Start the New Year Right

Start the New Year Right

With the New Year, new diet fads arrive as last years fades away. Although most weight loss habits are as short-lived as fashion trends, these four simple tips from health and nutrition experts will help improve your lifestyle. As a matter of fact, the best strategies are the ones that stand the test of time. These simple weight loss strategies might not be as exciting as the Avocado Diet, but rest assured they’ll never go out of style.

Swap out Soda for Water

“Put the soda down [and] step away. Regular soda drinking may make muscles less likely to burn fat,” Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD. Water is the best choice when trying to lose weight. If you need more taste, try adding slices of fresh fruit, such as strawberries, lemons, or limes.

Things you can do to keep on track to a healthier lifestyle:

  • Exercise
  • swapping out sugar intake with a better natural sweetener such as xylitol
  • eating more fruits and vegetables
  • increasing daily water consumption to match what you give up in soda 

Along with a high sugar content, sodas also contain a significant amount of caffeine which makes them highly addictive. Additionally, when our bodies ingest carbonated drinks they’re essentially ingesting air, causing them to bloat and slow down our bodies digestion process. Consequently, making it much more difficult to lose weight.

Regular consumption of soda has also been linked to the depletion of vitamin A, calcium and magnesium. Those nutrients are critical for healthy weight loss. Soda is a known contributor to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and weakened bones. However, if cutting out soda altogether is too difficult for you, then try replacing one soda per day with water from two sodas per day; which would yield about a 16 pounds annual weight loss. Also skip the liquid glucose, also known as juice.

Reduce Refined Sugar & Carbs

There’s no need to exclude sugar completely, particularly for athletes. Simply try to avoid foods with a high glycemic index. Foods that are high on the glycemic index”including refined sugars and carbohydrates, cause blood sugar to spike. These products are often highly processed and contain empty calories (foods that contain calories of little nutritional value).

“The body uses insulin to bring down blood sugar,” says Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Then our bodies store the excess sugar as fat. But that leaves blood sugar levels low, so we feel hungry again and eat more”an unhealthy cycle. Dr. Ma studied the eating patterns of 572 people and found that those who ate foods high on the glycemic index weighed significantly more than those who did not. “There’s about a 10-pound body weight decrease for every 10-point drop in the glycemic index of all the food a person eats each day,” he says.

Start reading nutrition labels to avoid added refined sugar. Another easy way are healthier natural swaps such as XyloSweet (7 on the glycemic index) or Lite&Sweet (3 on the glycemic index), instead of refined table sugar (100 on the glycemic index) or artificial sweeteners.

Avoid Late-night Snacks

Metabolism slows down when you sleep, so you shift from fat burning to fat storage,” says Mark Hyman, MD, author of UltraMetabolism. After a jam-packed day of eating right, being active, and making other healthy choices, it’s easy to undo that hard work just before bedtime. It’s no surprise that eating food late at night is regularly associated with weight gain and obesity, by both the International Journal of Obesity and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Primarily because your activity levels drop in the evening, leaving you less able to burn calories. As a result, if you ingest a large after-hours meal, theyll likely have high blood sugar (a long-term diabetes risk factor). Our bodies tend to store excess sugar as fat”and larger fat stores, this only increases insulin resistance, which puts you at even greater risk for diabetes, in addition to heart disease.

Perhaps more alarming is the way night time eating affects your levels of insulin, the hormone that helps cells pull sugar out of your bloodstream to use as energy. Around sunset, your body naturally starts to power down for the night. This makes cells more resistant to the effects of insulin, according to a study in Current Biology.


Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Aside from better food planning, getting to bed early is our best defense. “Get six to eight hours of sleep a night. Without it, the appetite hormone ghrelin increases, which could result in weight gain. And schedule at least two three-minute breaks during the day to practice deep-breathing exercises. It will reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which builds fat around your mid-section,” says Manuel Villacorta, RD, author of Eating Free. Research has shown that people who go to bed after midnight take in 500 extra evening calories. Turning off TVs, tablets, and putting down phones early are simple things most people should do. You may not be able to break a nighttime eating habit right away, and that’s fine. Just consuming fewer calories at or after dinner will help put their body on a healthier path.

The bottom line is, you only need thirty days of one (or all three of these) to start experiencing the amazing benefits of weight loss. Who knows, you may even decide it’s a healthier lifestyle that you want to stick with.