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.
Weight Loss Tips
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 37.5%, or one third of the American adults are obese, an astounding number, which is a cause to worry.
It is not just about looks that you need to keep your body in shape. Gaining weight and becoming obese is a threat not just for your appearance, but it is also bad for your overall health. Hence, it is imperative that you keep your weight in check.
It’s certainly not healthy to put on extra pounds, in fact, as you gain weight you are more likely to have conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and stroke. But, losing weight is by no means an easy task, it is a struggle for some, to say the least. As it is, lifestyle changes are not all that easy to make.
But, if you are serious about shedding those extra pounds, and want to get into shape, then exercising on a regular basis and eating a healthy diet is a start worth considering. And, one thing that you should immediately do in case you are planning to lose weight is to start shopping smartly. Several packaged foods that you buy at your departmental store might have hidden calories. Labels outside don’t give you the exact picture. Do some research on your own, and speak to your weight loss consultant to find out what is good and bad for you in terms of diet.
What you eat has a direct bearing on your weight, the more your calorie intake, the more difficult it will be for you to control your weight, and keep your body in shape. Controlling foods that have high carb content, consuming sugary beverages, and living on processed foods are a dangerous combination, which can only lead to weight gain. Hence, you need to select foods that are not just good for your health, but a diet that also keeps your weight in check.
Here are seven categories of food, which you need to avoid in case you are on a diet, or even otherwise, if you want your body to remain in shape, you have to say no to these foods.
7 foods to avoid if you are planning to lose weight
Say no to sugary beverages
– These are by far the unhealthiest foods that you can have, which are not just bad for your health, but it is also a leading cause when it comes to weight gain. People who have a tendency to put on weight cannot do worse for themselves if they have sugary beverages.
An ordinary 12 oz. soda can contains 38 grams of carbohydrate, which is not just bad for your health, it can also make you obese. Also, these are not solid foods, and hence they don’t make you feel full, you tend to eat other food items with them, which can lead to over eating. They also have very high calorific values, hence they increase your weight much faster.
Moreover, from Desserts, sweets, and soda to candies, cookies and cake, all of these have practically no nutritional value, and are considered carbohydrates of low quality. Further, these beverages have high content of fructose, and its greater consumption increases your belly fat.
Therefore, if you are planning to lose weight, you should stay away from these sugary beverages at all cost.
Keep fruit juices at arm’s length
– Fruit juice is not for you if you are planning to lose weight. You should never take it as a replacement for the whole fruits. While, whole fruits are good for you if you are on a diet, fruit juices are in equal measure bad for your health, and weight loss program. Fruit juices are processed food, which contain a lot of sugar and it can only increase your weight instead of helping you in your weight loss regimen. Fruit juices are considered to be a bit better than sodas, but certainly not good enough if you have to lose weight.
Also, fruit juices do not have fiber content like whole fruits, hence you don’t feel full even after having a glass or two of these juices. Again, you end up eating more food, over and above these juices, which increases your weight.
Also keep yourself away from fried foods
– Everyone loves to have fried food, be it potato chips, French fries or fried chicken. But, you cannot lose weight if you don’t altogether stop having fried stuffs. All these fried items contain too much of oil, and hence calories, which is not good for people who are on a diet. Potato chips and French fries have very high calorie content, and it increases your weight more than most other foods. You can have whole potatoes instead because it makes you feel full. Also, you tend to eat fried stuff like potato chips more than anything else because it is easy to consume. Hence, if you want to keep your weight in check, you have to avoid these fried foods at all cost.
Control your carbohydrate intake, especially those that contain only carbs
– If you only eat dry cereal, rice cakes, or bread, then your body changes these carbohydrates to sugar, which is directly absorbed in to your blood. In order to absorb the sugar, your body has to produce extra insulin, which temporarily reduces your blood sugar levels making you feel hungry and weak. To get instant energy you then tend to eat foods that have high sugar content, but have no, or very low nutritional value. This again would increase your weight and hamper your efforts in losing weight. It is therefore necessary to eat snacks that have a combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fat. This takes longer to digest, and makes you feel full for a long time, helping you to avoid eating more than what you need during the weight loss program.
Don’t indulge in pizzas
– An extremely popular fast food, you should not have pizzas if you have plans to lose weight. In fact you need to strictly keep away from food like pizzas in case you have to lose weight. Pizzas are not just high in calories, it also contain processed meat and unhealthy refined flour, which is not just bad for your health, but is also not helpful for your weight loss program. Also, the sauce you get with pizzas contain lots of sugar, which can only increase your weight and deteriorate your health. Hence, avoid eating pizzas if you seriously want to lose weight.
Be careful while consuming alcohol, mainly beer
– Calorie content in alcohol is higher than carbohydrates and proteins, approximately 7 calories/ gram. Though it is conclusively not proven that alcohol causes weight gain, but it has been noted that drinking it in excess leads to weight gain. Drinking alcohol in moderate quantity helps you in your weight loss endeavors, but the problem with alcohol is that very few people are able to drink it within limits. Moreover, the type of alcohol you drink also makes a difference. If you are fond of beer, then it is an issue, because it increases your weight substantially. On the other hand, wine is said to act differently than beer, it helps you in your weight loss efforts. So, if it is a beer that you like, then you need to stop drinking it because it will increase your weight.
Say no to foods and drinks that contain added sugar
– if you want to lose weight, then stop taking foods and drinks that contain added sugar. One of the worst type of dietary habits, consuming added sugar in excess not just spoils your weight loss plan, it is also known to cause some of the most serious ailments of today’s times. All it contains is empty calories, which are not even filling. Sweetened breakfast cereals, flavored yogurt, and granola bars are some of the foods that might contain huge quantities of added sugar. Beware of fat free and/ or low fat foods, as they are manufactured with lots of added sugar to compensate for the flavor, which is lost during the process of fat removal.
These are some of the main foods, drinks, and beverages that you need to avoid in case you want to lose weight. But, this is by no means an exhaustive list of items, which you should avoid for your weight loss plan. In order to know all about the foods that you should avoid during your weight loss program, contact Solutions Weight Loss today.
The remarkably effective HCG diet plan was discovered (not created) in the 1950’s by a British researcher named Dr. Albert T. W. Simeons who observed that pregnant women in India shed fat while they were pregnant while still maintaining their lean muscle mass.
They were malnourished, but they still gave birth to very healthy babies. It was then that he realized right away that pregnant women had something most people don’t.
It turns out that pregnant women carry a hormone (HCG) that would pull calories and fuel from stored fat INSTEAD of lean muscle mass to feed the baby in their womb.
Of course, Dr. Simeons believed that anyone could use that same hormone to reach their weight and fat loss goals safely – while keeping their lean body mass. And (surprise, surprise) he was right!
HCG is a peptide naturally produced in large amounts by the placenta during early pregnancy. It has many functions in utero and is used medically to treat a variety of conditions. HCG was thought by Dr. Simeons to work on the hypothalamus of the brain where it encourages the body to release “fixed” or “abnormal” fat stores for fuel.
The plan is simple: eat a low (500-calorie/day) diet and take HCG hormone supplements – the same hormone pregnant women produce – and shave off pounds and pounds of fat safely, without harming your body’s natural metabolic rate.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Well, yes and no. The trick is NOT to just eat less calories. If that was all there was to it, you wouldn’t really need to use the hormones would you? (Trust me: I get that question all time time, so I know that’s what you’re thinking).
The trick is actually NOT in the calorie count but in the strict reduction of fat, sugars and carbs from your diet. ONLY when you reduce fat can your body try to use the fat is already has and ONLY when you take HCG injections does your body turn to your stored fat INSTEAD of your lean muscle mass.
Warning: Without the hormones and only the diet, YOU WILL lose lean muscle mass and risk damaging your natural metabolic rate.
Warning: Without the hormones and only the diet, YOU WILL lose lean muscle mass and risk damaging your natural metabolic rate.
Stage 1: The Indulgence
The first step in the HCG Diet Plan is to get your body ready to burn all that fat in the first place. For the first 2-3 days, you should indulge yourself without overdoing it. Take your HCG supplements or injections, but eat as much of your favorite foods as you would like.
Why not just jump right into the diet plan?
It takes about 2-3 days after taking the hormone for your body to access your “abnormal fat stores,” which are key to losing weight long term. You want to keep your normal fat stores well-stocked until that point. After the first 3 days, you should be ready for the 2nd stage.
Stage 2: The Burn
The 2nd stage is the main stage of the HCG diet. Once the 2-3 day indulgence (or “loading”) phase is over, it is time for the real work to begin. The #1 rule is to limit yourself to 500 calories per day of lean meats, vegetables and fruit.
Note: Just following the 500-calorie a day rule and ignoring the rest will NOT get you the results you desire. You can’t eat whatever you want under that limit. Instead, you need to focus on eating lean proteins, fruit and vegetables, while limiting your fat, sugar and carbohydrates. Also, as always, be sure to drink plenty of water.
To learn more about fats, starches and what to avoid, read this guide from Harvard on good fats, bad fats and those confusing “in-between” fats.
Here is what an average Stage 2 Day on the HCG Diet Plan looks like:
According to Dr. Simeon, breakfast should just be liquids, such as coffee or tea.
Lunch and dinner follow this simple formula: one lean protein, one vegetable, one fruit, and one starch.
Proteins (2 servings a day) can include the following:
- chicken breast (no thighs or fatty pieces)
- lean beef
- veal or any white fish
- *Avoid fatty fish, such as eel, herring, salmon or tuna.
Vegetables (2 servings a day) can include the following:
- Beet Greens
- Green Salad
- Red Radishes
Fruits (2 servings a day) can include the following:
- Strawberries (a handful)
- Small-medium sized orange
- One apple
- 1/2 of a grapefruit
Starches (2 servings a day) can include the following:
- One low-fat breadstick
- One Melba Toast
- Two Melba Rounds
Side note: I have had several patients who spread their dinner and lunch menus out during the day to avoid skipping breakfast. This is perfectly fine! As long as you stick to the basic menu items and 500-calorie plan, you will get the results you desire.
Stage 3: Stabilization
In his book, “Pounds and Inches,” Dr. Simeons recommended following a strict protocol for 3 weeks AFTER finishing Stage 2 and stopping your HCG drops or injections.
Here is what he recommends during this stage:
- Weight yourself every day to make sure you remain within 2 pounds of your most recent injection weight
- Avoid ALL sugars and starches (or, realistically, limit your intake greatly)
- Eat AT LEAST 100 grams of cooked, lean protein per day (if you go over your 2 pounds of Stage 2 weight, plan a steak day right away)
Even though you are done with your injections, this stage is 100% crucial to the success of the HCG diet. Why?
From the day you stop your last HCG injection, your body will be very sensitive to high-sugar or high-carbohydrate foods. It is critical that you follow this phase as faithfully as you did Stage 2.
During Stage 3, your hypothalamus will reset, rewiring your metabolism and erasing the effects of yo-yo dieting and poor eating habits. The weight you reach on the morning of your last injection is the weight that you should use as a basis for your maintenance phase. Many call this Last Injection Weight (LIW).
Here are some words from Dr. Simeons himself that illustrates this point:
“It takes about 3 weeks before the weight reached at the end of the treatment becomes stable, i.e. does not show violent fluctuations after an occasional excess. During this period patients must realize that the so-called carbohydrates (that is: sugar, rice, bread, potatoes, pastries), are by far the most dangerous.
If no carbohydrates whatsoever are eaten, fats can be indulged in… But as soon as fats and starch are combined things are very liable to get out of hand. This has to be observed very carefully during the first 3 weeks after the treatment is ended otherwise disappointments are almost sure to occur.”
Ready to try HCG for yourself and melt those extra pounds away? Here are some key reminders and tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid using oil-based cosmetics or skincare products, as added oils can interfere with the hormones and derail your results
- Always plan your meals ahead of time, and set yourself up for success. If you get hungry before lunch, “borrow” a fruit or vegetable from the other meals. As long as you stay under 500 calories, you will still be on target.
- Take the maintenance phase seriously, as outlined above.
Why use medically-supervised weight loss instead of following the HCG plan myself?
After Stages 1 and 2 of the HCG Diet, it is important to make significant dietary and lifestyle changes to support your body and sustain the weight loss. With medical supervision, the HCG Diet also provides a safe and reliable means to treating obesity.
HCG diet programs that provide the best results offer a medically-supervised program that supports the patient before, during, and after weight loss. As with any weight loss program, it is not uncommon for patients to put pounds back on once they go back to eating the standard American diet.
One of our favorite things about the HCG Diet protocol is that our patients lose the majority of their weight from fat mass and not lean mass. However, the HCG Diet is not a “magic wand.” You cannot remove fat stores forever or simply reset the hypothalamus and go back to eating a normal diet. To achieve the best lifelong results and change, consider a medically-supervised plan with a doctor who is experiencing in helping patients gain long-term results.