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Five Tips for a Summer Slim Down and a Healthier You

Five Tips for a Summer Slim Down and a Healthier You

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge fan of low carbohydrate diets. Is this the only way you can improve your diet? Absolutely not! I’m going to share with you some tips that are small changes that can add up to a big difference. Of course, the more changes you make the bigger the difference you can expect. Consider adding a new change each week or gradually add a change while continuing the ones you already started.


Caloric beverages are drinks with calories. This includes things like milk, juice, soda, sports drinks like Gatorade, and many alcoholic beverages. When you drink calories your body doesn’t typically feel full like when you eat an equal amount of calories. Most of these drinks are packed with sugar. When you eat sugar, your body uses a small amount of it immediately but most of it is stored for later use as fat. A small amount can be stored in the liver or in the muscles. Diet drinks do not contain calories but they often contain sweeteners that can trigger an insulin release similar to sugar and so they should be avoided if possible. The caloric beverage of choice for me is a coffee with heavy whipping cream. Cream is mostly fat and does not raise blood sugar, thus does not trigger an insulin release. Unfortunately the calories in a drink like juice add up quickly without providing significant nutritional value.


Each time you eat, your body either needs to use the food immediately as energy or store it for later. Your blood sugar goes up after eating and then that causes insulin to be released. Insulin promotes fat storage and stops fat breakdown. Even if you eat three meals a day without snacks you will keep the blood sugar lower, but skipping a meal would be even better as long as you don’t snack out later. Of course, it is unsafe for some people to skip a meal. Ask your doctor if it is safe for you.


Eating simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes, tortillas, rice, etc will keep your blood sugar high and trigger insulin release as well. On the road and eating fast food? Eat your burger without the bun and get a side salad instead of french fries. Instead of a sub sandwich ask for it as a salad.  Get your burrito on a salad rather than on that big tortilla. When eating at home grab some complex carbs or protein instead. Carbs like veggies are much better for you than things like crackers. They have minimal effect on your blood sugar and also provide a wide range of micronutrients.


Many people feel like they can eat as much fruit as they want because it is natural sugar. This is definitely not the case. Fructose, the sugar in fruit, is at least as bad for raising the blood sugar as regular table sugar. Some studies even show that it preferentially gets stored as fat. While fruit has some nutritional value, the nutrients in fruit can be obtained in other foods. Some fruits have much less sugar than others and are much better to eat. These include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. Fruits to avoid or eat less often include the sweeter fruits like banana, mango, papaya, or pineapple. Even apples and grapes are loaded with sugar.


It is imperative for good health and definitely for weight loss to get adequate sleep. Being sleep deprived affects multiple hormones that lead to an increase in appetite. The hormone leptin helps to suppress appetite and when you are sleep deprived your body makes less leptin. On the other hand, your ghrelin levels go up when you don’t get enough sleep and this makes you more hungry.  When you are sleep deprived, it is hard to make good decisions and your willpower weakens too. People who sleep less tend to eat more sugar than those who get a good amount of sleep.

I’m the eternal optimist. No one can do the right thing all the time, but consistently making better choices leads to big gains. These are all small things and even making a good choice once will make a difference.  No one is keeping track of mistakes or slip-ups. If you have a rough day and eat horribly all is not lost. Do a better job for your next meal. Or wake up to a fresh day and vow to do better that day. A healthy lifestyle is just that — a lifestyle. That means you continue to make good decisions most of the time day after day. If you indulge, enjoy it! Don’t feel guilty. Then go back to doing the right thing.

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