Every new day offers the chance to beat a bad habit—and improve the way you feel. If your bathroom scale has recently registered gains, you probably know how much damage sugary desserts and treats can do.
Low in nutrients and high in empty calories and fats, most holiday baked goods—along with many processed foods, juices, and soft drinks—contribute to aging, blood sugar imbalances, cardiovascular disease, learning problems, obesity, tooth decay, Type 2 diabetes, and yeast infections.
Indulging in sugar stimulates your appetite and only strengthens cravings.
You don’t need to go on a crash diet to lose pounds. Cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners to flatten your belly, suggests nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS. “You will be motivated by instant, measurable results.”
Add more fiber—from winter vegetables like hard-skinned squash and sweet potatoes, as well as beans and legumes—to keep you feeling full while boosting your nutritional intake. Add fiber gradually and increase your intake of water to prevent digestive distress.
You need at least 25 grams of fiber daily. One easy way to boost fiber intake is to mix one teaspoon of psyllium to a glass of water with a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice a half hour before breakfast or retiring for the night.
“Psyllium is a naturally occurring bulking agent with no side effects—unless you have a rare allergy to the plant,” says nutritionist Nan Kathryn Fuchs, PhD. “Because it contains no artificial sweeteners, sugar, or potentially harmful chemicals, it’s safer than other over-the-counter bulking agents.”
It’s difficult to lose weight (even holiday pounds) without exercising, so make regular workouts part of your New Year’s resolutions. If you need extra help shedding weight, add the sweet herb stevia to your tea. Stevia is 250 times sweeter than sugar—and calorie free, so it won’t spike blood sugar or cause dental decay.
Relieve cravings with chromium and L-glutamine, which help stabilize blood sugar (and may also contribute to healthy weight loss).
The Ayurvedic herb gymnema (known as “the sugar destroyer” because it inhibits your enjoyment of sweets) balances blood sugar levels, while supporting weight loss.