Weight loss and aging: Changes to your diet that make it easier (Part 2)

Losing weight is tough. Add a slowing metabolism, lean muscle loss, and a changing hormonal landscape to the equation and it gets even tougher. Last week, in Part 1 of this series, we went into why weight loss gets more difficult with age.

This week in Part 2, we’re going to discuss how the obstacles associated with age can be overcome with simple changes to your diet.

1) Become a weight loss marathoner

When you’re young, you approach weight loss as a series of sprints. Summer is coming, you lose ten pounds. Your best friend is getting married, you lose ten pounds. But winter rolls around and the shoes come off after the final dance and the weight goes right back on.

Your young body – being the well-oiled, high performance machine that is – responds to this kind of treatment because it can. So, you go through your twenties and most of your thirties learning the bad habits of yoyo dieting.

When you reach the tail end of your thirties, you begin to notice your tried and true diet strategies aren’t working as well as they used to. When you hit 40, they stop working all together.

You can’t be a diet sprinter anymore. After 40, your mindset has to change to that of a marathoner. When you’re older, it’s about doing the little things right day after day. It’s about baby steps. It’s about lifestyle change for the long haul.

2) No more late meals

People used to think that a calorie was a calorie no matter when you consumed it. And that the only thing that mattered for weight loss was calories in versus calories out. Research is changing people’s minds.

In 2013, researchers tested the effect of meal timing on weight loss. 420 people all at the same amount, they slept the same amount, and they exercised the same. The only thing that was different between the two groups in the study was the timing of their major meal of the day. One group ate it before 3 p.m. and the other ate it after 3 p.m. The group eating their major meal before 3 p.m. lost more weight than the group that ate their major meal after 3 p.m.

Another study looked at the effects of meal timing in healthy women. The participants in the study who ate lunch after 4:30 p.m. had a lower basal metabolic rate and glucose tolerance compared to the women in the study who ate their lunch at 1 p.m.

When you eat late – anywhere between dinner and bedtime – food consumed is more likely to be stored as fat.

Why this happens could have something to do with evolution. For our primal ancestors, food was scarce. Those who were able to store energy more efficiently would better be able to survive when food wasn’t available. Storing energy as fat is the most efficient way to store energy. One gram of fat holds 9 kcal of energy. Comparatively, one gram of protein or carbohydrates only holds 4 kcal of energy. These ancestors likely also ate in the evening under the cover and safety of darkness.

Those among our ancestors that ate in the evening and stored most of the food they consumed as fat had an evolutionary advantage, which means they survived to have offspring. We are descended from those offspring and have acquired the traits that made it possible for them to survive.

Another reason why eating late meals is associated with weight gain and difficulty losing weight has to do with the types of food eaten. People tend to crave sweet and salty in the evening, which tend to be higher in calories.

3) Meal quantities should change with age

With increasing age, eat less more frequently.

Large meals overwhelm the digestive system. You feel bloated as your body struggles to process what you just crammed into your stomach and blood sugar goes up and down like a roller coaster, dragging your energy levels and your mood along behind it. The bigger the meal, the bigger the crash afterwards. The bigger the crash, the more you’re going to crave sugary snacks to get you through the day.

As your body ages, the effects of large meals on the body is compounded.

Small meals less often stabilizes your blood sugar – indirectly your mood and energy as well – and maintains fatty acids in the blood at a constant level.

It also makes it easier to get all the nutrients you need in a day. One study conducted at the Queen Margaret’s University College of Edinbugh showed people who ate small meals more frequently on a regular basis ate healthier. The people in the study ate more fruits and vegetables and had higher levels of vitamin C and other nutrients than the participants who stuck to eating the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

4) What you eat matters

As you age, focus on consuming more protein and plants and less saturated fats.

Losing lean muscle is a problem with age, which makes adequate protein consumption to facilitate protein synthesis incredibly important.

Most animal fats are saturated and are solid at room temperature because they have a higher melting point than unsaturated fats. Foods high in saturated fats that should be avoided are products such as cream, cheese, butter, whole milk dairy products, and fatty meats. Coconut oil and palm kernel oil are two plant products that are high in saturated fats.

Fats from plants and fish tend to be unsaturated and better for you. These are the ones you want in your diet as you age.

Sources and further reading

Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet

Why eating little and often is best

“Weight Loss After 40” – Isagenix podcast

 

How protein can help you bust through weight loss plateaus

Weight loss is difficult, no one is going to deny that.

It can be going well, everything is on track, then out of the blue you can’t lose another pound no matter how hard you try.

You’ve hit a weight loss plateau.

From here, there are two ways you can go. You can give up and regain all the weight you’ve worked so hard to get rid of in the first place.

Or, you can make some adjustments and keep moving towards your goal.

In this article, I want to talk about how protein is your secret weapon for busting through plateaus. We’ll spend some time talking about why it works for this purpose, then go into protein timing, and wrap up with the types of protein you use – cause that’s incredibly important also.

Why protein is effective for weight loss

  • Protein makes you feel fuller for longer

The only thing that matters when you’re trying to lose weight is a negative calorie balance.

A negative calorie balance means you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in. It is a simple idea in theory, but it can be quite difficult because of your body’s reaction to suddenly consuming less food.

Eating less often can make you feel like you’re constantly hungry. And what’s worse, you feel unsatisfied when you finally do eat because you just don’t feel full with the portions of food you have.

Transforming your diet so that a greater proportion of your food comes from protein can help counteract this nasty side-effect of maintaining a negative calorie balance.

This works because protein increases feelings of fullness – otherwise known as satiety. More satiety means that 100 calories of protein is going to make you feel fuller for longer than 100 calories of carbohydrates would.

This property of protein is best exemplified scientifically in a 2016 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The meta-analysis, led by Jaapna Dhillon, screened thousands of scientific studies to determine the evidence supporting or refuting the idea that protein increases satiety. Of the many paper they considered, 5 passed their stringent inclusion criteria and were used for further analysis.

The 5 studies all had a similar experimental design: the participants would fast for a predetermined period, they would come into the lab and be given food with various amounts of protein in it, then they were monitored for how full they felt over time.

Based on the primary analysis of these 5 papers and a secondary analysis of 28 papers, which were also included in the publication, the authors were able to conclude that diets higher in protein led to greater feelings of fullness (i.e. protein is associated with greater satiety).

  • Protein takes more energy to break down than other macronutrients 

Protein can help you maintain a calorie deficit because of increased satiety. If you’re not as hungry you’re going to eat less. If you eat less, you consume fewer calories. Fewer calories in relation to the energy you’re burning = weight loss.

Another reason protein is the macronutrient of choice for calorie deficits is because it takes more energy to digest it than fats or carbohydrates.

The energy used to break down ingested molecules is called the thermic effect of food. For protein, 20-35% of calories are burned during digestion. That’s a pretty substantial portion compared to the 5-15% of calories burned used when digesting carbohydrates and the 0-5% of calories burned when digesting fat.

The thermic effect of food is one component of metabolism. It, alongside resting metabolic rate (the calories required to keep you going in a completely rested state) and the exercise component (the calories you expend performing various activities throughout the day) determine your overall caloric expenditure. Increase any one of these factors and you increase the number of calories burned in a day and increase your chances of creating or maintaining a deficit.

The increased thermic effect of protein is beneficial for weight loss for 2 reasons: 1) More calories required for digestion adds to your daily caloric expenditure, tipping the scales in the direction of expenditure and increasing the deficit. 2) Subtracting the calories required to digest protein ingested decreases the total calories ingested, again tipping the scales in the favor of an increased deficit.

The thermic effect of protein is the property of protein which contributes to it boosting your metabolism.

How to incorporate more protein into your diet and what kind you should use

  • Protein timing for weight loss

The typical American or Canadian tends to consume most of our daily intake of protein later on in the day. Most people have a little bit at breakfast, a little bit at lunch, and then, proportionally, the most at dinner.

This eating strategy is a gross under utilization of the most important macronutrient for weight loss.

The increased satiety and the boost in metabolism experienced with increased protein intake are most effective when they are used as often as possible, and evenly, throughout the day.

That means if you’re trying to lose weight, spread your protein intake out evenly throughout the day. Timing your protein intake in this way will help you eat fewer calories and maintain that essential negative calorie balance.

  • The type of protein matters

There are many different options out there when it comes to protein supplements. Not only do you have to choose from a plethora of brands, you also have to pick what type protein you want.

There’s whey protein, casein protein, egg protein, pea protein, and the list goes on and on and on.

I’m going to make things as simple as possible for you. Pick whey protein.

Whey protein is the best because:

Essential amino acids are amino acids that must be ingested in the diet. The body cannot create them on its own.

BCAAs are essential amino acids. They make up 3 of the 9. “Branched chain” refers to the chemical structure of the amino acid itself.

BCAAs have proven abilities to promote muscle growth, decrease muscle soreness, reduce exercise fatigue, prevent muscle wasting, and benefit people with liver disease. The more of these bad boys you can pack into your diet, the better.

Leucine, in particular, is especially proficient in promoting muscle synthesis.

  • Whey protein has an incredibly high biological value

The biological value is a measure of the absorbed protein from a food that becomes incorporated into the proteins of the body.

Basically, if one protein is ingested and 90% of the amino acids making up that protein become part of protein in your body, it’s going to have a higher biological value than a protein where only 80% of the amino acids making it up are ingested.

Whey protein has the best biological value of proteins available out there in supplements. The whey protein you ingest is all going to be incorporated in your growing muscles.

Conclusion 

Protein is an incredibly effective way to help keep things on track in terms of your weight loss goals. It increases satiety and boosts metabolism, which are two factors that will help you maintain a negative calorie deficit that will result in weight loss.

If you find yourself stuck at a plateau (where you don’t see any movement on the scale for at least 2-3 weeks) try upping the amount of protein you consume in the day. It has worked for many people before and could be the answer to all of your weight loss problems.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve used protein to break through a weight loss plateau, I’d love to hear about it!

 

Popular diets most effective for burning fat

Macronutrients are a type of food required in large amount in the diet. They’re your carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Macronutrients are essential for many biological processes. One of those processes is generating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for energy.

In this article, we’re going to compare how four popular diets (intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet, Whole30 diet, and the paleo diet) utilize carbohydrates, fats, and protein as sources of fuel.

Intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet

Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy where you alternate between periods of fasting and regular eating. Although it should be said that most intermittent fasting dietary programs use modified fasting (you’re allowed small amounts of caloric intake) rather than real fasting (abstaining from all caloric intake).

Exactly how long you fast for and how often depends on the particular program you’re on.

There’s time-restricted feeding, alternate-day fasting, and Ramadan intermittent fasting.

  • Time-restricted feeding means you only eat during specific hours of the day. The window typically ranges from 6-12 hours each day.
  • Alternate-day fasting means you fast every other day.
  • And Ramadan intermittent fasting means you fast during the daylight hours.

People generally like intermittent fasting because of its flexibility and because it is easier to maintain for the long term.

The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, high fat diet. The goal is to essentially replace all the calories you were getting from carbohydrates with calories from fat.

Like intermittent fasting, there are several different types.

  • The standard ketogenic diet is very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat.
  • The cyclical ketogenic diet is like the standard ketogenic diet, but with periods of high carb “refeeds”.
  • The targeted ketogenic diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
  • And the high-protein ketogenic diet is the standard ketogenic diet, but with high amounts of protein instead of moderate amounts.

Let’s look at the way these two diets affect how your body generates energy. I grouped intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet together because they both have a similar effect.

Your body relies on ATP to fuel the biological processes that make life as we know it possible. That’s just a rule. There’s no diet that can change the amount of ATP we use or don’t use.

What a diet can change is how ATP is generated.

Your body can create ATP from four different sources: creatine phosphate, carbohydrates, fats, and protein. And it will always do it in that order. If there is creatine phosphate around, your body will generate ATP from it. If there are carbohydrates around, your body will make ATP from that. Then it moves on to using fat as a source of ATP generation and, as a last resort, protein.

Carbohydrates can be found circulating in the blood and stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver.

When you’re fasting or you’re on the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are limited. Since it’s the preferred method of generating ATP, your body will use up what’s available in the blood. Once that’s gone, glycogen stores will be converted to glucose and that will be used up.

Then, your body has no choice but to mobilize fat stores and use them to create ATP. The energy has to come from somewhere.

The Whole30 diet

The Whole30 diet was developed in 2009, riding the wave of the New York Times bestselling book, The Whole30.

The rules are relatively simple: for 30 days avoid real and artificial sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, baked goods, and treats (stay away from the sour dinosaurs!). Abstaining from all of these foods for a month supposedly eliminates cravings, restores a healthy metabolism, heals the digestive tract, and reduces systemic inflammation.

The diet isn’t so much about what you do eat, it’s about what you shouldn’t be eating.

What you can eat on the Whole30 diet are moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs. Lots of vegetables. Some fruit. And lots of herbs, spices, and seasonings. The general idea is that the less ingredients, and the more pronounceable those ingredients are, the better the foods are going to be for you.

The Whole30 diet shouldn’t really alter the macronutrients your body uses to generate ATP. Without the refined sugar and heavily processed carbohydrates, you’re going to avoid fast spikes and heavy drops of blood sugar levels. But, there still will be glucose circulating and enough carbohydrates coming in from your diet (the fruits and vegetables that you’re eating) to replenish glycogen stores in the liver and muscle.

The paleo diet

The paleo diet is designed to resemble what human hunter-gatherers ate eons ago – cause apparently they knew what was up when it comes to human nutrition.

The diet is based on eating whole foods and leading a physically active life.

The paleo diet is a lot like the Whole30 diet, there’s just fewer restrictions on the relative proportions of what you can eat.

First, things you have to avoid when you eat paleo:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Some vegetable oils (soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil)
  • Trans fats (found in things like margarine)
  • Artificial sweeteners

You can eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats, and oils. In any amounts you want to.

In terms of macronutrients you rely on, eating paleo puts you in the same boat as the Whole30 diet. It really depends on what eat (and their relative proportions) of the food your allowed to consume.

You can be paleo and have a high carb diet. You can be paleo and have a low carb diet. You could be paleo and be ketogenic or do intermittent fasting too. The macronutrients you use to generate ATP (whether it’s biased towards carbohydrates or fats) all depends on the amount of carbs in your diet and how often you’re eating those carbs.

Conclusion

There are lots of diets out there. Ultimately, which one works best for you depends on who you are, your lifestyle, and your goals.

Of the most popular diets, intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet are the two that will most effectively burn fat as a source of energy. I prefer intermittent fasting because it is really adaptable and there is a lot of science backing up its health benefits.

Here’s a good article to check out if you’re interested: Intermittent fasting: Surprising update.

 

 

 

 

How stress is getting in the way of your weight loss goals

You go to the gym five days a week. You’re doing cardio. You’re weight training. You’re doing yoga. You take all the proper supplements. And… you haven’t dropped a pound.

Sound familiar?

If this sounds at all like you, then this article could put some things in perspective for you and take you beyond the plateau you currently find yourself stuck at.

The culprit that makes it impossible to budge the needle on the scale is stress.

Stress is often the hidden factor, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings from beyond the veil that is preventing you from making any real progress when it comes to your weight loss goals.

In this article, we’ll go over how stress effects weight gain/loss. And we’ll cover some helpful ways to better manage stress that have worked for me in the past.

Stress and cortisol

When you perceive a situation as stressful, a tiny area at the bottom of your brain which acts as an alarm system (the hypothalamus) fires up. The hypothalamus tells the rest of your body that some serious shit is going down and we need all hands on deck to get the hell out of here.

The alarm signal gets to the rest of the body as the hypothalamus sends signals down to your adrenal glands.

The adrenal glands react to the signal by releasing a surge of hormones that will prime your brain and body to deal with the stressful situation.

The primary stress hormone released by the adrenal glands is cortisol.

Cortisol does two things: 1) it shuts down bodily functions that are nonessential to your immediate survival, and 2) it activates systems that are going to allow maximal physical and mental function for a short period of time.

The functions considered nonessential in the short term are your immune system, digestion, reproduction, and growth.

To be ready for maximal mental and physical exertion, cortisol increases the amount of sugar in the blood stream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

Increased blood sugar ensures working muscles have the energy they need to function maximally (in the case you have to run away from a life or death situation); enhancing your brain’s use of glucose ensures you’re thinking clearly in case the stressful situation requires some savvy to get out of; and increasing the availability of substances that repairs tissues ensures you can recover quickly if injured.

Cortisol and weight loss

This system has been evolutionarily designed to function in the short term.

It is perfect in situations where you need to make a quick getaway. Say, getting away from a bear that is chasing you, for instance.

The stress response, and its associated cortisol release, is not meant to function in the long term.

Unfortunately, most of the things that activate the stress response nowadays are slow burning and act over a long period of time.

Things like financial stress or pressure at work don’t flair up and go away within twenty minutes. They come and persist for months or even years.

The problem is, they activate the stress response in exactly the same way as a bear attack would.

Basically, you’re living your life like you’re constantly being chased by a bear. And it’s wearing you out.

The physiological response to long term cortisol causes you to change your eating patterns, which causes you to gain weight.

Cortisol increases sugar in the blood stream. In response, beta cells in the pancreas start to produce insulin.

The sequential cortisol insulin spike creates a huge upswing in blood sugar, followed by a drop.

The drop causes you to crave high fat, sugary foods to compensate. This is exactly what Dr. Clifford Roberts of Kings College in the UK observed when he measured the food consumed and dietary restraint of women that gained weight during a stressful time.

38 healthy women in a postgraduate course participated in the study. At the beginning of the semester and 15 weeks later (right before the final exam for the course) the composition of the food they consumed, their body mass index (BMI), their levels of dietary restraint, and their cortisol levels were measured.

Increased cortisol with reduced dietary restraint and increased caloric intake were the main factors explaining increases in BMI.

The researchers also found that increased consumption of carbohydrates and saturated fat contributed to the changes in dietary restraint that resulted in weight gain.

What are some good ways to manage stress?

  • Identify the source of the stress and remove it if possible

Of course, this isn’t always possible. Some regular stressors of daily life, such as work, family, and money, are here and they’re not going anywhere.

Some can be remedied. Fights with siblings or parents, squabbles with friends, a rough patch in your relationship… these can all be identified and dealt with.

  • Sleep!

Ever been so stressed out and overwhelmed by everything in your life, had one good night of sleep, and then found yourself bewildered by how much the stuff bothering you yesterday didn’t bother you at all today?

Sleeping well is your number one ally when it comes to stress management. Create the best conditions possible for good sleep and set aside enough hours in the day to feel rested.

  • Focus on good nutrition

As we’ve learned in this article, stress itself is not going to make you gain weight. It is our behavioral response to stress that makes us gain weight.

Focusing on maintaining good nutrition during stressful periods in life will help manage body weight during these times and also help you better manage the stress itself.

  • Adaptogens

Adaptogens can help your body adjust and prevent some of the damaging effects of stress on your body. Take them daily.

Stress is unavoidable. When it comes to stress and weight loss, there is really only one solution: manage it. Because you can’t get rid of it altogether.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other stress relieving techniques that have really worked for you!

Sources

Increases in weight during chronic stress are partially associated with a switch in food choice towards increased carbohydrate and saturated fat intake

 

How gut bacteria inhibit weight loss and what you can do about it

Bacteria are microscopic, single-celled organisms that live everywhere. And I really mean everywhere.

You can find bacteria in some of the world’s harshest environments: the upper atmosphere, the bottom of the ocean, in volcanoes, and Antarctica.

You can even find them in and on your body.

Bacteria colonize your stomach and intestines; you can find them on the surface of your skin and eyes; and you can even find them in your nose and mouth. Essentially, they’re everywhere.

The bacteria in your gut (your digestive tract) is a feature of human biology that, until recently, hasn’t been given very much thought.

Increased attention from the medical research community have taught us that the bacteria residing in the gut can have pretty important implications for your health. Some research even suggests gut bacteria are involved in weight loss and maintenance.

This article is going to explore the connection between the gut microbiome (an all encompassing word that refers to all the bacteria in your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, collectively) and weight.

How gut bacteria influence your health

Part of the bacteria’s role in your gut is helping you digest food and turn it into nutrients that your body can use.

Bacteria influence your health through the substances that they make as a response to the food you eat. These substances can cross the barrier separating your gut from the rest of your body. Once they get into your blood stream they can influence your body chemistry and your health.

TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide) is a good example of this biology in action.

When you eat foods like red meat or eggs, bacteria in your gut make a chemical that crosses the barrier between your gut and your blood circulation.

Once that chemical is in your blood, it finds its way to the liver and is turned into a compound called TMAO. TMAO may help cholesterol build up in your blood vessels and contribute to heart conditions like atherosclerosis. Too much TMAO is also linked to chronic kidney disease.

Gut bacteria influence weight

Before we get to how gut bacteria influence weight, let’s quickly talk about how we know gut bacteria can influence weight.

Two studies in particular really highlight the connection.

The first was conducted by a researcher named Dr. Peter Turnbaugh, who now works as an associate professor at University of California San Francisco, but published a paper when he was a trainee in 2006 at Washington University in St. Louis Missouri.

In that study, Turnbaugh and his colleagues had three different types of mice.

The first were mice prone to obesity.

The second were mice prone to be lean.

The third group of mice were “germ free”. This means that they were raised in completely sterile conditions and, therefore, did not have any gut bacteria.

Part of the study was seeing what effect taking the gut bacteria from lean and obese mice had when they transferred them into the third group of mice, which had no gut bacteria.

When the researchers transferred the gut bacteria from lean mice to germ free mice, the mice stayed lean.

No surprising results there.

Interestingly, when the researchers transferred the gut bacteria of the obese mice to the germ free mice, they noticed an increase in total body fat!

There was something about the gut bacteria in the obese mice that transferred the ability to generate body fat to the germ free mice.

The second study linking gut bacteria and weight I’d like to mention was conducted a little more recently in 2013.

This one was published in the journal Science and the lead author was Dr. Vanessa Ridaura – who received her Ph.D. in the same lab at Washington University that Turnbaugh did.

In this study they used gut bacteria from human twins: one of the twins was overweight and the other was classified as lean.

When they put gut bacteria from an overweight twin into a germ free mouse, they found the mouse’s body weight increased and they gained more fat tissue.

These two studies very elegantly suggest a solid link between differences in gut bacteria composition between overweight and lean individuals and an observable effect on weight gain and fat tissue.

How gut bacteria influence weight

Now that we know there is a link between gut bacteria and weight, maybe you’d like to know how that connection works.

The 2006 study by Turnbaugh in mice showed that gut microbiota from obese and lean mice were different with respect to two dominant bacterial divisions: bacteriodetes and firmicutes.

Bacteriodetes is a pretty common phylum. Its species can be found distributed in the environment (the soil, sediments, and sea water) and it is extremely common in the guts and skin of animals.

Firmicutes is a phylum that makes up a large portion of the mouse and human gut microbiome.

What Turnbaugh and his colleagues noticed is that the slight shift in bacterial makeup of gut bacteria in lean and obese mice was associated with an altered capacity for energy harvest: gut bacteria in obese mice got more calories out of digested food than gut bacteria in lean mice.

What this study suggested is that obese mice had a higher caloric intake despite eating a similar amount of food. All because the gut bacteria processed food a little differently.

What this boils down to is:

Gut bacteria influence weight by controlling how many calories you extract from the food you eat.

What can you do to promote good gut bacteria?

Probiotic supplements are a good start. A person’s diet is the most important factor for altering the gut microbiome and you can find probiotic formulas specifically tailored for conventional or vegetarian diets.

Probiotics work by promoting the colonization of the good bacteria in your gut. For a little more help finding the right probiotic supplement, please contact me. I’d love to help you out.

Conclusion

As research advances, more is being learned about links between gut bacteria and the body. We’re learning that the microbiome influences diseases like diabetes, conditions like obesity, and even mental health.

Supplements that promote good gut health are now an important part of healthy living.

Sources and further reading

An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest

Gut Microbiota from Twins Discordant for Obesity Modulate Metabolism in Mice

A step-by-step guide to healthy eating and weight loss for 2019

According to Inc.com, 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions. The most common ones all involve dieting or eating healthier (71%), exercising more (65%), and losing weight (54%).

The unfortunate truth revealed from this survey of 2,000 people: only 8% are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolution and over half of respondents fail their resolution by January 31.

Why do most resolutions fail?

I don’t think it’s because people don’t actually want to succeed, or they lack the discipline or drive.

I think it has more to do with not knowing how to get from point A to point B (point A being where you are now and point B being where you want to be in the future).

Without a definitive plan for success, your chances of failure sky rocket.

Healthy Wheys is a website dedicated to living a happier, healthier life. I want to help you be the best version of you there is.

Considering my goals and the most common New Year’s resolutions, I want to increase your chances of success with you New Year’s resolution this year.

I’m going to give you a step-by-step guide on getting from point A to point B.

What follows is a detailed eating plan that will have you eating healthier and losing weight in 2019.

The science behind everything in this article

The meal plans you’ll find here are based on the science of intermittent fasting in combination with calorie restriction.

A study conducted in 2012 found that intermittent fasting and calorie restriction reduces body weight, decreases fat mass, decreases visceral fat, and improves many measures associated with heart health (i.e. LDL cholesterol measures, heart rate, insulin, and homocysteine).

The plan you’ll find in this article uses the same principles used in this study.

What you’re going to need

  • A good meal replacement shake

Meal replacement shakes are different than protein shakes.

To learn more about them, check out a previous article I wrote.

Meal replacement shakes have a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. They can substitute an entire meal and not leave you feeling hungry and malnourished.

  • Nutritional supplements

A good nutritional supplement provides herbal and plant-based nourishment, contains ingredients that support mental and physical performance, adaptogens that help your body resist and adapt to stress, aids digestion, and boosts metabolism.

For a better idea of what you need here, please contact me.

  • Good sources of protein
    • Hamburger
    • Salmon
    • Grilled chicken
    • Steak
    • Pork chops
    • Meatballs
    • Haddock
    • Tofu
    • Eggs
    • Milk
    • Yogurt
    • Cottage cheese
    • Nuts and seeds

 

  • A supply of good fruits and vegetables
    • Spinach
    • Carrots
    • Broccoli
    • Garlic
    • Brussel sprouts
    • Kale
    • Green peas
    • Asparagus
    • Red cabbage
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Grapefruit
    • Pineapple
    • Avocado
    • Blueberries
    • Apples
    • Pomegranate
    • Mango
    • Strawberries
    • Cranberries

 

What you’re going to do

What follows is designed for a month: it’s a kickstart to healthy eating and weight loss that will get you on the right track. If you stick to it religiously, it will work. Just ask the people who took part in the study from 2012.

Here’s the broad outline of what your month should look like:

month meal calendar

Within the month, here’s what the perfect week looks like:

Day 1:

Wake up – Nutritional supplement

Breakfast – Meal replacement shake

Midmorning snack – yogurt (300g)

Lunch – meal replacement shake

Midafternoon snack – 1 piece of fruit

Dinner – bunless cheeseburger (100g) and 1 cup of spinach with pineapple salsa (50g)

Day 2:

Wake up – Nutritional supplement

Breakfast – Meal replacement shake

Midmorning snack – cottage cheese (200g)

Lunch – meal replacement shake

Midafternoon snack – almonds (25g)

Dinner – salmon (150g), 1 cup of steamed broccoli

Day 3 (Intermittent fasting day):

Wake up – Nutritional supplement

Breakfast – Nutritional supplement

Midmorning snack – 1 hard-boiled egg

Lunch – Nutritional supplement

Midafternoon snack – 1 piece of fruit

Dinner – Nutritional supplement and cottage cheese (200g)

Day 4:

Wake up – Nutritional supplement

Breakfast – Meal replacement shake

Midmorning snack – cashews (25g)

Lunch – meal replacement shake

Midafternoon snack – yogurt (300g)

Dinner – steak (150g) and 1 cup of mushrooms

Day 5:

Wake up – Nutritional supplement

Breakfast – Meal replacement shake

Midmorning snack – 1 piece of fruit

Lunch – meal replacement shake

Midafternoon snack – 1 piece of fruit

Dinner – pork chops (150g) and 1 cup of red cabbage

Day 6:

Wake up – Nutritional supplement

Breakfast – Meal replacement shake

Midmorning snack – yogurt (300g)

Lunch – meal replacement shake

Midafternoon snack – pecans (25g)

Dinner – haddock (340g) and 1 cup of green peas

Day 7:

Wake up – Nutritional supplement

Breakfast – Meal replacement shake

Midmorning snack – 1 hard-boiled egg

Lunch – meal replacement shake

Midafternoon snack – cottage cheese (200g)

Dinner – meatballs (200g) and 1 cup of brussel sprouts

Conclusion

It’s much easier to be disciplined and achieve success when you know exactly what it takes to get there. I want to give you the best chance of succeeding in 2019. I’d hate to see you join the 50% of people that give up on their resolution by January 31. Jump starting your nutrition and weight loss goals with the meal plan I’ve outlined will bring you roaring into 2019 like no other year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources and further reading

10 Top New Year’s Resolutions for Success and Happiness in 2019

Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women

The top 7 fitness trends for 2019 according to health and fitness professionals

2018 is over. It came and went in a flash.

Just as you were getting comfortable with your workout routine and your diet, the end of the year, and the beginning of a new one, might have you thinking about what you are going to do next.

Your body is continually evolving. Exercise science is continually evolving. It’s only natural that your exercise routine should evolve too.

Stay ahead of the pack and on top of your game by taking advantage of the biggest trends in the fitness world for 2019.

These are not fads.

Fads by their very nature are fleeting. In the fitness industry these are things like the Bowflex, doing Tae Bo, or the vibrating belt. They come, people get very excited about them, and then they are gone just as fast.

Trends are longer lasting; they represent a general development in a situation or a change in the way people are behaving.

For the past 13 years, American College of Sport’s Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal have conducted a survey of thousands of health and fitness professionals.

This year, they received responses from 2,038 people representing countries all over the world and working in many different industries. The top occupations participating in the survey were personal trainers (10%), clinical exercise physiologists (10%), health and fitness directors (10%) and professors (9%).

Here is a list of what they expect to see in 2019.

1. Wearable tech

Wearable tech includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices.

These little devices were super popular when they first came out in 2016 and interest in their use continued into 2017. 2018 saw them slip into the third spot.

For 2019, wearable tech has gone back up to the number 1 spot.

If you haven’t jumped on board with this trend yet, here are a few good guides to help you find a device that will work best for you:

“25 expert tips to get more from your fitness tech this New Year”

“Best fitness tracker guide 2019: Fitbit, Garmin, Xiaomi and more”

“The Best Fitness Trackers for 2019”

2. Group training

No one likes to do it alone. And it seems people like to do it in groups of 5 or more.

According to this and past surveys, group training has always been somewhat of a thing. It wasn’t until 2017, however, that it cracked the top 20.

People tend to like working out in groups because it’s motivating (a good, energetic instructor can make an hour fly by), there’s a well-structured plan, it makes you accountable and you tend to try harder, it’s fun, and you have the support of your fellow participants.

Here are some guides to classes you might want to try in 2019:

“6 Group Workout Classes That Beat Hitting the Gym Alone”

“The beginner’s guide to choosing the best group fitness workout”

3. High intensity interval training

High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are popular, and it looks like they are here to stay. HIIT cracked the top 20 of this survey in 2014 and has been 1 of the top 5 ever since.

The popularity of HIIT undoubtedly continues as exercise science tells us more and more about the benefits of this type of training. These include: burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time, boosting your metabolic rate for hours beyond the actual workout, helping you lose fat, gaining muscle, etc.

Whatever the workout is packaged as on the surface, HIIT always involves working at 90% or more of your maximum heart rate for short periods of time, followed by intermittent rest periods.

Here are some links to some good HIIT workouts you can do on your own:

“10 HIIT Workouts to Get You Shredded for Summer”

“5 Best 20 Minute HIIT Cardio Workouts For Rapid Fat Loss”

4. Fitness programs for older adults

The baby boomers continue to get older. And they tend to have more money than us younger folk.

That means many health clubs are going to start gearing some of their classes towards this portion of the population.

5. Bodyweight training

Bodyweight training has gained popularity in the last few years. It first made its appearance on this survey in 2013 and it was within the top 5 in 2017 and 2018.

It has cracked the top 5 again this year.

People tend to enjoy bodyweight exercise because of its convenience (you can do the workouts anywhere you are with no equipment required) and because of its effectiveness (you can get all the benefits of a full gym with some creative exercises).

Here are some great bodyweight workouts to try this year:

“The 30 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Men”

“Bodyweight Workouts for Women”

6. Hiring certified fitness professionals

People want to know they can trust the person they’ve charged with looking after their health. In 2019, you can expect more thorough background checks into accreditation and qualifications. This is a good thing for you.

7. Yoga

Yoga really got popular around the 2010’s. And it appears to be on the rise again in 2019, just like it has been since 2017.

Yoga is great because of the relaxation techniques you learn in a class; the benefits it has on stress, depression, and anxiety; and the strength and flexibility increases you’ll experience with regular practice.

There are many types of yoga you can do. Here are some articles to help you figure out where you should start.

“Beginner’s Guide to Yoga”

“The Definitive Guide to Yoga”

Conclusion

Here’s to another year of nutrition, fitness, and well-being. Stay ahead of the curve by capitalizing on these fitness trends and have fun becoming the best version of yourself possible.

Have a great 2019!

Sources

“Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2019” – American College of Sports Medicine