No Grain, No Gain Diet

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grain diet

The first step to overcoming food cravings and losing weight is to admit that you are a food addict. Overeating causes weight gain. Any foods you consume that aren't burned off and used as body fuel is stored as fat. This is especially true for grains and sugars. You have to eliminate these foods to overcome the addiction.

The No-Grain Diet, by Dr. Joseph Mercola (Dutton, 2003), states "Any grains and sugars you eat will prompt you to eat even more. Even healthy whole grains are metabolized nearly as rapidly as refined grains, thus contributing to increased insulin levels" (40).

Benefits of The No-Grain Diet

The No-Grain Diet protects against early death, osteoporosis, food cravings, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer cell growth and high cholesterol. Aside from improving your general health, The No-Grain Diet is a powerful weight loss program.

The No-Grain Diet promotes mind-body healing. Mercola introduces the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) which uses acupuncture points on the face and upper body to cut cravings due to emotional eating. This craving eraser is a key factor in succeeding at losing weight with The No-Grain Diet.

The No-Grain Diet Basics

The No-Grain Diet is a three phase weight loss plan designed to end craving and help you reach your optimal body weight.

Phase 1: Start-Up. This is the first three days of The No-Grain Diet when you will cut out grains and sugars to detox your system. You will plan to eat something small every 2-3 hours. "When you eat the right foods, in the right combination that feels satisfying to you, your hunger pangs will disappear," (63).

Phase 2: Stabilize: During this stage of the diet, the next 50 days, you will eat less frequently and continue to manage your emotional eating and carb craving with EFT.

Phase 3: Sustain: This is the maintenance phase of The No-Grain Diet.

Giving Up the Grains

As a carb addict, the task of giving up grains and removing them from your diet can be a scary thought. The No-Grain Diet suggests you go through a three day carb detox. You will experience withdrawal symptoms, but the EFT will help you get through it. Using acupressure releases blockages and restores energy to the body to maximize your energy.

The No-Grain Diet will help you "conquer cravings, learn to handle emotional eating triggers, test your beliefs and discover a new you" (55). As you follow this weight loss plan, you will eat foods to release fat, curb your cravings and change how you think about your body for lasting weight loss.

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Seek Support

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Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people during your weight loss journey is critical. Losing weight can be an emotional roller coaster. Going it alone is difficult, if not impossible. Everyone needs someone in their corner cheering for them.

The Purpose of a Circle of Support The main reason to enlist help in your weight loss journey is to find accountability. It often helps just to have to answer to someone else about your food, exercise and weight loss. Emotionally, it helps to have someone who you can relate to and vice versa. It’s also helpful knowing that someone is rooting for you and is there for you whenever you have a triumph or a weak moment.

Your Immediate Circle of Support: People generally turn to their families first for support. If you can get active together as a family and choose to make healthier choices as a group it will help you to lose weight. But often times it isn’t that simple. As much as you want your relatives to understand your journey and your needs, they may not want to help for a variety of reasons.
  • They get jealous of your weight loss success.
  • They aren’t ready to change their lifestyle.
  • They are at a different health and fitness level.
  • They don’t have the positive attitude you need to succeed.
  • They are comfortable with the role thy have as the smaller person in the relationship and therefore do not want to see you lose weight.
Seek Additional Support: When you don’t find the support you need from your family, it is time to branch out. It isn’t as important where you find the support as how ell the support system works for you.
What To Look For:
Your support person (or group) should be:
  • Someone you can relate to.
  • Someone who will give and take support and advice.
  • Someone you can trust.
  • Someone who is readily available by phone or email.
  • Someone who is going through a similar experience.
Where To Find Support:
The first thing you need to do when seeking a support circle is evaluate your needs. What type of support are you looking for? Do you prefer phone calls, emails or face-to-face conversation? How much time do you have to devote to the support circle? Are you just looking for accountability or a whole lot more?

Once you have the answers to these questions you can find the type of support that is right for your needs. You may want a one-on-one relationship, an online message board or a local weight loss support group. If there isn’t already a group in your area, take the initiative and start a group of your own.

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Stress Eating

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stress eating

We all do it from time to time. We eat because we are stressed. We have too much to do in too little time, but stress eating doesn’t help you lose weight.

You just got home from work and the kids ask for dinner before you rush out for a night of soccer and dance classes. You throw in a quick load of laundry and either grab something quick form the freezer or decide to stop for fast food on the way.

With today’s busy lifestyles it is hard to find the time to sit down for a nice meal, let alone prepare it. Thinking about everything we cram into a single day and everything left on your to-do list can lead to stress eating and therefore expand your waistline instead of slimming it down.

What is stress eating?
Stress eating occurs when we try to solve problems or conflicts by eating. We try to soothe the pressure we feel at work and resolve family conflict my crunching on chips and having cheesecake melt in our mouths.

Why do we stress eat?
Eating when you are stressed is just a way of distracting yourself. You momentarily forget about the real issue and you eat for pleasure and comfort.

Why is it bad to eat when we are stressed?
  • Most often you will reach for pre-processed food.
  • It can slow your metabolism, making it nearly impossible to lose weight.
  • You may experience mood swings and fatigue.
  • You will store larger amounts of fat.
  • You will increase your cravings for junk food.
  • You will take in more calories than you burn.

What are some alternatives to stress eating?
It is important to find other ways to distract yourself and deal with your stress. Having a coping strategy in place will allow you to stay on track and lose weight.

  • Keep plenty of healthy foods on hand at home, at the office and in the car.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Find new activities to keep busy while allowing yourself to relax.
  • Plan down time during the day.
  • Find support. Call or email a friend when you are having a weak moment.
  • Don’t forget about exercise.

Stress is a natural part of life and it can’t be avoided, but you can learn how to handle it so it does not interfere with your weight loss goals.

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Review: Big & Tall Chronicles

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In his book, the Big & Tall Chronicles: Misadventrues of a Lifelong Food Addict, Gary Marino tells his very personal story, from his relationship with food, to therapies he’s tried; to managing his weight and taking on a super sized challenge – The Million Calorie March.

It is an inspirational story that tells us that even people like you and me can do this. Gary is a self-proclaimed food addict in recovery. He wasn’t on a hit show, excluded from temptation and equipped with experts from every field. He lost weight on his own. And he lost half of his total weight!

What I like about the Big & Tall Chronicles is how honest and funny Gary is. I can relate to many of the episodes in his life --- from being an overweight child to hearing the cheesecake calling my name.

His journey had its share of setbacks. He would slip up, regain some of the weight and fall off the wagon before getting control and finding a way to lose the weight and keep it off.

He fought off denial, depression, emotional eating, binging and relapses. But he pulled through it all and became a stronger person for it.
Powerwalking became his new obsession. This led to his project, the Million Calorie March. He had been on a losing streak for a year and wanted to share what he learned.

His goal was a one-man walk from Jacksonville, Fl. To Boston, MA with the hope that others would join him along the way to walk off some extra pounds.

The walk took place in 2004, but his journey didn’t stop there. In February of 2006 they started production of a movie based on his experience as retold in the book, the Big & Tall Chronicles. Look for the movie this Fall, “The Million Calorie March: The Movie.”

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Review: The Sugar Solution

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The Sugar Solution: Real Solutions for Real Symptoms from the editors of Prevention magazine and dietitian Ann Fittante, MS, RD is a tool for reducing your blood sugar levels and regaining control, allowing you to lose weight without a struggle.

If you are used to reaching for sweets and hitting the vending machine to help get you through your afternoon slumps, this book may serve as a real eye-opener for you about controlling your blood sugar and preventing diseases, such as diabetes.

According to the Sugar Solution, controlling your blood sugar will stop the cravings and put an end to the cycle of high levels of insulin that slow the reduction of body fat and low levels that trigger food cravings. Trying to diet while battling varying levels of blood sugar is a losing battle. The first step to getting your blood sugar under control is to follow the 28-day lifestyle makeover, as laid out in this book. By eating the rights foods and getting more exercise you will build muscle to help store insulin properly, get more sleep and better manage stress and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The Sugar Solution contains several tests you can use to find out what type of eater you are and your risk level for such diseases. It also offers 60 recipes to help you through the program, including desserts. You will not feel deprived on this plan, but it will help you gain control over your sugar intake. They even suggest that you treat yourself once a day to help you stay on track.

Looking at the big picture, the book also suggests that you examine your lifestyle to see what type of exercise personality you have. Once you’ve done that you can plan your day around that and use things like yoga, relaxation, walking, hobbies, strength training and having fun to control diabetes and set yourself up for a success on the 28-day program and an overall healthy lifestyle.

The Sugar Solution is full of solid advice from experts who share their knowledge on how to reduce your blood sugar and regain control over your life.

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Sex and Weight Loss

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Since many of us eat for emotional reasons and use food to make up for other needs that aren't met , it only makes sense that having sex could improve your chances of losing weight. Having sex can reduce your food cravings and help you shed pounds.

Though you can't actually count the calories you burn during sex as exercise, it does work in your favor when trying to lose weight. It is the satisfaction you get from the intimacy and the feel-good chemicals you receive in the brain from having sex that count. When your brain feels this satisfaction it stops sending you signals to eat.

The key to losing weight is to find something other than food to satisfy your needs. Sex is one such activity that can work in more ways than one. It produces the same feel-good chemical in the brain as food does. Aside from that, anything that keeps your mind and hands busy will keep you out of the refrigerator. And who can think of activity that is more fun?

The bonus is that eating healthy foods and exercising will increase your sex drive. Pair this with the fact that you are raising self-esteem because you are creating a stronger, slimmer you and you've got a win-win situation.

Sex and weight loss have another common link - stress. Sex reduces stress and stress-reduction is needed to lose weight. Sex also helps some people sleep better, which is also needed for weight loss.

All things consider, having safe sex and eating right go hand in hand and make weight loss not only possible, but enjoyable.

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The Blame for America’s Obesity

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Dateline recently aired a show called Food Fight where they explored who is to blame for the obesity problem in America.

It's an interesting question. Do we blame ourselves (and parents) for our own poor choices? Do we blame the fast food industry? Do we blame the food companies for their endless marketing campaigns? Or should we blame it on the hurried way of life we live these days where families don't have time to sit down to healthy dinners all week?

The answers Dateline found were mixed. Everyone seems to have a different opinion of why we are faced with an obesity problem.

McDonalds was featured as an ever-changing fast food chain. In reality, they really have worked to change their menu. They have revised menu items (changed the oil used for fires and made the nuggets all white meat.) They've also added new menu items like salads, bottled waters, apples and yogurt.

The problem may lie more with individual choices. Most of us don't like to tell ourselves "no." Even the best intentions of ordering a salad can turn into ordering a big mac once you walk through those golden arches.

Having a burger and fires on occasion isn't a problem. It is the super-sizing and eating the same foods throughout the week that is a problem. Fast food shouldn't be a way of life; but an occasional treat. As with any eating plan, we need to exercise balance and moderation.

So, who's forcing you to eat fast food and other prepackaged foods? Maybe it's just how your lifestyle is set up and if you set it up differently, these choices won't seem as appealing anymore. Eating the right foods and being prepared ahead of time for each meal will help you make better choices and be able to pass a McDonalds or a box of cookies without thinking twice about stopping.

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The Hamptons Diet Review

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Pescatore takes an informative approach on creating a healthy diet with a 30-day meal plan - recipes and all.

He discusses oil in depth and strongly discourages the use of olive oil and tells us to ditch the canola oil because they are overly processes, heated during treatment and are generally unhealthy oils, despite what we've been led to believe. He suggests using macadamia nut oil for our dressings and for all of our cooking needs.

In addition to using macadamia nut oil, he advises that we follow a low carb diet and explains the harmful effects of the popular low calorie diets on the market. Each of the recipes in his meal plan include the number of carbs in the meal and they can easily be exchanged for an item of the nume number.

The basis of the diet is a combination of the Mediterranean Diet and the popular diet used by the rich and famous in the Hamptons. This diet isn't about depriving yourself, but choosing delicious foods that are good for you.

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Is is possible to lose weight on this diet? Absoutely! Is is going to be easy? No way! The meal plans use products that may be difficult to find. To start, I could not find the macadamia nut oil at the supermarket. It would require a trip to a health food store. The diet can also get pricey as he suggests using organic foods as much as possible. The recipes may also require a certain taste. These aren't average foods I serve my family, such as the Shad Roast on a Bed of Raddish, Celery, and Fennel; Montauk Shrimp in Gansett Green Sauce; Fiery Esolar with Tabasco and Horseradish and Cold Devon Asparagus soup with Lemon Creme Friache. That's not to say that any diet is easy and if you have a taste for something different, this plan may be for you.

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How Belly Fat, Diabetes and Prediabetes Effect Your Heart

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south beach heart program

Belly fat is a sign of high risk for future heart attacks. In The South beach Heart Program, Arthur Agatston discusses prediabetes (metabolic syndrome) and its effect on your heart, as well as ways to reduce your risk.

While you may think being overweight or obese is harmless, it can actually be a major contributor and predictor of heart attacks. To prevent hearts attacks, people need to heed the warning signs their bodies are giving them and work to reverse the damage. This means losing weight, lowering cholesterol, and reversing the effects of diabetes through exercise and natural eating.

Effects of Diabetes

Being diabetic, prediabetic, is harmful to your arteries and can cause heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Overeating will not only cause unsightly body fat, it will increase your chance for potentially fatal heart attacks and stroke.

With insulin resistance, you are able to process insulin, but your cells don’t use them the way they are supposed to. What happens to the sugar? It stays in the arteries longer than usual. As the sugar and fat are stored in the bloodstream, cholesterol deposits form. This is how your risk of heart disease increases.

Belly fat complicates the digestion of sugar by dropping your blood sugar fast, making you crave even more sweets. It is important to eat properly to manage your blood sugar level effectively to reduce the cravings and make weight loss possible.

Are You Prediabetic?

If you suspect you are diabetic or prediabetic, but have not recently been tested by your doctor, there are a few questions that may help you figure it out on your own (with the help of a blood test):
  • Is your waist measurement large (35 or more for females and 40 or more for males)?
  • Are your triglycerides higher than 150?
  • Is your HDL low (less than 50 for females and 40 for males)?
  • Is your blood sugar higher than 130?
  • Do you have a fasting glucose of more than 100 mg?

Reverse Insulin Resistance

A diagnosis of prediabetes is a warning sign for heart attacks. But you can reverse the effects of insulin resistance. According to The South Beach Heart Program:
  • Increase fiber to slow down the digestion of carbs and maintain a level blood sugar
  • Avoid fad diets
  • Increase your metabolism with resistance training and cardio exercises
  • Eat foods close to their natural form, with minimal processing
  • Eat small meals throughout the day
  • When diets and exercise don’t work, consider taking the right medication

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