Category Archives: Nutrition

Weight Loss Program Tips: Start Logging Your Meals

225150203_d4d199ad7e_zTrying to lose weight can feel overwhelming, but having the right knowledge and tools to help you through the process makes a noticeable difference between shedding just a few pounds or reaching the goals of your weight loss program. One tool that can be used to help you in your weight loss journey is a meal log.

Why Log Your Meals?

When you start logging your meals, you may be surprised not only by how many calories you consume each day, but how often you eat. Logging your meals is important for not only tracking the calories you consume to ensure you’re creating a calorie deficit, but also tracking patterns of when you’re more likely to overeat or choose less healthy options.

What to Log

When starting a food log, it’s important to log everything you eat throughout the day. Logging the amount of water you drink is also helpful as staying hydrated plays an important role in hitting the goals of your weight loss program. Divide your log into meals and snacks, keeping a detailed list of not only what you ate but the serving size. This tracking allows you to go back later and look up the calories for each item.

Logging Emotions

When logging your meals, try logging how you felt while eating as well as the feelings that led up to you getting hungry. This is especially helpful for people who associate eating with comfort, as you can look back and have a visual map of not only what you chose to eat, but also your reasoning for choosing the foods you consumed.

The process of logging your meals can be expanded into other areas of your weight loss program, especially tracking sets and workout times for your aerobic and strength training programs. If you have questions on how to set up a food log, contact our staff today to see how we can get you on the road to weight loss success.

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5 Foods to Jump Start Your Metabolism and Help with Weight Management

6753209915_abc0a1be8e_zWhen trying to lose weight, the first items that come to mind are how many calories you should be consuming and the amount of exercise you need to reach your weekly goals. However, another important aspect of weight loss is your metabolism. Higher metabolism helps you burn more calories, resulting in better weight management. One of the best ways you can rev up your metabolism is through metabolism-boosting foods.

Berries

Berries of all types can be added to your smoothies or salads for a quick metabolism boost. The metabolism benefits of berries come from their anthocyanins and polyphenol contents which impact both the size and absorption of fat in your body.

Lean Proteins

Lean proteins are not only a great source of energy without a lot of calories, but they can also impact your metabolism. Proteins require a greater amount of energy to digest, resulting in a temporary boost in calorie burning.

Citrus

Citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemon and oranges provide a kick to your metabolism through their vitamin C content. You can easily add more citrus to your diet by slicing them into a cold glass of water or putting them to smoothies.

Raw Spinach

Raw spinach has weight management benefits that come from magnesium, an essential mineral required for your metabolism to work efficiently with the cells of your body. For an even larger magnesium boost, try adding some pumpkin seeds to a spinach salad for a great tasting lunch.

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers add heat to your meals, but they can also heat up your metabolism. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which when consumed, temporarily increases both your metabolism and blood circulation.

Use these food items together or with other foods to give your weight management plan the boost it needs to jump start your metabolism. For more information on specific methods to help boost your individual metabolism, work with a weight loss professional today to see how easily you can reach your goals.

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Boost Your Immune System with These Foods

ID-100205426You already know to wash your hands after greeting someone with the sniffles, and your purse is stocked with a supply of antibacterial hand sanitizer, but you still get sick from time to time. What are you missing?

While practicing good hygiene and avoiding sick people can certainly help you avoid getting a cold or the flu, so can changing your diet. Certain foods and beverages can give your immune system a power boost that can keep you healthier and less susceptible to infections (on top of helping you to lose weight).

To start protecting your health today, make these foods part of your regular diet:

Chamomile Tea

This isn’t just a go-to beverage when you are already feeling sick; drinking it when you are healthy can actually keep you feeling great. Drinking five cups of the tea a day can boost the levels of polyphenols in your blood. These plant-based compounds increase antibacterial activity, helping you ward off infections.

You don’t have to drink your tea hot. Try cooling down on a hot Arizona afternoon with a tall glass of iced chamomile tea garnished with slices of lemon for a no calorierefresher that will help you lose weight.

Mushrooms

These tasty morsels are loaded with polysaccharides, compounds that are essential to immune system health, and they also help your body create cytokines, cells that are responsible for battling infections. Although all mushrooms have these compounds and benefits, your best bets are reishi, shitake and maitakevarities.

Whey Protein

Give your morning smoothie (and your immune system!) a boost with a scoop of whey protein powder. Whey is a great source of cysteine, an amino acid that changes to an antioxidant called glutathione in the body. The antioxidant protects your cells from viral and bacterial infections. If you don’t like smoothies, reach for yogurt – the clear liquid that sits on top of it is pure whey protein. Instead of pouring it down the sink, stir it back into your yogurt for an immune-boosting breakfast or snack.

Tomatoes

Also loaded with antioxidants, tomatoes help protect white blood cells from damages caused by free radicals. Try eating cherry tomatoes as a healthy snack, filling an omelet with chopped slices or sipping on real tomato juice throughout the day to get your fix and improve your health.

Garlic and Onions

These flavorful foods do more than just add zing to your favorite dishes; they also contain many different compounds that boost immunity and have antiseptic properties.

If looking to either build stronger immune function or lose weight then consider Valley Medical Weight Loss. We can point out more foods to help you control your weight and put you on a specialized food plan tailored to your own physical needs.

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Weight Loss and Water: How Much Water Do I Need Each Day?

How much water should you be drinking every day? The question sounds simple enough, drinking-waterbut it is actually a difficult one to answer. Over the years, various studies have revealed different recommendations, and it turns out that no single amount is right for everyone. How much water you should be drinking each day depends on a variety of factors, including your activity level, your location, your health, and whether or not your goal is weight loss.

Why is Drinking Enough Water Important?

Before we talk about how much you should be drinking, it helps to know exactly why getting enough water is important. About 60 percent of the weight of your body is water, and every one of your bodily systems depends on it to thrive. It helps deliver nutrients to your cells, eliminate toxins from your organs and keep your nose, ears and throat healthy and moist. These are just a few of the ways that water helps your body function its best.

When you don’t get enough water, your body can’t properly perform normal functions, and one of the key signs of dehydration is fatigue and a lack of energy.

So How Much Do I Really Need?

Your body is constantly using water, and it is losing it through perspiration, bowel movements, urine and breath. The water you lose needs to be replenished by drinking liquids and eating foods that contain water.

Your individual water needs depend on your location, activity level and your overall health, but an average adult male with no health issues who lives in a temperate area needs about 13 cups (or 3 liters) of water every day. Women with the same circumstances need less and should drink about 9 cups (or 2.2 liters) each day.

If you live in a hot, humid area or have a high activity level, you should consume more water each day. The same is true if you are shooting for weight loss.

Getting the right amount of water every day can help you look and feel your best, and staying hydrated is an important part of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. To learn more about weight loss, contact the experts at Valley Medical Weight Loss! 

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What Does Vitamin B12 Do for My Body?

vitamin b12Getting an adequate amount of vitamin B12 each day is vital to your health. The nutrient is essential to a number of processes and functions: it helps make DNA, keeps the body’s blood cells and nerves in tip-top shape, prevents certain types of anemia and more.

What are the Top Benefits of Vitamin B12?

  • The vitamin is important for energy production because it helps the body change carbs into glucose. Getting enough vitamin B12 each day can decrease lethargy and fatigue and give you more energy.
  • Vitamin B12 reduces brain shrinkage, stress and depression because it helps regulate the nervous system.
  • Essential for healthy and beautiful nails, skin and hair, vitamin B12 helps renew and reproduce the body’s cells.
  • Vitamin B12 is important for the digestive system, and it also protects against heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes.
  • The vitamin can also offer protection against lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer.

What If I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin B12?

A deficiency of this essential nutrient can cause constipation, weakness, tiredness and anemia in addition to balance issues, depression, dementia, soreness of the tongue or mouth, confusion and poor memory.

How Can I Get More Vitamin B12?

Animal foods are the top sources of vitamin B12, and some foods are fortified with it. The best sources of the nutrient are clams and beef liver, but eggs, milk, poultry, fish and meat are also good sources. The vitamin is also found in most multi-vitamins.

If you are not getting enough vitamin B12 from your diet, B12 injections may be a good option. Injections allow the vitamin to directly access your cells and maximize absorption for maximum benefits. If you are trying to lose weight, injections can jump start your results by increasing your metabolism and promoting energy.

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Burn Calories Without Burning Your Budget

Getting a million-dollar body doesn’t have to break the bank, and you can get great results Burn Calories Without Burning Your Budget without flashy workout equipment, an expensive gym membership or fancy health foods. If you want to trim your waistline while growing your bank account, try these low-cost ways to burn calories:

Workout for Free

Before you invest a small fortune in the latest workout DVDs, look for free alternatives. Check out the fitness section in your library’s collection of DVDs, hit the web to find hundreds of free workouts, or look at your cable networks’ on-demand selections. Your cable package may even include a free exercise channel.

Turn Your Home Into a Gym

For the cost of a few month’s gym membership, you can turn a corner of your home into a workout sanctuary. Look for online deals to score an inexpensive yoga mat, set of handweights and a few workout DVDs, or check auction sites to save even more on used goods. You won’t have the fancy equipment offered at the gym, but you really don’t need it to break a sweat anyway.

Change Up Your Commute

Every day is packed with opportunities to burn more calories. Instead of driving to work, try walking, biking or even running. If you live too far away to totally change your commuting style, park your car a few blocks from the office to sneak in a brisk walk twice a day. Take the stairs up to your floor and use your lunch break to take a stroll. You’ll save on gas while burning calories, and that’s a win-win situation.

These tips show that you can lose weight without breaking the bank, and we make every effort to make our weight loss programs as affordable as possible. To learn more about our solutions for every budget, contact us today!

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Healthier Alternatives to Butter for Baking

It is said that baking feeds the soul in addition to the belly, but baked goods loaded with ID-100192176buttery goodness can make the scale spike and cause a host of health issues. Reducing the amount of butter you use in the kitchen or eliminating it entirely can significantly cut the amount of fat, cholesterol and calories in your favorite treats, giving you more freedom to indulge in these healthier alternatives. Next time you are on a baking spree, reach for these substitutions instead of butter to get steps closer to your weight loss goals:

Applesauce

This sweet stuff is often used as an oil replacement in baking recipes, but it works just as well for butter. Try swapping it in cake-like recipes for half the butter: If a recipe calls for two cups of butter, use one cup applesauce and one butter. If you replace all the butter with applesauce, your baked goods will be more moist and dense but have less fat and calories.

Canola Oil

This oil may have more calories than butter, but it is far lower in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. This substitution is best for recipes that call for melted butter, and you can make an equal swap.

Greek Yogurt

Your favorite breakfast food is a great substitute for butter, especially when making cookies. If a recipe demands a full cup of butter, use a quarter cup of Greek yogurt and a half a cup of the real stuff. You’ll still get the taste and texture you love but with less saturated fat and calories.

Prune Puree

It may sound crazy, but prune puree works as a healthier alternative to butter, especially in recipes that use cinnamon and chocolate. Replace the butter entirely with prune puree, either store-bought or homemade, to make low-fat and low-calorie treats you will love. 

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Get the Flavor Your Crave Without the Calories

low calorie foodsIf you are like most people, your list of favorite foods is probably filled with treats that taste great but don’t rank high on the nutrition scale. Luckily, eating a healthier, more balanced diet does not have to mean forgoing all your favorites. With these lower-calorie substitutions, you can still enjoy the flavors you crave without the calories that pack on the pounds.

Cookies

Cookies are often loaded with sugar, chocolate, cream and other things that may make your taste buds rejoice but your waistline suffer. Swap high-calorie, high-fat treats with a more sensible, lower-calorie alternative, like fig bars. Still technically cookies, the sweet treats give you the flavor you desire without as many calories, and the fruit inside delivers an extra nutritional punch.

Potato Chips

Ruffled, covered with barbecue flavoring or sour cream and onion powder, kettle cooked or just plain, potato chips are a favorite indulgence but an unhealthy choice. Once you tear open a bag, you might eat half without even realizing it, and the calories and fat in each chip really add up. Next time you are tempted, try a serving of air-popped popcorn instead. It’s salty, crunchy, satisfying and has far less calories and fat than deep-fried chips.

Ice Cream

If you are craving something cool on a hot Arizona summer afternoon, skip high-calorie ice cream in favor of homemade Greek yogurt popsicles made with the season’s ripest berries, a smoothie made with ice, fresh peaches and almond milk, or ice cream made with coconut milk and topped with your favorite fruits.

Pizza

The cheesy, saucy goodness of pizza is certainly delicious, but it is also loaded with fat and calories. Instead of indulging in a slice (or three!) of traditional pizza, make your own on a whole-wheat pita with fresh veggies and a light sprinkling of low-fat cheese. Dress it up with your favorite spices and dig in without the guilt.

Soda

The high fructose corn syrup, sugar and calories in soda can do serious damage on your body, but you don’t have to give up sweet drinks entirely to get healthier and cut calories. Instead of gulping down a calorie-laden soda, try a glass of unsweetened tea or ice cold water with slices of lemon, lime or strawberries. You’ll get the sweetness you want without the calories.

French Fries

As with potato chips, it is hard to just eat one french fry. Instead of reaching for a deep-fried, crisp and salty fry, try slices of baked avocado topped with panko crumbs, zucchini fries or slices of baked sweet potatoes.

Learning to deal with cravings is one of the cornerstones of healthy weight loss, and making these simple substitutions can help you make healthier choices and shed pounds. To learn more about curbing cravings, boosting your metabolism and upping your energy, check out our weight loss programs today!

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