Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Scale- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip H

 Use The Hunger Scale as a tool for weight-loss.

A typical scenario for an adult woman attempting to lose weight: She wakes up feeling full of will-power and ready to start her diet. She skips breakfast in an attempt to reduce calories. Ignoring her hunger, she has a very light lunch (salad and water) and feels happy she was able to ignore the hunger and stay below 400 calories for the day so far.  As the afternoon wears on, she becomes tired and fatigued (lack of food energy!), so she reaches for a 5-hour Energy shot to perk up. 5pm rolls around, and the hunger feelings have taken over her rational thoughts. She feels cranky and tired so she stops by Starbucks on the way home from work to grab a Venti Frapaccino. When she arrives home, she starts dinner while snacking on some Girl Scout cookies her daughter's troop was selling. She also samples dinner as she cooks. When dinner is ready, she piles her plate full of food, and feeling ravenous, finishes every bite in 10 minutes. Still feeling hungry, she goes back for seconds and finishes that too. A half-hour later, she feels bloated and stuffed, wishing she did not eat so much. Time for some Pepto. As the evening goes on, the kids decide to have some ice cream. She thinks to herself, "I skipped breakfast and had a healthy lunch, so I deserve some ice cream too". Still full from dinner, she eats a cup of ice cream with chocolate syrup. 

Many unwanted calories are eaten when we do not listen to our hunger cues. We eat when we are not hungry because we may be happy, sad, stressed, socializing, celebrating, or mourning. We don't eat when we are hungry because we are busy, sad, stressed, on diets, etc. Use the chart above and the descriptions below to help you determine your stage of hunger. This will help you in your weight loss/weight management goals. Hang the Hunger Scale chart in your office, on your refrigerator, or in your pantry as a friendly reminder.

The Stages of The Hunger Scale
    1. Physically faint from hunger: You may have a headache. You can’t concentrate and feel dizzy. You may have trouble with coordination. You are totally out of energy and need to lie down. This may happen during a very restrictive diet. 
    2. Ravenous: You are famished.  You’re irritable, cranky and have little energy. 

    Do not let yourself get to a 1 or 2. It is at these stages where we make poor food choices & overeat. We then find ourselves uncomfortably full at a 9 or 10. 
    3. Fairly Hungry: You have a strong urge to eat. You are feeling an emptiness in your stomach and your stomach is "growling". This might be a good time to start eating.

    4. Slightly Hungry: You start to think about food. Your body is giving you the signal that you might want to eat. You are a little hungry.

    5. Neutral: Your body has enough fuel to keep it going and is physically and psychologically nearly satisfied.

    6. Pleasantly satisfied: You’re fully at the point of satisfaction. It is time to stop eating.

    7. Full: You’re past the point of satisfaction. You should have stopped eating by now.
    Stages 3 through 7 are the safest stages. We should not let ourselves get hungrier than a 3 and we should avoid letting ourselves overeat past a 7.  
    8. Stuffed: You are actually starting to hurt (need to unbuckle your pants?).  Maybe you shouldn’t have had more, but it tasted so good. 

    9. Bloated: You overate, and need to grab the Pepto or Rolaids and sit down for a while. The after-effects feel really uncomfortable. This often happens at a buffet or "all-you-can-eat" event. Maybe you didn’t eat all day, got yourself to a 1 or 2 on the Hunger Scale, ate too much too quickly, and ended up here at a 9.

    10. Nauseous: BEYOND FULL. Think Thanksgiving Day. You are physically miserable, don’t want to or can’t move, and feel like you never want to look at food again. (Food Coma)

    Obviously, we want to avoid Stages 8, 9, & 10 because over-eating and large portions lead to weight, it just plain hurts! 

    Avoid playing the Hunger Game. Try using the Hunger Scale today. See if you can break the vicious cycle of letting yourself get ravenously hungry and then overeating until you are stuffed and bloated. It will help you feel better and also help control your weight.
    "May the odds be ever in your favor."

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Get Up & GO!! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip G

    GET UP and GO!

    So, I have been discussing "A-Z weight-loss tips" related to nutrition, but we cannot live a healthy lifestyle without engaging in the other side of the energy balance equation:  Exercise!

    Bottom line for weight loss:
    The Calories you eat need to be less than the Calories you expend.

    How much exercise do we need? Well, that depends on the person. 
    However, for long-term weight loss this is the recommendation from the
    American College of Sports Medicine:

    60 to 90 minutes of physical activity on most days

    If you are currently not exercising at all, it may feel impossible to fit in an hour of exercise into your already hectic day. The good news is the exercise can be accumulated throughout the day by doing:

    • Four, 15-minute bouts of exercise
    • 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening
    • or do one hour (or more) at one session
    Whatever works best for you! 

    Here are some ideas to get you up and GOING:
    • For those who have a gym membership: Use it! There are plenty of resources there to burn calories: cardio classes, circuit training, etc.
    • Power walk or jog at your lunch break.
    • Walk the kids to and from school at a brisk pace.
    • Do you work in a building with stairs? Walk the stairs during your breaks and lunch. 
    • Instead of sitting and watching your child at soccer or ("insert sport here") practice, jog around the field.
    • Hint for game days: Most kids need to show up early to their games, meets, matches, or tournaments to warm up. This is a good time to do your jogging or walking.
    • Take a family power walk, hike, or bike ride after dinner.
    • Get a running "Buddy" (especially the 4-legged ones) to join you on your jogs or power walks.
    • Join or create a walking/running group with your friends at work, school, or church. Most people enjoy having a work-out buddy to keep them motivated.
    • Like to shop? Wear your running shoes and power walk in the mall, but avoid the food court!
    • Housework is no fun, but with the right intensity, it counts as exercise! Vacuuming, mopping, and mowing the lawn are great ways to get the heart pumping and burn calories. 
    • Instead of watching the kids play, join in! Shoot hoops, jump rope, or play tag.
    • Rainy day? Turn on the tunes and DANCE like nobody is watching! 
    • Can't miss your favorite show on TV? While watching, do jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, jump rope, etc. during the show. 
    Set a goal to try at least 3 of these ideas this week. Add in another one next week, and so on. Eventually you can build up to one hour or more of exercise on most days of the week and achieve long-term weight loss and health!
    Now that you are done reading this, GET UP AND GO!

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Fill up on Fiber: A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip F


    The biggest complaint when people are trying to lose weight is that they feel hungry. 
    How can you prevent hunger but still manage to cut calories? 
    One simple answer is Fill Up On Fiber!  Fiber is indigestible carbohydrate, so little to no calories! Plus, foods that contain fiber tend to stay in the stomach longer, helping you feel fuller longer. 

    Think about a medium Apple vs. 1 cup of Apple Juice:
    The Juice: 120 calories, no fiber, 27 grams of sugar, &  it goes down fast with little feelings of fullness.
    The Whole Fruit:  100 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar. Plus, it takes a while to eat it and is more filling than the juice.

    There are many benefits of eating foods rich in fiber:
    • usually low in fat and calories 
    • studies show that people who consume more fiber tend to weigh less than those who consume less fiber
    • studies also show that diets high in fiber might reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes.
    The recommended intake of fiber for adults is 25-38 grams PER DAY. The average adult in the U.S. consumes only 12-15 grams per day, and the obesity epidemic keeps getting worse...correlation here? Perhaps?!?

    What are some foods high in fiber that you can include in your diet to help you feel fuller longer, increase the bulk of your meal, and perhaps also reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases? Think plant foods: whole grains, whole fruits and veggies, and beans.

    Grains: 3-8 grams of fiber per serving (choose Whole Grain versions of your favorites)
    Bran cereals, Oatmeal, Whole wheat pasta,Whole grain breads, Brown rice

    Vegetables: 3-5 grams of fiber per serving (most veggies are good sources of fiber)
    Green peas, Brussels sprouts, Sweet potato, Winter squash, Asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots

    Fruits: 2-4 grams of fiber per serving (most fruits are good sources of fiber too)
    Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries,  Apple or Pear (with peel), Orange, Banana, Apricots and Peaches (with skin), Dried fruits like prunes, raisins, and apricots

    Beans: 4-8 grams per half cup serving (beans have a high fiber content!)
    Kidney beans,  Black beans, Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), or any cooked dried beans

    TIP: GRADUALLY increase fiber intake slowly. Your body will need time to adjust to the higher fiber foods if you normally have low fiber intake. Another tip, drink more water and exercise to help keep things moving along nicely in your colon. :-)