weight loss tips

Flat Belly Foods: The Do’s and Don’ts

You’ve probably heard the saying that “abs are made in the kitchen.” While toned abdominal muscles will take strength training, a flat belly figure comes mostly from what you eat and how your individual metabolism works. We’ve put together some suggestions for what to eat if you want to whittle down your middle.

THE DON’TS

Don’t eat foods that may be causing inflammation and bloating in your body. The most common of these are are processed wheats, fake butters, soy, corn and vegetable oils.

Don’t drink your toxins. Most soft drinks contain high sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners, all of which contribute to increased belly fat.

Don’t forget about pesticides. Find fresh produce from a local source, like a farmer’s market, or commit to buying organic.

THE DO’S

Do pay attention to your body’s response to dairy products. Many people aren’t aware of their intolerance for cow’s milk dairy and continue to drink it and eat products created from it daily. Switch to homemade coconut milk for all your milk needs and see a significant decrease in belly fat.

Do hydrate with enough water. Adequate amounts of water are essential for making sure that your body can create its ideal environment for fat burning, especially in your tummy.

Do strengthen your core. The more lean muscle mass that you build in your body, the higher your resting metabolism will be, which equals more calories burned each day. Try out this at-home core strength workout.

Do increase your intake of organic, unrefined coconut oil. It is actually one of the only foods out there that can significantly increase your metabolic rate.

Do find a way to de-stress your life and your body. Whether that’s a yoga class, meditation, or simply learning to say NO to the commitments and people you don’t have the desire to add to your day, increased levels of stress have been shown to be one of the leading causes of belly fat accumulation.

Do ease up on the grains. Although there are many grains that offer good nutritional value, they just may be to blame for your belly fat. Only have 1-2 servings of grains like rice, quinoa, millet and amaranth each day.

Do choose grass-fed meats over grain-fed. Grass fed meats are naturally high in omega-3 fats and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) both of which have been found to increase fat burning all over the body.

Do try to add these 25 best flat belly foods to your weekly diet. Just be sure to pay extra attention to intake with the dairy and grains.

Source: My Thirty Spot

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weight loss recipes

Weight Loss Recipes From A GPM Counselor

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One of our Weight Loss Counselors, Cassandra, just finished up with our Rapid Weight Loss program! A huge congratulations to her. She looks (and feels) awesome! To hear more about her story check out her weight loss counselor guest blog on our site.

She used medical weight loss to change her life, and now she wants to help you do the same. She gave us some of her favorite recipes from the 23 days she spent on the Greater Pittsburgh Medical Weight Loss Rapid Weight Loss program.


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Weight Loss Chili

What you’ll need:

  • 3.5 oz 93-97 % lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh, not from a can)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Chopped Garlic Cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • Italian seasonings

How to cook it:

  1. Cook ground beef and drain out fat.
  2. Add back to pan and combine with rest of ingredients.
  3. Add seasonings to taste.

Baked Tilapia

What you’ll need:

  • 3.5 oz of fresh fish
  • 1 lemon — cut in half, one side sliced thin, one side left to squeeze
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of onion
  • 1/2 cup of artichoke hearts
  • 1 TBSP of capers

How to cook it:

  1. Place fish over foil.
  2. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over fish.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add remaining ingredients on top of fish & place thin slices of lemon on top.
  5. Cover/wrap in foil and place in the oven on 400 degrees for 20-25 min.

*The juices from the lemon, tomato, and onion make a nice broth— has so much natural favor! This is one of my favorite dishes! Great for maintenance of our Rapid Weight Loss plan. – C.D.


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Buffalo Chicken Bites

What you’ll need:

  • 3.5 oz of chicken
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • salt
  • pepper

How to cook it:

  1. Cut all excess fat off of chicken.
  2. Marinate in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and bake as you usually do.

*I usually serve this over greens – C.D.


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Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • chopped garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cucumbers

How to make it:

  1. Blend all ingredients except cucumber together in a food processer.
  2. Slice cucumbers and serve.

The Diva Chef’s Crustless Quiche & Salad

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Elise the Diva Chef shared her Grilled Peach Salsa with us on Tumblr, but where she truly excels is in the actual preparation of her recipes, like you’ll see in this video. She often has a segment on CBS Pittsburgh and is soon launching her new cooking show Fitness Foodies on YouTube.

This lighter quiche recipe makes for a healthy & delicious meal for the whole family. Check out the video to go with the recipe.

The Diva Chef’s Crustless Spinach Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • (10 ounce) chopped spinach
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.

Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yields six servings.

Top 5 Healthy Sources of Fiber

When it comes to dropping pounds, feeling full can make it easier to cut back on the amount of calories you eat in a day. And when it comes to feeling full, fiber is your new best friend. It’s generally recommended to get 30-40 grams or more of fiber daily to promote weight loss; but the reality is that 60+ grams of fiber per day may be required in order to have highly significant effects in producing weight loss in overweight individuals.

But most Americans only get five to 15 grams of fiber per day! And that’s a problem. Fiber is essential for weight loss in more ways than just feeling full. It also slows digestion, which ultimately helps us to burn more calories. It also helps support colon health and regularity. And it has even been shown to lower our LDL “bad” cholesterol and help to ward off chronic illnesses and diseases.

Here are five excellent (and colorful!) sources of fiber:

1. Beans and legumes. Black, white, navy, kidney, red, lima— they all are super rich in fiber, not to mention protein, healthy carbs, antioxidants and other important nutrients such as iron, potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium and the B vitamins. Plus, they’re really affordable!

2. Fruits. Eating plenty of fresh, colorful fruits is one of the best ways to up the nutrient density of your fiber consumption. Aim for variety with apples, apricots, oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mangoes, and pears. And eat the skins when you can/want to!

3. Berries. While berries are technically fruit, they’re worth noting separately. Blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries have seeds and skin that contibute to their high fiber content. And they boast powerful benefits from antioxidants, too, especially the darker ones.

4. Nuts. Almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, and cashews are fiber-filled and even pack some omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Vegetables. Veggies are truly essential for anyone who wants to eat healthy. Just like with fruit, choose a wide array of crunchy, fresh, colorful vegetables such as artichokes, broccoli, peas, avocados, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and especially the leafy green vegetables like spinach.

Still don’t have enough? Fiber can also be taken as a supplement, usually a clear, tasteless powder or a chewable. Learn more about Weight Loss Supplements from our latest Tumblr post.

 

Where do you get your fiber? Any sources we didn’t think of? Let us know in a comment! 

Q & A: Shake It Up With Protein

We’ll acknowledge it right from the beginning: protein shakes have developed quite the reputation for themselves. They’ve been seen out and about with many a bodybuilder and serious gym-goer and have made no attempts to hide their ability to boost muscle mass. But at Greater Pittsburgh Medical Weight Loss, we look beyond that stereotype and see them for what they truly are: a (not chalky) delicious, nutritious way to power through the day for those who lift pens, purses, and Post-its, not just weights. Our Lifestyle Educator & Wellness Coordinator, Bernadette Kabay, is an expert; so, we turned to her for some tips on how to shake up your diet.

What role does protein play in weight loss?

BK: Higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and calorie intake. Diets higher in protein and moderate in carbs, along with regular exercise can reduce blood fats and help balance insulin levels. It also helps maintain lean tissue (muscle) while burning fat for fuel.

How much protein do you need on a daily basis?

BK: Generally, 30% of your diet should be protein, 30% healthy fat and 40% healthy carbohydrates.  If you are more active or trying to drop a few pounds, add a few more grams of protein.

Best sources of protein are found in fish, lean meats, eggs, and plant sources such as beans, soy, nuts and seeds. Protein shakes are excellent to fill in the holes and add an additional source of protein to help hold onto muscle and lose fat when dieting and exercising.

When do you think are the best times to drink a protein shake?

BK: As a replacement for breakfast when time is short or you’re on the go; 45 minutes to 1 hour before or after a workout; and mid-day when a healthy snack  is not available.

Can too much protein be a bad thing?

BK: Additional protein may not be appropriate for pregnant and nursing women, or for those individuals with chronic kidney issues or liver disease.

What’s your favorite flavor we have?

BK: I like the vanilla. I add our Reds powder to it, add a tsp of fiber and a little ground flax seed and water. Now, I have all three components of a meal in a glass! Healthy protein, healthy carbohydrate, healthy fat and fiber. For a summer morning start or after a workout, I may substitute 2 oz of orange juice for the Reds and it tastes like a vanilla creamsicle!

Have any more questions for Bernadette? Drop us a quick comment! 

Best Breakfasts For Burning Belly Fat

ImageCombine these super starts with our Belly Fat Blasting Workout, and you’ll be well on your way to whittling your middle. Contrary to what you may be thinking, the secret to losing fat is not the following two words: low fat. These types of foods and diets tend to be high in refined carbohydrates, which will actually increase belly fat with those who already have it. Commercial, low fat diet foods are usually very high in added sugars, even if they don’t taste sweet.

Another big mistake people make when wanting to lose belly fat is skipping breakfast or not eating enough for breakfast. A bowl of low fat cereal and a cup of coffee can leave you ravenous by lunch.

Instead, you want to focus on protein. You want to eat foods that will help regulate the hormones that promote belly fat in your body: insulin, cortisol and adrenaline. Start your day off the right way by eating what your body can use as fuel, not what will send your blood sugar on a spike and plummet. That’s no way to set your day up for success. Here are five breakfasts recommended by Get Fit Chicago to help you slim down your middle.

1) 2 Eggs + Sliced Tomato + Sprouted English Muffin w/ Butter or Coconut Oil
Eggs are an excellent breakfast, and it’s important to eat the whole egg. They’re full of a valuable nutrient called choline that is completely absent if only eat the whites. Also, sprouted grains help to reduce the amount of phytic acid in our grains, because we don’t need as much as we’re used to getting. A recommended brand for sprouted grains is Food for Life.

2) Oatmeal + Whole Milk (or full fat coconut milk) + Walnuts + Blueberries + Cinnamon
Oatmeal is one of those foods that can depend entirely on how you prepare it whether or not it is a healthy choice. Most pre-packaged oatmeals are filled to the brim with sugar – the instant oatmeals break down quickly in your body, not good for steady blood sugar levels. The milk and walnuts will add plenty of healthy fat and protein. The blueberries, raw if you can, are a great low glycemic food and the cinnamon adds taste but also helps you stay  satisfied for at least a few hours.

3) Full Fat Yogurt + Cinnamon + 1/2 Green Apple + Almond Butter
This tasty combo takes less than two minutes to prep, so it’s great to make if you’re short on time and still want to kick your metabolism into high gear.  Also, green apples are usually lower on the glycemic index than red ones.

4) Mini-BLT Quinoa Cups
If you have a little more time,try these Mini-BLT Quinoa Cups from Iowa Girl Eats. The little cups are healthy, gluten-free and loaded with everything you need to burn belly fat.

5) Strawberry Avocado Smoothie
Avocados are such an awesome source of nutrients, have a smooth flavor and are really easy to disguise in just about anything. Add the strawberry into the mix and you’ve got a delicious, fresh-as-ever breakfast.

Here’s the recipe:

Strawberry Avocado Smoothie
serves 1

1 c. frozen strawberries
¼  ripe avocado
¼ c. plain full fat yogurt
1 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 packet stevia (or 2 tsp honey)

Puree all ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender. Enjoy.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? Tell us in a comment & we’ll tell you if it’s best or worst! 

Top 10 Foods for Heart Health

February is American Heart Month, so we’re focusing on foods that support a healthy blood pressure, good cholesterol, and low blood sugar levels. We rounded up all of the benefits that weight loss can have on your heart, but specific foods can also help to keep your body’s strongest muscle circulating optimally.

As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations from the American Heart Association:

  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
  • Select fat-free, 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Learn more about limiting sodium.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means one drink per day if you’re a woman and two drinks per day if you’re a man.
  • Follow the American Heart Association recommendations when you eat out, and keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Heart Healthy Foods Greater Pittsburgh Medical Weight Loss

 

Have questions about eating for a healthy heart? Ask us on Twitter @GPMWeightLoss!