Obesity is a universal issue that affects many people, and Americans are no different. Particularly, when a new year rolls around the cries of “new year, new me!” can be heard. However, despite the fact that many Americans want to lose weight and get rid of belly fat, most are not successful in their attempts. Obesity is a risk factor for a variety of diseases like stroke, heart attack, cancer and type 2 diabetes. However, they are all preventable with a health diet.
It is difficult to lose weight in the first place but one thing that is even more challenging is to maintain your weight after shedding those extra pounds. Just as fashions come and go so do many diets. However, there is one diet backed by science that is gaining a lot of popularity called the ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet not only helps you to lose weight; it also improves your focus and provides you the much needed energy, but what exactly does it entail.
What is Ketosis & How Does it Work?
A ketogenic diet is extremely low in carbohydrates, contains adequate amount of proteins and is high in fat.
When you reduce the intake of carbohydrates and increase fat consumption, your body slips into a metabolic state, which is referred to as ketosis. This is the state when the body fats start getting converted in to ketones.
Normally, in case of a healthy individual who is on a balanced diet, it is the body that decides the amount of fat it needs to burn. And, in such situations your body doesn’t produce or use ketones. However, when you cut down on carbohydrates, your body switches track and the process of ketosis gets underway. This ensures that the energy requirement of your body is effectively met at all times. The process of ketosis can also set in when you exercise for long durations.
After you spend some time on a ketogenic diet (few weeks), your body gets attuned to burning fats and producing ketones efficiently for energy instead of using carbohydrates.
Also, a ketogenic diet reduces the insulin levels. Other than weight loss, a ketogenic diet increases the production of ketones and maintains lower insulin levels. Hence, it (a keto diet) has many other health benefits as well.
What Does a Ketogenic Diet Include?
Protein is the mainstay of the ketogenic diet and you can eat a variety. From dairy products like cheese, creams and yogurt to meats such as chicken, pork, beef, goat, lamb, seafood and turkey.
You should also include oils and fats such as seeds and nuts. For example olive oil, sesame oil, grass-fed butter, ghee and safflower oil.
You should also include both fruits and vegetables that are low in carbohydrates. Like broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, asparagus, onions and peppers. And Fruits that are are low in sugar like avocados, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
You can also add spices and herbs to your ketogenic diet, but be on the lookout to see if they contain any added sugar.
A ketogenic diet significantly reduces the intake of carbohydrates, limiting it to between 20 – 50 grams each day from all the sources, including whole and processed foods.
In terms of percentages, this is how a Ketogenic diet for weight loss stacks up
- Low carbohydrate intake between 5 – 10% of the total calories
- Moderate protein consumption of between 20 – 25% of the total calories
- High fat intake, which consists of 70 – 80% of the total calories
However, depending on your height, weight, gender and lean body mass, these percentages might vary from person to person.
Food to Avoid On a Ketogenic Diet
You need to avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates. This means cutting down on all the processed foods such as refined sugars and grains, juices, soft drinks, cookies, candies. As well as all flour based items that are baked, low fat products, pastas and breads. Also, avoid whole food carbohydrates such as rice, wheat, oats, corns, barley and rye. You should also steer clear of fruits such as banana, citrus fruits and apples. You also need to avoid peas and beans, white potatoes and other starchy food items.
How Does a Ketogenic Diet Help You Lose Weight?
There is no denying the fact that ketogenic diet is very helpful when it comes to weight loss. A ketogenic diet starts the process of ketosis in your body. This burns the fat in your body for energy instead of carbs because your body is already short on carbohydrates. In a study, it was found that those on a keto diet lost 2.2 times more than people who were on a low fat and low calorie diet. Good cholesterol and triglyceride levels were also found to improve when subjects were on a ketogenic diet.
If you are fed-up of counting your calories each time you sit to have your food, then ketogenic diet is the best available option for you.
Here are 5 Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
- Ketosis burn fats more effectively – When you start consuming a low carb diet and your body is short on carbohydrates then it starts burning fat from your body. In such cases, the primary source of energy changes to fat, which is directly used for energy generation. On a ketogenic diet your body remains in a state of fasting where you burn more fat during your day to day activities. People who find it hard to lose weight beyond a certain point can easily get rid of their unwanted fat once they shift to a ketogenic diet.
- Ketosis helps suppress your appetite – A low carb ketogenic diet can help you suppress your appetite by changing the levels of hormones and nutrients that make you feel hungry. It also makes you feel full. When your body is in a state of ketosis, you don’t feel like eating more and you are also able to control cravings for unhealthy and unwanted foods. This clearly means that you are able to better understand the hunger signals emanating from your body and you don’t have to keep counting the calories or start fasting. And, when you are able control your appetite, it is not too difficult to lose weight.
- Ketosis help regulate your weight hormones – A ketogenic diet can help you to support your weight loss endeavors by regulating the weight hormones. Once you eat, your intestine releases a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) and CCK in turn stimulates protein and fat digestion, which lowers your appetite. It means that cholecystokinin is a wonderful regulator of how much you eat. In a study, it was found that people who were injected with cholecystokinin stopped having their food earlier than those who were not given CCK. But, as you start losing weight cholecystokinin secretions takes a hit, which means you would feel hungry more often. And, this is where a ketogenic diet (hence ketosis) helps you. A week of being on ketosis is sufficient for your body to increase the levels of cholecystokinin. Ketosis takes your CCK levels back to what it was when you hadn’t lost weight. Needless to say that a ketogenic diet and subsequent ketosis can help you fight the problem of food cravings most of the time once you lose your weight. This significantly lowers your chances of regaining the weight.
- Ketosis also regulates your blood sugar levels – Your blood sugar stabilizes when you are on a ketogenic diet, which includes healthy fats, proteins and vegetables. This diet is better than foods that are high in carbs and refined sugars, which have a tendency to raise your blood sugar levels that makes you feel hungry soon again. When you limit your eating, cutting your weight down is not a big issue.
- Increases physical stamina – A ketogenic diet substantially increases your stamina as you have constant access to energy from your fat reserves. When you do an intense workout on a regular diet your body’s carbs or glycogen supply lasts for only a few hours. But, when you are on a ketogenic diet your fat reserves can supply energy for a very long period. You don’t just feel more energetic, but you can also do more rigorous exercises, which of course helps you lose weight pretty fast.
For a clear and tangible plan, contact Dr. Newsome at Solutions Weight Loss and get to know how a ketogenic diet will help you cut your weight.
This time of the year can be like an obstacle course for people trying to lose weight and keep it off, every turn brings another cake, another cookie, large dinners, and to top it all off, many of us wash it all down with a heavy egg nog drink, or wine, which can bring on even more cravings! While seasonal weight gain affects each person in a different way, a study conducted by Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD of Johns Hopkins University found that people tend to gain five to seven pounds during the winter months.
Why do people gain weight in winter?
The most common reason that weight gain happens during the winter include interruptions to exercise schedules, tempting treats and comfort foods, and issues like sleepiness and seasonal affective disorder caused by the lack of sunlight.
So, what is it that you should do to keep those extra pounds away from your body?
Here are six tips that will help you to avoid weight gain and keep up with your fitness goals
1- Exercise – While it can be hard to keep up your workout routine while visiting with family and celebrating the holidays, whatever exercise you can squeeze in will matter. Whether it’s going to a kickboxing class, doing morning yoga, or even just taking a family walk, it is important to stay active.
2- Moderation is key– Don’t deprive yourself by cutting yourself off from enjoying any holiday treats, just make sure to moderate them and balance them out with healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only will you keep the weight off easier, but you’ll feel better too.
3- Limit alcohol– Alcohol is full of “empty calories”, meaning when you drink it there is absolutely no nutritional value. So enjoy a glass of champagne at midnight on New Year’s Eve, but don’t go overboard, because those calories do add up.
4- Say no – Often the hardest part of moderating the treats you eat and limiting your alcohol consumption is dealing with the pressure of family and friends to join them in indulging. No one will be offended if you don’t take a second or third cookie, so get comfortable saying no when someone offers you food or another drink.
5- Don’t go to events hungry – Studies suggest that when we have food outside our homes we might increase our calorie intake by up to 40%. This is because often with the expectation of a party full of free food we choose not to eat normal meals during the hours leading up to it. This can cause binging, which leads to weight gain. Make sure you’re eating breakfast and lunch as normal so that you can choose what treats to eat based on choice and not hunger.
6- Don’t be too hard on yourself– As long as you’re being mindful of what you consume and trying to be active in some way every day, don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip up a little bit with an extra cookie here or there. Be sure to enjoy yourself, and remember that what is truly important this holiday season is spending time with family.
When you reach the age of 65, and reflect back on the years gone by, the most precious decade of your life will likely be your 40s. You will not be alone in feeling this way. According to conclusive studies, if given the ability to return to any period in their life, most people would choose their 40s.
The reasons for this wish are aplenty. You are past your doubtful years of youth when you reach 40, you are doing well in your career, you become more mature in your relationships, and above all, you have the requisite wisdom to differentiate the right from the wrong.
But, one thing that really comes as a challenge once you hit 40, is your body shape, especially if you are a woman (not to say that men are immune from this either). Losing weight at 40 plus can be challenging especially if you didn’t take very good care of yourself during your 20s and 30s. Once you cross 40, just maintaining your current weight becomes an uphill task, let alone shedding those extra pounds Even if you eat the same and work out like when you were younger. If a 20 year old woman needs less than four weeks of workout to lose weight, a 40 year old would probably require five weeks to lose the same amount.
However, it is not as if you can’t lose weight after you cross 40. All you have to do is lead a more disciplined life, and make some lifestyle changes to keep your body in shape. If you are in your 40s, and are looking forward to shedding those extra pounds, read on.
One of the primary reasons why it becomes difficult for you to maintain and lose weight after 40 is that hormone levels, namely estrogen in women, and testosterone in men, start a downward spiral. In women this is the perimenopause stage, and by menopause, estrogen levels are at rock bottom levels, which is the main reason why 30% of women in the age bracket of 50 – 59 are obese.
There seems to be a link between regulating body weight and estrogen. In a study conducted on the animals in the lab, it was found that when their estrogen levels were low, the test subjects had a tendency to eat more, and they were less physically active.
Moreover, very high, or too low estrogen levels can lead to storage of fat. When the estrogen levels are low, the metabolic rate can also slowdown, which means your body is not able to quickly convert the energy stored in your body to working energy.
Another reason why it is difficult to lose weight after 40s is the fact that we become less active as we age; we slow down and our level of exercise also takes a hit.
As we grow older, our muscle mass starts decreasing, though at a very slow pace. This process starts much earlier than 40, it in fact begins at 30. When you have less muscles in your body, your metabolic rate falls, and then it is not all that difficult to gain weight.
Furthermore, as we age our aerobic capacity also takes a hit, which makes it difficult for us to properly utilize the energy during exercises, and hence we are not able to burn enough calories during exercises.
This is also the time when many women are not able to get a good night’s sleep. And, when you don’t get proper sleep, you tend to eat more, which is directly related to weight gain.
Last but not the least, as you cross 40 and reach the perimenopause (which sets in the early 40s) and menopause, the dipping estrogen levels can lead to insulin sensitivity. It can therefore become difficult for your body to maintain correct levels of sugar in your blood. And, this sudden rise and fall in blood sugar levels increases your craving to eat higher carb junk foods.
As mentioned earlier, it is difficult, but not impossible to lose weight when you cross the age of 40. You need to change your lifestyle a bit, avoid certain foods, eat as per your age requirements (which of course means you need to eat less), and exercise regularly to get into what you were in your 20s and 30s.
5 Things Women Should do to Lose Weight After 40
1- Keep a check on the intake of your calories
Again, as mentioned earlier, since it is difficult to burn calories, it is better to keep a check on what, and how much you eat. This does not in any way mean that you starve yourself, skip your meals, or stop enjoying yourself altogether.
Stop taking sugar in your drinks completely, be it in tea or coffee, morning or in the evening. If you can’t have tea or coffee without sugar, then shift to sweeteners, and start reducing it as soon as you can, because it is always better to kick the habit of taking sugar in all forms.
Also, get rid of dairy milk and shift to almond and soy milk. Even milk that is skimmed has 120 calories in one cup, while almond and soy milk contain only 60 or 80 calories in each cup. And, if you shift to almond milk which is unsweetened, all you would consume is 30 calories in each cup.
Though fruits are good for your health, try avoiding those that have high caloric values. After all, your target is to cut down as much calories as possible.
You can also make salad your regular diet to avoid a lot of calories.
Shift to whole grain foods, instead of refined grains such as white bread, white rice, bagels, etc.
Moreover, stay away from processed and packaged food, as they contain lots of sugar. What you should do once you cross 40 is start shopping smart, read what is written on the label, how it will affect your weight loss regimen, and finally on your health.
2- Exercise is now not optional, you need to do it on a regular basis
Diet alone is not sufficient to lose weight after you hit 40. When you are young your metabolism rate is fast, but once you cross the age of 40, it starts slowing down, and you now have no other option, but to exercise on a regular basis.
It is recommended that after the age of 40, you should at least exercise five times a week without skipping a single day in between. Go to the gym, or buy the equipment, and do your workout at home, but ensure that you exercise five times a week. By now you know that as you grow older, you lose your muscle mass, and the best method to get it back is to do as much exercise as possible.
Moreover, put a lot of emphasis on aerobic exercises because this strengthens your heart and lungs. The stronger they are, the more is the amount of energy you have, and the more you would be able to exercise. And, the more you exercise, the greater would be the weight loss you can expect when you enter your 40s.
3- Say no to junk foods and stop treating yourself too often
You cannot think of having pizza, chocolate shakes and burgers every day, or most days of the week, and then worry about not losing weight. This does not mean that you can’t treat yourself once in a while, you don’t have to stop eating what you love the most. What you have to be careful about is eating less junk food. You cannot make munching chips a habit whenever you are in front of the television. Or, every time you are feeling a bit low, you should not grab a bar of chocolate.
Your body talks to you, so it is not all that difficult to conclude how much calories you can consume each day. All you need to be careful about is that it should not affect your weight loss goal. Every person is different, and so are your caloric requirements. Follow what your body demands.
Also, do keep in mind that alcohol consumption beyond a point can hit you hard in your weight loss strategy. If you are serious about losing weight at 40, then you should have only 2 – 4 glasses of wine in a week. And, if you want to increase your alcohol intake to slightly higher limits, then cut down on other treats.
At the end of it all, it is about how many calories you have in a day, and are you able to burn that properly.
4- Increase your protein intake once you cross 40
As mentioned earlier, when you reach 40 your body loses muscle mass. Hence, you need protein in adequate amount to keep your muscles healthy. But, lean protein is what you need to have, and you can add supplements and shakes to your diet if is not providing you sufficient amount of protein.
You can have fish, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, etc. to get adequate quantity of lean protein. And, if you are a vegetarian, then add beans, mushroom, peanuts, and almond milk and soy products to get sufficient amounts of lean protein to your diet.
5- Make sure that you get adequate sleep, and try to maintain your stress levels
You need sufficient sleep not just to lose weight, but you also require it to remain healthy. There are several ways that you can try out to get adequate sleep, from a hot tub bath, massage, and meditation to yoga. Each, or a combination of a few of them can help you get sufficient sleep.
Also, you need to control your stress levels in order to get adequate sleep.. Stress doesn’t only affect your weight loss regimen, it can also have adverse effects on your health. In fact, it can wreak havoc on your body, and may affect your health permanently.
If you are a woman who is about to reach 40, or if you are already in your 40s, you should follow these tips to tone up your body. But, as we said earlier, every woman has a specific need, and you have to first understand yourself if you want to keep your body in shape.
Solutions Weight Loss is a weight loss and wellness facility located in Orlando, Florida. Find out what and how much you need to eat, the exercises which would be effective for you, and the supplements your body requires to aid your weight loss program.