Monday, January 07, 2008
When the recommended remedy for a medical condition or ailment involves substantial lifestyle changes, you can bet that people will be on the lookout for a quicker or simpler solution. That is certainly the case with high cholesterol. A number of specific foods or supplements have been touted as sure-fire ways to lower cholesterol. Some of these show promise; others don’t. But none take the place of an overall effort to lower fat and cholesterol in your diet.
Moderate alcohol consumption has emerged as a possible ally in preventing heart problems. Over the years, a large and consistent body of research has shown that people who drink in moderation (usually defined as one alcoholic drink a day for women, and one or two for men) have a lower rate of coronary artery disease than either teetotalers or heavy drinkers. In fact, a Harvard study on the benefits of modifying various risk factors found that, compared with abstaining, consuming one drink per day lowers heart attack risk by 25%–45%. Researchers also point to the French paradox — the puzzling fact that men in France and throughout the Mediterranean region, where wine consumption is high, have a heart attack death rate half that of American men, even though the Mediterranean diet contains more fat. The type of fat in the Mediterranean diet (primarily unsaturated fat such as olive oil) may also play a role in reducing cholesterol.
By decreasing the tendency of platelets to clump, much as aspirin does, alcohol suppresses the formation of blood clots that can cause heart attacks or strokes. So in theory, alcohol could reduce the rates of these events, although this has not been studied directly. It also seems to enhance the body’s ability to break apart small clots. Moderate drinking also raises the level of HDL about 10%. And resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, may prevent LDL molecules from being modified, which is a crucial step in plaque formation.
Such small potential benefits must be weighed against the known hazards of drinking alcohol. Alcohol can worsen various coronary risks, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Heavy use of alcohol can cause cirrhosis of the liver, is linked to several forms of cancer, and clearly plays a role in suicides and accidental deaths, especially automobile-related fatalities. It can also lead to alcoholism. And studies have shown that drinking heavily negates the heart-healthy benefits of moderate consumption. In a large Danish study, those who had 22–35 drinks a week had the same death rate as those who didn’t drink at all. And people who had more than 35 drinks a week had the highest death rate of all.
So, while a daily drink probably won’t hurt non-alcoholics who are already accustomed to it, experts do not recommend that anyone take up the habit in the name of raising HDL.
Plant Stanol Esters
Margarine is available containing beta-sitostanol, also known as plant stanol esters, a chemical cousin of cholesterol that is obtained from pine trees, soybeans, and other plants. In a study of the margarine Benecol, which contains beta-sitostanol, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 153 people with borderline high cholesterol were given a year’s worth of margarine. Two-thirds received Benecol; the other third got plain old margarine. In the Benecol group, total and LDL cholesterol levels dropped 24 and 21 mg/dL (about 10%), respectively, compared with the control group.
It isn’t clear who might benefit from beta-sitostanol’s ability to lower cholesterol. The effect appears to be more pronounced when beta-sitostanol is used by people who consume an average (meaning relatively high-fat) diet. It may have little or no effect on people who have already switched to a lower-fat diet. However, plant stanols are included as a worthwhile option in the dietary component of the therapeutic lifestyle changes put forth in the NCEP’s cholesterol treatment guidelines.
One group of people should stay away from foods enriched with plant stanols — those with the rare genetic disorder known as phytosterolemia or sitosterolemia, who absorb these substances at abnormally high rates. Once inside the body, plant sterols and stanols accumulate and cause the same problems as too much cholesterol.
Another thing to think about is the impact on your wallet: Spreads enriched with stanols cost much more than you’d pay for regular margarine.
Several sources of dietary fiber have an effect on cholesterol levels. The best way to get fiber is to eat a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, which provides not only fiber, but other nutrients that may guard against heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. In the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products (mostly bread and breakfast cereals) each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving per week.
The main drawback to eating a high-fiber diet or taking a fiber-rich supplement is flatulence, especially if you go straight from low fiber consumption to high fiber consumption. The digestive system has trouble breaking down all the complex carbohydrates it receives and generates a higher-than-usual amount of gas. Slowly increasing the amount of dietary fiber can often prevent or at least minimize this problem. Constipation is another problem; it can be prevented by drinking extra water.
Fiber comes in two forms: water-soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber in particular has been associated with improvements in lipid profiles. Oat bran, a good source of soluble fiber, was linked to a decline in cholesterol in the 1980s, prompting an unprecedented rush on the product, which quickly appeared in foods ranging from bread to beer. Studies of other foods high in soluble fiber, such as corn, beans, lentils, and peas, found much the same result. Soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels in two ways: The high-bulk food crowds fat out of the diet, and — through a somewhat complicated chain of molecular events — it leaches LDL from the body, ultimately lowering the blood level of LDL. However, keep in mind that the impact of soluble fiber alone is relatively small. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed the results of 67 rigorous trials of soluble fiber and found that eating 3 grams of soluble fiber a day from oats (about three bowls of oatmeal) would decrease total and LDL cholesterol by about 5 mg/dL. A diet high in pectin, a soluble fiber found in such fruits as tart apples, citrus fruits, cranberries, and sour plums, can also reduce high cholesterol levels. Wheat bran, which is an insoluble fiber, has no direct effect on cholesterol.
Psyllium, a soluble fiber derived from the husk of a plant related to the common weed plantain (ribgrass), has earned a reputation for its cholesterol-lowering properties. According to the American Heart Association, in some studies, people eating a typical American diet who took fiber supplements with psyllium have had 15% drops in LDL levels, while people on a more restricted diet who took psyllium saw drops of 9%. Psyllium is safe and far less likely to cause bothersome side effects than some of the older cholesterol-lowering medications. You can buy psyllium in health food stores, groceries, and pharmacies. It is also the primary ingredient in fiber-based laxatives such as Metamucil and in breakfast cereals such as Kellogg’s All-Bran Bran Buds.
Flaxseed has also been touted for its ability to prevent heart disease. These tiny brown seeds are rich in soluble fiber and in omega-3 fatty acids similar to those found in fish. The data on the benefits of flaxseed are rather sketchy. A review paper that looked at numerous studies of flaxseed concluded that eating 1–5 tablespoons of flaxseed a day can modestly reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels, but doesn’t affect triglycerides or HDL. Ground flaxseeds seem to work best and are easier to digest. They can be added to baked goods or sprinkled on cereal or salads.
Interest in the heart-health benefits of fish oil dates back about two decades, beginning with a 1980 study showing that Eskimos in Greenland — who eat nearly a pound of fish a day — have low rates of death from heart disease. In subsequent years, there has been substantial research on the effects of fish oil on the heart and arteries. Laboratory studies have shown that fish oil, which contains what are known as n-3 or omega-3 fatty acids, makes blood platelets less sticky, helps protect the linings of arteries, and may also lower blood pressure.
Population studies from several countries have shown lower rates of heart disease in people who eat fish regularly. In 1998, data from the Physicians’ Health Study showed that eating fish once a week versus less than once monthly halved the likelihood of dying suddenly from a heart attack. Total heart attack rates were not affected by fish consumption or the amount of omega-3 fatty acids ingested. One year later, a report in Lancet described a randomized trial in which men who’d had a heart attack received either a fish oil supplement, 300 mg of vitamin E, both, or neither. The groups who received the fish oil supplement had significantly lower rates of heart attack, stroke, and death during the next three and a half years. Rates of sudden death dropped by 45%.
Additional support for fish oils comes from a report on nearly 80,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study. Published in 2001 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this 14-year study found that eating fish at least twice a week versus less than once a month cut in half the risk of strokes caused by clots blocking an artery to the brain. The Nurses’ Health Study also found that eating one to three servings of fish per month cut the risk of heart disease by 20%, while eating at least five servings a week lowered risk by 40%.
Anyone hoping to benefit from fish oil would probably be better off sticking with dietary sources, primarily from cold-water fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring. Forgoing meat for cold-water fish, or any fish for that matter, may lower cholesterol and heart disease risk simply by reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet.
Three groups of people may benefit from fish oil supplements. One group includes people with arrhythmias, or disordered heart rhythms. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can stabilize wayward electrical activity in the heart and calm arrhythmias. The second group includes people with high levels of triglycerides, especially those who can’t control the problem through diet and exercise, because fish oil supplements have been shown to help lower triglycerides. The third group includes people with coronary heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that these people eat one serving of fatty fish a day; recognizing that this may be more fish than most people will eat, the association notes that a supplement can be substituted.
Soy protein has garnered interest from those who are looking for solutions for high cholesterol. There has been interest in soy protein for years, based largely on the low rates of heart disease in East Asia and other regions with high average consumption of soy protein. Then a large study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1995 really turned the spotlight on soy. This study reexamined the results of 38 controlled trials of soy protein in humans and reported that 47 grams of soy protein daily (just under 2 ounces) lowered total cholesterol levels by 9%, LDL by 13%, and triglycerides by 11%.
In most of these studies, participants replaced animal protein with soy protein. Thus, some of the drop in cholesterol may reflect the lower intake of meat and meat products rather than the actual consumption of soy protein. Some researchers believe that the beneficial effects also involve some of soy’s other components, particularly substances known as isoflavones. Isoflavones are plant hormones that may prevent the oxidation of LDL and other processes that may lead to the buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque inside arteries. These hormones may also prevent blood-clot formation inside arteries by making platelets less likely to clump.
As part of a healthy diet, soy can be a great substitute for meats high in saturated fat or other unhealthy foods. What’s more controversial is whether soy should be taken as a supplement. Early studies suggested soy supplements might lower LDL cholesterol, but more recent studies have cast doubt on this. So, for now, it’s best to think of soy solely as a healthy protein source.
While most cholesterol-fighting drugs are designed to lower cholesterol levels, another approach might be to limit the damage LDL can do once it is in the artery wall. Some researchers suggest preventing the conversion of circulating LDL to oxidized LDL. Drugs and vitamins called antioxidants have been able to do this — at least in test tubes — but whether they have a similar effect inside the body is still under investigation.
While some studies have shown that vitamins with antioxidant properties (such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E) can lower the risk for heart disease, the evidence is conflicting. One of the randomized studies found lower rates of heart attack and death from heart disease among people given 400 IU (the equivalent of 268 mg of vitamin E from food or 180 mg of synthetic E) or 800 IU of vitamin E rather than a placebo. However, in three other large-scale randomized studies, various doses of vitamin E didn't significantly reduce cardiovascular events. Because many of these studies involved high-risk populations or had other limitations, it's still possible that vitamin E could have protective effects, but hope has faded considerably in the past few years.
A large study known as the Heart Protection Study also dampened hope about vitamin C and beta carotene. This study involved more than 20,000 adults with diabetes, coronary artery disease, or other artery disease. Half the people were randomly assigned to receive high-dose supplements of vitamins E, C, and beta carotene, the other half a placebo. At the end of five years, a similar number of people in each group had had coronary events, stroke, or death.
Green tea has been shown to lower cholesterol in animals, and with its high level of antioxidants known as flavonoids, it would be logical to assume that green tea might help decrease LDL's damage. Human trials have had mixed results. However, a recent trial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine fueled hope for this traditional Asian drink. In this study, 114 Chinese adults who took a pill extract of green tea in addition to following a low-fat diet improved their cholesterol profile more than 106 adults who ate similarly but took a placebo.
Even though moderate amounts of vitamin supplements seem reasonably safe for most people, the data don't support a blanket recommendation that everyone take antioxidants to prevent heart disease. The best advice is simply to eat a diet rich in the fruits and vegetables that provide these vitamins, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and tomatoes.
This dietary supplement made from alcohols extracted from sugar cane shows promise as a cholesterol-lowering agent. Although we’re not sure exactly how it works, policosanol alcohol seems to block the production of cholesterol. Trials have shown it to lower LDL cholesterol levels moderately in people with diabetes, postmenopausal women, the elderly, and those with familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder that causes high cholesterol. That said, most of the trials have been done by one group of scientists, and there haven’t been enough long-term, independent clinical trials on policosanol alcohol to recommend it. And more importantly, no one knows if policosanol’s beneficial effects actually translate to lower rates of heart attacks and strokes.
The substance does appear to be safe and not to interact with most medications used to treat heart disease, although a trial focused on this question needs to be done, particularly on how it interacts with aspirin. One noteworthy side effect is that it increases the effects of medications that decrease clotting (aspirin, warfarin). Policosanol alcohol can make platelets less sticky, making you prone to bleed more than usual. It should not be used with statins until the mechanism of action is better understood. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should also avoid it.
Garlic is a popular folk remedy for many diseases, and some studies have shown that it can lower cholesterol slightly. In 2000, researchers did an analysis of the studies published on garlic and cholesterol. They found that garlic slightly reduces cholesterol compared with placebo. This lowering isn’t much compared with other interventions, like a healthy diet’s impact of a 5%–10% decrease. Also, not all of the trials showed that garlic improved cholesterol, and the study authors did not endorse garlic as a means of controlling cholesterol. If you like garlic, there’s no reason not to add it to your favorite dishes. No one knows what component of garlic might affect cholesterol metabolism, so it’s difficult to design rigorous empirical tests. It’s also unclear whether cooking garlic, or processing it into tablets or extracts, inactivates any potential cholesterol-lowering activity.
This extract from a tree native to Asia was used medicinally as early as 600 B.C. to fight obesity and muscle stiffness among other things. More recently, it’s been used in Asia to lower cholesterol, and it’s now making its way into the medicine cabinets of Westerners as well. There are few randomized, controlled trials of this substance, and a recent one shows that guggul doesn’t live up to its hype. In this 2003 study, 103 American adults with high cholesterol were assigned to take either a placebo, 1,000 mg of guggul extract, or 2,000 mg of the extract, three times a day. Surprisingly, researchers found that the extract actually increased LDL and decreased HDL. Researchers noted that the higher-fat American diet may have made a difference in how guggul worked, since other trials that focused on Asians — who typically eat a diet lower in fat — had encouraging results.
It seems logical that the antioxidant marketed as co-enzyme Q10 (known medically as ubiquinone) would help prevent the muscle problems that statins can cause. It’s been shown that when statins block the production of cholesterol, they also decrease the amount of ubiquinone the body creates. So wouldn’t raising ubiquinone levels through supplements decrease statins’ effects on muscles? While the logic is there, the proof isn’t. Very few studies have looked at ubiquinone in this light, and those that did were small and not entirely conclusive. One small study indicated that co-enzyme Q10 might decrease the severity, if not the frequency, of muscle problems.
What does this mean to you? If you’re experiencing side effects from a statin, immediately bring it to your doctor’s attention. Your doctor can help you decide if the side effects are serious enough to warrant stopping or changing your statin treatment. Or you and your doctor could decide to try co-enzyme Q10 to alleviate muscle pains, even though there’s no guarantee it will help.
My comments anything we can do in the natural I say do it. Doctors make money by keeping us coming back.
http://Actions that kicks cholesterols booty
Friday, January 04, 2008
I have BEEN over cal range for the past 3 days. I have to get things in gear and I made a renewened commment to this life change. I find myself doing some of the old things I vowed not top do again. Old habits die hard. I am willing to learn every if it seems like forever. SCREAM OUT LOAD!!!!!
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Note From Bob
Ready for a Challenge? That’s exactly what losing weight and becoming healthier is—a challenging journey with highs and lows and life-changing rewards Many of you have been on this journey before and may be wondering: What’s so different about my approach?
The major difference is that I don’t hand you a diet and expect you to completely overhaul your eating and exercise habits overnight. Instead, I’ll guide you through gradual changes that will take off the pounds, and will keep your weight down next year, in 10 years, and even 50 years down the road. I’m not fixated on shedding pounds quickly—instead, I’m focused on helping you find a way of living that will keep you at a healthy weight for life. Hence, the Best Life Diet.
I’ve developed a program based on decades of experience helping thousands of people lose weight and get in shape. Here are the nuts-and-bolts of the program, which is divided into three phases.
• The first phase is less about what to eat, and more about adopting healthy habits that will get your body ready for major weight loss: Eating breakfast, drinking more water, refraining from eating two hours before bedtime, moving your body a little bit more, taking a multivitamin. I want you to start identifying—and dealing—with emotional issues that contribute to weight gain.
• In the second phase, your weight loss will accelerate. You’ll be controlling portions, and temporarily eliminating foods, like soda and fried foods, that can stall your weight-loss efforts. You’ll also be introduced to the “Hunger Scale,” a tool you can use to help you gauge when you’re truly hungry. If you want, there are meal plans and recipes to follow—optional, not mandatory.
• Phase Three is, basically, the rest of your life. You’ll continue losing weight, if you need to, while minimizing your intake of sodium, saturated fat, and other unhealthy components that cause disease. Meanwhile, you’ll be bringing in more fruits, vegetables and foods that help prevent illness and infuse you with energy.
Learning and practicing the life skills that keep you trim requires a little help. You’ll find some guidance here in the articles and meals plans. Want more? Check out my book or website, TheBestLife.com. Joining the online plan offers a number of benefits, including:
• Extensive menu plans tailored to your specific calorie needs and food preferences
• A comprehensive recipe database
• Interactive food and exercise logs—Enter what you’ve eaten and how much you’ve exercised, and we’ll give you feedback on how you’re doing
• Support from thousands of members who can offer advice and companionship
• Help from a team of dietitians and exercise experts who will personally answer all your questions
Over the course of this Challenge year, you’ll be exhilarated when you see the numbers drop on the scale, and frustrated when they don’t. You’ll be proud of yourself when you’ve had a week of eating well and exercising, and upset with yourself when you don’t. This will be a challenging year; my hope for you is that you don’t give up. Remember, the longer you practice healthy behaviors, the easier it gets. And the reward—living your best life—is invaluable.
Reorganize Your Eating Patterns And Move More
You’ve already signed the Contract with Myself, and you’re all fired up to make 2008 the year you lose those excess pounds and gain health and energy. Let’s take advantage of that enthusiasm and motivation! For the next four weeks, you’ve got a mission: Adopt the slimming habits outlined below. Don't worry. You don't have to make all these changes overnight. In fact, you shouldn't. Take your time—we're giving you four weeks to get started, and then you've got the whole year to perfect them.
• Weigh yourself once. Wouldn’t it be nice if you ate a little less, exercised a little more and the weight started peeling off tomorrow and just kept dropping steadily? Weight-loss veterans know it doesn’t work that way—the scale moves in fits and starts. It can take a while for the scale to move at all when you first start changing habits. So, spare yourself the emotional roller coaster of living by the numbers. Instead, weigh yourself the first day of the program, and then wait for at least four weeks to get back on the scale. By then, your body should be in weight-loss mode. Then, you’ll weigh in once a week to monitor your progress.
• Be more active. How active are you? Find out where you fall on The Best Life Activity Scale by clicking here. If you're at Level 0, 1 or 2, challenge yourself to move up to the next level this month. If, on the other hand, you’re at Level 3 or higher, and that’s truly the most exercise you can fit into your life right now, your goal is consistency. Make sure you’re meeting the criteria for your level each week without fail.
• Eat three meals and a snack or two every day. Setting up a consistent meal schedule trains your body to eat when you’re hungry, but not too hungry. Besides, skipping meals only sets you up for overeating and bingeing. For more on the slimming effects of three squares, read The Power of Three.
Unlike many diet plans, you’re not going to be told what to eat at each meal (except for breakfast, see below). Instead, you’ll be asked to simply organize your eating habits into three meals and one or two snacks. OK, “simply organize your eating habits” may not be so easy if you’re a constant nibbler, a starve-and-binger, or if you have other entrenched bad habits. But you can do this! For at least five days each week for the next four weeks, commit to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. If you’re still hungry between meals, have a snack or two. Need some help with meal ideas? Click on the Menu Plans tab. And for examples of healthy snacks, check out Snack Time.
• Eat a “Best Life” breakfast. Bob’s Best Life Diet plan is filled with great-tasting and healthy breakfasts. You’ll find a sampling of these breakfasts by clicking the Menu Plans tab, above. For more examples, look in his book or join TheBestLife.com.
So, what does a Best Life breakfast look like? They are about 400 calories and consist of: 160 to 190 calories of high-fiber cereal or whole-grain bread or crackers; 100 calories of dairy or calcium-enriched soymilk; a piece of whole fruit or a cup of fruit, and about 90 calories of nuts or margarine (with no partially hydrogenated oil). If you’d like to have an egg, then have just 80 calories of cereal, bread or crackers.
• Stop eating two hours before bedtime. Nighttime nibbling is another hard habit to break, but if you’re an evening eater, this goal will result in immediate weight loss. Plus, it sets up a healthy chain reaction: You’ll wake up feeling hungry for breakfast (a great way to start your day), and then you’ll be on track to hit your three-meals-plus-a-snack goal.
• Drink six 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Being well hydrated is not only good for your health—it may help you lose weight. People tend to confuse thirst and hunger, and often grab a snack instead of a low-calorie or calorie-free drink. You could avoid a lot of unnecessary calories simply by staying on top of your liquid needs. Another perk of staying hydrated: More endurance when you’re exercising. Come back to this site in the next few weeks for tips on getting in those six glasses.
• Eliminate alcohol—for now. Alcohol doesn’t just loosen up social inhibitions—it can loosen up your resolve to eat moderate portions and choose healthy foods. It’s also loaded with calories. And, if you’re hung over, odds are you’re not going to be eager to exercise! Removing alcohol from your life for the next four weeks will prove to be an enlightening exercise. In fact, some of you will see an immediate slimming effect. Later in the program, you can bring alcohol back.
• Take a multi. Even on the most balanced diets, it’s hard to take in 100 percent of all the vitamins and other nutrients you need. It’s even tougher when you’re cutting calories to lose weight. So, for insurance, take a standard multi-vitamin/mineral tablet. (Later in this Challenge program, you’ll find out whether you need to take a calcium or omega-3 tablet—the only other supplements Bob recommends.)
• Evaluate your relationship with food. If you’re eating for any reason other than hunger, you’ll need to do some digging to figure out why, and find healthy ways to deal with these eating triggers. Many people eat for emotional reasons, such as stress or loneliness, but obviously, this will prevent you from reaching your weight-loss goals. Throughout this program, we’ll offer support on tackling emotional eating. Start now, with Bob’s Circle of Life Exercize
The Power of Three
By Janis Jibrin, R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
Years ago, an actress came to see me. She wasn't interested in losing weight, but was hoping I'd be able to help her find out why she was feeling faint and tired. In fact, she could barely make it through a long scene; immediately afterwards, she'd rush backstage to stuff her face. Her diet record was a "who's who" of health: Broccoli, carrots, apples, whole-grain crackers and skim milk. Her problem? She'd nibble on these healthy foods all day, but never sit down to a complete meal.
Another client, a dietitian of all people, had a nearly identical food record—lots of vegetables, no real meals. But she was 20 pounds overweight. I gave both women the same advice: Eat three complete meals with sufficient fat and protein and a healthy snack or two each day. Soon after, the actress got her energy back and the dietitian lost 15 pounds.
You've heard this advice before: Eat three square meals. But it's tempting to ignore this rule when you want to lose weight. Skipping a meal or eating only a small salad may seem like an easy way to cut 500 or more calories, but this approach always comes back to bite you. As research shows, skimping on calories triggers a series of physical reactions that actually encourages weight gain. An eating schedule of three squares and a snack or two can help you drop pounds because it:
Quells appetite. Having a light meal, like plain toast and coffee or a green salad with low-fat dressing, or skipping it altogether may seem virtuous. But later, your hunger will come roaring to life and suddenly you'll devour everything in sight. Eating a complete breakfast (about 400 calories), an adequate lunch (at least 450 calories) and complete dinner (500 calories or more) about four hours apart prevents that dangerous hunger attack. And when between-meal cravings mount, a healthy snack does the trick.
Increases insulin sensitivity. Eating triggers the release of the hormone insulin, which aids in both burning and storing carbs, protein and fat. People who are insulin-sensitive require only moderate amounts of the hormone. However, overweight and obese individuals often have lower insulin sensitivity, which basically means that the body must produce more insulin to do its job. In a series of studies at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, both obese and lean women went the three-squares-two-snacks route for several weeks and then tried a more erratic meal pattern. The first approach improved insulin sensitivity and lowered levels of harmful blood fats, while the erratic approach made things worse.
Speeds up metabolism. The Nottingham Study also found the three-squares-two-snacks schedule revved up the rate of calorie-burning after a meal. This "thermic effect" of food as it's called, burns up about 10 percent of a meal's calories.
Of course, you still have to watch what you eat for those three meals and snacks. Studies show that obese people snack more than slimmer people, and that common snacks include cookies, cakes and candies. (Not hard to figure out why that's not working.) Keep your meals and snacks in check by following these simple rules:
1. Eat only when you're hungry and serve yourself reasonable portions. Have no more than 1 cup of rice, pasta or potatoes (about the size of two tennis balls). Keep meat, poultry and fish to about 3 to 5 ounces; salad dressing to about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons; and candy, chips and other treats to about 150 to 200 calories. You can also control calories by using the Hunger Scale, a tool that helps you gauge your hunger levels and prevent overeating. For more details on the Hunger Scale, buy The Best Life Diet or join www.TheBestLife.com.
2. Wait 20 minutes after eating to decide whether you want more. That's how long it takes the brain to register fullness.
3. Use snacks only when you're actually hungry between meals. And when you do snack, keep it light. For a list of nutritious nibbles, read Snack Time or check out our meal plans.
Bob Greene's Circle of Life
By Bob Greene
You know the pattern. You're angry about something, so you grab a fistful of chocolate chip cookies. You're down in the dumps for no particular reason. Nothing Ben & Jerry's can't fix. One of the greatest obstacles to weight loss is emotional eating—impulsive, unhealthy snacking triggered by stress, boredom, depression and other factors. To halt these cravings that can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, you first have to determine what triggers those episodes of late-night cookies and straight-from-the-carton ice cream binges. What are you angry or depressed about that makes you turn to food for comfort?
A great self-discovery exercise, which can help you overcome emotional eating, is the Circle of Life. It pinpoints your life's most important areas, determines their current status (going well or needs improvement), and then helps to develop a plan to correct the problem areas. It can put an end to your emotional eating and help you address other troubles spots that may interfere with your health and wellness
Here's how it works: Draw a large circle on a blank sheet of paper. Divide the circle into several sections so it resembles a sliced pie. Each section represents an area you feel is an integral part of a fulfilled life, such as career, family, health, fitness, friendship, romance, finance, relationships, etc. Aim for at least six categories and write one in each pie slice.
Next, ask yourself how everything is going in each area—and be brutally honest. If things are going well, write a positive sign; not so well, make a negative sign. Then, examine the slices with a negative sign; spend some time thinking about how you could improve that area. What is something you can do every day to stimulate positive change? For example, if a friendship has soured, write a letter, send an e-mail or pick up the phone to try to repair the relationship. If your fitness has stalled, rejuvenate it: Start an exercise journal or buy some new workout clothes. Not eating healthfully enough? Clean out the refrigerator and fill it up with fruit and vegetables. Relationship woes? Consider joining a social group or bond with co-workers after hours. Revamp your financial situation by meeting with a financial planner, updating your resume or reviewing your household budget. Write at least one thing in each section that you can do right now to improve that category, and then commit yourself to it. You'll discover that once you've addressed negative feelings about a relationship or money worries, your emotional eating episodes will vanish.
People who struggle with weight gain often want instant gratification. But if you're patient and take small steps everyday, the results can be amazing. If you can consistently do at least one thing daily to change a negative into a positive, I promise that powerful change will occur in your life after one year. If you can do three things daily, you won't recognize your former life. The philosophy is similar to losing weight: If you eat healthfully and exercise, you don't feel any change on a day-to-day basis, yet you can look back a year later and see a profound transformation.
Three Day Meal Plan
Here’s a sample of the meals you’ll find on thebestlife.com. This plan works out to approximately 1600 calories. To find a plan tailored to your calorie needs, turn to the menu plans in The Best Life Diet or join TheBestLife.com.
You can mix and match these meals—for instance have Day 1 breakfast with Day 3 lunch and Day 2 dinner.
Best Life Cheerios Mix with strawberries, almonds, and nonfat milk
In your cereal bowl:
Almonds, 2 tbsp
Best Life Cheerios Mix, 1 serving
Milk, nonfat, 1 cup
Strawberries, 1 cup, halves
In a blender, combine:
8th Continent Soymilk, Vanilla, 1 cup
Orange Juice, Calcium Fortified, 1/2 cup
Chicken sandwich and a banana
Bread, whole wheat, 2 slices
Spread with mayo. Fill with chicken, cheddar, and veggies:
Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise, 2 tsp
Pulled from a rotisserie chicken, light meat, 1/2 cup
Cabot 75% Reduced Cheddar, 1 oz
Romaine Lettuce , 3 LeafsOnions, red, 1 thin slice
Red Ripe Tomatoes, 2 slice, medium (1/4" thick)
Serve with a:
Lean Cusine Spa Cuisine Salmon with Basil served with sliced tomatoes and grapes
Lean Cuisine Spa Cuisine Salmon with Basil, 1 meal
Serve with sliced tomatoes drizzled with oil and vinegar:
Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp
Olive Oil, 2 tsp
Red Ripe Tomatoes, 6 slice, medium (1/4" thick)
Grapes, 1 cup, seedless
Caramel Popcorn, 3/4 cup
Fried egg with whole wheat toast, served with berries and nonfat milk
Egg, 1 large
Margarine, Zero g Trans Fat, 2 teaspoons
Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice spread with one teaspoon margarine
Raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed, 1 cup
Milk, nonfat, 1 cup
Low fat yogurt and almonds drizzled with maple syrup
Almonds, plain, 1 tbsp
Low fat, plain yogurt, 1/2 cup
Maple Syrup, 1 tsp
Peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich served with nonfat milk
Bread, whole wheat, 2 slices
Fill sandwich with peanut butter, honey, and sliced banana:
Banana, fresh, 1/2 fruit, sliced
Honey, 2 tsp
Peanut Butter, 1 1/2 tbsp
Milk, nonfat, 1 cup
Chicken Cacciatore with mushrooms served with a side of zucchini
Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms, 1 serving
2/3 cup cooked Barilla Plus penne (1/3 cup dry) and sprinkled with one tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Served with steamed zucchini spritzed with lemon juice:
Zucchini, 1 cup, sliced
Ginger Snaps, 90 – 100 calories (about 3) and a cup of tea (herbal, black or green)
• Almonds, plain, 1 tablespoon
• One Fiber One Chewy Bar, any flavor
• Milk, nonfat, 1 cup (pour into a thermos or grab a small, 8-oz. carton)
Strawberry-Vanilla Soymilk Shake
In a blender, combine:
8th Continent Soymilk, Vanilla, 1 cup
Strawberries, frozen, unsweetened, 3/4 cup
Chickpea salad served with Wasa crispbread
For the salad: toss ingredients with a splash of white wine vinegar and ground pepper:
Beans, canned, low sodium, chickpeas, 3/4 cup
Hard Boiled Egg, 1 large egg, chopped
Olive Oil, 2 tsp
Onions, sweet, 1/4 cup finely chopped
Parsley, fresh, 1 tsp
Red Ripe Tomatoes, 1 cup, chopped
Serve with crispbread:
Wasa Crispbread, Multigrain, 2 pieces
Tangerine, 1 fruit
Steak Wrap with Roasted Onions and Peppers served with a salad
Steak Wrap with Roasted Onions and Peppers, 1 serving
Serve with oil and vinegar-tossed salad:
Mixed Greens, 2 cups
Olive Oil, 1 tsp
Balsamic vinegar, 1 splash
Frozen Fruit Juice Bar
Frozen Fruit Juice Bar, 3 - 3.5 oz, about 80 - 100 calories, such as Edy’s or Dreyer’s Whole Fruit Bars
Best Life Cheerios Mix
A nice mix of textures and super-high in fiber
1/2 cup Cheerios
2/3 cup Weetabix Crispy Flakes&Fiber
1/4 cup All-Bran Original
Combine and serve.
To make in bulk, combine 4 1/2 cups Cheerios, 6 cups Weetabix Crispy Flakes&Fiber (the entire 12-ounce box), and 2 1/4 cups All-Bran. Ladel out 1 and a heaping third cup per serving.
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Calcium: 119 mg
Sodium: 312 mg
Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4, 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
8 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh white mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 small garlic clove, crushed thru a press
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup apple juice
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style plum tomatoes with juice
1/3 teaspoon dried (or 1 teaspoon fresh) oregano
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
In a large skillet, heat oil; add the chicken and mushrooms. Cook over medium-low heat until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste and stir until blended. Transfer the chicken and mushrooms to a side dish.
Add the apple juice to the skillet. Increase the heat to high and bring the apple juice to a boil, scraping up any browned pieces from the bottom of the skillet, until reduced to a thin film. Add the tomatoes and heat to boiling, breaking the whole tomatoes into pieces with the side of a wooden spoon or spatula.
Return the chicken, mushrooms and any juices to the skillet. Add the dried oregano or, if using fresh oregano, add later. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occcasionally; cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter.
Boil the tomato sauce over high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Spoon the tomato sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.
Saturated Fat: 1g
Calcium: 64 mg
Sodium: 248 mg
Fiber: 3 g
Total Carbs: 13 g
Protein: 42 g
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 97 mg
Steak Wrap with Roasted Onions and Peppers
16 oz eye round steak sliced thin
4 multi grain Flatout flatbreads
1 large sweet onion sliced
2 sweet peppers- red, orange or yellow
8 teaspoons guldens mustard
For the marinade:
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley and Italian parsley
1.Mix marinade ingredients and place in a shallow dish, add sliced meat and if it is not covered by marinade stir often (you can let marinate at room temperature while you prepare other ingredients or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours)
2.Preheat 1 very large or 2 large skillets over medium flame
3.Lightly coat onions with oil spray and put in hot pan, stir and cook for 3 minutes, add peppers and continue to stir for 3 more minutes
4.Drain meat and cook with pepper mixture (or in the second skillet if you do not have room in one pan) for 3 minutes stirring constantly
5.Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard on each Flatout flatbread
6.Distribute meat mixture evenly between the four flatbreads and roll
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Calcium: 52 mg
Sodium: 556 mg
Fiber: 10 g
Total Carbs: 28 g
Protein: 36 g
Total Fat: 20 g
Cholesterol: 65 mg
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I hereby commit to living my Best Life. I will participate in a program of regular exercise,
including a minimum of 80 minutes of activity over the course of four days each week.
I will focus on challenging my abilities in the pursuit of elevating my physical performance.
I will endeavor to be conscious of when I eat, and consistently terminate the consumption of
all food two or three hours before bedtime. I will also be aware of why I eat, and will, to the best
of my ability, eat primarily to satisfy my nutritional needs as opposed to my emotional needs.
I will do my best to make healthful food choices by substituting foods that are nutritionally
empty with those that are rich in nutrition.
Furthermore, I realize that this contract carries no promise of rewards, penalties or punishments
other than those associated with the reflection of the strength of my character and of my health
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Monday, December 31, 2007
I had gained 4 pounds over the holidays. I was so disguisted that I turned off the my weight ticker. But Today I weighted and and I lost 4pounds. I'll keep my weight ticker on on even of I gain weight. I have to be accountable. I love bread and bread product including pasta, but I have to limit my intake of them. No more than 5 servings a day. If I can lose those 4 pounds I can lose more. The new me is just around the corner. Victory shall be mine!
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