Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nutrient Density - A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip N

Consuming "nutrient dense" foods is critical to losing weight and keeping it off. 

Many scientific journals have published the benefits of a nutrient-rich diet, such as maintaining wellness and promoting healthy weight loss.

A study published in 2009 concluded that a high nutrient dense diet "may provide sustainable, significant, long-term weight loss and may provide substantial lowering of cardiac risk in patients" as well.

Nutrient Density relates to the amount of nutrients per Calorie in a food item. A food item with High Nutrient Density has a high amount of essential nutrients per Calorie while a Low Nutrient Dense food has a lower amount of nutrients compared to its caloric content.

The example above illustrates this point. The apple and the tortilla chips both represent 100 Calorie snacks. However, the apple is packed with essential nutrients we should get more of, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while the the chips are loaded with things we should limit in our diet (fat and sodium), and they have minimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Therefore, by choosing the nutrient dense apple instead of the chips, we ensure we get plenty of essential nutrients that keep us healthy and fill us up for the same amount of Calories as the chips which are not healthy, loaded with fat and sodium, and don't fill us up. The apple provides us "quality calories" while the chips result in "empty calories".

Another example is soda vs. non-fat milk. Both contribute fluid to the diet. However, the glass of non-fat milk also provides high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and riboflavin while the can of soda only provides Calories in the form of added sugars.

Here are some great online resources to help you
get started on a Nutrient Dense diet.

Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition
Non-profit organization dedicated to helping educate people on how to get more nutrients in their diets.

Nutrient Dense Recipes
Recipes to increase the nutrient density of your home-cooked meals!

Nutrient Density- Eat Out and On the Go 
Get nutrient-dense foods while dining out and on the go!

Grocery Shopping List for Nutrient Dense Foods
Shop nutrient-dense! Print and take with you to the grocery store.

Go Nutrient-Dense to help you reach your weight-loss goals!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Motivation- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip M

In previous blogs of this weight-loss series, I have been discussing tips on "how to" achieve long-term weight loss success. However, if you can't think of a reason to achieve it, then the "how-to" won't happen.

"providing with a reason to act in a certain way."

Motivation gives us the reason to change,  but finding the motivation to eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight can be challenging. We might know that we have to eat healthier and exercise:  "My doctor told me to lose 20 pounds!", but is that the motivation that gets us off the couch and exercising? Is that what helps us choose the piece of fruit over the cookie? Research says, probably not.
Research continues to tell us that autonomous motivation is the more powerful type of motivation, while controlled motivation is not as effective for long-term success. 
  • Autonomous motivation comes from within ourselves; we are motivated from internal forces (self-control, self-esteem, achieving our goals). 
  • Controlled motivation involves being motivated by external forces, such as perceived pressure from others, being told what to do, or feelings of guilt. 

Therefore, think of a specific, intrinsic, powerful motivating force (or forces) that can help get you started on your weight loss journey (and also keep you going). It should be something that motivates you internally, not something that someone else tells you to do or that you feel guilty about. 
  • Some people use psychological motivators: "I want to feel better about myself and have more self-esteem".
  • While others use physiological motivators: "I want to have more energy".
  • Setting goals works for some people: "I completed a 10k race and now I want to train for a half-marathon."
  • For some, the motivating message is clear and straight forward, and comes with a startling health event: "I now have diabetes and I want to start a healthier lifestyle".
  • Inspiring others can serve as a motivating force: "I want to set a good example for my kids by eating fruits and vegetables".
Notice all these examples start with "I", not "my doctor told me...." or "my husband says....".

Find your motivation. Do it for you, not because you feel pressured by others.

If you can't seem to find your motivating force, ask yourself what is really important to you.
What positive outcome could result from you becoming a healthier person? 
That one thing could be your reason to change; your MOTIVATION!