Simple Solutions for a Healthy 2020
The new year dawns.
If you are happy with your health, keep up the good work. It takes effort to remain healthy.
If you always eat right, didn’t overeat over the holidays and aren’t overweight, you are either lucky or very disciplined.
If neither statement above applies to you and you want to drop a few pounds and bump up your energy level, this short blog is for you. We’d like to challenge you to try a simple solution to shed adipose (fat) and become healthier.
General guidelines for heart health and weight reduction are everywhere and yet we’ve all seen grocery carts filled with cookies, chips, crackers, sweetened & sugar-free beverages, boxes of quick-fix mac ‘n cheese items and other unhealthy processed foods. How often do you see carts filled with fresh fruits, salad greens, broccoli, carrots and colorful peppers? Probably not often enough.
Before you head to the grocery store, make a list of healthy foods to prepare at home and stay out of the center isles of the store. Buy fresh whenever possible and choose lean protein sources like chicken or fish.
Not only what you eat, but the way you eat can help you drop unwanted pounds and regain your health. To achieve a better body weight and a healthier heart, try this simple solution:
Combine intermittent fasting
with a plant-based or Mediterranean diet
Limiting food intake is beneficial. Numerous scientific studies show dietary restriction can lead to a longer life. Intermittent fasting is an easy effective approach to weight control and diabetes prevention. If you already have Type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting is an excellent way to reduce glucose levels and bring your hemoglobin A1c into normal range. Intermittent fasting is not new. Studies over the years of fasting have shown similar positive effects, so in 2020, why not give Intermittent Fasting a try.
There are numerous ways to intermittently fast. One easy way is to restrict the hours when you eat. For example, pick an eight-hour period during the day when to eat and don’t snack beyond that time period.
One study showed an eight-hour eating time frame proved more beneficial than a twelve-hour schedule. Neither group in the study lost weight, but the eight-hour group lowered their blood pressure, improved their insulin sensitivity and experienced a significant decrease in appetite. By simply extending your overnight fasting period, metabolism improves, and appetite is reduced. Choose a time period to match your activity schedule, like 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don’t eat before or after your chosen eight hours.
To lose weight, restrict your calorie intake for two days of the week, drink more water and eat only a plant based or Mediterranean diet the remaining days. It is best to split the days (ex. Monday and Thursday) to avoid triggering a starvation response that slows calorie burn.
To reduce calories simply eat small meals for two days of each week. Over the other five days only eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, chickpeas lentils), potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. Use only extra virgin olive oil when cooking and rarely, if ever, eat red meat.
This combination is a proven pathway to health and an easy way to drop pounds. In 2013, we published Your Heart a medical guide on heart health. In Part Two of Your Heart, healthy options of eating a plant-based or Mediterranean diet were discussed in detail, along with an intermittent fasting plan.
Your Heart: Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease in Women, Men & Children by Betty Kuffel MD, is available on Amazon as an E-book or paperback.
In December 2019, Mark Mattson, PhD, Johns Hopkins professor of neuroscience, published a review article in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluding intermittent fasting is not only healthy, but prolongs life.
To become healthier and more disciplined, think about:
- When to Eat: Limit all eating to an eight-hour period. No snacking beyond the eight hours.
- What to Eat:
Fresh fruits and vegetables and legumes: apples, carrots, lettuce, kale, celery, cauliflower and broccoli, colorful peppers, asparagus – check out the produce isle, the options are numerous. Also include beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
Fish and chicken (boil/bake/broil). Avoid all fried and processed foods for a healthier heart and weight.
Unprocessed grains: oatmeal, steel cut oats, brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole grain breads. Add a few almonds, walnuts and olives to your diet. Avoid sugar-rich granola, sugary cereals and white breads.
Low calorie examples: Egg whites are a great protein choice at only 10 calories per one egg white. A three egg-white omelet with mushrooms, veggies and a slice of wholegrain bread is a filling meal. Replace one meal with a low calorie protein drink. For a meal, eat a heaping plate of roast or steamed vegetables.
Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week.
Sometimes, the easiest method works best.
- Eat wisely during only an eight-hour period
- Eat fresh foods you prepare at home
- Drink more water and limit alcohol
- Weigh yourself every day
- Exercise, preferably daily
Do the above for one month and send us your success stories.
Note: Calorie intake = fuel Excess fuel = fat. If you eat less than your baseline needs and exercise, you will lose weight. Be patient. Set a goal. One pound down is a 3500 calorie deficit. If you reduce your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day from your typical diet, you’ll lose weight each week. To calculate baseline calories needed to maintain your ideal weight, use this estimate: https://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/calories
Betty and Bev