Weight Loss

Gaining weight doesn't have to be a necessary part of aging. Learn natural weight loss options to help you shed the pounds and keep them off, even stubborn belly fat, on the NorthStar blog.

  1. Shrink Your Stomach Naturally with 10 Quick Techniques

    stomach shrink yourIf you’ve already turned your health around, or if you’re just looking to start, there tends to be one stubborn area that seems hardest to shrink: your stomach.

    Belly fat has a reputation for being some of the hardest to lose – which is even more frustrating because it’s also some of the most detrimental to your health.

    However, there are ways to shrink your stomach, even if you’ve already changed up your diet and embraced crunches!

    Quick Techniques that Equal Long-Term Results

    Like any other health goal, shrinking your stomach is going to take a little time. That doesn’t mean it has to be hard, though.

    1. Start the day with protein. Every morning, you have an opportunity to shrink your stomach. Make the right choices at breakfast. Instead of only reaching for whole grains or fruit, make sure you load up on protein, as well. It revs up your metabolism and gives you long-lasting energy so you don’t reach for belly busters like sugars or refined carbs later in the day.

    2. And recharge with protein about 3:00 pm. Protein also helps control blood sugar, which helps control insulin. This is important because high levels of insulin are what causes your body to store belly fat. Most people go too long between lunch and dinner without protein to prevent this cycle from beginning. Have a small protein snack – a slice of cheese, or a handful of nuts – about three o’clock every afternoon and you’ll shrink your stomach.

    3. Try boxing. When it comes to shrinking your stomach, punches are more effective than crunches. First, you’ll work up a sweat, so it’s aerobic, which means you’re burning fat everywhere, including your stomach. But it’s also anaerobic, so you’re toning and tightening muscles, and not just in your arms. When you punch, you use your entire core as you twist and lunge. By making this one change to your exercise routine, you could lose up to two inches from your waistline. You don’t even have to join a gym or have a sparring partner. “Shadow” boxing is enough. Just be sure to ask your doctor before adding anything to your workout.

    4. Stick to whole grains. People who forgo refined flour for whole grains lose more abdominal fat. It’s that simple. Just remember portion control. You can overeat the healthy stuff, too!

    5. Get some sleep. Staying active isn’t the only way to shrink your stomach. Sleep is just as important. The less sleep a person gets, the higher their levels of cortisone, the stress hormone.
    High levels of cortisone have been linked to weight gain. And not just any weight gain. Weight gain around the stomach. But you can lower your levels of cortisone and shrink your stomach by getting enough rest. Aim for seven to eight hours per night for best results.

    Quick Techniques That Show IMMEDIATE Results

    Sometimes, though, you don’t need your stomach to actually be smaller. It’s enough for it to look like it is. In those times, try these…

    6. Replace your nightly low-carb beer or wine with lemon water. Many people cut back on the amount of water they drink because they think water causes water retention. The truth is the exact opposite. Being hydrated prevents water retention. And since lemon is a natural diuretic, you’re even less likely to retain water. All of which works together to help you shrink your stomach fast.

    7. Swap your salt. Speaking of water retention, salt’s your culprit, not H2O. However, you don’t have to cut out salt completely to shrink your stomach. Use natural sea salt or kosher salt instead of regular table salt. Both taste like the salt you’re used to, but have lower sodium teaspoon per teaspoon than traditional table salt.

    8. Walk after dinner. Sure, the added activity will help you lose weight, and that’s always a good thing. But a quick, ten minute walk after dinner will help you shrink your stomach in another way, too. That ten minute walk is enough to help your digestive system perform more effectively than just slumping on the couch. The walk moves your food through faster, so you have less gas and bloating – which equals a smaller stomach!

    9. Stand up straight. No, this doesn’t actually shrink your stomach, but you can look up to five pounds thinner just by adjusting your posture. Lift your head, straighten your shoulders, and pull in your core muscles. Not only will you look good, you’ll feel good, too.

    10. Take a bath. An Epsom salt bath can help shrink your stomach quickly because they help draw all the water from your body. This helps with bloating and water retention, so you look smaller. Add two cups of Epsom salts to your bath and soak for at least twenty minutes. One word of warning, though – don’t do this daily. You should only take an Epsom salt bath once a week, at the most. If you really want to look your best for a specific event, indulge a day or two beforehand.

    You can shrink your stomach without spending hours doing crunches or sticking to a restrictive diet.

    Be smart. Be healthy.

    And work these ten techniques into your routine. Your waistline will thank you.

  2. 9 Shocking Health Benefits of Eating Beets

    Eating beets benefitsYou know the superfoods: Kale…chia seeds…pomegranates…beets?

    I know, that last one may be shocking but there really are incredible health benefits to eating beets!

    So before you pass them by in the grocery produce section, read on. It’s time to start reaping the benefits of eating beets.

    1. Natural anti-inflammatory. Inflammation isn’t just the swelling at an injury. Inflammation is your body’s response to attack – any kind of attack. And it’s been linked to everything from wrinkles to heart disease, arthritis to cancer. So maintaining your body’s healthy inflammatory response is vital – which is why it’s the first benefit to eating beets on the list! Beets reduce chronic inflammation in two ways. They’re packed with the nutrient choline, which is good for inflammation. Plus, the betalains that contribute to beets’ distinctive red color are also powerful anti-inflammatories.

    2. Antioxidants. By now you know just how important antioxidants are to your overall health. And they're one of our favorite health benefits of eating beets. How they can fight back against free radicals, counter oxidative damage, and prevent disease. And guess which root vegetable is full of antioxidants? But not just common antioxidants that you could get in any fruit or vegetable. No, a benefit of eating beets is the uncommon one – the betalain I just mentioned is a powerful antioxidant linked to the prevention of many of the major, life-threatening conditions.

    3. Aphrodisiac. Since the ancient Romans, beets have been considered beneficial as a libido booster, but there’s reason for it. Beets contain nitrates, which increase blood flow – everywhere. In fact, nitrates are often used in artificial libido boosters because they work so well at increasing arousal. But now you can skip the artificial stuff and get the benefits by eating beets!

    4. Protect your brain and fight dementia. As you age, blood flow decreases, so you get less blood to the brain. It also means you also get less oxygen to the brain. Less blood and oxygen to the brain have been linked to reduced cognitive abilities and dementia. But since we’ve established that the nitrates in beets increase blood flow everywhere that means your brain, too!

    5. Cancer prevention. Not only are beets loaded with powerful and rare antioxidants, beet juice may slow the growth of certain cancer-causing compounds. So drink up!

    6. Diabetes. Among the antioxidants in beets is alpha-lipoic acid, which helps you battle diabetes in three ways. First, and probably most important, it helps lower blood glucose levels. But it has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative damage in diabetes patients. So if you already have diabetes, or if you’re trying to prevent diabetes, talk to your doctor about the benefits of eating beets.

    7. Energy levels and performance. You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of beets when it comes to energy and performance. Yes, professional cyclists and swimmers in studies of beet juice have seen statistically significant changes in their performance. However, the same factors that increased professional athletes’ performance may help people who are struggling with the activities of daily living. If you don’t have the energy to do what you need to do – if that’s pedal faster or climb the stairs with your groceries – there’s no reason beet juice won’t help give you the energy you need to achieve your goals.

    8. Heart health. So many superfoods end up at heart health, and beets are no different. This might be on the most important health benefits of eating beets. If you’re concerned about blood pressure and the cardio impacts of high blood pressure know this: in one study, a small serving of beet juice reduced resting blood pressure by 2%. And other studies have shown similar results, basically locking in beet juice as a good bet when it comes to heart health.

    9. Weight loss. The weight loss benefit of eating beets is easy – beets are high in fiber, which keeps you full, and low in calories, so you can eat a nice-sized portion, which helps keep you full. So looking to lose weight? Think beets.

    Sure, there are other, better known vegetables. But given the impressive benefits of eating beets, maybe it’s time to put down the potato every now and then and pick up a beet!

  3. 10 Unbelievable Food and Diet Myths Debunked

    myths dietWhen it comes to eating for weight loss and better health, it’s easy to think you know all there is to know. Unfortunately, sometimes what you think is true is actually myth. Persistent myth, but myth nonetheless. Like these ten diet myths that seem to stick around, no matter how often they’re debunked! Continue reading →
  4. 6 Unusual Ways to Stop Overeating

    overeating stopIn theory, it’s easy to stop overeating. You tell yourself to stop eating when you’re full, and not to eat after nine in the evening. You might even tell the server not to bring the complementary chips and salsa or warm bread. But if it really was that easy to eat less, we’d all have done it by now. And in reality, it’s just plain hard. Which is why these six unusual ways to end overeating may be just what you’re looking for – Continue reading →
  5. Cinnamon and Weight Loss: Are they REALLY Linked?

    weight loss cinnamon When we first heard about cinnamon being linked to weight loss, we were intrigued and I’ll be the first to admit it. Since reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of overall health, anything natural that might help with weight loss is worth looking at. So, what exactly did we find from our own research? Is there a correlation between cinnamon and weight loss? Can it really help you lose weight? What are the health benefits of cinnamon? Continue reading →
  6. Easy Weight Loss Tips: 5 Simple Tricks for Lasting Fat Loss

    Simple Weight Loss TipsEvery year – whether it’s part of a New Year’s resolution, a plan to get ready for summer, or a pre-holiday promise to lose weight – you say the same thing. You’re finally going to get back in shape. Or simply lose 5 or 10 lbs. to fit into a new pair of jeans. Or maybe you just want to lose weight to look and feel healthier. Whatever your personal motivation, there’s a clear reason you haven’t already hit your goals: Weight loss is hard. Continue reading →
  7. The Best Natural Weight Loss Supplements: 6 Ways to Drop Fat Fast

    The struggle to lose weight is one many people know all too well. The key is, as you know, diet and exercise. But what happens when diet and exercise aren't enough? That’s when it’s time to turn to one of the best natural weight loss supplements. Glabrinex, from Vitamin Research Products. Glabrinex works in 2 ways. First, it suppresses the formation of visceral fat. Second, it helps increase the activity of fat burning enzymes  in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle plan. Combine these 2 and you've got a natural weight loss supplement that’s easy to add to your daily routine. Metabolic Essentials, from Dr. Whitaker. Designed specifically to address Metabolic Syndrome, Metabolic Essentials not only helps you lose up to 30 pounds in 90 days, it also helps support healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Omega-3 Slim, from Dr. Sinatra. A plant-based natural weight loss supplement, Omega-3 Slim harnesses the power of green tea and banaba leaf. The green tea extract helps boost your metabolism, while the banaba leaf helps steady blood sugar levels. SlimSuccess, from BestHealth Nutritionals. Dr. Stengler’s exclusive weight loss formula is now available through the NorthStar Nutritionals website. And we’re not just biased. Studies show the ingredients in the SlimSuccess formula make it one of the best natural weight loss supplements. With ingredients that can boost your weight loss efforts three times over, and help curve nighttime cravings, SlimSuccess takes on your weight loss stumbling blocks with ease. Continue reading →
  8. How to Lose Weight Naturally: 5 Easy Steps to Shed Pounds Fast

    Lose Weight NaturallyEvery year, you make the same goal. “I’m going to join a gym.” “I’m going to eat better.” And you promise that this is the year you finally stick to the plan. But losing weight is hard – especially with our busy schedules, the abundance of unhealthy foods, and the cost of joining a workout class or buying organic foods. However, if you’ve ever wanted to lose weight – and keep it off – I have good news for you… Continue reading →
  9. Help lower your blood pressure - Are BUGS the key?

    Want to lower your blood pressure a few points? Or maybe just keep your already healthy BP in check? Look to your belly. Yes, I did say your BELLY. The bacteria in our guts could be the hidden key to help lower your blood pressure, according to a new 9-study-strong review. Continue reading →
  10. The sunshine vitamin may help reduce blood sugar and weight

    We already knew vitamin D was a superstar, but June sure was a banner month for the sunshine vitamin. Besides being linked to better blood pressure control and dropping your risk of an early death, new research finds that D could turn out to be the key to lowering your blood sugar AND your weight. It turns out that the sunshine vitamin treatments act on the brain to improve both weight and blood glucose control in the overweight, according to an animal study presented at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago. Continue reading →
  11. Popular breakfast cereals are more than 30 percent sugar

    You don’t need me to tell you that sugary breakfast cereals aren’t the healthiest choice you can make, but you still may be shocked by a recent report released by our friends over at the Environmental Working Group. (I was even bowled over by some of the numbers.) If you enjoy sweetened breakfast cereals you might want to look away now—otherwise hold on tight to your bowl and spoon. According to the EWG, 12 common breakfast cereals don’t just pack in a lot of sugar… they’re more than 50 percent sugar!

    Have a little cereal with your sugar

    Kellogg's Honey Smacks and Post Golden Crisp are two brands that found themselves in the EWG's Cereal Hall of Shame. One cereal, Lieber’s Cocoa Frosted Flakes, weighed in at a jaw-dropping 88 percent sugar! And while those are the most extreme examples the EWG reported on, the rest of the so-called kid’s breakfast cereals (come-on, we all know adults who scarf this stuff up by the boxful) in the analysis of over 1,500 brands didn’t fare a whole lot better. In fact, on average the children’s breakfast cereals were 34 percent sugar. Your child or grandchild could scarf down a whole bowl of ice cream, or a 6 pack of little powdered donuts, and still not be hitting such a high percentage of sugar. And if you’re the sugared cereal fan in your house, you should know that if you eat just one bowl of the sweet stuff a day you’ll be swallowing down around 10 pounds of sugar a year!
  12. High protein diet helps keep weight off after dieting

    If you‘ve recently lost weight (or plan to in the New Year), here‘s a sure-fire way to keep it off: Eat more steak...in fact, anything with lots of protein will do. That‘s because a new study found that men and women who eat high-protein foods maintain their weight loss better than those who fill up on carbs. For the study, Danish researchers recruited 773 men and women who had lost an average 25 pounds (or eight percent of their body weight) by following a calorie- restricted diet. They asked the volunteers to drop their old calorie-counting habits and follow a new regimen. Then, the researchers randomly divided the volunteers into four groups: 1. Low-protein/high-glycemic-index diet 2. Low-protein/low-glycemic-index diet 3. High-protein/high-glycemic-index diet 4. High-protein/low-glycemic-index diet The volunteers followed the new regimen for 26 weeks. Then, researchers checked back in on the dieters to see which group maintained their weight loss the best. Here‘s what they found... The low-protein/high-glycemic-index dieters regained three and a half pounds on average. Plus, they were far more likely to drop out of the study all together. On the other hand, the volunteers eating steak and salad (in the high- protein/low-glycemic-index group) actually lost more weight. Plus, they were far less likely to drop out of the study.
    Eat steak in the New Year!
    Here‘s the bottom line, folks. You can lose weight lots of different ways...by eating cabbage soup, by exercising more, or by cutting out the sweets. But the best way to maintain your weight-loss for life is to make sure you‘re getting plenty of protein. Your body digests protein much slower than any other type of food. This makes you feel fuller longer so you‘re less likely to fall off the wagon. So here‘s my advice for 2011... Avoid most carbs unless they come from whole grains like steel-rolled oats or 100 percent whole wheat bread. And most importantly, fill your dinner plate with lean protein and veggies with lots of color. And save the sweets and treats for very special...and very rare...occasions.
  13. Quick healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner

    The fail-proof way to transform your health in 2011 by making small (and easy) changes
    Wouldn‘t it be great to make 2011 your healthiest year ever? Well, it‘s much easier than you think. For breakfast, eggs give you a lot of bang for your buck. They‘re filled with protein and lots of essential nutrients, like sulfur. Just be sure to cook them with the yolk intact. This preserves all the nutrients of the egg. Plus, when youheat the egg yolk and then expose it to air, the cholesterol turns toxic. Butwhen the yolk stays intact, you don‘t have this problem. You can also go for a nice hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Make the oatmeal the night before in a crockpot or let the oats simmer on the stovetop while you‘re getting a shower. Just add two cups of water to one cup of steel-cut oats. These oats are far superior, nutritionally speaking, to quick oats, or even rolled oats. If you need a little sweetness, try adding a teaspoon of raw honey and vanilla. Sometimes, I‘ll add a ripe banana or sprinkle it with blueberries. And I know...sometimes, you just wake up craving pancakes. And that‘s okay! Just make them with whole wheat flour. Not only are they healthier, whole wheat pancakes taste better than sticky white pancakes...and they‘re much more filling. You‘ll find the whole wheat pancake mix in the baking section in many grocery stores nowadays. If one store doesn‘t carry it, try another and stock up. To make the pancakes even heartier, stir in a scoop of wheat germ, plain yogurt, or protein powder to the batter. The kids or grandkids won‘t even taste the difference! And what‘s a pancake without syrup, right? Well, syrup is fine on occasion. Just leave Mrs. Butterworth on the shelf and choose real maple syrup instead. And just use a touch. You can also top your hot cakes with fruit juice, raw honey, or real butter. Apple butter is good too. Just skip the margarine. Don‘t buy anything in a tub, unless it‘s whipped real butter. It‘s lighter than stick butter...but still make with good old-fashioned sweet cream. The key here is to read all labels carefully!
    Make lunch a snap with lots of protein
    Lunch is probably the easiest meal to fix the healthy way. That‘s because, if you ask me, there‘s nothing tastier than a turkey sandwich piled high with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Just make sure you use 100 percent whole wheat bread (again, check the label). Also, you‘ll want to choose lunchmeat that‘s free from nitrates. Nitrates are preservatives added to lunchmeats and hot dogs to extend their shelf life. But many mainstream grocery stores now carry nitrate-free lunchmeat that you can have sliced behind the deli counter. The biggest problem is that it‘s expensive. Plus, it goes bad faster because it doesn‘t contain preservatives. So, only buy what you can use in one week. Also, Hormel carries a line of pre-packaged nitrate-free lunchmeat. You can stock up on this when it goes on sale and throw it in the freezer. Just take it out and thaw it when you‘re ready to use it.
    Plan ahead for healthy dinners
    Dinner can be tricky to keep healthy and appealing day after day, week after week. But here‘s what I‘ve learned from experience: Variety is the key. So go to your local public library and check out some interesting cookbooks. Try a few Indian, Moroccan, or Asian-inspired cookbooks. Take them home and make copies of your favorite recipes. Write them on recipe cards and keep the ingredients on hand so you can have a few options in the evening. I‘ve also found that I can throw just about anything in a wok (chicken, steak, peppers, or broccoli), add a little ground ginger, and it will taste amazing. A good rice cooker or steamer is also essential. Just be sure to use short-grain brown rice. Pastas are fine for dinner too. Just make sure you choose pastas made from 100 percent whole wheat, brown rice, or artichoke flour. You‘ll also want to add a hefty serving of protein with any pasta dish. This will help to lower your meal‘s glycemic index. And the best news is, you can...
    Go ahead, have a few snacks...
    You are really going to enjoy your snacks in 2011...and popcorn is an excellent choice! Buy the kernels and pop them yourself on the stove. Sprinkle your popped corn with cayenne pepper, dill powder, or garlic powder. You can also use a little butter or olive oil to make the spices stick to the popped corn. But whatever you do... Avoid the temptation to buy the microwave popcorn. The "butter" flavoring is far from real butter. Plus, a chemical called PFOA (also known as C8) lines many popcorn bags. It‘s used to keep the popcorn from sticking to the bag. (As a side note, PFOA is also used to make Teflon. So avoid these types of non-stick pans. Instead, always cook with stainless steel.) Why is PFOA so bad? Well, in 2005, an advisory panel to the EPA found that PFOA is a "likely carcinogen" that causes cancer in rats and mice. They stopped short of calling it a hazard to humans. But I‘d avoid it all together and pop your corn the old-fashioned way. Other snacks you can feel good about include:
    • Fruits & veggies
    • Cheese & whole wheat crackers
    • Cinnamon toast with raw honey and whole-grain bread
    • Organic fruit juice popsicles
    • Nuts
    • Granola with almond or oat milk
    • Hard-boiled eggs
    • Rice cakes with peanut butter (natural, of course)
    This is the way the human race was designed to eat...lots of fruits and veggies...meat and fish...very little sugar...and no refined flour or processed foods. It may take a little time, but I think you‘ll find your groove within a few weeks. Before long, you‘ll notice your palate start to change. A little bit of sugar will suddenly seem "too sweet." But if you have a "junk" day once in a while, don‘t sweat it. Just start over the next day. Here‘s to making 2011 your healthiest year ever!
  14. Trim belly fat with whole grain foods?

    Today, I want you to throw out the white rice, white bread, and white pasta from your kitchen cabinets. Not only will you notice a difference in your digestive health, you‘ll probably see your waistline shrink too. In fact, a new study conducted by U.S. researchers confirmed that limiting refined grains translates into less belly fat. And that‘s important, because...
    Not all fat is created equal
    Visceral Adipose Tissue (or VAT) is a type of fat that‘s far more dangerous than thunder thighs or jelly arms. VAT surrounds the organs inside your abdomen. It also plays a major role in the development of some serious health issues. According to Paul Jacques, co-author of the new study, "Prior research suggests visceral fat is more closely tied to the development of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors including hypertension, unhealthy cholesterol levels and insulin resistance that can develop into cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes." But there‘s one easy way to reduce your visceral fat: Just eat whole grains instead of refined grains.
    Whole grains keep your waistline trim
    For the latest study, researchers examined questionnaires completed by 2,800 men and women ages 32 to 83. They found that men and women who ate three or more servings a day of whole grains had 10 percent less visceral fat. To reap these benefits, the men and women also limited their intake of refined grains to less than one serving per day. On the other hand, participants who ate three servings of whole grains, but also ate more than four servings of refined grains throughout the day did not see their VAT volume shrink. This means you can‘t just chow down on whole wheat bagel in the morning, then eat white bread the rest of the day and think you‘re on the right track. You‘re not. You‘ve got to replace all the refined grains in your diet with whole grains to cut away at that harmful visceral fat But...
    Not all grains are created equal
    Food manufacturers like to make it tricky for you to spot the whole grain foods. They throw around words like "made with whole wheat" or "made with whole grains." You‘ve probably picked up one of these products before. And you felt good, thinking you‘d made a healthy choice. Instead, they duped you. In reality, the product probably contained very little whole grain. So to help you become a more informed shopper, here‘s a basic primer about whole grains... An unrefined grain means it‘s left intact in its original state. It‘s not processed in any way. To get a true whole wheat bread, cereal, or pasta, the label must say "100 percent stone ground whole wheat." There shouldn‘t be any second grain listed (unless it‘s another whole grain). So read labels carefully! Also, here are some safe grains too look for when reading labels:
    • Short grain brown rice
    • Dehulled barley, not pearled
    • Whole oats (make your oatmeal the old-fashioned way!)
    • Quinoa
    • Millet
    • Amaranth
    • 100 percent stone ground whole wheat
    • Corn (pop it yourself on the stove top)
    • Rye (just be careful in choosing bread made with 100 percent rye)
    Plus, if you‘re a noodle lover like me, I‘ve got some great news! Whole grain noodles have come a long way. Some of the tastiest noodles I‘ve found come from artichokes or brown rice. You‘ll be surprised by the variety in most good grocery stores. I recommend choosing angel hair pasta. It‘s lighter than other wholegrain varieties and you won‘t need as much. Plus, your waistline will thank you!

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