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I recently participated in a 7-week Transformation Challenge at the gym I belong to. We all tried to improve our strength and stamina over that period, with a baseline workout on Day One that was repeated on the last day. But most people were also trying to lose weight. My goal was to lose 10 pounds over the 7-week period. And for one of those weeks, I was going to be on vacation. Yikes!
I didn’t quite reach my goal – I lost 7.5 pounds. Looking back on it, I lost all of that in the first 4 weeks, then I plateaued. And I think I know the reason why: I stopped keeping a journal of my calorie intake. I had decided to enter all my food and exercise into the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. At about 4 weeks, I decided I didn’t need to do that any more because I knew about how much to eat and what kinds of foods to eat. Maybe so, but I wasn’t accountable for all of my calories, so my actions didn’t follow the plan. I know this to be true because I didn’t lose weight for 3 weeks: if I had a calorie deficit, I would’ve still been losing. (My exercise remained the same throughout.)
MyFitnessPal not only helped me lose weight, but it taught me a few things. I started reading labels more. I discovered new protein-rich foods that are also low-calorie, such as Greek yogurt. I learned on vacation that a dozen raw oysters on the half shell are only 114 calories and have 12 grams of protein. You can bet I repeated that snack! I also found out how to use the barcode reader on MyFitnessPal to enter a new food, which made using the app even easier. I plan to lose a few more pounds in the next month, and I know I will do it with MyFitnessPal. If you want to lose weight, give MyFitnessPal a try. I think you’ll like it.
Holy cow! How is it I just now heard about this great healthy ice cream? My daughter brought home a couple of pints of ice cream a week ago. I just looked away, since I assumed they were high-calorie treats and I didn’t want to blow my healthy diet. But my wife pointed out that the entire pint of Lemon Cake flavor has only 240 calories! My favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor is 1040 for the whole pint. Then she brought out the Birthday Cake flavor. It was very good, too. I’ve since tried Strawberry, Pistachio, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cup, and Chocolate Almond Crunch – all delicious! Some are a bit higher in calories; for instance Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is 360 calories per pint, but that is as high as they go, and that’s still only 1/3 of the calories of regular ice cream.
If you have a problem with your appetite, Phentermine is a great appetite suppressant, and we can prescribe that for you at Cordova Medical Clinic. But eating higher protein meals and snacks also helps you feel full longer, as does fiber. Halo Top ice cream is great in that respect too: Vanilla Bean flavor has (per pint) 240 calories, 24 grams protein, and 12 grams fiber. These make an excellent pre- or post-workout snack or late evening snack. If you haven’t seen you favorite flavor, they have 17 to choose from. They are carried locally in Kroger’s and Whole Foods. Let us know your favorite on our Facebook page. I’m voting for Strawberry. Today, that is.
Protein is one of the three macronutrients every human needs daily to survive and thrive. (The other two are fats and carbohydrates.) But can extra protein be your key to weight loss? It can be: high-protein diets are one good option for you in your weight loss plan. Any good weight loss plan should also include exercise at least 5 days a week. And if you follow a good exercise program, you will need more protein to rebuild and grow your muscles. So why not use a high-protein diet in conjunction with that exercise?
For most Americans the foods we overeat the most are carbs and fats. If you try to eat mostly lean proteins, you can let them take the place of carbs and fats. Examples of protein-rich foods are meat, fish, eggs, milk, cottage cheese, beans, peas, and nuts.
You need some carbs and fats, but try to eat things that are not loaded with them. The other great thing about protein is that it will help satisfy your appetite, so you eat less often and smaller portions. (Phentermine is a prescription appetite suppressant that also curbs your appetite. If you think you might need help with this, come see us at Cordova Medical Clinic.) People who eat a protein-rich breakfast eat about 200 calories less per day than people who consume a carb-heavy breakfast.
So how much protein should you eat daily? The minimum is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, so about 65 grams of protein for a 180-lb person. However, if you exercise 3-5 times a week for 45 minutes, you need much more to help rebuild muscles. Also, you need more if you are taking in fewer calories than you need daily on a weight loss program. So a good rule of thumb is to double the minimum recommendation. That would be 0.72 grams per pound of body weight, or about 130 grams of protein daily for a 180-lb person. Protein is best utilized by your body to build muscle in smaller portions. Eat about 20-30 grams 5 to 6 times daily.
A Healthy Breakfast: 4 egg whites, 1 yolk, ¼ cup fat-free cheddar cheese. Only 165 calories, with 23 grams of protein, and delicious! If you skip the egg yolk, you drop 55 calories.
Research shows that about 50% of Americans make New Year Resolutions, 25% are broken within the first 2 weeks, and only about 8% actually achieve them at all. Here’s some advice on strategies to set realistic obtainable goals for your new year.
Try not to be too general when setting a goal. If you’ve committed to ‘ do more exercise’ you need to be sure you define what that means. Let’s be real, who doesn’t benefit from doing more exercise? The problem is, when you’re not specific it’s easy to let exercise fall by the wayside. You would be better off committing to a certain number of days a week or minutes per day even if you start small and work your way up.
The All Or Nothing
Try to stay away from words like ‘No’ & ‘Never’. Words like these can really set you up for failure. If you say ‘I’m NEVER going to have ice cream again’ and you go to a birthday party and you have it, then you can feel like you’ve already broken your resolution. This can cause someone to stop working towards his or her goal. The thing to remember is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort at all.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Remember, none of us are perfect. Don’t turn mistakes or temporary failures into excuses to give up. It’s better to identify what caused the mistake, set up a new plan, and move forward.
Achieving your ultimate goal isn’t about how long it takes you to get there, but more importantly it’s recognizing what your goals are, being realistic, and staying committed. Cordova Medical Clinic is a great place to help you get started. We offer the appetite suppressant phentermine right here in our clinic to help you reach your goals. Let’s make 2017 your year!