Guess what percentage of dieters keeps the weight off for more than two years: 75%? 60%? 50%? The sad truth is only 15-20% of dieters keep the weight off, with 80-85% of people who lose weight regaining it (plus some!) after two years.
It’s time to shift your mindset when it comes to dieting. By focusing less on fads and more on maintaining a healthy balance of what you eat, you’ll impact your body on a level most diets don’t even consider: Stabilizing your blood sugar.
Your blood sugar level is the amount of glucose from what you eat that’s circulating in your bloodstream to provide energy to cells immediately or be stored for future use. A well-balanced blood sugar level is crucial to your overall fitness and well-being, regulating your hormones, triggering your body to burn stored fat, and increasing your metabolism to help you lose weight.
Unfortunately, most people’s blood sugar is not properly balanced. If you’re getting too much glucose, it leads to high blood-sugar levels, which your body can’t break down and stores as fat. Ironically, not getting enough sugar can also lead to putting on extra pounds! Eating too little glucose can lead to a low blood sugar level, causing your body to go into “starvation mode” where it burns your lean muscle instead of the fat – a double whammy to your system and your diet.
Fortunately, nutritionist Mark MacDonald and Dr. Oz have a 6-step plan to balance your blood sugar, allowing you to lose weight and keep it off!
Step 1: Eat in 3s
What’s the key to eating in 3s? It’s easy! Eat every 3 hours, and divide your plate into thirds: one-third protein, one-third fat, and one-third carbs. Our bodies “want” to eat every 3 hours, as it’s their natural eating schedule dating back from early mankind. Wait longer and your body goes into starvation mode, as it assumes food is scarce and packs on fat for the future instead of burning it away immediately. Be sure to eat within 1 hour of waking up, then every 3 hours thereafter.
Most people don’t get the right ratio of protein in their meals, loading up instead on carbs (around 60%) and fat (30%), spiking blood sugar. Dividing your plate into an equal ratio of protein, carbs, and fat will help keep your blood sugar at the right level. Here’s a sample menu of what that might look like over the course of the day:
- Breakfast: Egg whites, turkey bacon and oatmeal
- Lunch: Turkey burger with avocado on a whole wheat bun
- Dinner: A small portion of steak with sweet potato and butter
And it gets better: As your blood sugar stabilizes by sticking to the 3s rule, you release previously stored fat. And the leaner you get, the more you’ll be able to eat – that’s the power of having lean muscle! Just remember, you can always eat as many veggies as you’d like, as they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients your body needs and are low in calories.
Step 2: Prepare a Mobile Readiness Food Kit
That’s just a fancy way of saying always carry a snack kit. That way, you’re prepared to eat every 3 hours – no matter where you are. You’ll want a “grab and go” kit with three 250-300 calorie snack meals to eat between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here’s a sample kit to get you started:
- Snack 1: Turkey jerky for protein, a handful of nuts for good fat, and an apple for carbs.
- Snack 2: Greek yogurt for protein, a handful of sunflower seeds for good fat, and a handful of dried cranberries for carbs.
- Snack 3: A natural protein bar with equal parts protein, fat and carbs. Avoid protein bars that are packed with sugar, dairy and artificial ingredients, and instead seek out bars made with real fruits and grains.
Step 3: Drink 3 Liters of Cinnamon Extract Water
Adding cinnamon extract (available in health food stores) to water is a fantastic secret for balancing blood sugar and losing weight. Recent studies show consuming as little as a half teaspoon of cinnamon a day can reduce blood sugar levels by up to 29%, while also lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. When it comes to lowering blood sugar, cinnamon extract works even better than whole cinnamon. Just add 2 droppers of cinnamon extract to a liter of water, being sure to drink 3 liters a day to help with digestion and constipation.
Step 4: Eat 3 Ounces of Protein Before Every Cheat
We all “cheat” on our healthy diet now and then with carbs – but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do so. Before indulging in alcohol, fries, cake, or a chocolate bar, eat 3 ounces of protein first. You might go with 3 ounces of turkey breast, 3 ounces of cottage cheese, or 3 ounces of Greek yogurt. No matter what form you consume it in, protein is your friend when indulging in heavy carbs, as it helps slow digestion. Remember, don’t cheat more than two or three times a week, with only one cheat per day, so your blood sugar stays balanced.
Step 5: Align Your Spine by Rolling
This might come as a surprise, but keeping your spin in line impacts your weight loss. Your spinal nerves play a roll in controlling how food passes through your digestive tract. An aligned spinal column aids proper digestion, eliminating toxins and waste to help with weight loss. Rolling for 3 minutes a day on a $15 foam roller won’t only help with weight loss, it feels great too!
Step 6: Exercise Your White and Red Muscle for 10 Minutes Daily
Skeletal muscle is made up of two different types of muscle fibers: Slow twitch muscle fibers (red) and fast twitch muscle fibers (white). You activate your white muscle when you do something explosive, like running upstairs. You activate your red muscles with steady exercise like walking around the neighborhood. If you only work out one, you’re only burning fat in 50% of your body, so it’s vital to work out both. Here are two easy exercises you can do for 10 minutes at home. (Try it next time you’re watching The Dr. Oz Show!)
Mountain Climbers: Give your white muscles a burn with mountain climbers. Start in a pushup position on your hands and toes, pulling your belly in tight while keeping your back straight. Then, bring your right knee up toward your chest, supporting your body with your left foot on the floor. Next, jump your right foot back to the floor, simultaneously bringing your left knee toward your chest like you’re climbing up a mountain. Start out slow to build coordination and endurance, then speed it up to get your heart pumping and work your white muscles.
Side Shuffle: Exercise your red muscles with a side shuffle. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your arms bent at your sides. Bending slightly at the waist and keeping your belly tight, slide your left foot toward your right, then step to the right with your right foot. Repeat 2 or 3 times (depending on how much space you have – don’t crash into a wall!), then reverse direction, leading with your left foot. Continue alternating, as the steady lateral movement works your red muscles.
Combined for 10 minutes, these two movements hit all your muscles, and they make up the final and fun part of the 6-part plan to lose weight and keep it off.