Healthy Byte: ‘Starvation Mode’ the Myth

close-up on a man's stomach as he rubs itCould this man be experiencing starvation mode? | iStock.com

If you eat healthy, count every calorie, keep track of your nutrients, and work out day in and day out, then you’re probably expecting your body to get lean and strong in no time. So, if you find yourself hitting a weight-loss plateau without cheating on your diet or slacking on your exercise routine, you may assume you’ve hit starvation mode. This phenomenon, according to Livestrong, affects anyone who eats below their recommended daily caloric intake and makes weight loss nearly impossible. But is there any truth to this claim? It’s time to dispel myth from reality.

This is what starvation mode in dieting is said to be — a complete halt in weight loss when you’ve gone too far with your extreme dieting. Here’s the truth: While your body will have a response to cutting calories, it won’t be strong enough to completely prevent you from losing weight.

healthy foods and a tape measure

Healthy fresh produce for weight loss | iStock.com

In truth, The Washington Post explains metabolism will slow when you’re cutting calories. This is your body’s natural response to a significant change in your diet and your routine, but this doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, this slowing of your metabolic rate doesn’t even happen within the first six to eight months of extreme dieting, which is when most people find that they hit their first plateau and look toward starvation mode as a reason. It takes years and years of severe calorie restriction for your metabolism to completely offset a reduction in calories.

The idea that you won’t lose weight when your caloric intake is too restricted is completely dispelled when looking at The Minnesota Starvation Experiment outlined by the American Psychological Association. In World War II, men were worked to physical extremes and were given less than 1,600 calories to eat a day, resulting in extreme hunger, gaunt bodies, and malnutrition. They were rehabilitated back to full health by being fed a proper number calories, but nowhere in this study did they find the men stopped losing weight because they were eating too little. In fact, all of the participants lost about 25% of their body weight.

If you’re at the point in your diet where you’re unable to lose weight further, A Workout Routine suggests this may be because your body simply isn’t burning as many calories as it did when you weighed more. When your body weight decreases, you burn fewer calories in general, meaning the diet that worked for you when you were 50 pounds heavier may not be working so well for you anymore.
weighing-man
You also may think you’re eating the same exact diet that you were a few months earlier when you first started, but take a closer look. Have you allowed any unhealthy foods to sneak into your diet that may be sabotaging your weight loss? Keeping track of each food you eat every day is a good way to know if something like this is happening without your noticing it.

So, while starvation mode may not really be what’s keeping you from losing weight, there is some truth to the idea. Your metabolic rate will slow when you go to extremes with calorie restriction. However, this metabolic slow-down is not enough to completely halt weight-loss progress, and it happens very slowly Restricting calories may also cause you to feel intensely hungry and crave foods you ordinarily wouldn’t, and you may even feel like you’re mentally slowing down. It’s important to always listen to your body and to eat health-conscious meals packed with vitamins, healthy fats, and fresh produce to maintain your desired weight.

Going hungry for weight loss is never the answer, and a diet that strict likely won’t last long, either. While starvation mode is largely a myth, you’ll feel and look your best when you’re eating plenty of nutritious meals.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Bread Matters

navigating the bread aisle

The bread aisle in the grocery store can seem like an endless sea of bagel flats, multigrain slices, and whole-wheat rolls (with an old-school loaf of Wonder bread thrown in the mix). While it’s clear that not all bread is created equal, it can be hard to know how to make the healthiest pick. “It’s a good idea to arm yourself with some information beforehand—that way you know what to look for and what different terms actually mean,” says Katie Cavuto, R.D.
The truth is, there’s no need to fear this carb. Bread can be an incredibly nutritious addition to your diet, says Keri Gans, R.D.N., C.D.N., and author of The Small Change Diet.
navigating the bread aisle
1/4 SHUTTERSTOCK
WHOLE IS KEY

When choosing bread, always opt for the whole-grain option. Whole-grain products use the entirety of the grain. This includes the endosperm, germ, and bran, which provide fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals for your body, says Keri Glassman, R.D., C.D.N.

Hate the taste of whole wheat? Don’t panic.”You basically want to be looking for the word ‘whole,'” says Gans, a spokesperson for Arnold Bread. She recommends scoping out ingredients like whole barley, brown rice, whole oats, or whole flax for a different flavor, but all the same nutrients.

navigating the bread aisle
2/4 SHUTTERSTOCK
…BUT BE SURE TO LOOK FOR LABELS THAT SAY 100 PERCENT WHOLE-GRAIN

Breads can label themselves ‘whole grain’ even if only 51 percent of the ingredients qualify, according to Cavuto. That’s why it’s important to examine packaging for the “100 percent whole grain” stamp. If you see that, it means your loaf contains 16 grams of whole grains per serving, says Cavuto.

And when it comes to choosing between organic or conventional breads, you can save your money and skip the organic. It’s not a make-or-break factor when it comes to bread.

navigating the bread aisle
3/4 SHUTTERSTOCK
FEWER INGREDIENTS MEANS BETTER BREAD

“The absence of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives is important as well,” says Cavuto, who’s also a spokesperson for Arnold Bread. She recommends avoiding hard-to-pronounce additives and partially hydrogenated oils. Try reading the ingredients out loud. If you can’t pronounce it or understand what it is after a quick Google search, toss it. “Learn to read food labels,” Gans says. She says to chuck a brand that’s giving you trans fats or high fructose corn syrup, too. (Lean how to reset your diet with Women’s Health’s The Body Clock Diet.)

navigating the bread aisle
4/4 SHUTTERSTOCK
FOCUS ON FIBER

You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again—fiber is crucial to your diet. It helps keep you full, encourages healthy bowel movements, and improves gut health. “See how many grams of fiber there are per slice, and ideally, you’re going to want anything over three grams,” says Gans. The fiber comes from the endosperm that’s left intact in whole grains. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, you should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and half of your daily grain intake should be whole grains.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: New Non-Diet Approach

NOTE: Here’s an article that I don’t necessarily agree with but I do realize that what has worked for me (counting calories via MFP) does not work for everyone. So here’s some encouragement for those who is looking for the life style transformation that will last.

Image result for calorie counting

We are gathered, dear friends, to pay honor and, just maybe, to say farewell forever to an acquaintance not-so-dearly departed: the calorie-restriction diet. Because in this world where women sip small-batch nut milk before barre class, legions of people who aren’t actually sensitive to gluten won’t touch a dinner roll, and eating like a cavewoman is considered a viable nutritional plan even though most cavewomen didn’t survive past 35, it has become devilishly hard to find someone who admits she follows a straight-up calorie-counting diet anymore.

Skeptics will say the shift is purely semantic, a case of political correctness in which everybody is still dieting but nobody wants to utter the dreary word itself. But if you doubt that the trim-at-any-cost mass culture is changing, consider that Lean Cuisine, which has had two years of falling revenues, recently revamped its frozen-food recipes and added words like “organic” and “freshly made” to its packaging. “We realized that low fat and low calorie were not the modern definition of what people were looking for in healthy cuisine,” says the company’s marketing director, Julie Lehman. It’s a similar story at Weight Watchers, the company that first implanted the calorie-counting chip in the collective brain of American women more than 50 years ago. “It’s a different age,” says R. J. Hottovy, a consumer-equity strategist at Morningstar, an investment-research company, which keeps an eye on Weight Watchers, whose sales had taken a hit thanks to things like fitness trackers and meal-plan apps (the brand has since gotten in on the game, too). Even with the help of the planet’s most effective pitchwoman, Oprah Winfrey, “[the company is] still facing headwinds,” says Hottovy.

And the most recent weight-loss trend to gain popularity, so-called intermittent fasting, alternates periods of “normal” eating with short bursts of severe calorie restriction. By some jujitsu of dieting logic, these programs, like the 5:2 plan, allow those who follow them to enjoy a sense of balance and satisfaction at most mealtimes.

The hard truth is that the once nearly universal obsession with cutting calories and eliminating entire food groups is simply no longer trendy. When was the last time you heard someone say she was doing the South Beach Diet, the Master Cleanse, or Ideal Protein? Women from all walks of life (including but not limited to bloggers, social-media stars, actresses, and activists) have dropped more-restrictive regimens in favor of plans that promise health, wellness, and mind-body balance. ” ‘Diet’ has become”—wait for it—”a four-letter word,” says Susan B. Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University in Boston who studies weight-loss habits. It’s not that people don’t want to lose weight and get healthy and feel better; even if they don’t use the D word, more than half of all U.S. consumers are on a diet of some kind, according to a 2015 report by the market-research firm Mintel. “The problem is that they’ve tried so many things and struggled, and for what?” Roberts says.

Deprivation, after all, has a dark side. Remember this scene from the front lines of weight loss? You’re in your bathroom, you haven’t eaten a carbohydrate in weeks, you’re living on foods high in protein but no individual servings larger than your fist, and you’ve just urinated on a small wooden ketosis strip to see if it’s working. “All of these diets have created such angst for people around eating,” says Judith Matz, a coauthor of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook (Sourcebooks), who advises her clients to eat a wide variety of healthy foods. “It’s meant to be a source of nourishment, energy, and pleasure. But when you have to pee to make sure you’re eating properly, you take that pleasure away.”

Not that calorie-restricting diets don’t work. They generally do—just not for long. Many studies have shown that, except for a small sliver of the population, the average dieter sheds perhaps 10 percent of her weight during an exhilarating honeymoon phase, then returns to her original size within a couple or three years or even puts on extra pounds. Traci Mann, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and the author of Secrets From the Eating Lab (Harper Wave), echoes a newly familiar sentiment: Eat healthy and stop counting calories. She has delivered her message about the futility of food restriction to audiences around the country. These days, she often feels she’s preaching to the choir. “I talk a lot about all these physical changes from calorie deprivation that make it harder to keep dieting, and people say, ‘That’s exactly what happened to me. I started dieting, and suddenly I was hungry even when I ate things that used to make me feel full,’ ” she says.

Even among the very large number of women who still eat for their bathroom scale, the tendency now is to dispense with calorie counting in favor of a “lifestyle.” Thirty-day challenges, the paleo diet, eating “clean,” even locavore or artisanal-food obsession can be ways to limit your overall intake without having to refer to a system of points—although any experienced nutritionist will tell you the only reliable way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than your body burns.

Still, what the lifestyle plans do enticingly offer is a sense of control, possibly even joy. Maybe this is the most crucial point of all: You’re signing on to a new way of living, rather than chipping away at the one you’re used to. And some of them, at least, like the so-called Mediterranean diet, actually emphasize health and well-being over rapid, unsustainable weight loss. “As we get away from calorie counting, we move closer to nutrition,” says New York City registered nutritionist Keri Gans, the author of The Small Change Diet (Gallery Books). “People are starting to realize they have to be patient, move slowly, and give themselves time to create new habits.”

The lifestyle approach has another advantage. By choosing to go macrobiotic or to explore the benefits of cold-pressed juices, to name a couple of examples, the modern dieter can at the same time be a part of the infectious fun of the food-cultural revolution that is so dramatically remaking our grocery stores, restaurants, and entire channels of cable TV. “I don’t care if you live at the very edge of the forest during this Whole Foods moment, you still know there’s a buzz about kale and avocado,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of the Moon Juice plant-based apothecary and food stores in Los Angeles, where Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley come to shop for things like reishi mushrooms (believed to boost the immune system), mineral-rich maca root, and shilajit tonic, which is used in Ayurvedic medicine. In that sense, the new way of dieting is all about the benefits (#gainz, if you do your boasting online) and not just the losses.

Bacon’s esoteric brand of holistic living—a combination of kundalini and Vedic meditation, exercise, and meals designed to promote wellness—includes managing one’s weight without being consumed by it. A typical lunch might be zucchini ribbons with basil, pine nuts, and sun-cured olives with a cup of green tea. Outside experts could debate for days whether that actually constitutes a healthy meal or is just low-calorie dieting dressed up in New Age finery. But Bacon is evangelical about the need to “bust the myth of traditional dieting,” as she puts it. “I stand in good company, which includes medical doctors, when I say that what I put in my body can definitely help me maintain my weight. But along with that, my skin is different; my energy levels are very different; my personality is different. Food affects everything.”

THE ONCE NEARLY UNIVERSAL OBSESSION WITHCUTTING CALORIESAND ELIMINATING ENTIRE FOOD GROUPS IS SIMPLY NO LONGER TRENDY.

The scientific community has long accepted that idea, of course, along with the understanding that our weight is also determined by genetics and other physiological factors beyond our control. All of which encourages the emergence, in a parallel universe that coexists with all the super skinny fitness stars of social media, of the idea that a woman’s body can be considered beautiful and healthy no matter how it happens to be shaped and sized. Hashtags like #fatkini (accompanied by photos of large women in bathing suits) make the rounds on Instagram, where the extraordinary yoga instructor and “fat femme” Jessamyn Stanley has 168,000 followers and counting.

Popular women’s websites decry fat-shaming and celebrate body positivity. When Kelsey Miller, the author of Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting & Got a Life (Grand Central Publishing) and the creator of the Anti-Diet Project column at Refinery29, first joined that website in 2012, one of the dieting buzzwords of the day was “detox.” (“We now know what bullshit that was,” she says.)

Today’s buzzword is more like “DGAF” (look it up). Miller, who says she has spent her entire conscious life in the dieting cycle, now practices what’s known as intuitive eating, in which her meal choices are guided by what she’s hungry for coupled with an understanding of which foods make her feel healthy and energetic and, conversely, which ones slow her down. “It’s about getting over the idea that kale is the savior and the cheeseburger is the enemy,” she says.

Here’s what it looks like at mealtime: When Miller is in the mood for, say, a steak, potatoes, and spinach, she eats it. Or she gives it some thought and decides, “You know what? That sounds really heavy and not comfortable right now,” says Miller. The goal either way is to take worrying about her weight out of the equation and to focus on comfort, health, and satisfaction—to reach a state of Zen-like food neutrality.

Miller is the first person to say there’s a utopian, if still somewhat attainable, quality to her anti-diet philosophy. And there’s no going back—for her, and many others who have had enough of the old way of dieting. Elizabeth Angell, a digital editor in New York City, can’t imagine ever going back to Weight Watchers, although she found the program helpful when she wanted to lose baby weight after the birth of her daughter three years ago.

But ultimately it was no more helpful than accepting the fact that her weight will fluctuate, and the best thing she can do for herself is eat lots of fresh vegetables, prepare as many of her own meals as possible, keep sweets out of the house, and try to limit her consumption of carbs to once a day. “On a diet, you’re always ten pounds away from your goal, and I just don’t want to always be short of my goal,” Angell says. “I’m tired of saying no.”

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: “Can’t”

NOTE: It really is all a matter of perspective

Sitting motionless in my kitchen, staring blankly and hopelessly at my pantry, I felt the onset of an anxiety attack.

As a complete and total omnivore (I truly eat all the foods), it was the first time I didn’t know what I was “allowed” to eat — and I was SO hungry. My doctor had just put me on the low FODMAPs diet, which is in my opinion the most confusing, unnavigable, impossible diet on the planet with conflicting information from so many sources. The list of things you can’t eat seemed infinite . . . no peaches, no wheat, no milk, no fruit juice or avocados or honey (there are quite literally hundreds of items). I focused so much on the “no” list that I had zero idea what to eat. I sat there paralyzed (and honestly, starving, with low blood sugar that probably exacerbated this situation). Panic started to creep in.

This made me realize how much we focus on what we can’t do vs. what we can and how much that word “can’t” paralyzes us in so many ways — especially when it comes to diet and exercise.

Have you felt this way with your food? So much anxiety and unnecessary stress stems from this idea of what we can’t do, can’t have, can’t eat. I have watched friends start their new lives as vegans, feeling their frustration of what they can’t eat without focusing on all the good, delicious foods they love that they can eat. Sure, you can’t eat Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese anymore, but you totally can eat that quinoa veggie bowl you love and also that fruit smoothie and that spaghetti dish. By focusing on what we can eat, we liberate ourselves from a crippling list of can’ts.

This also applies to fitness. For years I told myself (and others), “I can’t do that, I’m not an athlete” or “I can’t do that, I’m not fit” or “I can’t run, I’m slow.” So again, I was paralyzed. It was the opposite of empowering; I did no sort of physical activity for years upon years and never attended a yoga class or went to a gym. The second I stopped focusing on what I couldn’t do and focused on what I could — in this case, it was “I can actually move my body forward for several miles at a slow pace without dying” — I opened myself up to an entire world of healthy activity.

The “I can move my body forward” became “I can run a mile” (albeit a very slow one). That became “I can run three miles,” which eventually became “I can run a half marathon.” I stopped focusing on can’ts in other areas and started small with the things I could do — one thing led to another, and now fitness plays a central role in my life.

I needed a reminder of this the other day when I started the low FODMAPs diet. And honestly, I feel like I need a reminder of this in several areas of my life! When we only see what we can’t do, we miss out on so much of what we can, and it gets in the way of our everyday life — we end up shortchanging ourselves.

Don’t get in your own way, and don’t paralyze yourself with your words. Empower yourself! What can you do? What can you eat? What can you try? Go for it!

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Menstrual Cycle Fueled Cravings

NOTE: It took me a very long time to figure out why once I month I became completely reckless in my eating. Ever since I noticed the pattern of euphoric binge eating in line with my cycle, I have been able to temper it because I know what it is and have found substitutes to temper the cravings. Sometimes simply being aware is enough.

Image result for food cravings before period

 

Food cravings in the week or two preceding your menstrual period are common for many women, but could be getting in the way of reaching your desired weight or eating in a healthy manner. Whether you crave chocolate, potato chips or baked goods, identifying the cause of your cravings at that time of the month can help you control them so you stick to your healthy diet throughout your menstrual cycle.

Blood Sugar Issues

A fluctuation in blood sugar levels is a common cause of cravings and compulsive overeating, according to licensed nutritionist Darlene Kvist. Willpower is not enough to control your food cravings if the cause is physiological. Eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet and eating fewer processed foods can help you stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent cravings from occurring before your next menstrual period. Trade your usual breakfast of corn flakes, milk, sugar and orange juice for a hearty bowl of steel-cut oats mixed with raspberries and plain yogurt. Base your lunch and dinner on blood-sugar-stabilizing non-starchy vegetables; protein from chicken, fish or nuts; and healthy fats from avocado or olive oil.

Magnesium Deficiency

If you often crave chocolate before your period, you may have a magnesium deficiency, although more hard evidence is still needed to support this theory. Chocolate is one of the richest food sources of magnesium, a hard-to-get mineral many American women are lacking. If chocolate is your most common craving, opt for dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa to keep your sugar intake low. Discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking a magnesium supplement for a few weeks to see if it helps you better control your cravings.

Low Serotonin

Cravings at any time of the month can result from low serotonin levels, according to Julia Ross, a pioneer in the field of nutritional psychotherapy. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter your body produces from certain amino acids to help you feel relaxed. If you are deficient in these amino acids and cannot produce enough serotonin, you may experience strong carbohydrate cravings, which may translate into eating potato chips, French fries, bread, cookies or soft drinks. Although carbohydrates can temporarily elevate your serotonin levels and help you feel better during your pre-menstrual period, eating more carbohydrates to elevate your mood creates a vicious cycle of cravings. Eat foods rich in tryptophan, found mainly in animal protein as well as soy protein, to boost your serotonin.

Healthier Alternatives

If none of these techniques works, your cravings may simply be the result of the normal hormonal fluctuations that occur during your menstrual cycle. Try to find healthier alternatives to satisfy your cravings without getting off track with your diet. For example, try a sugar-free smoothie with fresh fruit and plain yogurt, a few pieces of fruit with nuts or flavorful cheese. Healthy fats from a salad of avocado and tomato drizzled with olive oil or raw vegetables dipped in a homemade mayonnaise or guacamole can also help decrease your cravings.

Originally Posted HERE

Additional Info HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Three Steps to Eating Healthier for Life

A happy couple eating in Stockholm, Sweden.Maridav/Shutterstock

Every January, people making resolutions to lose weight are peppered with loads of free dieting advice. Most of it is absolutely terrible, or plain lies. Even worse, many weight loss hucksters over complicate the very simple truths we know about eating for health.

That’s why I love this chart from the Swedish National Food Agency. Its succinct (and still impressively science-based) advice is summed up in this nice graphic:

Sweden’s dietary guidelines summed up in “one minute.”

While American guideline makers are reluctant to urge the public to eat less of anything (lest they offend powerful industry lobby groups), the Swedes are clear about what people really need to cut back on: red and processed meat, salt, and sugar.

Likewise, while fad diet peddlers often suggest people eat a certain “superfood,” avoid some overly specific substance like gluten, or follow a fat-busting workout routine to stay fit, the Swedes keep it real: Just eat more plants and exercise. Instead of suggesting people do the impossible and banish fat from their diets, these Scandinavians are advised to seek out “fabulous fats” in vegetable oils and nuts. (Again, these findings jibe with what researchers have found.)

 “In truth,” the experts at the Swedish food agency write, “most people know perfectly well what they should eat. It’s no secret that vegetables are good for you and sugar isn’t.”
So here’s an idea: Save your money, and tune out the fads you’ll be inundated with this year. Ignore the unreasonable diet plans that time has shown will fail, and forget the punishing workouts. Instead, eat like a Swede.
Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Weight Loss Strategies for the Everyday Folks

Image result for regular people getting healthy

For some reason, people treat changing calendars as an event that marks the beginning of a new lifestyle, usually one that includes a focus on health. Sure enough, the two most popular resolutions are “losing weight” and “staying fit and healthy.” It’s pretty much a given that come January 1, gyms will be slammed and salad bars will be crammed.

But what about the folks who aren’t ready to dive into something extremely demanding, like CrossFit five days a week or a seriously restrictive diet plan? Are there less-challenging, yet still effective ways to lose weight? Absolutely!

 

Nix the sodas and fruit juices
Here’s something to think about: if you currently drink two servings of soda or juice a day, and you simply stopped drinking it right now, opting instead for healthier alternatives like sparkling water or just plain water, you’d easily be able to eliminate 300+ calories from your day and shed almost 1lb a week without any additional exercise.

2016-01-06-1452098034-4041274-weightmain.jpgCredit: Anthony Humphreys/Thrillist

Simplify your coffee
Since coffee contains caffeine, it can stimulate fat burn and weight loss. Unfortunately, coffee loses all of its weight-loss potential when you cram it with unhealthy additives like super-sweet syrups and sugars. End result: a once-healthy black coffee becomes a fattening sugarbomb. So here’s a simple solution for coffee-lovers who also want to lose weight: start taking your coffee black, and if you really can’t stand the bitterness, go for a naturally low-calorie sweetener, like stevia. Bottom line, by going au natural with your coffee, you’ll tighten up your waistline.

2016-01-06-1452098285-8879627-weight2.jpgCredit: Flickr/Jpellgen

Reduce your carbs three days per week
Not all carbs are the devil, but eating a diet high in refined carbs (think white rice, pasta, cereal, bread) can cause elevated blood sugar and insulin. End result: eating a diet high in refined carbs can make you fat and sick— and it can make it harder to lose weight.

 

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

%d bloggers like this: