
It appears the toxins in non-organic food can cause your body to store fat rather than metabolize it.
Turns out that regular meditation can help boost metabolism.
Stress wreaks havoc on your body, laying down fat cells particularly around your middle.
Meditation helps you better control stress, which then allows your body to metabolize your food more effectively.
Meditation can also curb stress eating.
Sip Green Tea
A spot of tea may be a smart move when it comes to slimming down.
The catechins, a chemical found in green tea, help speed up metabolism and reduce body mass index.
As an added benefit, some studies show that green tea lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.”
This one is a bit of a party damper, but too many fun nights out may put the damper on your metabolism.
Research shows that consuming the equivalent of just two mixed drinks, or two glasses of wine or two bottles of beer, reduces fat burning metabolism by 73 percent.
That's because your liver converts the alcohol into acetate and uses that as fuel, rather than your fat storage.
And of course you already know that the extra calories from imbibing add up as well.
Sniff Peppermint or Citrus
Citrus and peppermint (or anything else with that aroma) stimulate the nervous system which in turn ups your metabolism.
Drink Cold Water
Water is essential to your body's functioning, including carrying nutrients to your cells.
Studies have shown that people who drank 8-12 full glasses of water daily had higher absorption rates than those who drank only four glasses.
Drinking cold water may be even better since your body burns a few extra calories heating the cold water to your core temperature.
In addition, dehydration is often misinterpreted as hunger, causing people to eat more.
By staying hydrated, chances are you'll eat less.
Spice It Up
If it makes your eyes water, it’s probably going to burn calories as well,
Because [spicy foods] increase the heart rate, more energy is used when these foods are ingested, which in turn means more calories burned,
Take a Stand at Work
One of the biggest culprits responsible for creeping obesity is prolonged sitting in the workplace.
The good news is that standing while you work bumps up your calorie expenditure and, when carried out over the course of one year, can translate to the equivalent energy burn found in 25 pounds of stored body fat.
If a standing work station is not possible, then at least try to stand/walk/fidget for five minutes every 15 minutes of your workday.
The metabolic boost will be major!
Have a Cup of Joe
Seems your afternoon coffee habit may do more than just keep you out of the nap zone!
Caffeine increases heart rate, breathing and your absorption rate.
The average absorption rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee is 16 percent higher than those who drank decaf.
Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Your metabolism could benefit from adding at least a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to your daily diet.
It’s known to boost absorption rate by speeding up the rate of fat oxidation and the antioxidant properties are also great for decreasing inflammation throughout the body.Tweet
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