5 Ways to Beat Stress-Induced Weight Gain

New research shows stress may wreak havoc on your metabolism. Here’s how you can outsmart it.

Stress 2017

I think we can all agree that stress is bad. Excess stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, digestive problems, sleep disturbances, depression, and now new research shows it may also wreak havoc on metabolism.

We’ve known for some time that stress is connected to weight gain, because a high level of the stress hormone cortisol has been shown to up appetite, drive cravings for “junk” food, and make it oh so much easier to accumulate belly fat. But now, an Ohio State study shows that stress may also result in burning fewer calories—yikes!

In the study, researchers questioned women about stress they had encountered the previous day. The ladies were then fed a meal containing a very generous 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. After eating, scientists measured the women’s’ metabolic rates and took blood samples. In the seven hours after eating the mondo meal, those who had reported being stressed out within the previous 24 hours burned less of the fat they consumed and had higher levels of insulin, a hormone that contributes to fat storage. They also torched 104 fewer calories. That may not sound like much, but it’s enough of a difference to account for a weight gain of almost 11 pounds in one year’s time.

I understand that reports like this can be discouraging, but knowing this information actually offers a huge advantage.  Even if you can’t fix the causes of your stress, you can make small changes to offset the effects.  Here are five daily tweaks to help you best stress-induced weight gain.

Choose your Fats Wisely


If stress causes your body to burn less of the fat you eat (making it more likely to be stored) aim to include some healthy fat in your meal—but avoid “doubling up.” For example, many clients tell me they order a healthy salad for lunch, but the toppings include both olive oil and avocado. Or they might snack on nuts alongside popcorn that’s been cooked in oil. I’m not saying you should eat low-fat meals: fat is important for satiety and it’s one of your body’s key building blocks. But to keep it in balance, choose only one high-fat item per meal. For example, if you want avocado on your salad, dress your greens with balsamic vinegar rather than oil-based vinaigrette.

Adjust your Meal Proportions


If there’s a chance that you’ll burn fewer calories in the hours after eating due to stress, shift your servings a bit to slash calories without having to eat less food. For example, eating one and a half cups of mixed veggies and a half cup of brown rice instead of one cup of each can save you 60-75 calories. Or instead of 1 cup of quinoa, mix half of that with half a cup of spinach to save about 100 calories. I think you see where I’m going with this—trading in a portion of your dense grains, even healthy ones, for low cal, fiber- and water-rich veggies is the easiest way to accomplish a quick calorie savings that doesn’t require sacrificing volume.

Add Metabolic Boosters


Certain foods truly have been shown in research to raise your metabolic rate, and while the effects aren’t astronomical, they may just counter some stress-induced metabolism slumps. One of my favorite natural metabolic boosters is hot peppers. One study from Purdue University tracked 25 adults who consumed either no pepper, their preferred amount (half liked spicy food and half did not), or a standardized amount, which was about a half teaspoon of cayenne for six weeks. Overall both groups burned more calories when they ate spiced-up meals, and those who had been infrequent eaters of fiery food also felt less hungry and experienced fewer cravings for salty, fatty, and sweet treats. Try adding chili pepper or cayenne to steamed or sautéed veggies, or if you can handle a little more heat, garnish your dishes with a sliced jalapeno. Bonus: hot peppers have also been shown to boost immunity and lower cholesterol.

Breathe Before you Eat


We continuously breathe without thinking about it, but recent Spanish research showed that relaxed, controlled breathing can effectively reduce cortisol levels. Before each meal, take a few minutes to sit comfortably in a chair, and spend a few minutes focusing on breathing, slowly and deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. You may be amazed how quickly this technique can help relieve muscle tension and shift your mindset.

Take a Quick Post-Meal Walk


Whenever possible, try to build in a brisk 15-minute stroll after meals. A recent study from George Washington University found that this habit helped normalize blood sugar levels for up to three hours after eating. Can’t fit in 15 minutes? Go for 10, even five—just breaking a sitting pattern and getting your blood pumping can shift your metabolism. A post-meal walk can also serve as a little “you time” to unwind, clear your head, connect with nature, or catch up with a walking buddy—all of which can help reduce feelings of stress.

Are You Holiday Ready?

Holiday

During the holidays we consume about 10,000 extra calories per week.  For most of us 10,000 calories a week means weight gain, tight clothes, and bulging bellies.  Just the thought of 10,000 calories can cause weight gain, but, consuming it is even worse!  Doubling your daily caloric intake can lead to more than just weight gain. Consuming twice your daily food intake takes a heavy toll on your liver, gallbladder, kidneys, digestive system and most of all, your metabolism.  We consume three to four times the digestible food portions, and triple the amount of digestible proteins, fats and carbohydrates, which in return leads to not only weight gain, but, fat deposits in the liver and gallbladder, intestinal blockages, and a sluggish metabolism.  Some reports claim that kidney and urinary tract infections are at their peak during the holiday’s due to the bacteria found in party foods, ingesting your body weight in sugars, such as sweets and alcohol and  lack of fluids.  Don’t be a victim of your own demise and avoid the holiday twenty and those unnecessary trips to the emergency room by following these simple tricks:

  • The human stomach is the size of two fists, devouring more than your stomach will delay your body’s natural ability to digest the foods. Undigested food can cause bowel blockage, bloating, gas, ingestion, and inflammation in the abdominal cavity.  Eating smaller portions, but more frequently will not only increase your metabolism, but will prevent that added weight gain around the waist-line.  Your stomach can only digest about a salad plate worth of food at a time. Wait about an hour in between each salad plate portion before refilling your plate. This will allow you to decipher if you are actually hungry or if you are just socially eating.
  •  Sugar is our frienemy. All those holiday treats and cocktails are loaded with unwanted calories.  One sliver of Cheesecake can add about 350 calories to your daily intake. A glass of wine can add about 150 calories. Limit yourself to a two drink maximum, or a small slice of cake or pie. You get one or the other, not both! Consuming both per one setting can equate to eating a Big Mac in fat and in calories. Sugar causes an imbalance in our glycemic index, thus, puts our bodies in fat preservation mode.  Not to mention, consuming high amounts of sugar slows the metabolism and weakens our immune system.
  • Salt is also known as the devil in disguise, and is the root of all evil. Most of our traditional holiday foods are a walking salt mine.  Salt has a negative impact on our hearts, thyroid and kidneys.  High volumes of sodium can result in dehydration, swelling in the face, legs and ankles and can also cause abdominal distension. Snacking on cucumbers and drinking lemon water will help you absorb the additional sodium intake.  Lemon is a natural diuretic, replacing your morning Starbucks with lemon water will keep your holiday wardrobe fitting and it will also keep your face looking thinner for those holiday selfies!
  • Last but not least, exercise, exercise, and exercise!  A simple walk around the block nightly can help you burn those additional calories, and help you decompress the stress of the holidays.

For more weight-loss tips please visit www.beautologie.com or give our office a call (661) 865-5009.

Sodium and Weight-Gain

eat-less-salt-sodium
Many people are well aware of the health problems that too much salt can cause, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. But most people are not aware of how excess salt contributes to weight gain.

Sodium, along with other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chloride, and potassium, is an electrolyte that helps keep your metabolism running. Minerals, such as sodium, ensure that the proper amounts of nutrients and wastes are flowing in and out of your body. Minerals also aid in stabilizing the acid-base (pH) balance in your blood. If you get too much sodium, you create electrolyte imbalances that throw your body off-kilter.

This means your metabolism can’t function at its peak and you can’t burn fat.

Excess salt also negatively affects insulin, a hormone that helps transport sugar out of the blood and into the muscles and tissues for energy. This means that insulin can’ do its job, so sugar builds up in the blood, damaging vessels and making it difficult for fat-burning oxygen to flow to cells and melt fat.

Making matters worse, when people gain weight, especially in the abdominal area, they can become insulin resistant. This means their bodies do not respond well to insulin. In response, the pancreas secretes more insulin, which in time can result in diabetes. With higher insulin levels, not only does your body store more fat, but your kidneys will have a harder time getting rid of salt, which can lead to electrolyte imbalances, high blood pressure, and bloating.

In addition to weight gain, too much sodium can take a toll on your appearance, causing a puffy and tired-looking face. Ever notice that after a meal filled with salty foods (think soy sauce, smoked fish or meat, French fries, or chips) your stomach is distended and you weigh more the next morning? That’s your body’s reaction to eating too much salt. The retention of extra water and fluid leads to major bloating. Even if you’re skinny, you’ll still look bloated and puffy from all the excess fluid.

It’s not all about the calories!! Low caloric foods such as low fat and fat free food items tend to contain more sodium than full fat products. When fat is taken out of a naturally fatty food item the fat is replaced with sodium based preservative, otherwise known as a filler. Sodium based preservatives are found in most household food items, such as: Frozen fruits & vegetables, can foods, fruit juices, salad dressings, sodas and deli meats.

The average American consumes more than 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day. That is equivalent to eating one full teaspoon of table salt per day. The American Heart Association recommends American’s should consume less than 1,500 milligrams, whereas, the Food and Drug Administration recommends around 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for healthy individuals.
Salt is not the same thing as sodium. Salt contains sodium and chloride. However, to simplify, we use the terms “salt” and “sodium” interchangeably since most people need to reduce sodium, and the best way to do it is to cut back on salt.

Diets high in sodium increase the number of fat cells in your body, slow your metabolism, increases insulin resistance and makes you hungrier and thirstier. Salt also makes it more difficult for fat-burning oxygen to break down fat deposits. If you are trying to lose weight, reduce your waist size and increase your vitality all you have to do is follow this one simple rule; never consume more than 500 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium per meal.

For more information about weight-loss and or low sodium meal plans please email info@beautologie.com

Carbonated Water; Is it good or bad?

carbonated water
carbonated water

Let’s face it; drinking plain water day after is boring! Yes, a regular consumption of water is extremely important, but, whoever said you couldn’t have sparkling water? Replacing a few of those stilled water bottles with carbonated water can not only increase your health, but, can also be more appeasing to your mouth.

The look on my patients’ faces’ after I tell them they can have sparkling water is priceless! I know what you’re thinking, and no, not all carbonated drinks are bad. Carbonated water is water that has been infused with pressurized carbon dioxide, and aside from seltzer and tonic waters, most carbonated waters contain small amounts of sodium and minerals that the body is dependent on.
Some people still believe that carbonation is damaging to our health and often times is blamed for the recent spike in cases of bone decay and high acidic pH levels, however, that’s simply not true! Research has shown that carbonation is not the root of all evil, and has linked bone decay and high acidity levels in soda drinkers to high dosages of phosphorous, not carbonation. Unlike, cola’s, most sparking waters contain no phosphorus, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. In fact, some controlled studies have suggested that carbonated waters may improve not only your bone health, but, your overall vitality.

Carbon dioxide and water react chemically to produce carbonic acid; a weak acid that has been shown to stimulate the same nerve receptors in your mouth as mustard. And, are responsible for the body’s swallowing process. This may sound surprising, but, studies have shown that drinking carbonated water may increase your ability to swallow, because, carbonation has the strongest ability to inhibit the nerve receptors in your mouth. There was a sixty-three percent improvement rate after drinking iced carbonated water in a controlled study of seventy-two people who had the persistent need to clear their throats.

Other studies have shown that drinking sparkling water may also improve your digestive health. In a two week study of elderly people, the average bowl movement frequency nearly doubled as well as, significantly improved chronic digestive issues in the participants who were drinking carbonated waters, compared to the participants who were drinking tap water.
While this is a controversial subject, carbonated water may also promote weight-loss. When we ingest carbonated water, our stomach fills up with a combination of water and tiny bubbles that are released from the water to expel the carbon dioxide gas that has been added. This means in our stomach, we experience a buildup of gas that is pushed out of the body through the esophagus or through the lower digestive tract, thus, will make the stomach feel fuller and help stop you from over eating. The gas will exit the body through a small belch or passing of gas; and because the gas is eliminated from the body, it is nearly impossible for the carbon dioxide to enter into the blood stream.

Some theories also suggest that carbonated water may have some beneficial effects on HDL cholesterol, the body’s inflammation response and the blood sugar, however, this has neither been proven to be true or false and there is not enough research or studies available to support this theory.

Furthermore, carbonated waters are not bad for your health. So spice up your daily routine and add some bubbly water to your diet!

The heat brings out the drinks; my favorite summer mixed cocktail is the Virgin Strawberry Gin Smash Cocktail:
Serves 1
½ teaspoon raw organic cane sugar
1 lime wedge
3 fresh strawberries, 2 hulled and sliced and 1 reserved for garnish
1.5 ounces of gin ( Shot glass) ( Minus the Gin for that perfect non-alcoholic drink )
4- 5 oz Perrier sparkling water
Fresh mint sprig, to garnish

In a tall glass, combine the sugar and a squeeze of juice from the lime wedge. Muddle with the back of a spoon to dissolve the sugar.
Add the sliced strawberries and lightly muddle.
Fill half the glass with ice and add the gin, top it off with the sparkling water and garnish with the last strawberry and a sprig of mint.

A better alternative to muscle recovery drinks.. Cherries!

cherries-love-31501477-1024-768CHERRY PROTEIN DRINK

I get asked daily about muscle recovery drinks and protein shakes; which brands are good or not good, which brands do I recommend and so forth. It may come as a big shock to you, but, I do not recommend any! The nutrition fitness and supplement market rakes in billions of dollars every year on chemical formula’s that your body can neither absorb nor utilize. In fact, most of those expensive sports drinks clog up your liver, thus this slows down your metabolism. As an athlete and nutritionist, I have not only used this recovery drink recipe, but, have also recommended it to most of my fitness guru’s and athlete patients.

Before, I give the recipe; I wanted to give you the health benefits of the main ingredient in the recipe. Can you guess what it is? Cherries!

Cherries are a rich pigmented fruit that contain phytonutrients, such as, anthocyanin glycosides, which are also known as anti-oxidants, as well as, other vital vitamins, and minerals. Both sweet, as well as, tart cherries are packed with numerous health benefiting compounds that are essential for our body’s overall health.

Scientific studies have shown that the anthocyanins in cherries are found to act like anti-inflammatory drugs by blocking the actions of enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 and 2. Thus, consumption of cherries may offer potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout, arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition), and sore muscles due to strenuous exercise and or sports injuries. There have been other studies that have shown that tart cherries produce melatonin, which has a soothing effect on the brain’s neurons, and calms the nervous system’s irritability; thus, can help relieve neurosis, insomnia and headaches.

Cherries are also considered a low glycemic fruit, which means, they do not cause a dramatic spike in your insulin levels. Unlike, other fruits that spike the blood glucose, cherries have been shown to help regulate and reduce glucose levels in diabetics.

Cherries are consider a carbohydrate and when mixed with a healthy protein, can help replenish the caloric energy lost during exercise, reduce inflammation in the muscles and help repair and build long lean muscle tissue; while stabilizing the glycemic index. Amazing, Right?!
Before you go and spend hundreds of dollars on protein powders and recovery drinks that can actually damage and weaken your muscles, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

Anti-inflammatory Cherry Protein Recovery Smoothie
1/3 cup of plain non-fat Greek Yogurt
½ cup of fresh or frozen berries
½ cup of Almond milk
½ cup of organic tart cherry juice ( can be found at Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, & Lassen’s )
½ Banana
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of raw honey
4-5 Ice cubes
Blend together and enjoy!!

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