My days here are very different than what they were before I came to the retreat. Most days I’m up at 8 a.m., but the last few weeks I’ve been inspired to wake up earlier to take a sunrise beach walk. I am not a morning person normally, but it’s turned out to be a surprisingly beautiful way to start the day. After that, I have breakfast. I can choose from a lot of different options as long as I stay withing my calorie goal for each meal. My favorite is either oatmeal and berries with coffee or scrambled eggs with vegetables. Sometimes I'll have a smoothie.
Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea because research has shown it inhibits your ability to make smart choices about what you wish to eat. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that even short-term fasts can lead people to make more unhealthy food choices, picking a higher quantity of high-calorie foods. Fill up before you shop in an effort to avoid buying foods that won’t help you lose weight.
Voted SpaFinder’s readers’ choice top ten for best weight loss and/or fitness program for six consecutive years and awarded the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler: Gold List Platinum Circle Award, it’s no surprise that this luxurious resort made the list. Cal-a-Vie, located in the magnificent hills of Vista, provides 32 Mediterranean-style villas and a five-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, allowing guests an intimate experience. Guests have access to over 130 fitness classes, spa treatments, lectures, cooking demonstrations, and fresh meals during their stay. The resort offers customized three-night (starting at $3,995), four-night (starting at $5,295) and seven-night (starting at $8,295) packages.
Though it’s hardly realistic to keep people from moving north, there’s evidence to suggest that those living in northern latitudes may need to be a bit more careful about their gut health than the rest of us. A study in the journal Biology Letters found that living in northern latitudes encourages the growth of Firmicutes microbes, which have been linked to weight gain while decreasing the number of microbes linked with slim body types called Bacteroidetes. Generally speaking, the research showed that the number of Firmicutes increases with latitude and the number of Bacteroidetes decreases with latitude. To help ensure a healthy gut no matter where you reside, make sure your diet includes fermented and probiotic-rich foods, both of which encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
“This is for me but this is also for my family. Because what’s the point of…not truly enjoying yourself. Not being present with your kids and your husband but being somewhere in the past or being scared of something in the future and not having the knowledge of being in my body and feeling comfortable in it and feeling present” – Marisol Peeples, Texas
Because the physical is also tied to the psychological, your mental health will also enjoy lighter feelings once you lose weight. “Research shows that people who lost just 5 percent of body weight experienced an improvement in mood,” says nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches With Real Food, Real Fast. “And the positive changes in sleep caused by losing 5 percent are also tied to mood.” Think about it: You’re grumpy when you don’t get enough sleep, right? Plus, if your weight-loss is tied to exercise, the endorphins can give you feel-good feelings. There’s also a connection between weight gain and depression. Although it’s not clear which causes the other, some research suggests that weight loss can help alleviate depressive symptoms. Learn more about why working out for just one hour a week reduces your depression risk.
You’ll see some trendy low-calorie diets, including the M-Plan Diet and the 3-Day Military Diet, advertised online and in fashion magazines or tabloids. Their attention-grabbing strategies often appeal to dieters who are looking for something new and something easy. The plans are generally not backed by legitimate weight loss companies, physicians or registered dietitians and they are usually not effective for long-term weight loss.
Experts agree that being overweight or obese increases your risk for osteoarthritis, or wear and tear on your joints. “The more weight that’s on a joint, the more likely it is to wear down and be damaged,” Dr. Webster says. “For example, for every pound of excess weight, four additional pounds of pressure is exerted on our knees—so if someone is carrying around 20 pounds of excess weight, that’s an additional 80 pounds of stress on the knees.” Losing extra weight reduces the amount of pressure on your joints and lowers the risk of arthritis development. You can do it—check out the most inspirational weight-loss transformations of last year.
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, beans, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
Beyond lowering blood pressure, losing some pounds improves your overall heart health, according to research. “The results from our study demonstrate that even a moderate 5 percent weight loss in people with obesity has considerable health benefits by simultaneously improving metabolic function in multiple organ systems and decreasing other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including plasma triglyceride concentration,” Dr. Klein says. Obesity is also associated with high “bad” LDL cholesterol and low”good” HDL cholesterol, Dr. Webster says. “Each of these are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a group of conditions that includes coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes,” she says. Here are 50 more things doctors wish you knew about losing weight.
Friends are helpful not only because they can double as workout buddies or help hold you accountable for appropriate diet and exercise, but also because they’re a surefire way to combat gut-growing feelings of loneliness. A study in the journal Hormones and Behavior found that those who feel lonely experience greater circulating levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin after they eat, causing them to feel hungrier sooner. Over time, folks who are perennially lonely simply take in more calories than those with stronger social support networks, so be sure to fit time with pals into your busy schedule.
Making your sandwich with two slices of bread is so last year. Aid your slim down efforts by opting for whole-grain bread over white and preparing your sandwich “open-faced” style—the fancy name for kicking the top piece of bread to the curb. Doing so keeps about 70 to 120 calories off your plate. If losing some bread leaves your tummy rumbling, beef up your meal by munching on a cup of baby carrots or sugar snap peas. These pop-in-your-mouth veggies are loaded with fiber and water, which can help aid satiety and weight loss efforts. For even more amazing weight loss tips, check out these 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Secrets From Skinny People.