Healthy Weight Loss Tips

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Staying Healthy on a Low Carbohydrate Diet

Staying Healthy on a Low Carbohydrate Diet
Marjorie Geiser

It is estimated that about 32 million Americans are following some type of low carbohydrate diet. This is the result of fad diet authors claiming that carbohydrates are the cause for Americas rising obesity problems. The backlash against carbohydrates is a result of the low fat craze that started in the 80s.When consumers started cutting down their fat intake, manufacturers figured out that they could create low fat processed food products that the public would buy. Because these products claimed to be fat free, Americans didnt pay attention to the fact that they were not also calorie free, and as a result, the total amount of daily calories has slowly been increasing. In fact, although the total percentage of calories from fat has decreased, the actual amount of fat intake has increased by 10# per year since 1975! The increase of carbohydrate has also increased, at a rate of 20# per year, mostly as a result of highly processed foods.

It is estimated that 3800 calories are now produced for every American man, woman and child. We have evolved from a world of feast or famine, but were in a state of perpetual feast, although our bodies have not changed. We have no defenses against excess calories: Every year, 300,000 to 400,000 deaths in the US are attributed to obesity.

Meanwhile, Asian and Middle Eastern populations consume 50-75% of their calories from rice and have some of the lowest rates of obesity and heart disease in the world. People living in the Mediterranean also have fewer health conditions commonly seen in the US. This diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts and fruits. Their diets are rich in fish and low in meats and poultry. Although their fat intake is about the same as in America, the type of fat is primarily monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, where Americans eat primarily saturated animal fats.

Regardless of the actual advantage or disadvange to following a low carbohydrate diet, there are three recommendations for maintaining good health while following such a diet. The first is to choose healthy fats over the unhealthy, saturated fats, when considering fat intake. Examples of healthy fats would be plant fats that have not been hydrogenated, which makes the fat more solid at room temperature. It is believed that hydrogenation is actually more harmful to health than saturated fats found naturally in animal products. Plant fats would include nuts, avocados, and olives. Oils such as olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil are better choices than fats that come from animal sources, such as butter, lard or bacon grease. Multiple studies over the years have shown that excess animal fats lead to higher risks of cancer, heart disease and other inflammatory disorders. Saturated fats have been linked to increased cholesterol, LDL (the bad) cholesterol as well as to increased LDL cholesterol oxidation. In fact, in January 2004, an Atkins representative put out a press release advising the public to decrease their amounts of steak, eggs, and saturated fast to less than 20% of their total fat intake.

The next recommendation to ensure good health is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Although fruits and most vegetables are restricted in the initial phase of some low carbohydrate diets, they are then allowed back in limited amounts. The phytonutrients that come from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown to decrease blood pressure, as well as protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. Its easy to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, once you get in the habit. Examples are; add some berries to breakfast, eat a tomato at lunch, include broccoli with dinner, drink some vegetable juice with snacks, and have a large salad with your meal.

The final tip to ensure good health is to eat a diet of whole foods, rather than fall back on the easy snack, convenience foods of today. If Americans had just cut down their amount of fat intake in the 80s, without finding new ways to snack, we may not be seeing the epidemic of obesity we see, today. When people started going on the low carbohydrate diets, they eliminated a large number of calories by eliminating snacking, especially at night, where common snacks are chips, crackers, and other high fat, high refined carbohydrate foods, such as ice cream. Today, though, much like in the 80s, manufacturers are now developing low carb and low net carb snack foods. We can now find low net carb chips, crackers, ice cream, popcorn, even low carb pizza! As Americans start to increase their intake of these foods, we will soon see a slowing of the weight loss many had seen initially. In order to call themselves a low net carb food, manufacturers subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates in the product, rather than produce products without carbohydrate. There is no actual FDA standard for what a low net carb food is, yet, though, so right now its anything the manufacturer wants to say it is. These foods also are very high in fat and saturated fat, usually through hydrogenation. So, not only will calories be added back into the diet through resuming unhealthy snack habits, but they will be calories consisting of high amounts of the unhealthy fats.

So, while following a low carbohydrate diet, in order to ensure continued good health, follow these three recommendations: 1) Make most fats you eat the healthy, plant fats, rather than eating a diet high in animal or hydrogenated fats, 2) Eat plenty of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, which are high in disease-fighting antioxidants, and 3) eat mostly whole, fresh foods and very little processed snack foods, even if they say low carb, in order to avoid hidden and unnecessary fat and calories.

Marjorie Geiser has been teaching health, fitness and nutrition since 1982. She is a nutritionist, registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and life coach. As the owner of MEG Fitness, Marjories goal for her clients is to help them incorporate healthy eating and fitness into their busy lives. To order her 30-Day Health & Fitness Challenge e-course and learn more about Marjorie, go to her website at or email her at

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Health Plan: A ‘Healthy Business’ Plan

Health Plan: A ‘Healthy Business’ Plan
Marjorie Geiser

In business, owners create business plans and marketing plans
for the New Year to help set their course for success. This
becomes their template to make their dreams and business goals
come true. They can then track their progress and make
adjustments when necessary to keep themselves on track.

But, why not do the same thing if your goal is improved health?
Just imagine setting up a real action plan to address what you
want to achieve and how you will go about making those goals
happen. Let’s look at some of the parts of a business plan and
see how they can be adjusted into a ‘health plan’.

Mission statement

According to Stephen Covey, all individuals should have a
personal mission statement. Do you have one? Ok, so you probably
don’t. But what about creating a personal health mission
statement? What would you want that statement to say? It should
include what your health would ideally look like and why you
would want it to look that way. You may want to include what
your primary goal is for creating a health statement, too.

An example may be, “I am committed to becoming a healthy example
for my family so that they learn healthy habits and never have
to suffer from disease caused by lifestyle. I will do this by
avoiding unfavorable health habits and eat a healthy, whole diet
most of the time and stay active on a regular basis.” So, here
are the questions to ask yourself in order to create your health
mission statement: 1. What do you want your health to look like?
2. Why do you want this health result? 3. How will you
accomplish this goal?

Vision statement

What do you want your health to look like in 10 years? What will
you feel and look like? How will you know if you have succeeded
in your goal?

Answer each of these questions to create your ultimate vision
for your health. Perhaps you have been struggling with great
amounts of weight for years. You have tried every diet known to
man, with limited success and then ultimate failure. So, your 10
year vision may be to weigh your ideal body weight, feel great,
look fantastic and be off all medications.

Do not allow doubts or limiting beliefs voice their opinion. If
you allow yourself to believe this can happen, you can make it


Now it’s time to break down that big vision; what will you have
accomplished in one year, three years and five years?

You have an ultimate 10-year vision, above. That is your
ultimate destination. Now is the time to create the rough plan
for how you will get there. Again, never mind what the limiting
thoughts say. What would you like to accomplish in these
milestone time frames? Examples may be that in one year you will
be walking every day, five to six days a week, for a total of at
least 60 minutes. Or maybe in a year you will be ready for a 5 K
walk/run race. Another example may be that in 1 year you will
have lost 10 pounds or are off your diabetic medication. Then
for three years and five years, allow yourself to open up and

Strategies and Tactics

What will your biggest challenges be? Determine these first,
then brainstorm how you can overcome these challenges. Then list
what it will take from you to make overcoming these challenges a
reality. What techniques will you use? List seven – these are
your strategies and the tactics you’ll use while using these

Examples of challenges may be; not enough time in your day, too
tired, can’t find anything you like to do, hate vegetables or
cooking from scratch. But, as you consider your challenges,
there are always strategies you can use to determine how to
overcome these challenges. A few examples are to find
pre-packaged foods that are low in fat and sodium but healthy
and tasty and add a salad or vegetable to it, join a health club
such as Curves, where you can run in and run out and fit in a
workout in just 30 minutes. Find a buddy to walk with at
lunchtime. Buy a stationary bike and put it in front of the TV.
Set up a vegetable challenge at work, where everyone can keep
track of how many veggies they eat each day, with a prize at the
end of the month for the person who is eating the most. What
else can you think of?

Next you have to address what tactics you will use to make these
strategies actually a reality. Come up with at least five for
each strategy, because there will always be times that the
situation will call for a different tactic to overcome the
challenge. A few examples are to tell your friends and family
that you are now walking every day after work, set up a back-up
plan when you can’t walk, or each time you go food shopping you
buy a new fresh, frozen or canned vegetable to try, not limiting
yourself to just one form of the food. Or buy a new cookbook and
commit to yourself to prepare one new, healthy meal per week, or
spend some time on websites such as to
research something new and healthy for the family. Again, I’m
sure you can come up with some tactics that sound good to you.

Values and Beliefs

Although your health may not be what you would like, this does
not mean you do not value health. You may value other things
more, though, or feel other things in life have taken priority
over health, and, before you know it, your health has suffered
as a result. What is meant by health values? To clarify, what
value do you put on health; yours or the health of others? If
you are reading this article, you probably do value health as
something to attain or maintain. If you are concerned with
maintaining your health, chances are it has held a high priority
for you through your life. Everyone has a different value of
health; for some, it may be the absence of disease, for others
it may reflect an inner calm and serenity. Some people may
consider health as physical or mental capacity or the weight
they are at. The belief may come from what you believe a
particular health condition (good or bad) represents. For
instance, some people may consider an ideal body weight as
health and something that represents inner strength or the lack
of health a weakness. For others, a sign of good health is a
healthy attitude towards life and others and themselves. None of
these values or beliefs are right or wrong; they are just how
you feel and what you believe.

List at least five personal values you have around your health
and life and the beliefs that go along with each value. Spend
some time on this, because many times people who are struggling
with health issues don’t want to address the true beliefs or
values around their health, which can be the biggest reason they
are unable to overcome conditions that limit achievement of a
particular health goal, such as losing weight.

Then answer these questions to see what areas need attention:
How do these values relate to your health? How are these values
reflected in the way you live currently? Are your values and
beliefs in sync with your lifestyle? Spend some time with these
questions and write down what you come up with.

Branding and Imaging

When friends and family think of you, how would you like them to
describe you and your health?When you consider what you would
like others to say about you when talking about health, are you
currently living up to that vision you have? If not, what needs
to change to become that person? How will you feel when you are
that person you imagine them talking about? How will you feel if
you do not become that person? List five things you would like
people to say about you and your health and lifestyle.

Action Plan

Now it’s time to create a real plan to make all of this happen –
your action plan. For those of you in business reading this, you
already knew what was coming. Do you see the parallels? Look at
your goals, and then ask yourself how you will plan to
accomplish those goals. Use your strategies and tactics as the
templates for your action plan. I have business clients create a
calendar from their strategies and tactics, setting up a
specific plan from month to month. You can do the same thing for
health goals. Set small goals on your calendar; maybe a goal of
walking five minutes every day, or avoid that morning doughnut
at least three days a week. You may have a goal that by the end
of the first month you are eating four servings of fruits and
vegetables a day; you can start by setting a goal of two
servings per day the first week, three servings per day the
second and third week, and then four servings by the 4th week.
Look at where you would like to be in a year, but then break
that year into more manageable chunks by looking at just one
month at a time and what you would like to have accomplished by
the end of that month. The purpose of an action plan is to make
what you need to do more real; to put legs on the ideas and
intentions you came up with earlier in the process. In other
words, how can you change from just thinking about what you
want, in the abstract, and make it something that really happens?

Budget and financing

All business plans must have a budget plan. What is necessary to
fund your new health plan? Can you do this on a small budget or
will it take a big financial commitment? How will you cover the
expenses your health plan will require? For some people,
bypassing certain expenditures, such as eliminating the morning
muffin at work can pay for the extra fruits and vegetables at
the market. Or avoiding an afternoon snack can add up to enough
to buy a new pair of walking shoes. Everyone can decide where
they want to prioritize how they will make health a priority and
how to make it fit not only their lifestyle, but also their

Many people envision a healthier day, someday. For those who
create a plan, and then develop strategies to stick to their
plan, tend to see success. As an example, read from participants
in the National Weight Control Registry, a group of over 5,000
people who have lost at least 30 pounds and have successfully
kept that weight off for at least one year, Reading some of these examples
proves that even if you have over 100 pounds to lose, it is
possible; you have to have the desire, the awareness that it
will take dedication and determination, and that you have to
create the strategies and plan to make it happen. Just as with
business, failure to plan results in planning for failure. Make
that plan and enjoy success this year!

About the author:

Marjorie Geiser is a nutritionist, registered dietitian,
certified personal trainer and life coach. Marjorie has been the
owner of a successful small business, MEG Fitness, since 1996,
and now helps other health professionals start up their own
private practice. To learn more about the coaching services
Margie offers, go to her website or email
her at

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