Weight Loss…the natural way!

weight loss

I am NOT a big proponent of unnecessary weight loss and I am even more so not a big proponent of unnatural weight loss. Pills, shakes, diet foods, and being freaking starving? Yea, no thanks dude.

Research has proven that the most effective way to lose weight and actually keep it off long term is to do so slowly. (If we’re getting specific here, the DASH diet over a long period of time is the “best” way to lose weight apparently) Point is, the faster you lose weight, the more weight you’re going to gain when your “diet” is over.

Yawn.

If weight loss is your goal, you certainly don’t want to lose weight slowly.

Being a major supporter of eating real foods and being active (aka keeping it simple, stupid), I’m all for slow, natural, and healthy weight loss. Your body knows what it wants, and denying it is just going to piss it off (and probably lead to a whole pizza in bed).

If there were a completely healthy, natural way to lose weight and keep it off long term, the weight loss industry would be out of business. However, based on my personal experience and the little science I understand, I have found a few little things that can speed up the weight loss process without nasty unnatural products.

Again, I cannot stress enough that I am NOT a supporter of quick fix weight loss and I 100% on board with eating whole, real foods and being active daily. That is, without a doubt, supported by science, the BEST way to maintain a healthy weight and thus a long and healthy life.

Buutttt if you are trying to knock off a couple pounds and don’t have the patience or motivation to just wait for it to happen eating real foods and working out, these are the little additional tricks I have up my sleeve. Some work by increasing energy, thus increasing productivity and activity (thus burning more calories and/or decreasing boredom eating), improving sleep, or just generally getting your body’s systems back from being “outta whack” (why yes, this is the correct medical term).

  1. Take dem vitamins. Taking B complex vitamins (vitamin B-2 and B-12 are my favorite) always increases my energy a ton. It’s like an extra cup of coffee kick-in-the-ass. This helps me burn more energy throughout the day. Taking Vitamin D3 (discount here!) and/or a multivitamin helps to keep all your systems running smoothly, and being deficient in vitamins can make you sluggish, so staying on top of them is important for optimum energy and weight maintenance.
  2. Drink TONS of water. I am always drinking water (and therefore literally always have to pee). Many people mistake dehydration for hunger, so they end up eating more if they haven’t drank enough water. Additionally, not drinking enough water makes you sluggish/groggy/headachey/tired, which leads to eating junk and not working out. Water flushes out your system and balances sodium, so if you have had a lot of processed foods recently and are feeling bloated, water will take care of that (as will potassium!).
  3. Track your steps. It is SO easy to count steps with phones now. By tracking your steps and making sure that you’re >10,000 steps per day, you keep up with being more active because you’re more aware of it. For instance, if I skipped my run or was sitting at a desk all day and saw I only hit 4,000 steps, you know I’m going to be going for a long late night podcast walk! If you are able to use both your legs, do not take that for granted. Get outside and walk!
  4. Start your day off with a big mug of coffee or tea. And it’s important to note: a lattee or coffee loaded with sugar/milk/calories does NOT count! I always start off with a huge mug of chai spice brewed tea with lemon (not a chai latte, but water and a teabag) or a big mug of black coffee. This caffeine gives you that boost to burn more calories by being more active and productive, without the heavy calories (and thus exhaustion) from a latte drink.
  5. Don’t be afraid of protein and starchy veggies. As long as you’re eating mindfully, proteins and starchy vegetables help keep you full throughout the day with fewer calories than carbohydrates and high-fat foods. Protein (with healthy fats) that I love come from hummus, natural homemade nut butters (1/2/3), eggs, and fish. Starchy veggies I go for include spaghetti squash, zucchini, and sweet potatoes. These keep you running at high energy without burning you out, making you more active and burning more calories with fewer consumed. For example, yesterday for lunch I had an amazing homemade spicy bolognese “pasta” made from zucchini noodles with lean ground turkey, tomatoes, onions, and red pepper. It was not only SO filling and delicious, but I only finished half of it before I was so satisfied, then didn’t need a 3-4 pm pick me up. In fact, I was so focused and energized on work that I didn’t even look up from my desk until 7! (Other things I did that may have contributed to that high-energy calorie burning: took vitamin B-2 and D, had a morning smoothie, biked to work, drank tons of water, did acupuncture the night before)
  6. Sleep. Get your 7-9 hours. Science proved that, let’s just start doing it, shall we?
  7. Strength train. Muscle weights more than fat, yes. However, increasing muscle mass is the only way (other than changing your DNA) to speed up metabolism! Metabolism “boosting” pills? Lies. The only metabolism boosters are the biceps you’re going to get from weights.

It is also really important to note that these tips only work if you’re also eating real foods in moderation and exercising regularly! They are not a magic fix! :)

Other ramblings on weight loss: 1 // 2 // 3 //4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

 

xo
lisasig
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You’re Making Your Green Smoothie Wrong

green smoothie

So I know I keep going MIA on you guys and I’m really sorry. I started a new education/career endeavor (in addition to full-time internship and MPH research projects…yikes), but won’t tell you guys much about it until it comes to fruition! I promise I love you all so, so much and wish I could post more for you and reply to your emails faster. Hopefully the extra workload will all be worth it soon and just make my science ramblings even better!  Any guesses as to what it is?!

Anywho, this added work has really cut down my free time. There are a few things I never skimp on, no matter how pressed for time I am. Those include: eating healthy, exercising, sleeping, and socializing at least twice per week. It’s a struggle to not come home after a very, very long day and sink into the couch with a frozen pizza, but it is so worth it.

Keeping up my healthy breakfast has been harder recently, since I’ve been waking up an hour earlier to add some time to my day by studying/cleaning/laundrying in the morning before working. I have been using some great hacks to make smoothie making faster in the AM that I thought I’d share!

Healthy smoothie hacks to save time in the morning!

  1.  Greens ice cubes! Once every other week, I’ll make a couple tray of greens ice cubes — I blend up spinach, kale, celery, and milk in the blender, then pour into cubes (or muffin trays!) and freeze! That way, in the morning, I just toss a few cubes into the blender, add some real fruit and greek yogurt, and go. You can do this with any smoothie ingredients.  green ice cubes
  2. Pre-made smoothie jars! On a Sunday night, line up 7 ziploc bags for the week or mason jars. Toss in all ingredients for each day, seal, and store! All you have to do in the morning is grab and blend!  smoothie prep
  3. Ditch ice. Ice just adds water to a smoothie, and trust me, the texture doesn’t need it if you’re using frozen fruits or veggies! It just adds time to drinking it! (Yes, the time crunch is getting THAT real…) smoothie healthy
  4. Post-blending cleaning hack –> here. This is a MUST do!

For more smoothie stuff: RECIPE | SMOOTHING V JUICING | PURCHASE TSOH SMOOTHIES | WHY YOU SHOULD PURCHASE A TSOH SMOOTHIE BOOK

Thanks again for being awesome about me only posting now and then for the moment. More to come soon!

xo
lisasig
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Statins, Exercise, and Saving your Own Life

statins

How many of you guys take statins?

How many of you know someone who takes statins?

How many of you have high cholesterol?

Cool. Glad we got that headcount out of the way. My dad takes statins, so this is super relevant to me cause he’s pretty tight and I like him hangin’ around to make my unborn children gluttonous and such.

Statins are drugs that improve cholesterol levels in attempts to keep your blood vessels unclogged, thus keeping you alive and other cool things like that.

Scientists in Liverpool discovered last month that these awesome pillz (taken by over 7 million people in Britain alone) save around 750 lives per year by preventing fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Sounds awesome, right? But, did anyone ever think to compare this number to how many lives per year other health interventions for heart attacks and strokes? These cool researchers did.

In Britain, health interventions such as: improving diet (lowering salt intake, lowering fat intake, lowering carb intake) and increasing activity levels prevented 4,600 deaths by fatal heart attack or stroke per year.

Dude. Seriously? Expensive drugs prevent 750 and eating healthy and exercising prevented 4,600??

Don’t get me wrong — clinical cardiology is friggin’ amazing and does some top notch work saving lives. But, shouldn’t we be investing more time and energy in more cost-effective treatments  based on scientific evidence?

Our health care system is already under a ton of stress, and the answer to relieve that stress is slapping us across the face! Population wide health changes (think tax on sugary drinks, subsidies making healthier foods more affordable, increasing physical activity in schools and the workplace, controlling tobacco, restricting processed food companies, making infrastructure and the built environment more accommodating to a healthy lifestyle,  etc etc etc)would reduce health inequalities, relieve that pressure on the system, and maybe even lead to much bigger overall health gains!

Sorry for that off topic public health rant. This is my blog and apparently I do what I want, including bore you guys to death. Moving on…

Does this mean that statins don’t work? NO.

So why is the number so low?

Well, I’d guess a big part of that is that many people who are eligible for statins cannot take that (maybe they can’t afford them or don’t have adequate understanding or access).

On the other hand, going for a walk or eating less processed food is more affordable and accessible to everyone. (Granted, not all health interventions sans drugs are.)

Anywho, this research basically proved that preventative approaches are a much better way to achieve results and save lives than handing out drugs. Cause right now, cardiologists and PCPs are pretty much like Oprah on a sugar-high. (“You get a statin! You get a statin! Everybody gets a statin!!”)

Wow I hope one of you gets that joke.

statin oprah

Tl;DR? More and more research proves that eating healthy and exercising regularly prevents death from heart attack or stroke better than statin drugs do. Tell your friends with high cholesterol!

Don’t leave your life in the hands of a drug, save it yourself.

xo
lisasig
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Valentine’s Day Rose Meringues

valentines day dessert 1

So last year I shared this crazy list of my favorite Valentine’s Day dessert recipes. I still use all these awesome recipes, but this year I’m deciding to keep it simple (last year, I also wrote about the importance of loving yourself!). If you love the hearts, reds, pinks, super adorable themed desserts, stick with those! However, if you wanna keep it clean and classy this year, I have the perfect recipe for you — these gorgeous pale pink rose meringues.

Sooo delicious and so, so beautiful.

Ingredients:

4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or maybe some rose flavoring if you have any!)
A pinch of salt
Pink food coloring
Piping bag (I love using this one, and Amazon can get it to you ASAP)
Parchment paper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
  2. Whisk egg whites, pinch of salt, sugar and meringue powder in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
  3. Set the bowl over a pan with simmering water whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch, around 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer. Using wire attachment, beat the mixture gradually from low to high, until stiff peaks are formed (this should take around 8 minutes).
  5. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds to incorporate.
  6. Add the tiniest touch of pink food color to make a pale pink (be careful, a little goes a long way!) and beat until color is consistent. I reccommed dividing the batch to make a few white, few pale pink, and a few a darker shade of pink!
  7. Cut up small parchment squares about 2in x 2in.
  8. Ribbon your roses! I like to mix techniques for varied roses, these are my three favorites: 1 //2 //3. The carnation one is also really pretty and sort of looks like a rose! Side note: this site also has a quick and dirty version of this recipe!
  9. Bake for around 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your roses. Just check to see when they are dried through.

Once finished baking, you can either eat them plain, dip them in chocolate, or sprinkle them with a shimmery dust. You can even place them on a cake or cupcake, but that’s a lot more work! I tried all the options, they were all equally delicious.

Little pink rose meringues on dark chocolate and red velvet cupcakes make great v-day gifts for your best girlfriends!

valentines day dessert 2 valentines day dessert 3 valentines day dessert 4

 

xo
lisasig
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