Monday, January 23, 2012

Chew your Calories - A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip C

Chew your Calories 
(Cut the Liquid Calories)

What are liquid calories? They are the calories you drink.  In 2009, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at the relationship between beverage consumption among adults and weight change. What did they discover? 
  • Weight loss was positively associated with reducing intake of liquid calories
  • Liquid calorie intake had a stronger impact on weight gain than solid calorie intake.  
                          Results are published in the   American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Liquid calories go down pretty quickly, but don't fill you up. Let's consider apple juice vs. a whole apple. A 1/2 cup of apple juice has about the same amount of calories as a small apple. However, the apple juice is gone in 4 gulps while a whole apple takes a while to eat and provides you with important fiber and more satiety than apple juice. 

Liquid calories are generally "empty calories", meaning they offer little nutrients. The big exception to this is milk. Non-fat milk can add a myriad of nutrients to your daily diet, including protein, calcium, Vitamin D, and potassium for as little as 80 calories per glass. Compare that to one can of Rock Star energy drink: sugar-water and caffeine for 248 calories. 

Here are a few common examples of liquid calories:
Starbucks Venti Carmel Machiatto = 300 calories
Jamba Juice Strawberry Surf Rider (Power Size) = 580 calories
Arizona Iced Green tea 24oz can = 210 calories 
Muscle Milk 14oz ready to drink bottle = 230 calories
20 oz bottle Regular Soda (not diet) =  240-290 calories
16 oz can of Rock Star Energy Drink = 248 calories
20 oz bottle of Minute Maid lemonade = 260 calories
16 oz bottle of Langers Apple Juice = 240 calories
And now for alcohol.....
12 oz beer, regular = 145-180 calories
Bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade = 220 calories
5 oz glass of wine = 100-120 calories  (who drinks only 5 oz?)
Typical restaurant Margarita = 400 calories-700 calories

Here is a sobering thought. To burn the calories in one 20 oz. bottle of regular soda you would need to do one of the following: walk 3 miles, 1/2 hour aerobics class, or vigorous cycling for 20 minutes. Is that soda really worth it?

To achieve weight-loss, your daily calorie intake must be less than your calories burned for daily activities and exercise. To make your weight-loss journey more enjoyable and ensure you get all your required nutrients, make every calorie count! Chew your calories, savor them with healthy food choices, and avoid empty liquid calories.

How can you make simple changes to reduce intake of liquid calories?
  • Drink more calorie-free WATER instead of soda, energy drinks, or juice.  Flavor your water with lemon, orange, or cucumber slices.
  • Try some calorie-free or low-calorie flavored teas. 
  • Reduce the portion size of your favorite beverage. Example: choose a Tall Starbucks drink instead of the large Venti size.
  • To get your fruit and vegetable servings, choose whole fruits and veggies instead of juices. Whole fruits and veggies provide fiber and help you feel fuller than juice.
  • Try lower-calorie versions of your favorite drinks.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.  
  • To avoid feeling deprived of your favorite drinks, make small changes over time so they become lifetime habits. For example, if you go to Starbucks 5 times per week, try going only 3 times this week and choose a smaller drink size. Enjoy water or unsweetened tea on those other days.

Still not convinced? Check out this link to a video from the NYC campaign against sugary beverages. 

Remember, fuel excellence!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breakfast! - A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip B

Breakfast! - Don't leave home without it!

Skipping breakfast WILL NOT help you lose weight. Skipping meals (especially breakfast) is one of the most common things people attempt during their efforts to lose weight. HOWEVER, research tells us that skipping meals, especially breakfast, is associated with being overweight (higher BMI). WHY? Well, a few reasons come to mind:
  • Skipping breakfast can lead to making unwise morning snack choices (those donuts in the lunchroom at work start to look very appetizing when you are starving and haven't had anything to eat since the night before!)
  • Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating at the next meal or later in the day, leading to excess calorie consumption (the very thing you were trying to avoid by skipping that meal).
  • Skipping breakfast may give you that sense of "entitlement" to a high-calorie dessert later in the evening, which will add many more calories to your day then a nice, healthy breakfast. ("Well, I can go ahead and eat this entire container of Ben and Jerry's because I skipped breakfast and I deserve a treat!"...sound familiar?) 
  • Skipping breakfast and then attempting a morning work out is like driving your car with the "low fuel" light on. Sooner than later you WILL run out of gas! When this happens, your workout will be sluggish, you will fatigue early, and you may stop your workout too soon to burn adequate calories.
Breakfast is the fuel that helps you start the day, fueling your brain for work or school or your morning workouts. Scientific research concluded that kids are able to concentrate and focus better at school if they have eaten breakfast. Well, the same goes for adults. Your brain needs the fuel from food to survive your busy day, and your brain also uses that fuel to help you make wise lifestyle choices that will keep you on track with your nutrition plan.
"Breakfast" does not have to be a fancy, sit-down, throw-down event. It doesn't even have to be "typical breakfast" foods. Some can be prepared in less than 2 minutes and eaten on the way to work. It can be as simple as: 
  • fruit and yogurt
  • a bowl of cereal with fruit
  • 1/2 bagel with nut butter, apple, and travel box of soy milk (or skim milk)
  • Orange wedges, crackers, cheese
  • Lean ham or deli meat on a toasted English muffin, vegetable juice
  • Instant oatmeal made with milk and topped with dried fruit
  • 1/2 bagel with low-fat cream cheese, hard-boiled egg, orange-juice 
  • Breakfast smoothie (milk, fruit, and bran whirled in a blender)
  • Granola topped with canned peaches and yogurt 
  • Whole wheat tortilla spread w/ peanut butter and wrapped around a banana, milk
These breakfast ideas take less than 2 minutes to make. Don't believe me? Time yourself and you'll be surprised how quickly you can make some of these breakfast meals. It will give you that much needed energy boost in the morning so you have a productive day and keep your nutrition plan in check.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Analyze Your Current Diet - A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip A

Tip A - Analyze Your Current Diet

If you don't know what's "broke", how can you possibly "fix" it?  
  • Do you know how many calories you should be eating to lose weight healthfully?
  • Are you eating too many calories? 
  • Are you exercising enough (or at all)?  
  • Are you eating too much of some nutrients (fat, sodium) and not enough of others (fiber, calcium)?
  • Are you eating at the right times to support your exercise program? 
If you don't know the answers to these questions, it's time to find out. Analyzing your current diet is the first step to making positive changes to improve your nutrition lifestyle and health.  Here are some ways to analyze your diet so you make a plan for successful, long-term weight loss:
  1. The best way: Talk to a Registered Dietitian (RD). RDs are trained nutrition experts and can help you find the right answers to all of those above questions, plus many more. In addition, we can help you create a nutrition plan of attack: help you make small changes that will evolve into healthy weight loss habits for a lifetime.
  2. If you cannot see a RD now, there are some helpful online nutrition analysis sites and smart phone apps you can utilize to get you going. Some are free; some are not. They can help you determine your calorie needs and help you count your calories to keep you on track. 
Some examples of online diet analysis sites include: 
Smart phone apps include: 

Happy New Year. Let's make this a healthy one!