How to lose pregnancy weight?

Thursday, June 2, 2011 12:44
Comments Off on How to lose pregnancy weight?

We got the following question from a reader: How can I lose my post pregnancy weight? I gained 50 lbs during pregnancy and gone through a miscarriage. I want to lose my tummy fat but not my girls and need some tips to stay motivated.

Firstly with a pregnancy is natural to put on weight and some of it to be extra fat. Extra fat stored can be up to 2kg in a full term pregnancy (without overeating). The body stores the extra fat to make sure that there is adequate energy for the mother and the fetus. Due to the hormonal changes which take place and all the processes of a pregnancy there would be changes in your breasts and rest of your body such as water retention. Going through a miscarriage can be hard both emotionally and physically. I don’t know how long ago you had the miscarriage but if it was recent you will find that your body is still recuperating and recovering from it.

You mention that you would like to lose weight from your tummy but not from your ‘girls’. In very simple words breasts consist of glands, fibrous tissue and fat. Weight pregnancy and hormonal changes are amongst factors which influence their size. An increase in the size of your ‘girls’ could be a combination of those factors. With losing weight you will lose fat tissue from your girls, unfortunately there is not a way by which you can stop fat from being lost from a specific place. However, as some of the changes may be due to hormonal changes that have taken place in your body due to pregnancy and miscarriage, it may mean that they may keep to a larger size. There are some exercises you can do to condition the ‘chest’ muscles which can slightly give the impression of fuller breasts and also help to keep the ‘girls’ from going south. Moreover, some studies do suggest that the belly area is usually the first place to lose the fat.

Secondly, I would recommend you deal with ‘emotional eating as part of your attempt to lose weight. By following just a weight loss diet you may lose weight, but unless you tackle the root of your weight gain or you’re eating behavior, the cycle will keep on happening.

My first suggestion is to allow yourself to heal and recover from the miscarriage both emotionally and physically. Counseling or going in a support group can help to deal with the loss and the emotions of a miscarriage. You may have done this already, or you may have been offered the support you needed to get through the situation. As I am not aware if you have I am including it in my suggestions.

In terms of Weight loss Motivation

This is probably the point in which most people struggle. Regardless to what some diets may promise weight loss does not happen in the speed of light and is not easy. Understandably a lot of people get bored of monotonous diets, may not see radical results fast or lose momentum all together. What can you do?

1. Be realistic and prepared. Even if you starve yourself in the 1st week you may lose some fat but it will mostly be water, glycogen (sugar store) and some protein. Also if you starve yourself your metabolism will slow down and your weight loss will decrease. Set you weight loss goals in a realistic level. In the 1st week you may see some results but they may not be huge and you haven’t lost a great deal of fat. The body takes around 2 weeks to adapt fully to changes. Aim for 0.5 – 1kg max of weight loss per week.

If you start a weight loss plan expecting fast miracles or setting your targets too high you will be setting up yourself to fail.

2. Be positive. Start a weight loss plan thinking that you can do this. If you are starting thinking that I cannot keep my motivation and I will struggle then you will struggle as you have set your mind on that tune already.

3. Do you really want to lose weight and why? Have a long thought and debate with yourself if you really want to lose weight and the reasons why. Right those reasons down in a piece of paper. When in doubt read what you written to remind yourself why you are doing it. It will help you be strict with yourself as well.

4. Keep your diet varied. Don’t deprive yourself or go hungry. You can still have a treat or have interesting meals and lose weight. Some specific diets do offer variability. You could use ideas from such diets in terms of menus or as a basis. Such diets are the 17 day diet and the Dukan diet (see also quick weight loss diets). I would not recommend following a very low carbohydrate diet and very high protein at the level these diets recommend. However, they do consist of different phases and in some ways breaking a weight loss plan in small chunks can help with boredom and luck of motivation. You can take the principles and some menu ideas from the diets and adapt it according to what suits you.

See also: Weight loss motivation

In terms of Diet and Exercise

Aim for a higher protein – lower carb diet. An example of such diet is the zone diet or a modified Mediterranean diet. I find the ‘New high protein diet’ book by Dr Charles Clark and Maureen Clark quite good. It has a number of recipes and lists of foods for meals which you can choose from. If you are not a person to follow an organized diet to the letter the book can be quite useful. I got this book in the UK and it is fairly cheap but you should be able to find it through the internet if in a different country. This is a suggestion, as there are a number of high protein recipe books or recipe sites in the internet from which you can pick up meal ideas.

The principles I usually suggest are:

1. Have a protein breakfast it will make you feel full for longer. If you can delay it as well by 30min can help in increasing fat burning. Examples of protein breakfasts: Scrambled eggs, bacon (not fried grilled) a slice of bread or cheese 2 crackers and avocado. Tuna with a bit of olive oil and lemon (or any seasoning you like but not mayonnaise/ketchup and avoid vegetable oils). It may sound like a lot of food but you will be surprised how much sugar and how many calories are hidden in a bowl of cereal. Plus with having carbs for breakfast you can get craving for sugar mid-day and so have snacks.

2. In general avoid takeaways, junk food, deep fried food and refined carbs (i.e. white bread, pasta, pastries sugars, and sweets), fizzy drinks and sugary hot drinks such as milky coffees and hot chocolates. In addition, avoid ready meals, margarine and hydrogenated oils such as vegetable oils and processed foods as they contain trans fats. Trans fat are not only fattening but also are harmful to health.

3. You can choose healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetable sticks, and dry fruit and nut instead of snack bars, crisps, cakes energy bars etc.

4. Eat loads of vegetables and salads with your meals. Example: instead of having a steak with potatoes/chips, have a steak with a nice sauce and salad + 1 slice of bread. This way you can reduce the calories you are eating, don’t feel hungry and is healthier. In terms of carbohydrate rich meals, if you can avoid them for majority of time do. If not then replace refined carbs with complex such as white pasta with whole meal, reduce the portion you are having and add vegetables or salad. Example: Instead of a big plate of pasta bolognaise with cheese, have 1/3 of a plate of whole meal pasta with bolognaise sauce and a big salad or vegetables with a bit of olive oil and seasoning/vinigraite.

5. Don’t skip meals. I would not recommend too many small meals through the day but also I would not recommend skipping meals either. Having 3 meals a day is a good place to be.

6. Reduce your calorie intake. Is not only what you eat but also how much you eat. In order to lose weight you must have energy deficiency. In simple words you should spend more calories than those you consume. This can happen by either reducing your calorie intake or increasing your calorie expenditure (for example with exercise) or both together. Women in average require around 1500 – 2000 calories. Reducing your calorie to around 1200 – 1500 should be within a healthy range. Calorie requirement and calorie expenditure does depend on physical activity, age, built among other factors, therefore do account for any physical activity etc. you may be doing when lowering your calories.

7. Exercises. Exercise does increase weight loss but also is good for health. As I mentioned earlier you could do a few chest exercises to boost your girls. Having an allover body workout for an hour a day, 5 days a week is always best, but is better to do the amount of exercise you feel happy with and suits your lifestyle. If all you want or can fit in your day is 20 min then that is better than none at all. If you don’t like doing standard exercises then you can do simple things such as walking instead of taking a bus, use the stairs instead of a lift, clean the house vigorously, go for a cycle, a run or a swim.

An idea is to join a class or an activity group. A group may provide you with the motivation to carry on with exercising and weight loss especially if you are achieving something new through the group. For example if you joined a swimming lessons group you could remain motivated in participating in the group by learning how to swim. What has been quite popular in recent years is pole dancing as part of exercising. Pole dancing can be very demanding for the body therefore you should be choosing a class which is appropriate for your own level and also exercise within your own abilities to avoid injuries. A class like that could be fun you can socialize and gain new skills and exercise at the same time. These are just examples as you should choose according to your personal likes and needs.

Before you take on any exercise or diet you should consult a medical professional especially if there are pre-existing health complaints.

The best way to keep the weight off for long term is to make these changes permanently. If you aim to get through the emotional eating pattern and change your whole behavior of eating then making healthy eating choices will be a lot easier. In addition, following a diet should not be just a remedy for a quick fix but making the changes in our lifestyle towards a healthier way. What I am saying is not that you should diet for the rest of your life. All I am suggesting is to change your food choices towards healthier choices, don’t overeat beyond to what your body needs and keep physically active. This way you are less likely to put on the weight again and decrease health risks, Everybody’s weight can fluctuate in their life time for a number of reasons, and we all go through days of junk food, or that bit extra. Having a general healthy diet your body does get conditioned to want a healthy diet and not too much of the junk food.

I hope my answer is helpful to your enquiry.

How to stop emotional eating?

Sunday, May 29, 2011 19:25
Comments Off on How to stop emotional eating?

‘Emotional’ eating relates with craving specific foods according to our emotions. There are many theories on why people ‘emotionally’ eat such as deal with specific emotions, feel better, to avoid dealing with a situation by eating and so on. It is an individual thing. There is also a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Studies suggest that physical hunger starts slowly and intensifies with time and can have physical symptoms such as stomach ‘growls’, hollow feeling, headaches or nausea and any food will do.

Question:
Hi,
my name is Shantel. Let me start off by telling you I’m in the military and that’s where my problems have stated. I’ve always been an average size 8, 135 pounds; that’s how I was when I entered basic training in April 2010. During basic I fractured my pelvic bone and was put on limited activity. I did what I could to pass basic and then I did what I could to pass Advanced Individual training (AIT) but when I got to my duty station in Fort Drum I started packing on the pounds. Because of how I “pushed through” all my training I’ve also ended up with cartilage tears in my hips, knee problems and back problems and I was again put on limited activity. Right now I’m a size 13 and 170 pounds. I have a hard time giving up my “comfort foods” because of the stress and depression I have because of my weight. My self esteem and motivation are really low at this point and I need help finding a cheap, low impact way to get back in shape.

Answer (by Hara Hagikalfa)

From what I can gather from your email your body has been under a lot of physical and mental stress the past year. The first thing I would recommend you do is take things slowly and give your body a break. Military training can be hard and is not always ‘body’ friendly. One of the aims of military training is to achieve high levels of fitness and prepare people to deal with extreme circumstances. Such training can put considerable strain and stress on the body and it can result in injuries or increase risks. Although is not wise to push yourself through injuries, as you may have discovered, you should credit yourself for showing determination and puling through such hard task.

I gather that while on your basic and advance training you were extremely physically active and you did stay in good shape. If I am right to say when you moved to your duty station your physical activities decreased radically especially with having further injuries and complaints. It is quite natural to put on weight or have decreased fitness levels when stopping exercising, as your body is used to burning larger amounts of calories through physical activity and also with losing muscle mass you can decrease your metabolic rate (rate by which you burn calories).

The points I can suggest that need addressing are your psychological/emotional state and your fitness in respect to the injuries and health issues. Below I have summarized a few weight loss tips and some more information for these things.

In respect to emotional state

Understandably you have been under a lot of stress and strain this last year having to deal with completing your training and all the high demands involved with it and having to deal with all the injuries you had. As I said earlier a good starting point is to give credit to yourself for all your achievements and concentrate in recuperating and relaxing. I understand that you feel down about your shape and you have low self esteem and depression. However, you have achieved a lot of things and have worked hard through this year and a lot of the problems with putting on weight are due to the physical injuries, which by all means are not easy to have to deal. Therefore, you should feel proud of yourself for all you have done and not a lot of people would have gone so far.

Sometimes emotions and eating can create vicious circles. I have put the bellow diagram to explain what I mean.

Diagram 1. A cycle of ‘emotional eating’. ‘Emotional eating’ can be triggered from both positive and negative emotions. A number of theories have been developed to explain the reasons people ‘emotionally eat’. For example ‘emotional eaters’ will eat foods to maintain a positive emotion or to escape/deal a negative.

 

If there is counseling available in your duty station I would strongly suggest that you do use it. Having counseling does not mean that you can’t cope, or there is something wrong with you. When going through some hard and stressful situations it does help to talk about it. Counselors are professionals and can point you to the right direction in dealing with your feelings and the situation and making changes in a way that friends and colleagues may not have the skills to do.

Keep a diary of all the foods and drinks and calories if possible, you have for a week and right in it the emotions you feel before, during and after you had that food. ‘Emotional’ eating relates with craving specific foods according to our emotions. There are many theories on why people ‘emotionally’ eat such as deal with specific emotions, feel better, to avoid dealing with a situation by eating and so on. It is an individual thing. There is also a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Studies suggest that physical hunger starts slowly and intensifies with time and can have physical symptoms such as stomach ‘growls’, hollow feeling, headaches or nausea and any food will do. Emotional hunger tends to be a craving for a specific food and tends to start suddenly. You can ask questions to yourself to help you such as do I crave a specific food? Do I have any physical symptoms of hunger? Do I feel full but still want to eat that food? If I have a glass of water does hunger subside? (Thirst sometime can feel like hunger).

By keeping a diary you can see when do you eat emotionally, which foods do you chose, what time of the day and what emotions are linked to which foods and do you really feel better or worse? By understanding how you eat and what you eat it will be easier to break the cycle of emotional eating and give up on ‘comfort’ foods.

Tips to break emotional eating

1. To start off substitute ‘comfort’ foods with healthier options. For example if you are craving sugar, chocolate etc sweet foods have a fruit or some dry fruit and nuts. They will still provide you with the sweet taste but the will be a lot healthier and less calorific. Do keep in mind that dry fruit and nuts do contain a lot of calories so just have a handful. If you can’t get over the craving for a particular food then have only a small portion of it. Try to keep comfort foods (i.e. chocolate) in portion small portion bags and if you must have some then have only 1 small portion. It is best to try and dissociate feelings from food slowly. So when you feel you can try replacing the craving with a cup of tea or another activity.

2. This brings me to the next tip. When you feel emotionally hungry try doing another activity which will make you feel good. For example have a pampering bath, or go for a walk, do your hair, read a book, talk to a friend. What will work will be entirely up to you. Whatever you do, try not to linger on the negative emotion or thoughts. For example if you feel low because you don’t fit in a dress don’t start lingering in the thoughts of you wished you looked like you did before, and that you don’t like your body etc. If you don’t fit in the dress plan for things in the future for when you do fit in the dress and do something to take your mind. Make a list of alternative activities that you can do that make you feel good and take your mind of negative thoughts. These could be knighting, gardening, crafts, making a personal journal, making cards, drawing, walking, playing cards etc. An idea could be taking on a hobby. Why not try different classes, languages or flower arranging, or ball dancing (always check with your doctor if a physical activity is recommended for the injuries). Put the list on fridge door and carry one with you, so when you feel like eating pick an activity from the list.

3. Try to deal with the emotions. This is where I will say again that if you can do some counseling then do. There are techniques to self help and self deal with emotions however, due to my knowledge limitations in that aspect I could not recommend one over another or give you that guidance. If you do have access to someone who can advise you further then do. You can replace the behaviors but unless you find the root of what makes a behavior happen it will not disappear. If you feel low you may not comfort eat but unless you find the reason why you feel low and deal with it this won’t change.

In terms of following a diet to lose weight.

Do take one thing at the time and do not overload yourself with expectations and goals. If trying to cut down on comfort food and dealing with cravings is too much doing try to follow a weight loss diet as well at the same time.

In general I would suggest lowering your calorie intake by 500 – 1000 calories to start off. From your food diary you can see how many calories you consume per day. You can make simple changes such as minimizing snacks or replacing them with healthier options, such as fruits, nuts, vegetable sticks or some protein. Try to minimize or avoid completely sugary and fizzy drinks (that includes some ready juices), sugary milky coffees and hot drinks, sweets and biscuits.

Reduce your carbohydrate intake by reducing bread, pasta, potatoes, pastries and rice. Increase the amount of protein you eat such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Some dairy can be very high in fat, do have then but in moderation. You will find that you can reduce your calories without being hungry with these small changes. A steak with a sauce and big salad can still be very tasty but with a lot less calories that if you had chips or potatoes with it.

Have a protein based breakfast. Protein can make you feel full for longer. Carbohydrates can make you feel craving for foods, so if you have protein can also help with craving sugars and comfort food.

Avoid takeaways, fried foods, readymade meals and processed foods they can contain a lot of trans fats. They are high in calories and not the healthiest. You could keep a treat once a week if it is too hard to give them up completely or be quite calorie strict when eating them. If you have to have more than one takeaway per week then has a very small portion. It is not the healthiest way but taking slow steps is better than none at all.

Avoid sandwiches for lunch. If you going to work every day then take a packed lunch. Examples could be an omelet and salad, some tuna and salad or some vegetables and maybe a slice of bread with it, or just opt for a salad, or a baked potato with tuna or soup from the canteen.

In terms of physical activity

Undoubtedly increasing your physical activity/exercise can help with feeling better and losing weight. First do consult your doctor regarding what exercises you can do. I can give some suggestions but you must check that any exercise you take does not contradict with your injuries. I would assume that with your injuries you would have been seen by a physical therapist (such as a physiotherapist) to carry out a rehabilitation program with you. Any exercise you do should be in line with the stage in your rehabilitation. If you have not been seen by a physical therapist then I highly recommend consulting one. I would presume that such services would be available to in your duty station or through the military? It is important that any injuries are rehabilitated accordingly in order for structures to heal properly and correctly and not increase risk for further or future injuries and health complaints.

If your doctor / physical therapist have some further exercises to advice, do as they suggest. Alternatively you can check with them for the following:

1. Pilates is a low impact exercise and it can help with conditioning the abdominal and back muscles. Pilates have been suggested as treatment for back pain. There are not a lot of studies available but those who are do seem to show positive results. They may also be beneficial in reconditioning your hips and upper legs. In rehabilitation for hip cartilage tears exercises which increase hip range of motion can be recommended. Often hip flexions sitting on a gym ball are also recommended. However, it does all depend on which stage of rehabilitation you are and what does your physical therapist will approve. Do not by pass them as you could cause more injury if not appropriate for this stage!

2. Static cycling and not in a high level could be good. Again do check with a therapist that they are appropriate for your knees. Moreover, you can try swimming or hydrotherapy if you can have access to it. Body weight resistance in the water decreases however, you still have the resistance of the water, so you can work out without putting too much pressure on your back, knees or hips.

3. Static upper body exercises. You could do a variety of upper body static exercises given that you do not add pressure to your back. Things such as bicep curls, weight exercises for triceps, chest and shoulders should be safe as long as you perform them according to your level of fitness and ability, perform them correctly, and after a suitable warm up session.

One of the issues with home exercise suggestions is performing exercises correctly and to your own level. If you have access to a trainer, do ask them to show you how to perform the exercises to ensure you know the correct technique. Especially if you have previous injuries as they could be more harm if not at the appropriate level or technique. Sometimes it may be enough to have 1 session with a personal trainer who can shape exercises to a daily program and show you how to do them, and then carry on by yourself. Finally, with starting any new diet it is wise to check with a medical professional especially if there are any pre-existing medical complaints.

I hope this answer is of some help to your inquiry. If you have any further questions please do contact me.

The importance of a good breakfast for weight loss

Friday, May 27, 2011 12:39
Comments Off on The importance of a good breakfast for weight loss

One of the most common weight loss tips is about the importance of having a good breakfast every morning. Despite that many people still do not appreciate the benefits of having a protein rich breakfast.  In this article we explain the role of breakfast in losing weight and provide you with 5 more tips on how to control your hunger throughout the day and also how to make small changes to your everyday diet and enjoy a healthier life.

Question: Hi. I am 16 years old, and in High school. i get up at 5:15 am every morning Monday through Friday. I usually eat breakfast at 6am. My lunch is at 11:30am, and i ALWAYS get so hungry, i end up eating my lunch in class!!! Are there some kind of foods i should eat for breakfast to help me stay more full longer? All i have for breakfast is a buttered bagel and a Cliff bar. Please help. I really need to lose weight. 5 pounds a year is NOT cutting it.

Answer (by Hara Hagikalfa)

Hello and thank you for your question and apologies for any delays in answering.

I must say that you do wake up very early and I am not surprised you are hungry by 11.30 am as it is a long time since 6 am. First of all you are still quite young and developing. Also from what I can see you wake up early and have a busy day at school. So you do need to make sure that you eat adequately and taking all nutrients. My first advice to you would be, don’t opt for low calorie, fad diets, you do need to look after yourself. Bellow I have summarised a few weight loss tips for your enquiry.

1. Protein based breakfast. Having a buttered bagel and a cliff bar will provide you with loads of calories and energy but to be honest there is not much nutrition to it. Basically what you are doing is throwing loads of sugar into your body 1st thing in the morning. You probably feel a bit bloated and really hyper for a while and then feel hungry, irritable burned out and a feeling that if you don’t eat you will drop, kill someone or cry. If you look into my article ‘Diet tips: carbohydrates and weight loss’ you will see in more detail why that happens. Now what can you do instead? Bin the clif bars highly recommended. Have a protein based breakfast. This is probably one thing that I recommend to everybody. Examples of protein breakfast are:

  • Eggs (scrambled, boiled, omelette, not so good fried though),
  • bacon or sausages (grilled not fried and try to aim for low fat sausages and of good quality either wise you could be eating just fat),
  • Ham
  • Cheese, yogurt
  • If more taste adventurous smoked salmon,  a tin of tuna (or fresh grilled)

You do have a busy day so do have a good breakfast. You could have 2 boiled eggs with a slice of toast and a couple of slices of bacon or ham. In terms of calories you may be eating the same amount as before but in terms of nutrition is much healthier and better for you. Also protein does make you feel fuller for longer and you will find that you will not be as hungry through the morning. I must warn you though that your body is used to eating high density carbs in the morning so it will miss it when you take it away and replace it with protein. In result you may have cravings of carb foods such as sugar, bread etc. Also you may feel tired at the beginning. Is normal, your body is not used to it and it needs time to adjust. I suggest starting on the w/end so you give yourself time to get used to the changes a little bit before going to school. For your body to adapt completely will take approximately 2 weeks but after the first few days you should feel more settled. In the long term you will feel more energetic and less bloated.

2. Have a handful of dried fruit and nuts mid day. If you do get sugar craving or you do feel peckish before lunch a handful of nuts or a fruit can help to curb it. Nuts are very nutritious and have a lot of the essential oils. However, don’t eat too many as they are rich in their calorie content. A handful should be enough. Alternatively have a fruit, such a banana. Bananas can be rich in sugar but I do find that they are very filling and one banana will not tip the scales over.

3. If you want to continue the good work through the day opt for healthy lunch and dinner. Avoid sandwiches, fried or processed foods through the day. You can look at my articles and previous answers I have given such as Diet Tips: The role of proteins in weight loss to get ideas of how to eat healthier and lose weight safer and healthier. Some suggestions would be to eat more salads and meat and eat fewer carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, potatoes, rice etc. You are young and you do need the energy and nutrition. Fruit and veg are full of nutrients so it is important to include them in your daily diet as much as possible. They also have less calories and help in losing weight or just not gaining weight. Don’t need to starve yourself or become obsessed with weight and calorie counting or watch everything you eat. Enjoy yourself as well.

4. Make small changes in your everyday diet. As I do not have more details on your food intake through the day I will give some general examples of how to make some changes. For example have a small bowl of pasta with loads of salad or veg instead of a large bowl of just pasta and bread. Have yogurt and fruit instead of a piece of cake or desert. Avoid drinking too many fizzy and sugary drinks such as coke, milkshakes hot chocolates etc; avoid snacking through the day. Have a big lunch instead of loads of little meals and snacks. Cut down on sugars, starches and carbs have loads of veg. salads, and proteins. I would not go to say have half fat milk or cheese as you are young and need it but do avoid as much as you can trans fats which can be found in fried food, some vegetable oils, processed foods and ready meals, crisps etc.(see also the ultimate list of fat burning foods)

5. Exercise. Will give you energy, increase calorie expenditure and is good for health. You are busy so you don’t need to do too much or you could be overloading yourself. Maybe walk to school and back if in walking distance instead of taking the bus. If time is tight then just do some activities in the w/ends such as go for a cycle, a run, clean the house or wash the car, go roller-skating with your friends. Alternatively just spend 20-30min in the house when you have some time to do a few exercises. If you are taking on exercises to do by yourself always make sure you know how to do them correctly and not injure yourself. Always stick to your ability and fitness level and recommended would be to get advice from a fitness professional. This could just be your PE teacher at school.

6. Finally other things that do help are having plenty of rest and sleep. It is very important for your age, health and development and for weight. If you do take on some exercise have one day at least that you do not exercise and rest.

Always consult a medical professional if you have any concerns or health complaints or have any medical conditions before making any changes in your diet or fitness.

The importance of a good breakfast for weight loss

Friday, May 27, 2011 12:39
Comments Off on The importance of a good breakfast for weight loss

One of the most common weight loss tips is about the importance of having a good breakfast every morning. Despite that many people still do not appreciate the benefits of having a protein rich breakfast.  In this article we explain the role of breakfast in losing weight and provide you with 5 more tips on how to control your hunger throughout the day and also how to make small changes to your everyday diet and enjoy a healthier life.

Question: Hi. I am 16 years old, and in High school. i get up at 5:15 am every morning Monday through Friday. I usually eat breakfast at 6am. My lunch is at 11:30am, and i ALWAYS get so hungry, i end up eating my lunch in class!!! Are there some kind of foods i should eat for breakfast to help me stay more full longer? All i have for breakfast is a buttered bagel and a Cliff bar. Please help. I really need to lose weight. 5 pounds a year is NOT cutting it.

Answer (by Hara Hagikalfa)

Hello and thank you for your question and apologies for any delays in answering.

I must say that you do wake up very early and I am not surprised you are hungry by 11.30 am as it is a long time since 6 am. First of all you are still quite young and developing. Also from what I can see you wake up early and have a busy day at school. So you do need to make sure that you eat adequately and taking all nutrients. My first advice to you would be, don’t opt for low calorie, fad diets, you do need to look after yourself. Bellow I have summarised a few weight loss tips for your enquiry.

1. Protein based breakfast. Having a buttered bagel and a cliff bar will provide you with loads of calories and energy but to be honest there is not much nutrition to it. Basically what you are doing is throwing loads of sugar into your body 1st thing in the morning. You probably feel a bit bloated and really hyper for a while and then feel hungry, irritable burned out and a feeling that if you don’t eat you will drop, kill someone or cry. If you look into my article ‘Diet tips: carbohydrates and weight loss’ you will see in more detail why that happens. Now what can you do instead? Bin the clif bars highly recommended. Have a protein based breakfast. This is probably one thing that I recommend to everybody. Examples of protein breakfast are:

  • Eggs (scrambled, boiled, omelette, not so good fried though),
  • bacon or sausages (grilled not fried and try to aim for low fat sausages and of good quality either wise you could be eating just fat),
  • Ham
  • Cheese, yogurt
  • If more taste adventurous smoked salmon,  a tin of tuna (or fresh grilled)

You do have a busy day so do have a good breakfast. You could have 2 boiled eggs with a slice of toast and a couple of slices of bacon or ham. In terms of calories you may be eating the same amount as before but in terms of nutrition is much healthier and better for you. Also protein does make you feel fuller for longer and you will find that you will not be as hungry through the morning. I must warn you though that your body is used to eating high density carbs in the morning so it will miss it when you take it away and replace it with protein. In result you may have cravings of carb foods such as sugar, bread etc. Also you may feel tired at the beginning. Is normal, your body is not used to it and it needs time to adjust. I suggest starting on the w/end so you give yourself time to get used to the changes a little bit before going to school. For your body to adapt completely will take approximately 2 weeks but after the first few days you should feel more settled. In the long term you will feel more energetic and less bloated.

2. Have a handful of dried fruit and nuts mid day. If you do get sugar craving or you do feel peckish before lunch a handful of nuts or a fruit can help to curb it. Nuts are very nutritious and have a lot of the essential oils. However, don’t eat too many as they are rich in their calorie content. A handful should be enough. Alternatively have a fruit, such a banana. Bananas can be rich in sugar but I do find that they are very filling and one banana will not tip the scales over.

3. If you want to continue the good work through the day opt for healthy lunch and dinner. Avoid sandwiches, fried or processed foods through the day. You can look at my articles and previous answers I have given such as Diet Tips: The role of proteins in weight loss to get ideas of how to eat healthier and lose weight safer and healthier. Some suggestions would be to eat more salads and meat and eat fewer carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, potatoes, rice etc. You are young and you do need the energy and nutrition. Fruit and veg are full of nutrients so it is important to include them in your daily diet as much as possible. They also have less calories and help in losing weight or just not gaining weight. Don’t need to starve yourself or become obsessed with weight and calorie counting or watch everything you eat. Enjoy yourself as well.

4. Make small changes in your everyday diet. As I do not have more details on your food intake through the day I will give some general examples of how to make some changes. For example have a small bowl of pasta with loads of salad or veg instead of a large bowl of just pasta and bread. Have yogurt and fruit instead of a piece of cake or desert. Avoid drinking too many fizzy and sugary drinks such as coke, milkshakes hot chocolates etc; avoid snacking through the day. Have a big lunch instead of loads of little meals and snacks. Cut down on sugars, starches and carbs have loads of veg. salads, and proteins. I would not go to say have half fat milk or cheese as you are young and need it but do avoid as much as you can trans fats which can be found in fried food, some vegetable oils, processed foods and ready meals, crisps etc.(see also the ultimate list of fat burning foods)

5. Exercise. Will give you energy, increase calorie expenditure and is good for health. You are busy so you don’t need to do too much or you could be overloading yourself. Maybe walk to school and back if in walking distance instead of taking the bus. If time is tight then just do some activities in the w/ends such as go for a cycle, a run, clean the house or wash the car, go roller-skating with your friends. Alternatively just spend 20-30min in the house when you have some time to do a few exercises. If you are taking on exercises to do by yourself always make sure you know how to do them correctly and not injure yourself. Always stick to your ability and fitness level and recommended would be to get advice from a fitness professional. This could just be your PE teacher at school.

6. Finally other things that do help are having plenty of rest and sleep. It is very important for your age, health and development and for weight. If you do take on some exercise have one day at least that you do not exercise and rest.

Always consult a medical professional if you have any concerns or health complaints or have any medical conditions before making any changes in your diet or fitness.

How to lose weight while in college?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 15:10
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It is very common for college students to gain weight during their first year in college. In this article we explain what you should do in order to reverse the situation and actually propose 6 weight loss tips on how to lose weight while in college.

Question: Hello! I’m 18 years old and just returned home from my first year away at college.  I’ve always been very skinny (5′ 3″ and 110 lbs), but my first year of college I gained the dreaded freshman 15, more like 20.  I’m home for summer now and weigh 132 lbs.  I’m so devastated that I gained that much weight that quickly, especially considering I was more physically active at college than I had been my last year of high school. I took up running as a hobby and even ran my first 10K race.  With that in mind, I cannot believe the amount of weight that I gained.  The areas I am most concerned with are my tummy, love handles, thighs, and rear. It’s now almost summer and I’m embarrassed with my weight, especially given all of the running I’ve done.  I want to lose this weight as quickly as possible. WHAT CAN I DO? Please help.

Answer (by Hara Hagikalfa)

Hello,

Thank you for your question and apologies for any delays in responding to you. I have calculated your BMI and as far as I can tell from the information you have provided you are within the normal range. At your pre-college weight (110 lbs) you were actually borderline underweight, which is not actually very good. I understand that it may not feel right to you as you are used to be thinner but is not always healthy or good to be too thin. Therefore, if you do want to lose a little bit of weight I would suggest you don’t aim to lose more than a stone (14 lbs). Also you do not need to be embarrassed about your weight. As I said you are within the healthy weight range and I am sure that with all the running you are quite fit as well.

You mention that you did quite a lot of running this year. That would mean that you have probably put on some more muscle on your legs. Muscle does weigh more than fat and I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of pounds are due to developing muscles. This is a good thing though and it does not mean to say that you have put on weight.

It is sometimes common that people who take on exercising such as running to increase their carbohydrate intake. You do need to have an adequate carbohydrate intake to fuel exercise however, if you have overly increased your carbohydrate intake your diet could be consisting by more calories than you need and therefore gaining weight. Also things like alcohol can add calories which you may not think were there.

It very good that you have been exercising and I would hugely recommend you keep with it and don’t let your weight gain put you off. If you can keep on doing some of your running at your holidays as well it would be even better not only because is good for you but also if you stop exercising you would decrease your energy expenditure which will make losing weight harder.

Weight loss tips for college students

1. I always suggest that people keep a diary of their food/drink intake and their activities for a few days or 1 week. This will give you the opportunity to see what you eat or drink which may contribute in putting on weight. You can also see what could have changed in what or how much you eat in comparison to pre-college time.

2. You could add some resistance exercises as well targeting the areas which you are most worried such as tummy, thighs and waist (love handles). You don’t have to join the gym you can spend 30min before you go running (recommended before as it helps with fat burning) in the house. Some example exercises are:

crunches (for you tummy),

the bridge exercise (works bottom, hamstrings which are the muscles at the back of your legs and tummy)

side leg circles (thighs, tummy and bottom),

flatter kicks (hamstrings and tummy) and push ups.

You can find information about these exercises in the internet, but if unsure about performing any of these do consult an exercise professional i.e. gym instructor to avoid any injuries (see also 28 weight loss tips with exercise). Also do exercises according to your own ability and level and increase intensity and/or difficulty as your ability and fitness increase. You don’t need to do a lot of repetitions, maybe start with like 10 crunches, and 2-3 push ups and 5 reps for the other exercises. You will find that by toning your torso and hamstrings it will help you with your running and also will create a balance in muscles and can help to avoid running injuries such as knee injuries which can be common with runners. Most of all it will help to condition the muscles in the areas you want to target and get rid of the fat around. You can also look on my answer for ‘How can I get rid of love handles’ for more ideas. Always have a day off from exercise though to allow your body to rest and rebuild.

In terms of food:

3. 1st look at your diary to see what could be that you can cut out. It may be the extra biscuit or one too many cereal bars (not as good as they meant to be). Start by making these little changes.

4. Have a delayed protein breakfast. When I say delayed it doesn’t mean to say wait for hours, just delaying your breakfast by 30min is enough. This helps to burn more fat. Example of protein breakfast could be eggs, bacon (grilled not fried), cheese, ham and yogurt. You can see more information on ‘How can I get rid of love handles’.

5. You do need carbohydrates if you are exercising, but you can opt for healthier options such as brown rice and have plenty of vegetables and salads. For example you could have a chicken salad for lunch and rice with tuna and veg/salad for dinner. You don’t need to starve yourself or deprive yourself from things you may like. Just make them healthier. Have a take away but make it be only once a week. Have a fruit salad or a handful of nuts instead of a cake (eat nuts with caution. They are very nutritious but also they have high calorie content); avoid too many coffees with sugar and cream or too many sugary fizzy drinks (coke, orange drinks etc). Some studies suggest that green tea helps with weight loss, you can add some in your day; don’t fry your food grill it instead or have roasted potatoes (in moderation) instead of chips.

6. If you keep on exercising you will not need to lower your calories dramatically in order to lose weight. You do need to have adequate energy intake. By making some of the above changes, such as eating smaller carb (i.e. pasta, potatoes, bread) portions with salad instead of one big carb meal such as pizza, you will find that you will be eating fewer calories anyway. The good thing about veg and salad is that you can eat loads of it and they have low calorie content, and off course they are healthy. However, try not to drown them in salad sauces such as mayonnaise. Opt for a bit of oil, vinaigrette, lemon instead. Women in average need 1500 – 2000 kcal. If you are exercising you are probably in the higher end of the range if not more. Calorie requirements for each individual can be different and can depend on age, activities, environment, build etc. To lose weight you just need to have a small calorie deficiency, and use more energy than you burn. As long as you don’t consume massive amount of calories exercise should create that deficiency. However, always make sure that you don’t create a massive deficiency as you need the energy for exercising and you don’t want to make yourself ill either.

If at any point you have any concerns, health complaints or if you do suffer from any health conditions always consult a medical professional before making any changes in your diet or exercise.

 

What is HCG Diet and can it help you lose weight?

Sunday, May 22, 2011 8:42
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The HCG diet dates as far back as 1954 when it was first introduced by Dr, Simeons. Dr. Simeons was a British physician and who carried out studies on obesity and came across HCG while in Rome practicing medicine.

The HCG diet has since been a controversial subject and although it is practiced in a number of clinics it is still not recognised by the FDA as safe. In this article we will look at what is the HCG, if safe and most of all does it work for weight loss?

The HCG diet explained

The HCG diet as practiced today is pretty much the same as the HCG diet Dr. Simeons introduced 57 years ago. There may be different variation of the diet available; however they are all based on the principles of Dr. Simeons. The original form of the diet consists of consuming a very low calorie diet of 500 kcal supplemented with low doses of HCG on a daily basis. The HCG can be taken via injection, orally (liquid or pills) and more recently is available as a transdermal (on the skin) cream.

The hormone used in the weight loss programs is usually laboratory produced from cell cultures and not harvested from pregnant women. In some diet protocols a homeopathic version may be used which can be taken in the form of a spray or drops.

The diet can be followed for a long period, and usually a 40 injection or a 15 kg weight loss limit is imposed at a time.

What can you eat with the HCG diet?

The 500 kcal food intake proposed with the diet can be quite strict. The original protocol devised by Dr. Simeons allows seasoning, tea, coffee and water. Also the ratios for the 500 kcal should come from approximately 200gr of fat-free protein and a very small amount of starch. A list of vegetables is allowed as is a specific list of fruit.

Some variations of the diet can be less strict; however they still do limit the food intake in 500 kcal per day. One of the popular protocols available is that devised by Kevin Tredeau. His protocol is divided into four phases. Kevin Trudeau’s protocol in general recommends organic food, plenty of herbal teas and some exercise and is a little bit less strict than the original protocol.

What is HCG?

HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone and is secreted during pregnancy from the fertilised embryo at first and then from the placenta. The role of HCG during pregnancy is to preserve the corpus luteum (the site in the ovaries where the egg has come from). The corpus luteum in return will secrete the hormone progesterone and oestrogen. It is also considered to be involved in the foetal production of testosterone, enhance corticosteroid production and suppress the mother’s immune reaction to the foetus. Some studies also suggest that HCG hormone in pregnancy is involved in conserving energy and fat deposition and is one of the mechanisms responsible for women gaining weight during pregnancy.

HCG is also used to treat some medical conditions and as a fertility treatment.

HCG and weight loss: the theory

  • The theory behind the HCG is that the hormone plays a role in stimulating the hypothalamus (part of the brain). The hypothalamus which is related in controlling metabolism will then mobilise the fat from the fat stores of the body and make them available for use. Some of the clinics / theories support that the HCG diet will ‘reset’ the hypothalamus.
  • The 500 kcal food intake is related in that the dieter does not need any more calories as the body will be using the fat which is released from the fat stores. Some studies have also suggested that HCG works in releasing fat when a low calorie intake (energy deficiency) is present.
  • Dieters should expect to lose an average of 1 – 2 pounds of fat per day. The clinics support that it is healthy to lose that amount of weight per day as it all comes from fat and not from muscle. Exercise is sometimes recommended to guarantee fast weight loss, as is increasing vegetable and fibre intake.
  • Dieters should be expected to feel hunger at the first few days but that will slowly stop. Supported on the theory that energy will be coming from the fat stores, dieters are advised that they will feel healthy and will report a feeling of wellbeing.
  • HCG diet will ‘reset’ the hypothalamus and it will also help in making a change for the better in appetite. The eating behaviours adopted through the HCG diet will stay with the dieters even after they have finished. Exercise is recommended in order to maintain the weight loss.

HCG diet the facts and weight loss tips to take with you

  • Most of Dr. Simeons theories come from observations he made himself through his practice. There are a few studies carried out in the 1960’s and ‘70’s however they have shown controversial results. More recent studies and reviews carried out in the effectiveness of HCG hormone in obesity and weight loss suggest that there is not enough scientific evidence to support that it actually works. More specifically they suggest that there is not enough scientific evidence to show that HCG causes weight loss, redistribution of fat, decreases hunger or that it induces a feeling of well-being.

 

  • A study carried out in 2007 looked at the effects of HCG in vitro (in the direct cellular level rather than indirect measurements i.e. weight measurements, observations etc). Researchers found that HCG had no direct effect in the breakdown and mobilisation of fat from the tissues. They also suggested that HCG plays a role in conserving energy and may be an influencing factor in weight gain and fat deposition in pregnancy. One of the side effects included for use of HCG as a fertility drug is weight gain.

 

  • One theory the above study suggested is that HCG may indirectly through other pathways stimulate growth hormone which can influence weight loss. An argument that can be made here is that, if weight loss is achieved through growth hormone stimulation and not directly from the HCG, then why not supplement with growth hormone instead and get the same results.

 

  • Most clinics will argue that there aren’t any serious side effects or dangers with using HCG in the low dosages the diet suggests. Some of the people, who have reviewed HCG, suggest that some of the side effects include nausea, headaches, constipation, cramps, and trouble with sleeping.

 

  • Supplementation of HCG is not approved by the FDA as a safe weight loss protocol.

 

  • A lot of people will testify that it works and they will lose weight. With a 500 kcal food intake anybody would lose weight. That calorie intake would be borderline malnutrition and if you starve yourself for as long as the diet suggests no doubt you will lose a lot of weight. This is not miracle or magic cure. Even with metabolism slowing down, 500 kcal are hardly enough to cover for basic energy requirements. The energy you need to be alive let alone function has to come from somewhere, so your body will mobilise its stores, including fat, glycogen (sugar store) and protein.

 

  • With such a low calorie regime you will not just lose weight, you will lose water and protein (in the form of muscle, enzymes etc). This is not recommended as healthy and can have negative effects to health.

 

  • Another testimony that I have come across is that people must stick to the 500 kcal as even an alcoholic drink or the slightest of deviation will cause them to put on a couple of pound overnight. Well I will argue here that if HCG is such a miracle making weight loss cure a slight calorie deviation surely shouldn’t cause you to put on weight? With such a low calorie intake the body will try to reserve as much as possible. So if you give it a little bit of extra calories will think that it needs to save it as is hard times.

 

  • Hunger will disappear after a few days. This is normal and observed in starvation as well. There are a number of things that happen in the body such as using ketone bodies (derived from break down of fat and protein) to make energy.

 

  • If you are determined to follow the HCG diet regardless do try to do it in the safest of ways.

 

  • Consult a medical professional. You could have an underlined medical condition that could be affected from HCG. In addition, the low calorie intake could affect your health. Do not follow if pregnant.

 

  • I would not recommend following exercise through the diet. This is not something I would usually say, but such a low calorie intake coupled with exercise can place considerable amounts of stress to the body. Moreover, 500 kcal may not be sufficient energy intake to sustain the exercise requirements. If you are putting too much strain in your body can have detrimental effects to your well-being and health.

 

  • Try buying the hormone or following the diet form a reputable source. Especially when purchasing from the internet, as you have no means to know what they are selling you. Prefilled injections could also be contaminated, not prepared under proper conditions and guidelines, and most of all the quality could be compromised. It is your body and it is your health. Make sure is safe.

 

  • Give the healthy balanced diet coupled with exercise option a try. It may prove as effective and healthier.

HCG diet review by Hara Hagikalfa

Can weight loss supplements help you lose weight?

Sunday, May 15, 2011 13:18
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Weight loss supplements and pills, do they work? With thousands of people, all over the world, interested to lose weight the market has just about everything to offer. With compliance to conventional weight loss programs being poor, a vast array of weight loss supplements have been developed and marketed claiming to be effective. Undoubtedly ‘weight loss’ is an ever growing lucrative business and weight loss supplements account for a large part of it. The role of medication in weight loss is quite a controversial subject and often the results are limited.

See Also: Quick weight loss diets

With so many available how can someone choose which supplement to take and most importantly do they actually work? This article will look at weight loss supplements and their effectiveness in weight loss management.

Weight loss supplements general information

Dietary and weight loss supplements in the USA are regulated by the FDA which places dietary supplements under the general category of ‘foods’. The FDA states that it is the manufacturers’ responsibility to make sure a product is safe however, the manufacturers do not have to show what evidence they have for their claims about a specific supplement.

Types of weight loss supplements and their effects

Considering the vast amount of supplements in the market, it is beyond the scope of this article to look at each brand, or product separately. Dietary supplements can be divided into categories according to their effects. These categories include:

  • Stimulants, energy / metabolism boosters, thermogenic agents.

The general (and simplified) theory behind these compounds is that they mimic or affect hormonal / neurological pathways which in return are involved in breaking down fat. Example of such pathways is the stimulation of adrenaline and noradrenaline (also called epinephrine). Eg. Ephedrine, ephedra, caffeine bitter orange, theophylline or theobromine (from cola nut, guarama or mate).

Effects: Ephedrine and ephedra were banned from the US market in 2004 due to adverse effects and increased risk of psychiatric, neural and cardiovascular complaints. In general there is little evidence that stimulants have considerable effects in weight loss.

  • Appetite suppressants

In theory appetite suppressant supplements work directly or indirectly on pathways (hormonal, neural etc) which are involved in regulating appetite. In simple words if people are less hungry they will eat less. Some of the most common ingredients in appetite suppressants are: Phentermine, Benzphetamine, Phendimetrazine, Sibutramine Topiramate and Rimonabant.

Effects: Topiramate and Rimonabant have been associated with weight loss but are not yet approved by the FDA. There is little evidence to support that appetite suppressants have significant results in weight loss.

  • Fat and/or carbohydrate modulators and absorption blockers.

In theory they stop (inhibit) the absorption of a portion of the ingested fat or carbohydrate. Most commonly known is Orlistat.

Effects: Most studies have shown that people who were taking orlistat lost more weight than those who didn’t. However, the mean weight lost was not very high, and also when people stopped taking the orlistat they gained most of the weight back, although they were in weight maintenance diets. Some beneficial effects to cholesterol and glucose tolerance have been observed. Moreover, adverse effects include diarrhoea and oily stool are common (especially if the diet is high in fat), decrease in fat soluble vitamins, risk of essential fatty acid deficiency and in theory increased risk of colon cancer. See also: Carbohydrates and weight loss

  • Laxatives

Laxatives are primarily foods or drugs which stimulate evacuation of the bowel.

Effects: There is no substantial evidence that laxatives increase weight loss. Stools, in the colon, are usually waste products and undigested food, nutrients and calories have been absorbed in prior stages. Also laxatives and subsequent diarrhoea caused by laxatives, can lead to losing substantial amounts of fluids from the body. One part of weight loss can be attributed to simply fluid loss and in addition, it can lead to dehydration.

Tips for using weight loss supplements

1. For majority of the weight loss supplements in the marker, there is NO sufficient scientific evidence to support their claims.

2. There are a number of adverse effects which have been associated with a number of the weight loss supplements. Some of these can be dangerous especially if pre-existing health conditions are present. An example is side effects of increase in blood pressure and palpitations in combination with cardiovascular conditions.

3. Luck of research in the weight loss results of supplements also means luck of research in the health risks. A lot of the supplements do not have sufficient information about their long term effects to health.

4. If you have any health conditions or concerns always consult a medical professional before taking any weight loss supplements.

5. Just because they are approved by the FDA does not mean they work or that they are always safe.

6. Avoid buying supplements from dubious websites that promise the earth and moon in results.

7. Try researching about the ingredients. Simple searches on the internet in sites such as the FDA can provide you with some basic information about the ingredients. Alternative ask your pharmacist.

8. Calcium and green tea have been shown to aid with weight loss. This is true for dietary calcium and not for supplements. Calcium and green tea have also been shown to help with weight maintenance as well.

9. Lifestyle changes (i.e. increase physical activity) and diet can have better long term effects.

10. People usually put the weight back on after they stopped taking weight loss supplements. They have often been described as a short term solution to a long term problem. Even if weight loss is achieved without long term diet and life style changes the results will be short lived. There is a reason why you may have put on that extra weight. Start from removing the reason.

11. Some people will claim that they use weight loss supplements to kick start weight loss and motivate themselves in sticking with a program. If that is the case make sure that you do it safe. Choose those supplements which have the least adverse effects, give the most and detailed information about their effects and ideally name the studies which support them.

12. Take them safely. Do not increase the dosages to increase results and always follow the instructions provided.        

13. Last but not least, avoid them all together if you can. Do not forget that healthy weight loss is the best way to get slimmer.

Are quick weight loss diets healthy?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 15:30
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A couple of days ago we reviewed the most popular weight loss diets. Today we are going to discuss another hot topic in the area of weight loss and this is no other than quick weight loss. Is there such thing as quick weight loss? Are there any quick weight loss diets that work and is losing weight quickly healthy?

Solely for the purposes of this article I will divide these diets into 2 categories. This is not a scientific division of diet regimes just an easy way of looking into them. One category includes the low calorie diets with or without a miracle nutritional aid and the other the nutritional and lifestyle modifying diets.

1. Low calorie diets and very low calorie diets (VLCD). With low calorie diets weight loss will be achieved if followed for a period of time. However, a lot of them tend to lack of essential nutrients, and they can result in the metabolism slowing down. Other adverse effects can include headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, tiredness and irritability. Needless to say that, such diets are not healthy especially if followed for long periods. Side effects can depend on the severity of the calorie restriction. Diets such as the HCG diet restrict the calories to 500 per day which is by far a healthy recommended calorie level.

Apart from the health issues which surround VLCDs, such diets, are hard to follow and after the initial few days the metabolism tends to slow down resulting in actually decreasing the rate in which weight is lost. Moreover, a lot of the weight lost does not come only from fat reserves but also from protein. The actual reserves of stored protein in the body are very small which means that large amount of the protein lost during radical calorie restrictions would come from enzymes, muscles, organs and tissues.

Fasting style diets and increased calorie restriction can influence thyroid and hormone functions. These diets can also be stressful for the body and/or increase the levels of stress.

Some studies indicate that in the case of obesity, very VLCDs are the best solution. However, it should be considered that in obesity the body has been adapted and used to a specific way of working. Any sudden and radical changes could be a huge shock for the body to cope. Such changes should be made under medical consultation and supervision.

2. Nutritional and lifestyle modifying diets. Through the years the trends in modifying everyday diets has shifted from high carb – low fat to high protein diets. Although it must be noted that high protein diets are not a new thing and some of them date back in the 70s, and some of them such as the Atkins diet, tend to come in and out of popularity.

More and more studies suggest that high protein diets can have favourable results in weight loss and health. However, a lot of the diets can be restrictive in the vegetable intake or not include a wide variety of nutrients. In addition, when moving from a high carb to an extremely low carbohydrate diet, the body can take up to 2 weeks to adjust. During that period of adjustment, adverse effects can include tiredness, carb craving, mood changes, constipation, and irritability. In addition, intake of vegetables and fruit is highly recommended for better health outcomes.

One could argue that making a whole diet and lifestyle change it is a better option than short fix diets. That could be true, as long as the diet modifications do have better health outcomes and are a diet that an individual is happy with. If happy with the diet there are more chances to adhere with it.

10 Diet tips to identify which quick weight loss diets work?

Bellow I have summarised some diet tips about quick weight loss diets to help you navigate through them.

1. To my knowledge there is not such a thing as miracle food, food aid or diet which will break the rules of nature. Weight loss is a very lucrative business and there are a lot of diets which aim in you spending money or advertising a specific product.

2. The first week of dieting you will not lose significant measurable amount of fat and it will mostly be water. Fact

3. Therefore, a lot of the VLCDs which are design for a small period of time i.e. 2days-1week will not actually lead to significant fat reductions. Once you stop following these diets the weight will be gained back as most of it was just water.

4. You should not follow VLCDs for long periods as the health effects can be serious.

5. If you have any health conditions or concerns, always consult a health professional.

6. It is best when modifying your diet to do it gradually to allow for your body to adjust and avoid adverse effects such as mood changes, cravings, and constipation.

7. If following a higher protein diet increase your water and liquid intake as high protein can increase the water loss.

7. The best and most efficient way to speed up weight loss is with exercise. Opt for a mixture between aerobic and strength exercise. You don’t have to join the gym or torture yourself, sometimes simple everyday activities such as walking, cycling and cleaning the house can be as good.

8. Always look at the credentials of a diet. Just because it carries the name of a doctor it doesn’t necessarily make it healthy or safe. A lot of the diets regimes in circulation do not have good quality research to back them up in terms of results and safety.

In addition, just because the celebrity world or the stars follow one regime doesn’t mean is healthy, or even results in sustainable weight loss. Celebrities have the time, the personal assistants, and cooks, trainers and so on to help them lose weight and sustain it. Moreover, celebrities can suffer from adverse effects and health conditions as a result of their dieting even if it’s not made public. Most importantly they have airbrushing and photo manipulation, there is a whole different world out there in the naked eye…

9. With VLVCDs is almost guaranteed that the weight will be re-gained. The best way to sustain weight loss is to change lifestyle and follow a healthy and balanced diet in general. You can lose weight with a radical diet but as soon as you go back to old eating habits the weight will come back. There was a reason why you put on the weight in the first place. Changing those habits is a lot more effective than yo-yoing in kilos.

10. You could probably achieve similar results with just moderately decreasing your calorie intake, decreasing fat, and carb intake and increasing exercise. Then just follow a reasonable healthy and balanced diet to sustain the weight loss.

 

 

Most popular Weight loss Diets Review

Sunday, May 8, 2011 15:06
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What are fad diets and can you lose weight by following any of the popular weight loss diets? In this article our experts review 6 of the most widely used diets: dukan diet, cabbage diet, acai berry diet, hgc diet, hollywood diet, atkins diet and explain how fast we should lose weight.

In the weeks leading to the recent royal wedding in Britain a lot of speculation was made about the bride’s – Kate Middleton weight loss. Magazines, newspapers and internet sites, all had a suggestion about which diet regime she is following to look good for her wedding day. Suggestions were made, that the secret was the Dukan diet and as it may be expected thousands of people will rush to try the new miracle diet. I can quite picture the time scale and progression of the diet; it will make headlines for a while with many followers to its name. Controversy will be borne and a number of arguments will be made about the theory behind it and if it is safe or if it delivers results.

However, this is a common story for many diet regimes through the years. Many of them profess fast, radical and easy weight loss, and off course they argue that they are the best, the safest, healthiest and the only diets in the world that work.

Is there such a thing as quick, safe and healthy weight loss? This article will make a succinct review of some of the diets available and will provide weight loss tips on how to navigate through quick diets.

What are fad diets?

There is not a clear cut definition for ‘fad diets’ and the term can sometimes be used to refer to a poor quality weight loss diet. The term ‘fad diets’ is usually used to refer to those diet regimes which tend to come in and out of popularity.

A simple search on the internet will reveal dozens of weight loss diets, ‘fad’ or not, and navigating through them can be a confusing job. The table bellow summarises some of the diet regimes available for quick weight loss. These are only a small sample of diets which are available and the list can go on and on.

What is considered ‘quick’ weight loss can be subjective and difficult to define. Some diets promise results in 48 hrs of dieting other diets measure results in a 2 week period framework. In addition, what is ‘quick’ for one person may not be quick enough for someone else. The question that matters most is how quickly can we actually lose weight?

Most Popular Weight loss Diets

Dukan diet

A 4 phase high protein diet. Attack phase (1st phase): Strictly protein only, no fat, no veg, and no carbs. Vegetable, carbs and fat increase progressively through the rest 3 phases. The 4th phase includes eat whatever you want but eat protein only on a Thursday for life. Phases last according to how much someone has to lose.

Promises: Radical and quick weight loss. Can lose up to 7lb in a week and then about 2lb per week. Weight loss takes place in the 1st and 2nd phase. Some studies have looked into very high protein diets and do suggest that are effective in quick weight loss.

Review: However, is not recommended to follow diets with very low vegetable intake for long periods. Also when radically changing your diet from high carb to no carbs the body takes will take up to 2 weeks to adjust. Adverse effects of this could be memory impairments, irritability tiredness and constipation. Dehydration can be another issue. It is important to drink plenty of water as high protein diets can lead to an increase in water loss.

Cabbage diet

Based on eating a cabbage soup and a very limited list of foods for 7 days. It is mainly a very low, high fibre diet and is ONLY for 7 days.

Promises: Quick and radical weight loss As a very low calorie diet it can lead to weight loss quickly.

Review: However, in a week most of weight loss will mostly be water. High fibre diets can lead to gastrointestinal complaints, so it would not be recommended for someone with pre-existing gastrointestinal problems. Adverse effects of very low calorie diets can include tiredness, light headed irritability.

Acai berry diet

Not a specific weight loss plan apart from using acai berry in combination to any weight loss plan of your choice. The principle is that the acai berry is a powerful antioxidant which will enhance wellbeing and weight loss among other things.

Promises: Improve digestion, increase metabolism and weight loss.

Review: Some studies do support that the acai berry has antioxidant properties and as with other antioxidants can have benefits to health.

There is no substantial research to support that the acai berry on its own will increase weight loss. If people are following a weight loss program any effects could be solely from that and not the berry. It can be expensive to buy supplements and other acai containing nutritional aids.

HGC diet

A 500 calorie diet in conjunction with HCG (human Gonadotropin Hormone). The original HCG form is via injection but it can also be taken orally.

Promises: Quick and radical weight loss. Treatment is recommended for 40 injections or 15 kilos weight loss only, at any time.

Review: Weight loss can be result with only just following the 500 calorie diet. However, this is very low and not recommended. In addition, there is not strong research evidence supporting the claims about HCG and weight loss.
Moreover, the hormone can have a number of adverse effects to health. Some could be headaches, irritability, depression, and ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome which can be life threatening.

Hollywood diet

Short 48 hr diet. The base of the diet is juice drinks called the Hollywood diet miracle juice only. No food is allowed for the duration of the diet.

Promises: Up to 5 pounds in 24 hours and 10 pound in 48 hours. Claims to be detoxifying and to assist in restoration of minerals.

Review: Unlikely that in the weight loss will be anything more than water in that short period. It has no good quality scientific evidence to support what it claims.

Atkins diet

Principally a low carb – high protein diet. The new Atkins diet version is less strict and does allow vegetables and fats.

Promises: Quick weight loss

Review: It is based in the same principles in which most high protein diets are. Arguments about Atkins are similar with other low carb-high protein diets (see Dukan diet).

The new Atkins diet does include a larger variety of fats and vegetables and it can be argued that provides a more balanced approach.

How fast can we lose weight?

If we starve ourselves, during the first week we lose some fat, some protein and glycogen, however, these are not significant measurable results. Most of the measurable weight lost is water. The amount of fat, protein or glycogen lost will depend on each individual’s metabolic rate, exercise levels and type of diet followed. However, the body has its own limitations, and not losing 7lb of fat in the first week of starvation is one of them.

There aren’t any good quality studies to actually support that there is such a thing as a miracle food, drink or diet which will actually achieve results beyond the natural limits. It must be noted that the rate in which we burn fat can be increased by quite a lot with exercise. We use energy (calories) while exercising and while at rest. However, when exercising an appropriate diet should be followed and starvation would not be recommended.

By Hara Hagikalfa, Reviewed by Dr A.Slee

Weight loss for Women over 40

Thursday, May 5, 2011 13:28
Comments Off on Weight loss for Women over 40

Weight loss for women over 40 is very challenging. It is very common for women who go through menopause to have weight fluctuations. This is due to the changes in hormones such as oestrogen, and progesterone which influence metabolism, weight loss rate and appetite. Read 7 weight loss tips that work.

Question:

I am over 40 and menopausal.  I am doing everything “right” in order to maintain a healthy weight; however, I am finding myself gaining weight instead.  I use a stationary bike, elliptical machine and swimming.  I eat right and get plenty of rest; yet in the past 6 to 8 months I have put on roughly 12 pounds. By military height and weight standards I am currently 17 pounds overweight.  How do I reverse this trend?

Answer: (by Hara Hagikalfa, Reviewed by Dr Slee)

Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for your question. I am providing this answer in consultation with Dr Slee. It is very common for women who go through menopause to have weight fluctuations. This is due to the changes in hormones such as oestrogen, and progesterone which influence metabolism and appetite. My first suggestion would be to consult your doctor about your concerns and if possible to look/investigate the profile of your hormone levels. The doctor should be able to consult you about different options available for menopause.

I’m afraid there is not a miracle diet or answer for this one. However, I have the following suggestions which may helpI would recommend to spend a week keeping a food and activities (i.e. exercise) diary to have a full picture of what you are eating etc. I know you say that you eat ‘right’ but having a full picture of what you eat and when, does help in finding things which you can avoid or didn’t realise were there. You can see some of my previous answers such as ‘How can I lose weight I have gained quickly’ for more information. Also apart from going through menopause try to see what may have changed for the last 6-8 months in which you have put on weight. Have your habits changed, or have you been under a lot of stress? Sometimes is the combination of things which may lead to weight gain.

 

  1. Try cutting down on carbohydrates and sugar. Some studies suggest that some women may be more sensitive to sugars during menopause. Try cutting down on your carbohydrate intake for 2 weeks and see if it does affect your appetite and weight. It will take 2 weeks for any significant adaptations or changes to take place. It is important to keep some carbohydrates in your diet especially if you are doing exercise. An easy way to lower carbohydrates is to avoid or minimize bread, potatoes, rice and pasta, and have instead loads of vegetables, high fibre foods and fruits. Be more careful with fruits as some can contain a lot of sugar, such as bananas. Also avoid sugary drinks, takeaways, processed foods, juices too many sugary coffees, too much alcohol etc. You can also see my article on healthy weight loss about more ways on how to cut down on carbohydrates in a healthy way.
  2. Unfortunately with hormonal issues such as menopause there is not always a way to avoid putting on weight. It can be different for each person. It may be the case that you need to be stricter with your diet all together.  For example if you had a treat i.e. a takeaway once a week, it may be that it will need to be once a fortnight or once a month. However, DO NOT follow very low fat diets or restrict your calories very low. They will not actually benefit in this situation. Some studies indicate that primrose oil and fats such as fish oils may be of benefit. Fats can also be beneficial in terms of steroidical hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone. Do avoid unhealthy fats such as trans fats which are found in margarines, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, processed food etc. See also ‘Why lose weight and how to do it correctly for more information.
  3. I would not recommend that you lower your calories too low. If the underlying reason for weight gain is hormonal then you could do more harm than help to your body. By keeping a diary of food and activities you can roughly calculate how many calories you are consuming. Remember to include coffees, juices etc. Also calculate how many calories you burn with exercise and physical activities. Your calculations don’t need to be down to the last calorie but a rough estimation. This way you can see how many calories you are consuming and how many you could possibly cut down without going to low. For example if you have 2 coffees per day with 1 sugar each, maybe you could cut it down to 1 coffee with no sugar or half a sugar. If you are having sandwiches for lunch try replacing them with a meat/fish salad which you prepared. Overall you may decrease your intake by 200 calories but it will be in a healthier way. I must say do not over consume yourself with calories. As I have said before calories are not the means to all ends.
  4. Try strength exercises as well. Strength exercises help to keep on muscle which means you could burn more calories. The muscles become more efficient and burn fat more and also it can increase your resting metabolic rate (the rate in which you burn energy when you are resting).
  5. In my articles I have summarized tips on healthy eating and weight loss diets such as having a delayed protein breakfast. You can incorporate some of these tips in your diet and see if it has helped in sustaining your weight (as in not gaining any more) or even losing some.

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