Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, not all diets are created equal. Here are some of the pros and cons of the most common diet trends to help you decide if one is right for you.

Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, not all diets are created equal.  Here are some of the pros and cons of the most common diet trends to help you decide if one is right for you.

If you have ever looked at all the diet trends and been confused, you aren’t alone.  There are many different types of diets on the market and they all advertise maximum weight loss and health benefits.  But with so many options how does someone know which ones truly work at minimizing fat and helping drop the pounds for lasting weight loss?  Our SureFiz trainer and health coach helps to give a brief analysis of the pros and cons for some of the most popular diets currently trending to help you decide if any of them are a good fit for your weight loss goals. 

The Keto Diet

Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has been trending for the past few years as a diet to promote weight loss.  But it has been traced back to as early as 1921, and was used to treat epilepsy.  The main concept behind the diet is to eat a daily diet consisting of mostly fats and very low carbs, which puts the body in a state of ketosis, where it burns fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates.  Because almost all of the carbohydrates are removed from the daily diet, there are no longer any reserves available, which leads to burning more body fat for fuel.  Some types of plans have users eating 70% or more of daily fats, with carbs as low as 5%.  Most keto diet followers also maintain a low to moderate protein intake.  

While the keto diet is not necessarily restrictive in food groups (for instance, dairy or meats or gluten), it can be a lot harder to follow than it seems.  In order to stay in ketosis, the low carb balance must be maintained at all times, which doesn’t allow for any breaks, days off or cheat days to balance out a diet.  Over time, the diet becomes extremely hard to maintain and many people cannot stay on it for extended periods of time.  Some doctors also have concerns about long term effects of eating such large amounts of fats on other systems in the body, such as the heart, liver, pancreas, etc.  For a more in depth look at the keto diet, click here.  

Paleo Diet 

Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

The Paleo diet is another recent trending diet for weight loss, although it also didn’t originate as a weight loss diet alone.  The purpose behind the Paleo diet is that current farming and manufacturing trends have created more processed foods than our bodies can handle and that by eating like our ancestors with whole foods and foods from the earth, we can greatly lower our disease risk and our bodies will be overall healthier.  For most people who follow the Paleo diet, weight loss is a side effect of eating less sugar, less processed foods and focusing on more nutrient dense food groups to supply daily fuel for the body.  

The Paleo diet can be restrictive, as it doesn’t allow many grains/gluten, no dairy and no added sugars (some natural options like dates can be an exception).  The overall focus of the diet is a healthy one, with many people benefitting from eliminating fast food, processed junk food and sugars from their daily diet.  This diet can become challenging over time as well, with major food groups being eliminated.  The sustainability long term is questionable.  If you need to go on vacation or out to dinner, your choices are slim as many restaurants use ingredients that are not considered ok by the Paleo diet standards.  For a more in depth look at the Paleo diet, click here.

Whole 30 Diet

Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

The Whole 30 diet is extremely similar in concept to the Paleo diet, with a few more restrictions.  Like the other diets mentioned above, the Whole 30 diet was not originally intended as a weight loss diet but was created by Nutritionists Dallas and Melissa Hartwig as an elimination diet to help pinpoint food allergies or food intolerances.  The Whole 30 eliminates many high allergen food groups, such as gluten, grains, dairy, beans and legumes, sugar and any processed foods.  The main staple of the diet is Meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables, and users are intended to stay on the diet for 30 days, then slowly integrate food groups back in to see if there is a negative response in the body.  

The Whole 30 is considered in some ways to be a more extreme version of the Paleo diet, as the Paleo diet will allow some sugars and more grains than the Whole 30.  But the Whole 30 concept is also not intended to be utilized for more than 30 days, making it a bit more achievable as a short term weight loss diet plan.  For maximum weight loss success on the Whole 30 diet, it is recommended that people transition from the Whole 30 to another healthy eating plan to reduce the chances of gaining all their weight back if they return to how they ate before they began the Whole 30 program.  

Intermittent Fasting 

Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

There are many different ways to follow an intermittent fasting diet approach, but the basic concept focuses on eating within a certain window of time and “fasting” from food during the other hours of the day.  One of the most popular ways to follow intermittent fasting is the 16:8 plan, where users will only eat in an 8-hour window of time, allowing the body to fast for 16 hours of the day.  During the fasting hours you can drink water, coffee and tea but no caloric drinks or food.  The benefits to intermittent fasting go beyond simple weight loss. According to Healthline, “All sorts of processes in the body change when we don’t eat for a while, in order to allow our bodies to thrive during a period of famine. It has to do with hormones, genes and important cellular repair processes.  When fasted, we get significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as a drastic increase in human growth hormone.  Many people do intermittent fasting in order to lose weight, as it is a very simple and effective way to restrict calories and burn fat. Others do it for the metabolic health benefits, as it can improve various different risk factors and health markers”.  

Intermittent fasting does not necessarily restrict any food groups, but simply requires eating within a window of time and abstaining from foods in another window.  Some users combine intermittent fasting with the keto diet to increase fat loss in an accelerated time.  For more information on intermittent fasting and whether it will work for you, click here

Intuitive Eating 

Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

The approach to Intuitive Eating is a blend of healthy eating concepts and psychology.  It was created with an intention of teaching people to listen more to their bodies and to break the good/bad or on/off pattern that extreme diets can create in people’s mindsets.  If followed correctly and intentionally, users can create healthy patterns that will allow long-term success without guilt and shame.  The diet does not restrict any food group or promote calorie counting; rather it allows any food as long as you can create awareness in how it makes you feel and to eat only when truly hungry.   The basic principles of intuitive eating are: reject the diet mentality, honor your hunger, make peace with food, challenge the food police (in your mind), respect your fullness, discover the satisfaction factor, honor your feelings without using food, respect your body, exercise to move your body and honor your health with gentle nutrition (Health Magazine).  

Intuitive eating can help with those overcoming eating disorders or similar challenges with food and weight struggles.  As a weight loss plan it may or may not work, depending on individual users and how much they follow the concept of eating for health and eating to make the body feel good.  It can be easy for someone to take it too far and eat sweets every day, claiming it “feels good” to eat them.  Those who want to use the intuitive eating approach to lose weight may want to combine it with either another eating plan geared towards weight loss or work to educate themselves on healthy eating plans for weight loss to ensure they aren’t continually eating foods that keep the weight on or put them over a caloric level. 

Mediterranean Diet

Uncovering the Best Diets For Lasting Weight Loss

According to U.S. News and World Report Health, the Mediterranean Diet has been named the top overall diet in 2021 for it’s well rounded health benefits.  The basic concept behind this eating plan came from the population groups who lived surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and their health statistics.  It is not so much a structured diet or restrictive eating plan, rather a guideline to base your general diet around.  Many people who follow the Mediterranean diet plan do end up losing weight because the basic premise is around healthy foods for the whole body and all it’s systems.  It does not track macros, eliminate entire food groups or require eating in a window of time during the day.  The idea is an emphasis on the following foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, flavorful herbs and spices, fish/seafood a couple times a week and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt are eaten in moderation.  The diet is low in red meats, although it does not eliminate them as an option for special occasions.  Red wine is also ok to drink in moderation, as it offers heart benefits. 

Overall the Mediterranean Diet can be considered a healthy diet to follow, even for the long-term, as it does not have too many strict rules or eliminations.  This diet may not lead to the fastest weight loss, but may help users keep the weight off the longest and live in maintenance with a lot of flexibility.  With a large focus on fish and seafood, it does require that those who follow the way of eating do enjoy seafood and/or don’t have an allergy.  Otherwise it can be a safe, healthy diet concept to look into for sustainable weight loss and overall health.

The Bottom Line

While there are many diets on the market today, all of them come with a set of pros and cons.  There is no “one size fits all approach” when it comes to dieting—many people could find weight loss success on any of these diet plans.  The biggest component to weight loss has to do with creating a caloric deficit on most days: fewer calories ingested than calories burned.  If you follow this basic approach, you will lose weight.  We recommend that you do your research before starting any kind of diet plan, and make sure that the pros outweigh the cons.  Always ask your doctor or nutritionist before starting a restrictive diet to make sure you don’t have any underlying conditions that would create a health problem.  No matter which diet you choose, we recommend tracking your calories and weighing yourself on your SureFiz smart scale daily so that you can observe your progress and make sure it is truly working for you.  Continue to follow our blogs and social media accounts for more advice, diet tips, recipes and workout ideas to help you find the best success in your weight loss journey.  

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Do you have a hard time finding healthy snacks that also fill you up? Here are several ideas of delicious, healthy snacks to help you in your weight loss program.

Do you have a hard time finding healthy snacks that also fill you up? Here are several ideas of delicious, healthy snacks to help you in your weight loss program.

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Snacking can be hard when trying to lose weight, as the calories can add up each day.  But it is not impossible and can be used as a valuable tool in between meals to help curb hunger, which will prevent overeating during meals later in the day.  Successful snacking requires some strategic planning, however, to make sure that you are helping your weight loss plan, not hindering weight loss success.  Here is some valuable advice to help you snack successfully and feel satiated all day!

General Snacking Tips

  • Prep Ahead: Just like with meal planning, knowing which snacks you will eat throughout the week and purchasing them ahead of time will ensure that you make good choices and don’t turn to less-than healthy options when you’re super busy and hunger strikes.
  • Wash, Chop, Measure: Set aside a little extra time after you do your weekly grocery haul and wash fruits and veggies, and section out into proper serving sizes.  Having food kept in pre-measured containers will help prevent you from overeating–yes, it is possible to eat too much of even a good thing!  It also helps to have awareness of serving sizes for logging into your weight loss food journal.
  • Choose Whole Foods First: Try to base your snacking around fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and nut butters and healthy proteins.  By feeding your body the nutrients it needs, you will not only help to fuel it properly but you will feel more satiated, for a longer time, on less calories.  Your overall diet and weight loss program will benefit in the long term.
  • Add Protein Whenever Possible: Combining a fruit or vegetable with protein will help aid in satiety as well, and the protein contributes to muscle growth in the body.  Many Americans don’t eat enough healthy proteins, so sneaking it in with your snacks is a great way to add to your daily diet totals. 

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Snack Ideas

In general, look for a fruit or vegetable to be the base of most snacking–most of us don’t eat the minimum recommended daily allowance in our daily diets, so adding them into our snacking plan is a great foundation.  When you can, add a protein or healthy fat to balance out the snack and help with satiation.  We recommend trying to keep your snacks around 200-250 calories so that you don’t ruin your dinner!  Here are some basic ideas and how to pair them for a tasty, healthy option you can try any day in your diet plan, each suggestion is within a range of 100-250 calories:

Apple

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Apples are a great, healthy snack option for your diet.  They are delicious, nutritious and filled with healthy fiber to help keep you full.  If you want to add a protein, nut butters or a piece of string cheese will be a great addition with just enough protein and fats to fill you up.

Carrots, Celery or Peppers

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Any of these crunchy veggies are a great snacking option. If you can find baby carrots at the store, you can even cut down on prep time. All of these veggies are a perfect snack substitution for chips or crackers–they add the crunch without the unhealthy side effects.  Pair them with hummus for a yummy, protein-filled dip. 

Banana

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Another great fiber-filled fruit, bananas are super easy to grab and eat on the go.  One banana can keep you full on it’s own but if you need a little boost, almond or peanut butter adds a nice salty compliment to the sweetness of the banana.  Make sure you measure out the nut butter before eating, it can be super easy to overeat nut butters.  Keep it around one tablespoon so that your overall snack calorie count doesn’t reach higher than 300 calories.

Cottage Cheese 

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

If you enjoy cottage cheese, this is a protein-packed snack that will leave you full for hours.  Add some sliced tomatoes, or even some berries to compliment the creaminess of the cottage cheese and add some energy-boosting carb benefit to your snack.  Try to get a lower fat or nonfat variety of cottage cheese to keep overall calories down and measure each serving for maximum weight loss success.  

Hard Boiled Eggs

If you are looking for an easy, grab and go protein snack, hard boiled eggs will be your best friend!!  For busy weeks, boil them and peel them, then put in plastic baggies or small containers to grab quickly and eat on the run.

Handful of Almonds

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Almonds (or any favorite nuts) are a super healthy, antioxidant-filled protein snack.  These are also super easy to grab on the go and can compliment the apple or banana snack we listed above.  Be very careful with measuring out nuts–one serving is ¼ cup and contains 162 calories.  It can be very easy to overeat nuts without thinking, so having them sectioned out into serving-sized containers will prevent accidental overeating and taking in too many calories at snack time.  

Greek Yogurt with Berries

Healthy Snack Ideas For Your Diet and Weight Loss Plan

Greek yogurt, like its cousin cottage cheese, is another creamy high protein snack.  When choosing a greek yogurt, make sure that you are finding a nonfat or lowfat variety and plain/no added sugar.  Due to the tartness of plain greek yogurt, adding about ½  cup of berries will make a beautiful sweet/savory balance that will also keep you full for hours on very little calories and a huge protein boost.  

Once you have an idea of simple, healthy snacks you can build a foundation and work to get creative.  By planning ahead and thinking through your day, you can plan for strategic snacks that can satisfy a craving without ruining your diet and weight loss goals.  For more healthy eating advice, check out our blog on Easy Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right.  Keep stepping on your SureFiz smart scale daily to keep track of your weight loss journey, make sure you are eating right and nourishing your body with a healthy diet, and continue to follow us on social media for healthy eating tips, inspiration and encouragement as you continue towards your weight loss goals. 

Are Supplements Necessary in a Weight Loss Program?

As you work through your New Year’s Resolutions and weight loss goals, you might be looking for an extra boost in supplements. But will they really help?

As you work through your New Year’s Resolutions and weight loss goals, you might be looking for an extra boost in supplements.  But will they really help?

Are Pre Workout Supplements Necessary in a Weight Loss Program?

Pre-Workout Supplementation

If you’ve been anywhere near a gym lately or searched fitness topics on instagram, you have likely heard of or seen promotions for pre or post workout supplements to boost your workout and weight loss results.  Many of these supplements claim to help you lose more weight, burn more fat or grow more muscle as a result of taking them.  You can pretty much find a different type of supplement for any goal you may have-”slim down”, “bulk up”, “run faster”, “lose weight”, “burn fat” and others are claims on supplement labels.  Personal trainers and health coaches are often asked by their clients, “are supplements necessary?” or “Will they help?”  We are going to dive into some basic information about supplements to help you break down whether they are a good option or could even help you with your workout and weight loss performance.  

What are Pre-Workout Supplements?

In general, pre-workout (or any workout type) supplements can be defined as any supplement that boosts workout performance.  They can be taken in the form of a powder, pill or liquid form and most companies claim that they will help enhance your workout performance in the gym.  There is a huge variance in ingredients based on company and from supplement to supplement, making it confusing for consumers who are trying to find a supplement to fit their personal workout or weight loss goals. 

Common Ingredients in Pre-Workout Supplements

Are Pre Workout Supplements Necessary in a Weight Loss Program?

While the list of ingredients is too exhaustive to cover here, we can give you some of the main pre-workout ingredients used in common pre-workout supplements.  The goal is generally to boost energy, focus, muscle gain, or even burn more calories to help you reach a weight loss goal sooner.  Here are some of the main ingredients you might find in a pre-workout supplement:

  1. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant and often included in that morning cup of coffee. But some studies have shown that caffeine use can boost performance in the gym as well.  In a 2012 study done by the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Resistance, men who took a caffeine drink containing 179 mg of caffeine as a pre-workout supplement 60 minutes before exercise could lift more weights at a higher resistance than those who took a placebo.  However, according to Live Science, “too much caffeine can pose a health risk, and supplements can contain much more than is found in food or drinks. A person could guzzle gallons of coffee and not suffer from a true caffeine overdose. But even at much lower levels, caffeine can worsen underlying conditions such as a heart arrhythmia, leading to cardiac arrest”.  In fact, some studies have shown that supplements containing caffeine sometimes contained more than 4 times the amount of caffeine contained in a normal cup of coffee. 

  1. Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate (also known as just creatine) is a common pre-workout supplement used to increase muscle performance and energy production.  It has been a supplement that shows some positive reviews based on limited studies.  According to Live Science, some studies have shown that college football players taking creatine had fewer injuries and reported less cramping, achieved peak power performance and even increased some of their body mass.  But they also report that creatine needs to be taken regularly to build up in a person’s system and actually be effective.  It also only works well when someone REALLY pushes themselves in the gym and many people generally don’t push themselves to the peak level of performance for the creatine benefits to truly be seen.  And since some side effects of creatine involve the “bulking up”, most people who are trying to accomplish weight loss and slimming their bodies down will not want the building or bulking effects of the creatine supplement.  Healthline reports that weight gain, bloating, water retention and digestive issues can all be side effects of creatine supplementation, which definitely poses a challenge to those who have weight loss as their primary goal in working out. 

  1. Guarana

Guarana is a plant from the Amazon that has been harvested by Brazilians for decades, but has also entered the American market and is generally used as an energy booster.  According to Very Well Health, guarana is used to “fight fatigue, boost mental alertness, and promote weight loss.  The fruit contains caffeine-rich seeds that have up to three times the amount of caffeine as coffee beans. The seeds are also rich in tannins and the stimulants theophylline and theobromine”.  Since guarana contains caffeine, it is important to check any pre-workout supplement labels for the amounts of each ingredient included to make sure that the overall amount of caffeine you consume is not over the recommended usage.  Some side effects noted from guarana usage can be agitation, stomach upset, headaches and other miscellaneous effects.  

  1. BCAAs

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) consist of three different molecules-leucine, isoleucine and valine.  These amino acids are also contained in many foods, mostly protein rich animal products.  BCAAs are known for their aid in the muscle building process and many bodybuilding supplement programs include them as a component.  However, they are more well absorbed when eaten in their whole food form.  According to Healthline, use of BCAAs is generally safe, especially considering they are naturally occurring in many foods we already eat.  But the benefit of supplementing them is currently mixed, it may be better to eat them in their natural form than buy an additional supplement to add to your weight loss routine.  

  1. Other Ingredients

Many supplement companies list a “proprietary blend” in part of their ingredient lists, which can be hard to understand.  According to Self Magazine, “It’s important to realize that virtually every supplement and exercise nutrition brand out there has its own pre-workout formula, meaning that no two tubs contain the same—or even similar—ingredients. In fact, according to a 2019 study of the top 100 commercially available pre-workout supplements, nearly half of all ingredients were part of a ‘proprietary blend,’ meaning the amounts of each ingredient were not disclosed”.  Each company can put together blends of their choosing without necessarily disclosing to consumers what those blends contain. 

Are Pre-Workout Supplements Regulated and Safe for Use?

Are Pre Workout Supplements Necessary in a Weight Loss Program?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “Federal law does not require dietary supplements to be proven safe to FDA’s satisfaction before they are marketed.  For most claims made in the labeling of dietary supplements, the law does not require the manufacturer or seller to prove to FDA’s satisfaction that the claim is accurate or truthful before it appears on the product”.  The FDA does require companies to report any side effects or results after market of their supplements as reported by consumers or in a lab.  If enough reports or claims are made then a supplement can be taken off the market.  But without clear guidelines or a ton of requirements placed on companies who make supplements regarding specific ingredients, it is definitely the job of the consumer to do the research and decide if the ingredients will be safe and beneficial for use in a diet or weight loss program.  Although many times historically ingredients used in a product are generally safe for use, they may not be able to provide the results someone is looking for in a weight loss program.  

Are Pre Workout Supplements Necessary in a Weight Loss Program?

You can find many other supplements used in pre- and post-workout supplement formulas, and we recommend doing your research before choosing to purchase them for your weight loss and training routine.  Some can be beneficial for promoting energy and focus which can help you push through a hard workout.  But a good old cup of coffee and a piece of fruit can also supply the energy and fuel to get you through, for a lot less money each month.  Many times you will find the best weight loss results from sticking to the tried and true methods of eating a well balanced, healthy diet composed of many whole foods–lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy whole grains and fiber rich foods.  When incorporating these foods into your diet and weight loss regimen, you will start to see the results you want and your pocketbook will be thicker with all the money you saved from not purchasing every supplement advertised on your Instagram feed.  

If you do find the desire or need to try supplementation, we recommend doing your research from third parties before buying and making sure that you follow dosage instructions and always take them safely under the company’s guidelines.  Check us out on our website, or any of our social media pages for more advice on nutrition, weight loss, diet plans and healthy recipes.  

Is Too Much Sugar Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals?

Are you having a hard time cutting down on sugar intake? Here are some ways to help decrease sugar consumption in your diet plan.

Are you having a hard time cutting down on sugar intake? Here are some ways to help decrease sugar consumption in your diet plan.

Is Too Much Sugar Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals?

Is Sugar Bad for You?

Sugar is a huge component of the processed American diet and can be found in many foods we consume on a regular basis, even when trying to eat a healthy, well balanced diet.  Yet many Americans don’t know how much they should be eating for weight loss and whether or not sugar consumption is bad for you.  If you are trying to lose weight, watching your sugar intake can be very important and certainly can affect your overall success in your weight loss goals. Although some sugar is ok to consume in moderation, excess sugar intake can be linked to weight gain, heart disease, fatty liver disease, diabetes, cause acne, increase your risk of cancer and more (Healthline).  In general, when you are trying to lose weight and reach your goals, it is a good idea to be watching sugar intake and try to eat as much low sugar foods as possible. 

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

Is Too Much Sugar Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals?

According to the American Heart Association, American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day, more than 3 times the recommended amount for women, and American kids consume 81 grams per day, equaling over 65 pounds of added sugar per year.  All of this excess sugar is leading to many different health problems, as well as causing unnecessary weight gain in many American adults.  In order to succeed in your diet and weight loss plan, you need to know how much sugar is too much.  Once you are informed you can plan accordingly and work to decrease your sugar intake.  The American Heart Association reports that men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar, which equals 36 grams or 150 calories.  Women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar, which equals 25 grams or 100 calories in their daily diets.  With the average adult consuming approximately 77 grams of sugar per day, a major overhaul needs to take place to get even close to those recommended numbers.  

Is it ok to Eat Fruit?

Is Too Much Sugar Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals?

Fruits are technically healthier sources of sugar because they come from natural sources.  According to Medical New Today, “fruit tends to contain less sugar than sweetened foods.  Almost everyone, including people with diabetes, could benefit from eating more fruit.  This is due to the combination of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and water it provides.  Fruit contains two types of sugar: fructose and glucose.  The proportions of each vary, but most fruits are about half glucose and half fructose.  Glucose raises blood sugar, so the body must use insulin to metabolize it.  Fructose does not raise blood sugar.  Instead, the liver breaks it down”.  If you are trying to decide what to eat, always opt for whole fruits versus a processed counterpart.  The health benefits and nutrient components in fruit provide necessary nutrients to your diet and weight loss plan.  It is important to note that fruits still contain some sugars and calories so they need to be tracked and incorporated into your diet accordingly—you can get too much of a good thing. 

Are Artificial Sweeteners Better than Sugar?

Is Too Much Sugar Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals?

Artificial sweeteners are used in many foods that are marketed as diet foods, because they cut down on the sugar content in the food and can be helpful when trying to eat a lower calorie diet.  There are pros and cons to consumption of artificial sweeteners, as with any foods.  Artificial sweeteners for the most part do not contribute to tooth decay and generally don’t affect blood sugar levels.  But there are some critics who claim artificial sweeteners could increase chances of cancer, and there are studies that show individuals can ingest more than recommended because they might not feel as satiated with sugar substitutes than real sugar (Mayo Clinic).  Whether you choose to use artificial sweeteners as part of your diet plan or not, make sure you educate yourself on the type of sweetener and any potential side effects.

Sneaky Sources of Added Sugar

Is Too Much Sugar Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals?

Most people are aware that desserts, sweet treats and sodas are pretty obvious sources of sugar.  But for those on a weight loss plan, it can be shocking to find out that even when they cut out added sugars, they are still consuming way more than the recommended daily intake.  This is because even many savory foods have loads of sugar.  The sources may surprise you, but here are some examples of foods with the highest “surprise” amounts of sugar:

Barbeque Sauce-12 grams

Marinara/Spaghetti Sauce-10 grams 

Non Dairy milks (like almond milk)-15 grams

Baked Beans-10 grams

Peanut Butter-6 grams

Salad Dressing-15 grams

(The above examples are approximations, as brands can vary.  Always check your labels before buying).  As you see above, the sugars can add up quickly, even in these “savory” foods, which can really hinder success in your diet plan.  Many companies are beginning to come out with lower sugar options, so take some extra time to read through labels before you make a decision on which item to purchase.

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Is Too Much Sugar Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals?

If you are like many Americans, you could benefit from decreasing your daily sugar intake.  Some simple swaps can help you lower your overall daily sugar count:

1.     Drink unsweetened soda water instead of drinking sodas, juices and energy drinks.

2.     Choose plain unsweetened yogurt and add berries instead of the added sugar options.

3.     Drink your coffee black or with no sugar added creamers or milks.

4.     Make your own salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar instead of store bought options with added sugars.

5.     Buy no sugar added oats and sweeten with fruit instead of sugary store bought options. 

As a rule of thumb, it is always best to cook with whole foods in the home instead of with a higher sugar/fat processed option.  Using lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains will help you reach your health and weight loss goals faster, as well as keep the weight off for good.  If you struggle with sugar cravings and need some tips, check out our blog post on how to kick a sugar habit for good.  We also recommend tracking your daily food intake because you will always make better choices with more awareness of your foods.  There are many apps available that can make food journaling easier and help you make wise choices.  As always, we recommend you step on your SureFiz scale daily to track your weight loss progress and to keep you on the right track to reaching your weight loss goals.  We are here to help you along every step of your weight loss journey.  Follow our social media accounts for more diet tips, workout advice and healthy recipe ideas.

Simple Ways to Stick to Your New Years Resolution

As the 2021 New Year approaches, Americans will set a resolution to eat healthier or lose weight. Here are some tips to help the resolution last all year long.

As the 2021 New Year approaches, Americans will set a resolution to eat healthier or lose weight.  Here are some tips to help the resolution last all year long.

Simple Ways to Stick to Your Weight Loss New Year’s Resolution

With every New Year comes a fresh start, and an opportunity to reflect on areas of growth.  According to a recent poll on finder.com, an estimated 188.9 million American adults (approximately 74% of the population) have admitted they will set a 2021 New Year’s resolution.  Approximately 45% of those claim to be setting a health related resolution, such as weight loss or diet changes.  But sadly, according to Psychology Today, an estimated 40% of resolutions fail by March and only 10% of people on average keep their resolutions until the following December. 

How to Make a Strong Resolution

Simple Ways to Stick to Your Weight Loss New Year’s Resolution

Luckily there are some tips and tricks to help you keep your New Year’s Resolution.  The first thing to do is make sure you are setting a resolution that is actually destined for success.  Instead of setting lofty, unattainable goals that would set you up for failure (like trying to lose too much weight in too short of a time), sitting down and analyzing why a goal is being set and writing out steps to succeed can help minimize chances that the goal will fail shortly into the New Year. In goal setting, the acronym S.M.A.R.T. can be extremely helpful:

Specific: Is the goal specific, well defined, clear and unambiguous?

Measurable: Set criteria to help measure progress towards the accomplishment of the goal

Achievable: Make sure the goal is attainable and not impossible to achieve

Realistic: The goal is within reach, realistic and relevant 

Timely: The goal needs to have a clearly defined timeline, including a start date and target end date.  [Retrieved from corporatefinanceinstitute.com]

If your New Year’s resolution in 2021 is to “lose more weight”,  breaking it into a S.M.A.R.T goal would be to break it down into smaller subgoals, such as 1 to 2 pounds per week.  If you need to lose 20 pounds, your time limit on the goal needs to fit within healthy guidelines for weight loss.  So your goal should be to lose 20 pounds by April-May if you begin the first week of January.  The SureFiz scale and program helps to break down weight loss goals into smaller subgoals that help you attain the overall weight loss goal more efficiently.  It takes the guesswork out of weight loss for you!  Be sure you are using the app to help aid you as you set your New Year’s resolutions.  

Tips for Long-term success

Simple Ways to Stick to Your Weight Loss New Year’s Resolution

Another way to ensure you can achieve long-term success with your weight loss resolution is to look at possible obstacles you will face.  If your goal is to eat less sugar, but you have a weekly meeting where donuts are offered, you want to find ways to overcome this obstacle before it is facing you.  An example of how to handle this could be to either make sure you have eaten before the weekly meeting and aren’t hungry, or sit as far away from the donuts as possible, or even bring a healthy snack option for yourself if you feel the need to eat something.  Substituting a healthier habit for your current habit is a strong, proven method to successful behavior modification, according to Psychology Today.  

A common obstacle in behavior change and goal setting is what we do when we fail.  A few missteps are to be expected on a weight loss journey, such as eating the donut or a piece of pizza.  Studies of behavior modification show that our self-talk and self-stories can be extremely powerful motivators in whether we see long-term success (Source: nbcwashington).  If you eat the donut or the pizza and then tell yourself you are a failure and can’t stick to the diet plan, then you are much more likely to fail.  SureFiz trainer Jenn Ryan recommends preparing ahead of time for small failures and having a positive self-talk response ready to combat any negative feelings.  If you are more likely to think you cannot accomplish a goal, then you will most definitely quit at the first sign of challenge.  Be ready for these moments with positive reinforcement.  An example would be, “One donut won’t ruin my diet. I can start fresh with my healthy lunch and get right back on track.  I can do this!”  Preparing a positive response before you are faced with your challenging situation will ensure that you actually respond positively and can pivot quickly to get back on course.

New Years resolutions may be tough to keep, but they are not impossible.  When it comes to weight loss and diet help, SureFiz is the best tool to help you not only lose the weight but keep it off for good.  We can help you be one of the 10-20% of the population who keeps their resolution by the end of 2021.  Be sure to check out our website for more diet tips, healthy recipes and weight loss inspiration to keep you motivated throughout the entire year.  

Weight Loss Facts And Myths Explained

With so much information online regarding weight loss and dieting, it can be hard to know what is true vs. speculation. Here is some insight to decipher these myths.

With so much information online regarding weight loss and dieting, it can be hard to know what is true vs. speculation.  Here is some insight to decipher these myths.

Weight Loss: Facts vs. Myths Explained

The information age has brought with it many wonderful adaptations to help us when we need information. The Internet can be incredibly helpful when needing to find diet advice during your weight loss journey.  But with this endless information can also bring a lot of myths, which can confuse even the savviest of dieters.  Although there are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to weight loss, we have found 6 that affect not only your mindset and preconceived notions but can also affect your success on your weight loss journey.

1.     All overweight people are unhealthy, and skinny people are all healthy

Weight Loss: Facts vs. Myths Explained

This misconception can cause an unhealthy mentality for someone trying to lose weight; they may get discouraged and compare themselves in the gym when looking at others of different sizes.  Although obesity is a precursor for other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and more, it is not a guarantee.  Many naturally thin people also have health problems.  Weight and body size is also not an indicator of fitness level, as genetics can play a part in body size.  There are many naturally thin people with smaller bone structure who don’t work out or watch their food intake.  Realizing this can help you avoid pre-judgment and unhealthy mental comparisons.  Everyone is on an individual weight loss journey and has unique goals.

2.     Weight loss is always linear

Weight Loss: Facts vs. Myths Explained

Losing weight is not a linear process and the misconception that it is can be very discouraging when you’re trying to lose weight.  It is normal for the body to fluctuate weight and can be based on many factors, including water retention, salt intake, menstrual cycles for women and other factors.  If you lose 3 pounds one week and gain back one pound the next week, don’t stress.  Your overall goal is what is most important in the weight loss journey.

3.     Snacking is bad when dieting

Weight Loss: Facts vs. Myths Explained

It may seem that snacking all day would hinder a weight loss plan, and it definitely can—but it doesn’t have to be that way.  According to webmd, dietitians recommend eating 5 smaller meals throughout the day can help stave off hunger and the urge to overeat.  “One of the main reasons snacking has a bad rap is because of the choices we make from, say, vending machines that are packed with chips, cookies, candies, and other delectable — and fattening — treats. The good news is we’re not all chomping on candy bars come 4 p.m. — a whopping 70% of Americans use snacking as a way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diets, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation ”.  Finding healthy choices for your snacks is the most important factor.  Some healthy choices are: carrots and hummus, apple and almond butter, or grapes and string cheese. 

4.     Carbohydrates make you gain weight

Low carbohydrate diets have become quite the trend in recent years, but are they the healthiest choice?  The answer is a bit more complex. While a lower carbohydrate, higher protein diet can lead to weight loss; it doesn’t mean it is the only way to lose weight.  Carbohydrates are a necessary form of fuel that the body needs to function well on a daily basis.  It is more important to look at the type of carbohydrates being eaten.  Overly processed white breads, sugary pastries, and processed foods are all unhealthy sources of carbohydrate fuel.  Conversely, whole grain breads, rice and quinoa are highly nutritious and offer healthy fiber to a daily diet as well.  If you are consciously choosing healthy sources of carbohydrates, you will find they compliment your diet and weight loss plan while also offering a source of fuel necessary to get you through the day. 

5.     Fast food is always fattening

Weight Loss: Facts vs. Myths Explained

When given the option, making your own healthy food at home is generally the best option. However, don’t fully write off that fast food restaurant as a quick option when you are trying to lose weight.  Many fast food restaurants offer healthy options for the diet conscious consumer.  According to Healthline, it is possible to get something relatively healthy at most fast food restaurants.  If you’re on the go and need a fast stop, make sure you look for grilled chicken, a salad option or even order a burger without the overly processed bun.  Many restaurants also offer nutrition information on their website or menu, so you can make an informed decision before placing your order. 

6.     Cardio is best for weight loss 

Weight Loss: Facts vs. Myths Explained

Many people attempting to lose weight will hit the cardio machines and overdo it.  While cardio is a great way to get your heart rate up, burn calories and lose weight, it isn’t the only way and a holistic, variety filled fitness plan is a better choice for long term results.  Lifting weights is an often-overlooked component for new dieters because cardio is seen as a more effective calorie burn.  But weight lifting can be just as effective in the short term and even more effective in the long term.  Lifting weights helps to build lean muscle that is so important to overall health.  Lean muscle mass also burns more calories over time, so having more muscle strength on the body will help it to be more efficient in the long run.  Resistance training through weight lifting should be incorporated at least 2-3 times per week for maximum results.  SureFiz trainer Jenn Ryan suggests finding a weight load that is heavy enough to fatigue the muscles in 12-15 reps. Lifting weights that are too light will not produce the desired weight loss results in your fitness plan, so grab some heavier weights and push yourself! 

Although it can be overwhelming to have so much information available at the click of a button, doing a little bit more research can help you find more success in your weight loss program.  Visit surefiz.com for more helpful tips, diet advice, recipes and workout tips.  Be sure to follow us on instagram, twitter or facebook to see our updates and daily inspiration. 

How to Stop Overeating For Lasting Weight Loss

If the holidays have left you bloated from overeating, check out some simple ways to change your habits and see better results in your weight loss journey

If the holidays have left you bloated from overeating, check out some simple ways to change your habits and see better results in your weight loss journey

How to Stop Overeating for Lasting Weight Loss

As we begin to wrap up the holiday season of 2020, many Americans are evaluating their lifestyles over the past year and vowing to begin 2021 with healthier food choices.  If you are one of many Americans who struggle with overeating around the holidays, you are not alone.  But if you struggle to control quantities and eat too much on a regular basis, you can severely hinder your weight loss plan and end up gaining weight instead of losing.  SureFiz trainer and health coach Jenn Ryan has some advice to help you successfully lose weight and control your eating as you begin the New Year. 

1.     Start a Food Journal

How to Stop Overeating and See Lasting Weight Loss Results

Writing your food down can help you with more awareness of what you are eating but it can also help you see quantities.  There are many online journals and apps to help you track your food.  Many of them also calculate calories, macros and activity so you can see how you are doing on a daily basis and make adjustments as necessary.

2.     Get Rid of Distractions

It’s much easier to overeat when you are in front of the television with a bag of chips.  In an hour you could have mindlessly eaten the entire bag! Snacking while distracted almost always leads to overeating.  If you find that you are hungry while you are working or watching television at night, put a small amount of snack into a bowl so that you have a limit to how much you eat.  Try to find something that has protein to help you feel satiated so that you will be less likely to overeat.  If you need help fitting protein in your diet, check out our blog on Simple Ways to Add More Protein. And make sure you add those snacks to your food journal so you can track everything.

3.     Eat Your Veggies First!

How to Stop Overeating and See Lasting Weight Loss Results

Eating vegetables at the beginning of the meal can help you feel full faster, and prevent overeating items such as bread or starchy, high carbohydrate foods.  Vegetables are also a healthy source of fiber in your daily diet and they can fill you up before you binge on less healthy options.  Since most vegetables are also very low in calories, feel free to eat as many as you want!

4.     Measure your Food 

Measuring your food ahead of time will also prevent you from overeating.  It is very easy to “eyeball” an amount of food and think it’s a certain amount when it is actually much more.  One example would be rice.  1 cup of rice has a whopping 200 calories and almost 50 grams of carbohydrates.  If you accidentally pile 2 cups on your plate, you’ve added a lot of calories and carbohydrates that won’t necessarily make you feel any more full, but could likely be the difference between losing weight, maintaining weight or even gaining weight. You can use measuring cups or even a food scale to weigh your food before putting it on your plate.  

5.     Serve Yourself in the Kitchen

Family style dining at the table may seem cozy and inviting, but it could be derailing your diet plan.  When food is in front of you and easy to grab, you are much more likely to reach for seconds or thirds.  By measuring your food on a plate and bringing it to the table, you are less likely to reach for more once you finish your first serving.

6.     Eat with Smaller Plates

How to Stop Overeating and See Lasting Weight Loss Results

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “my eyes were bigger than my stomach”, it can apply here.  When you plate your food, you will likely fill the circumference of your plate, no matter the size.  If you use a large dinner plate and fill it up, you will likely over feed yourself and eat more than you need.  By using a smaller plate or even a salad size plate you can serve yourself much less food to begin with and if you feel you need more after, you can have a small amount more.  

7.     Don’t Overstock Your Pantry

If your pantry is full of your favorite snacks, treats, processed foods and sugar, you will likely reach for those items mindlessly through the day.  When you grocery shop, be very mindful of all the items on your grocery list and try to buy simple, healthy foods.  If you don’t have salty, high fat or processed snacks easy to grab, you won’t be setting yourself up for failure when those late night cravings hit.  Your favorite snack foods are much more likely to tempt you when they are in your pantry.  If you have to go to the store and purchase them, the likelihood goes down a lot.  

8.     Meal Plan

How to Stop Overeating and See Lasting Weight Loss Results

Planning your meals and thinking ahead is a great way to set yourself up for future success.  If you set aside time at the beginning of your week when you are focused and intentional, you can avoid the last minute decisions made when you are busy and need to grab something easy and quick.  Meal planning can also help you keep your calories down because you can set your plan based on calorie counts in recipes you find.  Be sure to find recipes that are high in protein and low in sugars and saturated fats to help your body fuel and feel satiated for longer.

9.     Eat Smaller Meals

Eating smaller meals and snacks at regular intervals throughout the day will help you maintain a regular, healthy blood sugar level and avoid a blood sugar crash that could lead you to feel starving and binge eat everything you see.  Planning to eat 3 small meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner with 2-3 small snacks in between can help you go too long in between meals.  Make sure if you are busy and running around throughout the day that you have simple easy snacks with you in your purse or car. Protein bars are great for this purpose.  They are simple to grab, easy to eat and packed with protein to keep you feeling full while you are out.  

Overeating and mindless eating is easy to do, especially when you are trying to lose weight.  It is not impossible to get control of your eating habits but it does take some mindful effort and planning.  Using these tips to help you in your weight loss journey can help you find success in your program faster, and with better lasting results.  These tips are helpful not only during a weight loss program but also for a lifetime of healthy habits.  If you need advice on weight loss, diet tips, recipes and more, check out our website at surefiz.com.

How to Beat Sugar Cravings to Lose Weight

Eating too many sugary sweets can wreak havoc on a weight loss program. Here are some helpful tips to keep sugar cravings away to lose more weight.

Eating too many sugary sweets can wreak havoc on success in a weight loss program.  Here are some tips to keep sugar cravings away and lose more weight.

How to Beat Sugar Cravings and Lose More Weight

Do you find yourself trying to eat healthy, then running to the pantry for a sugary treat by mid afternoon?  No matter how hard you try to avoid sugar and sweet treats, temptations are everywhere.  In order to reach your weight loss goals and keep the weight off, you need to keep the sugar cravings in check.  While a sweet treat or random indulgence is not likely to completely derail your diet plan, regular treats and sugar binges will leave you struggling to lose the weight and keep it off for good.  

Why does sugar affect us in this way?

Sugar cravings and the feeling of needing a sugar fix begins in the brain.  According to nutritionist Gaby Vaca-Flores, The three main parts of the brain that control cravings and habits are the hippocampus, caudate nucleus, and the insula.  The hippocampus controls memory, motivations and emotion, which in regards to sugar helps to remind you how eating sugar makes you feel, and can encourage you to continue to seek those feelings again by returning to eat more sugar.  The caudate nucleus helps to form and sustain habits.  So if you reach for a sugary snack at the same time each day or always associate it with a certain behavior, likely the caudate nucleus is helping with this motivation.  The insula connects emotional responses to the experiences and feelings of eating sugar, which can be a driving factor in trying to fulfill emotional needs based on how sugar makes you feel.  So when you feel out of control and unable to say no to a sugar temptation, you aren’t alone and the science supports your feelings.

How to Beat Sugar Cravings and Lose More Weight

How to Curb Sugar Cravings

Armed with this knowledge about the brain and its effects on your cravings, you can recognize and resist when you feel a craving coming on.  Resisting temptation and reserving treats for special occasions will help you with long term success in reaching your weight loss goals. Here are some ideas to curb cravings and overcome the urge to eat sugar.

1. Eat a healthy, well balanced diet: Getting a vital balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats) along with healthy fruits and vegetables is not just important for your diet and weight loss program. It will also help your body remain in balance and reduce sugar cravings.  It can also help to break up meals and eat more regularly throughout the day to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes.  When blood sugar is low, the body will want a quick form of fuel to get back into balance and this is often in the form of simple carbohydrates, or sugar.  So if you find yourself craving sugar more when you are really hungry, you need to focus on keeping your body fueled with the right nutrients to prevent the craving in the first place.  (webmd)

2. Get enough rest:  Lack of sleep will also affect sugar cravings.  If you are feeling exhausted throughout the day, the brain will tell you to reach for something quick for energy, and again you will likely reach for a simple carbohydrate or sugary treat to supply that sugar rush, or boost of energy.  Another thing to keep in mind is that when you are tired, your decision making skills are weakened and you are much more likely to reach for a donut during your morning meeting rather than saying “no, thank you”.  Getting enough sleep keeps your mind sharp and your energy levels naturally up, so you won’t be as likely to feel the need to supplement with sugar. (healthline)

3. Exercise: A healthy exercise routine is also an important habit for long term success in a weight loss plan, but it can help curb sugar cravings as well. Getting regular exercise helps boost energy, release endorphins and promote feelings of success.  All of these factors will keep you motivated to stay on your diet plan and choose healthier habits.  Something as simple as going for a walk or running a few sets of stairs can also keep your mind off a craving, keeping you from giving in.

4. Don’t have sugar in the house: Personal trainer Jenn Ryan says this is her number one advice to clients who struggle with sugar cravings.  When you have your house stocked with easy to grab treats and sweets, you are making it way too easy to give into temptation when it arises.  You are much more likely to give in to a craving if you have sugar in the house.  If you have to get into the car, drive to the store, get out and purchase sweets, you are much less likely to go through with it.

How to Beat Sugar Cravings and Lose More Weight

Healthier Options

If you are truly craving sugar and need to eat something sweet, there are a few simple “swaps” recommended from webmd.  They can help you feel satiated and full, yet providing your body with nutrients it needs and even helping prevent some future cravings.

  • Give in a little-Too much restriction in dieting can lead to disastrous binges later on.  If you allow your body a small indulgence, such as a piece of chocolate or small cookie, you can feel satisfied without derailing your weight loss results.  Just remember to limit yourself, if you are likely to binge you want to keep sugar stashes in hard to reach places so you can eat in moderation.
  • Replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate, higher amounts of cocoa means less sugar
  • Eat healthy fruits-berries, bananas, apples and grapes all have natural sugars and nutrients that your body can use.  
  • Combine sugary treats with protein or high fiber carbohydrates: this will help the body feel full and balance any blood sugar spikes and crashes.  Examples are almonds with some chocolate chips, banana and peanut butter, or trail mixes.  

How to Beat Sugar Cravings and Lose More Weight

Crushing your sugar cravings doesn’t have to be impossible by following some of this advice.  It may not happen overnight, so be patient with yourself and continue trying.  We at SureFiz are with you on this journey and support you.  Check out our other blogs for health and fitness advice, workout tips and many other stories to help you achieve the weight loss success you are working for.  We also have our experts forum to help answer your toughest weight loss and exercise questions.  Stay strong, motivated and committed–you will achieve your goals!

Easy Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and vital to a successful weight loss program. Here are some ideas for a healthy breakfast every day of the week.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and vital to a successful weight loss program.  Here are some ideas for a healthy breakfast every day of the week. 

Easy Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right

Let’s face it–life is busy.  Weekday mornings are especially busy.  Between work, gym time, kids going to school or animals, there are many obligations that take time in the morning.  Many people end up skipping breakfast because of lack of time in the morning, and others grab an unhealthy option at the local drive-thru.  When on a weight loss journey, a healthy breakfast is essential.   We have compiled a list of some simple ideas to help you lose weight with a healthy breakfast, without taking all of your precious time in the morning.  

Eggs

Eggs are extremely versatile as a breakfast option and a great source of protein, a vital macronutrient in a weight loss program.  There are many ways you can eat a simple egg—fried, poached, scrambled, hard-boiled, soft boiled.  But there are also some simple recipes that can be made ahead or quickly on a busy morning to help satiate and give you necessary fuel to start your day, and keep you successful in your weight loss journey.  

Hard-Boiled Eggs: Prepping hard-boiled eggs on a Sunday or before the start of a busy week is super simple.  Eggs can be boiled on the stovetop, or an instant pot for quick, easy peeling.  Once you’ve peeled the eggs, store them in an airtight container for up to a week.  If you’re really short on time, section them into easy to grab containers for each morning of the week.

Egg “Muffins”: Egg muffins are a super easy way to get the nutrients of eggs as well as some veggies or other protein, which will create variety and give you important nutrients in your diet plan.  Start with sautéing any variety of vegetables you like.  Examples are spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomato, and broccoli.  Add a small amount of meat if you’d like-breakfast sausage, bacon or ham work great.  Fill some muffin cups or silicone cups 1/3 to ½ full of the vegetable/ meat mixture.  Mix 12 eggs with about ½ cup milk (or coconut milk for a nondairy option), and pour over the mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12-15 minutes, or until they are set.  Pop them out of the muffin tin and place in an airtight container, or freeze in a Ziploc storage bag for later use.

Egg Hash: If you have a little more time in the morning, an egg hash is a great way to have a delicious, decadent and filling, yet healthy breakfast.  To begin, air fry the diced potatoes, or roast in oven.  While they are cooking up to a crisp, sauté up your favorite veggies-red onion, spinach and mushrooms are all great choices.  Then fry 2 eggs.  Once all components are cooked, layer the bottom of a bowl with the roasted potatoes.  Place vegetable mixture on top of the potatoes followed by the eggs.   To top the bowls, you can add a sprinkle of goat cheese, tomatoes, chopped green onion or cilantro garnish.  If you are trying to keep the calories extra low for maximum weight loss, omit the goat cheese. 

Oats

Easy Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right

Simple oats can also be a great addition to your diet and weight loss program.  They are a great source of antioxidants, soluble fiber, can improve blood sugar and lower cholesterol.  They can also help curb hunger and feelings of satiation, which can be incredibly helpful when trying to lose weight.  One thing to keep in mind when adding oats to a weight loss program is that they are very calorie dense, so it is important to measure quantities to make sure you are not over consuming oats each day.  Here are a few suggestions of how to add oats into your weight loss plan in a healthy way.

Basic oats/Oatmeal:  Oatmeal can be a very quick, simple breakfast.  For a quicker option you can get quick oats, which will cook quickly and easily in the microwave.  Make sure that you get plain oats, not flavored or loaded with sugary additions.  The high sugar oatmeal options will only slow your weight loss progress, and starting your morning with too much sugar can add to blood sugar spikes and crashes later.  Some healthier additions to flavor your oatmeal are fruit-berries, bananas, etc., a spoonful of honey, or a mixture of cinnamon and stevia.  

Overnight Oats: Overnight oats are a great make-ahead breakfast option.  There are so many varieties of overnight oats and ways to customize, but here is a great recipe to use that adds in some greek yogurt for additional protein:  Mix the following ingredients in a large cup or mug-½ cup rolled oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds, ¼ tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup, ¼ cup greek yogurt, ½ cup milk.  Stir to mix, cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning you can add any berries or fruit to the cup and enjoy!  The oats and yogurt aid in satiety, helping you resist tempting morning treats in the workplace on your weight loss journey!

Protein Packed Breakfast Options

Easy Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right

If you are sick of eggs as your morning protein source or looking for some other options to add variety in your weight loss program, there are many easy recipe ideas to be found.  To figure out some other options, it doesn’t always mean a huge commitment of time, but a bit of creativity and thinking outside the box.  Here are a few ideas that can help you get out the door quickly, fill you up and still help you lose weight and stay on track with your diet plan.  For more tips on getting protein in your diet, click here

Greek Yogurt and Berries:  Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of protein for weight loss, as well as probiotics to help with gut health and immune response.  Make sure you are purchasing a lower fat greek yogurt to help balance your daily macronutrients to help with weight loss, and a low sugar/no sugar added option.  Top with ½ to 1 cup of berries for an added burst of nutrients and antioxidants, plus the added bonus of delicious flavor. 

Protein Shakes or Bars: If time is especially short, grabbing a quick protein shake or bar can be the easiest, quickest option of all.  SureFiz trainer Jenn Ryan advises you don’t make this a go-to every morning.  “While shakes and bars can be a helpful tool in a weight loss program, they shouldn’t be used in replacement of natural, real foods”, says Ryan,  “but if your choice is the drive-thru or a protein bar, then by all means grab the bar.  But you will find much more long term benefits from incorporating as much real whole foods in your weight loss program than protein shakes and bars”.   There are many shakes and bars on the market so our suggestion is to check the labels to make sure you are choosing the brand that offers as much real, healthy ingredients and the least amount of chemical additives.  If the ingredient list has 50 ingredients on it and you can’t pronounce any of them, try to find a better option.  

Banana Protein Pancakes: Banana pancakes are a great satiating breakfast.  But many recipes are high in carbs and not very healthy.  Instead, opt for an easy, fairly quick recipe packed with protein: mix together 2 bananas, 2 eggs, 3 scoops of protein powder (unflavored or vanilla works great), and 1 tsp cinnamon.  Pour on a griddle or sauté pan and cook about 2 minutes each side until done.  Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for a quick breakfast later in the week.  

Finding healthy, easy breakfasts to help you in your weight loss journey doesn’t have to be challenging.  These options offer variety; protein and nutrients that will help you feel full, energized and ready for your day.  No matter which breakfasts you choose from our list, make sure you are always planning ahead.  Making a plan and prepping your ingredients before you start your busy week will give you much greater chances of success in your weight loss program. 

Do Vitamins Cause Bloating in a Weight Loss Plan?

Many vitamins and supplements contain nutrients that are beneficial for overall health and weight loss, but can they lead to side effects such as bloating?

Many vitamins and supplements contain nutrients that are beneficial for overall health and weight loss, but can they lead to side effects such as bloating?

Can Vitamins or Supplements Cause Bloating in Your Weight Loss Plan?

Supplementing with vitamins can help you with your diet, especially if you are lacking in some nutrients from your daily foods in your weight loss journey.  But sometimes the same vitamins that are supposed to help increase overall health can also have some unpleasant side effects.  Let’s take a look at some vitamins that can cause bloating, some that can relieve it and considerations you should take if you are supplementing with vitamins or minerals.

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic compounds, or micronutrients, needed in small amounts in the human body, not just for weight loss but many other functions as well.  Many vitamins can come from food but some come from other sources.  For example, vitamin D can and generally needs to be absorbed from sunlight because there is not enough of a quantity in food we eat.  Likewise, you may need to supplement if you find that you are deficient in a vitamin and the food you eat isn’t supplying enough.  The best way to figure out if you are deficient in a specific vitamin is to see your doctor and have some testing done to determine.  There are 13 known vitamins and they are classified as either water soluble or fat soluble.  Fat soluble vitamins are more easily stored in the body than water soluble vitamins. (Source: Medical News Today).

Can Vitamins or Supplements Cause Bloating in Your Weight Loss Plan?

Can Vitamins Cause Bloating?

Many vitamins do not tend to cause bloating but there are some instances where bloating can occur, which can be incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable during a weight loss journey. Multivitamins, especially those containing iron can cause mild discomfort and gas or bloating.  Supplements containing fiber can create excess gas, as the body may not be accustomed to the level of fiber being ingested.  Another reason you may be experiencing gas or a bloated feeling could be due to constipation, as some studies have shown links to vitamins and GI discomfort or constipation.  (Source: livestrong.com

Vitamin D

Recent studies have shown a link between vitamin D and bloating.  Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is found in fatty fishes such as salmon and tuna or fortified foods such as cereals. But since it is not prevalent enough in foods we eat, supplementation is often necessary.  Even those who live in sunnier climates tend to be deficient in vitamin D and can find it helpful to supplement.  But in some cases, vitamin D can lead to bloating and gas or uncomfortable side effects.  Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in fat cells in the body.  Ingesting too much vitamin D over a long period of time leads to gastrointestinal side effects and can also lead to frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, weakness, damage to the kidneys, heart or blood vessels.  (Source: livestrong.com)  You should definitely check with your doctor if you feel you are ingesting too much vitamin D or experiencing some of these uncomfortable symptoms.  Visit our blog for more information on the benefits of vitamin D and other nutrients on the immune system.

Can Vitamins or Supplements Cause Bloating in Your Weight Loss Plan?

Are There any Vitamins that can Help with Bloating?

There are some vitamins shown to help with bloating.  Vitamin B-6 can help as a diuretic to help reduce bloating from water retention.  Calcium may also help with bloating but you may want to take with magnesium in order to reduce the chances of constipation.  In any case, increasing your water consumption can always help with reducing bloating and water retention in the body, as well as aid in weight loss and your diet plan.  Aim to get half your body weight in ounces at the minimum.  Water can help with many other functions in the body, so drink up!  

Making sure that you are getting the proper levels of nutrients (not too much or too little) is very important in overall health and wellness, as well as your diet plan and fitness program.  If you notice regular symptoms that could be caused by vitamin deficiency or uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects from vitamins, be sure and check with your doctor.  And if you have any questions along your journey, the SureFiz website can be a valuable tool.  We have workout plans, diet plans, recipes and more! 

Simple Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet

Do you struggle to get enough protein? Here are simple ways to boost protein in your diet to maximize your weight loss program

Do you struggle to get enough protein?  Here are simple ways to boost protein in your diet to maximize your weight loss program

Simple Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet for Maximum Weight Loss

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

There are three major macronutrients that compose our daily diets: carbohydrates, protein and fat.  Each of them plays a vital role to the nutrition of our bodies.  But very commonly in a weight loss journey, people find their daily protein count too low.  Protein is vital to building and maintaining muscle, keeping the body lean, and helping to satiate us, among other benefits.  The recommended daily amount of protein varies per person and is dependent on personal goals, but in general it should compose around 25%-35% of your daily diet.  This means that in a 1500 calorie diet, someone should be aiming to consume anywhere from 300-420 of their daily calories from protein, or approximately 75-105 grams of protein.  Without some strategic planning, it can feel impossible to hit these goals.  After all, carbs and fat are so much easier to eat and sometimes more fun!  Here are some simple ways to try and help you get closer to reaching those goals.  

Start Your Day with Protein

Simple Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet for Maximum Weight Loss

It might seem easier to reach for that box of cereal or throw in a piece of toast, but starting your day with protein sets you off on the right foot, supports your muscles first thing and helps you feel more satisfied for longer.  There are studies that have shown better brain performance from eating protein first thing in the day, too.  Here are some breakfast suggestions for you:

  1. Eggs-there are so many ways to eat an egg.  Fried, poached, simple scramble with veggies, or if you’re tight on time in the morning have some previously hard boiled and peeled eggs ready in the fridge to grab on your way out.  Try this simple recipe-egg “muffins”.  Scramble 12 eggs with whatever veggies you like, pour the mixture into a muffin tin and bake 12-15 mins til done.  Pop the “muffins” out, put them in a container and refrigerate for the week or freeze for long term.  
  2. Fruit with greek yogurt-not an egg fan?  Chop up some of your favorite fruit, and pour over 1 cup of greek yogurt for a simple, filling breakfast packed with protein, and sure to fill you up for hours.
  3. Chicken sausage-Another simple way to get protein in the morning, yet lower in fat than traditional sausage.  You can also cook these up ahead of time and store in the fridge for those busy mornings.

Supplement with Bars or Shakes

Protein bars and shakes are a great way to supplement additional protein.  Many have at least 20 grams per serving and there are many options on the market today-whey protein, vegan protein, paleo-style protein made with egg or beef, and more.  The shakes and bars have come a long way in recent years-many are very flavorful and less chalky tasting than they used to be.  One thing to watch for with protein bars and shakes is the ingredients.  Try to find a product that is as natural as possible, without a list of 50 chemical based ingredients that you can’t pronounce.  In this case, less is more-the smaller the ingredient list, the more natural/better it is for you.  Try a few different kinds until you find some you really like! Keep some protein bars stashed in your purse, car or gym bag in case you are out running around and find yourself starving.  This will prevent you from grabbing something at a convenience store or fast food drive-thru on the go.  

Add Collagen to Your Coffee

Collagen powders have become quite popular in recent years and for good reason.  Collagen is a great source of protein, can strengthen your bones, improve brain and heart health and even help with keeping your skin glowing.  There are many options for collagen powders that are flavorless, which makes it super easy to add a scoop to your morning coffee, or to your soup or even to baked goods.  The options are endless with this easily dissolving flavorless source of protein.  If you have kids who need a protein boost, add it to their water or juice, or even their macaroni and cheese-they’ll never know! 

Sneak it on the Side

Simple Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet for Maximum Weight Loss

Many people don’t think of side dishes or accompaniments as being good sources of protein, but they really can help increase overall daily protein consumption when you add them strategically.  For example, one cup of cooked green peas contains a whopping 9 grams of protein per cup-that’s more than a glass of milk!  Other vegetables with higher protein content are broccoli, spinach, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts, containing an average 4-5 grams of protein per cooked cup.  Other helpful sources of protein are nuts, quinoa, nut butters, hummus, lentils and other beans.  These can also be great sources of protein for vegetarian and vegan dieters as well.  Adding any of these items to your meals or snacks can help boost that overall protein intake as well.

As with any diet plan or fitness program, tracking can help you stay on track and reach your weight loss goals.  This is the same when it comes to protein.  Tracking your daily protein intake can help keep you aware of how much you are eating per day and how much you need to add to get to your own personal goal.  SureFiz is with you along your weight loss journey and can help you break down your larger goals into manageable sub-goals.  If you haven’t checked out our amazing program yet, be sure to click here and sign up today!  

Healthy Foods For A Strong Immune System this Winter

A strong immune system has many components, including a healthy daily diet. Here are some foods to try to help you stay healthy through the winter.

A strong immune system has many components, including a healthy daily diet.  Here are some everyday foods you can eat to help you stay healthy through the winter.

Healthy Foods to Keep your Immune System Strong this Winter

The body’s immune system is it’s first defense against illness.  When it comes to preventing colds, flus or even the coronavirus, keeping the body strong and healthy is of utmost importance.  You don’t need to reach for expensive vitamins and supplements to keep your body strong.  There are many healthy foods that you’ll find easy to incorporate into your daily diet and weight loss program.  

What makes an immune system strong?

Healthy Foods to Keep your Immune System Strong this Winter

When it comes to keeping your immune system strong and thriving, several components are important to keep in mind.  The immune system isn’t single faceted, but a complete system in the body that depends on a lot of factors to function well.  Some of the main ways you can help your immune system stay strong are:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Quit smoking cigarettes (or don’t start)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Try to minimize stress
  • Practice good hygiene-washing hands, etc.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
  • Eat a variety of natural, healthy foods-especially fruits and vegetables
  • Keep sugar intake low, avoid unnatural sources

Working on all of the above areas can help keep your immune system strong and ready to fight off any illness or infection, but when it comes to eating healthy some foods are definitely superior in their immune-boosting qualities.  Focus on foods that are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc.  The key is getting a good variety of these foods to keep each of these nutrients strong in your body.

Antioxidants

“Antioxidant” is a word used a lot in the health and fitness world.  But what does it really mean? Broken down,  according to veryhealthy.life, the anti means against and oxidant refers to something that will chemically combine with oxygen. This means that antioxidants prevent oxidation against free radicals.  When there are free radicals within the body they can cause a chain reaction that causes damage to the cells.  Antioxidants can help keep your cells strong against this free radical damage.  Some popular foods that are high in antioxidants are:

  • Raspberries, cherries, apricots, cranberries and watermelon
  • Broccoli, spinach, artichokes,
  • Rosemary, oregano, thyme
  • Kidney beans
  • Turmeric
  • Acai powder
  • Allspice, cinnamon, cocoa powder

By combining many of these fresh fruits, vegetables and spices together, there are many easy and creative ways to get more antioxidant rich foods into your diet.  

Vitamin C

Healthy Foods to Keep your Immune System Strong this Winter

Vitamin C might be the most common vitamin known to fight illness and aid in recovery well.  Because the body cannot produce or store vitamin c, it has to be sourced through the diet, and finding daily sources in a variety of foods can help ensure you are getting enough.    When you think of vitamin c you might immediately think of oranges or other citrus, but many other foods are high in vitamin c that may not have come to your mind. Here are some great healthy food options that give a boost of vitamin c:

  • Red pepper, green pepper, green chile pepper
  • Oranges, strawberries, papaya, guava
  • Broccoli, potato, brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Lemon, grapefruit, kiwifruit, mango

Vitamin D

Healthy Foods to Keep your Immune System Strong this Winter

Vitamin D has been known for many years to promote bone growth and absorb calcium.  Recent studies have also shown a link between vitamin D and other important body functions, including a healthy immune system response.  “Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other maladies. These studies show that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of disease” (webmd).  The body can produce vitamin D, but only after skin exposure to sunlight for an extended period of time.  Unfortunately, those who live in less sunny climates can be at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.  Even those who live in sunny areas may still have vitamin D deficiency if they spend a majority of their time indoors.  Recent studies have been conducted on the potential role vitamin D may have in the immune response to COVID-19.  Although more research needs to be done, studies show positive results that link vitamin D to the immune system strength needed to fight the coronavirus and other diseases.  If you are not able to get enough sunlight daily, these foods can help to supplement vitamin D in your body:

  • Salmon
  • Herring, sardines, cod liver oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified foods with vitamin D, such as cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals and oatmeal.

Getting vitamin D from all natural sources such as the sun and natural healthy foods is always the best way to give the body what it needs on a daily basis.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays an important role in the body, including slowing the aging process and providing an antioxidant barrier against free radicals.  The body doesn’t need large amounts of this mineral for healthy function, so it is an easy nutrient to supplement with a healthy diet.  Keep in mind that animal foods are the best sources of zinc compared to plant foods, like vegetables, because zinc bioavailability (the fraction of zinc that’s retained and used by the body) is high in foods like animal meat and seafood (draxe.com).  That doesn’t mean animal foods are the only source, but combining animal and plant sources can help guarantee you’re getting all you need in your daily diet.  Some of the foods highest in zinc are:

  • Grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken
  • Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, cashews
  • Chickpeas, lentils, almonds
  • Kefir, yogurt, ricotta cheese
  • Mushrooms, spinach, avocado

By working at maintaining a healthy immune system through the winter months, you can do your best to stay strong and able to fight any viruses that come your way.  Choosing a variety of foods from all of these categories will help you feel better, stay stronger and promote healthy weight loss as part of your overall diet plan.  Holistic health is not just about weight loss or physical appearance, but about the functions of the entire body.  By keeping all of your systems strong you can feel better from the inside out.  

All About Intermittent Fasting and How to do it

Intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular lifestyle trends for weight loss and improving overall health

Intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular lifestyle trends for weight loss and improving overall health

All About Intermittent Fasting

What is intermittent fasting?

Is it the same as starvation? According to DietDoctor, fasting differs from starvation in one crucial way: control. Starvation is the involuntary absence of food for a long time. This can lead to severe suffering or even death. On the other hand, fasting is the voluntary avoidance of food for spiritual, health, or other reasons. It’s done by someone who is not underweight and has enough stored body fat to live off. When done correctly, fasting should not cause suffering, and certainly never death.

According to Healthline, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It does not specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. It is not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.

Fasting itself has been practiced from thousands of years ago by different cultures and religions. People who still fast for cultural or religious reasons claim that fasting improves their focus, concentration and clarity. There’s also a ton of promising intermittent fasting studies done on rats. They are all reporting positive results-such as weight loss, improved blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars. However, according to Harvard Health Publishing, the studies in humans almost across the board have shown that intermittent fasting is safe and incredibly effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. Aside from that, many people find it difficult to fast and keep it as a lifestyle.

How does intermittent fasting work in weight loss?

When we fast, there are several things in our body on the cellular and molecular level. One of the things is that our body will adjust hormone levels to make our stored body fat more accessible. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains, are quickly broken down into sugar that our cells use for energy.

If our cells do not use the sugars, we will store it in our fat cells. Sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, which brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there. When we stop eating, our insulin levels go down and our fat cells can then release the stored sugar, to be used as energy. The entire idea of intermittent fasting is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and long enough that we burn off our fat. Not only that, when we fast, our human growth hormone levels go up and our body’s cells also change the expression of genes and initiate important cellular repair processes. So scientifically, there are major health benefits in fasting aside from weight loss.

A 2014 study found that this eating pattern can cause 3–8% weight loss over 3–24 weeks, which is a significant amount, compared to most weight loss studies (1).

How to do intermittent fasting correctly

How to do intermittent fasting correctly

According to Healthline.com, there are few different ways of doing intermittent fasting. The main idea is splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods. During these fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.

These are the most popular methods:

  • The 16/8 method: it involves skipping one of your meals in a day (typically breakfast or dinner) and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours only. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: it involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
  • The 5:2 diet: you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally on the other 5 days.
  • Alternate-day fasting: you fast every other day.
  • The warrior diet: you eat small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eat one huge meal at night.
  • Spontaneous meal skipping: simply skip meals from time to time when you feel like it (spontaneously).

By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss as long as you do not compensate by binge eating during the eating periods. The 16/8 method is the most popular intermittent fasting method. People find it to be the simplest, most sustainable, and easiest to stick to. If you have ever eaten dinner, then slept late, skipped breakfast and gone straight to lunch on the next day, then you have probably already fasted for 16+ hours.

During fasting, you still can drink zero calorie liquids such as black coffee, tea, water, and other non-caloric beverages. You may also have supplements which are best taken with meals.

What are the side effects of intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is certainly not for everyone. According to DietDoctor there are certain people who should not try intermittent fasting, such as:

  • People who are underweight (BMI < 18.5) or have an eating disorder like anorexia.
  • People who are pregnant
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • A child under 18 years old

There are some people with the following conditions who can probably fast, but may need medical supervision:

  • People with diabetes mellitus type 1 or type 2.
  • People who take prescription medication.
  • People who have gout or high uric acid.
  • People who have any serious medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, or heart disease.

For normal and healthy people, hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting. In the beginning, they may also feel a little weaker and their brain may not perform as well as they are used to. But this is just temporary. After some time, your body will adapt to the new eating routine.

According to Healthline, there is some evidence that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. Some studies in rats have found that intermittent fasting can make female rats emaciated, masculinized, infertile and cause them to miss cycles. There is no human study on this topic yet. However, there are a number of anecdotal reports of women who experienced absence of menstrual period when they started doing intermittent fasting and went back to normal when they resumed their previous eating pattern. For these reasons, women should be careful with intermittent fasting. Especially if you have issues with fertility and/or are trying to conceive, consider holding off on intermittent fasting for now.

Intermittent fasting is not something that anyone needs to or should do. Some people do not like the adjustment of lifestyle and it can be difficult to maintain, especially in their social life. Intermittent fasting is great for some people, not others. The only way to find out which group you belong to is to give it a try. If you enjoy doing it and find it a sustainable option of dieting, it may be a good idea to keep it.

If you need another option than dieting to lose weight, you could tune in the SureFiz app because we are going to launch meal plan features that are personalized and adjusted based on your body composition data. Subscribe to our newsletter to get yourself updated.

Source: Healthline, DietDoctor, Harvard Health Publishing

Four Simple Tips To Have A Healthy Holiday

Holidays are no excuse to give up on your diet plan. You can still make progress in your weight loss and fitness journey.

Holidays are no excuse to give up on your diet plan. You can still make progress in your weight loss and fitness journey.

The holiday is the toughest season for those who are trying to lose weight. Most people just give up and block these three months to not caring about what they eat. It is understandable though. It is not so fun to always feel cautious and anxious about the food whenever you try to enjoy holiday dinners with family. Refusing certain meals would be perceived as rude behavior in some families. There are ways to get away from that though. Here are the tips to have an enjoyable healthy holiday.

1.) Try intermittent fasting

4 Tips To Have A Healthy Holiday

Image source: intermountainhealthcare.org

This is optional because fasting might not work for everybody. Studies have shown the benefits of intermittent fasting for weight loss and blood sugar control. Intermittent fasting puts your body in ketosis. According to WebMD, ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you keep muscle. However, if you are interested in doing intermittent fasting, do not just do it on holiday months. Start a few weeks to a month before to let your body adjust to the changes due to ketosis. If you can, try to decrease the eating window to 8 or 6 hours. You can do it anytime in the day. Some people like to eat at night, some people like to eat in the morning. But make sure you have stopped eating heavy meals 2 hours before bedtime.

2.) Start with the soup

4 Tips To Have A Healthy Holiday

When the dinner starts, do not go heavy right away. Start with the soup. A Penn State study shows that eating low-calorie soup before a meal can help cut back on how much food and calories you eat at the meal. The results show that when participants in the study ate a first course of soup before a lunch entree, they reduced their total calorie intake at lunch (soup + entree) by 20 percent, compared to when they did not eat soup. The study tested whether the form of soup and the blending of its ingredients also affected food intake and satiety. Soups tested included separate broth and vegetables, chunky vegetable soup, chunky-pureed vegetable soup, and pureed vegetable soup. While researchers thought that increasing the thickness or the amount of chewing required may have made certain forms of soup more filling, the results of the study show that low-calorie soup is filling regardless of its form.

3.) Pick the high-protein food

4 Tips To Have A Healthy Holiday

When it is time to dive into the main course, go for high-protein food such as turkey breast, salmon, pork loin, meatballs, or beef steak. High protein foods make you feel full longer and satisfied so you will eat less and cut down on snacking. High protein foods not only help you build and maintain lean muscle mass, but also give you extra nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium. You do not have to completely avoid your favorite holiday foods. One tip is to skip the foods you can eat year-round, like chocolate chip cookies. Instead, taste the special treats you can only get this time of year, like gingerbread. If you really want to have chocolate chip cookies, it’s also okay. Just remember, everything in moderation.

4.) Never stop moving

4 Tips To Have A Healthy Holiday

The holiday season is typically packed with a lot of free time. Make use of this free time by moving. You can do simple things like cleaning the house, preparing meals, decorating, or doing laundry. Walk the dog (if you have one), or just go for a walk or a run in the neighborhood. Do our recommended free Youtube workouts or you can try our stairs workout if you are not in the mood of going outside.

It is a little tricky but definitely doable. Do not let the holiday season set you back. A little set back is okay but do not settle there. Get up and work on it. The weight loss journey is never easy. You will have some setbacks. But believe in yourself. You will get there. Be strong and keep on going.

Pros and Cons of Fasted Cardio in Weight Loss

What is fasted cardio and is it better for success in a weight loss program?

What is fasted cardio and is it better for success in a weight loss program?

Pros and Cons of Fasted Cardio in Weight Loss

Fasted Cardio has become a buzzword in recent years in the fitness world, but what is it really? And can it be part of an effective weight loss routine?  Overall, a simple definition of fasted cardio is a cardiovascular exercise that increases your heart rate sufficiently after depriving the body of food for longer than 8-12 hours. Most often this involves a first thing in the morning workout, as that is commonly when people skip meals for this length of time.  Many athletes and avid gym-goers use this technique to increase their potential fat burning capacity.  

What Does Science Say About Fasted Cardio?

The concept behind fasted cardio has to do with fuel storage.  When a person has fasted overnight, the body doesn’t have fast energy (food) or quick reserves ready to go.  Because of this, the metabolic system has to tap into fat storage in the body, and supporters believe that this leads to higher fat burn and overall weight loss.  But what does science say?  According to Women’s Health, “a meta-analysis from 2018 found that eating before a workout helps people perform aerobic work for longer than in a fasted state, though skipping a snack pre-workout could potentially have some metabolic advantages”.  Other studies have found similar results and led to some inconclusive answers for those seeking fasted cardio in their weight loss.  Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, C.S.C.S, a graduate program director of human performance and fitness at Lehman College states that an “important note to consider is how your body uses fat.  First, there’s fat oxidation,which means actually burning fat.  And then there’s fat breakdown, where fatty acids get released from fat cells and then move throughout the body.  It’s questionable whether fasted cardio actually works to burn more fat, even if it does break it down.  And those fatty acids are just returned back to fat cells for storage”. 

What Does This Mean for a Workout?

One thing to keep in mind is the variability of workouts.  A short, 30 minute elliptical session needs a lot less fuel than a 20 mile marathon training run.  Trying to fast before cardio with a long training session ahead could lead to low performance, lack of energy and endurance or even digestive disturbances if too much depletion happens too fast.  And many people find it to be very exhausting.  It can be hard to put full effort forward in any routine when the fuel tank is running on fumes.  

There are people on both sides of the fence when it comes to fasted cardio.  Some love it, some hate it.  With inconclusive evidence proving that it actually aids in overall fat loss, the bottom line is to go with what works for you.  There are people who simply cannot have food in their stomach before a workout due to stomach sensitivity, so in those cases trainers recommend eating at least 1-2 hours before a workout.  This gives the body adequate time to process and breakdown the foods eaten without causing gastrointestinal distress.  The calorie amount depends on the length and intensity of the workout, but in general a small meal or snack consisting of 1-200 calories will suffice.  Some good pre-workout snacks could be a banana, a small piece of wheat toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 cup of grapes, a small handful of almonds, etc.  These foods all fill the body with necessary nutrients and give the body enough fuel to power through a tough workout session.  

Weight loss programs, trends and diets can be challenging to understand, especially with how much information is available.  SureFiz can help!  Our intuitive weight loss program can help you with goal setting, redirect your path with our “GPS of weight management”, and give you advice along the way! Be sure to check us out  and join our SureFiz team to see your results grow and weight loss success happen!