8 Amazing Ways Your Body Changes As You Lose Weight 

We all have personal motivating factors that help us launch our weight loss journeys. For most of us, these reasons usually include goals like wanting to look better in our swimsuits, to fit into our high school jeans or to wear a tighter notch on our belts. Although losing pounds and inches feels absolutely gratifying, most of us don’t expect all of the other amazing alterations that happen in our bodies as we lose weight! Below are eight common–and unexpected–transformations that also happen while we’re busy minding the measurements. Consider them incentive to focus less on the numbers themselves and more on the healthy shifts you will notice in your body over time. Already past your weight loss transformation? Be sure to share the unexpected body changes you experienced along with way!  

Your hormones optimize.  

Most people don’t know that fat cells excrete extra estrogen in both men and women, which can then wreak havoc with your hormone balance. When your body has too much estrogen or is estrogen dominant, symptoms can creep up, including lowered testosterone and libido, muscle loss and general fatigue. When your body loses fat and decreases fat cell size, however, many of these symptoms go away as your hormones gradually normalize again. My clients often explain that as they lose weight, their libido starts to rise. Although enhanced body image can contribute to that change, better hormonal balance is likely a significant influence as well.  

Your brain is happier.

A whole foods diet, consistent exercise and movement, and better sleep can all contribute to optimum balance of our brains’ neurotransmitters as well. That can mean a better mood and more stress resilience in your everyday life.

You’ll store fewer toxins.

Our bodies are exposed to thousands of toxins each and every day through the food we eat and other aspects of our environment. Fat cells love toxins and are known to store them when our bodies can’t keep up withdetoxification due to overload. Consequently, the more fat we have, the more toxic we can become! The result? We can experience symptoms such as fatigue, complexion changes, body odor, etc. On the other hand, when we lose fat, we store fewer of these toxins, which decreases related symptoms and disease such as cancer. Note: as your body breaks down fat and releases it, these toxins simply dump into your body. That’s why it’s so critical to support natural detoxification through plenty of filtered water, dry sauna usage and a clean diet.

Your complexion will be brighter.

If you’ve ever looked at any set of before and after photos in a weight loss success story, you’ll notice how much brighter and radiant members’ faces are in the after photos! Fewer toxins, enhanced circulation, improved nutrition, better hormonal balance–and new confidence!–all contribute to making our skin more supple and healthier looking. It’s actually my favorite part to see in my clients’ transformations. 

You’ll sleep more soundly. 

We’ve talked about how lack of sleep can cause weight gain and other metabolic nightmares, but have you heard of anyone sharing how they get better sleep after losing weight? Many of my beginning clients often snore, wake often or have trouble breathing at night. All of these complaints seem to rapidly disappear following or even during a weight loss transformation. 

Your immune system will be stronger.

The receptors on our fat cells attract immune system cells. Immune system cells’ jobs include promoting subtle inflammation in our bodies to help fight off pathogens like viruses. When we carry around extra fat pounds, our body begins to produce a heightened immune response as if we were trying to fight off a virus or an injury. A little inflammation is okay, as it’s intended to help the body fight off infection, but when it’s caused by extra poundage, it can be a slow killer to the body. When we lose the extra fat, we lower the inflammation and our risk for any associated damage to the body.  

Your blood pressure will decrease.

Stored fat (specifically belly fat) can heighten blood pressure in the body. Heightened blood pressure is a risk factor for many metabolic issues as well as heart disease. When we shed pounds, blood pressure tends to normalize, reducing these risks.  Stress is another common culprit in high blood pressure. Consider that you’ll benefit even more if you include stress management in your health journey! 

You’ll enjoy better mobility.

Carrying around extra pounds tends to cause serious wear and tear on the body – especially when your structure and internal organs were developed for a smaller stature. Added weight impacts everything, including extra stress on your joints and muscles. My clients are always amazed to find out not just how much more active they become after losing weight, but how much more mobile they are playing with their kids or performing everyday activities such as tying their shoes or even walking. Here’s one “best practice” for illuminating the difference your body is enjoying: carry around the weight you lost. For example, if you lost 20 pounds, carry around two 10-pound dumbbells to get a quick realization of how much extra stress your body was shouldering! 
Written by Anika DeCoster – Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss
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What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index, simply put, is a measure of how quickly a food causes our blood sugar levels to rise.
The measure ranks food on a scale of 0 to 100. Foods with a high glycemic index (GI) are quickly digested and absorbed, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. These foods that rank high on the GI scale are often — but not always — high in processed carbohydrates and sugars. Pretzels, for example, have a glycemic index of 83; and a baked potato without the skin clocks in at 98.
Meanwhile, foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed at a slower rate, and, subsequently, cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels. These are typically rich in fiber, protein and/or fat. Examples of these include apples with a glycemic index of 28, Greek-style yogurt at 11, and peanuts at 7. Keep in mind that a low GI doesn’t mean a food is high in nutrients. You still need to choose healthy foods from all five food groups.
Diets centered on mostly low-GI foods can make it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, since these foods keep us feeling fuller, longer. Low-GI diets have also been shown to improve insulin resistance, and lower glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
One exception to the recommendation of a mostly low-GI diet is after intense or prolonged exercise. Consuming high glycemic foods can actually be more beneficial for muscle recovery, since they’re rapidly digested.

Glycemic Index: An Imperfect System, but Useful Tool

A food’s GI ranking only applies when a food is consumed on an empty stomach without any other type of food. As anyone who’s ever eaten food knows, this isn’t always how we eat. Sure, a bag of pretzels may be a stand-alone snack, but how often do we eat just a plain potato with nothing else?
Add a lean steak or a piece of salmon, a side of broccoli and a salad with vinaigrette, and the protein, fiber and fat will all serve to lower the glycemic index.
In addition, the glycemic index doesn’t take into account how much we’re actually consuming. The GI value of a food is determined by giving people a serving of the food that contains 50 grams of carbohydrate minus the fiber, then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the next two hours.
A serving of 50 grams of carbohydrate in one sitting is reasonable for a food like rice, which has 53 grams of carbs per cup. But for beets, a GI ranking of 64 is a little misleading. Since beets have just 13 grams of carbs per cup, we would need to consume nearly 4 cups of beets in order to cause that spike in blood sugar levels.

An Alternative to Glycemic Index

Glycemic load (GL) is a formula that corrects for potentially misleading GI by combining portion size and GI into one number. The carbohydrate content of the actual serving is multiplied by the food’s GI, then that number is divided by 100. So for a cup of beets, the GL would be: 13 times 64 = 832 divided by 100 = a GL of 8.3.
As a frame of reference, a GL higher than 20 is considered high, between 11 and 19 is considered moderate, and 10 or less is considered low.
The bottom line: Even though the glycemic index isn’t a perfect system, it can be a useful tool to identify lower-glycemic foods that are often more nutrient-dense, as well as what foods are higher in refined carbohydrates.

Now Available – Taste the Freedom Cookbook by Chef Verati

Chef Daniel Verati shares over 250 delicious new recipes in his new book Taste the Freedom
Three years after losing over 100 pounds and surviving a heart attack, world-renowned Chef Verati cooks up a storm in his second book, Taste the Freedom, presenting more than 250 delicious recipes for a better lifestyle.

In this vibrant cookbook featuring over 100 mouth-watering images, Chef Verati shows the way to healthy eating and keeping the pounds off without stress.

With hundreds of appetizing recipes to stimulate the taste buds, Taste the Freedom promises satisfying cooking experiences for families looking for every day meal inspiration or for people on Phase 4 of the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method.

From low fat to low carbohydrates meal ideas, Chef Verati’s easy-to-follow recipes emphasize the natural flavors and textures found in ingredients with tasty and appealing results.

Chef Verati has more than 20 years of experience in the culinary arts. His passion for healthy eating has inspired millions of people to get back in the kitchen and take pleasure in cooking fresh, nutritious food. In addition to working in a number of famous restaurants around the world, Chef Verati managed his own five-star restaurant and taught in some of the world’s most prestigious cooking schools.

Bon appétit!

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4 Reasons Why You Should Never Skip Breakfast

By Deborah Enos, CN, Columnist 

Are you tired of hearing about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, this advice probably not going to stop until more of us start eating our morning meals.
About 18 percent of males and 13 percent of females between the ages of 35 and 54 are breakfast skippers, according to a 2011 study by the market research company NPD group.
But the evidence that suggests that breakfast is a meal not-to-be-skipped is overwhelming. In fact, I have never encountered a study that suggests the opposite.
Here a look at some of the research showing the possible benefits of breakfast:
Diabetes: Skipping breakfast may increase a woman’s diabetes risk, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Women who ate breakfast an average of zero to six times per week were at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women who ate breakfast every day. 
Heart Disease: Eating breakfast was associated with a lower incidence of heart disease in men between ages 45 and 82, according to a July study in the journal Circulation. The study also found that skipping breakfast was associated with hypertension, insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels.
Memory: A 2005 Journal of the American Dietetic Association review of 47 breakfast-related studies found that eating breakfast is likely to improve cognitive function related to memory and test grades. Translation: Eating breakfast is a smart move!
Weight Loss: In one recent study, people who ate breakfast as their largest meal lost an average of 17.8 pounds over three months. The other participants consumed the same number of total calories per day, but ate most of their calories at dinner, according to the study published in July in the journal Obesity. The large-dinner group only lost an average of 7.3 pounds each over the same time period.