Do you want to lose 10, 30, 50 or more pounds? Have you recently reached your weight loss goal but want to maintain it? Are you willing to dedicate yourself to a healthy lifestyle? Then this blog is for you!

I have lost 118 pounds and have maintained the weight loss for two years. One of the things I have learned during the weight loss process is that it is much easier to reach and maintain your goal weight if you surround yourself with like-minded individuals to support you in the process (whether they be in person or online).

I also have learned that learning as much as possible about healthy living gives you the knowledge and expertise needed to lose weight the “right” way. So this blog includes regular posts, a book list, website list, TV list, video list and book and website of the month. In addition, there is a recipe of the month and product review section. Visitors to Weight Loss Aficionado can just enjoy the site for informational purposes or can comment on posts, ask questions, share resources, their triumphs and pitfalls during the weight loss process.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fiber: The Diet Workhorse

What I’ve learned through the dieting process is that foods that are high in fiber make me feel more full which in turn causes me to eat less. The Everyday Health article below discusses all the benefits of a high fiber diet!

Fiber: The Diet Workhorse
By Diana Rodriguez- Everyday Health
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Fiber has many health benefits, from lowering cholesterol levels to keeping you feeling full longer. Find out which high-fiber foods to add to your diet.
If you're trying to diet and finding it too tough to restrict calories because you're always starving, fiber may be just what you're lacking. "It keeps you feeling fuller for longer," says Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, a nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Ky. "You don't get as hungry as quickly, so it helps when somebody's trying to cut back on calories." 

Fiber is a carbohydrate, but unlike other carbohydrates, it doesn't get broken down by your body, says Meyerowitz.Simple carbohydrates, continues Meyerowitz, don't offer the same filling benefits. "With fiber added in, you're more satisfied. Fiber doesn't make the blood sugar go up quite as quickly. It allows the sugar to get into your system more slowly," she explains. 

Beyond being a diet aid, there are many health benefits of fiber, including:
  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Improving digestion
  • Reducing diabetes risk
  • Improving heart health
  • Reducing constipation
  • Reducing the risk of diverticulitis (inflammation of the intestines)
  • Maintaining steady control of blood sugar

Fiber in the Diet: Where to Find Fiber
Fiber is always found in edible plant materials and in the healthiest foods, like whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. "They act differently in your body when they're being processed,” Meyerowitz explains. “Soluble fiber can be somewhat dissolved by water; insoluble fiber can't." 

It's best that you get the fiber you need each day from foods in your diet rather than supplements. Most people need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. Some good fiber-rich food choices are:
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Dried beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn

Getting fiber is great, but don't suddenly jump on the fiber bandwagon and ramp up your intake all at once. Take it slowly, and gradually increase your fiber each day to prevent side effects like diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. 

Fiber in the Diet: Smart Choices
Now that you know what foods are fiber-rich and good for you, it's time to start finding ways to work them into your daily meals and snacks. Try these tips to get more fiber every day:
  • Have oatmeal or whole-grain cereal for breakfast; top with some fresh fruit.
  • Eat fruits and veggies raw and with skins for more fiber (if appropriate).
  • Snack on fruits — dried or fresh is fine.
  • Have bulgur, barley, or couscous as a side dish.
  • Munch on popcorn when you need a snack.
  • Switch to brown rice from white rice.
  • Replace white pasta with whole-wheat pasta in your favorite dish.
  • Add vegetables to pastas and other dishes.
  • Get a minimum of 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies every day. Choose those highest in fiber like pears, berries, apples, spinach, sweet potatoes, and peas.
  • Have a bran muffin for breakfast or a snack.

Fiber is filling, delicious, and one of the healthiest things you can eat. There are a lot of easy and tasty ways to make fiber a big part of every day, and you'll quickly reap the health benefits. It's a simple way to feel full, be fit, and get your body into a healthy shape.

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