5 Ways To Beat Craving When You’re Dieting

I don’t know about you – although I think I can guess – but when I’m dieting there is always that incessant food craving that threatens to destroy all your best efforts to burn fat.

Here are 5 of the best ways I know to beat that nuisance craving and keep up your weight loss program without feeling like you’re starving yourself.

1. Keep Hydrated

Believe it or not, when you’re thirsty you can actually confuse thirst with hunger. Think about how long since you last drank when you get to feel really hungry. You need to have around 7 or 8 glasses of water a day.

You can do what I do and keep a bottle of water beside you when you’re working that you can sip on, but remember that remaining properly hydrated is a key to keeping your diet – and losing fat.

2. Keep Fiber Levels Up, Too

If you’re eating foods that are rich in fiber – think fruit and veggies, nuts, whole grains, legumes – then you will remain ‘full’ for longer. I promise.

You can think about including some tasty ‘treats’ alongside your fiber foods, such as adding hummus with carrots or nut butter with celery. Make sure you have fiber in your usual meals to keep you satisfied. It works. It’s good for the body. It will stave off the hunger pangs.

3. Use Protein

Protein is a key ingredient in staving off pesky food cravings. The high carb meals might provide some energy, but it won’t last and you will start feeling empty and hungry again. So add some protein to create additional ‘staying power’ and get through those pangs.

Protein also takes longer to digest than carbs and lets your blood sugar levels remain more even, but it will also help maintain muscle mass as your burn fat. Very important.

You should of course be adding protein to your meals anyway, but also you can pour a little milk into your tea, or add cheese to your crackers. One of my personal favorites is an Italian-style panini, where you trade an ounce of cheese for mozzarella, you’ll add 3 more grams of protein per ounce in the course of doing it.

4. Sleep Time

Sleep is a key ingredient in burning fat. Here’s why. Sleep deprivation will have a significant effect upon your hunger and appetite. I know when I had my first baby I was seriously sleep-deprived and I just could not lose that weight for months afterwards.

I was sleeping terribly and research showed that hormones that regulate our appetite (called leptin and ghrelin) are directly influenced by the amount of sleep we get. You really do need those eight hours of shut-eye, so if you have to adjust your routine to get it – do so.

5.  Be Distracted

I know it sounds easy, but it’s true that once you feel hungry you start searching for the food solution.  Well, avoid the refrigerator or panty and go for a brisk walk, take out the dog, write that letter to Aunty that you’ve been putting off – anything.  Being distracted is simple enough, but it is an awfully effective way to avoid snacking when you shouldn’t be.

Try these distraction techniques.  They work and they’ll keep you on track to burn fat and get those reluctant pounds off your tummy and thighs.

Let me know.

And watch out for some real “problem snacks”, like this –

>> Check the free report “What Peanut Butter Does for your Body” 

Fat Burning Fact #4

Let me tell you one of the easiest – yet most important things – you can do to burn fat.  If you’re like me you rush about a lot – babies, husbands, blogging, parents – you name it.

But there’s something that we all do anyway but we need to concentrate about – Breathing!

And it can really help you lose weight – I guarantee.

Just think about it – when you take a long, deep, slow breath and slowly release that air you also do something really important – you oxygenate yourself; your tissue, your brain.

And you reduce stress.

But you do something else too which is really important to lose weight.  It actually works when you walk or take deep breaths to control any food craving.

And that was one of the single most dangerous things that I experienced to gain weight in the first place.

I LOVE FOOD.

And I ate too much.

But breathing properly and also doing a couple of great yoga poses helped put off my craving and helped me burn fat – as well as increasing my overall health.

Try this pose . . 

 

Next time you’re find yourself in front of the fridge, stop and take a few minutes to slow down both your body and your mind. Sometimes burning off a little excess energy is all it takes to quiet your thoughts. Simple standing forward bends can help calm your busy brain and reduce stress.

1. Stand with your back about a foot from a wall and your feet hip-width apart.

2. Lean back onto the wall. Then gently bend your knees and fold forward, bringing your belly and chest to your thighs. Take 6 to 12 breaths, focusing on the exhalation.

3. Slowly roll up one vertebra at a time, until your back is leaning up against the wall again. Close your eyes, and take a few breaths. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

 

The ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ – What You Need to Know About Vitamin D

vitamin d + weight loss

I don’t know about you – actually I HOPE I do – but sunshine is one of the great things about enjoying life.

And when  you’re out and about, it is sunshine and its vitamin that you’re taking.

Not a bad way to go, right?

Well, here are some key things you need to know about vitamin D and what it is good for.

Meet Vitamin D

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You can find vitamin D in a several foods where it occurs naturally, such as tuna fish, swordfish and salmon. It’s also present in beef liver, eggs and cheese. Because of the lack of vitamin D in many people’s diets, some foods have it added in, such as yogurt, milk, orange juice and certain cereals.

When you spend time in the sun it will give you vitamin D, but not because it actually comes from the sun. Instead, the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit the skin and cause vitamin D synthesis to occur.

Skin cancer concerns mean that people are often not getting enough Vitamin D, or it is being blocked by clothing or sunblock.

But although the sunscreen will help reduce a person’s risk of skin cancer, it also harms your ability to obtain vitamin D. Even sunscreens with an SPF of 8 lessen a person’s ability to produce the vitamin by 95 percent!

That’s why you need to get it from other sources.

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The fact is that most people need to take supplements to reach the recommended amount – myself included.

But no matter how you obtain this nutrient, it has to undergo two different – yet equally-important – processes in the body.

Let’s get a little scientific for a moment (bare with me) –

First, it must convert into calcidiol in the liver. Then, it undergoes a process in the kidneys that changes it into calcitriol, also known as 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. These steps are both necessary to transform the vitamin D you take in into a form your body can actually use.

Unlike vitamins C and E which are expelled as a waste product from the body when they’re in excess, extra vitamin D remains in the body and is stored for later use. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that’s able to be stored in fatty tissue and in the liver, which your body can use when your D levels are low.

At the end of the day, how much vitamin D your skin makes depends on various factors, such as the time of year, the time of day, the season, your skin pigmentation and your location.

The Purpose Behind Vitamin D

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One of the biggest reasons people need vitamin D is for skeletal and dental health, where it regulates the amount of phosphate and calcium in your body – both of which are necessary for your bones to develop and repair themselves.

Without a combination of calcium and vitamin D, bones aren’t as strong as they could be. As a result, they may become fragile and brittle, and may break easily – even without a serious injury occurring.

There are other things that vitamin D does also of course – such as playing a role in the nervous system.

Plus, it also protects cells from tissue damage that can arise from oxidative damage.

I have a girlfriend who swears that a vitamin D deficiency caused her to become forgetful and to have other ‘thinking’ issues.

 

I later researched and discovered these are a big concern for people who are lacking vitamin D. The vitamin has the ability to help prevent brain disorders like dementia. I’m glad I got back on track taking my supplements before things got too serious!

But that isn’t all that vitamin D can do for you. This nutrient is vital for the body in a number of other ways.

Also the muscles require vitamin D.

To ward off viruses and bacteria from entering into your body and making you sick, you need vitamin D. I didn’t realize it at the time, but once I found out I had a vitamin D deficiency, it was like a smack in the face – I now know why I was sick three times over last winter, and why it seemed to take me a long time to get over a simple cold.

How Much Do You Need?

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Not sure if you’re getting enough vitamin D? Want to avoid some of the negative side effects I experienced when my levels were low?

Then you need to get your levels tested!  Truly.

If you think you’re not getting enough vitamin D or have symptoms of a deficiency, ask your physician for a 25(OH)D test. Although there’s also the 1,25(OH)₂D test, it won’t tell you if you have a deficiency or not.

The test is a blood test that can be obtained by pricking your finger.

For instance, the Vitamin D Council suggests your level be around 50 ng/ml. Ultimately, you want the reading to be between 40 and 60 nmol/L. Levels that are less than 30nmol/L aren’t high enough to support good bone health, let alone your general health. Having a reading above 125 isn’t healthy either.

If you can’t get all the vitamin D you need from sunlight alone, supplementing to meet these levels is an incredibly easy way to maintain your health.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough or Get Too Much?

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The number of people who have inadequate D levels is rising, despite all the foods fortified with it. I know – I’m part of this statistic.

In fact, it’s estimated that one billion individuals throughout the world have lower than normal vitamin D levels.

People don’t get enough either because they don’t consume enough or because they don’t go out in the sun enough. In some (rarer) cases, a person might be unable to convert vitamin D into its active form because of kidney problems.

That’s not a major problem for people like me who live in Southern California, but it is for many.

Adults who develop a deficiency may wind up with a condition known as osteomalacia that leaves bones were soft and very bendable. Unlike osteoporosis, which causes weakening in previously constructed bone, osteomalacia causes issues with the bone-building process, leading to muscle weakness and achy bone pain.

Treatment for osteomalacia involves replenishing low levels of vitamin D and calcium and treating any underlying disorders that may be causing the deficiencies. From problems with weakness and muscle tone in the legs, people who have this condition may waddle or have trouble getting around.

I know that sounds pretty scary, so I wouldn’t blame you if you were thinking about doubling up on your vitamin D supplement. But before you reach for an extra dose, be aware that more vitamin D isn’t necessarily better.

In fact, taking more vitamin D than needed through supplementation can cause health problems in the future. On the contrary, it’s not possible to overdose on vitamin D made from the sun, or from foods that don’t contain high quantities of it.

Who Should Take Vitamin D Supplements?

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Beyond the general recommendations there are certain groups of people who should be doubly-certain to take supplements to ensure they’re getting enough vitamin D.

Those with dark skin have a decreased ability to obtain vitamin D from sun exposure, while those who fall into the category of obese experience problems with vitamin D absorption. This occurs because the excess body fat binds to a portion of the vitamin D and stops it from reaching the bloodstream.

Finally, breastfed infants may benefit from a supplement because human milk doesn’t contain a large amount of vitamin D. Infants who drink less than 500 ml of formula each day may benefit from a supplement as well. Continue with the vitamin until the child reaches at least five years of age, or at your doctor’s recommendation.

The Final Word on Vitamin D

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After my experience with a vitamin D deficiency, I’ve made it my goal to try to educate others. As a result, I try to always keep up with the latest research to make sure I’m giving out the best possible recommendations.

One thing you need to know is that the recommended amount of vitamin D a person should get has been debated in recent years.

The Institute of Medicine released a report on November 30, 2010 that recommended both adults and children need more than three times the amount of vitamin D that was currently recommended, which led to U.S. and Canada suggesting people get at least 600 IU per day. The safety limits were pushed from 2,000 IU per day to 4,000 per day.

Other new research suggests that Vitamin D may help to ward off certain medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes, some cancers, heart disease and various autoimmune disorders. The heart muscle relies on potassium every time it beats, but scientific evidence is showing vitamin D might be beneficial to the heart, too.

In this particular study, the Health Professional Follow-Up Study, scientists followed almost 50,000 men’s vitamin blood levels for 10 years and found that the men who had a vitamin D deficiency were twice as likely as men who had normal vitamin D levels to have a heart attack.

Other studies conducted revealed low levels of vitamin D increased a person’s risk of sudden cardiac death, stroke, cardiovascular disease, heart failure and cardiac death, according to Harvard University. Evidence points to this vitamin playing a role in blood pressure regulation as well as artery damage, but more research is needed to prove this.

Type I diabetes rates also vary based on location. For instance, a child in Finland is approximately 400 times more likely than a child in Venezuela to have type I diabetes.

One 30-year study followed 10,000 Finnish kids from birth. The children who took a vitamin D supplement during infancy had a 90-percent lower risk of type I diabetes than the ones who didn’t get a supplement. Multiple other studies conducted in Europe showed that vitamin D may protect against diabetes, but only juvenile diabetes.

Vitamin D may even play a role in preventing the development of a cold or the flu, as most of you might know. Typically, people get a cold or a flu in the winter, but one British doctor hypothesized that this may be because vitamin D levels are lowest in the winter. Plus, vitamin D boosts immune cells’ production of the proteins that fight microbes.

If you ask me, that’s all pretty amazing!

 

So make sure you’re ‘dosing up’ correctly and making the most of this vital vitamin – a ‘sunshine vitamin’ that can help increase your overall health and wellness. 

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Fat Burning Fact #3: Become a Heavy Drinker

burn fat plan

Hahah . . okay I’m not suggesting you take to the bottle – in terms of alcohol, at least – but the water bottle is key to weight loss.

Truly.

You must keep the body hydrated and you can actually retain “water weight” if you’re not drinking enough, rather than drinking too much.

Although the actual amount of water is different for all of us, the generally recommended amount is around 64 ounces.

Also, when drinking the water will take up more space in your tummy and make you feel fuller.

But if you want a few tips on having water in a ‘less boring’ way then consider this exercising with water, if you’re not already, or adding a slice of lemon or lime to give it a bit of bite.

You can also drink warm or hot water, sipping as you watch television or read just as you might with coffee.

Whatever you do, keep drinking.

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Fat Burning Fact #2 – Watch The Post Workout Food

Working out is great – if you’re doing it the right way – but a lot of people vastly over estimate how many calories they’re burning during their squats and treadmill activity.

The result is they eat far more than they should after their workout – rewards, right?

Well, not, actually.

You need to use more moderate exercise as the key to losing fat, rather than frentic activity.

To see how many average calories you’re burning during everyday activities and exercise, check out this chart from the CDC. You can see how easy it is to wipe out the calories burned during a workout with just a few extra nibbles during the day.

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3 Great-Tasting Ice Creams That Are Also Healthy

I don’t know about you, but I love – no ADORE – ice cream and it was one of the big heartaches I faced when losing weight.

Fighting a sugar craving can be a real pain – I understand that.

It’s like everything and everyone is trying to derail your burn fat efforts.

When you get just one small taste of “the good stuff” (aka sugar!), your brain releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that raise your energy levels and flood your body with feel-good sensations.

These feelings make us overeat the sweet stuff, creating more sugar cravings, and make it hard to stay on track. Let this cycle snowball even further and you’ll literally become addicted to sugar.

This is why you can’t have just one bite of that ice cream sandwich, or one spoonful of that pint from the grocery store.

Until now.

Today we’re going to talk about three of my favorite ice cream treats currently on the market.

Unlike traditional ice cream, these sweets are free of overly processed sugars, chemicals, and fake additives. They’re also low in calories so the occasional craving won’t ruin all your hard work.

If you think healthy ice cream sounds about as possible as seeing a unicorn, get ready to be amazed!

Healthy Ice Cream with Halo Top

halo top

When fitness models and athletes started gushing about finally being able to eat ice cream without feeling guilty, I knew this was something I needed to know about.

Touted as “healthy ice cream”, Halo Top is made with only natural ingredients and is low in calories, high in protein, and low in sugar—but tastes just like traditional, fattier ice creams.

Take a look at their comparisons to other not-so-healthy yet popular alternatives:

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So, Halo Top is a fraction of what you’d be eating with traditional ice creams.

It can have as much as double the protein, 25% fewer carbs, an eighth of the fat, and almost 60–75% fewer calories than other pints on the shelf.

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And those three numbers you see on the front side of the carton are the calorie amounts for the entire pint, not just one serving.

So even if you decided to eat the lot, you’d still be looking at one serving size of a normal, high-fat ice cream. Now, I don’t recommend polishing off pints here, but if it happened once in awhile, you wouldn’t hate Halo Top the next day.

How so, you may ask.

Halo Top uses organic stevia and erythritol to sweeten their tasty treats.

Stevia can help lower blood pressure, aid in weight loss, and helps diabetics. When used in ice cream, it’s a great natural sweetener.

Erythritol, on the other hand, is a new sweetener currently gaining popularity in the states.

What is erythritol?

sugar alcohol

Erythritol is technically a sugar alcohol.  It’s the type of alcohol found in fruits like grapes and even some fermented foods.

While it’s new to the US, it’s been used in other countries such as Japan for quite some time now.

According to the makers of Halo Top, “Though it’s technically a sugar alcohol, it’s unlike the others because erythritol doesn’t affect blood glucose or cause bloating,” which are some of the chief complaints most of us experience after eating ice cream sweetened with real or artificial sugar.

Even though more research is still needed on erythritol, a study published in PLOS ONE noted that “it doesn’t appear to be toxic to humans. Erythritol is generally recognized as safe, but consuming it in large amounts may cause some side effects.”

So don’t go overboard with your Halo Top. From experience, this is certainly easier said than done since they have a smorgasbord of delicious flavors that are each better than the next.

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On top of that, though these two sugar-alternatives are actually sweeter than regular ol’ sugar, they don’t jack up the calorie or sugar count. So for less calories, you actually get more to satisfy your sugar craving without the spike of insulin.  So that’s good.

Now the key with Halo Top is to leave it on the counter for about 10–30 minutes (depending on your preference) so it has a chance to soften up.

Because Halo Top doesn’t use artificial preservatives, you’ll notice that it freezes over more than typical ice creams. So it’s best to be patient and actually let your treat thaw before enjoying it. Trust me, it will be worth the wait!

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ARCTIC ZERO

arctic zero

Another sweet snack that’s miles better when thawed: ARCTIC ZERO pints.

These delicious desserts range from 150–300 calories per pint.

If you pick up a pint that’s 150 calories, a serving size is a whopping 35 calories, making it the perfect indulgence for anyone watching their daily calorie intake.

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ARCTIC ZERO is also fat free, lactose and gluten free, certified Kosher, and GMO free. It even ranks as a low glycemic food.

This is perfect for those dealing with gluten or dairy sensitivities, Diabetes, PCOS, or insulin issues in general.

The creators of ARCTIC ZERO claim their treats are “perfect zero-guilt pleasure” and are crafted with premium ingredients that don’t include artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors.

So let’s take a look at what’s inside these guys:

  1. Whey protein concentrate.
  2. Plant-based stabilizers to keep the consistency creamy (instead of artificial stabilizers)
  3. Monk fruit concentrate, a natural, low glycemic sweetener that’s packed with antioxidants, as mentioned on their site.
  4. Added cane sugar for extra sweetness. Per their site, it’s “GMO-free organic cane sugar [that’s] sun-sweetened in Florida.”
  5. Dash of sea salt
  6. Plant-based natural flavors
  7. Triple filtered and purified water
  8. GMO-free fiber, specifically“Chicory root, known for its prebiotic and blood-sugar-stabilizing properties, [which] is a soluble fiber that comes from a native Mediterranean plant. Sugarcane fiber is an insoluble fiber and helps to aid in digestion.”

ARCTIC ZERO also has a plethora of tasty flavors to choose from.

I’d say that the biggest difference between Halo Top and ARCTIC ZERO is the texture.

Halo Top is much smoother and richer-tasting than ARCTIC ZERO. However, ARCTIC ZERO is like a slightly creamier version of Italian ice, even though the taste is all ice cream. You can’t go wrong with either.

So Delicious Dairy Free Treats

coconut milk

The last frozen dessert on our list will make you sing if you’re a vegan or following a dairy-free diet. Although you’ll probably love the taste of this treat even if you’re not!

So Delicious has a gluten- and dairy-free line of products including yogurt, coffee creamers, and now, ice cream. They’re all certified organic and are verified as non-GMO.

While their calorie counts aren’t as low as the first two treats on our list, they still come in at less than half the calories, fat, and sugar of traditional ice creams.

In their Mocha Almond Fudge  the ingredients in this pint are all made from pronounceable and whole ingredients, like almonds, coconut oil, and even coffee.

The sweetness comes by way of organic dried cane syrup and fudge sauce, which is made from a combination of cane sugar, water, organic cocoa, tapioca starch, and natural flavor.

In addition, the So Delicious dessert line has continuously expanded so you can now get ice cream made from:

  1. Cashew milk
  2. Coconut milk
  3. Almond milk
  4. Soymilk

With so many options, those with allergies or dietary limitations will still be able to enjoy that ice creamy goodness whenever they want.

So Delicious carries a line of pints, but they also have ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars—made from the same dairy-free alternatives as the pints—which are genius for anyone struggling with portion control.

Some Susie Thoughts

watch how much

As with anything in life, moderation is still key here.

Yes, you can technically eat an entire pint with less guilt, but that doesn’t mean you should. This post was not a free pass to the all-you-can-eat healthy ice cream buffet.

For me, these little indulgences are nice to keep in the freezer for when those sugar cravings strike unexpectedly. Remember, just because they’re healthier doesn’t mean it’s any easier to practice self-control.

Luckily, since the ingredients in these treats are not overly processed chemicals or full of sugar, you won’t have as many cravings to battle as you would if you splurged on more conventional ice creams.

 Let me know what you think of these . . and if you know of any more great-tasting ice cream treats that won’t ruin your waistline.

Fat Burning Fact #1 – Don’t Go Hungry

What is one of the best weight loss tips you could learn?

Think about it.

If you needed to really lose weight and not be ‘lead into temptation’, what would you really need to do?

Here is the first tip you need to know.

Don’t go hungry.

Eating is an urge that’s impossible to resist for most of us, but far worse if you are really hungry.

So make sure you have healthy snacks you keep that are non-(bad)fatty such as a hard cooked egg, pistachios, Greek yogurt or a small cup of raisins.

You don’t want to skip meals. Just make sure you have some protein-packed snacks to keep you ‘filled up’, but not fat!

I’ll have more Fat Burning Facts that are absolutely KEY to burning fat and keeping it off.

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ARCTIC ZERO

arctic zero

Why I LOOVE Smoothies . . And Why You Should Too

 

I don’t know about you, but I love smoothies.  They’re succulent and filling and weight-reducing – if prepared properly.

I’ve included below seven of the ingredients that will give you some real weight losing health, but one quick question . .

Why are smoothies good for you?

The first point is that you control what you put into a smoothie.

Besides the basics that go into smoothies, you can include powerhouse ingredients to really boost the nutritional value of your smoothie without adding extra calories.

You can also include elements that enhance your weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate, giving you more energy, and filling you up for hours.

They really are a one-stop-weight loss shop.

What I would say is to avoid some ingredients – including dairy, (no, you’re not making a milk shake), canned fruit or veges, fruit juice and some protein powders.

Check the image below for some details from Healthdigezt.com on useful health benefits from key ingredients.

I’m going to give you some great ingredients again soon – so keep tuned.