Nothing gets you to dust off the running shoes and take the first step towards transformation after holiday festivities. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, try these tips.
1. Prepare your meals
The key to making change is preparing food in advance, so you’re less tempted to grab something from a vending machine or convenience store. Most healthy recipes allow you to swap the source of protein, whether it’s chicken, turkey, tofu, shrimp or lean organic steak. Once cooked, most proteins will remain fresh for three or four days, so cook them twice weekly in larger batches.
How to: Another easy step is to make larger portions all in one day so you have three interchangeable meals for days to come.
Warning: Egg dishes and smoothies would be an exception since they need to be fresh.
2. Keep a food journal
I recommend keeping a food journal as, according to a large 2008 study, they’ve been shown to double a person’s weight loss. Getting and staying balanced requires you to be committed, organized and motivated. A wellness tracker such as this one is a handy weight-loss tool.
3. Reduce your starchy carbs
In advance of your event, I also recommend reducing your intake of starchy carbs. This will reduce insulin, which aids weight loss and water retention.
How to: You may choose to have a low-glycemic carb with a meal once per day, or not at all (and just receive your carbs from non-starchy veggies and fruits). Since insulin also controls sodium uptake in the kidneys and the levels of potassium and magnesium in the body, an excess will cause water retention and swelling.
4. Try a CLA and resveratrol combo
A recent study published in Nutrition found conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supports weight reduction. Sixty- three subjects with a body mass index (BMI) of 24 to 35 received 1.7 grams of CLA or a placebo of salad oil in 200 ml of sterilized milk twice daily for 12 weeks. The researchers evaluated the subjects for body composition including total body weight, BMI, total fat mass, fat percentage, subcutaneous (below the skin) fat mass and waist-to-hip ratio at the beginning of the study and again after the supplementation period. They found that all markers decreased in the CLA group.
How to: For a great fat burning combo, add 1-2 capsules of resveratrol in the morning on an empty stomach, along with two capsules (1500 mg) of CLA twice daily with a meal.
5. Kick it up with cayenne
Cayenne pepper is said to enhance metabolism, and therefore fat burning, by increasing thermogenesis: the production of heat in the body through calorie burning otherwise known as what makes you sweat when you eat spicy food. It also has appetite suppressing effects. One study showed that when added to the first course of a meal, participants consumed fewer calories later in the day.
How to: Try my Metabolic Master Brew for fat loss
- 1⁄2 to 1 organic lemon, juiced
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- A pinch (or more) of cayenne pepper
- 8 cups reverse osmosis water
Combine the following ingredients in a large pitcher and enjoy it either hot or cold. It will increase your metabolism, lower insulin, support digestion and improve liver function.
6. Sweat it out
Infrared radiation heats the skin directly, similar to heat from the sun, but without warming the air. The radiant heat is safe, healthy and penetrates more than 1.5 inches into the body. Because the skin is the largest organ in the body, regularly sweating in an infrared sauna can help decrease toxic load and contribute to better health and vitality. A growing body of evidence suggests the accumulation of toxins in the body is responsible for fatigue, disease and weight gain. In a study performed by neurologist Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, he found that the sweat of people using a conventional sauna was 95-97 percent water while the sweat of those using an infrared thermal system was 80-85 percent water, the non-water portion consisting of toxins including heavy metals. As an added benefit, one infrared sauna session can burn up to 300 calories.
How to: Hit the sauna twice a week for a month before your event for glowing skin, less body fat, reduced cellulite, decreased pain, and better hormonal balance.
7. Add in L-carnitine
L-carnitine is naturally made from amino acids lysine and methionine and is required by the body to release energy from fat and to transfer fatty acids across cell membranes to the mitochondria where it can be used as energy. It’s a great energy booster to take before cardio or strength training. It has also been shown to improve glucose disposal in type 2 diabetic patients. A separate review article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science concluded that L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine, are effective in promoting healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. In one study, researchers fed mice a high fat diet in order to increase their weight. One group of mice were given carnitine while a separate group was given a placebo. The mice on carnitine gained less visceral and subcutaneous fat than their chubbier counterparts.
How to: I recommend consuming 500-1500 mg per day separated into 1-2 doses either with or without food.
Originally Published: December 28, 2017
Dr. Natasha Turner, ND, Contributor and Founder & Director of Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique
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Dr. Natasha Turner, ND is a regular contributor to various publications and television programs as a natural health expert. Shows like The Dr. Oz Show, The Marilyn Denis Show, Canada AM, CP24, CTV News, Breakfast Television, Rogers TV, Shaw TV, and more have used her expertise to educate audiences. Print publications include SELF, ELLE, Glow, Canadian Business, Health, Today’s Parent, Lush The Magazine, Alive, National Post, Metro, Tonic, Vista, Fit Life, Cocoa, Viva, Healthy Living Now, Get Outside, and several websites, including a regular column for Chatelaine.com, Blisstree.com, and Huffingtonpost.ca.
So many people love to eat oatmeal for breakfast. Heck, I used to be one of them!
It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s delicious.
And its fibre content and cholesterol- lowering properties have earned it a reputation for being one of the healthiest and most virtuous of breakfast choices amongst modern health-conscious eaters. Oatmeal sure seems to have a lot going for it. So why did I give it up?
I’m not saying oatmeal is a bad choice – especially if you’re a high calorie burner or athlete, but from a nutrient- density and insulin-stimulating (aka: fat storage) standpoint, there are better options. (Like bacon and eggs with a side of sweet potatoes and avocado. Mmm!)
Here’s what I’ve noticed, though. The oatmeal-loving breakfast crowd doesn’t abandon their morning bowl of mush at the drop of a hat just because some so-called expert hit them with a bunch of nutrition facts.
Just hear me out for a minute. Imagine if you could recreate a morning bowl of mush that has the same look and feel as regular oatmeal, but with even more nutrients and virtually zero insulin-stimulating properties?
Imagine this magical bowl of mush has the same great taste, but keeps the hunger pangs at bay all the way until lunchtime. Enter ... primal porridge. It’s just like oatmeal but without the oats. It’s no-oat-meal.
Primal porridge is a delicious oatmeal substitute made out of nuts, seeds and banana. It can be prepped in the same amount of time as regular oatmeal – even less if you make a big batch of dry mix in advance.
And the same standard toppings work well — such as berries, shredded coconut, chopped apple, nuts, and raisins. With all of this natural sweetness, even the brown sugar is optional.
What do you have to lose by giving primal porridge a try (other than maybe a few pounds)?
If you like it, please share it with your family and friends so we can spread the real-food-lover’s porridge recipe far and wide.
It has the same look and feel as regular oatmeal, but without the oats.
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 5 mins | Total time: 15 mins | Serves: 2 servings
- 1 small handful walnuts
- 1 small handful pecans
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1⁄2-1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch ground nutmeg
- pinch ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 1⁄4 cup unsweetened almond milk (coconut milk works well too)
- 1 tbsp almond butter (sunflower seed butter works well too)
- 1 banana
- pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- shredded coconut, unsweetened
- handful berries
- apple, chopped
Place walnuts, pecans, ax seed, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in food processor. Pulse to coarse texture (stop before reaching fine powder) and set aside. Tip: Make extra dry mix to use another day. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate (or freeze).
Using a blender or Magic Bullet, mix egg, almond milk, almond butter, and banana. Tip: Extra wet mix can be stored in the fridge, but only for about two days.
Pour both wet mix and dry mix into a saucepan and stir until thoroughly combined.
Cook over low-medium heat, stirring continuously for about 4-5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. (Steps 4 and 5 can be completed in microwave if desired. If so, microwave for 1 minute and stir. Repeat if necessary.)
Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with toppings and add a splash of almond milk if desired.
Originally Published: December 11, 2017
Carolyn Coffin, Contributor and Health Coach at Eat Real Food Academy
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Carolyn Coffin empowers people to crave the foods that help them thrive. A former physiotherapist turned health coach and educator, Carolyn uses a unique blend of nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset coaching to help her clients feel their best. She works privately with people all over North America and offers an engaged online community and affordable group coaching through her website eatrealfoodacademy.com. Carolyn enjoys going for a run in the great outdoors, visiting her local farmers’ market, and living a healthy lifestyle with her family.