The Right (and Wrong) Way to Choose Nutritional Supplements
Rule #1: Always do your homework.
Never buy a supplement on impulse. Here are some questions to help you make the right decision:
- Do I need it? Have you been diagnosed by a medical doctor with a condition which may be helped by this nutritional supplement?
- Is it going to hurt me? What are the potential side effects? Medication interactions?
- Is it safe enough to give to my children? I tell my clients that if it’s not safe for kids, it may not be all that safe for adults either.
- Is it high quality? Higher-quality supplement brands will have a consistent amount of the active ingredient. Lower-quality brands may have fillers and impurities that may not even be listed on the label.
Dr. Oz frequently talks about supplements that help to get rid of belly fat. By far, the biggest mistake people make is taking these supplements without addressing the problems in their diet.
If you have a bulging waistline, make sure you are eating as cleanly, purely and healthfully as possible. Try to balance your diet so that 80% of what you eat is healthy, leaving you with 20% for living and eating in the real world.
If you are eating like this and exercising regularly, that’s when properly used nutritional supplements can be almost magical. But first you need to work with your health-care professional to know what’s going on within your own body. Do you still have belly fat because your thyroid is low? Or, do you need help buffering insulin resistance? Choose the supplement that helps you deal with your specific issues. This leads me to rule number two.
Rule #2: Understand how a supplement works and what it may do for you.
To continue, if your doctor tells you that your insulin is too high, then research what supplements you can take in order to lower it safely. Remember that whatever gets us there will also keep us there. Make sure the supplement you choose is safe and that the ingredients are high quality and from a reputable source.
Also, remember that quick fixes are not sustainable. Avoid products that are too harsh, such as extreme cleanses for weight loss. Instead, take the time to lose weight in a healthy way. Consistency and frequency always get results.
Rule #3: Learn what to look for on supplement labels.
The highest quality brands might mention GMP, which stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. This tells you that there are production and testing practices in place to ensure such things as the consistency and purity of ingredients. Find out by searching the Internet which ingredients are supported by the most clinical research. Those are generally the brands that the experts believe are the most effective.
Low price is a red flag. If you are going to spend $4.99 on a supplement, you’ll get what you pay for. Bargain brands may not even have enough of the active ingredient, or the right form of the active ingredient, to do what you need them to do.
If you’re facing a shelf with dozens of similar-looking products, start by reading the label on the most expensive one. You may actually need to take less of a pricier supplement than a cheaper one, making the pricier one the best value.
Being smart about choosing the right nutritional supplements is also good for your budget because you won’t be wasting money on products that don’t work. That’s a benefit we can all appreciate!
Build Your Metabolism Before You Boost It
Summer is finally here, but if you are like many of us, you may not be feeling ready to bare your skin. Luckily, you can be beach ready in as little as two weeks! The key to losing weight is building up your metabolism so that you can boost it!
A huge mistake people make when attempting to lose weight is that they try to boost their metabolism before they build it. Many people begin using supplements as the first step in their weight-loss program; however, if their metabolism isn’t built strong enough, these supplements won’t work.
Here is the secret to creating a metabolic bonfire that will quickly melt fat from your mid-section: Researchers have discovered that people who diet and exercise shrink their abdominal fat cells twice as much as those who only diet. This means that you need to combine both diet and exercise in order to build your metabolism. Not all exercises will work for melting fat; in fact some exercises will slow down your fat loss or even cause you to gain weight if they are not specifically designed to boost your metabolism. You want a program that melts fat!
Here are three steps to building a metabolic bonfire that melts fat fast!
Metabolic Building Step 1
Eat clean and eat often. What counts as a clean food? Clean foods are the best foods for building your metabolism. Lean proteins such as turkey and chicken breast, white fish, egg whites, high-quality whey protein shakes and leafy green veggies are all fantastic examples of clean foods.
To figure out how much protein you should eat per day, you should aim for eating one gram of protein per pound of lean body weight or per pound of your goal weight. If you want to weigh 120 pounds, aim to eat 120 grams of lean, clean protein every day spread over 5-6 mini meals. Be sure you’re weighing and measuring your foods so that you do not overeat.
Aim to eat 6-8 half-cup servings of veggies every day in order to burn fat while you sleep! More is better when it comes to veggies, but keep cheese and oils out of your veggies if you want it to burn fat!
Metabolic Building Step 2
Choose the correct supplements. Always choose high-quality supplements and remember that you get what you pay for. I suggest using “supplement multitasker.” Instead of taking multiple capsules for different supplements, such as white kidney bean extract, ketones or forskilin, take them together so they are perfectly balanced. Taking blended supplements helps you stay consistent with your supplements and that is what gets results! It is also much less expensive in the long run. Supplement multi-taskers work well because they work in harmony and are always at work building your metabolism, lowering blood sugar, enhancing thyroid function, and curbing cravings.
Metabolic Building Step 3
Exercise intelligently. Build and boost your metabolism by exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes with workouts that are geared to help you build your metabolism. Most of the commercial workouts that you find at your local gym or on TV are geared toward the 20-something’s that want to add muscle. If you are over 30, then you need a very specific workout that is designed to not only tighten and tone your muscle, but also that create a fat-burning environment. For more information on metabolism-boosting exercise,click here.
5 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism
Keeping your metabolism supercharged is the answer to keeping the extra pounds from making it to your stomach, hips and thighs. If your metabolism is in high gear, it will burn the extra calories instead of storing them as fat.
I am NOT saying that you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. In fact, the opposite is true: You need to eat and exercise a specific way to keep your metabolism supercharged.
There are a few tricks to getting your metabolism to speed up. Some will see and feel results overnight and some “slow burners” may take a week to see the correction. Don’t quit and stay strong!
Here are five things you can do to supercharge your metabolism:
Drink more water. Not drinking enough water can slow your metabolism down by 3%. How much should you drink? Divide your body weight in half and that is your number in ounces to aim for every day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you need to drink 60 ounces of water as a starting point.
Replace one to two meals with a protein shake. This will boost your metabolism by 25%! It will offset some bad eating days while supplying your body with the nutrition that it needs to stay healthy and burn fat. Look for a high-quality whey protein shake with low carbs and no fat, keeping calories under 160 per serving and protein at 25 grams.
Eat green! Eating greens will keep you fuller longer. Eating green vegetables makes your body burn more just to digest them – and if you don’t slather them with butter, you can actually burn more calories to digest them than they contain, so you end up with a caloric deficit! We all want that! Try green peppers, celery and broccoli, as well as all of the lettuces. Dip in salsa for lean eating – not creamy dips!
Fill up on fiber. Not eating enough fiber can kill your diet. Fiber keeps us feeling fuller longer. Aim for 30 grams per day. Try adding a serving of psyllium husk to your protein shake to keep you feeling full, plus it makes the shake thicker!
Workout smart! Long cardio sessions that are not too intense will burn more fat than working too hard. If you work too hard, you may not be able to work out long enough; just when your body is ready to start burning fat, you stop and so does the fat burning. Studies are also proving that when people work out too hard, they actually get hungrier and they went to eat more and not less – and that is the worst thing for fat loss!
4 Ways to Stop Stress Fast
Is stress affecting your body? The answer to this question is a big “YES! The number-one complaint that I am hearing these days is: “I am under so much stress and it is causing me to overeat. I am storing fat around my midsection; what can I do to de-stress myself so that my body doesn’t suffer?”
First, we all need to get in touch with our bodies so that we can recognize what it feels like to be relaxed and how it feels when we are stressed.
The first thing I like to ask a person is are your shoulders (trapezoids) up by your ears? When we are stressed, our shoulders rise up to ear level; it causes your shoulders to slump over, and allows gravity to take over and continue to pull our bodies toward the ground. This ages our bodies more than you can imagine. Bad posture makes us look much older than we really are, and it can cause headaches among other things.
If we can all learn to relax, we will solve our eating/stress problems at the core level where they need to be addressed. If work or life is making you so stressed that you can’t seem to relax, there are solutions out there for you that can help you feel better right away so that you can navigate your way through what needs to be done.
4 Ways to Stop Stress Fast
Stress check. Not sure how stressed you are? Perform a posture check to see if your shoulders are visiting your ears or if your breathing has become shallow and quick. Try taking a deep breath and tell your shoulders to “wilt” or “relax”. They will relax just by the power of suggestion and your breathing should slow down. If you are very tense, this may take multiple breathes. If you are super tense, this may take time, so be patient and don’t give up. It is well worth the trouble, and you will not only feel better, you will look fitter too.
Just breathe. Find a quiet place and take a 5-minute de-stress break to practice your breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth slowly, as if there were a feather right in front of you and you don’t want it to move. Take five seconds to fully exhale. This is one of the simplest yet most effective things we can do to de-stress our bodies and stop the stress hormones from escalating, causing fat to be stored around your midsection.
Exercise! The right kind of exercise will help burn off some of that anxiety and will help you sleep better. If you workout too intensely, guess what? You actually cause your stress hormones to rise – not fall – and that makes our bodies store fat instead of releasing it! Exercise at a moderate intensity daily – not too hard or too easy, but middle to moderate is what works. If you can’t sing while you’re exercising, you’re working too hard! Slow down!
Use the right supplements. Drop any supplements that has energizers in them and keep your caffeine intake low. Taking oxytocin will help ease anxiety instantly without making you drowsy. Be sure to buy this from a reputable source and follow the directions on the label. Taking more is not better. Oxytocin is a great way to balance your energy levels; you will feel better all day long by minimizing the highs and lows that go along with stress.
Eat Chocolate, Cut Cravings and Feel Better
Being hungry and craving sweets are two of the main reasons people fall off their diets. In many cases, the real reasons for cravings sweets or thinking we are hungry is because we don’t feel good. I refer to this as a funk, and in some cases, depression. There is a scientific reason for this. The good news is that knowing why you crave comfort foods can also help you resist them. The solution is getting you to feel better and properly nourishing your body to stop cravings before they begin. So, what’s behind the cravings? It all starts with serotonin.
Produced by your brain, serotonin is the “feel good” hormone. When your brain produces enough of it, serotonin can help you feel calm, confident and happy. Sunshine stimulates our brains to produce plenty of serotonin, but during the short days of fall and winter, our brains need extra stimulation to produce enough serotonin. This may be why we crave things like bread, crackers, cereal and sweets, especially chocolate, because they stimulate serotonin production.
There are other things you can do to boost serotonin, even if you have craved the wrong foods your whole life. Be patient if you’re someone who has always craved the wrong things or can’t stick to a diet – this can be fixed!
6 Ways to Boost Your Serotonin and Stop Cravings
- Place 6 drops of oxytocin under your tongue within 1 hour of waking to help combat the stress hormones that are making you crave the wrong foods. You will feel better right away and may even want to exercise. Oxytocin blunts the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol and that will help melt fat around your waist.
- Exercise every day to boost your endorphins and support serotonin production. Your workouts will help you stay grounded because you will feel better instantly! The best kinds of workouts are not slow weightlifting workouts but metabolic-boosting workouts. And you don't have to kill yourself either!
- Eat your greens! Meeting your body’s nutrient requirements is the secret to your success. Aim for 6 servings of vegetables per day. They are full of fiber and are unlimited free foods that will help stop cravings and keep you feeling full so you don’t overeat on the wrong things!
- Drink yourself happy! No – not alcohol. A high-quality whey protein shake with at least 1000mg of glutamine can boost your brain power and help you feel better fast without stimulants. This is one of the most important life-changing steps that everyone can do every day to not only help you lose weight but to keep it off. The glutamine in the shake can help ease depression. If you could only use one supplement, I suggest the protein shake. Look for 24 grams of protein, no fat, low sugar and low carbs.
- Meditate or pray daily. Cultivate a habit of prayer or meditation every day to quiet your mind and reduce stress. If you’re having trouble, grab a good book to read each day. Even 5 minutes can make a big difference. One of my favorite books is Turn It Around by Pastor Frank Santora. Just like the title says, you can turn it around and sometimes all we need is faith! Remember that our physical lives are not separate from our "spiritual" lives; in fact, they are one. Almost always, we neglect this crucial step because we are busy or too tired, and it’s the most important step to our health and well-being!
- Eat chocolate every day! Choose chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. Dark chocolate also boosts the feel-good hormones and you’re less likely to overeat dark chocolate because it’s not full of sugar like milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and gives us a feeling of doing something good for ourselves.
Fat-Loss Tricks That Actually Work
No matter what type of diet or fitness program you choose, the fact of the matter is you still have to eat less calories than you burn off if you want to lose weight. The truth is you don’t even have to step foot into a gym to lose weight if you follow this rule. Now, trust me – I am not suggesting that you don’t exercise because exercise will keep the weight off. But, I am saying that even when life gets busy and you don’t get into the gym, you will still lose weight if your calories are on track.
You need to know these three numbers if you are serious about burning fat:
- Calories - Multiply your goal weight by 10 = Total calories per day (Example: Your goal weight is 120 pounds; 120 x 10 = 1200 calories per day)
- Carbohydrates need to be kept at 100 grams or less per day to lose weight and reduce body fat.
- Fat - Eat less than 20 grams per day to lose weight and body fat!
How do I do this you ask? Here are five easy ways to push your body into the fat-burning zone before you enter the gym!
- Replace your favorite breakfast with a clean whey protein shake; this will increase your metabolism 25% and keep it burning strong all day. Be sure your shake is under 160 calories, low carb and no fat! Look for 24 grams of protein max.
- Have a large tossed salad with 3 ounces of chicken breast or tuna fish for lunch. Your best bet is to have a shake and a salad (no animal protein) if you really want to lose fast!
- Instead of your favorite snack foods, have a piece of fruit instead to cleanse and detox your body.
- Swap the starch out at dinner for an additional vegetable. This is easier to do than you think! Go for grilled fish with a salad and vegetable – or better yet, have three vegetables!
- Try to eat between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. – not before or after. This is a very easy yet extremely effective way to get your body to burn stored fat for fuel.
Each one of these simple swaps can cause you to lose 1-2 pounds in the first week, the safe and healthy way. Try to follow this cleansing program for 1-2 weeks, depending on how much weight you need to lose. Many professional models and actresses follow this system Monday through Thursday to keep their weight in check and their bodies running clean and healthy! Don’t forget to do 60 minutes of cardio a day to get your fat-burning engines running in high gear!
Lose Pounds by Valentine's Day
If losing weight is one of your resolutions for 2012, then get ready for a new year and a new you with my Slimmer by Dinner Meal Plan. Following a plan actually makes our lives easier by removing temptations and hard decisions so you’re not thinking about food all day. Anyone can do this anywhere and anytime, and the best part is that it’s guaranteed to work even if you’re severely metabolic resistant or have thyroid problems.
In fact, this plan was created for people with hypothyroidism and have the hardest time losing weight. That means if you’re not hypothyroid, you will lose weight even more quickly. Expect to flatten out your stomach, tighten up jiggly areas, and lose inches – not just weight.
Are you ready to get started? Here are three things you will need to do to lose weight fast:
1. Prep your body to burn fat first thing in the morning and all day long by drinking a protein shake for breakfast, along with:
- 1 cup of black coffee
- At least 700mg of L-Carnitine if you need extra metabolic support
Repeat this for lunch as well for best results.
2. Have two snacks per day! A high-protein bar (must be low-fat and low-carb) and a green apple are snacks that cause weight loss, so don’t skip them! If you’re a frequent snacker, try splitting the protein bar into thirds or at least in half and use it as your “need-to-chew” food that will keep you on track!
3. Eat “green and beige” for dinner. While fish is always best, my favorite recipe when I’m trying to lose weight and I need comfort food is the Turkey Meatball and Salad Soup (which you can find on my website). Remember, any cold salad can be tossed into a pan and heated for a warm, yummy, filling dinner. All I do is add some garlic powder and 2 minutes later, my dinner is done and I feel full and satisfied!
5 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
“I'll start my weight-loss program after the holidays.” So many people say it, but that attitude can kill you. Literally. Every time you indulge in high-fat foods you damage your veins and metabolism, often permanently. For many overweight people the havoc wreaked by a poor diet can take years to correct.
To avoid such lasting problems, employ these 5 tricks to rev up your metabolism and force it to burn fat even when you’re not eating perfectly (say, when you’re surrounded by cookies, cakes and eggnog).