Proven Weight Loss Tips That Work: Cut the Sugar!

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Disclaimer: You should seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting any diet or lifestyle change.

How can I lose weight?… It is the most frequent question I am asked by clients. Those that have worked with me and lost the weight already know my secret to success. Avoid sugars, carbs, refined carbs, processed foods, dairy, junk food, etc. and add in protein, veggies, meats, and “clean” eating. I have seen weight loss from 2 pounds to double-digit numbers by just avoiding sugars alone. Once we break the “sugar cycle”, the cravings stop, making it easier to adhere to a low carb, low sugar diet.

You may want to know, why low carb? And I am not talking about Atkins or a “diet”, I am talking about a lifestyle change. The answer is insulin. When you eat sugar, a hormone called insulin is released. Insulin helps regulate that level of sugar in our blood; the more sugar in the blood stream, the more insulin is released. Insulin helps store all of this glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen and in fat cells ( AKA triglycerides). Basically insulin helps store fat cells. When you decrease insulin spikes,  by decreasing sugar and carb intake…fat cells release, you lose weight!

When all of this insulin gets released the body will eventually have a sugar crash and we respond by wanting more sugar. This is why when you have that bagel in the morning you are still hungry at lunch. And why when you have that sandwich for lunch you get hungry before dinner. You end up eating additional calories because you are not filled up. Therefore, you gain weight or if you are exercising, you never lose it.

However, there is an easy cure for this. Stop eating sugar, reduce carbs, increase protein, and reduce portion sizes. Also, only eating when you are hungry is key. You must listen for your hunger cues and only eat then. You will slowly train your mind and body to eat when needed. When you only eat enough to feel full you will eventually reduce the overall amount of food your body requires overtime. This is not starving yourself. This is being mindful, listening to the body, and eating when the body tells you to.

In the beginning, as you are changing your diet I do not recommend adding in physical activity right away as you are adjusting to the new diet. There will be meal planning, food shopping, and prep work involved. It will take about 3 weeks to kick the sugar craving completely, and the first 3 days your body will be in a detox state. if you have been a heavy sugar or carb eater you may feel crabby, light-headed, weak, headaches, and nausea. If you feel this you are having withdrawal just like withdrawal from a drug, but less severe. I generally treat each patient differently but generally we don’t discuss exercise until they have shown they have got the lifestyle change down and are ready! It is dangerous to try to exercise while you are adjusting to a new diet and especially if you are detoxing. For the most part most patients resume exercise after the 3 weeks is over or in about a month. When you are detoxing, this is a good thing, your body is releasing excess sugar stores, fat cells, chemicals, and excess garbage. It’s not the best feeling while it’s happening but after 3 days you will gain a mental clarity you may have not felt before!

Drinking lots of water is important. Carrying snacks are important. Being prepared to be emotional is important. You only need to weigh yourself  once per week. I often have patients use apps or trackers in between visits with me. Body fat percentage is a better gauge of weight loss than pounds in a sense, because when you see inches loss that is real weight loss! Weight can fluctuate plus or minus 5 pounds in one day.

Now that we have all that down I will add further tips that I know work!!!

Here they are:

Eat organic food if cost is a concern choose organic meats and eggs
Eliminate sugars
Eliminate grains and white flours
Limit starchy vegetables
Use healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil
Cook and eat your own food
Do not use fake sweeteners even stevia
Limit coffee intake switch to tea
Drink plenty of water
Eat protein and veggies at every meal can be unlimited as long as carbs and sugars are avoided
Use olive oil and lemon as dressing
Eat fruits apples and berries but limit sweet fruits such as pineapples peaches mangoes
Substitute low sugar protein shakes for meals if needed but not as a snack
Eat 70 percent dark chocolate squares as a treat but no more than one Per day
Carbs eat sparingly oatmeal is ok but no more than twice per week

Read the labels – if an item has more than 4 grams of sugar per serving be mindful of that

Fat free is not better
Add olive oil to items
Add chia seeds
Use coconut manna in tea and eat as needed when hungry in between meals
Eat almonds
Use almond milk instead of real milk or soy
Drink green tea
Keep lots of healthy snacks and drinks around you to trick yourself into thinking you are eating all the time
One banana per day, no more than that
Use coco powder or 70 coco squares when sugar cravings kick in or eat apple or frozen blueberries with Greek yogurt
Do not add crumbles to yogurt
Avoid creamy items
Use coconut aminos to add flavor to items
Steamed is safe
Baked is safe
Bake veggies in the oven with olive oil chicken and turkey as well organic only
Fry chicken and turkey bacon and sausage at home
Boil eggs
Fry eggs in olive or coconut oil
Eat avocado unlimited amount
Sweet potatoes, peas, corn, and carrots on occasion
Beans on occasion
Try to avoid gluten
Eat fish all fish
Bake and roast all types of veggies in oven
Use crock pot to make protein and veggie meals

Avoid sodas sugary drinks
Be mindful of specialty coffee drinks mixed with steamed milk if you must drink no sugar

Work out 40 4 times a week every other day

30 min 5 day

One hour 3 days bare minimum
Or 10, 000 steps per day, invest in pedometer or jawbone

Cardio will help with overall weight loss and shed fat
Muscle toning will help with insulin resistance

Take vitamin d and iron supplements
Take probiotics
Vit c and zinc

Weigh at least one a week

Aim for a pound per week however in the begging and depending how much you have to lose much more will come off than that from detoxing

Always be safe when starting any new lifestyle change. These tips should be performed under the guidance of a healthcare provider. If you are feeling overly weak, dizzy, lightheaded, or faint please call 911 and

Those are my tips for today!!! Trust my tips and you will see success! @carmFNP

How Forming a Wellness Vision Creates Behavior Change

How do you accomplish a wellness goal when you are unsure of how to change the behavior pattern?  Without creating a wellness “blueprint” or vision for success, it is difficult to carry out the steps to get to that place. However, when we have a clear vision, the actions steps to get to those goals become much easier execute.

So how do we form that vision? It is up to you to create your vision as everyone’s differ depending on what goals they are trying to accomplish. However, the formula to create the vision is going to be the same. You just need to answer a few basic questions and the blueprint forms itself.

When creating your wellness vision, ask yourself what are 3 areas would I like to improve in my life ?

Close your eyes and imagine what it would look and feel like if you had already accomplished these things.

Some examples of a wellness vision may be :
In the next 3 months, I would like to look better in my clothes and be a more desirable weight, 140 pounds. I would like to play with my children without tiring. I would like to reduce my cholesterol and diabetes numbers.

Whatever the vision may be, make sure you form it into a sentence, because this is the sentence you will keep referring back to often while working to achieve your goals.

Now list all your motivators.

What are the things that really move you to make the change?

Some examples are:

  • Your family
  • Your self image
  • Increasing confidence
  • An event
  • A feeling you would like to gain or improve

Next, list your obstacles.

What are the things getting in your way ?

Some common examples are :

  • Work life balance
  • Time management
  • Lack of support
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Low motivation

Now look at the things you are really good at.

  • Is it easy for you to listen and give advice to others?
  • Do you support others visions?
  • Are you a leader?
  • Do you have a natural hobby or talent that you were born with or something that has always interested you ?
  • Are you a great planner for your family and children’s activities?

Are you a great multi-tasker?

Use these strengths to overcome your obstacles.

Set a one week goal for yourself and start with something simple, like:

I will go to the grocery store today and look for healthy items to cook so I can bring my lunch to work at least 3 times this week.

Once you have achieved this goal look within and see how this made you feel?
Did you feel better ? How did your body feel? How about your energy level ? Did you feel a sense of accomplishment?

As weeks progress see if you can increase this same goal by frequency or duration.

Then move on to the next goal.

By making making small goals realistic and doable they can be achieved more easily.
This makes it easier to maintain the current goal and move onto the next one.

The goal is to find a happy medium so that our diet, physical activity, stress, sleep, and happiness are all balanced.

If you feel you had hit a roadblock go back to your vision, look at your motivators, obstacles, strengths , and see if there is something you can re adjust.

Accept roadblocks, challenges, and disruptions that come along. Remember your vision and regroup.
Listen to you body and feel your emotions.
If you need to rest and regroup do this.
Your body will let you know what it needs and when.

In the end, your wellness vision creates your blueprint for success and will guide you to where you need to go.
Always look to this vision for guidance and you will be amazed how your mind and body will work out the rest for you!

Have a great week everyone🙂

Fake Sugars..There is No Free Ride

Lets talk about the “Fakers!” I once was a Splenda/Stevia Beliver Faker Supporter! Back in 2007, while working at St Vincents Hospital as an RN, you wouldn’t catch me without 2 Splendas per coffee x 3 coffees a shift. Not to mention the Splenda’s in my purse, locker, and apartment. My sister actually told me they affected my liver which in turn affected my metabolism and that’s why I wasnt losing weight, but I didn’t listen too much!

Then I discovered Stevia in 2014! I though this it! March 2014 I added it to my baking, my teas, now as an Nurse Practitioner I had it ay my desk, in my purse, and at home. I was using it in my 2 cups of coffee in the morning, and adding to tea at night. At least I was tasting something sweet for once!

Well, I still wasn’t losing weight. Hmmmmmm. Starting checking blood sugar on a glucometer after drinking it in green tea…numbers just a tad high. Went to get blood work, HgbA1c (the number that tracks blood glucose for 3 months) was prediabetic. Not good. Also cortisol ( stress hormone) levels through the roof. What was going on here? Yes I was a bit stressed, but who isnt, but I was off sugar, carbs, dairy, was it the Stevia? Could it be the fake sugars? Coud it be the coffee? Why were my adrenal taxed? Work and life was pretty good..

The answer… Yes! You cannot continue to fake your body out. It knows better. it was causing me to not lose and was causing my sugar to remain high. As soon as I stopped all sugars, the numbers were normal. And as a side note, when I stopped coffee, more weight fell off…more proof that some peoples adrenals are hyper senstitve to caffeine (not all people) I may mention..but in some patients, I do see them lose more weight whem switching from coffee to green tea to nothing caffeine.

Addressing Fake Sugars like Stevia and Splenda and anything ending in -ose on that back of your nutrition label is so important when trying to maintain your weight. I often find when doing an assessment of what my patients are eating throughout the day, they are using these “fakers” as a substiitiute. I am here to tell you from personal experience and now clinical experience fake sugars are not a healthy option. You will also not lose weight with them. You will also stress your adrenal glands out with them. Your liver will suffer. Your metabolism suffers. And any hope you had of not craving sugar anymore, which happens, its real, I promise, is not going to happen if you continue to ingest something that is thousands of times sweeter than real sugar.

Here is why fake sugars make you gain weight from Dr. Mark Hyman:

The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.

  1. Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas!
  2. Women who drank one 12-ounce diet soda had a 33 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes and women who drank one 20-ounce soda had a 66 percent increased risk.
  3. Women who drank diet sodas drank twice as much as those who drank sugar- sweetened sodas because artificial sweeteners are more addictive and are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar.
  4. The average diet soda drinker consumes 3 diet drinks a day.

You might say that people who are overweight and just about to get diabetes drink more diet soda, but they scientifically controlled for body weight. And they found the artificial sweeteners increased diabetes independent of body weight!

This and other research shows how diet sodas make people fat and sick.

And that diet drinks may be even worse than regular sugar sweetened sodas!!

How does that happen?

  • Artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar activating our genetically programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.
  • They trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes your body to pump out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which lays down more belly fat.
  • It also confuses and slows your metabolism down, so you burn less calories every day.
  • It makes you hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.
  • In animal studies, the rats that consumed artificial sweeteners ate more, their metabolism slowed, and they put on 14 percent more body fat in just two weeks – EVEN eating less calories.
  • In population studies there was a 200 percent increased risk of obesity in diet soda drinkers.

http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/02/15/how-diet-soda-makes-you-fat-and-other-food-and-diet-industry-secrets/#close

So the next question is: Are you saying not to eat sugar? No

I am saying joing the 25 grams of sugar per day club, no more than 25 grams of real sugar per day.

You are going to see results with this. Your metabolism will still work properly. Your liver will be fine. our adrenals will not be stressed. Your blood sugar, weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure numbers will reverse. I see it happen every day in practice, so we know this is working. But do not think you can fake your body out with fake sugar, because your body is the smartest computer that was every invented and it will send you signals to let you know when it is going to crash!

Remember, when you are losing motivation, think back to your Wellness Vision, the things you want for yourself more than ever, and visualize those thoughts coming into reality! Let those feelings, things, and actions help you to regain control!

Have a Great Week!!

Tricks to Boost Metabolism: What Works

We have all been there. We lose weight and then all of the sudden… We stall out! So what can we do? We have got to kick our metabolism back into high gear! How we do this? I am going to tell you a few ways I have seen work…for my patients and myself. Here is the Combo that Fuels Weight Loss: I could spend lots of time telling you what to avoid eating but I want to be positive here.  To re cap: Shop on the exterior of the supermarket, buy fresh, avoid packaged foods and think getting back to basics, watch portion size, listen to hunger cues, and avoid eating out too much. I also live by the no more than 25 grams of sugar per day rule personally. This also makes me feel better, crave less sugar/carbs/breads, keep weight off, decrease bloating/stomach pains, and have more energy. Here is the Combo that Fuels Weight Loss:

1. Drinking Green Tea

Drinking four cups of green tea a day helped people shed more than six pounds in eight weeks, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports. Credit EGCG, a compound in the brew that temporarily speeds metabolism after sipping it. To up your intake, keep a jug of iced tea in the fridge.

2. Eating Protein…Especially for Breakfast

Why does your belly like to start its day with protein? It turns out the calorie-burning, muscle-building nutrient takes serious time to digest, meaning it vacates your system far later than, say, the English muffin that leaves you ravenous by 10 a.m. Plus, protein stimulates the secretion of a gut hormone (called Peptide YY) that triggers long-lasting feelings of fullness, per recent research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

3. High Intensity Cardio Workouts

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. For example, a good starter workout is running as fast as you can for 1 minute and then walking for 2 minutes. Repeat that 3-minute interval five times for a 15-minute, fat-blasting workout. It sounds too simple to be effective, but science doesn’t stretch the truth. In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!

4. Eat Healthy Fats such as Salmon

Fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have a positive effect on metabolism. According to the American Heart Association, people should eat fatty fish at least two times per week. A single serving is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish. One serving or 3.20 ounces of sardines provides 1.34 grams or 55.8 percent of the recommended daily value for omega-3 fatty acids. One serving or 4 ounces of salmon provides 1.47 grams or 61.2 percent of the recommended daily value for omega-3 fatty acids. One serving or 4 ounces of tuna provides 0.33 grams or 13.8 percent of the recommended daily value for omega-3 fatty acids. These fish boost your levels of fat-burning enzymes and decrease your levels of fat-storage enzymes. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids lower the body’s leptin levels, thus allowing your body to burn calories at a much faster pace. Leptin is a hormone that plays an important role in weight control.

5. Eat Almonds

Although all nuts are generally very good for you, almonds are the winner! They are loaded with healthy fat, fiber, and protein, and contain just the right proportions of essential fatty acids that you need to raise your metabolism. Nuts are high in calories though, so don’t go overboard! 10 – 15 almonds equals one serving…. Not 50. Pine nuts, cashews and walnuts are also very good choices… but again, make sure you don’t eat too many.

6. Eat Apples and Blueberries

An apple a day is good for more than just “keeping the doctor away”; Apples are also great for keeping fat away! Each apple is loaded with 15% of your daily recommended fiber, which impedes absorption of glucose in the bloodstream to help regulate blood glucose levels by slowing the absorption of dietary sugar intake. Apples will also make you feel full longer, help keep your digestive system healthy and strong, and contain a plethora of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants.They are naturally sweet, and are packed full of antioxidants, metabolism-boosting vitamins and phytochemicals, and cancer-fighting flavanoids. Blueberries and raspberries also contain lutein, which helps promote healthy vision.

7. Drink Water

Water is paramount to developing a lean, healthy physique. Not only is it a vehicle for flushing fat from your system, but it’s also crucial for your bodies messaging system to fire correctly. And drinking water can actually raise your metabolism.Being dehydrated can cause cravings, and tricks your mind into thinking you’re hungry, rather than thirsty. Staying hydrated keeps your body balanced, and helps you become more in tune with your internal senses of need.

8. Reduce Stress and Rest When Needed

To reduce the fight or flight mechanism on our bodies that is triggered during times of stress, we need to work to learn how to deal with our stress. When the cavemen stressed, it was because food was scarce. For them, feeling stressed was a good thing—it triggered a survival mechanism that slowed their metabolisms to save their precious body fat for energy.Our bodies are the same as the cavemen’s, except these days we stress out over crashing computers, lost cell phones, busy work schedules, or just in juggling day-to-day tasks.We’re lucky enough that even in the most stressful times, food is not scarce. However, the stress-induced survival mechanism that the cavemen experienced still functions in our bodies. This is why during periods of stress—non-food related stress—your metabolism drops. Cortisol levels, will increase, and this will create belly fat so keeping our stress at bay is key!

9. Eat smaller meals every 3-4 hours

The act of eating actually raises your metabolism. Digesting food takes energy, and a different amount of energy is required for each macronutrient. So eating several meals, as opposed to three squares, raises your metabolism five to six times a day, as opposed to only three.This technique works on another level. When your body doesn’t get food, your metabolism slows down. This is because our bodies are ingeniously programmed to protect against starvation—when your body senses that another meal may not be coming (even though food in our modern world is in abundance) it holds onto your body fat to use as energy.When you only eat three times a day, your metabolism slows greatly between each meal. On the other hand, by eating consistently every three to four hours, your metabolism will stay elevated, knowing that another meal is coming soon.An added benefit of eating every three hours is that you don’t get hungry. By never getting hungry, you reduce the chances of overeating, or grabbing something quick and unhealthy just because it’s there.

10. Eat Leafy Green Veggies

Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, turnip greens and collard greens are rich in iron, which helps boost your metabolism by supporting your red blood cells’ ability to transport nutrients throughout your body. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating leafy green vegetables, noting that they have beneficial nutrients like iron, yet are low in carbohydrates and calories. If you don’t enjoy leafy green vegetables by themselves, be creative about ways to include them with other foods in your regular meals. For instance, replace half of the cheese or one of the eggs with spinach when making an omelet.

I promise if you incorporate this into your daily regimen you will see results. There are many more to name but those are my top picks! It’s best to read my previous posts to get an idea of how these tips fit into a high protein low carb diet to see maximum weight loss results. Adding too many good fats on top of an unhealthy diet will make you gain weight, so you need to make sure you understand the basics of what makes a healthy diet, before adding in more. Have a Great Week and Happy Metabolism Burning!

10 Simple Tricks to Increase Happiness Daily

Don’t Worry Be Happy? That’s how the song goes right? Well easier said than done! I wanted to add a few tricks I have learned to increase happiness and positivity into everyday life. I use these tricks with myself and my patients. They really do work and I receive excellent feedback on all of them. I find increased happiness will help you get to your health goals faster. It increases you motivation and overall mood. Without this, its hard to get motivated to do anything healthy! Looking back when you were at you healthiest , I bet you were highly motivated, positive, and happy. So here are a few simple tips to get us there!

1. Exercise your Strengths

What are you good at? Make a list. Everyone has at least 3! Can you take these strengths and use it to help someone else? Such as showcasing your cooking skills as a volunteer? Or maybe it’s a sport you are good at? Could you start at team? Don’t let your natural born skills go to waste! Use them wisely, and in turn possibly pass that skill down to someone else that could use it and will be appreciative. This will make you feel happier when you are utilizing your natural born skills

2. Plan Activities or Events to Look Forward To

Having something to look forward to is another way to increase your positivity. Even if that event or thing is far away, you will still have an end goal in sight. Why not plan a trip, to see friends/family, a sporting event, participate in a race, or get involved in a local group or event? What do you have to look forward to right now? When you have something planned how does that make you feel?

3. Exercise

This is no secret. Exercise has been proven to increase happiness. Why? Because we release endorphins as we get moving, and this increases our mood. Why not find an activity you enjoy and incorporate into your schedule 3-4 times per week? Find a buddy or perhaps look forward to meeting new people or trying a new exercise or hobby you have not done before!

4. Meditate

There is a reason meditation has become so popular! It works to reduce stress and increase mental clarity. In turn, this will increase our positivity and happiness. Try meditating 5 minutes per day and increase by a few minutes gradually. Find the balance that works for you. If you have trouble getting started there are local meditation groups, apps , and podcasts that can help guide you to getting started.

5. Take a Walk Outside Even if It’s Just for 20 min During Your Work Day

Yes it has been shown that people that get up from their desk and get moving return back to work much happier, energized, and productive than those who just stayed sitting all day. Why outside? Because getting that sunlight, vitamin d, and fresh air will energize you! Even when you are feeling very tired try to find the motivation to get out there! I promise you will feel a lot better that you did once you get back!

6. Spend Money on People and Events Not Things

When you are able to, aside from the things you absolutely need, try to see what it feels like to spend money on taking another person or group to an event, or taking yourself to a vacation! While it can feel good to buy things for yourself, it has been shown that when you are able to help others out, for example inviting a friend to a show and paying for them , it increases your happiness and well-being. Why? Because you are giving and not expecting anything in return!

7. Make a Point of Committing Random Acts of Kindness

On that note, why don’t you plan on committing to randomly helping a stranger at least once per week? That may be the guy on the subway or paying for the person’s coffee behind you in line randomly. Again, you are giving without expecting anything in return. The universe will  return that favor back to you in other ways

8. Watch Less TV

Instead of engaging in mindless TV watching why not do an activity, exercise, talk to loved ones, listen to music, play sports, teaching, reading, volunteering, blogging, cooking,  or some other productive activity? While watching TV is enjoyable, putting a limit on how much you are watching per day is ideal. Don’t forget our brains are wired to do so much more than stare at a screen; we are thinkers, make sure you are using your brain to the fullest capacity

9. Infuse Positivity into Your Work and Home Environments by Displaying Pictures of Your Loved Ones

Place reminders all over, of your family, friends, pets, co workers, team mates, church friends, or whomever you call your loved ones or close knit group. This is a constant reminder of all the external forces you have outside of yourself that are there for you. These are the people that bring joy into your life. Just by seeing a picture of them, you will feel a sense of happiness.

10. Smile and Compliment Others, Including Yourself

Smiling is so under rated but yet it is everything and it is one of the first things people notice about you. When you smile more, you feel more happy, that is a fact! Compliment others daily. No fake compliments but real sincerity from the heart. Also, please don’t forget to compliment yourself. Write down 3 things you did well each day as a reminder

I hope these tips will help bring more happiness into your day! Don’t forget to share these with others! Knowledge is Power

How Starches Can Stall Your Weight Loss

Disclaimer: Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any weight loss program.

Ever wondered why you start a new diet, begin losing weight, and then all of the sudden the weight loss stops or weight gain begins? Sometimes there is one thing you may be eating daily or even every other day that may be causing weight gain or no weight loss at all. Often times it takes some close examining to look back at your week and see what the “repeat offender” is. Often times there is one “repeat offender” that we are eating that we may think is “ok” that is actually stalling our weight loss. One “repeat offender” food group I find consistent across the board is starches.

So what is a starch?

Starches make up a large part of the carbohydrates consumed by Americans. Foods made from starchy vegetables, grains or their flours, such as French fries, baked potatoes, breads, pasta, rice, cookies and cakes, are all high in starches. Some starches can be metabolized as quickly and even quicker than sugar, which means that they can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels after eating. Reducing your starch and sugar intake is a good way to control your weight and blood sugar levels and improve your cardiovascular risk profile.

Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Example: grains (even “whole” grains), cereals, cornstarch breads, muffins, bagels, crackers, and “starchy” vegetables such as slow cooked beans (pinto, lima, black beans, etc.), carrots, parsnips, plantains, corn, peas, and potato chips.

Repeat daily offenders of any of the previously mentioned foods can cause mini spikes of insulin, which can result in fat storage overtime.

Often times when I ask people to cut something out, even something “healthy” such as beans, bread, bananas, or oatmeal, something they may be consuming on a daily basis, they will see weight loss the following week.

The best way to test this is to cut out the item you think may be triggering your weight gain.

If the item is starchy, and you are eating it frequently, reduce or cut it out for a week and sub with a protein item for a week.

If the item is “healthy”, such as nuts, and you are eating it frequently, reduce portion size.

Weigh yourself in a week after eliminating the item.

If you went down in weight you most likely were consuming too many calories from eating too much of a healthy item.

Or you have been eating an offending starchy item that is causing excess insulin secretion, also causing weight gain.

Some of the common ones I have seen that hinder weight loss are oatmeal daily, power bars daily, 3 bananas a day, daily plantains, cereal daily, wheat bread, large amounts of brown rice, and white rice every other day.

In these cases we eliminated the item and substituted a high protein item such as protein shake, egg omelets, boiled egg, turkey bacon, avocado, plain Greek yogurt with blueberries and almonds, berries and apples for fruits with almond butter, to name a few.

Keep in mind, any food item, even proteins or good fats items, when eaten in high consumption will cause excess fat storage. Portion control is critical.

Example: I recommend almonds for snacking in between meals, however, they should be eaten in small portion, that means about 20 almonds a serving, eating 50, and then maybe more than that once per day may cause some extra weight gain depending on your calorie expenditure.

Eating less carbs and sugar makes the taste for sugar and carbs decrease over time. The less you eat, the less you crave. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Learn to listen to your body. A low-carbohydrate diet has a natural appetite reduction effect to ease you into the consumption of smaller and smaller quantities comfortably. Therefore, do not eat everything on your plate “just because it is there.”

I recommend that you start your day with a nutritious low-carbohydrate meal. Example: Meat or other protein source (usually eggs) and a low-carb vegetable. Could be an omelet with veggies.

When you stop that sugar crashing cycle, you stop the addiction. Sugar is an addiction, and like any addiction when you reintroduce it, you go right back through the stages and cycles of addiction: the cravings, the high, the crash, the withdrawal, and repeat. So best just to eliminate the item so the cycle will break. And trust me , eventually it will!

These are my tips! Starchy items are easy to notice! After you eat a starchy item are you very full? Does your stomach expand? Does your body like that feeling is what you need to ask yourself!!

How to Get Creative on a Low Sugar Diet

Disclaimer: Before starting any type of diet or lifestyle change you should consult with your healthcare provider

I often hear after a few months after kicking the sugar habit and off the carbs from my patient’s, ” Carmen, I feel great, I have lost weight, but now i do not know what to eat , I am running out of options!”. Okay so now we are finally getting to the meat and potatoes of what we are going to eat. Wait, did I just potatoes? Why invest in colorful, tasty, fresh veggies? Because you will not get bored. And that may be the biggest complaint I hear a few months into this. If you are bored you have to switch it up or you may revert to old habits! Eating and cooking wonderful veggies and meals may cost you a pretty penny and require some extra time but the benefits now will outweight the risks later! Not to mention you will be looking and feeling and healthier quicker!

So one recommendation is to start getting creative with your veggies. Try new ones. Substitute those into dishes you have already created paired with meats you like. Remember, lean meats, when prepared in a healthy way are high in protein and low in sugar. This keeps you fuller longer. Veggies I tend to use/eat sparingly are the starchy ones: potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, etc. Reason being, yes a baked potato is healthier than french fries, but eating asparagus or an avocado is a much better option as it keeps blood sugar level lower. Keeping blood sugar levels lower mean less fat storage for you later!

Ok so we need to get creative with the veggies as they can get boring fast, so lets talk about some healthy recipes and snack options we can use with our new vegetables. I am going to list some recipes but I want to list some super basic reminder snacks we can bring to work and carry with us on the go. I use these in my life and I recommend them to my patients when they feel that hunger cue we talked about. The key is to eat just enough to stop that hunger pain and then eat your meals as needed. Many of us working 9-5 schedules are hungry around 10 am and 3pm. Makes sense due to lowering blood sugar levels.

But this is easy to counteract. This is also the time many of us fail and head to the vending machine, outside eateries, or cafeteria to get that “snack” or coffee and come back with a bad snack and a possibly unhealthy sugary drink to get through. Problem is when you eat carbs or sugar at these times, you will only crash again 2-3 hours later…setting yourself up for another carb craving. Eating a high protein breakfast and lunch may eliminate the need for a snack all together as you are fuller longer and blood sugar never dips. Guess What? This means you end up reducing overall calorie intake if you never reach for that snack.This means you may end up losing weight.

However, if you need to snack to do not worry!! And I want you to eat! Because starving yourself is a trick that also will make you gain weight. Yes, starving yourself doesn’t work folks! If you are not hungry that is fine, do not eat! You should only be eating when hungry. I will talk about that in another post! Right now I have some ideas for you that I see working. Here they are:

Breakfast:

Plain Greek Yogurt, any fat percentage, any brand, add blueberries for flavor, key is must be plain and Greek

Protein Shake use one with low sugar, 4 grams or less per serving, use as meal replacement for breakfast or lunch

Hard Boiled Eggs

Snacks:

Handful of Raw Almonds – Keep a bag at work or in your bag

Celery sticks/Apple Slices with almond/peanut butter/humus – remember portion control, just one tbsp is all you need

Deli Meat wrapped in lettuce

Raspberries, Blueberries, apples, and Blackberries are low in Sugar

A cup of almond milk

Any type of veggie, broccoli, cauliflower, with olive oil and lemon juice, homemade dressings

Edamame bowl

Homemade popcorn in the pot with olive oil

Avocado

Olives

Seaweed Snacks

Kale Chips

Brussel Sprout Chips

Lunch:

Homemade tuna salad

Lentil Soup

Greek Salad

Dinner:

Try any lean meat such as baked chicken or turkey burger paired with your favorite veggies. Remember you can eat unlimited veggies and meat. Most of us are afraid of fat and we tend to not to want to eat as much meat but remember you should be more concerned with the sugar than the fat. Overall, aim for lower fat meat. Eat red meats 1-2 times per week. Fish is also another healthy option.

Recipes:

Ground Beef With Sliced Bell Peppers

From:http://authoritynutrition.com/7-healthy-low-carb-meals/#4

Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Onions, Ground Beef, Spinach, Spices and a Bell Pepper.

Instructions:

1. Cut an onion in little pieces.
2. Put coconut oil on pan, turn up the heat.
3. Add onion to pan, stir for a minute or two.
4. Add ground beef.
5. Add some spices (I use a spice mix, but salt and pepper work fine).
6. Add spinach.
7. (Optional) If you want to spice things up a bit, add some black pepper and chili powder.
8. Stir fry until ready, serve with a sliced bell pepper.

1. Eggs and Vegetables, Fried in Coconut Oil

http://authoritynutrition.com/7-healthy-low-carb-meals/#41. Eggs and Vegetables, Fried in Coconut Oil

Ingredients: Coconut oil, Spinach, Frozen Vegetable Mix (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans) and Spices.

Instructions:

1. Add coconut oil to frying pan and turn up the heat.
2. Add vegetables. In my case, I use a frozen mix so I need to let it thaw in the heat for a few minutes.
3. Add eggs (I use 3 or 4).
4. Add spices. I use a spice mix, although salt and pepper work great too.
5. (Optional) Add spinach.
6. Stir fry until ready.

Paleo Lettuce Wraps

http://www.health-bent.com/poultry/paleo-lettuce-wraps

Ingredients
3 T fat of your choice
1 lb chicken breasts, thighs or ground chicken
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, finely chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c reduced sodium wheat free soy sauce
1 t chili garlic sauce
1 t sesame oil
iceberg lettuce
1 avocado, sliced
Method
Heat a saute pan with 2 T oil. Cut the chicken into the smallest pieces possible and add the pan. Don’t worry about overcrowding the pan, the chicken doesn’t need to brown, just cook it until it’s done all the way through.
While the chicken is cooking, add the lemon juice, chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and cilantro into a serving bowl.
Once the chicken is done, add it to the bowl.
Add a few more glugs of oil to the saute pan and toss in the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl. Toss everything around to coat.
Remove the stem of your lettuce head with a knife and slice the head in 1/2, lengthwise. Peel the lettuce into individual “cups” and wash.
Pile the chicken into your lettuce cups and top with avocado.

Enchilada Chicken Mango Salad

http://paleomg.com/enchilada-chicken-mango-salad/

Serves: 2

Ingredients
1 small head of hearts of romaine, shredded
1-2 cups cold leftover enchilada chicken
1 mango, peeled and diced
½ avocado, diced
sprinkle of salt and pepper
Instructions
Chop romaine.
Place enchilada chicken on top.
Add mango and avocado on top of that.
Eat up! No salad dressing needed!

Kale Chips

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/01/recipe-kale-chips.html

Ingredients:
8 loosely packed cups kale, torn into 1-1½“ pieces, tough stems removed
2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted and still warm
¼ tsp salt, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Wash and dry kale. Place in a plastic container or large bowl.
3. Poor warm oil over kale, close container lid, and shake to coat (alternatively, stir to coat in a bowl or give them a good massage with your hands directly on the baking sheet).
4. Spread out onto a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt (careful, it doesn’t take much).
5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until crispy. Enjoy!

Simple Cucumber Salad

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/07/recipe-simple-cucumber-salad.html

Ingredients:

1½ large English cucumbers
1-2 tsp Salt (for salting the cucumber)
4 large green onions
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (or use a good quality bottled Lemon Juice)
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp fresh cracked Pepper
1. Slice cucumber very finely (I like to use my Mandoline Slicer set to 1/8” thick). Sprinkle liberally with salt and let sit in a colander in your sink for 1 hour.
2. Rinse cucumber thoroughly (taste a piece to make sure you’ve rinsed all the salt off). Let the cucumber slices drain on paper towels or a clean tea towel to dry completely.
3. Slice green onions. Finely chop cilantro. Finely zest lemon. Combine onions, cilantro, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and cracked pepper and stir to combine.
4. Pour dressing over the cucumber, stir to incorporate and serve! You can refrigerate this salad for several hours up to overnight; simply give it a stir to redistribute the dressing before serving.

Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup with Sausages

http://paleomg.com/roasted-red-pepper-and-avocado-soup-with-sausages/

Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
3-4 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped (I used jarred in water kind. but you could roast your own)
1 avocado, pitted
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
½ lime, juiced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons fat of choice (I used bacon fat)
salt and pepper, to taste
½ avocado, diced (to garnish)
chopped cilantro (to garnish)
4-5 cooked sausage of choice (I used a sundried tomato chicken sausage)
Instructions
Place a saucepan over medium heat, add in your fat, garlic and onion. Cook up onions until they are translucent.
Then add in your roasted red peppers with broth and coconut milk along with your smoked paprika, paprika, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes.
While soup is simmering, slice up your sausages and cook on a skillet on both sides.
Once everything has simmered, scoop out your avocado and add to the saucepan along with your lime juice. Then use an immersion blender to mix until soup is smooth and creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, add it to your food processor, like I did. I did it in two batches so my kitchen wouldn’t become messier than it already is.
Top soup with diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and sausage. So divine.
Notes
use ALL the garnishes. they really do make a huge difference in flavor. do not cheat your taste buds.

Roasted Brussel Sprout Chips

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Brussels-Sprouts-Chip-Recipe-32094688

INGREDIENTS

10 brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.
With a paring knife, cut off the bottom tip of each sprout. The outer leaves will fall off. Trim a tiny bit more off the bottom so more leaves fall off. Continue until you’ve removed all the leaves. Toss the leaves with the oil, and lay them in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
Roast seven to 10 minutes, until leaves are lightly browned and crisp

Baked Meatballs

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Paleo-Meatball-Recipe-30665675

INGREDIENTS

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon ground paprika
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 large egg
2 pounds ground pork

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, mix the garlic, salt, caraway seeds, paprika, pepper, parsley, mustard, and egg with a fork until combined. With your hands crumble the pork into the bowl and knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Moisten your hands with water and shake to remove excess. Measure a level tablespoon of pork and roll into a ball between your palms.
Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
Serves eight.

That is all for now..Happy eating. Remember Boredom is a state of mind, get creative, start substituting items, scope out produce in the grocery store and find out what items work for you. When you are bored ..switch it up!!