Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich: Will You Try it?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 3:36
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Dunkin Donuts is rolling out its Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich on June 7th in celebration of National Donut Day.

Here’s what this amazing creation looks like.


Here’s how many calories are in it: 410

But, would you believe that this creation actually has less calories than their bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit? It clocks in at 430 calories!

Will you be standing in line for this on National Donut Day?

Oh yeah, Dunkin will also give you a free donut that day if you totally want to blow your diet…..

Prancercise Your Way to a Great Body!

Friday, May 31, 2013 15:45
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Are you tired of your old exercise routine? Has it become dull and boring? Do you long to be the center of attention at the park?

Try Prancercise and prance your way to fitness!

Will you be joining the Prancercise fitness revolution?

The Kitchen – a sacred space

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 17:56
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One of our favorite quotes here at Food411 goes like this:

“it is not what is on the table that matters but who is in the chairs”

Our Chef Silva has written a beautiful article about the kitchen being a sacred space which further defines the connection of food, family and friends. It really is what life is al about.

All of us who love food know that it’s so much more than simply fuel for the body. If that were the case, we would simply swallow a little purple pill and be done with it – and one of life’s greatest pleasures would go down with it. Though it may seem like I’m stating the obvious, preparing, eating and sharing food is an ageless practice that spans across all cultural and economic groups.

Today there is a show on PBS that has taken TV entertainment by storm – Downton Abby. In this British series set in the early 1900′s when class distinction was most clearly defined, it seems the aristocracy of this post – Edwardian age did little more than dress for dinner and chat (gossip) about the people and news in their world. The servants, who were responsible for preparing and serving the meal did much the same around their downstairs table, only they seemed to have more fun. They were cultivating kitchen gardens, going into town shopping for food, and spending endless hours in preparation that gave them instant satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment – and leftovers.

From the kitchens of grand estates to humble campfires of indigenous people around the globe, the art of preparing and sharing a meal is built into our DNA and I would venture to guess that the nourishment we gain from this practice has less to do with the food we eat and more to do with the people, ideas and stories we share around the “table”.

Growing up in a large Italian family, the kitchen was the hub of activity in our household. The kitchen table was rarely empty. It was always cluttered with food being prepared, family meals being eaten, or a steady stream of neighbors or relatives pulling up any empty and joining in.

For me, I wasn’t truly home until I entered the kitchen. Regardless of what was going on in my life, it was where I found solace. It nurtured my spirit as well as my body and that nourishment took root within me and led me to my life’s work.My parents, who are no longer alive, were brilliant at harvesting the gifts of the kitchen and extending them to us, have no idea the far reaching effects they nurtured or who have been touched and benefited from the solid foundation they built for their children and grandchildren. For each of us, in our own way has drank from it, eaten from it and used it to fortify our endeavours and contributions to society. That humble kitchen, in a small suburban town like any other, has feed more hearts than we can ever know.

These are the gifts, the legacy, that awaits anyone who enters this sacred space. This is why I choose to work there, so I may bring you there with me.

Chef Silvia


A Festive Holiday Salad from our Chef Silvia

Thursday, December 20, 2012 18:45
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” I can’t think of anything I want more of this holiday season than compassion and forgiveness. The more I have, the more I have to give. The supply is infinite so I don’t have to worry that there isn’t enough and these gifts have a way of changing everything.” Silvia

A Holiday Salad

I don’t know about you but the holidays is a time when I indulge in all my favorite foods without guilt. But in between indulgent feasts, something much lighter – but just as festive – is called for. This holiday salad is just the thing. It’s delicious, healthy, and comes dressed in holiday finery.

(Per person)
1 cup kale
1 cup mixed greens
? cup cooked quinoa
? ripe pear (sliced)
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
? cup goat cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette (or other favorite vinaigrette)

Peel and remove seeds from the pomegranate and set aside. Toss the greens in the vinaigrette and place onto individual plates. Sprinkle with the quinoa, the pomegranate seeds and goat cheese. Slice the pears and arrange on top. Serve as a light lunch or as a starter for dinner.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
? cup balsamic vinegar
? cups extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place vinegar (and mustard) in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Slowly add the oil while briskly mixing using a wire whisk (or with the blade of the processor spinning). The mixture will emulsify and look like caramel. Adjust the seasoning and toss with the greens

A Festive Holiday Salad from our Chef Silvia

Thursday, December 20, 2012 18:45
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” I can’t think of anything I want more of this holiday season than compassion and forgiveness. The more I have, the more I have to give. The supply is infinite so I don’t have to worry that there isn’t enough and these gifts have a way of changing everything.” Silvia

A Holiday Salad

I don’t know about you but the holidays is a time when I indulge in all my favorite foods without guilt. But in between indulgent feasts, something much lighter – but just as festive – is called for. This holiday salad is just the thing. It’s delicious, healthy, and comes dressed in holiday finery.

(Per person)
1 cup kale
1 cup mixed greens
? cup cooked quinoa
? ripe pear (sliced)
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
? cup goat cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette (or other favorite vinaigrette)

Peel and remove seeds from the pomegranate and set aside. Toss the greens in the vinaigrette and place onto individual plates. Sprinkle with the quinoa, the pomegranate seeds and goat cheese. Slice the pears and arrange on top. Serve as a light lunch or as a starter for dinner.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
? cup balsamic vinegar
? cups extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place vinegar (and mustard) in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Slowly add the oil while briskly mixing using a wire whisk (or with the blade of the processor spinning). The mixture will emulsify and look like caramel. Adjust the seasoning and toss with the greens

How to keep fruit and vegetables fresh

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 14:18
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fresh fruits

We all know that a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables is ideal for good health.  However, it is not always easy to store fruit and vegetables correctly to prolong their life and keep them fresh for the maximum time.  We’ve all had soggy lettuces, bruised peaches and mouldy carrots lurking at the bottom of the refrigerator.  Here is a guide on how to store your fresh produce to prolong its life and avoid food wastage.

Remember that the time that fresh fruit lasts will vary a lot with the climate, in some areas, fruits that are normally stored at room temperature may need to be stored in the fridge due to high temperatures and vice versa.

Buy as fresh as possible

Fruit and vegetables will last longer if they are as fresh as possible when they are bought.  The freshest produce is often found at farmers markets or smaller local green grocers, rather than the big supermarkets.  Supermarket produce may have been stored for weeks before it even makes it to the shelves, so it’s often not exactly at its best by the time it gets home with you.  If you buy at markets you are also more likely to buy in season produce, which will taste better and be more nutritious.

Beware of tricks used by supermarkets to make produce look fresher.  Fruit and vegetables are often sprayed with a fine mist of water to appear ‘dewy’ and fresh, and whilst market vegetables may be imperfect to look at, chances are they are actually fresher.

Storing Fruit

Different fruits require different storage techniques to keep them fresh for the longest time possible.  Fruit should be kept unwashed and gently rinsed in cold water before eating, unless they are very dirty, in which case they should be washed carefully and completely dried before storage.

Fruits that should be kept in the fridge:

In general fruits that are stored in the fridge should be covered in a plastic bag or wrapped in plastic to protect from contamination from other foods and avoid contact with oxygen.

Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries:  Even in the refrigerator, these will only last a few days.  It is important to remove any spoiled berries to prevent others from being affected.  Strawberries will last longer if the green top is left on during storage.

Berries also freeze well, but should be places spread out on a tray to freeze initially, to prevent the berries freezing together.  Once they are frozen they can be stored together in a freezer bag.

Grapes: These should be stored in a plastic bag unwashed in the refrigerator crisper and can last around five days.

Apples: these can be stored in the refrigerator or in a cool dark place and can last up to four months under the right conditions.

Fruit that needs ripening at room temperature

Many of the fruits we buy are under ripe, and so require ripening before we can eat them.  This is best done at room temperature.

Pears, Mangos, Plums, Peaches and other stone fruits: These should be ripened at room temperature in a paper bag until they give a little when pressed.  After this they can be stored in the refrigerator to slow down further ripening.

Pineapple:  This can be ripened at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  As the sugar in this fruit is concentrated at the bottom, storing the pineapple upside down can improve the sweetness, by allowing the sugar to spread through the fruit.

Fruits that should be stored at room temperature

Some fruits lose their flavour or texture when stored in the fridge.

Melon:  This becomes rubbery and loses flavour if stored in the fridge; although once ripe and cut it will last for longer at cooler temperatures.

Lemons and limes:  These can absorb flavours from the fridge and last a long time at room temperature anyway.

Bananas: These can give a banana flavour to other things in your fridge.  Cold temperatures can also damage the fruit which is more accustomed to a tropical climate, as well as slow or prevent the process of ripening.  To speed up ripening, place bananas in a brown paper bag.

Oranges: These should also be stored at room temperature, and will usually last up to two weeks when ambient temperature isn’t too high.

How to store vegetables

As with fruit, vegetables should be stored unwashed in plastic bags and then rinsed before eating.

Vegetables to store in the refrigerator:

Vegetables should be stored in the crisper for best results.

Broccoli:  This will last for around 3 to 5 days

Beetroots, carrots and radishes; Green tops should be removed before storage, then these should last for one to two weeks

Corn:  For best results leave corn in husks and eat as soon as possible as even in the crisper, these will only last one to two days.

Lettuce and other leafy greens: these will last between one and seven days, depending on their initial freshness.  Remove any leaves that start to go limp to preserve the others.

Vegetables that need to be ripened at room temperature

Tomatoes:  These should be ripened out of direct sunlight at room temperature.  Once ripe, they should be eaten immediately for best flavour, or store in the refrigerator, where they should last two to three days.

Vegetables that should be stored at room temperature:

Onions: These should last for two to four weeks.  Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight

Potatoes: Store away from light, which can cause potatoes to go green.

Using up fresh produce

We have all been in the situation when we have a large quantity of fruit or vegetables on our hands that is reaching the end of its days and if left longer will be inedible.  Rather than waste this food, there are numerous ways to use up produce if there is simply too much to eat before it goes off.

Cakes, muffins and bread:  Add fruits such as bananas, apples, or stone fruits, or grated vegetables such as carrot or zucchini to batter to create a high fibre, nutritious snack.  Baked goods can also be frozen until needed.

Omelettes:  Any vegetable can be thrown into a omelette for a quick, nutritious lunch or dinner.

Ice cream or frozen yogurt:  Ripe fruit is ideal in as an ingredient in a frozen dessert as they give more flavour and add nutritional value.

Pickles:  Pickling vegetables is a great way to use up a surplus of stock and the finished product will last for ages.

Soups:  Cook up a quick vegetables soup to use up an excess of stock, then freeze to eat as a quick healthy meal later.

Purees:  Fruit and vegetables can be cooked, pureed and frozen.  They can they be defrosted and used later in baking, to make a soup or even as a topping from ice cream or yogurt.

Don’t be afraid of frozen.

Many people avoid frozen vegetables, thinking them to be less nutritious than their fresh counterparts.  However, in many cases this is not the case.  As frozen vegetables are snap frozen almost as soon as they are picked, they actually retain a lot of their nutrients, in some cases more than fresh vegetables that have been transported, stored and then sitting on the supermarket shelf for weeks.

Frozen vegetables are great to have on hand for a quick nutritious meal and eliminate the worry of using up food that is going to go off.

5 Bodyweight exercises that burn fat

Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:57
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fat burning exercises

Not everybody wants or can spend an hour in the gym everyday training. A lot of people would be happy to know a handful of exercises which they can do at home and still have the fat burning benefits.

In this article we have gathered 5 exercises which they use your own body’s weight but they can still provide a fat burning and muscle building workout. I don’t believe in absolute statements such as ‘the very best of exercises’ or ‘the only exercises’.

These exercises are not the only ‘best’ exercises you can do as there is a plethora of exercises which will deliver good results. You can use these in combination to another workout or pick the ones you like and use them with others you may have in your list. Below are some things to keep in mind regarding exercising.

Before you start exercising

1. When you are exercising your body will use calories (energy) to fuel the exercise, no matter what exercise it is. The type of fuel, whether it is fat, sugar or other will depend on the type of exercise, the intensity, the meal consumed before and when and a number of other reasons.

2. In very simple terms, the exercise must place some considerable challenge in your body and muscles in order to ‘build muscle’. However, this doesn’t mean that you should jump to intermediate level when you never exercised before in your life so you get maximum results. You are more likely to get loads of injuries and suffer. Build gradually.

3. The more muscles/muscle groups you use when performing an exercise the more fat you are likely to burn.

4. The more muscle mass you have the more calories and fat you will burn even when you’re resting.

5. It is always recommended that you consult a medical professional and/or a fitness professional before taking on exercise especially if you have pre-existing health complaints and injuries.

You can also read: 28 weight loss tips with exercise | Best time of the day to exercise

5 Bodyweight exercises that burn fat

The exercises below are placed in an order in which they could be performed as a little circuit workout and alternate the muscle groups they target. However, even if you performed in isolation or at a different order is as good.

Just be aware not to overload one group (i.e. front legs) and neglect another (i.e. back of legs or upper body). It is always best to train muscles in balance and throughout the body to avoid muscle imbalances and injuries in the long term.

! It is important to do a 5-10min warm up prior to starting exercising. A warm up session should aim to warm and mobilise the major muscles and joints.

Rope skipping

You will need a rope to perform the exercise. You can buy ‘special’ skipping ropes but in my opinion any rope which is suitable for your height is fine. The one I usually use to train is a children’s one which I bought from a shop for a couple of dollars. It does have some bright yellow handles but ‘hey’ it’s fit for purpose. However, the length is important, as if it is too short for your height you will be tripping yourself with it.

How? To perform the skipping, try to keep your back straight and avoid leaning forward. Keep the elbows tacked in your body and the turning of the rope should come from the wrists. If you have to rotate your elbows to turn the rope then the rope may be too small. If you are a beginner in skipping, best jump two footed as it is easier to do. You can build different variations as you become more confident, such as alternate legs or cross arms etc.

How much? Perform for 3 min at the start of your workout to get your muscles and cardiopulmonary systems going, and then for another 5 min at the end. Skipping is more of an aerobic exercise and for maximising the fat you burn it is better if you perform resistance exercises 1st and aerobic exercise at the end. The 3 and 5 min may not seem as much but trust me if you never skipped before (being a child was the last time) you will find that is not as easy. If you are more fit then by all means add min on. Go at you own paste and fitness level.

Push ups

Push up or press ups as they may also be called, target the muscles on the chest, shoulders, arms, and back. There are a number of variations in performance and when performed on the floor with straight legs then they also work leg tummy and buttocks as stabilisers.


How?  1. Lay prone on the floor with palms flat on the floor placed slightly wider under your shoulders. Keep arms extended but do not lock the elbows.

2. Extended legs and toes tacked in to the floor (raise on to your toes), keep your back straight.

3. Contract your abdominal muscles and buttocks. Keep breathing don’t hold your breath.

4. Inhale, bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor.

5. Exhale, extend your arms and push your body back up to starting position. Repeat movement.

Easier variations include push ups against the wall (if you are really unfit) or the keeping the legs bend (on fours). Harder variations include one arm push ups or the legs placed on a bench or Swiss ball. Aim for what suits your own fitness level.

How much? Well it is quite a hard exercise. Aim for 4 to start off, rest for 30sec and perform another 4. If that is too hard then just do 4 and try to build on it or go for one of the easier variations and build on it. If you are fit and can do a couple of sets or more push up by all means judge it and go for it.

The plank

The plank is a good all over body stability exercise.




How? It is the same with the push up starting position. In the plank you just hold yourself in that position for a few seconds. Contract your abdominal muscles and buttocks. Easier variation includes assuming the plank position with placing your elbows bend under your shoulders and resting your forearms on the floor. Harder variations include placing your legs on a bench or Swiss ball and also alternating from side with one arm to centre to alternate side.

How much? Hold your position for 30 sec rest for 30 sec and repeat for another 30 sec. If you are unfit 30 sec will seem like a lifetime. As with all other exercises follow your fitness level and build on that.

Rear leg raises

Rear leg raises target the muscles at the back of the legs (hamstrings), and buttocks (gluteal). It also works the muscles of the back, chest and tummy as stabilisers.

How?  1. Get on an all fours position on the floor. Bend the elbows and under the shoulders and rest the forearms on the floor.

2. Contract your abdominal muscles and buttocks.

3. Raise your right leg keeping your leg straight. Raise the leg no further than hip level. Perform movement slowly and controlled.

4. Lower your leg to the floor and raise again. Repeat movement with the left leg.

For a slightly easier variation bend your knee with your heel pointing on the ceiling. Make sure that movement comes from the hip and not the knee when you raise the leg.     

How much? Repeat 4 times with each leg.

Stick ups

The stick up exercise works the upper back, and shoulder muscles and also those muscles located in the shoulder blades (scapula). A good exercise which can offer some relief from upper back stiffness especially if cause from sitting in a desk for a long time. However, do consult a doctor if you have any previous complaints in that area and don’t take it for granted that every treatment fits everybody.


How? 1. Standing up, keep the back straight, shoulders back and down.

2. Lift your arms straight above your head.

3. Slide your arms by bending the elbows and tucking the elbows on your side. Keep the forearms looking upwards. When lowering your arm squeeze the shoulder blades together so when your arms have slide down the shoulder blades have gone back into their place.

4. Extend the arms upwards in the same manner and repeat. Perform exercise slowly and controlled.

There are variations in which you perform the exercise against the wall or lying on the floor.

How many? Perform 8 stick up exercises. It is a simple but quite hard exercise. If 8 is too many, then adapt the number as with every other exercise and build on it.

10 ways to get back on your weight loss goals

Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:08
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set weight loss goals

Sticking to a weight loss regime can be a hard job especially if it involves losing the weight in long period of time. The first few weeks it is easy to keep motivated especially if you can see the pounds falling off. As time progress, weight loss can slow down, maybe hit a plateau, hit a few parties, or simply lose interest and perspective.

Before you know it all the good work seems to disappear and the pounds slip back on. So what can you do to get back on track? Read our tips on how to get back on your weight loss goals and avoid more disappointment.

Short term mishaps:

1# Put it behind you.

Did you find yourself in a binge week or two? Well it happens especially if circumstances are full of temptations. The trick here is not to give up and not to panic. If you keep dithering about that meal last night, or the party last week and how much you eaten or drank, then you will be spending your energy on things you cannot change. The result will most likely be to feel bad and comfort eat. Then you will definitely be putting the pounds back on.

Put it behind you and get back on track. It is unlikely that one day’s overeating will tip the scales, but if you give up now it will be even harder to start again. Go back to your plans, re-evaluate and continue with your goals. See also: How to stop binge eating at night.

2# Don’t be hard on yourself.

If you slipped out of your goals and had a bit more than you should don’t go back thinking that you have to make up for it. What happened happened and treat it as a little mishap. It is common for people to say I had that chocolate at dinner so I will skip supper, or I had a bit extra last night I will eat less today. Cycling calories through the days can have a benefit, but torturing or starving yourself to make up for calories will only feel hard and you are likely to give up altogether. Just go back to eating healthy and it will all follow its course.

3# Re-evaluate your regime

Do you find yourself slipping up all the time and it is hard to stay on your weight loss goals? Well it could be as simple as the regime you are following is not ‘good’ for you. There are hundreds of weight loss regimes, diets, and methods to choose from. You can also read our most popular diets review to help you with your decision. Maybe the regime you are following has worked for thousands of people or it was great 2 years ago when you did it but this time it may not be what you need.

Go back to the beginning and think what makes you slip up, what is hard about it and why it doesn’t work. Re-evaluating a weight loss regime applies to both short term and long term goals. It could be that you hit a plateau, or you feel bored after dieting for a year. Even if a regime worked for a period of time it may be good to re-evaluate and see what you could change, add, remove adapt. Make you weight loss follow you and not always the other way around.

Slowdowns and plateaus:

4# Motivate yourself.

Plateaus happen to more or less everybody. Your body keeps adjusting to losing weight and it can slow down in the speed it loses weight. This tends to be the time when people lose motivation and start feeling frustrated. First be realistic about it and be patient. Maybe you haven’t lost much the last weeks but keep in mind that it can happen. It is important to keep your motivation going. Do re-evaluate your regime first (see above).

One way to start in motivating yourself is by thinking how much you have achieved so far and concentrate on the positive. Remind yourself why you wanted to lose the weight in the first place. Make a motivation list with all the goals and things you want to gain by losing weight. Is it to look good on your wedding, or for health reasons, to fit in an outfit or to feel better about yourself? Whatever the reason is what made you start in the first place. For more motivation tips also read our ‘I want to lose weight but have no motivation’ article.

5# Beat the boredom.

Boredom is another major factor why people give up weight loss dieting. Following a specific diet for a couple of weeks can be easy, but following the same all diet for months can be like a prison sentence and no surprise people want to just escape from it. Firstly is best to opt for weight loss regimes which promote a healthy balance diet rather than restrictive diets. The first ones tend to allow more freedom in choosing menus and the foods you can eat and so it is harder to feel bored. An example is Mediterranean style diets which tend to include foods from all categories and have a vast amount of recipes and menus. See also: The real benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

Another option is to change the regime you follow. I have already mentioned above about re-evaluating your regime and whether it works for you. Look around as well and find a regime which works for you.

6# Get physically active

If you have hit the dreaded plateau point and you are not sure how to get going again try being more physically active. Plateaus and slowdown can generate a lot of frustration and you can easily give up on your goals. Physical activity whether is structured exercise or just going for a walk can increase the amount of calories you burn and kick start the weight loss again.

Chose something fun which you will enjoy and you are likely to stick to it. Going to the gym is not to everybody’s liking (including me) or budget. However, there are so many fun activities and options to choose from. Look at a local club or gym to see what other activities they offer. Some ideas are: start a class like dancing or Pilates, start swimming possibly as a family activity, join a sport or see if there are running groups in your area.

As a start think what do you like and what suits you. Then search to see what’s available and go for it. Once you start seeing the results and feeling the benefits you will not want to stop.

Starting again:

7# Think positive

It is time to stop being negative about yourself and start loving what you see in the mirror every day. Maybe you have a few or a lot of extra pounds and it could be that you are fed up with the way you look. However, if you are always negative about your weight you will only make yourself feel bad and struggle through ‘must do’ weight loss diets.

Change that attitude towards to a more positive and loving way, your body is something precious and it does deserve the best you can give to it. Losing the extra weight is not about punishing yourself for all the takeaways and binges of the last years but more like looking after ‘you’.

8# Take action

It is all good and well to say you need to lose the weight but it won’t come off by talking. Take action. Set a day and start. Planning is a very helpful tool for achieving your goals and it can be your starting point. Set a day for planning, a day for choosing your regime, a day for getting all ready (shopping, clearing cupboards etc) and a day for starting. Why not read our 20 rapid weight loss tips for extra ideas.

If you leave it to an abstract ‘I am going to start’ it may never happen or there may 100s of excuses why it should be tomorrow. Set clear days and stick to them.

9# Get support

For a lot of people finding the motivation and going the mile alone can be difficult. Having someone to do it together can provide the drive and the motivation to start again and stick to a weight loss regime. Studies also support that the most successful ‘dieters’ are those who have support.

Support can come from a lot of different sources and in many ways. Weight loss clubs could be one of them. Moreover, support could come from family, in terms of help or an ear to listen to you. A very close friend of mine wanted to lose weight but could never stick to it or stay away from temptations until her husband decide to be her weight loss ‘coach’. He supported by eating healthy and even went as far as preparing meals and packed lunches for work. It is needless to say that the result was success.

10# Find you nemesis and prepare for it.

People often have a reason why they slip off their goals or why they find it hard to get back on. This reason can be different for each one and could range from not being able to resist a chocolate to I haven’t got time to cook. That reason is your little nemesis which makes your life hard. Make a list of all the things you may think will be affecting you or do affect you in reaching those weight loss goals. Are you too busy, don’t like weight loss diets, or are there too many biscuit tins in work? Whatever it is work it out and work a plan for it.

There are ways to work around busy lifestyles when ‘dieting’, or opt for weight loss regimes which are flexible and suit your taste and lifestyle rather than strict weight loss plans, or little tricks you can do to cut down on the biscuits and sweets (see also how to control your desire for food). Losing weight can be as flexible as you want to make it.

However, don’t forget to be realistic in what you expect from your weight loss regime. If you want to follow a relatively low calorie diet, and lose a lot of weight fast, but without giving up sweets or chips it may not be possible.

20 healthy weight loss tips

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 11:40
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healthy weight loss

This article provides you with 20 healthy weight loss tips. When you want to lose weight you need to make sure that you do it the healthy way and in a way that it will not cause any problems to your physical or psychological health.

Everybody, very well knows the basic principles for weight loss: less food, more exercise. It may sound easy but the exhaustive pace of everyday life makes it almost impossible to achieve.

After a full day in the office, nobody is enthusiastic about the idea of a green salad or boiled chicken for dinner. Not to mention that two-hours running on the treadmill is not a good idea either.

The bad news is that you never lost ten pounds in three days-which means that you should be prepared to start a weight loss process that will take time and effort.

The good news is that there are some healthy weight loss tips that can help you lose weight without having to fall into hunger or adapt to “drastic” solutions with disappointing results.

This article presents 20 tips that will help you get the body you always dreamed off in a fast and healthy way, and it will also help you maintain this weight for a long time.

Tip #1. Drink lots of water

We often confuse thirst with hunger, leading to load our body with unnecessary calories when what we really need is a glass of cold water. If you prefer, you can add some lemon slices to the jug of water for extra flavour or to drink tea with fruit flavour but no sugar. It is a simple and healthy trick that will help you a lot in your weight loss efforts.

Tip #2. Think about what you can add to your diet, not what to remove

Set a goal to try and consume the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This will ensure that your body takes the necessary fiber, while fighting hunger. You must also not forget the many benefits of vegetables for your health and disease prevention.

A good way to eat more vegetables is to mix them with the food. For example you can have vegetables in your rice or soups, in chicken as salads or in pasta. This is better than eating them on the side.

Eating more vegetables is a healthy habit that once you get used to it you will not realise that you are doing it.

Tip #3. Eat only when you are hungry

Many times, our desire for food is not due to real hunger but due to other several psychological factors. Hunger is the message of our organism to tell us that we need fuel, so if the desire for food is not due to hunger the food will not make us feel better. On the contrary we will feel worse because of the extra unnecessary calories we will consume. It is also a not healthy habit because it does not offer anything and will help you destroy your weight loss efforts.

Try to reduce the portions of your meals and increase their frequency. Notice after each meal if you feel bloat or tiredness so as to understand when you feel real hunger and when you eat because of other factors.

Tip #4. Avoid after dinner snacks

The most dangerous time to destroy your weight loss efforts and diet is after the last meal of the day, when you lie down in front of the TV with a pack of chips or a box of crisps and biscuits. This is the time that you eat out of a habit without really being hungry.

If you cannot resist the temptation of a small “sin” after a long day, obtain healthy snacks such as low-calorie cereal bars or ice cream without sugar and fat and allow yourself to have one per day. When you get used to this try to further reduce the calorie load with a cup of tea with no calories.

Tip #5. Enjoy your favourite foods

To completely avoid your favourite foods will not create the desired results since the feeling of deprivation leads to exaggeration. Think the last time you did not eat a chocolate for a month and the quantity consumed when you decided that you are ‘allowed’ to eat chocolate.

Instead of excluding from your weight loss program and diet foods you really enjoy, be sure to buy them in smaller amounts and to eat them less often, once or twice a week. Moreover, the expectation is what makes the satisfaction greatest.

Tip #6. Do not be too strict on your weight loss program

When you need to exit your diet for a while, walk to the cafe serving the best waffles, or organize a night out with friends. For even better results do not buy sweets or other snacks for home- instead replace them with plenty of fruits and limit these night outs to one per week. Thus, you will not have to worry that you will give up to the temptation while you are at home.

Tip #7. Eat several small meals during the day

Weight loss is the result of eating fewer calories than those we burn. When, however, we are constantly hungry this is not easy at all. Research shows that people who eat 4-5 meals a day find it easier to control their appetite and weight.

Apply this method for your own weight loss program. Try to divide the calories you consume during the day in many small portions. Make sure that you consume as much as possible calories before noon, with the evening meal being the last time you eat in a day. This is not only good for your weight loss efforts but it is also a healthy habit because it gives enough time to your body to function the ‘burn’ process properly.

Tip #8. Spicy food!

Add seasoning’s or hot spices in your food, which will enhance the taste and make you feel that you eat more.

The meals enhanced by tasty spices will stimulate your taste and create a sense of satisfaction, without actually eating more.

When you want something sweet, choose a hot caramel flavour with cinnamon or ginger. It gives you for some time the sweet flavour you need, with fewer calories.

Tip #9. Fill the kitchen with healthy and easy meals

The easy-made meals or snacks that are prepared quickly solve a lot of your problems (cooking time, preparation time etc) and lead you a step closer to weight loss success. These will prevent you from ordering something from a fast food restaurant or to order pizza, because you can within 5-10 minutes prepare your own healthy meal.

Such healthy foods include:

Frozen vegetables
Ready, purified salads
Canned vegetables (tomatoes, beans)
Arab pies of bread or wholemeal toast
Slices of boiled turkey (for toast)
Low-fat cheese
Black rice (quick boil)

Tip #10. Order kids meal!

When eating out, you can order an individual pizza or a small sandwich. In this way you keep the calories low and the quantities consumed controlled.

Another trick is to use smaller plates. This helps the portions look larger and if by looking at them you mind is satisfied, then most likely your stomach will also be satisfied.

Tip #11. Eat season fruits and vegetables

If you do not like certain fruits or vegetables, this is possibly due to the fact that you eat them when they were out of season. This makes them almost tasteless and odourless. In contrast, season fruits and vegetables are more delicious and less likely to disappoint you. They are tasty and healthy and help weight loss!

For example, strawberries, which are naturally sweet, sprinkled with a little cognac, or low-fat yoghurt and accompanied with canned fruits, are one of the best desserts you can enjoy without guilt.

Tip #12. Replace the fried potatoes that accompany your meal with grilled vegetables

Eating fewer fried potatoes, pasta or bread and more vegetables, will help you a lot in your weight loss efforts. Experts say even that you can save 100-200 calories if you reduce the amount of fat and starch foods to your plate and increase that of vegetables.

Tip #13. Find alternative ways to manage stress

Sometimes in our life, we are faced with situations that create us a lot of stress. Instead of looking to food for comfort, prepare some inedible healthy tactics to fight stress that work equally well.

Experts suggest to read a book, listen to music, write a diary, to practice deep breathing, meditation, or you can browse an album with photos of your loved ones.

Tip #14. Exercise a lot and keep fit

It may sound weird, but it is wrong to use the exercise as a means of punishment for yourself because you eat a lot, or in order to win the right to eat more. That is why many people say they hate exercise.

Instead, focus on how beautiful you feel, how much better sleep you have at night, and how much more energy you have when you exercise. Physical exercise is good for you whether you are trying to lose weight or not. See, therefore, exercise positively and try to make it your second nature.

Tip #15. Adopt the standards of the Mediterranean diet

It is a fact that the Mediterranean diet is a standard for any form of diet. The purpose is to include the Mediterranean diet in your weight loss program and diet.

The ingredients are simple. Use virgin olive oil as often as possible, preferably in salads with fresh vegetables, eat legumes one to two times a week and replace meat with fish, so that you do not consume meat more than once per week.

Tip #16. Avoid alcohol

Especially during the summer, excessive alcohol consumption should be avoided, as it is causing increased urination and dehydrates the body, not to mention the calorie load that alcohol has. Prefer lots of water and natural juices that will not give you a lot of extra calories and above all they are healthy.

Tip #17. Prefer fish and seafood

Especially in the summer you should eat light. The main concern is replacing meat with fish. Therefore you should prefer fish instead of meat, which will provide you with the necessary feeling of satisfaction, but with fewer calories and in a healthy way.

Avoid, therefore, fried food and prefer fish and seafood. Some ideas for fish meals are: mackerel, mullet, red snapper, bonito, perch, sardines, crops, rock, sea bream, and grouper.

Tip #18. Treat constipation problems

In their efforts to start a diet, many individuals experience constipation problems, which, apart from the adverse effects on the body, also affect the weight loss process.

Two basic steps you must follow to address this problem is: the daily consumption of more fiber, which have the capacity to contribute to the greater mobility of the gut, and the increased consumption of liquids, helping to correct the metabolic function. So you should increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables like oranges, apples, pears, plums, broccoli and greens.

Tip #19. Do not exclude from your diet any food group

Many of the “active” weight loss diets you will find support the exclusion of certain groups of foods such as carbohydrate-or fat-from your diet. This, according to nutritionists, is a big unhealthy mistake, as the body needs all nutrients-vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fiber, proteins, etc., which recruits from the different levels of the food pyramid.

Thus, carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, and meat and olive oil should not be missing from our diet, as they provide our body necessary nutrients and also have several benefits, ranging from disease prevention and the proper functioning of the metabolism, to high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3), helping to reduce cholesterol levels.

Tip #20. Eat a good breakfast

Some people when they are trying to loose weight they make the mistake of not eating breakfast. Avoiding breakfast is not a good idea at all because your will feel hunger during the day and at the end you will consume more calories during your meals. Not eating breakfast will also help you to eat snacks, in order to fight your hunger and at the end the calories you consume are more. In fact, research shows that people who eat breakfast every morning are more likely to maintain normal weight and they also find it easier to adapt to a healthy weight loss program.

To succeed in your weight loss efforts is up to you. This article gave you 20 healthy weight loss tips that can help you lose weight in a fast, healthy and efficient way.

Pilates for weight loss – Can you lose weight with Pilates?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:12
Comments Off on Pilates for weight loss – Can you lose weight with Pilates?

pilates for weight loss

What is Pilates?

The Pilates technique was introduced by Joseph Pilates as a form of exercise in America (1926) and ever since they have grown into popularity and are now accepted in their use. Through the years they have evolved into different techniques (i.e. STOT Pilates, modified Pilates APPI technique, contemporary Pilates and so on) using apparatus such as the reformer, with books written about them, and DVDs for people to take home and practice.

The supporters and developers of different Pilates techniques claim a number of benefits to their name from improving posture and balance to losing weight, and those who use them will vouch that miracles do happen.

Different Pilates methods

Although the different Pilates methods developed can vary in their technique, they are all based in the ‘classic’ technique created by Joseph Pilates. In its essence the ‘Pilates method’ is a series of exercises which use the body’s own weight and resistance. In theory, it teaches the body how to use its own mechanisms to recruit the ‘core’ muscles throughout the body.

Pilates exercises can be practiced as mat based and/or machine exercises and cover multiple levels of ability, with difficulty and intensity of exercises increasing as the level of ability progresses.

The Pilates method is based in 6 core principles: 1. Breathing, 2.Centering, 3.Precision, 4.Control, 5.Concentration, and 6.Flow.

Pilates for weight loss: the science

Research in Pilates in general tends to be of poor quality and has been a controversial subject. One of the main reasons is because there are actually so many different techniques/methods and variety of exercises it makes hard to test all of them in a study. Research is limited into specific exercises and/or exercises routines making it difficult for clear cut conclusions to be made.

There is very little research which has looked into Pilates in weight loss and is not of high quality. The little research that has been carried out does suggest that Pilates exercises can help to lower the Body Mass Index (BMI)and achieve weight loss. However, due to the limited amount of good quality studies available there is no strong scientific evidence to support a statement such as ‘Pilates will lead to weight loss’.

In theory it is a form of physical activity, and as with any kind of physical activity some energy expenditure and some fitness gains will be achieved.

How to lose weight with Pilates?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to lose weight with pilates and generally what you need to have in mind when choosing Pilates for weight loss.

Pilates is not the appropriate exercise choice if you are looking to increase calorie expenditure radically or you need to achieve large improvements in aerobic and strength components. Pilates exercises, especially those for beginners, are a more ‘gentle’ form of exercise and will not result in burning huge amounts of calories.

For those who are in general inactive and do not exercise at all Pilates will provide a challenge to the muscles and could result in higher energy expenditure (in very simple terms calorie burning).

Energy expenditure can increase in more advanced levels and/or with the use of apparatus such as the Reformer, and the Cadillac. The apparatus provide resistance, and increase the difficulty of the exercise and in result the effort made to carry out the exercise. Some mat-based techniques tend to use apparatus such as gym balls and thera-bands (resistance elastic bands) which can similarly increase resistance and muscular effort.

5 Steps on how to lose weight with pilates

1. Always start at an appropriate level. At a beginners levels exercises may not appear as they provide any muscular benefits or may seem very easy. It is easy to want to jump to a higher level which could provide you with more challenge, more calorie burning, and faster. However, one of the principles in which Pilates exercises are based on is precision and this is for a reason.

• For exercises to provide the muscular and fitness benefits they are aiming to provide.
• To avoid injuries. If any exercise is not performed properly and to the appropriate difficulty level, it can lead to back injuries, muscle strains, joint and ligament injuries etc.

2. Choose a technique/method/class which most suits you individually. There is not one technique proven to yield better results than another. When choosing a class is good to know what certifications the teacher has. Prefer teachers which have completed full courses from reputable colleges/institutes or have combination of qualifications such as fitness instructors, physiotherapist etc.

Regulations on Pilates certifications are not strict or very clear cut and a number of instructors may have just completed a weekend course which in some cases does not provide them with the appropriate skills.

3. Avoid fanatic schools that tend to preach extreme practices. For example that the only way is contracting the abdominal muscles 24/7. You can practice some elements of Pilates when sitting in your office, in the car, or watching TV, however, it is not natural to have any muscle contracted constantly.

4. Avoid home exercises. Unless you are an experienced fitness instructor is best to avoid DIY exercises at home. Not trying to undermine the home exercise regimes, however, in the case of Pilates exercises precision and control is vital. Not only for the wanted fitness gains to occur but also to avoid injuries. Carrying out exercises, at the beginning at least, supervised by a certified professional will have the benefit of carrying exercises in the correct technique, keeping safe and working on the appropriate level and routine of exercises.

5. Health first. As with every form with exercise if you have any medical conditions consult a medical professional before starting. A medical professional will be the most appropriate person to advise you in terms of weight loss and exercise which will most suit any medical needs.

Benefits of pilates for weight loss

1. Pilates can in some terms provide a full body workout (i.e. a number of muscles work to stabilise the body while mobilising a joint). However, effects are more region specific. Pilates exercises concentrate on the deep and superficial muscles of the abdomen (tummy), back and gluts (hips). They tend to give a flat tummy effect by conditioning the abdominal muscles and improving posture.

They could also help with reducing fat deposition in the abdominal and waist area (what some people can refer to as ‘love handles’) and the hips. If a muscle becomes more conditioned and works more efficiently it will in return burn fat more efficiently. A six pack may take quite a lot of time and effort to achieve though.

2. Results of Pilates on weight loss may be more prominent in terms of losing ‘inces’ in and around the areas conditioned (see previous point) rather than in kilos lost.

3. It could be more suitable for people who to start off can’t sustain heavy or intense exercise or prefer classes rather than gym sessions. Additionally, it may be more suitable for those who just want a light firming form of exercise to top up their weight loss or just sustain a firm body shape.

4. For more radical results in achieving weight loss is best combined with other forms of exercise and physical activity.

5. As with every exercise, for muscular effects to take place it can take approximately 4 weeks. Moreover, any gains will depend on the intensity, duration and frequency of the exercise i.e. how long, how many times per week, how challenging for the muscles etc. These are the laws of physiology and apply to all kinds of exercise not just Pilates.

If you overload the muscles will not necessarily achieve better results faster. Muscles need an appropriate amount of challenge for fitness gains, and a good fitness professional should be able to provide you with the correct level, program and routine for your individual needs.

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