Thursday, 30 April 2015

8 Ways to Ward Off Winter Weight Gain

Imagine that it’s April. The weather is warming up and it’s time to pull your spring clothes out of storage, including the bathing suit you shoved in the back of your closet in September. While doing your spring cleaning, you start to try on your warm-weather clothes and…they’re a little more snug than you remember.

No, the magic clothes-shrinking fairy didn’t go to town on your wardrobe over the winter. You remember now: the holiday cookies, the workouts you skipped due to the cold, all that hot chocolate you sipped. And, come to think of it, when was the last time you actually noticed your body shape underneath all those bulky winter sweaters and baggy flannel pants?

Clothes-shrinking fairies may not be real, but winter weight gain certainly is.  Between the colder weather, shortened daylight hours, and seemingly endless indulgent holidays (from Christmas to Valentine's Day), there's no question that winter creates a perfect storm for weight gain. Even the most motivated people become side-tracked during the colder months. But don't let the odds get you down! A little motivation and willpower can get you through this rough patch of the year without derailing your healthy lifestyle efforts. Here are some tips to help you overcome the most common winter hurdles.

Make Fitness a Priority
Although frequent physical activity should be a year-round goal, try even harder to put exercise at the top of your to-do list during the winter. Not only will it keep the pounds from creeping on, but it will also get your brain circulating feel-good endorphins to prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the months of cold weather and sparse sunlight. (And let’s face it, feeling down or depressed isn’t going to do anything to help you motivation to eat well or exercise.) You can also seize this opportunity to switch up your workouts and enjoy the winter sports(think skiing and ice skating) that aren't available during the rest of the year. As a bonus, many wintertime activities tend to be group-oriented and family-friendly, so participating in them is a great way to bond with friends and loved ones while keeping fit.

Create a Realistic Eating Strategy for the Holidays
You may think that the holidays end on January 1, but you still have to face Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine's Day and even St. Patrick's Day before spring rolls around. Diving headfirst into the holiday feasting season without a game plan is a recipe for added pounds. Prepare to avoid the "all-or-nothing" mentality of the holiday treats by allowing yourself to savor small amounts of your absolute favorite dishes. As you eat, be mindful of your food and of the moment in which you're enjoying it. Eat until you are satisfied (but not stuffed!), and then focus on the company and conversation; after all, that's what the holidays are really about.

Don’t Let Comfort Food Make You Uncomfortable in Your Clothes 
From gooey macaroni and cheese to freshly baked cookies, chowing down on some good old-fashioned comfort food passes the time, warms your body, and makes the dreary winter months more tolerable. Although comfort foods may be good for the soul, few are as friendly to your waistline.

Instead of turning to food to lose the winter blues, stop and think about what’s getting you down in the first place. Are you feeling cold? Warm up with a hot cup of tea (it’s calorie-free!) or cuddle up under a big, fluffy blanket. Is the weather making you stir-crazy? Call up a friend and do something active together to get you out of the house and keep your blood pumping. Identifying the reasons why you want to eat will make it easier to take a step back and make a healthier choice.

If you don’t want to give up on your favorite winter comfort foods altogether, you can still have them! Just make sure to use the principles of moderation and smart substitutions to stay on track with your healthy efforts. Whenmaking your favorite comfort dishes, use low-fat milk and cheese whenever possible and substitute healthier cooking methods, like baking instead of frying. Give yourself permission to enjoy a small serving and remind yourself that it will be there again later if you want it—there’s no need to eat the whole casserole in one sitting!

Rethink Your Winter Drinks 
From October through January, high-calorie seasonal drinks such as spiced gingerbread lattes, hot chocolate, and warm apple cider flood restaurant menus. They may lure you in with their festive names and adorable whipped cream crowns, but look out; some medium-sized drinks can clock in at 500 calories—or more if you order the larger sizes! To lighten up a seasonal drink, enjoy the smallest size with skim milk, sugar-free syrup, and light (or no) whipped cream, or swap it out for a healthier alternative, like hot tea or plain coffee. If you have an insatiable craving for the real deal, indulge in the smallest portion, but be diligent about your diet (or add a little more physical activity) the rest of the day.           

Avoid the Social Eating Trap
Winter social gatherings tend to center around a lot of sedentary activity and heavy amounts of food (think Sunday night football with baskets of jalapeno poppers and chicken wings). If your friends are indulging in high-calorie winter fare while lounging in front of the tube, chances are, you’re likely to join them. Studies show that people tend to mimic the eating habits of their peers and social groups. Eating together is also a bonding experience, and it can be awkward to sit and watch someone else indulge without joining in. If someone is eating, you may feel indirect pressure to eat as well, regardless of your true hunger levels or healthy living goals. Somehow, seeing a friend eat something, even if it’s a food you wouldn’t normally choose to eat, makes it OK for you to do so as well.

When eating socially, constantly keep your goals in mind and make them clear to those around you. Voice your weight-loss goals to your friends before you find yourself in a situation where you might be inadvertently pressured to eat something. If your friends want to eat something that doesn’t fit in with your meal plan, choose a restaurant that can accommodate everyone’s needs. If you’re cooking together, make your own lightened-up portion of the dish (like leaving off the cheese on your portion of a homemade pizza), or bring a healthy dish of your own to eat.

Stop Bingeing out of Boredom
With the colder temperatures and extreme weather conditions, you may often find yourself cooped up in the house more often in the winter than during other times of the year. Many people turn to food for stimulationwhen they are bored, which makes sense; it tastes good, gives you something to do, and takes your mind off of stressors. However, eating might not be the most favorable winter pastime for you if you want to fit into your swimsuit when summer finally rolls around. Here are some fun ideas to distract you from the pantry:
  • Start turning your holiday photos into a fun scrapbook for your family to enjoy.
  • Take up knitting and practice making scarves and mittens—it passes the time and is practical, too!
  • Join an online or in-person book club, or create one with your friends.
  • Host a fitness party! Get a group together at your home to try out a new workout DVD, eat healthy snacks, and swap favorite workout routines and healthy recipes. It’s a great alternative to getting together for a sedentary game night!
  • Make an inspiration board to remind you of your healthy living goals. Cut pictures and quotes from magazines and glue them onto a piece of poster board to hang in a place where you’ll see it every day. You could also make an ongoing motivational scrapbook to help you focus on your goals and keep your hands busy whenever you feel like mindlessly snacking.
Don’t Let the Flu Sabotage Your Fitness
A big roadblock to wintertime weight-loss is that nasty little bug that comes crawling back every year: the flu. Winter is prime cold and flu season since you tend to spend more time indoors, creating a breeding ground for germs. The stress of the holiday season can also wear down your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. When you get sick, you might tend to eat more of your favorite high-calorie comfort foods while skipping out on regular exercise, creating a winning combination for weight gain. Although it’s inevitable that you will get sick at some point, there are ways to reduce your chances of it happening:  
  • Wash your hands as often as you can, especially when someone in your household is sick. Hand sanitizer is not as effective, but will work in a pinch if there is no soap and water available.
  • Avoid touching the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, and mouth with your bare hands. Touching your face is one of the easiest ways for germs to get into your body.
  • Regularly disinfect the most-used surfaces and items in your home, including doorknobs, countertops, and TV remotes.
  • Keep your immune system and metabolism revved to ward off illness by getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Go outside and get some fresh air whenever possible. Staying inside too long, especially with other people, is a recipe for multiplying germs.

Be Mindful of Your Body’s Signals
Winter is a busy time and personal health is often the first thing to get lost in the shuffle. Your hunger and fullness cues get thrown out of whack over the food-centric parties, and you’re stressed from buying gifts, attending gatherings, and dealing with bad weather. It’s important to notice when you lose track of how you’re feeling, as it can cause you to lose focus on your healthy lifestyle efforts. There are a few simple things you can do to keep yourself accountable for your health during the winter:
  • Step on the scale. Keeping an eye on your weight can help you stop major gains before they spiral out of control. Aim to weigh yourself once a week to track broad trends. The scale does not define you, but it can serve as a helpful tool when you need a little extra motivation during the winter.
  • Keep tabs on how your clothes are fitting. In the colder months, we lounge at home more often (hello elastic-waist sweatpants!), and wear more layers and chunky sweaters to keep warm. Although these clothes are functional for the weather, they don’t allow you to see subtle changes in your body. It’s easier to see small gains during the warmer months when you’re wearing thinner layers or sporting a bathing suit. During the winter, try on some of your warm-weather clothes every few weeks to make sure they still fit and to monitor any changes in your body. That way, there will be no surprises when spring hits!
  • Combat stress. When you find yourself getting consumed with winter stress and turning to unhealthy habits, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and do a mental check-in. What are you thinking about? How does your body feel? What do you truly need right now? Sometimes you’ll find that you may think you’re hungry, but are actually dehydrated due to the dry weather. Or, you may realize that your body is craving movement more than that extra slice of pie. By making an effort to be in tune with yourself, you will be more mindful about sticking with your healthy intentions.

Have a happy and healthy winter! This time of year is tough, but with these tips, your battle of the seasonal bulge will seem much more manageable.

24 Hour Fitness. "Preventing Winter Weight Gain," accessed January 2012.

The Original Intuitive Eating Pros. "Strategies for Dealing With Holiday Traps (Part 2)," accessed January

Diet and weight loss while breastfeeding

Weight loss

It is normal to store extra fat during pregnancy to be used up while breastfeeding. Mothers vary in when they lose this extra weight - some in the early weeks, some later and some not until after they have stopped breastfeeding. It is important that you do lose this extra weight at some point, however, and not carry it through to another pregnancy. If this happens, it makes it much harder to return to a healthy weight later on. Even though making breastmilk uses kilojoules, research is unclear whether breastfeeding actually increases weight loss after childbirth.
While breastfeeding, it is best to lose the extra weight gradually, using healthy eating principles and adding in some extra exercise. A loss of up to about half a kilo per week is safe for breastfeeding mothers. Don't use crash or fad diets, where you lose weight quickly, either during pregnancy or breastfeeding. These diets don't have a good balance of important nutrients needed for both you and your baby.
If you feel that you need to lose a lot of weight and more quickly, consult your medical adviser or a dietitian for advice on a balanced weight-reducing diet.
Some hints if you are trying to lose weight:
  • Avoid shopping when you are hungry. Write a shopping list and stick to it. Don't be tempted to buy high-fat or high-sugar snack foods.
  • Use smaller plates for your meals.
  • Eat slowly. Don't put more food on your fork until you've eaten the last mouthful. This gives you time to feel full.
  • Don't eat on the run - sit down at the table and relax.
  • Choose snacks of wholegrain products, vegetables and fruits.
  • Cut down on fat (and kilojoule) intake by choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy products, cutting off all visible fat from meat before cooking and using only a small amount of oil during cooking.
  • Choose foods that contain little or no added sugar. Note that foods labelled 'low-fat' are often very high in sugar. Foods with added fruit or fruit juice concentrate, but labelled 'no added sugar', can be just as high in kilojoules as some others with added sugar. Check labels for energy (kJ) content.
  • Increase the amount of exercise you do.
For more information about looking after yourself, see the booklet Breastfeeding: diet, exercise, sex and more.

Losing too much weight?

Some breastfeeding mothers have the opposite problem and find that they lose too much weight, too quickly. In this case, try to increase the number of serves of food you eat across all food groups. Avoid the temptation to eat foods high in saturated fats or added sugar - the 'discretionary choices' listed in the table above. These foods might help you gain weight, but are not good sources of the extra nutrients you need. Try having frequent, small meals or at least have snacks between each regular meal. Consult your medical adviser or a dietitian if you are concerned about your weight loss.


Making breastmilk uses extra fluid, so breastfeeding mothers are often more thirsty than usual. There is no one figure for how much you need to drink, as it depends on the weather conditions, your activity level and the foods you eat. Be guided by your thirst; don't be tempted to ignore it because you are busy. Perhaps make it part of your breastfeeding routine to have a glass of water or a water bottle next to you each time you give your baby a feed. Carrying a water bottle with you when out and about also makes it easy to have a drink when you need it.

Special diets


There are two types of vegetarian diets:
  • those that include some animal products, such as dairy products and/or eggs, and in some cases fish or some other animal products
  • those that do not contain any animal products (vegan)
The nutrients of most concern when animal products are not eaten or only in small amounts are protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. While breastfeeding, well-planned vegetarian diets are able to satisfy these needs, with the possible exception of vitamin B12 in a vegan diet. If you have followed a vegan diet for a long period of time prior to having your baby, it would be wise to have your vitamin B12 levels checked and you may require a vitamin B12 supplement. If you are unsure at all, check with your medical adviser or a dietitian regarding nutritional adequacy of your diet for both yourself and your baby.

Food allergy or intolerance in baby

Some babies can be food-sensitive and react to traces of foods that come through their mother's breastmilk. This can include allergies and food intolerances. The most common food allergies in babies are those to cow's milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. A baby can also have food intolerance (along with an allergy or alone) and react to a range of other foods in the mother's diet. However, there are many reasons a baby may be unsettled or have other symptoms that are like those of food intolerance. Seek professional advice to help you determine if your baby is food-sensitive. Each mother and baby pair is different. Even if you are sure that it is something in your diet, it can often be very difficult to identify which foods are causing problems. Avoiding a whole food group, such as dairy products, may make it more difficult for you to eat a balanced diet. A dietitian will be able to help you sort out what the problem foods are and ensure that your diet contains all the nutrients you need.

Dairy-free diets

Some mothers follow dairy-free diets for either cultural reasons or because they or their babies have an intolerance to cow's milk. Some cultural groups don't traditionally eat dairy products and need to get their calcium from other foods. Dairy products primarily supply calcium in the Western diet, but they are also a valuable source of protein and some vitamins like A, B2 (riboflavin) and B12. When dairy substitutes are used instead, consideration has to be given to replacing all of these from other sources in the diet. A dietitian is able to advise on this on an individual basis and take into account a mother's cultural background.

Mothers with medical conditions

Mothers may have conditions such as coeliac disease, food allergies or another medical condition that requires a special diet. Provided these conditions are well managed, there should be no reason why these mothers cannot breastfeed. Breastfeeding helps to protect babies against also developing these conditions as they grow up. The diet can be well balanced and nutritionally complete for both the mother and her baby. If you are unsure if your diet is adequate, you can consult a dietitian for assessment and advice.

What about alcohol?

Avoiding alcohol altogether while pregnant or breastfeeding is known to be the safest option. However, you don't have to abstain for the whole time you are breastfeeding. It is best to wait until your baby is at least 1 month old before having a drink, by which time your baby may have a predictable feeding pattern. You are more likely then to know when the next feed will be and can time your drink to minimise the alcohol in your breastmilk.
On average, it takes about 2 hours for your body to clear the alcohol per standard drink. If possible, time your drink so that your body can clear the alcohol before your baby's next feed.
Perhaps you have an occasion when you are planning to have more than two drinks. In this case, plan ahead and express some breastmilk beforehand to be fed to your baby while you have alcohol in your system. Also consider the care of your baby if you are affected by alcohol.
For more details see Alcohol and breastfeeding.


References and further reading:

© Australian Breastfeeding Association Reviewed April 2013

Weight loss transformation - before and after pictures, great motivation...

Today is the day!!! let me know what you guys think of this video!

Avoid Winter Weight Gain

There's A Good Chance You're Going To Put On Unwanted Weight This Winter. Here's How Not To:

Call it the worst leftover evolutionary urge ever: winter weight gain. 

It turns out, your body is hardwired to put on weight during the winter. During the season, most people unconsciously (and against all better judgment) try to bulk up like bears and squirrels, as putting on extra insulation used to be a good way to stay healthy during the harsh, underfed winter months, according to Indiana University researchers.

Meanwhile, the short, dark days can deprive your body of vitamin D and up your production of drowse-inducing melatonin, leaving you lethargic and craving sugar and calories. Also, during the winter, serotonin is less effective in interacting with brain cells involved in controlling mood and appetite, says Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., former MIT research scientist and co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet. So in an attempt to improve our moods, we reach for high-carb foods that will trigger the release of mood-boosting serotonin. (One recent Cornell study found that most people buy more food and calories in January and February than they do during the holiday season.) 

Plus, in the winter, your body’s levels of fat-storing enzymes increase, meaning those extra calories are even more likely to give you the jiggles, says dietician Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss. 

And motivation to work out? Yeah, right. The setting sun, even at 5 pm, is a signal to our body that the day is over and it’s not time to expend more energy, it’s time to relax, says trainer Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S., C.P.T. So we don’t work out and, in turn, don’t get the endorphins and feel-good hormones we need to perk up during the winter. We get further into a funk, working out less and eating even more.  

Hence why most people gain around one pound over the winter months, per research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. And while that doesn’t sound so bad, about five percent of normal weight adults, and 30 percent of overweight ones, put on at least five pounds. 

But, biology isn’t fate. Here are five ways to beat Mother Nature and never gain winter weight again.

Cut Back On The Booze

When you’re trapped inside for the winter, it can feel like there’s little to do… besides drink. “With my clients, alcohol intake is a huge contributor to winter weight gain. While I can't suggest a substitute for beer, drinking less beer and choosing a flavorful one can help you reduce the number of drinks you have. One pint of strong beer is still going to be fewer calories than three pints of weaker beer that happened to be on special,” Fear says. Cutting back on the drinks can also help you cut back on the junk food. According to research published in Alcohol & Alcoholism, putting back three drinks can reduce your body’s levels of the feel-full hormone leptin by 30 percent.

Slim Your Coffee

Your caffeine habit can do more than warm you up and give you some extra energy. It can also pack on the pounds. While that’s not to say you need to forgo coffee altogether, work on limiting your use of full-fat milk, white sugar, and even artificial sweeteners, recommends Fear. And make sure you get all of your coffee by noon. That will help ensure it’s out of your system come bedtime. After all, when you don’t sleep well, you’re even more apt to reach for high-energy, low-performing foods the next day.

Slurp Soups

“Filling up on soup before your main course is a valid method of warming up from the cold and losing weight.” Appetite research shows that eating soup as an appetizer can help you put back fewer calories and lose weight. “The trick is to choose soups that are low in calorie density, so think broth and vegetables, not bacon and cheese chowder,” Fear says

Switch Up Your Workout Schedule

If your mood is highly affected by the weather and short days, it can be beneficial to change your standard workout times to lighter hours, says Donovanik. Consider squeezing in a quick workout during your lunch break, or aiming to hit the gym on the weekends, rather than during the workweek.

Pick Up a Winter Sport

Just because it’s snowy, it doesn’t mean you can’t—or shouldn’t—take your workout outdoors. Getting outside for a sport can help you switch your mindset from “I need to do this” to “I want to do this,” Donavanik says. Bonus: You can burn more calories in the winter. Research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that race times speed up as the temperatures drop—and quicker runs burn more calories. Skiing, for instance, burns 400 to 600 calories per hour, according to University of Utah Health Care.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Healthy Brown Bag Lunches

Pritikin healthy brown bag lunches not only save you money, they save you loads of calories compared to typical lunch fare. Here's just one example. A Quizno‘s Tuna Melt Sandwich ratchets up a whopping 2,090 calories. Make your own tasty tuna sandwich Pritikin-style (see Tip #1 in this article) for fewer than 400 calories. Yes, you‘ve just erased about 1,600 calories from your diet. Do that every day and you‘d drop about 13 pounds in one month.

Pritikin-style healthy brown bag lunches are much better for you in other ways. A Quizno’s Tuna Melt has 31 grams of artery-busting saturated fat. That’s the equivalent of eating three Big Macs. By contrast, your homemade Pritikin tuna sandwich has less than 1 gram of saturated fat. Oh, how your heart’s gonna love you!
Read on for more tips on making your midday meal scrumptious, money-saving, and healthy. Chances are, you’ll discover some ideas for healthy brown bag lunches for kids, too.

7 Things You Should Pack For A Healthy Lunch

1. Simple, Sensational Sandwiches
Put together a sandwich of tuna (canned – preferably low-sodium, light, and packed in water) with 1 tablespoon nonfat mayo or nonfat plain yogurt, chopped celery, and onions, topped with baby spinach or peppery arugula, on 100% whole-wheat bread.
Or get a great dose of heart-healthy omega 3's by combining salmon (canned, low-sodium) or strips of fresh grilled salmon from last night’s dinner with cucumber, onion, and fresh dill. Stuff into a 100% whole-wheat pita.
Go juicy hamburger-style (and very healthy) with a veggie burger (choose lower-sodium varieties) topped with lettuce, slices of fresh tomato, and mustard in a whole-wheat bun.
2. Veggies, Veggies, Veggies

A veggie-packed lunch gives you lots of food, lots of nutrients, and zippo for calories compared to many other lunch choices. Here are healthy brown bag lunch ideas brimming with crunchy, colorful vegetables.
Fill a big bag of cut-up varieties that you can munch on all day long – baby carrots, celery, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and more. Spice them up, if you want, with a little bean dip. Make your own zesty, low-cal, and inexpensive Mexican-style dip by combining pinto beans, chopped red onion, fresh cilantro leaves, and lime juice in a food processor and blend.

For more veggie goodness, trade your brown bag for a small icebox, like an Igloo, and pack a HUGE salad, like Pritikin Longevity Center alums David and Kathy Heetland of Skokie, Illinois. The couple goes through a bag of greens for lunch a day PLUS, in their salads, diced sweet potatoes, yellow squash, red bell peppers, cucumbers, red cabbage, red onions, and more. Says David: “Pritikin showed us that all kinds of food can go into salads.”
Three heaping cups of salad full of fresh veggies add up to a mere 100 calories.
But boy-oh-boy, don’t let the word “salad” delude you into thinking that all salads are healthy. Three cups of salad with cheese, full-fat dressings, and bacon bits tally up 600 calories and more. The Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad packs 860 calories, 46 grams of total fat, 14 grams of which are saturated fat.
For salad dressings that are slimming, use vinegars, lemon juice, fresh salsas, or your own homemade combinations, like wasabi and rice vinegar, Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar, or fat-free plain yogurt sassed up with a little horseradish.
3. Fruit Galore

Like vegetables, fruits are fabulous weight-loss foods because they’re “big” foods, that is, foods that are bulked up by lots of fiber and water. With “big” foods, you’ll be eating a lot of food (which will satisfy your hunger) but not a lot of calories.
Here’s a great example: For the same number of calories that are in a handful of peanuts (about two ounces), you can eat 2½pounds of strawberries (about five of those green boxes that strawberries come in.) Eating “big” foods like strawberries, salads, and other fruits and vegetables can prevent hunger from taking over and taking you places you don’t want to go.
You can even turn fruit into a delicious sandwich. Combine fresh pineapple chunks with nonfat ricotta cheese. Smooth over a slice of whole-wheat toast. Delish!
4. Wrap It All Up

For “on the go” lunches, keep several types of greens and chopped veggies like carrots, onions, celery, and tomatoes in the fridge.
When you’re ready to leave the house, just spread out a large whole-grain wrap. Lavash bread is a good choice too. Top with greens, veggies, and a little balsamic vinegar or low-cal, low-sodium salad dressing. If you have leftovers like roasted chicken, crabmeat, or turkey breast, add them. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Roll the wrap up, and you’re out the door with a big, tasty lunch the size of a small football.

5. Thermos Magic

Soup or vegetarian/bean chili made the night before often tastes even better the next day. To keep hot entrees hot, use an insulated wide-mouth thermos.
In several studies at Penn State University, scientists found that people who ate veggie- and grain-rich soups and stews tended to eat significantly fewer calories overall by day’s end than people who didn’t.
6. South of the Border

It’s scary how much belt-busting trouble you can get into at many Mexican restaurants. One cheese enchilada at On the Border Restaurant, Nutrition Action newsletter recently reported, tallies up 1,600 calories and 53 grams of saturated fat. Yes, 53 grams! Think of it as 20 pats of butter.
Take in a fraction of calories (only about 200) and absolutely no sat fat by making your own Mexican-style bowl of corn, black beans, and salsa. Simply combine 1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained), 2 cups of frozen no-salt-added corn kernels (thawed), and 1 cup of fresh salsa.
7. Baked Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Corn – Warm, Yummy, and Very Filling

Think outside the sandwich. A big baked potato topped with a calorie-light dressing like nonfat plain yogurt, mustard, salsa, or nonfat sour cream weighs in at just 300 to 350 calories.
Enjoy the rich flavor of sweet potatoes? While home on Sundays, cook up a batch. Wrap each one in foil and bake for about an hour at 425 degrees F, or until their luscious, sweet juices start to ooze out into the foil. At work the following week, just pop one in the microwave for a quick warm-up. They’re loaded with taste, and they don’t need any extra toppings. Best of all, they REALLY fill you up.
Craving corn on the cob? Easy! Just microwave it, husk and all, for three to five minutes.

Things You Should NOT Pack…

The Dry Stuff

Rid your pantry of all those chips, crackers, goldfish, Cheetos, cookies, trail mix, and other dry snacks that the food industry has packaged of late into petite 100-calorie serving-size bags. What good are they if you’ve got to rip open three or four before you’re feeling full?
All dry foods, even healthier options like pretzels, dried cereals, fat-free chips, and dried fruit, pack a whole lot of calories into very small packages.
Instead, fill up on water-rich, fiber-filled foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, hot cereals, potatoes, corn, yams, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. Foods with a lot of water usually provide a lot of stomach-filling volume, but not a lot of calories.
A whole pound of veggies, for example, adds up to a mere 65 to 195 calories. By contrast, a pound of dried cereal or fat-free chips is packed with 1,600 to 1,725 calories.

The Cheesy Stuff

Since 1970, Americans’ consumption of cheese has risen 350%. That’s a huge problem because there’s nothing worse for your heart than cheese because it’s full of artery-injuring saturated fat. “If you want to die early,” Nathan Pritikin said, “eat a lot of cheese.”

Food flat bread covered with cheese
Adding just one ounce of American cheese to a sandwich adds six grams of saturated fat (that’s more than you’d get in a McDonald’s Sausage Patty.)

Calorie-Filled Drinks

We’ve become a nation of beverage bloat, and it’s bloating our bodies. The average American drinks 28 ounces of sugary soft drinks a day (nearly 300 calories), which is nearly six ounces more than a decade or two ago, recently reported the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Liquid calories are especially troublesome if you’re trying to lose weight because they do not quell appetite as much as solid foods do.
The good news: If you replace calorie-laden drinks with no-calorie drinks like water, the pounds will melt off. Studying more than 3,000 children and teenagers, researchers at Columbia School of Public Health recently reported that when the kids drank water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, their total calorie intake dropped an average of 235 calories each day.(Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, April 2009)

Eliminating 235 calories each day could help most people drop about 23 pounds within one year. 23 pounds! And all it took was one simple change: switching to water.
Turn your water into lemonade (and do it very cheaply) by squeezing several slices of lemon into a glass of icy water. Stir in a packet of Splenda, and voila! Tasty lemonade. Great for your wallet. And GREAT for your waistline.


Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau

Pat yourself on the back: You’ve lost weight! Or, at least you had lost weight, but for the past few days or even weeks, the scale hasn’t been budging. You don’t feel like you’re doing anything different with your diet. You’re keeping carbs low, eating the appropriate amount of protein, and you’re moderating all of it with a consistent exercise program.
For most people attempting to lose weight, there comes a time when they reach that inevitable plateau where their motivation is soaring but they’ve stopped seeing results. If you’re nodding right now, don’t worry. What you’re experiencing is totally normal. Plateaus, whether they relate to weight, to your job, or your closest relationship, are a call to charge things up again, refine your strategies and keep moving forward.
So rather than give up and maintain your current weight, or worse yet, drown yours sorrows in a half dozen donuts, there are numerous actions you can take to reignite your program.
Here are our top 5 picks for breaking through your weight plateau:

Consider Intermittent Fasting

Although Conventional Wisdom tells us that fasting forces the metabolism into slow motion causing your body to cling onto fat stores, recent scientific studies have suggested otherwise. According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, alternate day fasting may result in an improvement in insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, as well as decreases in fat mass. While science is still unearthing the precise mechanisms for why and how this occurs, the previously-held idea that you have to eat six meals a day or more in order to keep your metabolism stoked to lose weight simply isn’t true.
Lucky for you, intermittent fasting (IF) can be done in a number of ways. From daily fasting, by only eating during a 5-hour time period, or setting aside one to three days a week to fast, the combinations are virtually endless. The important thing is to know is what kind of intermittent fasting technique will work best for you and your lifestyle, and this can only be determined by a little experimentation. As long as IF is done correctly, it can kick your body off of its weight plateau in just a matter of days. And keep in mind that IF is not about starving yourself. It’s about eating in a manner that mimics the natural irregularity of Grok’s eating patterns.

Write it Down

A slice of bread here, a handful of tortilla chips there – it all adds up. When we start to lose weight, we might be inclined to loosen the reins on what we can eat. Even though occasional indulgences should be enjoyed guilt-free, when you’re still trying to lose weight, those seemingly benign snacks still count.
So for one week, write down everything that you eat. Everything. From the sugar packet you dropped into your coffee to the two bites of of Cherry Garcia you snuck from cousin Sal’s dessert bowl at your niece’s sweet 16, write it down. A food diary is an honest look into what you’re actually eating, not what you think you are eating.
Need more convincing that you might not be being honest with yourself? According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who kept a food diary in a 20-week study dropped double the weight of the dieters who did not chronicle their food choices. Keeping a food diary makes you accountable for what you eat because it forces you to consider your actions before you take them. This is an effective safeguard against mindless snacking or emotional eating.
If you’re looking for an online food journal, check out the one at It’s free and super easy to use.
Side Note: The Primal Eating Plan is meant to be intuitive and easy. One of the great things about Primal eating is that you don’t have to count calories and track every bite of food you consume. This is why we only recommend the food diary as a temporary method to uncover any dietary indiscretions. Once you’ve honed in on and refined your behaviors we say ditch the journal and get on with eating Primal in a natural way that requires little to no effort.

Switch Up Your Workouts

They say variety is the spice of life, and this holds true when it comes to your workouts. Without change you might find yourself dreading the monotony of regular gym sessions and simply lose motivation. Additionally, your body can become used to to the same caloric burn and muscle exertion as it becomes more efficient at completing regular movements. Give your brain and brawn the wake up call they need by shaking up your usual routine with some new additions.
Try increasing the speed as you exercise and do short bursts of intense exercises (such as sprinting) for one to two minutes followed by small rest periods. These short bursts of anaerobic activity will stimulate your body to release human growth hormone, which helps to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass.
If that doesn’t do the trick, try getting super Primal by ditching the gymshoes, and structure for some free form activity. If this doesn’t keep things interesting we’re not sure what will.
Keep in mind that 80% of your body composition is a result of your diet. The remaining 20% is determined by how you effectively manage your sleeping patterns and stress levels, how you exercise and other lifestyle factors. Increasing your workout intensity is but one way to tweak an otherwise optimized weight loss plan.

Reduce Carbs

Try reducing your carb intake to 50-100 grams per day to reduce insulin production and fire up your fat metabolism. Make sure that you’re eating enough protein for your weight (we suggest using the .7-1 gram per pound of lean body weight formula), eating the right vegetables and snacking on high-fat foods to keep you feeling satisfied.

Keep on Keeping on

Remember that losing 10 lbs when you are starting at 300 isn’t nearly as difficult as losing 10 when you are approaching your ideal weight (say, going from 170 to 160 for a male). Don’t let this come to you as discouragement. Just recognize that changes might not come as quickly as they once had and resolve to stay the course.
Also, know that The Primal Blueprint lifestyle is about long term goals. Though you can lose weight quickly on the PB, keep your head straight and remember that the emphasis should always be on a healthy, Primal lifestyle – not a get-fit-quick routine. You can do it, but it may take time.
Final Tips
If you haven’t done it already (or even if you have!), consider taking the 30-Day Primal Health Challenge. It may sound daunting, but employing the “act as if” tips will be sure to get you through those tough moments when a piece of dry toast looks better than a killer omelet (does this really ever happen?).
If you’ve tried all of these strategies and you’re still stuck, don’t hesitate to hit us up with a comment. Our experienced Primal community will likely be able to help.