5 Weight Loss Tips for Your New Year’s Resolution

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Does your New Year’s resolution involve losing a couple kilos, shrinking a few centimeters, or dropping a pant size? If so, you’re not alone. There are countless health benefits to losing excess body weight, but this resolution extends far beyond the New Year. Successful weight loss means losing it permanently.

Try these five tips to make 2015 the beginning of your thinner, healthier life.

  1. Slow and steady. If you want the weight to stay off, do not rush. People who lose weight slowly are more likely to keep it off.[1]
  2. Prioritize sleep. While this could be a resolution in its own, getting a good night sleep is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight.
  3. Keep active. On top of your scheduled workout, integrate physical activity into daily tasks. Walk your kids to school, take the stairs, or bike to the store.
  4. Eat! Weight loss does not equal hunger. Fill your plate with nourishing plant-based foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, but low in calories. Load up on fresh greens, mushrooms, berries, and tomatoes.
  5. Fibre, fibre, fibre! People who eat more fibre have lower body weight.[2] This is because fibre-rich foods are satisfying and filling. They help keep blood sugar steady and cravings curbed. Boost your intake of beans, seeds, and whole grains, or add PGX granules to your meals.*

What’s your weight loss tip?

 

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®

 

References:

[1] Heart & Stroke Foundation. “Canadians Trapped on Weight-Loss Rollercoaster.” Heart & Stroke Foundation. 2014. Web. 28 December 2014.

[2] Korczak, Renee and Joanne L. Slavin. “Effects of Dietary Fiber on Body Mass Index: A Systematic Review of Cross-Sectional Studies, Prospective Cohort Studies and Randomized Controlled Trials.” The FASEB Journal 27 (2013): 1079.3. Print.

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PGX FitBit Flex Giveaway!

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There’s no falling away from your 2015 health and fitness goals when you have a FitBit® Flex tracking your progress throughout the day and night. Activity level, distance travelled, calories burned, sleep patterns, and goals are all monitored and synced to your smartphone or tablet where your stats are easy to see and hard to ignore.

Why track your goals?

Studies show that setting a fitness goal and then receiving feedback on how close you are to that goal makes you more likely to achieve it.[1]

Why track sleep patterns?

Lack of sleep is linked to weight gain. A recent study found that people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night have a significantly higher body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference than people who sleep 7-9 hours per night.[2]

To make your 2015 health and fitness goals easier to meet (or exceed), we’re giving away over 100 FitBit Flex wristbands – one every day. You can enter daily to boost your odds of winning. Fill out your name and email address on the contest entry form for a chance to win.

Good luck!

 

References:

[1] Wack, S. R., Kimberly A. Crosland and Raymond G. Miltenberger. “Using Goal Setting and Feedback to Increase Weekly Running Distance.” Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 47.1 (2014): 181-185. Web. 21 December 2014.
[2] Ford, E.S. et al. “Sleep Duration and Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference among US Adults.” Journal of Obesity 22.2 (2014): 598-607. Print.

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5 Tips for Beating Social Overeating

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Ahh, the holidays. A time for family, giving back, good cheer – and food. If you’ve got major alarm bells going off at that last one, fear not! Holiday indulgence doesn’t have to be a one-way ticket to winter weight gain.

Here’s how you can indulge in the spirit of the season (and yes, a little chocolate, too) without sacrificing your weight loss goals to social overeating:

1. Hit the Dance Floor.

Hanging out at the snack table all night is the best way to ensure you’ll absent-mindedly eat a whole bowl of creamy dip – and the chips to go with it. Instead, invite friends and family to let loose on the dance floor (bonus cardio included!).

2. Get Moving.

Whether you brave the elements for a winter run or take a sweaty aerobics class, morning exercise gets your day off on the right foot, and helps keep food cravings at bay. Invite friends to work out with you to take food out of the social experience.

3. Don’t Go Hungry.

Showing up with low blood sugar and a hankering for cheesecake is a recipe for disaster. Snacking on a healthy treat – like a PGX® Nut Butter Chocolate Smoothie* or PGX® Bliss Energy Balls – will help you with that elusive self-control when your host offers up yet another piece of fudge.

4. Come Prepared.

Know your in-laws have a thing for white flour and white sugar? Offer to bring something – then bring the healthiest, most satisfying dish you can, and stick to that!

5. Be Mindful.

Easier said than done, sure, but that second (third?) piece of cake isn’t truly nourishing. Savour every bite of a delicious holiday treat – you’ll enjoy it more, and eat less.

Plan ahead with PGX® for a gourmet-without-the-guilt holiday season – and most importantly, have fun!

*Note: Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®

 

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Strategies for Seasonal Meals – Resisting Temptation to Avoid Holiday Weight-Gain

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The holidays are a great time to enjoy fantastic food in good company, but for some of us it can be difficult to maintain healthy eating habits and avoid over-indulgence. Edible gifts, office parties, and seasonal markets typically mean calorie dense, but nutrient-poor food choices, which can lead to temporary, undesirable and unhealthy seasonal weight-gain, lethargy, and ill-health.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to ensure that your diet includes plenty of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and fiber to enhance energy, support boost immunity, and prevent undesirable weight gain.

Top Tips to Stay Health at Office Parties

Office party buffets are almost always loaded with saturated fat, salt, simple carbohydrates, sugar and pro-inflammatory, artery clogging animal products. If you’re on a diet it may be tempting to avoid the party altogether, but with a few simple strategies you too can socialize and quaff champagne without feeling hungry as you pick at a lackluster salad.

For the organizers and planners among you, try having a discussion in advance with the party organizer. Request more nutritious options that will actually enhance employee health, and perhaps find a few local catering companies that provide healthy business buffets. Or, how about suggesting a potluck where everyone brings their favorite healthy seasonal dish?

If these aren’t options then consider eating before the party or taking some high protein and high fiber foods to add in to the fruit and vegetable dishes on offer. Great options include falafel, nuts and seeds, seasoned chickpeas, hemp hearts, and PGX granules.

The food at the office party may be free, but you’ll pay for it later if it’s unhealthy and leaves you feeling temporarily sluggish, ill, and bloated.

Avoiding Comfort Eating During the Holidays

Seasonal stress can sabotage a healthy diet, but instead of grabbing the nearest high-fat, high-sugar, salty and nutrient-poor foods during times of stress, try to plan ahead and have delicious things on hand that actually nourish your brain and support elevate mood.

Some key nutrients to consider in mood-boosting foods include those that reduce the production of cortisol, such as:

  • Phosphatidylserine – found in beans and barley
  • Vitamin C – found in mandarins and other fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – found in nuts, seeds, and some oily fish and algae

Other nutrients that can be helpful during the holidays include 5-HTP and theanine. These amino acids have mood-boosting and relaxing effects and can significantly reduce the temptation to use food as a coping mechanism for occasional stress. Theanine is found in green tea (and black tea), or in supplement form without the caffeine.

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) has been found to have appetite-suppressing effects because it can increase feelings of satiety and help lessen comfort eating. This amino acid is present in bananas, kiwi fruit, sour cherries, plums and tomatoes, as well as flaxseeds and beans. It’s also available in supplement form and is a popular supplement for occasional winter blues, which can also play a role in winter weight-gain.

Filling Up on Fiber

Finally, one great way to avoid overeating during the holidays is to give fiber intake a boost. Fiber is necessary to keep the bowel healthy, but it also slows down the rate at which the carbohydrates in food are broken down, thereby supporting better blood sugar regulation. In turn, this helps us to manage appetite and decrease cravings related to erratic glucose and insulin levels.

PGX granules are a great way to boost fiber intake on the go as they can be added into yogurt, smoothies, juice and water, and even sprinkled on cereal, salads and in soups. This innovative fiber complex has been found in studies to help people better balance blood sugar, reduce food cravings, and achieve weight management goals. Just make sure to drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®, and, if you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®.

The holidays need not be a time of worry, especially over maintaining healthy eating habits. Plan in advance and avoid hunger and stress. With just a few seasonal strategies for healthy eating, you can approach the office party, family dinners, and other events with confidence.

What are your top tips for staying healthy during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

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Don’t Hibernate: Stay Active This Winter

PGX-USA-blog-Don-t-Hibernate-Stay-Active-20141211 The human body is designed to move. But what if it’s too cold and dark for your usual run or bike ride? Don’t stress, there are many superb options for staying active in this winter!

  • The Gym: No matter what your level of fitness is, the gym is a one-stop-shop for fitting your cardio, strength training, stretching, and abs workouts into one outing. The key is finding a gym with a comfortable, upbeat atmosphere that motivates you to keep coming back.
  • Indoor Pool: Freestyle swimming at a slow pace burns approximately 510 calories per hour.[1] But that’s not all you can do at the pool. Mix it up with aquatic aerobics classes, water jogging or fast-pace intervals using a kickboard. And once you’re done, treat yourself to a warm-up in the hot tub.
  • home_exercise_equipment-20141211 Yoga: The poses and deep breathing exercises of yoga not only improve posture, flexibility and muscle tone, but can also boost your mood and mental focus.[2] On those extra cold winter days, try heating-up with a session hot yoga.
  • Home: When you’re too busy to get out, keep active at home. A few simple items, such as a jump rope, free weights, yoga mat, or exercise ball, can go a long way to keeping your heart rate up and muscles toned. Or get outside and build a snowman if you have snow on the ground!

What’s your favorite way to exercise? Let us know.

 

References:

[1] CDC. “Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011. Web. 23 November 2014.

[2] Agarwal, Shashi. “Evidence Based Medical Benefits of Yoga.” Indian Journal of Science 2.3 (2013): 1-4. Print.

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5 Cold Weather Exercise Tips

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As the hours of daylight drop in winter so can our enthusiasm for exercise, and even the most hardened runners and cyclists can have a tough time when the temperature plummets. Staying active in the cooler months helps to improve our energy levels and mood, though, so to help you stay safe and on the move here are 5 top tips for cold weather exercise.

  1. Layer Up!

You may be surrounding by people grumbling about the cold but once you start climbing that hill you’ll soon be working up a sweat. Layers aren’t just for the fashionable, they’re essential for exercising in the fall and winter as multiple layers means you can quickly cool down during a strenuous stretch and then seal in that heat by adding a layer of clothing as you barrel down the hill into an icy wind.

  1. Warm Up and Warm Down!

Your muscles will really complain if you go from a cold standstill to a demanding full out run. Make sure to do at least five minutes of stretching, increasing in intensity, before even thinking about tackling that hill on your bike or running around the seawall. Then, when you get home, make sure to stretch again as otherwise your muscles can cool down too quickly and cramp up.

  1. Get Reflective!

It’s always good to reflect on your actions, but that’s not what this tip is about. Make sure you are visible to drivers and other road users by sticking strategically placed reflective strips on your bike panniers, cycling clothes, running shoes, bike helmet, and even your backpack, especially if you tend to run at dawn or dusk as these are times when poor visibility and tired eyes increase the risk of accidents.

  1. Buddy Up!

Not only is it easier to rouse yourself from a warm and cosy bed when you know your running partner is waiting for you, it’s also a good idea to avoid running alone in the dark. Consider joining a running group for motivation and safety, or at least make sure someone knows your route and that you have a check-in buddy for the end of your run.

  1. Get a Grip!

Your summer cycling and running gear might not be best suited to exercising in winter, when roads and sidewalks can become slippery with frost and ice. Treat yourself to some shoes with a better grip, and check the tread on your bike tires to make sure you’re not liable to slip and slide.

These are just a few ways of staying safe and active when exercising in cold weather, but don’t forget that this is the perfect time of year to try out something new. Maybe you can switch your daily runs for indoor climbing. Perhaps it’s time to try out seasonal sports like cross-country skiing or snowboarding. Or, how about joining a snowshoeing group so you can see those hills and mountains in a whole new light?

What’s your favorite way to stay fit during winter months? Let us know in the comments below!

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9 Easy Swaps That Will Help You Eat Your Way to Health

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Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean culinary revolution. A few small adjustments add up to make a world of difference. Make mealtime work for you with these simple switches.

 

Breakfast

1. The Dish: Oatmeal

The Swap: Instead of sugar or sweetener, add fresh fruit and cinnamon. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar while spicing up your breakfast, and fresh fruit adds a touch of natural sweetener.

2. The Dish: Bacon and Eggs

The Swap: Try an omelet with spinach, kale, and any other veggies you have on hand. You’ll still get the protein you need to start your day off right – supercharged with a dose of nutrients. Top with a little goat cheese for good measure.

3. The Dish: Coffee

The Swap: Whoops – we’ve all been there. When it feels like there’s no time for a proper breakfast, it’s easy to resort to quick fuel, but caffeine doesn’t nourish you, it just prolongs the inevitable crash. Instead, blend up an energizing smoothie in less time than the coffee takes to brew.

Lunch

4. The Dish: Sandwich

The Swap: Switch white breads out for whole grain alternatives, tortillas, or even collard green wraps. Refined flour does you – and your waistline – no favours, while whole grains and extra veggies offer a range of healthy nutrients.

5. The Dish: Pizza

The Swap: While we all know nothing can really take the place of pizza, instead layer pita bread with humus and your favourite veggies as toppings (or skip the pita all together).

6. The Dish: Soup

The Swap: Trade high sodium, low nutrition canned options for homemade soups and stews prepped at the beginning of the week. Just as convenient, tastier, and a whole lot better for you.

Dinner

7. The Dish: Fettucine Alfredo

The Swap: Skip rich creamy sauces in favour of tomato or pesto, and opt for whole grain or rice noodles. If you feel like an extra hit of veggies, shred zucchini for a raw, nutrient dense noodle experience.

8. The Dish: Meat and Potatoes

The Swap: Trade the classic russet for yams or sweet potatoes, which have a lower Glycemic load and more antioxidant nutrients than the average tuber.

9. The Dish: Tacos

The Swap: Instead of sour cream, add a dollop of tangy plain Greek yogurt to your fiesta. In fact, Greek yogurt – full of protein and healthy fats – is a great swap on any dish that calls for dairy, from granola to dips to baking.

For other healthy meal ideas, check out our selection of PGX recipes – and tell us what simple swaps have worked for you!

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Riding the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster

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Who among us hasn’t been tempted by the promise of easy weight loss? Claims of “fat that melts away” or “a magical change in metabolism” might sound like dreams come true, but that’s just what they are – dreams. If you’re struggling with weight loss and maintaining blood sugar balance, the allure of these empty promises is even stronger.

Reality – and weight loss – isn’t quite so simple.

Before you can shed those pounds, you have to get off the blood sugar roller coaster. Like the ride at your county fair, the blood sugar roller coaster is full of ups and downs – all day long. Racing from sugar high to major crash and back, this is one roller coaster you’re better off avoiding.

Even with the best intentions to eat well, how could you resist such cravings? Getting off the blood sugar roller coaster is key to curbing cravings that kill your weight loss goals.

These tips will help you stay on steady ground:

  • Reduce your portion sizes and calorie intake.
  • Think protein before carbs every time you eat.
  • Have a small snack – with protein – every 2-3 hours, all day long.
  • Eat three meals a day and include PGX with each of them.

PGX can help lower the glycemic index of foods and greatly assist you in managing hunger pangs*. Try it in a recipe or two and let us know if it crushes your cravings!

*Note: Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX.

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5 Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

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Is winter the downfall of your weight management strategy? The cold, damp, short days topped with the pressures of high-calorie party foods is enough to throw even the most disciplined health guru off her game. But with the right plan, you can eliminate the anxiety of weight gain this winter. Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1.     Load-up on fiber. Fiber keeps you full, blood sugar steady and cravings curbed. Include beans, seeds, fruits, and vegetables in your meals and add PGX® to your favorite healthy snacks to boost their fiber content.*

2.     Get your vitamin D. During the winter it may help reduce occasional winter blues, making it easier to stick to your goals – whether they are healthy eating, exercise or just getting off the couch.

3.     Partner-up. Recruit an energetic friend, family member or colleague for working out. They will boost your motivation, accountability and enjoyment.

4.     Get your ZZZs. According to research, sleep deprivation causes people to eat more and to crave high calorie foods[1].

5.     Treat yourself! Feeling deprived can lead to binge eating[2]. Treat yourself to high quality whole foods, such as coconut water, raw nuts, kale chips, roasted seaweed, and organic teas.

Stay tuned for more great tips!

Patience Lister

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX.

References:

[1] Greer, Stephanie, Andrea Goldstein, and Matthew Walker. “The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain.” Nature Communications 4 (2013): 2259.
[2] Michaels, Samantha. Overeating?: How to stop binge eating, overeating & get the natural slim body you deserve. Speedy Publishing LLC, 2013.

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What Are the Benefits of Protein Shakes After a Workout?

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I can tell you, without a doubt, that after cycling 139 miles (210km) in a day, a protein shake is a great idea. If you’re not cycling across Canada for charity though, are there really any benefits to including a protein shake in your daily regime? Can a protein shake after a workout help you build muscle, lose weight, or decrease muscle soreness? Could your choice of protein shake actually undo some of the good work you just put in at the gym?

Why You Need Protein

Protein is the main component of muscles, and is essential for the production of hormones, enzymes, immune system cells and even neurotransmitters. Protein is created by the body from amino acids and, although we can synthesize some of these amino acids, essential amino acids have to be acquired through the diet. Without adequate protein we would be in real trouble, and protein shakes are certainly convenient for use after a workout as they provide quick nutrition and hydration to help with muscle growth and repair.

Why Take Protein After a Workout?

Post-workout, too little protein can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue, rather than increased strength and stamina. Taking protein in the first 30 minutes or so after a workout can, however, help the body to begin quickly healing the micro-tears in the muscle, a process which makes muscles stronger over time. The amino acids in a protein shake tend to reach the bloodstream and then the muscles a lot faster than protein bound in food, which is just one reason why protein shakes have become so popular with athletes and gym-goers.

Can I Take Protein at Bedtime?

Protein shakes can also be helpful as a drink before bedtime as some of the amino acids in these drinks are thought to help increase natural levels of growth hormone and thereby help with healing and repair as we sleep, as well as helping to maintain healthy metabolism and bodyweight.

Protein Shakes for Weight Management

Drinking just any old protein shake isn’t going to help with weight loss. In order for that to happen, you need to be exercising those muscles, reducing overall calorie intake and avoiding simple carbohydrates. Unfortunately, some protein shakes contain artificial sweeteners and/or sugars that can sabotage blood glucose control and actually lead to weight gain while increasing muscle soreness and inflammation. Protein shakes designed to help with weight management include those containing soluble fiber, like PolyGlycopleX (PGX). This helps satisfy hunger and decrease appetite, and slows the release of energy from food, thereby supporting healthy blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity, two key elements for successful weight management[i][ii].

The Benefits of PGX Protein Shakes

Adding PGX singles or powder into your favourite protein drink, or using the convenient PGX protein shakes, is an ideal way to ensure you’re getting the protein you need after a workout. A PGX protein shake is also great for when you’re eating breakfast on the go between the gym and work as this can help maintain stable blood glucose throughout the morning and keep cravings at bay until it’s time for lunch. Protein shakes aren’t a replacement for a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, but can be a great way to ensure adequate protein intake as part of a balanced diet that include nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. In addition to being great after a workout, protein shakes are also idea for meeting nutrition needs if you are:

  • A growing teenager!
  • Starting to work out for the first time
  • Increasing the intensity of your workouts
  • Recovering from an injury or illness
  • Making dietary changes that could compromise protein status (such as switching to a vegan diet)
  • Looking to reduce overall calorie intake as part of a healthy weight management program
  • Doing a ludicrously long charity bike-ride!

What’s your best post-workout tip? Do you have a fantastic recipe for a super-powered protein shake? Let us know in the comments below!

References:

[i] Kacinik, V., Lyon, M., Purnama, M., Reimer, R.A., Gahler, R., Green, T.J., Wood, S. (2011). Effect of PGX®, a novel functional fibre supplement, on subjective ratings of appetite in overweight and obese women consuming a three-day structured, low calorie diet. Nutr Diabetes, 1:e22. doi: 10./038/nutd.2011.18.

[ii] Reichert, R.G., Reimer, R.A., Kacinik, V., Pal, S., Gahler, R.J., Wood, S. (2013). Meal replacements and fibre supplement as a strategy for weight loss. Proprietary PGX meal replacement and PGX fibre supplement in addition to a calorie restricted diet to achieve weight loss in a clinical setting. Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev.

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