Healthy Byte: Weight Loss Myths

While some have tried pretty shocking techniques to lose weight, there are also some common, long-held techniques that seem like a good idea — and may even work at first — but are absolutely going to backfire and end up causing weight gain. If you’re on a quest to a slimmer you, avoid doing these five things.

Having a Cut-Off Time For Eating

If you’ve heard that you shouldn’t eat past 6, 7, or 8 p.m. in order to lose weight, that’s just not true. Food eaten at night doesn’t automatically get stored as fat, as previously believed. What time you stop eating has nothing to do with how much weight you’ll gain or lose — it’s the total calories you consume in a day that matters. If you are a late-night snacker, opt for healthier options that are easy to digest.


Whether it’s all carbs, all gluten, all sugar, all baked goods, or all whatever, certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition believes this is not a life your pizza-ice-cream-pasta-loving self can sustain. After a period of forced deprivation, most people will just throw in the towel and devour an enormous plate of whatever they’re living without, says Langevin. Or, if they are able to go through a period of elimination, once they go back to eating these foods, the weight they lost will slowly creep back on. When it comes to maintaining weight loss, moderation is key.

Subscribing to a Low-Fat Diet

Going no fat or low fat was a huge trend back in the ’90s, a fad that we are glad has mostly passed. Most low-fat foods are packed with sugar to add flavor, and as a result, they end up causing weight gain — especially belly fat. Also of importance is that we’ve since learned that eating healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts can actually help to increase metabolism and can burn away belly fat. Healthy fats also fill you up longer, so go ahead and add nuts to your smoothie, avocado to your soup, or roast your veggies in olive oil.

Skipping Out on Meals

In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. And while reducing the number of calories in your diet is one way to do this, skipping an entire meal is not the way to go. Starving the body can slow down its metabolism and lead to overeating later. And let’s face it, if you’re running on empty, you won’t have the energy for a calorie-crushing workout later. Beyond adopting a healthier diet in general, the best way to reduce your calorie intake is to find ways to make healthy swaps in your favorite foods and also by choosing lower-calorie foods that are high in fiber, protein, or whole grains, which can better keep you full.

Only Exercising

Working out is definitely part of the weight-loss equation, but if you think it means you can eat whatever you want, you’re not going to be happy with the results. Keep in mind that a 30-minute run at a pace of six mph (10 minutes per mile) burns about 270 calories. In order to lose a pound a week, you need to burn or cut out 500 calories a day. So that means coupled with your 30-minute workout, you still need to cut out 220 calories from your diet, which most likely does not translate to eating everything in sight. Research actually proves that “abs are made in the kitchen,” which means that what you eat — focusing on eating healthy portions throughout the day — can be even more important than how much you work out.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Stop the Diets – Try Real Life Tips


Foundry via Pixabay

How is your diet working for you?

I spent years trying to perfect my eating. Admittedly, I was a nutritional fundamentalist. There were a few reasons for that, some foods gave me brain fog and I had a bad case of IBS. My bloating would get so past the stage of “has she gained a few pounds?” people would boldly ask me if I was pregnant. But truth is, I feared food, and in trying to keep my symptoms at bay I created a self fulfilling prophecy.

I was not one to sit on the sidelines watching my health spiraling downhill. So I tested, researched, chuck some “nutritional truths” out of the window and made of nutrition my life’s work. Eventually I found that there are as many perspectives on diet as there are people on the planet, but in the end, it all comes down to 3 fundamental guidelines I work with, and suggest you try. Experience tells me they work:

1. Be an emotional eater

In other words, embrace who you already are. We all are emotional eaters, but not in the way we usually speak of, tail between our legs as if it were a shameful thing. Your body is sensitive to the chemistry of your emotions, and very much so. Depending on what’s going on inside you will digest food differently, metabolize differently, burn calories differently and use energy differently. You will be more, or less pone to falling ill, and to developing a health condition.

It’s not about taking emotions out of the equation, it’s about learning to manage them. For this reason, learning to relax your body during a meal is vital for a healthy metabolism, and deep breathing is one of the simplest, most effective ways to relax. Don’t discard simple, it’s often the most powerful.


2. Stay curious about your eating behaviors

Binge eating, overeating, emotional eating, shopping sprees, one drink too many… Our most disconcerting actions can be stepping stones to our deepest insights. Exploring the driving force behind them gives us the understanding, wisdom and maturity we are being called to develop. Addiction taught me that what you resist, persists. Rather than control, observation, curiosity and inquiry will ‘unlock’ an unwanted behavior. Try to beat it it’ll beat you. Invite it to the table, you’ll be surprised at what it has to say.

2016-06-02-1464886271-4201623-lake712118.jpgStaffordgreen0 via Pixabay

3. Let your diet evolve

This — is important. Your health mirrors how you do life and your life mirrors how you care for your health. You move through periods that require from you new choices in food as they do in your life, and the healthy diet that worked miracles 5 years ago may have reached its expiration date.

We can outgrow a diet like we outgrow a jumper. Does this mean the diet was bad? No. Even a life saving medicine works until it does. Your ability to listen to your changing needs and move into what best supports you right now keeps you awake. It keeps you healthy in body and sharp in your thoughts, open in your beliefs and elastic in your ability to change them.

Because a diet made you feel superhuman doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. While there are long term preferences you stick to because they work, it’s important to stay aware of your body senses, keep an open mind and continue to assess whether yesterday’s choice is still the right one.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Which of the above 3 tips did you resonate with the most, and why?

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig



Healthy Byte: Maintenance 3rd Anniversary (Day 1318)

Today started out like any other Saturday; the house was quiet, still full of sleepy heads, and two hungry pups. I laid in bed for a brief moment before I propelled myself out of the comforts of the warm covers and into the chill of the air conditioned room.

I glanced briefly down at my Fitbit and it stated “0930, SA 13.” The pups wagged their tails excitedly waiting for their breakfast and as they chowed down I retrieved my standard weekend breakfast of protein bar and cup of hot tea. Something about the date drew me to tap on the Fitbit again and I read “0947, SA 13.” Then it suddenly dawned on me, Aug 13 is the day. The day that I reach my goal weight three years ago from years of being overweight.


This is what unhealthy looks like

This was me in 2000. I was 30 years old, 163 lbs at 4’10”, had a BMI of 34.1 (obese), hated photographs of myself, hated shopping for clothes, was the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life, and had accepted that this is how a mother is suppose to look. It wasn’t until 12 years later at an annual physical when my blood work came back declaring that I was pre-diabetic that I finally was scared enough to actually skip all the quick fix diets or miracle diet supplements and just settle down to put in the work.

Weight loss compared to was a breeze. The first two years of maintenance blew by with very little hiccup largely due to my fear of falling prey to the statistics regaining. I remained hyper vigilant on nutrition and gymming regularly. The only time I skipped gym was for a child’s sporting event. My weight remained constant within +/- 1-2 lbs and life was good.

This third year however, has been a series of challenges and it was the first time my weight fluxed back over 100 lbs. I was horrified, frustrated, and was in borderline panic mode. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong or what has changed or why is that stupid fucking number on the scale going in the wrong direction?!

Of course I knew all the answers but just became quite comfortable with what I am calling the ‘maintenance blinders’ squarely over my eyes. And that is exactly why I religiously log everything and anything other than water pass my little devil lips into MyFitnessPal. It is an incredible source of data to find the self-sabotaging pattern of eating. I can summarize my top pitfalls which has made my 3rd year of maintenance a bit of a roller coaster.

  1. I looked at my daily caloric allotment and felt it was time to increase it from what has made me successful in the previous two years. Instead of 1230 I increased it to 1450 – regardless if I gymmed or not, often eating over it, and abandoned my TDEE #s.
  2. I increased my strength training and reduced my cardio drastically.
  3. Due to increased strength training I was more hungry so I ate more. I became a huge fan of Peanut Butter … on everything!
  4. I associated the consistent weight gain to gaining muscle and rationalized that my pants were getting tight around my waist due to muscle – yes I really did quite an excellent job convincing myself of this one.
  5. A few days before my cycle I have always been famished but since I was doing more ‘strength training’ to ‘build more muscle’ which naturally ‘burns more fat’ I quenched my insatiable appetite with everything and anything with little regard to the quality of what I was consuming. The power of self rationalization is incredibly powerful.

Thanks to my MFP pals and a mishap on the elliptical severely injuring my wrist, I refocused on getting back on track.  

  1. I have NO idea why I veered away from TDEE. I think subconsciously I reflected how easy the previous 2 years of maintaining was and just got a little cocky. I thought ‘hey maybe I can’t get fat again!’ I was sadly mistaken. LOL I dialed my daily baseline caloric allotment to a reasonable 1350, did not eat over it except for once a week on family pizza night, and I have strictly adhered to eating on plan during the workweek and loosening the reigns on the weekend (80/20 Rule).
  2. I did a bit of research and apparently there are studies which alludes that some people are physically built to respond better to cardio and some to strength training when it comes to weight loss. So I have tweaked my physical routine to strength training to be half of my cardio 5 days a week. While on the weekends I bump up the cardio and the strength training to a 60:40 ratio in favor of cardio.
  3. I have made peace with that peanut butter can be addictive for me, so I have tapper off on it and magically I no longer crave it on everything. lol
  4. I have also had to face the hard truth that if my weight is creeping up and my clothes are getting tight around the waist, it is NOT muscle weight but F-A-T. That was a very difficult truth to acknowledge because I no longer could use strength training/more muscle as an excuse to eat like a crazy person. Cuz let’s face it, eating like a crazy person with zero regard to outcome sometimes is just flat out enjoyable. But too much ‘enjoying’ resulted in a reality that I did not like. SO instead having ice cream 4 days a night I limit it to 1 on a non-pizza night. Instead of drowning my protein bar in PB I put it in the fridge so that it doesn’t need ‘something extra’ to make it more palatable.
  5. I still feed my insatiable appetite days before my cycle, but now I do so with the least amount of carbs & sugar with the most nutritional value. This little standard allowed me to make much better choices to satisfy without falling into the carbs & sugar addictive cycle.

Purrty colors no?

Oddly enough the horrific wrist injury refocused me on nutrition because I knew my physical activities had to be highly curtail to accommodate my lack of mobility. I literally could not even walk on the treadmill because the vibration sent sharp shooting pain up my arm. Therefore without the reliance to ‘out-gym’ poor eating choices I was inadvertently forced back on track. As my wrist healed and I was able to slowly incorporate strength training again back into my cardio while being more proactive about my nutrition – not only did I not gain weight but lost. It was the first time this 3rd year of maintenance that I have regularly included strength training without gaining and I am elated.

I am back under 100 and 1.8 lbs from goal. I have been focusing on my shoulders and triceps and with the continued reduction in fat, I am finally seeing results.


Happy 3rd Maintenance Anniversary to Me!

So thanks universe for my mishap on the elliptical to get back on track. hahaha

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Tips from Long Term Maintainers

In the health world, we’re typically inundated with research on the best ways to lose weight, from nutrition advice to fitness tips. But what if we knew the secrets to never gaining it in the first place? What if we just focused on how to stay at a healthy weight?

Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, author of Slim by Design, and Yahoo Health Advisory Board Member, and his team of researchers at Cornell Food and Brand Lab are launching the Global Healthy Weight Registry in January to gather information and discover the secrets of people who have pretty much never gained weight (other than 5 to 10 pounds).

You can join the registry here.

Currently, the National Weight Control Registry, made up of people who had lost 30 pounds and kept it off for three years, provides a wealth of information on weight loss and what makes individuals successful with it long-term. But we don’t hear much about preventing weight gain in the first place, Camille Finn, manager of the Healthy Weight Registry, tells Yahoo Health.

“We need this registry so that we can share the secrets of people who have never been overweight,” Finn explains. “We hope to discover interesting tips and tricks from people who have always been a healthy weight and share those secrets to help others avoid gaining weight.”

So who’s eligible for the registry? Finn breaks it down: “The perfect candidate is someone 18 or older who has maintained a healthy body weight (healthy body mass index) throughout their adult life, and who has not worked with weight counselors or other health professionals regarding their weight in the past.”

If you think you qualify, the next step is to take a questionnaire, which asks a wide range of questions on topics such as what you eat for breakfast, food preferences, cooking secrets, and broader topics such as hobbies and your outlook on life. Once you’re accepted — you’ll be kept anonymous, don’t worry — you’ll be sent updates on new insights and related research papers Wansink’s team publishes. Your only other commitment will be to answer a new set of questions once a year.

‘If you are not eligible, we can still keep you up-to-date on some of our findings when you sign up as a Registry Friend on our website,” Finn explains.

Once the registry gets going, the team will crunch the data in search of commonalities among healthy weight people, says Finn. Then, they’ll share these insights with both the people in the registry and the general public, so that others can apply these tips and tricks to their own lives. “We’ll write academic articles on the results and develop infographics, posts, and tweets, and share them on the website and our social media so that we can help people stay slim.”

The team has created an infographic with some of their preliminary findings on “healthy weight” registrants, which includes some interesting stats: 63 percent eat veggies with dinner every night, 46 percent eat fruit at breakfast, 47 percent never diet, and over 50 percent exercise four or more days per week.

As the registry grows, more insights like these will be revealed and guide useful recommendations that other people can follow to help maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Fast Food Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Hitting the Drive Thru

(Photos: Jackie Newgent/

When you need a meal but don’t have time to cook, what do you grab? It can be a delicious dish filled with good nutrition. Simply pick one day a week that you have 20 minutes or so to spare – perhaps Sunday evening – and whip up a meal (or more!) that can be frozen for later. It’s ideal if you need to cook for just one or two; you’ll be able to take the exact serving of what you need out of the freezer. If you’re cooking for four, you’ll also find family-style recipes here. The best part is that all you need to do is put the frozen meal into the oven or microwave, set the timer and go about your business until it’s ready. Then, of course, enjoy!

1. Egg, Spinach and Portobello Breakfast Sandwich
You don’t need to go to a fast-food drive-through window to get a speedy breakfast sandwich. You can head over to your freezer, take out one of these savory goodies and pop it into the microwave for two minutes. Wow, that’s faster than going the fast-food route! Better yet, it’s packed with great taste, balanced nutrition and natural ingredients. Each whole-grain English muffin is spread with goat cheese and stuffed with a scrambled mixture of eggs, portobello mushrooms and baby spinach. It’s an easy way to get veggies in the morning – or any time! CALORIES: 272. Get the recipe here.

2. Cincinnati-Style Veggie Chili Bake (Family-Style)
Every region in the United Sates has its own preferred chili. In Ohio, Cincinnati chili is popular. It’s basically a uniquely spiced, meaty chili served over spaghetti, then topped as you like with Cheddar cheese, beans and onions. This recipe is a better-for-you version. It’s baked with layers of whole-grain penne, Cheddar cheese, red onion and vegetarian chili that’s “spiked” with red wine vinegar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and allspice. It’s an antioxidant winner! And it’s a winner for dinner on any given day because all you need to do is take the dish out of the freezer and bake it. That’s it! CALORIES: 471. Get the recipe here.

3. Vegetarian Stir-Fry Rice Bowl
You can pick up the phone and order Chinese takeout, or you can pull this rice bowl out of the freezer and have a delicious mealtime fix – fast. Instead of greasiness, this colorful vegan bowl is loaded with plant-based delightfulness. Brown rice is combined with orange zest and fresh cilantro. Organic tofu is stir-fried with baby bella mushrooms, red bell peppers and scallions. A savory sauce of tamari and toasted sesame oil scrumptiously brings everything together. Each bowl takes less than five minutes total from freezer to microwave to table! CALORIES: 528. Get the recipe here.

4. Tropical Black Bean, Cheese and Papaya Burrito
This is not your run-of-the-mill burrito. It has a taste of the tropics by way of vitamin C-rich papaya. Each sprouted whole-grain tortilla is also stuffed with baby spinach, black beans, spicy salsa, scallions and fresh cilantro. To bring it all together in a mouthwatering way, don’t leave out the Monterey Jack cheese! From the freezer, each burrito takes only three-and-a-half minutes to heat in the microwave. That’s downright fast! But then it’s time to slow down and savor every bite with a fork and knife. CALORIES: 296. Get the recipe here.


5. Power Pasta Bowl With Turkey-Kale Meatballs
Spaghetti with meatballs is a classic. This pasta bowl takes that classic and kicks it into a trendier place. The meatballs are based on turkey, kale and hemp seeds. The pasta is whole grain. It all goes together to make one great-tasting, nutrient-rich bowl of goodness – and a fun way to get lutein (from kale) and lycopene (from marinara). To prepare, you’ll bake the meatballs while you cook the pasta, toss it all together with a quality marinara sauce, transfer to bowls and freeze. Each bowl will be ready to eat after four minutes in the microwave! CALORIES: 563. Get the recipe here.


Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: TV Shows Fanning the Flames or Helping?

Personal Note: A lot of overeating or poor eating choices revolves around one’s psyche and ta person’s own emotional  relationship with food. Just because these trainers purposely gain weight it doesn’t necessarily change their personal state of mind in regards to food. For example, if their innate mindset is that food is nothing but fuel for their body then it is quite different from someone who has an emotional attachment to say ice cream when they are upset about something. So although this may allow trainers to be more compassionate towards clients but I wouldn’t say that their journey is anywhere equivalent to someone who is actually obese, overweight, or have grown up with grandma giving them a fresh bake cookie when they’ve had a bad day. Just something to keep in the back of the mind anyways.

Adonis Hill, a trainer on the upcoming show “Fit to Fat to Fit,” went from weighing 217 pounds to 286 pounds by consuming 8,000 calories a day, according to The New York Post. (Photo: A&E)

In the new A&E show Fit to Fat to Fit (premiered Jan. 19), trainers don’t just preach the powers of diet and exercise, they live it with their clients — by throwing their healthy lifestyles out the window, upping their body weight by 40 percent, and then working side-by-side with overweight people to shed pounds together.

But is gaining excessive weight over the course of four months only to lose it again (in four months) healthy? Experts warn against it: “It’s certainly not healthy to put weight on at all, but it’s also not healthy to put weight on really fast,” Charlie Seltzer, MD, a weight-loss expert and Yahoo Health Advisory Board member, tells Yahoo Health.

He also says, though, to take the show with a grain of salt: After all, this kind of setup is for entertainment value — and it’s hard to apply the situation to real life. (Beyond being an actor and needing to drop pounds for a role, when would you purposely gain weight just to lose it in a confined time period?)

That said, the health issues that come from the process are real. For one, according to news reports, the trainers didn’t appear to focus on “quality calories” — which is unhealthy, Rebecca Blake, RD, CDN, the senior director of Clinical Nutrition at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York, tells Yahoo Health. The New York Post reports that Katie Mack, a 29-year-old trainer on the show, ate “high-calorie snacks such as bread with butter; bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel; Ho Hos; and oatmeal creme cookies. She drank lots of high-calorie beer, light-and-sweet coffee and even melted ice cream.”

When you eat this way, you gain fat, not muscle mass, says Blake. This can put you at risk for obesity, which ups your likelihood of suffering from a health condition like hypertension or diabetes.

Katie Mack, a trainer on the upcoming show “Fit to Fat to Fit,” went from weighing 123 pounds to 157 pounds by consuming 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day, according to The New York Post. (Photo: A&E)

Seltzer adds that a bigger waist circumference — which comes hand-in-hand with weight gain — is linked to cardiovascular disease, a decrease in insulin sensitivity (associated with diabetes), more triglycerides in your blood (a type of fat that can increase your risk of heart disease), and an increase in the “bad” LDL cholesterol. The worst part: “These issues don’t necessarily easily reverse themselves when you get back to normal weight,” says Blake.

The other problem? If you’ve been eating clean, you can face a ton of ugly side effects like GI upset and water retention once you start eating unhealthy, says Blake. “You feel like what you’re feeding yourself — not great.”

Check out the trainers’ own reports: Of the diet, Mack told The New York Post: “It was perpetually uncomfortable,” and “I felt like I had some version of a terminal or chronic illness.” Adonis Hill, another trainer on the show who went from weighing 217 pounds to 286 pounds, told The Post: “When I was overweight, there were a lot of things I was fighting, like depression.”

Beyond the physical side effects, though, if you gain weight in such a manner, you start to train your body to want more food, says Blake. Part of that comes down to the way your stomach stretches; part of it is your body learning new (unhealthy) ways of operating. And these habits, she says, take time to nix, too.

Of course, when it comes to shedding the weight, for the most part, losing weight is good for your body, says Seltzer. But he adds: “I would encourage people to have fun watching the show — not to think they would be able to lose weight that quickly.”

 While Blake notes that if you’ve been in excellent shape your whole life (like the trainers), you’re much more likely to be able to bounce back to a healthy weight fairly quickly, actually doing so is not always so easy.

Seltzer says that without an extensive fitness and physiology background, it’d be hard for the average person to see similar weight-loss results. “It’s so hard to do it right anyway,” he says. If you’re trying to drop pounds within a certain amount of time — like on the show — it’s even harder, he says, as specific factors like meal timing become especially important.

There are also dangers to trying to do so. Physically, when you lose weight quickly, you lose more muscle mass and miss out on crucial nutrients because of the giant calorie deficit, says Seltzer.

Your body can also go into starvation mode, says Blake. In this kind of state, your metabolism can be compromised. “Your body starts to ‘hang on’ to calories,” she says. If this happens, it could mean that to maintain a 150-pound weight that you once had, you might need to eat less than you once did.

In fact, trying to move the scale quickly is usually never a good idea. Seltzer says that the faster you lose weight, the more likely you are to gain it back. In part that’s because — in the real world — when people drop pounds too fast, they tend to ignore the underlying issues that made them overweight to begin with.

And for those of us who aren’t in front of the camera, addressing those issues in due time with the appropriate support is the best and healthiest way to attack weight loss.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Science Finds Sweet Tooth Hormone

Scientists have discovered a hormone that reduces sugar cravings.

The days of uncontrollably binging on leftover holiday goodies may be numbered. The Telegraph reports researchers have figured out a hormone produced in the liver that reduces the desire to eat sugar.

Fibroblast growth factor 21—or FGF21—is produced when carbohydrate levels in the body get too high and tells the brain to suppress the body’s desire for sugar.

“We never imagined that a circulating, liver-derived factor would exist whose function is to control sweet appetite,” RT quotes study co-author Matthew Gillum as saying. Hormones have been known to suppress appetites as a whole but never individual types of nutrients.

“This is the first liver-derived hormone we know that regulates sugar intake specifically,” says researcher Dr. Matthew Potthoff of the University of Iowa.

According to the study—published in Cell Metabolism—mice born with an FGF21 deficiency ate more sugar, while those born with an excess of the hormone ate much less. But it doesn’t have to be left up to nature.

Researchers found mice injected with FGF21 ate seven times less sugar, the Telegraph reports. A second study found a similar effect in primates given a dose of the hormone, according to a press release. This could be good news for obese people or those with diabetes.

“FGF21 can help people who might not be able to sense when they’ve had enough sugar,” researcher Lucas BonDurant says. According to the press release, the same hormone could also suppress the desire for alcohol. (Speaking of sugar, there’s a senator in charge of stocking a candy desk.)

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig