I have partnered with Flatout Flatbread to bring this post to you. All opinions are my own
Did you set a New Year’s resolution for yourself to lose weight this year? You aren’t alone. Weight loss is one of the top resolutions each year, however most people who make this a resolution give up on achieving it before the calendar even advances to February. Why do weight loss resolutions tend to fail? Because they aren’t realistic! If you decide starting January 1st you will give up your favorite foods, swear off ever touching a chip again, and vow to exercise for at least 90 minutes every day, you are going to burn yourself out.
Losing weight and improving health only happen when you commit to making lifestyle changes you can stick with. A ‘lifestyle change’ is a change you have to make for life. If you make a drastic change, such as deciding to cut out all bread products from your diet for good, you most likely will feel deprived. And the more deprived you feel, the more cravings you start to experience. I don’t care how much willpower you have. If you are feeling deprived, you will eventually give up and overindulge. Instead, avoiding deprivation is key to weight loss success.
How can you avoid deprivation without overdoing it? It can actually be pretty simple. By tweaking some of your favorite comfort foods to boost their nutritional value while reducing overall calories, you can eat what you love every day without guilt and without a negative impact on your waistline or health.
My secret weapon for weight loss
As most of my private nutrition clients know, I have a few ‘must-have’ foods that I recommend having on hand when focusing on reducing your waistline. When it comes to dropping pounds, one meal plan tweak makes the biggest impact. Increasing your intake of fiber and protein while cutting down on refined carbohydrates will maximize weight loss efforts while improving health. This sounds pretty straightforward, but can be very hard to implement if you don’t have the right foods on hand. That’s why I can’t recommend stocking up on Flatout Flatbread enough. I have loved this flatbread since the moment I stumbled upon it at my local grocery store years ago. Since then, I have recommended the brand to anyone that would listen. So you can imagine how excited I was to team up with them on this post!
If you are not familiar with the brand, Flatout Flatbread is a delicious line of flatbreads that are high in fiber and protein while reduced in carbohydrates and calories. This makes them the perfect choice for anyone who has to reduce their overall carbohydrate intake, such as those with diabetes, or for anyone who wants to cut calories without feeling hungry. And what I love most about this flatbread is that it isn’t just for making wraps. Don’t get my wrong, I love a good wrap! But you can use Flatout to make everything from pizza to pies and even a substitute for an ice cream cone! Being so versatile is what makes this product so great at helping you achieve your weight loss resolutions. It allows you to enjoy all of the comfort food you crave in a healthier way so that you don’t feel deprived. And a lack of deprivation = success when it comes to reaching your weight loss goals.
It’s not just me who loves Flatout Flatbread. Weight Watchers has just recognized the brand as their official flatbread! I think that just goes to show you how effective this brand is to your weight loss efforts. So pick up your flatbread now (you can find out what stores carry Flatout Flatbread using their store finder HERE) and start getting creative!
Here are four of my favorite ways to enjoy this flatbread for inspiration. I can’t wait to see what you will create!
Need more inspiration? Join me on January 24th as I takeover Flatout’s Instagram feed! I will be sharing my favorite Flatout recipes and tips to achieving your weight loss resolutions. I will also be on hand throughout the day to answer all of your nutrition questions. I can’t wait to see you there!
This post has been brought to you by Fifty50 Foods. All opinions are my own.
And that’s a wrap! The holidays are over, the New Year is here, and it’s time to start shifting our focus from asking ourselves ‘what gifts do I need to buy’ to ‘how can I better improve my health’? This holiday season has been nothing short of chaotic for my family. From welcoming our new baby to this world just four days after Thanksgiving, to my older son’s birthday on Christmas Eve, in addition to three other family birthdays coupled with the birth of my new niece, let’s just say there has been a whole lot of celebrating going on.
At a certain point there are only so many slices of pie and cake I can eat! If your holidays were crazy like mine, I am sure your eating habits have been less than ideal. You may have even set a resolution to clean up your eating habits or to lose weight. There’s nothing wrong with goal setting, however you have to be careful that you focus on lifestyle changes over quick fixes or crash diets. Giving up all sugar or never touching a French fry again = UNREALISTIC! Get this— you really can eat what you love and improve health at the same time. One simple way to do this is to follow a Low Glycemic Index (GI) meal plan.
Simple Steps to Eating Low GI Foods
The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks foods based on how fast the carbohydrate of a particular food is converted to glucose and enters the bloodstream. The lower the GI, the less impact the food will have on blood glucose levels.
Following a low GI meal plan can help you to better control blood sugar levels, manage cravings, reduce hunger, and promote weight loss. Sounds appealing, right? Absolutely! And the good news is it isn’t even hard to do. Whole foods such as vegetables, nuts, yogurt and lean proteins like fish are all low GI choices. You can even enjoy pre-made and packaged foods while still eating low GI. Fifty50 Foods, for instance, is an amazing brand that provides a complete line of food that have all been certified to be Low GI. They make all of their foods with complex carbs that are digested slowly, helping to reduce spikes in glucose levels.
I was thrilled to learn about this company and their line of food for more than one reason. Not only do they offer a delicious Low GI product line with everything from peanut butter to chocolate to cookies (and pie crusts! Yes you can really make Low GI pie!), but they also support the diabetes community in an amazing way. The company donates 50% of all of their profits to support diabetes research. How amazing is that?! To top it off, they are kicking off the New Year by giving back to you as well. Simply spend $10 on Fifty50 Low Glycemic Foods before February 10th, and they’ll send you a full-size Fifty50 product to try for FREE!
If you are serious about improving your health in 2017, I strongly recommend you give Low GI meal planning a try. To help you get started, download this free resource ‘The Low Glycemic Guide for Better Blood Glucose Control’
As you get started, I wanted to provide you with a little inspiration on just how delicious a Low GI meal plan can be. For instance, if you are still craving cake from all of those holiday celebrations, why not try creating this delicious Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
Or whip up this Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie for a quick meal or snack on the go
Following a low GI meal plan can offer some great benefits. You may notice your blood glucose levels become easier to manage, your appetite and cravings are easier to control, weight is reduced, and energy levels increase. These health benefits are all great, but what is most important is that eating Low GI is a lifestyle, not a fad diet. It’s a well-balanced lifestyle approach to healthy eating that you can stick with because you won’t feel deprived.
Thank you to Fifty50 Foods for sponsoring this post. Although compensation was provided, all opinions are my own.
On average, Americans consume about 20 teaspoons of added caloric sweeteners daily.1 This is two to three times the recommendation from the American Heart Association, which suggests that most women consume no more than 100 calories of added sugar (about 6 teaspoons) per day, and most men consume no more than 150 calories of added sugar (about 9 teaspoons) per day.2 Increased intake of added sugars can have a negative impact on health, including decreasing HDL-cholesterol levels and elevating triglyceride levels.3
Reducing your intake of added sugars can be a struggle, especially during the holidays if you find yourself constantly surrounded by sweet temptations. However, food cravings themselves may be brought on by the meal choices you make. One study compared brain activity following consumption of a high glycemic index meal, such as a meal rich in added sugars and refined grains, to consumption of a low glycemic index meal. Eating a high glycemic index meal resulted in lower blood glucose and increased hunger, and stimulated the regions of the brain associated with reward and cravings in the late postprandial period, which could impact food choices at the next meal.4This finding points to the possible value of reducing the glycemic load of meals in an effort to help increase satiety and reduce overall cravings. The good news is, working to lower the glycemic index through simple substitutions, such as swapping brown rice for white rice, may be a tool to help manage the spikes and dips in blood sugar that may occur from more refined, starchy carbs.
Researchers are also exploring the role of added sugars in leptin resistance.5Leptin, a hormone released by fat cells, helps signal the brain to decrease food consumption and increase energy expenditure. Leptin resistance has been referred to as the hallmark of obesity.6 A recent study found a significant correlation between plasma leptin levels and carbohydrate cravings.7 This may be especially valuable information for those with diabetes or prediabetes, as insulin resistance has been associated with leptin resistance.8
To help curb cravings this holiday season, one strategy may be to reduce the overall glycemic load of their meal choices, while simultaneously working to reduce the intake of added sugars. This combination may help fight cravings, as well as manage hunger. As mentioned earlier, certain meal swaps may help reduce the glycemic load and limit added sugars without sacrificing flavor. For instance, find whole grain alternatives to common refined grain choices such as whole grain pasta over white pasta or steal cut oats over instant oatmeal. Added sugars can also be reduced by making simple swaps, such as seltzer for soda, 100% juice for fruit juice, and unsweetened teas for sweetened varieties.
Making a few easy swaps to meals and snacks may help boost satiety, rather than stimulate cravings. When cravings are diminished, the goals of improved blood glucose management and reduced body weight may become easier to work towards, and our overall health may be enhanced.
1. American Heart Association. 19 May 2014. Frequently Asked Questions About Sugar. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Sugar_UCM_306725_Article.jsp#.Vk4AKBNViko
2. Johnson R, et al. Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health. A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. 2009. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full.pdf. Accessed November 10, 2015.
3. Welsh JA, et al. Caloric sweetener consumption and dyslipidemia among US adults. JAMA. 2010 Apr 21;303(15):1490-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.449. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3045262/
4. Lennerz BS, et al. Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Sep;98(3):641-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.064113. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743729/
5. Shapiro A, et al. Prevention and reversal of diet-induced leptin resistance with a sugar-free diet despite high fat content. Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug;106(3):390-7. doi: 10.1017/S000711451100033X. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21418711. Full text accessible at http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN106_03%2FS000711451100033Xa.pdf&code=b39b75fcef66d9e30244640216120c97
6. Lustig RH, et al. Obesity, leptin resistance, and the effects of insulin reduction. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Oct;28(10):1344-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15314628
7. Licinio J, Negrao AB, Wong ML. Plasma leptin concentrations are highly correlated to emotional states throughout the day. Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Oct 28;4:e475. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.115. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350520/
8. Fischer S, et al. Insulin-resistant patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have higher serum leptin levels independently of body fat mass. Acta Diabetol. 2002 Sep;39(3):105-10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12357293
It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us, and with all of the festivities can come the seemingly inescapable holiday weight gain, or so you may think. Although a research study found perceived weight gain throughout the holidays to average around 3.5 pounds, in reality, actual weight gain during the holiday season averaged just under 1 pound.² However, the same study found that individuals who started the holiday season at an overweight or obese Body Mass Index (BMI) gained more weight than those with a BMI of <25.³ This is concerning for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes, as excess weight is thought to be a significant contributor to insulin resistance.⁴
Although the holidays might seem like the time of year when dietary moderation is the last thing on anyone’s mind, it can actually be a great time to focus on simple nutrition strategies that can help set you up for a lifetime of well-managed blood glucose levels. By identifying factors that may lead to holiday weight gain, and using simple tips, you can enjoy a healthier holiday season without deprivation or possible negative health consequences.
Mindfulness Is Key
One factor in holiday weight gain may be the abundance of food offerings within arm’s reach anywhere you turn. From candy dishes at work to cookie platters at home, the temptation can be hard to resist. For individuals with diabetes, overindulging in holiday classics can be especially damaging. Mindless eating of carbohydrate-rich foods may lead to increases in blood glucose levels, which may pose health problems in the short and long-term. To help prevent dangerous spikes in blood glucose, we need to focus on minimizing temptation and practice mindful eating strategies. Research shows that by simply placing goodies in opaque colored containers instead of transparent glassware, consumption can be decreased significantly.⁵ Research also shows that daily food journaling can be an effective strategy to increase awareness of food consumption and help support weight loss efforts.⁶
Encourage Simple Recipe Swaps
Many holiday dishes are packed full of refined carbohydrates and added sugars, which can pose great challenges when it comes to effective blood glucose control. While you may be aware of these consequences, you may find it hard to alter a traditional holiday recipe. By choosing ingredient substitutions that improve health while maintaining the taste and texture of the original version, you might just be swayed to tweak Grandma’s apple pie recipe. Try some of the following simple swaps to help holiday favorites have less of an impact on blood glucose levels:
- When preparing recipes that call for all-purpose flour, a rich source of refined carbohydrates, try substituting one half of the flour for 100% whole-wheat flour. This swap helps to increase the fiber content and may help lower the glycemic load of the recipe.
- Substitute one ounce of baking chocolate with 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder to cut 105 calories from the recipe.
Becoming more mindful of food choices and adjusting favorite holiday recipes to reduce the overall caloric value can help you build healthier habits any time of the year!
Boden G, et al. Excessive caloric intake acutely causes oxidative stress, GLUT4 carbonylation, and insulin resistance in healthy men. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Sep 9;7(304):304re7. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac4765. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26355033
²Yanovski, JA, et al. A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. N Engl J Med 2000; 342:861-867. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200003233421206
³Yanovski, JA, et al.
⁴NIDDK. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. NIH Publication No. 14-4893. June 2014. Retrieved from http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/insulin-resistance-prediabetes/Pages/index.aspx
⁶Hollis, J. (2008) News release, Kaiser Permanente. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August Vol 35. http://www.kpchr.org/research/public/News.aspx?NewsID=3