Fruit: Eliminating added sugar is one good way to reduce calories. Food items with added sugar are usually always high in calories and low in important nutrients. Remember, if you are on a low sugar/low carb diet, avoid starchy vegetables, large portions of fruit, fruit juices and dried fruit.
On a low sugar diet, the best fruits to eat are berries. Most of the carbs found in berries are from fiber and they are very lw in sugar. For example, a 1/2 cup serving of raspberries has only 2.7 grams of sugar in compared to a medium banana that has 14.4 grams of sugar, a medium apple at 18.9 grams of sugar or a half of a mango with 23.0 grams of sugar.
Tropical fruits are a great source of carbohydrates, vitamins, nutrients and fiber. Tropical fruits grow on plants in all habitats and are imported and exported to places all over the world. Fruits included here are; the avocado, banana, cherries, damson plums, coconuts, apples, lemons, limes, nectarines, peaches, papaya, and so many more that even I never realized were in the category of tropical fruits. I always thought tropical fruits grew only in tropical environments.
Fruit can give you an instant boost. It is a great way to quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger at the same time. You can eat it on the go. You should have some fruit on hand all of the time. Fruit can be your instant snack or dessert and it is a lot better for you than eating a doughnut.
Fruit is a great source of vitamins and minerals. People who eat fruit regularly as part of their healthy diet are less prone to get chronic disease. Fruit is also a source for potassium. Potassium is important for heart health and can help prevent strokes. Potassium can also help prevent kidney stones and assist in preventing bone loss as we age. Fruit is also a source of folate (folic acid) which helps the body form red blood cells. Folate helps prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida, so it is very important for women of child bearing age to get the proper amount of folate. A healthy eating pattern containing fruit may actually help to protect us from cancer. You should eat one to 2 1/2 cups of fruit per day, depending on how many calories you need for your weight loss goals It is recommended that we fill half of out plate with with fruit and vegetables at each meal.
Blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the reason for the blue/purple color of the blueberry, but they are more than just pigments. Anthocyanins have been found to inhibit free radicals from damaging cells in the body. That is huge! It could mean that blueberries help prevent cancer. in some studies, it has been suggested that the anthocyanins in blueberries could help prevent cardiovascular disease including stroke, as well as neurodegenerative disorders of aging such as Alzheimer’s disease and actually improve memory. Cranberries and huckleberries are included in the same group as blueberries, the genus Vaccinium group.
Fun fact: The blueberry is one of the few fruits that is native to North America. The American Indian revered them so much that they actually used parts of the plant in medicine. They taught the Pilgrims in the Plymouth settlement how to pick them and dry them for use in the winter. There are 450 types of blueberry plants around the world. They are so hardy that they also grow in the arctic parts of North America. July is National Blueberry month. America produces 90% of the world’s blueberry crop. The state with the largest blueberry production is Michigan, which is where I was born. I love blueberries and they are a favorite for putting in my water.
You can put fresh or frozen blueberries in pancake batter, cold cereal, and add to water, lemonade or ice tea. You can substitute dried blueberries for raisins in hot cereal and trail mix. My personal favorite is to add them to my green smoothies. I use a scoop of protein powder, 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt, a few hands full of fresh spinach, about a 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, ice and if liquid is needed I use either water or coconut milk (almond milk can be used also). Put all ingredients in blender and blend it to milkshake consistency. You may not think this sounds very tasty, but it is delicious. You don’t even taste the spinach. The blueberries take over to give the smoothie just the right amount of sweetness. I love this smoothie, You can have it in place of breakfast or lunch. As you might have guessed, blueberries are one of my personal favorite fruits.
Vegetables: If you are moderately active, you should take in 2 1/2 – 3 cups of vegetables. The vegetable group is divided into five subgroups. These groups are nutritionally similar. Dark green vegetables include dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, This group also includes broccoli. The next group includes starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, and plantains. Next, we have legumes which includes beans and peas. Then, we have the red and orange group which includes tomatoes, red peppers, sweet potatoes and carrots. The last group is “other vegetables.” This group includes avocado, cabbage, beets, celery and mushrooms, just to name a few. An 8 ounce glass of 100% vegetable juice is equal to one serving of vegetables. A one cup serving is one cup wheth er the vegetables are mashed, sliced and cooked or one cup, sliced and raw. One cup of cooked greens is one serving but one cup of raw greens is only considered 1/2 a cup serving, in daily intake terms.
Since vegetables are relatively low in calories, very high in nutrients, and provide a large amount of water to help keep us hydrated, you can eat practically all you want. Just don’t pile them up with unhealthy stuff or dip them in mayonnaise based or high calorie dips. Also, there should be somewhat of a limit to starchy vegetables because of the high carbohydrate amounts. Beans can add up the calories as well, if you are counting calories.
During the summer and fall, I can literally eat seasonal vegetables as a meal, no meat needed. Did you know that if you eat all of your recommended daily amounts of vegetables it will without a doubt curb your appetite? The best way, in my opinion to make sure you get a good amount of fresh vegetables is when you get home from the grocery store with them; clean them, cut them up, and bag them before you even put them in the refrigerator. This way, they are always ready to eat when you get the munchies and just as convenient as reaching for something less healthy with more calories.
I recommend that you keep frozen vegetables in your freezer and try to avoid canned, for times when you don’t have fresh. If you have to use canned. always rinse thoroughly. Canned vegetables usually have a high amount of sodium. Remember, we want to be healthy as well as lose weight. Fresh vegetables are always the best choice, but not always a possibility. Vegetables are a very versatile food in that you can clean them cut them and bag them and take them along with you to have anytime you need a snack. In combination the other vegetables, they can make just about any dish scrumptious. So cook or raw, vegetables are a great food choice.
Today I made a really delicious vegetable dish. I bought fresh broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet onion, potatoes, green onions, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots and whole baby porta bella mushrooms. I cleaned and cut in large chunks and then tossed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic and Italian spices. I laid out the hard veggies and sweet onions on a cookie sheet and roasted on 325* for 45 minutes. Then I added the rest of the vegetables and mushrooms for another half hour. Next, turn off the heat and put a small round of brie cheese with the wax scored right in the middle of the pan and leave in hot oven until the cheese is melted. Dip the veggies in the melted cheese. These roasted vegetables along with boneless, skinless chicken cooked in the crock pot made a scrumptious dinner with plenty left over for lunch or dinner the next day.
I made this at my son’s house while babysitting my grand daughter. My daughter-in-law liked the vegetables and cheese so much that she skipped the chicken. You could do this in any vegetable combination that you wanted to and have any kind of meat with it. I think it would also go well with baked fish.
I prefer fresh vegetables over any other kind. I like them baked, boiled, roasted and broiled, even skewered and roasted on the grill. Spice them up. Be adventurous. Try spices you have never used. It is amazing to me how simple and easy it is to make a vegetable dish that tastes fancy and as if it took a lot of time and expense.
It is recommended that we drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water or half of your total body weight in fluid ounces of water per day. Did you know that if you do that consistently, you will greatly reduce your hunger urges? This will make your weight loss easier. Some people have an issue with drinking plain water so they don’t end up getting their recommended amount in every day. I have found that putting slices of various fruit in the water is a great way to flavor it, and makes it easier for me to get my water in every day. I have talked to my doctor and she confirmed that it is fine to add fresh fruit to your water. It still counts toward the recommended daily amount.
I like to use lemon mostly. I love the flavor. It has been said that adding lemon juice to your water helps to cleanse the body systems. Some people have issues with lemon juice giving them heartburn. I have that issue occasionally. During these times, I have found that adding orange slices tastes great, too. I like to add sliced up strawberries and blueberries, as well. Some days, I add a little bit of any berries and citrus fruit I have, both separately and in combinations. Remember that adding fresh fruit to your daily water amounts not only tastes great, but is much better for your health than using those powdered drink flavoring mixes that are full of chemicals and artificial sweeteners.
I have water bottles that open up wide enough to add the fruit and ice. Ice is another must have for me. The colder the water is, the easier it is for me to drink it. You can get those bottles at any department store. They are reasonably priced and a personal must have for me.
Have you had the talk with yourself today? Successful weight loss is dependent on a positive mindset. Remember to reaffirm to yourself daily that you are succeeding, not that you want to but that you are. Retrain your brain to think positive. How you get your water in is only the beginning. We can do this together.
Your body is 60% water. Water is an essential nutrient. Fluid losses happen continuously through sweating, urine, bowel movements, and it must be replaced every day for good health. You need the proper amount of fluids to make certain bodily functions happen. Some of those include; circulation, digestion, creation of saliva and body temperature. If you are exercising, you need the proper amount of fluids because cells that don’t have a healthy balance of fluids and electrolytes will shrivel up and that will cause muscle fatigue. It is recommended that you drink water before exercise and at regular intervals during exercise to replace fluids lost by sweating.
Getting at least your recommended daily amount of water every day will also hydrate your skin. I have dry skin issues and I find that if I get all of my water in each day, my skin is moist and more elastic. Over-hydration won’t make wrinkles go away, but dehydration will make your skin look dry and wrinkled. Once you have the proper amount of hydration, your kidneys kick in and dispose of any excess fluid. Fluids actually transport the waste from your cells and your kidneys play a part in that as well. You know you are getting the proper amount of fluids when your urine is flowing freely, is light in color and has no odor. If you chronically drink too little water you are at higher risk of getting kidney stones. Another great benefit of proper hydration is that it helps prevent constipation. When you are low on fluids, your colon draws fluid from your stools to maintain proper hydration and this cause the stools to be dry which in turn causes constipation.
Here are some tips to help you increase your fluid intake:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Keep a bottle of water handy; on your nightstand, in the car, on your desk, in your gym bag
- Add fruit to your water to give it taste
- Make sure you have something to drink with snacks and meal
- Choose beverages you like. I don’t recommend beverages with high sugar or chemical based sweeteners.
Water can help you focus, feel fresh and alert. It can help tired eyes feel better if you are properly hydrated. Proper hydration can help achy joints, give your brain a boost, helps with pain and fighting off sickness. If you do get sick, it can help you get better faster. Water can make you feel fuller and is zero calories when not mixed with anything.
In addition to fruit the following are recipes to flavor your water:
- Pineapple-orange w/ginger
- Watermelon and Mint
- Strawberry-lemon with Basil
Put ingredients in a jar or small pitcher, to taste. Mash up a little. Add water and refrigerate. You can add a little agave or other sweetener if desired. Can be strained or drank as is. Be adventurous. Mix up your own combinations. Always have some in the refrigerator, ready to drink for a variation from plain water and instead of soda
If you feel like you have tried every “healthy diet plan” or exercise program on the planet and repeatedly failed to achieve your weight loss goals, you probably need a “healthy diet check up…from the neck up.”
There’s no such thing as a healthy, fast, weight loss diet plan. Successful weight loss doesn’t just happen. It took more than a few days to reach the point where you are at right now. Give yourself a break and expect it to take awhile before you see measurable results. Take a leap of faith and follow some basic principles in your diet plan.
Begin with your “self talk”. This is the conversation that runs through your brain continuously. What kind of conversation do you have with your self talk? What type of negative self talk has kept you from reaching your weight loss goals in the past?
If you had a chance to do it over again, would you change the dialogue? That’s a no-brainer isn’t it? Well, the good news is that you can turn the tide of negative self talk beginning right now. It’s never too late to begin and you start by reprogramming your self talk and beginning a whole new weight loss diet plan.
A good starting point is to begin with positive affirmations. Positive affirmations, spoken aloud with authority and belief, positively affect your attitude, focuses your thinking and lead to a course of action that will help you become the person you want to be and have the things that you want to have.
Begin by writing your weight loss affirmations on paper. You can begin with something like, “I want to lose 25 pounds before Christmas.” That’s a worthy goal and attainable, but we need to put some work into structuring the affirmation.
First of all, “I want” gives the impression that what you desire is always in the future. In order to re-program your self talk, you need to trick your mind into believing that you have already achieved weight loss success. This is how your subconscious mind functions.
Your subconscious mind has no capacity for understanding the concept of time. Everything is in the moment. . .here and now. When you tell your subconscious mind that you “want”, that is exactly what you will get. . .want. . .without ever achieving fulfillment. Unless you change your mental tape recorder, you will achieve exactly what you are telling your subconscious, that you “want to lose 25 pounds.” You will “want to lose 25 pounds” for the rest of your days unless you change your self talk.
If your weight is 150 pounds and you desire is to weight 125 pounds, then you need to “be” 125 pounds from the moment you make the decision to change your self talk. What if you write your affirmation to read something like this: “I am healthy and fit, weighing 125 pounds.”
It is extremely important that your affirmation is crystal clear because what you affirm is exactly what your subconscious mind will bring you.
You needn’t limit yourself to one affirmation either. Write another one that reflects your new exercise program. “I enjoy my healthy new diet plan,” or, “I love the healthy foods I eat.”
Write and rewrite until you are absolutely certain that you have written your weight loss goals “in the here and now” AND represent precisely what you desire. Only then do you begin to speak it aloud and do so several times a day.
Remember to use the present tense. “I acknowledge achievement in all my weight loss goals.” “I have the skill and talent to exercise every day.” “I am a winner.” “I am grateful for all of my accomplishments no matter how small.”
At first you will feel awkward and uncomfortable and you may not feel or believe what you are saying. It doesn’t matter, continue to speak them aloud with as much conviction as you can muster. It’s taken a long time to train your subconscious to use negative self talk. If you will persevere with speaking your affirmations aloud, firmly and confidently, you will be amazed at how quickly you can turn your thoughts around.
You didn’t hop on a bicycle the first time and just take off down the street. It took practice to train your body to balance on those two wheels. This will take some practice as well. Continue to repeat your affirmations aloud, several times a day for the next 30 days and you will be amazed at how much you change your thinking and attitude.
Above all, take action. Do nothing and nothing gets done. Do something and many things are placed in motion.
Regardless of what you are doing in life, you need to take action. Do something every day to put your plan into motion.