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Weight Loss Feature Article

Tips for weight loss

 

Ghrelin

 

Ghrelin is a hormone, secreted in your belly and intestines when your stomach is empty that makes you want to eat. And if you ignore the signals, which typically come every half hour or so, then your belly sends out more ghrelin. "And not just a little bit more," says Dr. Oz. "A ton more until you're absolutely famished and have to eat whatever you see." This is why deprivation dieting or starvation dieting doesn't work, he explains. Ghrelin is so powerful, it will eventually trump your will power, and you'll end up raiding your fridge and pantry. "There's no way to say No to it," says Dr. Oz. So, how do you get ghrelin to work for you and not against you?


Have a small snack about half an hour before you sit down to eat your meal.

 

Dr. Oz suggests a small handful of nuts, a small piece of fruit, even a glass of water with some psyllium fiber mixed in (get the kind that dissolves completely, so there's no grittiness). Because ghrelin levels rise when you're hungry and take about 30 minutes to return to normal once you're done eating, having a pre-meal snack gets this process going so that you actually feel like eating less when you finally sit down to dine.


Eat slowly.

 

"This is one of the most important things you can do," he says. Again, when we eat slowly, reminds Dr. Oz, it gives our ghrelin levels a chance at dropping back down to normal. "When you actually sit down, the ghrelin has already started to come down a little bit and you can hold yourself back," he says. In other words, when we don't feel hungry anymore, we can feel more satisfied by eating less food.


Really pay attention to what you're eating.

 

When we focus on the food we're eating -- as opposed to just shoveling it in during American Idol or Survivor -- number one, we appreciate it more and even taste it more. And two, it makes it easier to recognize when our bodies say, "Hey, stop eating, I'm full." When we eat with our eyes on the TV, it's entirely possible to clean our plates and then some without even noticing what or how much we ate, which can lead to overeating.


Leptin

 

Leptin, which is a protein that's secreted by our bodies' own fat, works the weight loss problem from on the other end. While ghrelin controls how hungry (or not) we feel, leptin controls how full we feel and let's us know when it's time to put down the fork and push back from the table. And -- bonus! -- it also helps us burn more calories. "If you can get your leptin levels high, you'll have a greater ability to keep your hunger and appetite in check," says Dr. Oz.


Avoid foods rich in high-fructose corn syrup.

 

 This can be challenging because high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is added to tons of processed foods, says Dr. Oz. Sure, you expect it in sugary cereals or regular sodas. But it also shows up in unlikely places, like low-fat/fat-free salad dressings, condiments, sweetened yogurts, breads. Yikes! So you need to become diligent label reader. If high fructose corn syrup is on the ingredient list, leave the product on the supermarket shelf. This is essential because beyond the empty calories that come with these foods, the fructose found in HFCS actually blocks leptin from letting your brain know that you're done eating. And because your brain also doesn't recognize fructose as a real food, it makes you want to keep eating. In other words, fructose makes your appetite runs amok -- you're driven to eat with no brake on your appetite. And those calories get stored as fat! Double yikes!


Eat foods rich in unsaturated fats.

 

Unsaturated fats -- monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats -- are the healthy fats that you've probably heard are great for your heart. They're found in foods like olives and olive oil, avocados (and guacamole!), nuts, seeds, fish, like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines, and other vegetable and seed oils, like canola, safflower, sunflower, corn and sesame oils. But not only are these types of fats good for your heart and arteries, they also help boost your leptin levels, so they're more satisfying than saturated fats (found in meats, eggs and dairy foods). According to Dr. Oz, eating foods high in saturated fats doesn't raise leptin levels nearly as much as foods high in unsaturated fats. So while gram for gram both types of fat contain 9 calories apiece, unsaturated fat calories are actually working in your favor -- both for your heart and your waist line.


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