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“Protein powders are a fantastic way to augment your diet, whether you are trying to lose weight or just hold your ground,” says Joe Colella, MD, author of The Appetite Solution. When you eat less, he says, protein is the key ingredient for preventing your body from going into starvation mode, which blocks weight loss. It also helps to counteract appetite-boosting effects of stress, lack of sleep, heartburn, anxiety,
“Protein powders allow you to relatively easily boost the total grams of protein in your diet,” says Colella, “which is the absolute most important key to overcoming a weight-loss plateau.” When cutting back on calories, he recommends getting 1.5 grams of protein daily per pound of your desired body weight. For example: 180 grams for a 120-pound weight goal (120 x 1.5).
Look for products with up to 40 grams of protein and fewer than 5 grams of sugar per serving. “Use them as a lunch or dinner replacement every other day, and on the days that you are not replacing a meal, add them in as a premeal snack,” says Colella. “Your appetite will be under more control than ever before.”
Six years old and continuing to attract many more fans, the Whole30 way of eating has helped thousands of people to lose weight and get healthier. It’s a strict, 30-day program that’s basically pure paleo, with no wiggle room for slips or cheats. That’s a key reason for its success, because it eliminates common inflammatory foods and ingredients that wreak havoc, even if eaten in very small quantities, such as a lick of cookie batter or a bite of bread.
For 30 days, these must be avoided:
- All added sugars, even if they’re calorie-free and natural (even stevia is a no-no), and condiments with added sugar, which includes some vinegars. Fruit juice may be used as a sweetener.
- All alcohol, even when it’s only used for cooking.
- Grains, including gluten-free varieties and pseudo-grain alternatives, such as quinoa.
- Legumes and legume-derived foods and condiments, including soy sauce and traditional soy foods (but green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are allowed, because they are mainly pods, rather than beans).
- All dairy foods, except for clarified butter, or ghee.
However, there are plenty of delicious foods to eat, with recipes and other information online, and in more than a dozen Whole30 books.
Beginning with a photo of an über-fit mom going viral, the No Excuses movement has grown to more than 350 groups of moms in 25 countries, who get together for regular workouts and mutual empowerment for better health and fitness. Founder Maria Kang, author of The No More Excuses Diet, explains it this way: “It works because it isn’t a cookie-cutter, generic program that insists that one size fits all. It focuses on balance, progression, reflection, and persistence.”
Obviously, excuses are out, and Kang’s book and websites provide tools and inspiration to stay motivated, overcome obstacles, and reach your own goals. The No Excuses organization is a nonprofit, and there are no fees to join or start a group in your area, although you can also do the program on your own.
Key No Excuses principles: It takes three days to bust an excuse, three weeks to develop a new eating habit, and three months to transform your body and health.
- To get inspired, informed, and join or start a moms’ group in your area: noexcusemom.com
- For more tools and to find or start groups for dads, women, runners, or kids: mariakang.com
Although it may seem like an extreme workout for the fitness obsessed, CrossFit—done correctly—can be a safe and effective weight-loss tool for virtually anyone. “It has to be individualized,” says Holly Lucille, ND, who is both a naturopathic doctor and a CrossFit coach and athlete. “It can’t be cookie-cutter CrossFit or people can get hurt.”
To start, Lucille recommends checking out nearby CrossFit “boxes” (the name for its gyms), talking to each owner or manager, communicating your goals and fitness history, and finding out how you can adapt workouts to your fitness level. All boxes, and the CrossFit site, feature a Workout of the Day (WOD), but some may also have additional types of classes. After finding a box that suits you, be patient and consistent, and listen to your own body.
CrossFit can be an ideal workout because it offers a continually changing variety of exercises that challenge your body. “Sometimes you’re working on strength, sometimes on endurance, and sometimes on flexibility,” says Lucille.
To reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness, Lucille recommends taking 100 mg daily of CoQ10, branched chain amino acids, and curcumin, such as 500 mg of BCM-95, a proprietary form.
When used with a diet and exercise program, supplements can enhance results in different ways. These popular ones don’t stimulate the central nervous system or cause jitters.
- Garcinia Cambogia: A tamarind fruit used in Indian chutneys, it contains an active ingredient—hydroxycitric acid, or HCA—which reduces appetite and impedes conversion of sugars and carbohydrates info fat. Super Citrimax is a patented form, tested in several studies. Take 500–1,000 mg, three times daily on an empty stomach, 30 to 60 minutes before each meal.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): It blocks an enzyme, lipoprotein lipase, which converts food fat into body fat, and is most effective in conjunction with exercise. Tonalin CLA is a proprietary form tested in multiple studies. Take 1.7 to 3 grams daily, with meals.
- 7-Keto: Made by our bodies, 7-keto production declines with age. Although it is not a stimulant, studies show that 7-keto increases basal metabolism—the number of calories a body burns in the normal course of staying alive. Take 100 mg twice daily, morning and evening.
- Green Coffee Extract: Unroasted, green coffee beans contain chlorogenic acids, which slow absorption of carbs, sugar, and possibly fat, and inhibit an enzyme used by the liver to form blood sugar. Take 350 to 400 mg, 30 minutes before each meal (3 times per day), with a glass of water.
- Potato protein extract: A newer addition to natural weight-loss aids, potato protein extract (made under the proprietary name Slendesta) works by helping you feel full sooner—and for a longer period of time during and after meals. The supplement appears to help boost the body’s release of CCK, a compound that tells the brain that food has been eaten. It’s a stimulant-free ingredient that is made from potatoes using a water-based process. It’s also said to be relatively free of side effects—no jitters, bloating, difficulty sleeping, etc.
Smartphones, wearable fitness trackers, and smart watches work with various apps to easily monitor food and activity, and slice and dice the information to help you make progress. Equally important, they can make it easy to become part of a community of like-minded people who provide encouragement, keep you accountable, and help you reach your goals.
After nearly a lifetime of earlier failures, Jory, now 56, used LoseIt!—a fitness app that works with any type of device—to lose 122 pounds and keep it off. “It has completely changed my life,” she says. She especially appreciates no longer needing medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
“It changed my way of looking at my calorie burn,” she says. “And it motivates me to move more.” By knowing her balance of calories in and out, she can adjust meals and activity to stay on track. Becoming involved in the LoseIt! online community has been a vital ingredient in her success. “You have the right tools,” she says, “and people who will support you to keep going.”
Popular apps for most devices:
- LoseIt!, loseit.com
- My Fitness Pal, myfitnesspal.com
- Nudge, nudgeyourself.com
BETANCOURT NUTRITION Trim X3 Complete features Slendesta, a potato protein extract that supports weight loss efforts and helps to rev up energy levels.
THE VITAMIN SHOPPE Next Step Tonalin CLA + Natural Caffeine 1,000 mg works to reduce body fat, increase thermogenesis, and maintain lean muscle mass.
TOP SECRET NUTRITION Garcinia Cambogia 60% HCA + White Kidney Bean Extract This dynamic duo works synergistically to curb appetite and promote and weight loss.
SOURCE NATURALS 7-KetoDHEA Metabolite is formulated to increase the activity of thermogenic enzymes to boost metabolism and fend of fatigue.
GARDEN OF LIFE RAW Fit includes two powerful weapons in the weight loss war—raw sprouted plant protein (44 g per scoop) and green coffee extract.