When Thanksgiving rolls around, the excitement for a dinner comprised of all of our favorite dishes reaches its peak. However, so does the dread of potential weight gain. Considering most people’s love for buttered rolls, turkey and stuffing, it is easy to see why. As Thanksgiving approaches, we would never tell you not to enjoy such a fun, family-filled day. Instead, we recommend you utilize these healthy eating tips to help you get through the upcoming holiday season ‒ without stressing over your waistline.
Tips for Making Your Plate
Although you can forgo heavier Thanksgiving dishes by preparing more health-conscious alternatives, it is not always possible if you are not hosting the meal. In the event that you are attending someone else’s dinner, keep the following tips in mind. They will help you cut out calories that can be easily avoided.
- Choose white meat – As turkey is often on the Thanksgiving menu, this tip is easy to abide by. Turkey meat is lean, and rich in iron, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins. Make sure to avoid any meats that are deep-fried, and choose those that are roasted or baked.
- Utilize whole grains – The stuffing may be hard to pass on, but its contents can be easily replaced with an equally delicious whole-grain mixture. Try a recipe that uses quinoa, rice, berries or nuts.
- Pass on the mash – Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving favorite, but they are one of the higher calorie dishes. If mashed potatoes are a must, find recipes that contain healthier additions, like light sour cream and fat-free milk. If possible, a baked potato without toppings is the better option.
- Don’t forget your greens – We grow up being told to eat our greens, but they are not recommend when baked into a casserole. Casseroles are loaded with butter, salt and carbs. Stick to greens that are baked and lightly seasoned.
- Fresh, not canned – This rule applies to a variety of Thanksgiving sides and dressings. Most canned items contain large amounts of sugar and preservatives. –A homemade gravy can contain as little fat as you choose, and berries will taste better fresh.
- Liquids contain calories – Although it is in the name, people overlook the fact that sweet tea is extremely high in sugar. Have a glass of water with lemon, instead.
- Cut out what you can – While enjoying your favorite dishes, there are a few simple things you can cut out, or off, to lower the amount of calories you consume – such as pie crust. High in sugar and butter, removing a flaky crust can trim more than 100 calories and 7 grams of fat per slice.
- Don’t overeat – The most difficult part of Thanksgiving dinner is knowing when to cut yourself off. Research has found that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to “tell” your brain it’s full. Most Thanksgiving menus are bad enough, but overeating can easily double your caloric intake.
Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving
When putting your plate together, it’s easy to be conscious about your choices. Once the meal is over, we tend to let our guard down. It is common for people to flock to the couch for football, or remain seated at the dining table. Both can be your downfall ‒ especially if food is within reach. Instead, try to stay active following dinner.
One way to do so is by enjoying the company of your friends and family. If you walk around and speak to people, you are less likely to keep eating. You can also avoid leftovers by assisting with the cleanup, or washing dishes. And if staying in the house is too tempting, consider going for a walk. This will not only burn a few extra calories, but you will feel better than if you let the heavy food settle. For added moral support, ask other guests to join you. Chances are you’ll have a few takers in similar situations.
In the days following, make sure to visit the gym and drink at least six eight-ounce glasses of water. This will help relieve bloat from excess salt. You can also enjoy nutrient-packed foods, such as yogurt and vegetables.
At Solutions Weight Loss, we understand the stress of keeping your weight in check during the holidays. If you slip back a little, do not give up. With a tailored plan, encouragement and medical supervision, we can help you undo any weight gain. Contact us today to speak to our team and get started!
The Atkins diet is one of the most well-known and popular diets ‒ to the point that the Atkins name is an established brand that includes product lines of frozen food and meals, meal kits, treats, bars and those famous shakes. So how does it work, and what makes it different? We’ll look at how this groundbreaking diet got its staying power by producing sustainable results through healthy lifestyle changes.
What is the Atkins diet?
Now called the Atkins 20®, the original Atkins diet was introduced in 1972 by cardiologist Robert Atkins. The goal of Atkins is to learn your specific carbohydrate intake, and replace the amount of carbs that would cause you to gain weight with protein and healthy fats. With the increase of these ‘good’ foods, you will naturally feel fuller, leading to a reduction in appetite. Although highly recommended for weight loss, participants can also expect improved blood sugar, triglycerides, and (good) HDL cholesterol. Unlike most diets, it does not limit the amount of food you can eat ‒ only which types.
The four phases
The Atkins diet has four phases, created to jumpstart weight loss and introduce food restrictions.
- Induction – Limit the intake of carbohydrates to under 20 grams a day. Consume foods high in protein, high in (healthy) fats, and vegetables that are low-carb.
Balancing – Begin adding more nuts and low-carb vegetables into your diet. Small amounts of fruit may also be reintroduced.
- Fine-tuning – Once your goal weight is reached, begin adding more carbs until weight loss slows.
- Maintenance – You can enjoy as many carbs as you can, without gaining weight. This will vary per individual.
These phases are optional, and some people choose to skip or remain in certain phases. For example, many people remain in the induction phase, which is considered a ketogenic diet. Others will skip the induction phase, and start by introducing healthier nuts, fruits and low-carb vegetables. As long as the dietary guidelines are followed, the phases can be ignored all together, if one chooses.
Foods to avoid
Finding approved Atkins recipes online is easy, with thousands on the Atkins website alone. To help you stay on track, plan your week out in advance, or try meal prepping. Remember to avoid the following foods, and research replacements if you find yourself stuck:
- Grains – This includes wheat, rye, rice, barley and spelt.
- Sugar – Some natural sugars are fine, but any added sugars are a no-no. For example, soft drinks, cake, candy, fruit juices and more.
- Vegetable oils – Soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil. Instead, try olive oil, grapeseed oil or coconut oil.
The following foods should only be avoided during the induction phase of the diet, and can be enjoyed in limited quantities thereafter:
- Starches – Potatoes or sweet potatoes.
- Legumes – Chickpeas, beets, beans, lentils and more.
- High-carb fruits and vegetables – Bananas, apples, pears and grapes are just a few high-carb fruits to avoid. Vegetables include starchy vegetables, such as carrots, corn, turnips and more.
How it is different
Upon learning about the Atkins diet, many people notice that it has a number of similarities to the ketogenic diet. In fact, the induction phase of Atkins is ketosis. The primary difference between the two is that during the Keto diet, you remain in ketosis throughout the entirety of the diet. This includes not only restricting carbs, but hitting protein and fat intake goals. On Atkins, you will gradually re-introduce a healthy amount of carbs. For many followers, this makes it more practical and sustainable in the long run. With the ketogenic diet, you have to restart the entire diet over with one mishap ‒ a very discouraging setback. While both of these are effective and healthy diets, one or the other is often preferred based on a person’s eating habits.
At Solutions Weight Loss, we have a dietary solution to fit the unique needs of each one of our patients. Our team of licensed and friendly medical staff gives you the encouragement and guidance to help you stay on track or get back on track until you reach your goals. Contact us today, to get started on your weight loss journey!
Diets get a bad reputation, particularly those that include calorie counting. But the Zone Diet is teaching people that calorie counting is merely a way to better control portions. A standard for healthy eating habits, portions are often overlooked ‒ yet remain one of the most effective methods for weight loss. Learn how this popular diet works, as well as the benefits and potential results, with our Zone Diet 101.
What is the Zone Diet?
First published in 1995, the Zone Diet was created 30 years ago by biochemist Dr. Barry Sears. Originally developed to prevent early death from heart attacks, it is said to balance hormones and reduce inflammation – which Sears proposes are a factor in weight gain, illness and aging. By keeping your hormones balanced, or “in the zone,” your metabolism will work more efficiently. Dieters are said to lose between 1 to 1.5 pounds of fat a week. To achieve these results, followers eat a ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat.
Zone Diet Blocks
The Zone Diet can be followed using one of two methods, both of which are equally effective. Beginner – or first-time dieters – may prefer to start with the hand-eye method before progressing to the Zone food blocks. Each is based around a “zone-friendly” plate, with portions from the three major nutrient groups: fat, protein and carbs. First, divide your plate into thirds and fill it as follows:
- One-third of your plate should consist of lean protein, close to the size and thickness of your palm.
- Two-thirds of your plate will be carbs, preferably with a low glycemic index ‒ to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
- A small portion of monounsaturated fats.
The hand-eye method is a simplified version that does not require calorie-counting. By using your palm size and eyes, you can estimate a correct portion size. Your five fingers are a reminder to eat five times a day, and to never go without eating for more than five hours. For example, each meal may consist of the recommended carbs and protein, with a snack of healthy fats in between.
Once you have mastered the hand-eye method, or if you prefer calorie counting, the Zone block method will help you precisely balance every meal. Adult males are recommended around 1,500 calories daily, and adult women 1,200. A Zone block is made up of one of each nutrient block:
- Protein block: 7 grams
- Carb block: 9 grams
- Fat block: 1.5 grams (or 3 grams for a fat-free protein)
The number of zone blocks you consume in a day varies by your weight, height, waist and hip measurements. On average, an adult male will consume 14 Zone blocks a day, while a woman will consume 11. As an example, a typical meal will likely consist of three to five Zone blocks, but a snack will only be one.
Approved Zone Diet Food List:
Lean Protein – Skinless chicken or turkey, fish or shellfish, beef, pork, lamb, egg whites, tofu or soy, cheese, milk or yogurt.
Carbohydrates – Mainly vegetables, some grains and a little fruit – such as peppers, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, squash, oatmeal, quinoa, couscous, cranberries, guavas, citrus and more.
Fat – Nuts, chia seeds, or natural peanut butter, avocados, oils and tahini.
Foods You Should Avoid:
Unlike most other diets, there are no foods that are banned in the Zone diet. However, the following should be avoided, as they increase inflammation:
High-sugar fruits and vegetables – This group can include bananas, pineapple, raisins, cranberries, peas, potatoes and corn.
Processed foods – From soda, to cereal and bread – this group includes items that are processed, refined or contain added sugars. Other items include pasta, bagels, muffins, cookies, cakes and candy.
Coffee and tea – Acceptable from time-to-time; however, a minimum of eight eight-ounce glasses of water should be consumed daily.
Pros and Cons of The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet is lax, with its own share of pros and cons. It is a long-term diet meant to improve your overall health, rather than stop once a goal is met. For this reason, it is important that you choose a method you are able to maintain. While calories do count, you are not required to count them, unless you choose to do so. When dining out, Zone-friendly plates are easily found. However, you will likely have to plan to take some home. If you prefer eating in, an abundance of recipes and meal plans are available online. And most importantly, you will never go hungry or find yourself bored. Despite being portioned, these meals will keep you full and allow for delicious dining.
At Solutions Weight Loss, we encourage all of our patients to seek a lifestyle change, rather than a temporary diet. Not only will you see long-lasting results, but you will feel them! Dr. Newsome, and our team, can help you achieve your weight loss goals and maintain a healthier life. Everyone is different and deserves personalized recommendations and individualized attention. Contact us today!