Importance Of Consistent Sleep

Importance Of Consistent Sleep

While much of my work with clients in McKinney, TX is about diet and exercise, I do also emphasize the need for consistent sleep. It’s not really a popular idea to get adequate sleep anymore. Part of our culture has become burning the candle at both ends and late nights at the office. Even people who don’t focus on work, focus on partying all night. Inadequate sleep can pose a health risk. It’s responsible for many accidental deaths from automobile accidents, but also affects the overall health of the body.

Your hunger hormones go crazy when you need sleep.

Have you ever noticed how hungry you get when you’re tired. Part of that comes from wanting a sugar high to boost your energy. However, it’s not all about needing energy. Lack of sleep plays havoc with your hunger hormones. The two hormones that influence how much energy the body needs by inducing hunger or the feeling of being full are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin tells your brain that you’re full and ghrelin tells the brain to break out the chips, I’m starving. When you don’t get consistent adequate sleep, you body produces too much ghrelin and too little leptin. That means your always hungry and it takes far more to feel full. That’s a real diet buster!

Sure you’re tired! Not only is your body dragging through the day, other changes are occurring.

Cutting sleep for a party or work occasionally isn’t a problem, the problem occurs when you regularly get too little sleep. It causes a great deal of stress on your body just to make it through the day. It also doesn’t give the body time to heal properly. That stress produces cortisol, just as it would if you were faced by a wild animal. Cortisol is associated with abdominal fat. The stress also causes inflammation and there’s where the serious problem occurs. Chronic inflammation causes fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal problems, weight gain and chronic infections. It also can cause rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, gum disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

You’ll slow your mental processing, too.

While you’re sleeping, your brain isn’t. It’s actually cleaning house. It maintains the neural pathways to make learning possible and organizes your thoughts and the day’s inputs for memories. During sleep, the toxins that accumulated throughout the day are removed from the brain. While you sleep, you dream, which scientists think may be how you process emotions.

  • There’s no exact amount of sleep necessary for everyone. It varies from individual to individual. The average person needs between 7 and 9 hour if they’re an adult. There are a few that require more, with ten being their average and a few that require less, or approximately six hours.
  • Good sleep hygiene can be attained in some cases by simply setting regular hours to go to bed and wake up in the morning. If you find your problem is poor sleep habits, stick with the schedule even on weekends.
  • One study found that people who didn’t get enough sleep had slow responses when awake and activity in areas of the brain that are normally active during sleep. Those areas were napping while others were awake.
  • Lack of sleep produces the same response when driving as driving while drunk. If you aren’t convinced to get more sleep for your body’s health, do it to avoid injuring or killing someone in an accident when you drive.

Creating A Healthy Home

Creating A Healthy Home

Creating a healthy home is just as important as getting exercise, eating healthy, getting adequate sleep and hydrating. You spend a lot of time in your home and if it’s brimming with toxic substances, all the work you’ve done to stay healthy can be for naught. Something as simple as a leak in the roof can cause black mold that can cause respiratory problems and chronic headaches. New carpeting, paint, varnish, furniture and other sources may release VOCs—volatile organic compounds—which are toxic and may cause respiratory problems and even nerve damage. What can you do to prevent it? Airing the house frequently is a start. Getting green carpet made from bamboo or other materials without VOCs or refurbished carpet is a solution, too.

Go natural for your lawn or garden.

While it’s not inside the house, what you put on the lawn or garden makes a difference. Your children, pets and you walk in the grass and through the garden area, with pesticides clinging to you as you go. Neem oil pesticides are good and non-toxic, with the exception of those containing tea tree oil, which harms cats. When bugs come indoors, go completely non-toxic with food grade diatomaceous earth. It’s safe enough to eat, since it works mechanically to kill pests—including bed bugs—by scratching their body surface with microscopic shards, dehydrating, then killing them. The scratchy edges are too small to harm animals or people. It’s important to remember that only food grade diatomaceous earth is safe.

Clean green and live healthier with more money in your budget.

Household cleaners purchased at the grocery or other store often contain toxic chemicals. Those that don’t, green or natural cleaners, may cost a fortune. You don’t have to spend a lot of money if you buy distilled white vinegar. A huge jug costs less than five dollars no matter where you shop. Buy a spray bottle, a little baking soda and a scrubbing sponge and you’re ready to clean kitchens and bathrooms. Distilled vinegar is also a disinfectant and good for use in the toilet. It cuts soap scum quickly, but if there are water stains, spray it on and let it work for a while. The baking soda gives you a mild soft scrub to aid in removing the built up grime.

The laundry also has toxins.

Those dryer sheets make softening fabric a breeze and improve the smell of your clothes. However, that wonderful smell comes with a price and that’s toxic chemicals. It coats the clothing you wear and you breathe it all day. It’s no wonder some people develop a rash when the toxic chemicals are linked to damage to the endocrine and nervous system. Wool dryer balls are relatively inexpensive and a good alternative. So is adding distilled vinegar to the final rinse or making a ball of aluminum and throwing it in the dryer.

  • Indoor air pollution in homes ranks high EPA. Most of the pollution comes from common cleaning products. It causes a host of immediate symptoms from throat and nose irritation to fatigue, but can cause long term effects like heart and respiratory disease and even cancer.
  • Your cutting board can breed bacteria if not cleaned. Don’t use toxic cleaners, use a half a lemon rubbed on the board and left to sit. Periodically, sprinkle Kosher salt onto the board and scrub with the lemon.
  • Baking soda and vinegar come to the rescue again for cleaning the oven. Warm your oven to 125 degrees, spray vinegar on crusty build up and then put baking soda on the dampened area. Let sit for a few minutes and scrub away the grime.
  • Olive oil and white vinegar also produces a great wood cleaner. Two parts olive oil to one part vinegar. Spray it on counters or wooden furniture and dry with a soft cloth.

The Importance Of Good Workout Shoes

The Importance Of Good Workout Shoes

You don’t want to be put on the sidelines by an injury to your ankles or feet. They do hold all your weight and have to be ready for a variety of moves based on the exercise you’re doing. That’s why good workout shoes are important. Your feet often provide the only point where your body meets the ground and your shoes need to cushion that contact even when your feet are in an awkward position. Different activities require support in different areas of the foot, so not only is it important to have shoes that support your feet, but also ones that support it while you’re doing a specific activity.

Getting the right type of shoe with good support should be a high priority.

Injury is a big deal. It’s the reason trainers take the time to ensure you do every movement correctly. The ankles and feet are subject to abuse during a workout, so having a shoe that holds and cushions them as you’re moving not only helps prevent that injury, it makes your workout a far better experience. The fact that working out makes your muscles sore is enough of a deterrent. You shouldn’t be struggling with sore feet, too. Choosing the right shoe for the exercise you’re doing helps prevent that.

Choose the shoe based on the workout you do the most.

There are basically four different types of workouts when it comes to buying shoes for exercising. HIIT, weightlifting, yoga or dance and running style workouts both impact the feet in different ways. For strength training or weightlifting, you want a stable base that has good grip, a low profile that promotes stability and dense, hard soles to boost your power that’s more like going barefoot. HIIT shoes need shoes that have support, cushioning and yet provide stability as your feet hit the ground in a variety of lateral movements. If running is a top priority of your workout, have your gait and archtype analyzed to find the best fit for you. For dance style movements, choose a lightweight shoe recommended for your specific style of workout to add to your agility.

Protecting your feet doesn’t need to cost a fortune, but don’t cut corners to save money either.

Fit and appropriate support are the two most important factors in choosing your shoes. While brand names shouldn’t matter, some companies focus money and attention on finding the features that make shoes superior in each style of sport. They are often more expensive. Foot injuries from improper footwear can affect all parts of the foot and cause ankle strains, bunions, corns, fractures and pain in the ball of the foot. Good, well fitted shoes can lesson the impact and stress.

  • Cross training shoes work for most people who do a little of everything at the gym. You’ll get stability whether you’re moving forward and backward or from side to side. They’re in between the high cushion of running shoes and the rigidity of lifting shoes.
  • While some weightlifters like barefoot lifting to get maximum grip with the floor, weightlifting shoes provide the right foot position to help you get deeper squats and a wider range of motion.
  • When buying your shoes, shop in the late afternoon or evening. It’s best when you do it after a workout. Your feet will be at their largest at these times. You want the shoe to be large enough without the heel slipping.
  • The more you’re into performance in a specific area, the more important it is to get the right shoes. They can improve your overall ability in that area by providing the characteristics necessary like good grip or allowing quick changes in direction.

Think Fitness And Become Fit

Think Fitness And Become Fit

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” you might not see how it has anything to do with fitness, but it does. When you think fitness, you become fit. That’s because it’s the core of your focus. Rather than thinking how fat you are, how out of shape you are or even how much you hate working out, focus on everything you do that helps you get fit. It will help you find new ways to improve your fitness. If you’ve worked out for a while, focus on your improvement.

The story of two wolves illustrates it better.

There’s a Cherokee fable of an old man telling a story of two wolves inside man, one good representing joy, kindness and good attributes and one evil representing greed, anger and other bad attributes. They’re inside everyone. They get in a fight and the old man asks his grandson, who will win the fight. The answer is the wolf you feed. Like any thought or emotion, the one you focus on and feed will prevail, which is why focusing on success in fitness is so important.

Your attitude makes the difference between giving up and succeeding.

When you focus on success in fitness, you’re giving yourself a head start. You’re eliminating the possibility of failure. Failure isn’t an option. You’ll start to see ways to get more exercise and be more aware of articles and stories about fitness. It creates a laser beam focus that shuts out any type of negativity. You still have to learn the workouts and be humble enough to follow instructions, but knowing you’re getting fit is the key.

Keep your eye on the prize.

Know what you want from your workout program. Is it weight loss? Is it being healthier, having more energy or just feeling good again? No matter what your goal, achieving it comes from believing it’s possible. You can use affirmations, write down your goals and review them or just believe your personal trainer that if you do the work you’ll reach your goal. That belief will keep you going when the going gets tough. That’s how thinking fitness can make you fit. It keeps you pushing on when you want to stop and helps you go to the gym when you’d rather stay home.

  • Avoid toxic people that are negative or simply don’t share your goals with them. You may have negative people surrounding you that don’t like the change that can occur if you get fit. Don’t share your goals or progress with them. They can create self-doubt if you let them.
  • Don’t even consider that getting fit is selfish. It’s one problem often faced by giving people. It helps you stay strong to help others and so others won’t have to take care of you.
  • Check to see if you have any negative emotions about getting fit. If you were raised to believe it’s vain to want to look good, it’s not. Just as dressing in clean clothes isn’t vain. However, there are other reasons to get fit, like good health and more energy. Focus on those.
  • Find people, like yourself, who are focused on getting fit and work with them. Your combined mental energy will help you both succeed.

Spice Up Those Healthy Foods

Spice Up Those Healthy Foods

You don’t have settle for rice cakes or food that tastes like cardboard or vitamins if you want to eat healthy. In fact, healthy foods can taste delicious, especially if you add a little spice. Here in McKinney, TX, most people love food that wakes up their taste buds. That’s why adding spice not only helps you keep eating healthier, it also adds nutrients that provide other health benefits. Cinnamon is one of my favorite additions to meats and veggies and can reduce the amount of sugar necessary. It helps you control blood sugar and lowers the risk of coronary disease. Like most herbs and spices, it adds flavor and nutrition without adding calories.

Caraway seed is often neglected.

Think of holiday cookies with a European background when you think of caraway seed, or maybe some sauerkraut with them added, primarily because they aid digestion. Those are often the most common places you find this seed, but you can also sprinkle it on roasted potatoes, add it to a tomato sauce or mix it in a yogurt dip for flavor. The caraway seed contains lots of nutrients, such as iron, calcium and potassium. Caraway seed also contains antiaging compounds.

Fennel seed has a licorice flavor that does a lot for your body.

If you’ve ever seen a fennel plant in the spring, you’ll love how gorgeous it is with it’s lacy leaves. By the fall, there’s a head of delicious seeds and a bulb under the soil that’s simply yummy. Fresh or dried seeds can be chewed to help settle the stomach, but they have other benefits for those trying to lose weight. The boost your metabolism, help curb your appetite and even help you get a good night’s sleep. Adequate sleep is important for weight loss. Add fennel to salad, soup and even curries.

Who doesn’t love the fiery spice, chili peppers.

You can change almost any dish to a roaring hot delight when you add a few chili peppers to it. The capsaicin in the chili is in the source of the heat and found most prevalent in the white parts on the inside, near the seed. While it has many health benefits, it’s an ace for weight loss by aiding in burning fat, boosting the metabolism and suppressing appetite.

  • Plain unsweetened cocoa not only can turn ordinary hot almond milk into a comfort food, it also can improve your mood and add to the luster of your hair. Mix 100% raw cocoa with chili powder for a meat marinade that is super yummy.
  • Add garlic to almost any dish for extra health benefits. It’s antiviral, antibacterial and an antioxidant. If the odor clings, save those dishes for times you’ll be alone or when your partner is eating it too.
  • You’ll barely notice the flavor of turmeric in your food, but your body will love you for it. It’s an anti-inflammatory that’s been found helpful in reducing the risk of many diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
  • Lemon balm, thyme and oregano are other herbs that add to flavor without adding calories. Each has their own health benefit. For instance, oregano has antibacterial properties plus vitamins and minerals. When sprinkled on tomato slices it boosts their flavor.

Ways To Change Your Health And Your Life

Ways To Change Your Health And Your Life

You can change your health and your life at the same time. It’s not easy to make lifestyle changes, but well worth it when you find how they make your life much better. Something as simple as switching a snack from a sugary treat or highly processed food to a whole food can make a big difference in how you feel over time. You don’t have to make all the changes at once, you can start with just one thing, such as eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods. Build on that and before you know it, you’ll feel amazing and shed any extra pounds. By making small changes, it can lead to a whole different lifestyle.

Ease into a healthy lifestyle.

You don’t have to change everything at once. You can start with one goal and slowly work toward accomplishing all goals. However, some people find it easier to tackle both an exercise program and healthy eating at the same time. No matter what changes you make, consistency is the key. If you want to add exercise to a healthy diet, it will get you to a fitness goal faster. However, the goal is always to make your lifestyle change a habit. Whether it’s getting adequate sleep, eating healthier, exercising or giving up a bad habit, it all takes time.

If you’re giving up a habit like tobacco or sugar consumption, adding exercise to your life and healthy eating can help.

Eliminating an addiction like tobacco or even heavy sugar consumption is one place where doing more than one change at once is a benefit. Exercise helps cut the stress that withdrawal from nicotine can cause. Most physicians will happily endorse additional exercise and healthy eating when trying to break an addictive habit like smoking. Eating healthy and exercise also help prevent the weight gain that can occur when you give up tobacco products. If you’re giving up addictive drugs or alcohol, get medical help. Going cold turkey on your own can sometimes be dangerous.

Increase your activity and move faster.

If you aren’t ready for a formal exercise program, put more movement in your life. When you clean, move as fast as possible, you’ll get a real workout. Walk more, take the stairs and increase how much you move. In fact, eliminating old unused items and getting your house in order is a huge benefit to making you feel better and can be an activity that keeps you moving and stop the urge when you feel like grabbing a sugary snack.

  • Change your attitude. No matter what your goal or lifestyle changes you make, do it because you love yourself, not for any other reason. You’re worthwhile and deserve to be healthy. Nothing good ever comes from self-loathing.
  • Create a schedule and stick with it. Put exercise on the schedule like an appointment. If you can find a workout buddy, all the better. They hold you accountable.
  • If you’re changing your eating habits, take time to plan a menu and create a shopping list. Go to the grocery after you eat, so you won’t impulse buy snack foods.
  • When you conquer one lifestyle change, you’ll feel empowered to do another. Little by little you’ll gain more mastery over your life.

Strength Training Is Good Medicine

Strength Training Is Good Medicine

When most people think of starting strength training, they picture body builders and bulky muscles. That is just one outcome, based on the trainer and the person they’re training if you’re a man. While some women can develop denser muscle mass, it takes hours of dedication for years and often supplementation for women to bulk up. Unlike men, they don’t have the body chemistry it takes to get big bulky muscles. In other words, if you’re a woman, you can drop that worry about looking like the Incredible Hulk when you add strength training to your workout. What you will get is a huge health benefit and a great, sculpted appearance.

You’ll increase your muscle mass and that makes it easier to shed those extra pounds.

Loss of muscle mass—sarcopenia—starts earlier than you think. If you’ve never been active or started to live a sedentary lifestyle as an adult, you might even show signs of sarcopenia as early as your twenties. Loss of muscle tissue makes it far harder to lose weight, since muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, so you burn more calories around the clock when you have more. Obesity has become the leading cause of preventable deaths, since it leads to serious conditions, such as diabetes.

One proven aid to maintain bone density doesn’t come from a prescription drug, but strength training.

Weight bearing exercises that includes everything from walking to weight lifting. Studies show that weight bearing exercises can be as effective as many drugs for osteoporosis. One article from the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research based on research at Griffith University, in Queensland, Australia showed that high-intensity resistance training done twice a week improved the bone mass of postmenopausal women who had low bone mass. Best of all, there were no side effects from this type of treatment. Strength training can build muscles and more muscle mass means stronger bones.

Strength training helps lower blood pressure.

While you shouldn’t throw away your blood pressure pills the minute you start strength training, you should make sure that you not only talk to your doctor about your plans, but also have regular blood pressure checks to make sure the medication is still appropriate after a few months. When you build muscle strength, they contract easier, so it’s easier and doesn’t make the heart work as hard. One precaution. While you’re lifting, you actually raise your blood pressure, temporarily. Always make sure you’re fit enough to participate in physical exercise before you start any program.

  • You’ll build muscle tissue that also helps you improve your balance. That can help prevent falls and injuries.
  • Weight-lifting and strength-training is exceptional for eliminating belly fat. Belly fat, visceral fat, is the hardest to lose and also the most dangerous to your health. Strength-training eliminates it better than cardiovascular workouts.
  • Strength-training helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Consistent strength-training can also boost your mental health and cognitive functioning. Studies show that not only does it boost “happy hormone” levels, it also improves scores on tests measuring cognitive functioning in older adults with cognitive decline.

Some Healthy Snacks You Can Make At Home

Some Healthy Snacks You Can Make At Home

Whether you want to lose weight or just eat healthier, snacks play an important role in your diet. Finding ways to add healthy snacks to your diet is easy. These snacks can be made from common foods you find in any grocery in McKinney, TX, so they’re not expensive to make, nor are the ingredients difficult to find. The role of snacks in your diet should be not only to add more nutrition, but also help keep you feeling fuller so you’ll eat less at meals.

Go to an old favorite of dieters, raw veggies and dip.

While some people can eat every raw vegetable available and never need a dip, most of us like that little extra flavor and pleasure that comes with dipping a veggie. When you add a dip to your snack, it adds extra calories, so in this case, size matters. There are a multitude of veggie dips that are excellent two of my favorites are bean dips and spiced yogurt dip. You can mash almost any type of of bean, with white beans making one of my favorite. A food processor and plenty of spices and lemon zest make a delicious dip. Canelli beans, herbs and Parmesan cheese or other beans pulsed with spices are exceptional. There’s a world of yogurt dips that are super simple, like mixing sriracha sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper with Greek yogurt. Mashing avocado with lemon juice and spices, Parmesan cheese or salsa also makes a great dip.

Fruit and protein is an outstanding snack.

Nut butter spread on apple slices or grapes with small sticks of cheese can boost your energy immediately with the sugar from the fruit and keep it high with the slower digesting protein. One of my favorite, especially in the summer, combines cottage cheese and cantaloupe. Applesauce and cottage cheese is another good one.

Drink a smoothie that won’t add pounds.

Unsweetened yogurt can make a great snack, especially when combined with fruit. If you have a blender handy, throw it in the blender and make that fruit frozen. It’s delicious. Mix 1/3 cup yogurt with 2/3 cup of frozen fruit and ice.

  • Freeze cubed mango for a cold summer treat that’s sweet and satisfying. Blend frozen berries or fresh fruit with yogurt and pour it in a Popsicle form. These are frozen treats you won’t want to miss.
  • Pack small plastic bags with serving sizes of tree nuts and seeds for a low calorie, high nutrition treat. A few dried cranberries, dark chocolate bits or raisins can add to the flavor and variety. Don’t forget pistachios.
  • A fourth cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper sack that’s folded on the end is the perfect way to make low calorie microwave popcorn. Sprinkle with various seasoning from wasabi to buffalo wings or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  • Frozen bananas either plain, mashed and whipped like ice cream or dipped lightly in nuts make a tasty snack that adds nutrition without adding a lot of calories.

Exercise Away Back Pain

Exercise Away Back Pain

If you’re suffering from back pain of any type, you probably want to stay in that easy chair and not move. However, that may be the worse thing that you can do. In fact, you can exercise away back pain in most cases. When you exercise you increase circulation and help build core muscles that can build strength and relieve the pressure that causes the pain. Be aware that not all exercises are appropriate if you have issues with your back. Abdominal crunches, double leg lifts burpees may actually exacerbate your condition. That’s one reason you should always check with your health care practitioner and let your personal trainer know about your condition.

The right type of exercises can actually help relieve back pain.

Laying on your back and bringing one knee to the chest and alternating is one good exercise to help relieve back pain. Knee twists and wall squats also address the issue. Upper back pain gets good results from pectoralis stretch to scapular squeeze. In many cases, when you find the right exercises to reduce pain by stretching the tightened muscles and providing a massage like result.

Don’t discount seeing a doctor for some types of back pain.

Pain that’s constant and won’t allow you to sleep or that leaves your legs tingling, weak or numb should be investigated first. If you find your back pain is accompanied by bladder or bowel issues, you need to see a doctor. Back pain after a major trauma, like a car accident or falling down the stairs, should never be ignored and neither should back pain that’s accompanied by a fever.

If you have chronic back pain, start a program of exercise to build core muscles and improve posture.

If you’re overweight, it can add to back pain, plus pain in your lower joints. Exercising not only helps reduce back pain by strengthening core muscles, but also can help you shed those extra pounds. Seek advice of your personal trainer or your health care provider for exercises to strengthen your back and improve your overall posture. Get more exercise, eat healthier, quit smoking and lift with your legs, not your back. Lifting with your legs means you’ll feel most of the pressure in your legs, not your back.

  • If you have back pain, try stretching, rolling the shoulders, arching the back and other movements that help identify the problem. You’ll often feel some pain, but it shouldn’t be debilitating. If it feels unbearable, stop!
  • Many of the exercises for lower back are done laying on the floor. Have a yoga mat or other type of mat available to do those.
  • Check your clothing to see if it adds to back pain. Clothing that’s too tight and restricts movement can cause it. High heels, heavy purses and even keeping your wallet in your back hip pocket can cause back pain.
  • Good posture is imperative if you want to alleviate back pain. Exercise can help with that, too. Strong abdominal muscles are just as important as strong back muscles when it comes to relieving back pain.

Nutrition For Weight Loss

Nutrition For Weight Loss

To shed pounds, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. However, you need to pay attention to good nutrition for weight loss to be healthy. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” You’re not junk, so don’t eat junk. Too often people try fad diets that promise miracle weight loss. Unfortunately, the weight loss experienced is often water weight. Even worse, the weight comes right back when you go back to old eating habits. To make a difference, you need to learn how to eat healthier, exchanging one food for another and paying attention to good nutritional guidelines.

It’s hard to eat a lot of calories from fresh vegetables.

You don’t have to eat all fresh vegetables, just don’t go for ones that are stuffed with cream cheese, battered and fried—so jalapeno poppers don’t count as a vegetable. Eating veggies as close to natural as possible, with some baking, steaming or grilling allowed, is low in calories, especially for green veggies. Be careful of beans and legumes, sweet corn and potatoes. Eat them more sparingly. Beans and legumes contain high protein and are a good protein option for vegetarians, but higher in calories. Sweet corn is sweet and loved for that reason, but has a high glycemic index. Potatoes are high in starch.

Include healthy fat.

Fat and losing weight don’t seem to go together, but they really do. Not all fat is the kind you see marbled in a steak or in a deep fat fryer. Some is actually healthy for you. Healthy fats include foods like avocados, nuts and olives. They fill you up, plus still provide nutrition. Avocados, for instance contain potassium, lutein and 18 other vitamins and minerals. Not only does the fat fill you, avocados contain fiber, which also leaves you feeling full. Nuts are an exception source of protein, besides leaving you feeling full.

Watching what you drink also makes a huge difference.

While most savvy weight watchers are aware that beverages count, beginners often are in the dark that that soft drink or fruit juice makes a difference. Soft drinks can contain loads of sugar that can pack on the pounds. Don’t switch to diet drinks, they’re almost as bad. One study showed they put on visceral weight, belly fat, which is the most dangerous type of fat. Fruit juice sounds healthy, but it’s missing the fiber of whole fruit and filled with calories. Stick with water and grab an apple or orange instead.

  • Cut out the booze. It’s super fattening with no nutritional value. If you’re in a social setting where you’d like an occasional drink, opt for vodka and soda, a glass of wine, champagne, extra spicy bloody Mary or scotch on the rocks.
  • Go for foods closest to whole foods. The more processed a food, the more potential they have for additives and the less nutrition they contain.
  • Beware of energy bars. Read the ingredients, including the calorie count. Most of the time these are glorified candy bars.
  • Include lots of fiber in your diet. Fiber fills you up, plus keeps you going. It also slows the time traveling through the upper digestive tract and controls blood glucose levels.