HummingbirdWellness

  • Common Weight Loss Myths Busted

    Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere.

     I say, forget about "who's right" and let's focus on "what's right." Because what gets results is what I'm focusing on in this post.

     I respect you too much to make empty promises and try to sell you on something that doesn’t work.

     There are too many weight loss myths out there. I’m going to tackle the top ones I come across in my practice.

     

    Myth: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss

    Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. Calories matter.

    But, they are not the “be-all and end-all" of weight loss; they're important, but they're the symptom, not the cause. Let's think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let's focus on the causes.

    People eat too many calories, not because they're hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they're tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they're happy and celebrating.  And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.

     Myth: “Eat less move more”   is good advice

    Well, then we're all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling out this advice (myth) for years.

    The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories (because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?).

    Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t!); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we're dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are "obesogenic.”

     Myth: A calorie is a calorie

    Can we please put this one to bed already?

    Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.

    For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.

    Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they're metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren't utilized or stored the same way as other fats.

    #acalorieisnotacalorie

    Myth: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight

    There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.

    There are products that make these claims, and they're full of garbage (or shall I say "marketing gold?"). The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.

    Conclusion

    Weight loss is hard! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!).

    Don’t fall for the myths that say:

         Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss.

         “Eat less move more” is good advice.

         A calorie is a calorie.

         Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight.

    Now check out my magical “weight loss chili” recipe below (just kidding!)

     

    Recipe (Myth-free chili, filling and nutritious): Any Meal Chili

    Serves 12 (1 cup)

     1 lb lean ground beef
    1 lb chorizio sausage (remove from casing)

    1 (28-oz) diced tomatoes

    1 cup tomato sauce

    ¼ cup chopped onions

    1 clove garlic, minced

    1 red bell pepper, chopped

    2 green chilies, chopped

    ½ cup beef broth

    2 tbsp chili powder

    2 tsp oregano

    1 tsp cumin

    ½ tsp cayenne pepper

    Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

     

    Instructions

     In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the beef and sausage, stirring often to make sure the meat is all broken up.

     Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, bell pepper, chilies and beef broth and stir to combine. Add the chili powder, oregano, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika and blend into sauce. 

     Cover pot and bring chili to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmered, reduce heat to low temperature and let simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

     After 2 hours taste the chili and adjust spices as you like and add salt and pepper.

     

     References:

     https://authoritynutrition.com/top-12-biggest-myths-about-weight-loss/

     https://authoritynutrition.com/metabolism-boosting-foods/

     https://authoritynutrition.com/5-chemicals-that-are-making-you-fat/


  • What Is Metabolism?

    This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

    You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

    Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

    Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

    Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

         Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).

         Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).

         Allow storage of excess energy for later.

     

    So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

    Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”. 

    Metabolic rate

     This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

     The calories you eat can go to one of thre<>l.e places:

         Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

         Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

                      ●     Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

    As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

     There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

     The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

     

    What affects your metabolic rate?

     In a nutshell: a lot!

     The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.

     But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

     How big you are counts too! 

     Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! 

     As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you're not working out.

     This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. 

     The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

     Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

     The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

     Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

     You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently. 

     Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate. Know that is different for everybody.

     Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

     And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

     This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

    Ready to ramp up your metabolism, then add this high protein recipe to your meal tonight :)

        Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

     


  • Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

    Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?

     Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss.  This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it.  So I'm going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favourite new “go-to” breakfasts.

     

     Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

     Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

     No, I'm not talking about processed egg whites in a carton.  I mean actual whole “eggs”. 

     Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

     Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

     Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you're running short on time.

     And...nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases. 

     One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized.  It's the oxidized cholesterol that's heart unhealthy.

     Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

    Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

    You won't be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I'm talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

     Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you're running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you're running out the door; you can nosh on them while you're commuting.

     Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

     Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy. 

     Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

     Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right? 

     Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can't go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don't already you should definitely try them for breakfast! 

     And no, you don't need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don't want to but you totally can!  You wouldn't be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

     Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast.

     I've included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

     

    Recipe (Eggs & Veggies): Veggie Omelet

     Serves 1

     2 teaspoon coconut oil

    2 - 3 eggs (how hungry are you?)

    ¼ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)

    dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric

     Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).

     In the meantime grab a bowl and beat the egg(s) with your vegetables of choice and the spices.

     Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.

     When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny.

     Serve & Enjoy!

     Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favourite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomato.

     

    References:

     http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food

     http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

     https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-healthy-eggs/

     https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/


  • Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

    Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.

     And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the parties, and the ambiance.

     It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

     But it doesn't always stop there.

     Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

     Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

     (Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

    Tip #1: Start with some water

    When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

    But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

    Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (...just sayin').

    Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

    Win-win!

    Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

    You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

    This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

    Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

    Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

    This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. 

    When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

     So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

     Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

     Tip #3: Start with the  soup or salad

     You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

     But don't start there.

     (Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your soup or salad). * soup in warmer weather*

     Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

     Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They're “satiating”.

     And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.

     Summary:

     Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

     Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

     If you're not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

         Slices of lemon & ginger

         Slices of strawberries & orange

         Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick

         Chopped pineapple & mango

         Blueberries & raspberries

     Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

     

    References:

     https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

     http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal



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