What is a Calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy derived from food. Our body uses this fuel so it can do everything from breathing to secreting hormones to running a mile.

On average, your body needs 1,000 to 1,400 calories a day to keep your organs functioning, respiration going smoothly, and your brain focused.

If you take in more calories than you expend, the excess is stored as fat. If you eat fewer calories than that, you’ll lose weight.

How Low is Low Carb?

Low carbohydrate diets ask you to reduce your carbohydrate intake from a recommended 225 to 325 grams a day to between 50 and 150 grams. The idea is that eating fewer carbs lowers the amount of glucose in your blood and that makes your body burn fat instead of sugar for fuel. The result? Weight loss. But over time that can deprive you of essential nutrients found in carbohydrate-rich foods like grains, vegetables and fruits.

A low-carbohydrate diet also increases the amount of protein and fat you consume. There’s no health advantage to eating excessive amounts of red meat and saturated fats.  In fact, they’re associated with elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease and a greater risk of colon cancer.

So if you’re interested in losing weight and keeping it off, eliminate processed foods and simple carbs. A healthy diet should include complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Does Hypnosis Work for Weight Loss?

Few studies have shown a direct link between hypnosis and physical weight loss. Hypnosis can help with your mind-set towards weight loss, though. Because hypnosis focuses more on the mental part of weight loss than the physical, it may help motivate you to get started or keep going. This will fuel the hard work you’re already putting in to lose those extra pounds. The physical part of weight loss is all you – meaning you have to put in the work at home or at the gym.

Hypnosis only encourages a different way of thinking about your body in relationship to food and fitness – so in this way, it can be beneficial.

Can I Lose Weight Without Exercise?

Technically, you can lose weight without also doing daily exercise. Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit – meaning that you burn more than you consume. That’s why exercise, plus diet changes, are an important part of a weight-loss and weight-control plan.

First, exercise helps create a significant calorie deficit – after all, you can burn 600 calories with an hour in a spin class.  Second, exercise builds muscles, which burn more calories than fat even when you’re at rest. So exercise helps amp up your metabolism.

While you can lose weight without exercise, it’s healthier to adopt a whole food diet plus a routine of regular physical activity that gets your heart pumping and muscles working.

Losing Weight: 5 Tips on Portion Size

This is the first in a series about lifestyle changes that lead to a lighter and healthier you.

The weight loss secret that’s often overlooked: It’s about the portion size!

1) Watch Your Portion Size

Losing weight is a matter of eating less and moving more. Calories in minus calories burned determine your weight.

That’s it in a nutshell.  Wait, not so fast!

Weight loss also has to do with the types of foods you eat and when. More importantly if you want to keep the weight off, you need to make permanent lifestyle changes or it will just creep back on. Here are some small changes you can make which can  add up to big results, a lighter and healthier you.

2) Give up the Supersize, and it’s ALL Supersized!

Watch your portions.  It bears repeating: Portions do matter. Even healthy foods contain calories. Our brains have been hijacked by photos, commercials of skinny women holding super-sized cereal bowls, and monster size portions at restaurants.  This means many of us need to retrain the brain to recognize the correct portion size.

3)  Re-Learn to Measure by Eye

Try this trick at breakfast:  Pour yourself what you think is a serving size of cereal.  Let’s say the nutrition label says a serving size is 2/3rd cup.    Then, in another bowl, measure the actual 2/3rd cup serving. Chances are you poured two to three times the serving size in the first bowl.  This means that without realizing it, you may have been eating two to three times more cereal than you should. No wonder the pounds are not coming off even though you increased your activity level!

Try this at lunch and dinner: Replace your large dinner plates with smaller salad size plates.   Your brain will register that you have a full plate, even when smaller servings fill it up. If you fill up a big plate, your brain will signal you to finish what’s on your plate before you stop eating.  When you have a smaller plate, your brain will register that you’re satisfied when you finish, even with the smaller portion.  This is because the brain sees the full serving on the smaller plate the same as a full serving on the large plate.  Again, measure until you know exactly what a serving size looks like.

4) Quick Ways to Measure Portion Sizes

Here are some quick measurement guidelines.

  • Your fist equals about 1 cup
  • The palm of your hand is about the size of a 3 to 4 oz serving of chicken, fish or meat
  • Your thumb equals about 1 oz (cheese)
  • A tennis ball is about a half cup of fruit or vegetables
  • Your thumb tip is about 1tsp
  • A small handful of nuts is about 1 oz (20 almonds)

An easy way to keep portions from creeping up: Serve yourself from the stove.  Avoid bringing serving bowls to the table.  It is too easy to keep having additional servings. If you have to get up from the table to get a serving, you will be less likely to overeat.

5) Tips When Dining Out

We all know when we go out to eat, the portions sizes are at least twice what we need to be eating. Try ordering a salad (dressing on the side) and appetizer instead of an entree.  Or, ask to have half your entree wrapped up to take home before they serve it. Consider splitting an entree with someone.

Enjoy What You Eat

Remember eating is supposed to be enjoyable.  Eat slowly.  It takes time for the brain to signal the stomach that it’s full. Enjoy your food.