Are You Drinking Your Calories?

Are you drinking your calories?

Beverages are not as satisfying as solid foods and typically don’t compensate for eating a balanced nutritious meal.

According to research, our brains register liquid calories differently than calories from eating solid foods. Orange juice (for example) is naturally high in calories and sugar. An 8 ounce glass of OJ typically has 130 calories. When you consume the juice, your brain won’t register the calories the same way it does if you eat an actual orange.  Researchers believe this is because the action of chewing and biting isn’t present which may trigger signals in the brain that we are eating. You may also find you don’t feel as full from a glass of juice as you would if you ate the orange in its natural form. Why is this? Because the orange fruit has fiber and the juice has very little fiber. Fiber helps us feel full and contributes to proper digestion. Juice, which is mostly sugar, is quickly absorbed after we drink it.

It’s okay to drink milk, juices, and other drinks in moderation. But try to stick to non-caloric drinks like tea, coffee (skip the creamer), and water. If you need to liven up your water, try a squeeze of lemon or lime to give it a fruity kick. If you consume alcoholic beverages, be mindful of the calories.

Hope this helps you live a healthy Skinny Life!

caloric drinks

Do You Eat Out Too Often?

Do you eat out too often?

Cook at home more often for healthier, more nutritious meals.

When you cook at home, you control how much oil, sugar, and other high-calorie ingredients you use in your recipes.  Eating at home also allows you to eat more whole foods and control portion sizes. This can lead to a healthier waistline and thicker wallet.

If you eat out a lot and want to put an end to it, here are some quick easy tips to help you:

  1. Commit to eating at home. Sounds obvious but if you’re not completely bought into the idea, you will fail. If you have a partner who isn’t on board with your healthier goal, you are also likely to not follow through. Commit and do.
  2. Challenge yourself and give yourself a goal. Is your goal to never eat out? To only eat out on special occasions (and what is a special occasion – a birthday or holiday)? Is your morning cup of coffee at the convenient store or Starbucks considered eating out? Define your goals and make them crystal clear. When you make an outline of what you will and will not do, it makes it easier to stick to your goals.
  3. One Month. After completing the first 2 steps, commit to not eating out for one month. Typically, if you can do something for a month, it has become a habit. Then once you succeed after one month, challenge yourself for another month. You will start to see an increase in your pocketbook and a reduction in your waist (if you are choosing nutritious foods).

What is your goal and how long do you think you can go without eating out again? I would love to read your comments!




Health Benefits of Eating Garlic

Garlic not only makes food delicious, it may also have a number of health benefits. Some of these benefits are more likely if you eat your garlic raw, since cooking it may reduce the amounts of certain chemicals garlic contains. Before adding large amounts of garlic to your diet or taking garlic supplements, speak with your doctor as garlic can interact with certain medications and isn’t safe for everyone in amounts greater than those used in cooking.

It May Lower Cancer Risk

People who consumed raw garlic at least twice a week experienced lower rates of lung cancer than those who consumed raw garlic less often, according to a seven-year study published in “Cancer Prevention Research” in July 2013. Garlic may also be beneficial for preventing or treating colon and pancreatic cancer, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center — although research is still preliminary.

Lowers Cholesterol

Medical students who consumed 10 grams of raw garlic each day for two months significantly lowered their cholesterol levels, according to a study published in the “Journal of Postgraduate Medicine” in 1991. Another study, published in the “Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences” in October 2006, found that raw garlic consumption increased beneficial HDL cholesterol levels, while decreasing total cholesterol, although the difference wasn’t large enough to recommend using garlic as the only method for lowering cholesterol.

Offers an Anti-inflammatory Effect

If you suffer from an inflammatory condition, it may help to consume raw garlic. A study published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology” in August 2013 found that garlic had an anti-inflammatory effect, with raw garlic exhibiting a stronger effect than garlic that had been heated. The levels of a compound called allicin were greater in the raw garlic, which is most likely the reason for its greater benefits.

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

A decrease in insulin sensitivity increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes. Consuming raw garlic may help improve your insulin sensitivity, thus lowering your risk for diabetes, according to a preliminary study published in “Nutrition & Metabolism” in 2011. However, this study used rats, so further research is necessary to see if the same benefit exists in humans.


garlic health benefits

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How to Successfully Lose Weight

How to Successfully Lose Weight

Throughout many successful weight loss journeys, there are similar factors that contribute to lasting and successful weight loss.  Here we share a few, and, if you have tips to share with others, please comment below or head over to our Facebook page to share your weight loss tips!

  1. Mindset is everything.

Weight loss is difficult. It is hard to break old habits and implement new ones. Our bodies have memory (you’ve probably heard of muscle memory, well, our entire bodies have physical memory) and losing weight is rewiring the memory. You will hit plateaus and there will be weigh-ins where you lose nothing, you may even gain a few pounds. But don’t despair, stay positive and remember that even when things are frustrating and you’re feeling defeated, that the journey will be worth it once you hit your weight loss goals.

  1. Burn more calories than you consume.

Yes, the goal is to eat healthier and to nourish your body with the right nutrients and vitamins. With that being said, it is still possible to lose weight eating the foods you currently love, IF, you can eat them in moderation. Slowly replace unhealthy foods with healthy, vibrant, unprocessed foods. Log your meals and track your calories, this will help you burn more calories than you are eating.

  1. Move your body.

Each person burns calories each day on a normal day, some more than others based on muscle mass, their movement throughout the day and overall lifestyle. To permanently lose weight and keep it off, you need to make lifestyle changes. You will need to find an exercise that you love doing, such as swimming, yoga, cardio, lifting weights, or taking walks. Make your workouts fun and move, move, move.

  1. Eat clean and organic.

Weight loss rules are simple. Eat organic and clean, eat in moderation, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, limit sugar (bread, soft drinks, pastries, etc), eat plenty of protein, and drink tea or unsweetened coffee, and lots of hydrating water.

  1. Stay busy.

Keep busy at home (even housework burns calories), and park further away when you go out so you can benefit from extra walking to and from your car (make sure your car is in a well-lit area and close to others when parking at night). There are several small changes we can make that will increase our calorie burn.

  1. Celebrate successes.

Make small goals. Don’t wait to reward yourself until you have lost all of your weight. You will become frustrated and feel unmotivated. Instead, find ways to celebrate your small wins throughout your weight loss journey! Maybe a fun night out with friends, or buying something new to show off your changing figure, or going to a movie, can be rewards you implement. Just remember to celebrate YOU!

Health Benefits of Quitting Caffeine

Millions and possibly billions of people drink coffee or some type of caffeine daily. Yes, caffeine is accepted as safe for our consumption in moderation, however, there are incredible health benefits of breaking the caffeine habit (coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, etc).

Here are several reasons to kick the caffeine habit that I hope you can incorporate into your health regime:

  • Improved health: Yes, there are health benefits of coffee and tea because of their antioxidant properties, however, this isn’t true for all caffeinated drinks. Soda pop, processed coffee and tea, and energy drinks, have a negative impact on long term health.  People who consume mostly water, report having a more natural energy, sleeping better, healthier skin, and an overall feeling of wellness.  

  • Increased Productivity: What if you had an extra hour every day? What would you do with that time? People addicted to caffeine and waste time stopping at convenience stores, coffee shops, in the break room at work, etc. That time saved could be spent sleeping or working out. 

  • Weight Loss: Caffeinated beverages generally add empty calories to our diets that we don’t need – unless you drink your coffee black. When caffeine is in a sugary beverage, it causes people to consume more of that beverage, in comparison to a sugary beverage without caffeine. 

  • Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Black coffee has been proven to reduce diabetes risk, but once you start adding sugar, sugary creamers, and other flavorings to your coffee, your risk for diabetes actually increases.
  • Less Jitters: One of the leading side effects from consuming too much caffeine (in any more) is shaky hands or jitters. Quitting your caffeine habit will bring your steady hands back.  You may even find that you’re less irritable throughout the day.
  • Healthier Diet: Bottled drinks, energy drinks, sodas, teas, and coffees, often have a lot of preservatives to provide them with a longer shelf life.  These preservatives can have adverse health effects and some are even banned in other countries (which should be concerning in itself).  Sugar-free energy drinks and sodas contain artificial sweeteners that can negatively affect your health – so cutting these out of your diet can be beneficial to your overall long-term and increased health.
  • Prettier Teeth:  Tea and Coffee stain teeth. Sugary drinks erode tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Eliminating these beverages results in whiter, brighter, and healthier teeth. Smile!
  • Less Headaches: Have you ever noticed when you cut back on caffeine consumption, or drink more caffeine than normal, that it triggers a massive headache? Any change in your consumption can result in caffeine headaches, including migraines. Be prepared when cutting out caffeine that you may experience a headache for a few days. This is normal.
  • Sleep Better: Drinking caffeine to late in the evening can affect your sleep since the life of caffeine is 4-6 hours. If you’re having difficulties sleeping at night, cut the caffeine and see if this improves getting your zzzzz’s.
  • Lower Your Blood Pressure: Quitting caffeine can lower your blood pressure and keep your heart from working as hard. Give your heart a break.

If these reasons want to make you cut back or quit caffeine altogether, give it a try and let me know how you feel after a few weeks of cutting your caffeine.  It’s always good to give your body a break from anything that could become a bad habit!


Quick Tips to Improve Your Eating Habits

It can be difficult to change your eating habits and sometimes feel like an impossible thing to do. Many people find that it helps if you focus on small changes. Making changes to your diet may also be beneficial if you have diseases that can be made worse by things you are eating or drinking or are not eating and drinking. Symptoms from conditions such as kidney disease, lactose intolerance, and celiac disease can all benefit from changes in diet. Below are some quick suggestions for you to try to improve your health.

  • Find any strong and weak points in your current diet. Do you eat 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day? Do you eat fish, nuts, legumes? Do you get enough calcium? Do you eat whole grain, high-fiber foods? If so, you’re on the right track! Keep it up. If not, add more of these foods to your daily diet.
  • Keep track of your food intake by writing down what you eat and drink every day.  There are several apps such as My Fitness Pal that make it easy to keep your journal right on your phone. This record will help you assess your diet. You’ll see if you need to eat more or less from certain food groups – just remember to be HONEST with yourself when tracking what you have eaten.

Almost everyone can benefit from cutting back on unhealthy fats. If you currently eat a lot of unhealthy fats, commit to cutting back and changing your habits. Unhealthy fats include things such as: dark chicken meat; poultry skin; fatty cuts of pork, beef, and lamb; and high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheeses). Ways to cut back on unhealthy fats include:

  • Rather than frying meat, bake, grill, or broil it. Take off the skin before cooking chicken or turkey. Try eating fish at least once a week.
  • Reduce any extra fat. This includes butter on bread, sour cream on baked potatoes, and salad dressings. Use low-fat or nonfat versions of these foods.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with your meals and as snacks.
  • Read the nutrition labels on foods before you buy them. If you need help with the labels, ask your doctor or dietitian.
  • When you eat out, be aware of hidden fats and larger portion sizes.
  • Staying hydrated is important for good health. Drink zero- or low-calorie beverages, such as water or tea. Sweetened drinks add lots of sugar and calories to your diet. This includes fruit juice, soda, sports and energy drinks, sweetened or flavored milk, and sweetened iced tea.

Balanced nutrition and regular exercise are good for your health. These habits can help you lose or maintain weight. Try to set realistic goals so you don’t become frustrated with yourself and throw in the towel.

Make healthy eating habits a part of daily life rather than following fad diets. Nutrition tips and diets from different sources can be misleading.

The Gluten Free Craze

Research has showed us in recent years that whole grains are good for us.  So why are so many people giving up wheat, barley, soy, and rye in what appears to be an all-out war on products with gluten?  Is there good science that shows us gluten is not a good thing for our bodies or is it a fad into which we’ve all jumped, assuming since the anti-gluten campaign is everywhere it must be justified?

You probably hear the phrase “I’m gluten free” often and wonder if you are missing something important that you should be incorporating into your diet. Some grains are naturally gluten free, such as millet and quinoa, and are becoming quite popular. Many books claim that gluten free diet will help with autism, weight loss, and several other health conditions.

So should we all be avoiding gluten? Honestly, for most of us, a gluten free diet doesn’t appear to offer many health benefits. In fact, it may bring unwanted results such as weight gain and nutritional insufficiencies.  For those truly suffering from Celiac Disease the elimination of gluten is very important.  Celiac Disease is an inherited autoimmune disease that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested.  For those people, gluten free eating can be truly life-changing.  However the true statistic is that only one percentof the population is actually affected with true Celiac Disease. I recently had a conversation with my functional medicine doctor about this very subject.  His conclusions after treating many, many people have been that the gluten-free craze is a huge fad that in many cases could cause health problems.

You may have friends or co-workers who have slimmed down after giving up gluten. Going gluten free may initially lead to shedding some pounds or dropping a few dress sizes, because the weight loss is typically caused by cutting out gluten based starchy foods, which are loaded with refined carbs, like pasta, crackers, bagels, white bread, and baked goodies.  Cutting those things out of your diet and replacing them with veggies and whole grains like wild rice, and quinoa, naturally cuts excess refined carbs (which love to feed our fat cells), and results in newfound energy. However, going gluten free can eventually lead to weight gain if you’re not careful.  This is because after a while, people still crave breads and other starchy products and many of the gluten free options have no fiber or protein and are very carb dense.  Increasing your carb load (especially with the gluten free substitutes like rice flour or tapioca flour) at the same time you’re giving up important proteins and fibers could end up being a recipe for unintended weight gain.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to lose weight, and you think you may have Celiac Disease, I recommend getting a blood test.  Your doctor will be able to test you easily for it.  If you find you’re not a true Celiac, then there may not be enough evidence at this time to suggest you will benefit from eating gluten free. Before making this plunge into the gluten-free world, examine the rest of your eating habits first. Your weight gain probably might have more to do with consuming too many sugar packed foods (read your labels – sugar is hidden in many things). If you do determine to eliminate gluten from your diet, keep in mind that gluten free foods are often low in calcium, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and fiber. Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts,  lean meats, dairy, and legumes to get the important nutrients your body needs.


Top 10 Ways to Stay Hydrated

There’s no doubt about it. Water is the best way to rehydrate your body.

“There’s been a real water revolution in this country,” says WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. “Water is non-caloric, it plumps up your skin, and it hydrates your muscles. Water is the staff of life, and now it’s everywhere. It’s very socially acceptable to walk around with water bottles, sucking on them.”

Sodas, iced tea, coffee, and other drinks that contain caffeine are second best to good old-fashioned water when you’re trying to stay hydrated. “They act as diuretics, so even if you’re getting water, you’re also pulling a little extra fluid from your body because of the caffeine,” Zelman says.

As for other sources of hydration, many fruits and other foods contain water. Amazingly, meat contains a high percentage of water — as much as 60%, says Zelman.

Some good alternative sources of water include:

1. Hamburger

2. Chicken breast

3. Soup, stew, broth

4. Jell-O

5. Grapefruit

6. Grapes

7. Watermelon

8. Fruit juice

9. Sports drinks or flavored waters

10. Smoothies


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10 Easy Ways To Slash Calories: These simple tips will change how you cook and eat.

Cutting a few calories here and there won’t show up on the scale immediately, but making consistent changes will. Here are10 effortless ways to sidestep excess calories throughout your day—without missing them at all.

Drink your tea or coffee plain

A recent study published in the journal Public Health found that people who drink their coffee black consume about 69 fewer calories a day, compared to those who add cream, sugar and other extras to their cups. For tea drinkers, skipping the add-ins saves about 43 calories a day.

Get more fiber at breakfast

“If you choose a high-fiber breakfast cereal, you’re going to feel full sooner and eat less of it overall,” says dietitian Kristi King, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and clinical instructor at Baylor College of Medicine. Oats are one good option: In a 2015 study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company), participants who ate oatmeal consumed 31% fewer calories at lunch than those who ate sugared corn flakes.

Swap soda for carbonated water

Cutting out one can of soda or sugar-sweetened beverage a day could save you about 150 calories. “My favorite tip for cutting back on soda is to switch to sparkling water,” says King. “You can add fruit or even a little sweetener if you want some extra flavor, but even then you’ll be cutting way back on the sugar in soda.” Switching to diet soda will save you calories as well, but some research suggests you may compensate for them elsewhere.

Eat protein throughout the day

Eating meals and snacks with protein, found in nuts, seeds, lean meat, soy and dairy, can stop you from feeling hungry by mid-afternoon and yielding to candy’s sweet lure, says King. Research backs this up: A 2016 review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that high-protein meals have a greater effect on fullness than low-protein ones.

Watch your salad toppings

Kudos for skipping the bread, but choosing a salad won’t automatically save you calories. “You really want to stick with veggies and be careful about the other stuff you’re putting on there,” says King. “Cheese, croutons, bacon and even dried fruit can be really high in calories, so if you’re being very calorie-conscious, it’s best to avoid those.”

Order food before you’re hungry

If your favorite lunch spot has online ordering or a call-ahead option, take advantage of it. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found that people who selected catered food options at least an hour before eating tended to order fewer calories than those ordered at lunchtime and ate immediately. Waiting until you’re hungry to decide what to eat increases your odds of overindulging, say the study authors.

Keep your kitchen clean

When it feels like everything around you is cluttered and chaotic, keeping your diet under control may seem like less of a priority, say researchers at the Cornell University Food & Brand Lab. In a 2016 study published in Environment and Behavior, they found that women who spent 10 minutes in a messy kitchen ate twice as many cookies—and 53 more calories, on average—than those who waited in the same room when it was clean and organized.

Do more cooking at home

If you’ve already resolved to do more home cooking this year, it may help to know that—on top of its other benefits—the habit helps you cut calories. A 2015 study in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that people who cooked dinner six or seven nights a week consumed about 150 calories fewer per day than those who cooked once a week or less. Frequent home cooks also tended to make healthier choices, and consume fewer calories, on nights they ate out.

Cut back on cooking oil

“When you’re sautéing vegetables or cooking on the stovetop, one of the best things you can do to cut calories is to use a nonstick cooking spray instead of oil in your pan,” says King. (A tablespoon of oil has about 120 calories.) You can also sub in a few tablespoons of chicken, beef or vegetable broth, she adds. “It will help prevent sticking to the pan and give your vegetables more flavor.”

Don’t eat in front of the TV

Eating dinner (or even worse, a bag of potato chips) while watching television is asking for trouble, says King. Not only can we overeat because we’re not paying attention to portion sizes, but our brains may not fully register that we’ve eaten at all, triggering hunger sensations soon after. The more distracting the entertainment, the worse news for your waistline: A 2014 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who watched an action movie ate more calories than those who watched a low-key talk show.

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If You Want to Lose Weight, Don’t Eat Out

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Restaurants are the number-one place to sabotage your diet, according to new research that will surprise no one who’s ever tried to lose weight while eating out.

The year-long study, which was presented at a recent meeting of the American Heart Association, offers insight into tempting foods and the behaviors they trigger. By using a smartphone app, researchers followed 150 overweight people who were trying to stick to a weight-loss plan throughout their daily lives. The people in the study, most of whom were women, checked in up to five times a day and reported where they were, who they were with and whether they had strayed from their eating plan (or were tempted to do so.)

The dieters were also asked to log in anytime they ate (or considered eating) foods or portion sizes they knew were inconsistent with their plan.

Some clear patterns emerged from this deluge of data. People reported the most temptations when they were in a restaurant or bar, or when they were in the presence of other people eating. They noted fewer desires to overeat at home or work, and even fewer when they were in their car or in other people’s homes.

People had about a 60% chance of succumbing to those temptations at restaurants and when they were around others who were eating. Their odds of lapsing at work or in the car were lower, about 40% and 30%, respectively.

“You might think that everybody knows they’re at higher risk when they go into a restaurant, but people go out into these toxic environments and they forget,” says lead author Lora Burke, professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh.

People may also see eating out as an excuse to take a break from their diet, she adds. “We remind people that it’s not a diet they can go on and off; it’s a lifestyle,” she says. “It’s okay if they want to go out Friday night and eat wings, but then they need to cut back on Thursday and Saturday.”

Eating at home was a safer bet, though not a foolproof one. People reported fewer food temptations in their homes and those of their friends than they did in restaurants. But when those temptations appeared, people gave in nearly 65% of the time. Even when they were completely alone, people were still likely to lapse about half the time.

Burke says there aren’t yet any commercially available smartphone apps that collect and analyze this type of data for the general public. But such a tool could be valuable for helping people learn and adapt to their diet-related weaknesses, she adds.

“We can go to an individual and say, ‘These are the high-risk situations you’re vulnerable to, so you need to keep your guard up and practice strategies for sticking with your plan,’” she says. “We could even intervene by sending a message right back to them when they need it, reminding them of why they may need to work really hard.”

Measuring diet in the moment may also provide researchers with data that’s more detailed and accurate. “When we ask people to recall what they ate and how they felt, there are a lot of biases and problems remembering,” says Burke. “This way, we can be there as people are going through weight-loss challenges and find out exactly what they’re feeling, and when.”