by Rey Vetangelo

Fad diets and meal plan systems promote promises of incredible weight loss with the ability to keep the weight off. While some of these systems do prove successful, others fail miserably to deliver on their promises. When it comes to weight loss and diet, the key is to consume natural foods that are high in nutrients and low in processed carbs, sugars, and fats.

While whole grains are carb heavy, they are heart healthy! By eliminating super processed grains like white rice and enriched white flour, you are cutting a significant portion of the bad carbs we typically consume. Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and barley add a significant number of much needed vitamins to your diet while also providing your body with the tools it needs to better process the cholesterol you consume.

Once the crash hits, hitting the gym and making a healthy meal is often overlooked for another option-perhaps skipping the gym and grabbing takeout. Finally, once it's time to go to bed it's difficult to fall asleep because you're all wound up from your food-derived energy roller coaster.

You want to include two types of proteins in your diet, fish and soy. Fish are a wonderful source of Omega-3 Fatty acids. Omega-3 can boost your immune system, reduce your risk of heart disease, and promote overall circulatory health. These can also be found in some nuts and beans, so including almond, walnut, or natural peanut butter can be a great alternative to the super processed options found in most stores.

This calm state additionally provides an opportunity for reflection and introspection. As you are relaxed there is less activity in your amygdala, which is directly involved in how we experience negative emotions. During meditation you are less prone to feelings of guilt, doubt, and fear. Free of those emotions, you can examine life from a clearer perspective, potentially gaining new insight into old experiences and your own natural emotional reactions.

But you can commit to making a change, no matter who you are, whether you live in Utah or Delaware, you can make significant changes to improve your life by changing your sleep habits. On average, adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. If we routinely get less than seven hours of sleep, it negatively affects the hormones released at night and while we sleep.

When it comes to veggies, leafy greens are your best friend. Spinach, romaine, kale, mustard greens, and swiss chard can provide a healthy foundation for your diet. Add some root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, taking care to keep the potato skins, with onion or shallots and garlic, and you have the makings of some super yummy, healthy meals that promote weight loss. Other vegetables you don't want to miss are asparagus, bell peppers, tomato, and broccoli.

As you work to adjust your diet you will find, if you are calorie counting, that as you cut more processed food from your diet, you will be able to fit a larger amount of lower calorie, healthy foods into your meal plan.

Although sleeping to lose weight, may seem like a headline from a magazine, it really works. Be sure to make the changes that you need to in order to get the proper amount of daily rest, so you can avoid gaining weight, which could require weight loss surgery, if not managed properly.

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