10 Steps to Speed Weight Loss

Making simple changes that either cut out or burn off extra calories will add up to weight loss over the course of a year.

If you’re struggling with weight loss, then you already know it’s the little things that add up — the “little bit more” at the dinner buffet, the “little bit too tight” feeling of your clothes. But what if you also knew about the little things you could do every day to increase your weight- loss success? Here they are.

10 Steps to Speed Weight Loss

1. Switch up your snacks. “First of all, watch mindless snacking,” says Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at the Houston Northwest Medical Center in Houston, Texas. “[Those calories] really add up.” Instead of grazing on the baked goodies in the break room, have a plan for healthy snacks that combines a little bit of fat, protein, and crunch, such as apple slices smeared with peanut butter. If you are counting calories, doing the math may help: a pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories, so if you can cut 100 calories out of your day, you will lose a pound in just over a month.

2. Cut out high-calorie condiments and sugars. “Instead of getting a coffee with sugar, try Splenda,” says Banes. Likewise, try mustard on your burger or sandwich instead of mayonnaise, and order your salad dressing on the side so that you can control the amount you eat.

3. Hoof it. “Exercise is key,” says Banes. People who manage at least 150 minutes of activity a week are more successful with weight loss. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park a bit farther from your destination so you have to walk. This will add extra exercise — and burn more calories.

4. Anticipate temptation. If you know you can’t resist freshly baked brownies, don’t keep a mix in your pantry. Also, if you are going somewhere with friends and family and know you’ll have a hard time controlling yourself, make a decision before you get there about what you will eat — and stick to it.

5. Try the veggie-loaded plate method. Banes recommends using your plate to guide your food selection and portion sizes. One half of the plate should be vegetables. The other side can be split between protein and starchy carbohydrates. If you decide to get a second plate, says Banes, it had better be all vegetables. People who eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day are more successful with weight loss.

6. Skip the fast food. A study of 1,713 adults who have been successful with weight loss demonstrated that people who eat at fast-food restaurants less than twice a week have greater success with their weight loss. “If you do eat fast foods, don’t supersize it,” says Banes, and try to opt for a salad, small portions, or “get baked, not fried.”

7. Limit the calories you drink. While most people understand sugary sodas add calories, Banes sees a misconception when it comes to sweet tea and juices. Sweetened tea is no less calorie-dense than soda, and you’d be better off eating the fruit than drinking the juice, advises Banes.

8. Be accountable. Whether you have a diet buddy you check in with, a support group, or a food diary, keeping track of your daily food choices takes only a few minutes, but can double your weight-loss success.

9. Order smaller portions. Data suggests that people who order smaller portions or share a plate at restaurants are more successful with weight loss. Banes recommends ordering the lunch portion, an appetizer, or a children’s meal — or put up to half your meal into a doggy bag before you begin eating.

10. Acknowledge your success. People who believe they can succeed with weight loss actually do lose weight more successfully. How do you gain this confidence? Take a moment to pat yourself on the back when you make healthy choices and achieve your short-term goals.

These small changes, all of which can easily be made, will quickly add up to more pounds lost over time.

Source: EveryDayHealthLiving
By Madeline Vann, MPH
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

Recipe-Baked Zucchini with Parmesean

Baked Zucchini w/ Parm

Baked Zucchini with Parmesean

Baked Zucchini with Parmesan

Ingredients
4 small zucchini, washed and halved lengthwise
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Arrange the zucchini, cut sides up, in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Lightly brush with the olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Mix the Parmesan and garlic together, then sprinkle over the zucchini.

2. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the zucchini are tender and the cheese is browned.

Notes
Prepare ahead: Step 1 can be prepared several hours in advance.

Aside

Meditate and cleanse your mind

Meditate and cleanse your mind

The ancient mind-body practice of meditation, found in cultures and spiritual traditions throughout the world, is valued for helping one develop mindfulness – a heightened sense of awareness that brings calm and clarity, along with loads of health benefits, including reducing stress.

Today, almost everyone is stressed out at some level. Stress causes blood pressure to rise and hormones, such as adrenalin and cortisol, to elevate and wreak havoc on the body. Too much stress has been linked to heart disease, compromised immunity, infection and many types of cancer.

Best-selling author and meditation guru, Deepak Chopra, MD, has developed a meditation cleanse to help detoxify your life from stress in just 21 days.

You may be wondering, how is that possible? Meditation means to quiet your mind. And when your mind quiets, your body (including the brain) quiets – allowing self-repair. New research shows that it only takes 3 weeks to create a new neural network in your brain to help regulate stress. Deepak Chopra’s cleanse focuses on healing four areas of life where we seek fulfillment and often experience stress:
Love and relationships
Success
Higher consciousness
Health and well being
Get ready to meditate your way to better health in just 21 days.

Nourish Your Heart
Love is one of the primary areas of life where we seek fulfillment. Love makes us feel safe and secure. What’s more, science shows that love is healthy. It positively impacts the limbic system – the brain’s emotional center – helping to restore balance in the body and aid self-repair.

To develop healthy, loving relationships with others, you need to practice and master self-love first. Meditate on the idea of nourishing your heart with love, compassion and empathy. The notion that love heals is not a myth.

Nourish Your Mind
Meditation can help provide knowledge and clarity. As goal-seeking organisms, most of us want to be “successful,” but we often think in terms of a limited definition of success, such as fame or fortune. Meditation can help you tap into your creativity, insights, imagination, inspiration and intuition. This allows you to examine different choices as well as develop self-confidence to embark on your own personal journey toward success.

Nourish Your Spirit
By meditating daily, you’ll connect to the spiritual and mysterious aspects of existence. Meditation allows you to open yourself up and ponder profound ideas that may weigh on you and cause stress. It allows you to develop a higher consciousness so that you can contemplate fundamental and profound questions such as: What is the meaning of our existence? What is the meaning of death? Is there a higher power? Is there a part of us that is immortal? And so forth.

Nourish Your Body
To prepare for the practice of daily meditation and eliminate stress, you must nourish your body properly. According to Deepak Chopra, food allows your body to be joyful and energetic, while also allowing your mind to be restful and alert. By eating a healthy, balanced diet, you can develop greater purity, energy and balance in your mind-body connection. To nourish your body, follow Deepak Chopra’s 3 rules.

Rule #1: Eliminate the F.L.U.N.C. in Your Diet:

F = Frozen foods
L= Leftover foods
U = Unnatural
N= Nuked
C – Canned

Deepak Chopra regards frozen, leftover, unnatural, nuked and canned foods as “dead” since these preparations kill the nucleus of the cells in the food itself. Try to always eat fresh foods since they are “alive” and full of more prana, the Sanskrit word for “life force.” Make a habit of eating mainly a plant-based diet. Eat high-quality meat, chicken, fish and dairy in moderation. Whenever possible, choose organic foods.

Rule #2: Include 6 Tastes in Every Meal
Always incorporate six tastes – astringent, bitter, pungent, salty, sour, sweet – into every meal. This practice is part of ayurveda, the ancient medical system of India, Deepak Chopra’s country of origin. (“Ayu” means life and “veda” means knowledge, so ayurveda is the science of life.) By incorporating all six tastes, you’ll get all the nutrients your body needs and lessen your cravings for junk foods.
Astringent foods absorb water and tighten tissues. They include lentils, beans, green apples, grape skins, cauliflower, pomegranates and tea.
Bitter foods are loaded with natural phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and disease-preventing healing properties. They include green, leafy vegetables, kale, celery, broccoli, sprouts and beets.
Pungent foods stimulate digestion and metabolism. They also contain natural antioxidants and infection-fighting chemicals. These include peppers, chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne, curry, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, ginger and mustard.
Salty foods help stimulate digestion. They include table salt, soy sauce, salted meats and fish. (Avoid too much salt since it can lead to high blood pressure and fluid retention. Limit salt to 1 teaspoon per day.)
Sour foods slow the emptying of your stomach, reducing the insulin-stimulating affect of carbohydrates. They include citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, pickled foods, and vinegar.
Sweet foods build tissues and calm nerves. They include whole grains, starchy vegetables, dairy, meat, chicken, fish, honey and molasses. Remember, sweet should not mean refined sugar or empty carbs.
Rule #3: Find Moderation in Your Hands
Many Americans have a distorted sense of portion size and consume way more calories than they need. To figure out your ideal portion based on your body size, cup your hands together with your fingertips touching to form a bowl. The recommended amount of food to eat at a meal is the equivalent of 2 of these handfuls.

Ready, Set, Meditate!
This daily meditation recommended by Deepak Chopra focuses on reflection and intention. It can provide healing in all or any of the 4 areas of life (health and well-being, love and relationships, success, and higher consciousness) that may be causing you stress.

Get started:

Get in a Comfortable Position
To begin meditating, get in a comfortable position on the floor with your legs crossed or sit in a chair. (If you are ill or need to lie down that’s fine, although sitting is preferred.) Relax your hands on your lap, with palms up or any way that you feel most open.

Close Your Eyes, Focus on your Breath
Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Thoughts will inevitably drift in and dance around your mind, but that’s okay. Just let them be. If you find yourself thinking about what’s passing through your mind, just return to focusing your awareness on your breath, and you will soon slip into the space between your thoughts. In an unforced natural rhythm, allow your breath to flow in and out, easily and effortlessly.

Reflect
Now focus your attention toward the area of your heart. Ask yourself silently, what is my highest vision for my health and well being? Allow any sensations, images, feelings or thoughts to spontaneously emerge.

Second, ask yourself what is my highest vision for love and relationships in my life? Again, you don’t need to seek the answers. They’re there. Let them emerge as sensations, images, feelings and thoughts.

Third, ask what is my highest vision for the realization of my goals for success in life? Allow thoughts, sensations and images to come from the deepest part of you.

Lastly, ask, how do I get in touch with my higher self – my spirit? Allow thoughts feelings, sensations to emerge.

Close With “Om Bhvam Namah”
After your reflections, say, “Om bhavam namah,” which translates roughly as “I am absolute existence; I am a field of infinite possibilities.” Repeat this phrase mentally a few times while your eyes are still closed. Then let go and ease yourself out of the meditation. Engage in this meditation every day for 21 days to help make it an enduring habit that you can practice for life.

Want to continue your meditation practice? You can own your own 21-Day mediation series with Oprah and Deepak as your guides. Get more information here.

Deepak Chopra’s Meditation Cleanse: Detox From Stress in 21 Days

Aside

When it comes to food, what’s good for your health may also be good for your sex life!

The mouth is an erogenous zone. Eating is a sensual prelude to what comes next, and a kiss is a passionate sampling of each other’s taste.

The choices we make when hungry nourish the sexual appetite too. Choosing the right food (and drink) primes your body for optimal sexual function in general. Junk food makes the body feel sluggish, while too many simple carbs can deplete your energy. Eating frequent, nutritious meals is the best way to support your libido; it’ll keep your body fit and your mind lively.

Simple Solutions to Rev Up Your Sexual Engines  Three small changes can make a big difference: Choose whole grains instead of refined white-flour bread and crackers, increase your intake of good fats (such as nuts, avocados, olive oil) while reducing bad fats (like butter and fatty meats), and eat smaller quantities of food every three hours. Your tastes will adjust over time, and so will your libido.

However, eating shouldn’t be all about discipline. Food is one of the greatest sensual pleasures we have. Chocolate was recently discovered by Italian researchers to trigger the samebrain chemicals as an orgasm and is now a sexy-food mascot. Taste, like the other senses, stirs our sexual center.

It’s Not Just What You Eat, but How You Eat It  When you eat sensually, enjoying each bite, and appreciating a food’s unique texture and flavor, you transform a daily ritual into seduction at its finest. The mouth is a portal to pleasure. Try having a sensual picnic with your partner instead of your usual date-night fare. Sit on the floor, rather than at the table, and let fingers be your utensils. Foods that are colorful and sensual like strawberries, papayas, and avocados evoke the feminine mystique. Bananas, carrots, and celery evoke his. Be sure to include a variety of textures and flavors for the whole experience: salty and sweet, crunchy and soft.

Eating with your partner is a ritual of connecting and communication and can conclude with great sex after dinner. But there’s no reason to skip dessert. Bring some honey, hotfudge, or whipped cream into the bedroom. I’ll leave it to you to decide where to put it. Just remember that it can serve to guide your partner’s attention to an overlooked area!

There’s More Than One Way You Taste  Let’s face it, you can’t talk about sex without thinking of ways we taste each other as well. When things start sizzling between the sheets, many worry about flavors. You want to be a delicacy yourself and savor your partner in every way, too. But is there a recipe for this sort of deliciousness?

As it turns out, what’s good for general health is also good for sexual health. To be a tasty morsel yourself, you must make the right choices when eating. Lots of water is the main ingredient. It detoxifies and cleanses the body, helping to keep every part in peak condition. Go easy on alcohol, nicotine, and coffee, which can be taste spoilers. And finally, fruits and vegetables lend a sweetness that is anything but sour or bitter. Just stay away from the asparagus!

 

Source: Dr. Laura Berman

Matters of the Mouth Figure Prominently in Sex