Your Healthy Lifestyle
Quick Reference Guide
Welcome to your new weight loss journey and guide to lower your blood sugar and make a healthier version of yourself!
We will not focus on calories. Instead of counting calories or starving yourself. You will learn to use delicious, satisfying foods to encourage your body to enter a natural fat-burning state. You will learn to count carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Patients that count carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are three times more successful than those that don’t. You will focus on whole fresh foods, small amounts of nutrient-dense carbohydrates (vegetables,) moderate proteins, and healthy fats.
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
Calories come from three sources known as Macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Contrary to what most people think or have been taught, calories are not interchangeable. Instead, our bodies react differently to each type in ways that affect our body weight and overall health.
Protein is primarily found in meats, poultry, fish, and meat substitutes but also exists in cheese, milk products (full-fat only), nuts, and legumes such as beans.
Protein is an important building block for bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is also a natural appetite suppressant that will help you feel full. Remember, though, not too little, and not too much. A serving is 3-4 ounces (about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.) Remember, a food scale is always your best option to ensure serving size accuracy!
It is best to avoid all kinds of beans, chickpeas, and lentils unless you are vegan or vegetarian. Although nuts contain protein and healthy fat, they do contain a significant amount of carbohydrates and should be limited as well.
Do not fear fats despite what you may have been told by your doctor, nutritionist, and the media. Healthy fats are part of a complete and nutritious diet.
Healthy fats are essential to our health because they...
Curb Appetite and hunger
May improve cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type II Diabetes
Are an essential component in cell membranes
Help brain cells communicate with one another
Encourage your body to transition into a fat-burning state
Focus on the Three Healthy Fats
Focus on monounsaturated, saturated, and omega-3 fatty acids.
1) Monounsaturated fats are preferred because they lower “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) and raise “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL.) These fats are found in nuts, avocados, eggs, and several oils.
2) Saturated fats are cardiovascular neutral (neither good nor bad) and a key component of a low-carb lifestyle.
3) Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats with potent anti-inflammatory, mental and cardiovascular health benefits (e.g., lower triglycerides and raise HDL.) Unfortunately, your body will not make Omega 3-fatty acids; therefore, you must consume them.
Saturated fats are found in coconut oil and dairy (e.g., milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, and meats). Coconut oils contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil), which is directly absorbed and used as energy stored as fat in the body.
In meats, you can find a healthier mix of fats (e.g., greater omega 3’s) from pasture-raised, grass-fed, and sustainably raised animals.
Use olive oil as your primary cooking oil. Consider these healthy alternatives: canola, avocado, peanut, and high-oleic safflower oils.
Unhealthy Fats – Fats to Avoid
Humans evolved to eat naturally occurring fats. Unfortunately, industrially engineered foods are prevalent in the modern diet. Unhealthy fats like margarine, trans-fats, and corn oil pose serious health risks by promoting inflammation (the root cause of chronic diseases) and causing cardiovascular disease. As a result, we recommend avoiding polyunsaturated “hydrogenated” oils, which are all processed fats.
- Trans fats are found in “partially hydrogenated oils.” If you see this term listed on the ingredients list of a packaged food, avoid it. Sources of trans fat include packaged sweets, snack foods, margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods, and candy bars.
- Industrialized Seed Oils are highly processed oils extracted from soybeans, corn, grapeseed (canola), cottonseed, and sunflower, safflower seeds (non-high oleic.)
Remember to use up to three or more healthy fats in your daily eating.
Carbohydrates (carbs) stimulate the energy storage hormone called “insulin,” which stores fat. High carbs stimulate the body to be digested more quickly. Examples of these are sugars: honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, potatoes, corn, pasta, rice, crackers, chips, and high-fructose fruit like mangos, bananas, grapes, raisins, dried fruit, and grapefruit.
Overconsumption of carbs, especially the processed kinds, drives health risks by triggering:
Inflammation that leads to a host of diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and various cancers.
The formation of small dangerous cholesterol particles in the bloodstream, leading to heart attack and stroke.
Acceleration of the aging process and a decrease in longevity.
About The Plan
Why follow a low-carb, moderate protein, and moderate healthy fat plan? Because it works!
Think of it as a lifestyle, not a diet. Change your mindset now, and you will be more successful.
Set Yourself Up for Success
It is important to give yourself the tools and knowledge in order to set yourself up for success.
Nutritional Ketosis vs A Keto Diet
Nutritional ketosis is not the same as a “keto diet.” Once you begin eating low-carb, moderate protein, and moderate healthy fat, your body will start using the fat stored in your body as an energy source. This conversion of stored fat into energy is called “nutritional ketosis." This process for some starts in 48 hours, and for others, it can take up to 2-3 weeks. If you eat too many carbs or go off of the program, it can take up to 48 hours to get back into the nutritional ketosis stage.
Important Things To Know Before You Begin
You must drink enough water to lose weight. Remember, thirst can be confused for hunger. If you are hungry, take a step back and ask yourself, “how much water have I had to drink today?” If you are under 70 years of age, you should consume 80-100 ounces per day. If you are over 70 years of age, you should drink 60 ounces per day.
If you have kidney disease, please consult your nephrologist. You may supplement 40 ounces of this with sparkling water, herbal tea, salted bullion in two cups of hot water, unsweetened almond, or coconut milk. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol do not count towards your goal because they are a diuretic, which causes your kidneys to flush extra sodium and water from the body through urine.
The less you drink, the better the results. Some reasons to avoid alcohol are:
It is broken down directly in the liver and strongly promotes the formation of fat cells
It has little to no nutritional value
It lowers inhibitions, which often leads to proof food choices
It is caloric, but it does not satisfy hunger, so it adds to the calories you intake without the benefit of curbing your appetite
If you choose to consume alcohol, limit your intake to two or fewer drinks a week. Be sure to steer away from sugary drinks like margaritas and piña coladas. Better choices are whiskey, vodka, tequila, light beer, and champagne.
Sit at a table, don't stand and eat
It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal that you are full to your
Put down your fork between each bite and chew your food thoroughly
Do you know what plate color makes you eat less?
Bright warm-tone colors like red, orange, and yellow increase appetites. Particularly red, it increases blood pressure and heart rate and makes you feel hungrier. The color blue has shown to be the best of all; however, grey, black, brown, and purple also have appetite suppressant qualities.
Plates Make a Difference
Plate sizes have increased dramatically over the years. Consider using smaller plates to encourage portion control. Also, remember to fill half of your plate with lettuce, a quarter with vegetables, and a quarter with protein.
Planning is Everything
The key to success is consistently planning and organizing your meals and snacks ahead of time.
Invest an hour or two a week in planning, shopping, and preparing your meals and snacks
Check weekly ads and plan meals based on nutritional value and sales
Consider using a keto meal delivery service for a main meal and supplement with salads and snacks
Try to batch cook on your days off, label glass containers, and put them in the freezer for future meals
You can find almost any recipe you crave online. Just remember to put the word “keto” in front of what you are searching for in the search bar (i.e., keto lasagna)
Track your carbs, protein, and healthy fats. You will be three times more successful if you track everything you put in your mouth. The first week is always the hardest, but by week two, it becomes easier.
CarbManager is an easy app you can use, but there are other great apps to track your success, like My Fitness Pal. Find the one you are the most comfortable with, and stick with it.
CarbManager sets up your nutritional goals based on your weight (i.e., <50g carbs, 90-120g protein, and 70-80g healthy fats.)
Increase Your Activity Level
Have you heard the saying, “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet?” Exercise is excellent for overall health and wellness, but it is not the primary tool you should think of for weight loss.
The Difference Between Exercise and Being Physically Active
- Physical Activity is a movement carried out by the skeletal muscles that require energy. In other words, any movement one does is physical activity.
- Exercise however, is a planned, structured, repetitive, and intentional movement to improve or maintain physical fitness. Therefore, exercise is a subcategory of physical activity.
Research provides significant evidence that all physical activity contributes to overall health and wellbeing. So, instead of just focusing on exercise, focus on being more physically active. Start by adding more movement to your life by doing activities you enjoy, such as walking or gardening. Then, gradually add more activity to your day. Think of exercise as one of the many tools you have to improve your health.
The first few weeks on the weight loss program, you may want to take it easy with your exercise regime as your body gets into the ketosis stage.
The Scale May Not be Changing as Much as You Are
Keep in mind, that the scale may not be changing as much as your body is. Sometimes you will not see a reflection of you hard work on the scale, but your body will be changing. Your clothes may feel looser, you may find you have more energy or you are able to do more than you had in the past. We recommend using a scale that measures your percentage of body fat, not just your weight. This type of scale will help you to track your progress more thoroughly than a traditional scale. The goal is to decrease the percentage of body fat and increase lean muscle mass in our bodies.
Take a minute to reflect on your daily activity levels, and consider making a detailed plan that includes both elements:
Daily increased physical activity
Structured, planned, intentional exercise to improve physical fitness as your body gets into the ketosis stage
What Carbohydrate Restriction Does
Carbohydrate restriction enables weight loss by promoting the breakdown of fat in your body and minimizes hunger and reduces long-term carbohydrate cravings. Depending on your starting weight and degree of insulin resistance (or carb sensitivity,) your provider will prescribe a certain number of carbs, proteins and healthy fats per day.
The best sources of carbohydrates are fresh fruits and vegetables that have high-fiber content and low effects on blood sugars. These can be found in the “preferred fruits and vegetables" section. The reason the items listed are preferred during your weight loss phase is because they have a lower effect on your blood insulin levels and ensure a slow and sustained release of glucose, rather than causing spikes and falls of glucose levels. Spikes and falls in insulin levels result in feeling poor, tired, hungry or with cravings. In addition, preferred carbohydrates contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and a host of important phytonutrients.
During the weight loss phase, we recommend that you limit fruit to one serving per day and consume 2 cups of preferred vegetables if you are under 200lbs, or 3 cups if you are over 200 lbs.
Keep in mind, there are many “free” vegetables, or fillers, that you can consume as much of as you like.
To measure serving sizes, use a measuring cup.
If you don’t have one handy, use this rule of thumb, one cup is roughly the size of a baseball.
Our Favorite Resources
We always encourage our patients to do their own research and be informed about their health. However, we understand that finding reliable and accurate information about diabetes and weight management online can be difficult. Here are some of the resources that we recommend for the most up-to-date, clinically approved education.