10 Tips for Successful Weight Loss

28 Feb

Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training  0 Comment

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Making big changes
requires a change of attitude..

Weight loss and weight maintenance are really two sides of the same coin. In reality, the habits that help you drop pounds are the same ones that will help you maintain your weight loss. After all, losing weight isn’t really considered a success unless you manage to keep it off.

If you ask people who have successfully lost weight how they did it, they’ll often say that losing weight is the easy part—but keeping it off is a lot tougher. Sometimes you’re so focused on weight loss that you’re paying more attention to the end results—like what the scale says or how your jeans fit—than you are on establishing new habits. But once you’ve reached your goal, it’s easy for those old habits to sneak back up on you.

Related Article: Diet Advice that You Should Probably Ignore

Some people are more successful at losing weight than others. Many people setunrealistic goals or try to lose weight too quickly, and this can undermine dieting efforts in no time. Drastic changes, even if they lead to short term weight loss, are hard to sustain. And dieters then convince themselves that they don’t have what it takes to win the battle of the bulge.

Instead, it helps to think more about replacing old habits with new ones and shifting attention away from the end results. In other words, pay more attention to the journey rather than the destination. As new behaviors become established and take hold, the weight will usually take care of itself.

We’ve learned a lot from people who have successfully lost weight and maintained it through two studies. In Germany, the Lean Habits Study1 is following about 7000 successful weight losers. And in the US, more than 4000 people are enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry2. Participants in these studies say that the best weight loss strategy involves establishing new behaviors, rather than relying on drastic or unrealistic diet and exercise plans.

Here are the top 10 weight loss strategies of successful ‘losers.’

1. They get to know themselves really well.

One key to success is learning how to manage your own high risk situations, such as eating when you’re stressed or cleaning your plate out of habit rather than hunger. Successful weight losers are adaptable and plan ahead. They know what situations might get them into trouble and have a backup plan for dealing with them.

2. They get a lot of exercise.

On average, the National Weight Control Registry enrollees burn about 2000 calories per week through exercise. That’s a lot. They get about 60-90 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise daily. The most popular exercise is walking, and they average 5-6 miles a day.

3. They set goals and monitor their behavior.

Setting goals—ones you measure, like how many minutes you will walk, how many calories you will take in, or how many sit-ups you will do—are helpful because you can track whether or not you meet these goals. Successful weight losers keep track of how much exercise they get, and they keep food journals. Sometimes they use a food log to plan meals ahead of time. These self-monitoring strategies are critical and provide much needed feedback on behavior changes.

4. They have regular meal patterns and frequency.

Many people get in trouble with their weight because their eating patterns are so disorganized. Successful weight losers report that eating at regular intervals and snacking only when they’re hungry are keys to success. Skipping meals usually backfires. And having routine meal times means that you don’t go long stretches without food, which often leads to excessive snacking or larger meals later on.

5. They eat a low-fat, nutrient dense diet.

No surprises here, but a high-quality diet—one with plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains––is what keeps people satisfied. The fruits, veggies and whole grains are bulky and filling, but their calorie cost is relatively low. Adequate protein is key, since protein is highly satisfying and will keep hunger at bay between meals.

6. They practice portion control.

By learning what size portion you need to eat to feel ‘not hungry any more’—as opposed to feeling ‘stuffed’—you can trim your food intake significantly. Portion control strategies include using smaller plates, serving your food in the kitchen (rather than having serving dishes at the table), and using meal replacements such asprotein shakes, bars or frozen meals.

7. They practice stress management.

Food is so often used as a comfort when we’re stressed, but we usually feel guilty afterwards which just increases the stress and keeps the cycle going. Successful weight losers have learned to find other ways to reduce their stress. They exercise, call a friend, or practice some meditation or deep breathing.

8. They had an attitude adjustment.

Many people who have successfully lost weight say that they had to change their thinking about dieting and weight loss. Some felt it was ‘in their genes’ to be fat, or that they couldn’t lose weight because they’d never been successful in the past. Eventually, they faced the problem head on, recognizing that weight loss and weight maintenance success would come through a series of small steps and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

9. They adopted a plan, and they stayed with it.

Once you have an established routine of how you generally eat and how frequently you exercise, learn to stick with this routine day in and day out. People who have lost weight and are successful in maintaining that weight loss do this—even on holidays or when they go to restaurants. Many dine out less often, because they prefer having more control over what they eat by preparing more meals at home.

10. They have learned to control their environment.

Successful weight losers learn how to control situations that are most likely to get them into trouble. The foods that are available in the refrigerator or cupboard at home, in restaurants, at the workplace or in the grocery store are in environments that can be controlled. To gain control over the food environment, keep ‘safe’ foods in the house, choose restaurants where you know you can get the healthy foods that you want, bring appropriate foods to work, and prepare a shopping list before you go to the supermarket.

1 Westenhoefer J, et al. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 28(2):334-5.

2 Wing R, Phelan S. Am J Clin Nutr 2005 82:222-5S.

Written by Susan Bowerman. Susan is Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a board-certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Last All Year

23 Feb

Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training  0 Comment

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Take better care of yourself in the New Year.

New Year’s resolutions––don’t make promises you can’t keep. This year, make a few small changes in your eating habits that can yield big results.

Do you remember the New Year’s resolutions you made last year? Let me guess: If you’re like most people, you probably vowed to eat better, get more exercise––and maybe floss more often. So, looking back, how did it go? Did you accomplish all you set out to do? Or, did you start the year out strong then fall back on your old patterns, so that you’re making the same resolutions again this year? This may surprise you, but I think that’s okay––and here’s why. If you make the decision every January to shape up, it says that taking better care of yourself is important to you. If it weren’t important, you wouldn’t keep working at it. And just because you make the same promises to yourself every year, it doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t accomplish anything last year.

Any improvement is good

Maybe you didn’t exercise as much as you planned or ate as carefully as you intended. But if you’re still doing better now than you were the year before, maybe it’s because you managed to chip away at a few bad habits. And that’s great – because the little changes to the way you do things every single day can really add up. And you can continue to build on these small successes this New Year.

Don’t do too much at once

It’s great to be ambitious but if you try to tackle too many changes at once, you could be setting yourself up for defeat. Making resolutions is the easy part. Making them stick is what’s hard, because you have to do things differently. It takes time to undo a bad habit, which is why repetition is so important. But it’s a lot easier to repeat a small, relatively easy task than one that seems positively Herculean. Plus, you have to figure out what’s getting in the way of your progress, and figure out how to move these obstacles out of your way.

Let’s say you don’t floss your teeth as often as you should. What’s getting in your way? And what steps can you take to make sure you’ll do it regularly? It’s not really a time issue, it only takes a couple of minutes. But you need to make sure you have the floss in the house. You need to make sure you see the floss whenever you brush your teeth. You need a mirror so you can see what you’re doing.

Maybe you decide that rather than tossing the dental floss in the back of the medicine cabinet where it gets lost in a jumble of half-used toiletries, you’ll instead make a little ‘dental kit’ for yourself. Make one that includes your toothbrush, your toothpaste, your floss, and maybe a little dental mirror. With everything conveniently in one place it’s more likely that every time you pull out your kit, you’ll not just brush––you’ll wind up flossing, too.

Move obstacles out of your way

Same thing goes with your eating habits. You have to figure out why you’re not doing what you plan to do, and how you can make it easier. It’s easy to say you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables, but it’s hard to do if you don’t keep them in the house. But that’s not enough. Once you’ve got them in the house, you have to make it easier to eat them. So, maybe you make sure to keep a stash of fruit in the freezer to add to protein shakes. Or keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter to remind you that fruit makes a great snack. Or you keep some cut up veggies handy in the refrigerator where you’ll see them every time you open the door looking for something to munch on.

Just make sure that whatever changes you plan to make are things you know you can really do. If you’ve never brought your lunch to work, it’s unlikely you’ll suddenly start doing it every day. So, set a reasonable goal and make it specific. Not “I’m going to bring my lunch to work more often,” but “I’m going to bring my lunch to work twice a week.” That way at the end of the week it’s easy to determine if you’ve met your goal or not.

Go for the Glow: 4 Ways Exercise Helps Your Skin

20 Feb

Posted by Jacquie Carter – Director, Worldwide Outer Nutrition Education and Training  0 Comment

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Sweating benefits your skin.

The benefits of exercise and a healthy, active lifestyle are numerous. A regular exercise regimen can provide
amazing benefits to your skin.

Our skin is the largest living organ of the body and it’s the one that everyone gets to look at. It becomes part of our identity, part of our uniqueness and something that we need to take care of every single day. When people think of exercising they are most likely trying to get fit, stay fit, lose some weight or improve their overall quality of life. But did you know that exercise has a positive impact on our skin? Just the thought of this might get me off the couch once and for all!

If you’re one of those people who have already embraced the concept of exercising and a healthy, active lifestyle, then you can attest to the positive results on your skin. Just take a look at yourself in the mirror post-workout. I bet your skin has a gorgeous glow, and you can see how it’s reaping the rewards of your exercising efforts. Here’s how:

Sweating it Out

When we exercise, we’re increasing our blood flow to the living layers of the skin. Opening up those sweat glands can push out some of what clogs the pores, too. However, it’s important to practice healthy hygiene post-workout. We definitely want to wash off the dirt as soon as possible and not risk re-clogging our pores.

Tone Those Muscles

Let’s face it, everyone looks better with toned muscles. When our bodies are toned, our skin takes on a more toned appearance. And the more muscle tone we have, the healthier and more youthful we will look from head to toe. If you wear any kind of body shaping garments, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you are living with cellulite and you aren’t thrilled with how it looks, consider exercising. It may give the whole area a more flattering appearance.

Go for the Glow

If you want fabulous looking skin, then it’s time to exercise to go for glowing skin. That instant, healthy-looking, post-workout glow is undeniable. Why do we glow you ask? When you get your heart really pumping, the living layers of your skin receive a nice delivery of oxygenated blood and nutrients. When this happens, your circulation is improved, which helps with your skin’s overall glow. You will then start to produce more natural oils, which will provide your skin with that healthy “glisten.”

Stress Less

If you want to clear your mind in pursuit of mental clarity and great skin, then take a long walk, an aerobics class or a swim in the pool. Exercise is wonderful for reducing stress, and if you can achieve that you’ll be able to see it reflected in your skin. Stressed out skin is never a good look. In fact if you can find an exercise routine that you enjoy, it will help to ease that stress.

While exercise can have positive effects on your skin, here are a few cautionary tips:

  • If you’re exercising outdoors, remember to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun by
    applying your SPF before you get started.
  • Keep your exposed skin as covered as possible, seek shade when you can and avoid working out during peak sun times, which is usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Depending on what type of exercise you are doing, be aware of skin chafing. Tight fitting exercise clothing coupled with sweating can lead to skin irritations. Avoid clothing that is too restricting and apply a nice moisturizer or powder to the areas that are most prone to irritation.
  • If swimming is your exercise of choice, be sure to rinse off as soon as possible. Chlorinated pools and salt water can be dehydrating to the skin and hair.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Body Fat and Improve your Heart Health

19 Feb

​Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training  0 Comment

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Colorful fruits and veggies should be
your go-to carbohydrates.

Here’s why keeping your weight in check is so important for heart health, and how a heart-healthy diet can help you control your weight.

February is American Heart Month, which is why we’re focusing this month on heart health. A “heart-healthy” diet can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. That’s important, because carrying too much body fat—especially around your midsection—may increase your risk for heart disease.

Why Excess Body Fat Affects Heart Health

The larger and heavier you are, the harder your heart has to work. As you gain body fat, your body has to develop additional tiny blood vessels in order to supply oxygen and nutrients to the fat cells. But more blood vessels means an increased workload for your heart, because—in order for the blood to reach all of your cells—your heart has to work harder, and it takes more blood pressure, too.

Where you carry your fat also makes a difference. The fat that lies around the abdomen (often referred to as “belly fat”) is different from the fat deposits you have in other parts of your body. An excess of body fat that collects around your midsection and internal organs is associated with an increased risk for heart disease—in part, because of influences on blood pressure and levels of fats in the bloodstream.

Carrying extra weight can also affect your heart health in another important yet less direct way. Many people complain that excess weight makes it difficult or uncomfortable to exercise—which, of course, is so important to heart health, weight management and overall health and well-being.

Diet and Lifestyle to Control Weight and Promote Heart Health

Enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet.

It’s no secret that a healthy, well-balanced diet is important to good health. But it bears repeating that eating the right foods—and not eating too much —is key to weight
management, which in turn helps promote heart health.

    Low-fat proteins from a combination of plant and animal sources will help keep saturated fat intake down, while satisfying hunger at the same time. They’re also going to be the lowest calorie choices, too. Plant-proteins are naturally cholesterol-free, and seafood provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA.

    Colorful fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, should be your go-to carbohydrates. They’re nutrient-rich, yet relatively low in calories, which makes them the best choices for meeting your carbohydrate needs. Their fiber and water content help to fill you up, and adequate intake of certain fibers—such as the soluble fiber found in foods like apples, oats and beans—are associated with lower levels of cholesterol in the blood, as long as you stick to a low-fat diet. And when you focus on these “good” carb sources, you’ll wind up eating fewer foods that have a lot of sugar and refined carbs, which can rack up calories quickly.

    Small amounts of healthy fats, such as a sprinkle of nuts, a drizzle of olive oil or a few slices of avocado, can boost flavor and nutrition in calorie-controlled meals. Using fats thoughtfully and sparingly will help you with calorie-control, since fats are more calorie-dense than either proteins or carbohydrates.

Exercise regularly.

Cardiovascular exercise—exercise that boosts your breathing and heart rate— promotes heart health in a number of ways. Like any other muscle, your heart responds positively to exercise, becoming more efficient at pumping blood and delivering oxygen to your tissues. You also burn calories while you exercise, which can help in your weight-loss efforts, as well as to maintain a healthy body weight. Regular exercise also helps keep blood pressure under control and is a great stress-reliever. Keeping both blood pressure and stress levels in check is important to the health of your heart.