9 Tips for maintaining weight loss

Saturday, November 17, 2012 11:06
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woman and weight loss

You have spent considerable amount of time trying really hard to lose those extra pounds. You climb on the scales and the moment of truth has come; to your relief and joy you did it. You reached your weight loss goal. What a great moment. But how long does it last?

Often the weight lost doesn’t stay away for too long and it slowly creeps back. Another diet cycle follows, or you convince yourself that the only way is to be on a diet for eternity, or just give up.

If only you knew that maintaining weight loss is not that hard after all. Well for most of the cases. Read on to find out how and why.

Which diet?

Weight maintenance will depend on which diet did you follow to begin with and how much weight did you lose? To put it blandly if you did a 7 day radical – starvation regime and you lost a couple of pounds it is likely that you will put the weight back on. How to maintain the weight? Choose a better diet next time.

Any weight loss resulting from fast (a few days – 1 week), radical, very low calorie diets is mainly water, glycogen and some not significantly measurable fat. The minute you go back to your usual dietary patterns the weight will go back on as water, glycogen and some fat.

Think ahead

Plan for the after-the-weight-loss period before you even start a diet. For whatever reason you chose to lose weight and follow a weight loss diet, don’t just treat it as a blip moment in your life which now is over and thank god for that. Treat your weight loss as a time in which you will make lifestyle changes.

Is always best to choose a healthy balanced weight loss diet which will allow you to lose the weight you want and also teach you how to eat healthy and balanced post diet. These little habits which you will pick up on the way are the ones which will help you to keep the weight off.

A lot of the diet regimes these days do contain sections of how to go about it post-weight loss. Take the time to look into them. They may have valuable advice on what to do next.

Find your weight gain nightmares

Well what does make you put on weight? The simple answer for majority of people would be too many calories, the wrong foods and too little physical activity. Look into more specific reasons such as ‘which foods do you tend to eat more’? Is it too many takeaways, too much sugar, big portions and so on? For each person may be a different combination.

The principle however, is one. Whatever made you put on weight to start off is what will make you put on weight again if you don’t change it.

Keep a foods and drinks diary for a week

A foods and drinks diaryis usually the best way to find those little weight gain nightmares mentioned above. It will provide you with the information of what do you eat, when and how much and you may find patterns which you didn’t know were there.

It is also helpful to include your emotion as well. For example how were you feeling –sad, happy, stressed etc- and what did you eat. You don’t have to be an emotional eater but you may choose specific foods based on your emotions. For example, you have those biscuits in the office every time you are stressed or you have that extra cake every time you meet your friends and are having fun chats.

Don’t deprive yourself

Changes your dietary habits or your lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean deprive yourself from specific foods forever. Do have a takeaway day, or a chocolate moment or a cocktails night. Well maybe not have a ‘day’ everyday. For example have a takeaway day once a week or once every 2 weeks or keep those threats for when you go out. Allow yourself a piece of chocolate or an ice cream, biscuit etc once every so often.

You can still enjoy the things you like, only in moderation.

Keep a plan

Following from above, set your own plan on when you will be having a takeaway for example. This will help you keep more control on the foods you eat. Be flexible about it, your plan doesn’t have to be setting stone. For example if Friday is a takeaway night doesn’t mean that you can’t have it on a Tuesday instead or that Friday you may choose to eat something else.

The point is more like saying Tuesday was a takeaway night and Friday I fancied a pizza and Saturday we visited some friends and they ordered some food…..Well you either end up losing count and control or when you do want a pizza to feel as if you depriving yourself when you have to say no.

Don’t make food special

Food is food and is a fundamental need for life and that all it is. Some foods can have harmful effects to health or affect your weight, some foods taste better (depending on peoples taste) some foods have health benefits and so on. However, don’t start putting food in terms of treats or special or any other category. Foods are not rewards, or treats. A takeaway or cake or whatever else you like is a food item which you enjoy and you occasionally include in your diet. Connecting food with emotions can create emotional cycles and can make food items more important than they are.

A lot of people may say I achieved something today or this week so I earn a takeaway or I will treat myself to a piece of chocolate. If you want to treat yourself choose something else you enjoy such a pampering session, or a dress or fishing trip if you are man or a ticket to a game. There are loads of different things you can do and you can find ideas which they will not necessarily break the bank.

Keep an eye on your portions

Apart from what kinds of foods we eat what is also important is how much we eat. Use a smaller plate and avoid layering the food. If you are still hungry is best to have a little bit more once you finished what you have in your plate. We often pile the food in our plates and eat more than we actually need or past the point of satiety. Also a half empty big plate can make us feel as if there is not enough food but a full smaller plate may not even if the two plates have the same amount of food.

Think of the speed of your hands

A friend recently said to me that how much we eat does not depend only on how fast our mouth processes it but also how fast our hand puts it in our mouth. This is actually a very valid point. It is easy to lose control on how much you have eaten when your fork goes with 100miles per hour and you pile the food into your mouth. Take your time and put your fork down every so often between takes. Give your brain a chance to realise how much food you eat.

11 ways on how to lose water weight

Saturday, November 17, 2012 10:54
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water weight

Have you ever heard someone say I am having a fat day today? Well apart from the psychological aspect of a ‘fat day’ there are other reasons which can influence how we fit in our clothes and how our body feels. So if one day you fit just right in your jeans and the next they feel claustrophobic it could be that you have water retention.

What is water weight?

Water retention (water weight) or fluid retention is when your body will retain excess fluid in the tissues and/or the cavities of the body beyond the normal standards. There are a number of different reasons why your body will retain water. Water retention can be visible such as oedema which is associated with the retention of fluids beneath the skin or in one or more cavities of the body and it usually causes swelling.

As there are a number of different reasons why your body will accumulate excess fluids there are different ways to lose the excess fluids and water weight.

1. Fast very low calorie diets

Not a recommended way to lose water weight. People on fast low calorie diets which usually last one week tend to lose mostly water. However, that is not a recommended way to go about losing water weight. If you haven’t really got water retention and you just need to look good in that dress for one night you may just achieve that with following a fast diet. However, you will have most probably dehydrated your body and as soon as you start eating normally it will all come back on.

This is without saying that you will most probably be stressing out your body and could have health risks. In addition a weight loss diet is not always what your body needs. Water retention can be cause due to malnutrition and very low calorie intake (especially if consuming less than 1200 kcal). In other words you could be just exacerbating the problem. Most of all water retention could be the symptom of an underlying health condition and it may need medical attention.

2. Consult a medical professional

As mentioned above water retention could be a symptom of a health condition so it is very important that you consult a medical professional first before you look at any option. Some of the medical reasons which can lead to water retention include:

·            Diabetes

·            Kidney disease

·            Cardiovascular disease

·            Thyroid dysfunction

·            Hormonal imbalances

·            Pre-menstrual Syndrome

There are a number of other health reasons why your body may retain water and it is most important to follow a correct medical investigation. It is always highly recommended not to try to home remedyor follow box standard diets designed for losing water if are suffering or have concerns that you may be suffering from any health conditions as it could have detrimental effects for health.

3. Drink plenty of water

You wouldn’t think of it but dehydration itself can lead to water retention. Your body is designed for survival and if you deprive it from what it needs it will hold on for dear life in what it’s got. Drinking plenty of water will also help circulation and clearance of fluids from the body.

It is a misconception to think that since your body holds on to water is better to avoid water.

4. Low salt diets

Eating too much salt can lead or exacerbate water retention. Although it is suggested that excess consumption of salt is unlikely to cause a massive amount of water retention, it definitely will not help with the problem and it is also not recommended for health. It could also exacerbate other health conditions responsible for water retention such as kidney disease and cardiovascular diseases.

Sodium, which is a component of salt, tends to regulate water balance in the body. Sodium is necessary for a number of functions in the body, but as with everything else when in excess can lead to dysfunctions.

A large amount of salt consumed from the diet does not necessarily come from the salt shaker. Processed foods, takeaways, tin food and junk food in general contain large amounts of sodium and salt. Cutting down on such foods, or reading the labels on foods and making healthier choices will decrease your salt intake by a lot more than just not adding salt in your food.

5. High protein diets

Water retention can be a symptom indicating that the body lacks of protein. Usually very low calorie diets followed for long period of times and vegetarian or vegan diets inadequate in good quality protein can lead to protein deficiencies.

Being protein deficient does not necessarily mean that someone will be underweight as protein deficiency does not always reflect body weight but quality of everyday diet. Someone who is obese could be protein deficient if the everyday diet they follow is high on carbohydrates and sugars and very low on protein.

6. Low GL diets

As mentioned earlier water retention can be a reflection of the quality of the diet someone follows. Diets high in carbohydrates and Glycemic Load have been associated with increased risk of inflammation, obesity and high risk of development of conditions such as metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

Such conditions can lead in water retention and oedema. On the other hand diets low in carbohydrates, sugars and glycemic load have in general been associated with promoting positive health outcomes. In particular Mediterranean dietary patterns have been suggested by a number of studies as providing a healthy balanced dietary style and decreasing the risk of developing such health conditions as mentioned above, and/or helping to improve health outcomes.

Mediterranean style diets constitute of ample fruit and veg, moderate protein intake and fats such as olive oil and fish oils. Such components are rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and omega fats.

7. Ample of fruit and vegetables

As mentioned above, fruit and vegetablescontain a number of antioxidant components, minerals and vitamins which help to improve the body’s functions and promote health. They also contain a large amount of water which will further help in keeping hydrated.

Inflammation and obesity largely constitute in water retention. Aiming for weight losswith a healthy balanced diet can make miracles for your body.

8. Monitor your diet for food intolerances and allergies

Do you feel bloated after you have eaten certain foods? The problem may simply come from an intolerance or allergy to specific foods. Intolerances and/or allergies do not necessarily lead to big allergic reactions but it could be subtle symptoms such as bloating, feeling sick or water retention amongst others.

Allergies and intolerances if unnoticed can lead into chronic inflammations and high amounts of histamine in the body. Apart from the fact that it is not good for your health and can lead to other serious problems, it could lead to water retention. Avoid the foods which irritate your digestive system, make you bloat or just don’t agree with you. If unsure and you have concerns consult a medical professional who can properly assess you for food intolerances and allergies or other metabolic functions.

9. Exercise

Lack of movement will affect blood circulation amongst others and can lead in water retention and oedema. Exercise will improve blood circulation and aid with lymphatic function which in result can help in reducing water retention.

You don’t have to rush and join the gym, but you can take a walk, pilates, or use the stairs, cycle or swim. In simple words start moving around.

10. Elevate your legs

If you spend a lot of time standing up (in your job for example) or after a long flight you may noticed that your legs feels swollen. Elevating your legs preferably above the heart can help to alleviate the swelling and oedema. Just put your feet up after a long day and place your legs on a stool when you are sitting down.

This may also be helpful for people who suffer with bad circulation. Think of gravity.

11. Medication

Medication can have a dual effect. There are certain types of medication which encourage water excretion such as anti-diuretic tablets. These are usually prescribed by a medical professional as part of treatment for certain health conditions. It is not advised to source the internet to try to find them in the black market in order to help you lose water weight. As with every medication they carry risks and they can have serious complications if taken inappropriately.

On the other hand there are some types of medications which could lead to water retention. Your medical professional should be the one to advise you regarding medications and how to deal with side effects. Always read the leaflets provided with the tablets for side effects or other information provided and if you have any further concerns advise your doctor.

Best diets to lose weight

Friday, November 16, 2012 14:26
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woman doing exercise

If only I had a penny every time someone asked me: ‘Which one is the best diet?’ I would be rich by now. Well what does make a diet be the ‘best diet’ for losing weight? I would say that each and every individual on this world would have their own answer. Some of the elements I would look in a diet are:

1. Good weight loss results would be one element. Losing weight is the aim so it does make sense.

2. Health outcomes and risks I would say is the next, after all you don’t want to be placing unnecessary risks on your body.

3. User friendliness, in other words how easy is it to follow and

4. Sustainability of the weight lost.

So let’s see what we get in the weight loss world. In our diet menu today you will find:

Mediterranean Style Diets – a combination of health and good weight loss results

High Protein Diets – Popular commercial diets

Healthy Diets – Focus on health

1.The diet that suits you

I will first exclude all those fast and radical diets which can have high risks for your health from this category. What is left is the one diet which you have tried and tested and works for you. This is very general as it could be any diet but that any diet is what works for you.

Yes there is such a thing as optimum nutrition and we will look as some diets which do offer that.  However, unless a weight loss diet rocks your boat and ticks your boxes it is not the best for you. If you try to do something which you don’t particularly like you will manage to do it for so long before giving up and you could end up hating the whole thing.

In addition, not everybody loses weight in the same way or rate. Choose a diet which will suit your preferences and circumstances, will have be health friendly and will return good weight loss results for you.

2. The Mediterranean dietary pattern

To make it clear, the ‘Mediterranean style’ is not one diet. The Mediterranean diet derives from the countries which are located around the Mediterranean Sea (approximately 18 countries). Each country and regions within the countries have their own dietary habits, customs, cooking practices and so on. So we are talking about a dietary pattern rather than one diet.

To the point however, the Mediterranean dietary pattern has the subject of numerous scientific studies and research over the years and it is believed to decrease the risks of developing certain diseases and returning positive health outcomes. In addition, studies suggest that it promotes weight loss.

Some examples of a Mediterranean type diets are:

The Cretan diet

It derives from the island of Crete in Greece. Although it is not a weight loss diet per se or is not designed by some weight loss/nutritional author it has been suggested by studies to be the cream of the crops of the Mediterranean style diets. You don’t have to move to Crete to follow the diet either (although it may sound as a good idea) there is a plethora of cook books and dietary information out there which can provide you with more details. The bonus is that moderate alcohol intake is one main part of the diet.

The Combination diet

It is our very own creation. It is a 2 week dietaiming mainly for abdominal fat. The diet is designed to provide flexibility and a holistic approach to weight loss. What that means is that apart from the diet you get a weight loss package which includes calorie calculator, food diaries, access to weight loss advisor and updates.

3. High Protein Diets

The ‘low – carbohydrate’ style of dieting is not something new, however it is in the few recent years that it has gained a lot of popularity. More and more studies suggest that diets higher in proteins and lower in carbohydrates tend to be effective in controlling blood sugar and decrease the risk of development of some health conditions.

High protein diets do not go without criticism and scientist are still cautious in their recommendations for consuming high amounts of animal protein.

Why is that? Consumption of high amounts of animal protein has been connected with increasing cholesterol and blood pressure.

Studies do suggest that if consumption of high amounts of animal protein are part of a healthier diet and lifestyle (i.e. coupled with consumption of ample fruit and veg. and an active lifestyle) it actually has beneficial effects to health.

In addition, it is believed that consumption of high amounts of protein can place considerable strain on the kidneys. However, research indicates that high amounts of protein should not lead to kidney problems unless there are existing kidney conditions.

On the plus…

Studies suggest that protein tend to keep you full for longer and therefore people tend to consume fewer calories. In addition, it is suggested that it helps in controlling blood sugar better which has a number of health benefits and it can lead to fewer cravings.

The New Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet has been around for ages and is a classic high protein diet. After having received a lot of criticism of being too rigid and not incorporating any carbs resulting in low amounts of fruit and some veg. it came back in a revised version The New Atkins Diet. The New Atkins diet does incorporate more carbohydrate options and it is still quite popular.

The Ducan Diet

A fairly new diet which gained a lot of popularity after a few celebrities said they are following it. It can be easy to follow as it is not very restrictive. It does make recommendations for a healthier lifestyle rather than just losing weight and for exercise. Although it is not something new or revolutionary it can be a ‘not too bad option’ out of the commercial diets, is not extreme or unhealthy and people do report to lose weight.

The DIY diet 

This is the diet which you follow at home by yourself. If following a rigid program is not your cup of tea it is easy to just make your own. The basic principles of any high protein diet are to consume a higher amount of protein, moderate amount of carbohydrates which mainly derive from wholegrain and a moderate amount of fat. On top of this add ample amounts of fruit and vegetables.

You could pick up a cook book which provides healthy, higher in protein recipes and DIY at home. Keeping an eye on the calories will need to be part of your diet if you want to lose weight.

4. The health related diets

These are the diets which mainly concentrate on health first and weight loss second. This is not to say that other diets do not have health benefits it is more like the case that some diets have been designed to tackle some specific health issues. Needles to say however, that if you have any health issues and concerns the best point of contact is your doctor and/or health professional and you should above all follow their advice.

The DASH diet

The DASH diet claims to be designed by a team of doctors and health professionals and to also have been tried and tested before being sold to the public. The main focus of the DASH diet is to lower blood pressure and it was recently been voted in a survey as no 1 best diet.

As it concentrates on blood pressure it recommends low consumption of animal protein. Although there is a main DASH diet plan, each individual is meant to enrol to the official site and get a personalised diet plan according to the information he/she provides (i.e. age, gender, weight etc).

The plus…It does recommend seeing dieting as a lifestyle approach rather than a short event and encourages people to make lifestyle changes. It also incorporates exercise advice. Overall is not a bad diet although it can be too low on protein at times.

The minus…Just because it is designed by health professionals it doesn’t necessarily translate to this diet is good for you specifically if you suffer from high blood pressure or other health conditions. The DASH diet site also recommends checking any diet plans with your own health professional(s) as it could not suit your circumstances. Well if you do suffer from specific conditions your health professional should be advising you regarding your diet in the first place and paying for extra subscriptions may not be necessary.

Also following a very low protein diet for too long may lead to other deficiencies and that should also be discussed with your health professional.

The healthy balanced diet

It is very similar to the DIY diet. You just opt for healthy balanced food options. You can try this at home and could be your cheaper option. It may not recommended for those who are unsure where to start although there is ample of information available everywhere. Couple your diet with exercise or any physical activity and you could have excellent weight and health results.

Consulting an appropriate health/fitness professional is always recommended before making any diet and exercise changes.

A diet is what you make of it. In simple words a diet will be as good or not good depending on how you follow it and how much does it suit your personal circumstances.

Studies which have compared commercial diets between them do not necessarily find large differences in their results. Although some diets may be of better dietary quality what it really comes down to is what works for each individual.

I do exclude those diets which can harm your health though…

How many carbs to eat per day

Friday, November 16, 2012 11:59
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carbohydrates

Many people are often confused about the role of carbohydrates in a weight loss diet. We got a number of questions from readers asking a very simple question “How many carbs should I eat per day?” In this post we explain in simple terms how to calculate the amount of carbohydrates to consume per day, analyze foods that have a lot of carbs and how to control your daily intake of carbs.

Step 1: Determine your ideal total daily carbs

The amount of carbs you should be eating each day depends on factors like your age, height, weight, sex and activity level.  The first step to determining the amount of carbs you should have each day is to determine the amount of calories you should have in a day.  Total calories are best determined by a qualified professional but can be estimated semi-accurately by an online calculator that takes into account all of the factors listed above.

The best calculators are based on a scientifically verified mathematical formula like the Mifflin St. Jeor formula and also take into account your daily exercise or activity level.  If you are trying to lose weight subtract 300 to 500 calories from that number.  Once you have a number or a range for your total daily calories, divide the number by 8.  What you get is approximately the total grams of carbohydrates you should consume each day.

  • Endurance athletes need more energy from carbohydrates and should divide their daily calories by about 6 instead of 8.
  • Individuals who are diabetic should consult a registered dietitian or a physician before making dietary changes.

Step 2: Know your major carb sources

There is nearly an infinity of food products that contribute carbohydrates to the diet, so how do you know which are carb heavy and which are not?  Usually you should consult the nutrition label to see how many grams of carbohydrates are in each serving.  Pre-packaged foods that are traditionally carb-heavy include snacks such as pretzels, chips, cookies, and candy, but also soda and juice.  Yes, even juice.

A true serving of juice is about 4 ounces, or about a quarter of a traditional water bottle.  When you have a full glass of orange juice at breakfast you can be loading on the carbs long before you’ve even started your day!

On top of this, many of us get a large portion of carbs from foods that don’t come labeled.  These are foods prepared by family, friends, ourselves, or even the local take-out restaurant.  Rice, pasta, or bread could be the smoking bullet in these dishes, but surprisingly some vegetables such as peas, potatoes, and corn make the list too.  All of these items are very high in carbs and should not make up the bulk of a meal.

Finally, we get to treats.  A single candy, chocolate, donut, pastry, or mixed drink can pack a punch where carbs are concerned.  Here is where moderation is key and it doesn’t have to be painful.  Life is worth living and sweets are a great part of it, but they are better enjoyed when they aren’t accompanied with guilt and health expenses down the line.

Step 3: Splitting per meal

Unless you are an endurance athlete a good general rule is to have 45 to 60 grams of carbs at each meal and 15 to 30 at snacks.  If you are on the petite side, for example if you are a shorter female, you want to aim for the 45 and 15.  If you have a larger frame and higher daily calories you probably want to go for 60 grams at meals and 30 grams for snacks.   It is important to split your carbs up throughout the day and not to have them all at once in a single meal.

When you eat many carbs at once your body stores some in the blood and some in the muscles and liver and everything else gets converted to body fat.  It would be great if the body began breaking down fat when you need more energy later in the day, but your body generally drains carbs from your blood, muscles, and liver first leaving you tired and sluggish.

Step 4: Fiber

Fiber is technically a carbohydrate, just not one that our body can use for calories.  Fiber instead goes through the digestive system straight to the colon as food for bacteria.  It may sound strange, but it is important that these bacteria stay happy.  Studies have shown that individuals with healthy intestinal bacteria are often lower in body weight and less at risk for some types of cancer.  Also, high fiber foods tend to be healthy for many other reasons and are a good choice for at least half of the carbs in your meal.  Good ways to include more fiber include eating oats, whole grain bread or pasta, brown rice, and alternative carbs like quinoa.

Step 5: Added Sugar

If you still have the number for the total calories you should have each day, divide it by 40 and that’s the amount of grams added sugar you should be consuming.  Sugar found in fruits is almost exactly the same as the sugar you will get anywhere else, be it high fructose corn syrup or table sugar, except for one important difference: nutrients!

The value for total ADDED sugar is so low because added sugar has no nutritional value other than calories.  If you choose to get all of your sugar each day from whole fruits have at it, but if you want to have the chocolate cake or the breakfast donut you should at least be aware of the amount of added sugar and how it factors into your healthy diet.

7 Tips to become aware of carbs in your diet:

  1. Know your total calories and divide by 8 to get grams carbs
  2. Aim for 45 to 60 grams carbs for meals
  3. Aim for 15 to 30 grams carbs for snacks
  4. Be aware of major carb sources in each meal and try to keep it to about ¼ of your plate.
  5. Try to have at least half of your carbs from whole grain sources
  6. Aim for 30 grams fiber each day
  7. Limit your added sugars to 10% of your daily calories

How to lose 5 pounds in 2 days

Friday, November 16, 2012 11:09
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lose 5 pounds

“How to lose 5 pounds n 2 days”, now that is something you have probably seen countless times  on magazines or book covers, and I am sure it sells many copies. Almost anyone would jump at the chance to lose 5 pounds in 2 days, but is that actually possible, or just a clever trick to sell magazines?

Surprisingly it is actually doable for most individuals, as you can technically lose 5 pounds in 2 days, but only around one pound of it will be fat. The rest will come from water weight, which will help you look slimmer, but it may come back just as fast as it disappeared.

Our bodies are estimated to be made up of around 60% water and the amount of water  we are carrying constantly changes depending on what we eat, drink and our physical activity.

How to lose 5 pounds in 2 days

Therefore, some people will be able to drop 5 pounds off the scale in 2 days, but you need to understand that this will not work the same for everyone. Some people may not be holding a lot of water weight and may only lose 1 or 2 pounds, while some people may actually lose more than 5. The amount of weight you could losein 2 days is mostly going to depend on the amount of water you are holding at this time. This is why below I have included a helpful list of tips to help you drop water weight.

Consume More Natural Diuretics

A Diuretic is something that will help your body remove excess liquids better by making you urinate more.  Foods that are considered Diuretics are normally high in water content themselves, such as lettuce, watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Caffeine is also a diuretic, therefore any drink containing caffeine could help, such as coffee, tea or energy drinks. However, do not primarily rely on caffeine as a diuretic as drinks using it are commonly high in sugar.

Avoid Salt

High amounts of salt or sodium intake will make your body more likely to hold on to water and cause bloating.  Many doctors have even said your body sends you the warning you are consuming too much salt by storing that extra water.

Drink More Water

On the other hand if you are not drinking enough water daily, then your body will begin to hold onto every ounce of water it can to keep functioning normally. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends drinking at least 96 ounces of water per day.

Another factor that plays a large role on how much water weight you are holding is your daily carbohydrate consumption, which brings me to my next point.

Low carbohydrate diets and weight loss

Have you ever wondered why almost everyone who has tried the Atkins or similar low carbohydrate dietshas the same story, “I lost weight quickly at first, but now it came back?”  The answer is simple, when you consume fewer carbohydrates on a daily basis; you begin dwindling down your glycogen stores.

This directly affects the amount of water weight your body stores and causes you to rapidly drop water weight. This is how low carbohydrate diets promise to “work”. I am not saying all low carbohydrate diets are bad, as some of them can be effective in  long term fat loss, I just felt more people needed to be aware on how they work so well the first few days or week.

But as I said before, there is no “cookie cutter” diet I can recommend to all of you readers that will automatically make you lose 5 pounds in 2 days. I wish it were that simple, however there are far too many individual factors affecting your current water weight for me to apply the same concept to everyone. Although, I guarantee if you follow the key points I outlined above, you will lose as much water weight as your body will allow.

Remember losing water weight is not a permanent change, it can make you look better for now, but if you go back to eating high sodium meals like fast food and not drinking enough water daily, you will gain it back just as fast as you lost it. Nevertheless, that does not mean losing water weight is useless, it is still a quick fix and the things you do to lose water weight are healthier for you in the long run anyway.

And with that I wish you good luck in your weight loss goals, remember they may not happen overnight, but once you lose the weight it will truly improve your quality of life.

10 Delicious Treats for Under 50 Calories

Thursday, November 15, 2012 15:38
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50 calorie snacks

We all need a little treat in our lives now and again.  Sometimes when we are stressed or emotional, or perhaps going through a difficult time, a moment taken to enjoy a food that gives us pleasure can be a breath of fresh air.  It must be stressed that using foods for rewards in difficult situations should not become a habit, but the occasional indulgence, especially when you choose wisely can make all the difference to an otherwise monotonous diet.

We all know sticking to a diet can be tough, and at times demoralising, however, watching your weight does not mean you can’t enjoy your food and still satisfy your need for something sweet, or perhaps curb your salty cravings.

What is a ‘treat food’ for you?

‘Treat’ foods are different for everybody.  Think about what you consider to be a treat, is it a bowl (or tub) of your favourite ice cream?  Or maybe you are more into savoury treats like chips or popcorn?  Some may see a treat as a meal from their favourite take-out or a glass of wine after a busy day at work.  In general, people see treats as foods that are eaten on occasion and not part of their every day diet.

This is fine as long as you can really keep them as occasional foods.  The danger for some is that indulging occasionally makes it harder to avoid the foods at other times.  If you have a bowl of ice cream for dessert once a week, do you then find it harder to resist on other nights?

If you find it easier to eliminate typical treats from your diet completely when trying to lose weightyou may need to redefine what constitutes a ‘treat’ food,  to fit into your new healthy eating plan.   Instead of seeing treats as high calorie, high fat, generally unhealthy foods (admittedly that taste good), try to think of foods that are a luxury but aren’t going to destroy all your hard work if they find their way into your daily food intake from time to time.

These foods can be indulged in and enjoyed without guilt.  Think seasonal fresh fruits, exotic spices and low fat yet creamy dairy products, all of which may in fact benefit your health.

We are fortunate to have an ever increasing range of unusual and delicious food products in our supermarkets, so make the most of this and buy good quality, fresh ingredients and discover new flavours and food experiences.  It is also important to take time to enjoy your treats, low fat, low calorie treats are generally not going to be large, so eat slowly and enjoy every mouthful.

10 Tasty Treats Under 50 Calories

1.  ½  cup  of strawberries with 2 ½  Tbsp non-fat yogurt -47 calories 

Berries are the best friend of the calorie conscience eater.  They contain the least calories of all fruits, with the additional benefit of being packed full of vitamins.  Not only are they incredibly healthy, but what could be more indulgent, romantic and delicious than a bowl of fresh strawberries.  Add yogurt to cut through the sharpness of the fruit and add a hit of calcium, essential for strong bones.

2.  Apple with yogurt and cinnamon – 45 calories

By cooking the apple, the sugars in the fruit caramelize and intensify the flavour of the fruit.  A perfect winter dessert, serve warm with cool yogurt to contrast and a dash of cinnamon to add flavour.  A study done by the US Department of Agriculture found that cinnamon may have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels and lower unhealthy triglycerides (fats) in the blood. Try baking half an appe and add low fat yogurt and cinnamon for taste.

3. Raisins – 45 calories 

The perfect alternative to candy or chocolate, and an excellent treat to keep on hand at any time as they are easily slipped into a pocket or purse.  Raisins are high in antioxidants, which can protect against cancers and heart disease as well as full of fibre, aiding digestion.  Make sure you stick to a small box though, as dried fruit can provide a large amount of calories when eaten in big quantities.

4. Low fat-free Greek yogurt with jam -43 calories

Greek Yogurt is thicker, and creamier than other yogurts, so despite choosing a fat free version this is a luxurious treat, high in calcium and protein.  Sugar free jam cuts through the sharpness of the yogurt and provides a little added sweetness without the calories.

5. 1/3 cup blueberries with 1 Tbsp light sour cream – 47 calories    

Blueberries are thought to be amongst the highest sources of antioxidants in the food world.  Not only this, but they are high in vitamin C, fibre, and manganese (important for converting food into energy).  When in season, they are also incredibly sweet and tasty, while light sour cream makes a creamier, tangier alternative to yogurt.

6. 3?4 cup almond milk -45 calories

Almond milk is lower in calories than regular milk, but still packed full of nutrients.  The creamy texture and taste make it feel indulgent.  High in calcium and vitamin D, this treat is good for strong bones, whilst vitamins A and E act as antioxidants, protecting the cells of the body from damage.  Unlike regular milk, almond milk contains no saturated fats and high fibre levels, meaning it is heart healthy and good for digestion.  It is also low GI therefore keeping blood sugar levels at a stable level.

 7. 1 cup Air popped pop corn – 31 calories

For those who prefer a savoury treat, pop corn is an excellent alternative to chips or fried snacks.  Buy plain corn kernels, rather than buttered or flavoured varieties, and pop in the microwave or in a pan without added fats.  Add spices such as black or cayenne pepper for flavour, the result is surprisingly good and with none of the salt, fat and flavours found in many savoury snack foods.

 8. 6  Maraschino  cherries – 50 calories

This is a simple, quick treat for the sweet tooth.  Often featuring in high fat foods such as sundaes or cakes, the cherries alone make for an indulgent snack without guilt.  While they don’t provide any real nutritional benefits, at 50 calories for six, they don’t do too much damage either.

 9. 2 Small squares of dark chocolate – 50 calories

Chocolate is the ultimate of sweet treats and the good news is in very small servings it can also fit into a healthy diet.  The darker the chocolate, the higher the antioxidant content, so try to go as dark as possible for optimum health benefits.  Two small squares will give you 50 calories, so buy a good quality chocolate, relax and savour the flavour.

10. One container of sugar free gelatine -10 calories

Whilst this is not going to contribute much nutrition to your diet, at 10 calories, it doesn’t really matter.  Serve with a couple of tablespoons of low fat yogurt to add calcium and variety.  Alternatively, make the gelatine from scratch and add chopped up berries and fruit to the unset mix for a few more vitamins.

How many carbs, proteins, and fats do I need to lose weight?

Thursday, November 15, 2012 15:24
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food pyramid

If you have spent any decent amount of time researching weight loss diets, there is a good chance you are more confused now then when you started.  There are people who recommend high carb diets, low carb diets, no carb diets, high protein diets, low protein diets, low fat diets, no fat diets, or any other possible combination.

I will help you determine which balance you should use, but first you need to realize what it actually takes to lose a pound of fat. One pound of fat is made up of around 3500 calories, so to lose 1 pound of fat you need burn 3500 more calories then you consumed over the course of a few days or a week.

For example, take an individual who has a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 2000 calories. If that person only consumes 1500 calories a day, over the course of a week (7 days), they will have saved 3500 calories total. That equals 1 pound of fat loss for that week. Therefore, in theory, it does not make a difference which balance of carbs, protein and fats you used that week, as long as you consume a certain amount of calories per day.

But, of course, nothing is that simple.  Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates are all used differently in our bodies and we need a proper balance between the three to function at 100%. To help you decide which balance of the three will work best for you I will go over each ones benefits and uses in the body.

Protein

The primary function of protein is to repair and build body tissues, however if you do not consume enough carbohydrates alongside with the protein, your body will be forced to break down protein to be used as energy as well.

Proteins are made up of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. Our body uses around 20 different amino acids to build its various proteins.  There are two primary forms of amino acids essential and nonessential.  Their names describe them perfectly as our body cannot produce essential amino acids; therefore it is necessary for us to consume them in food regularly.  However, our bodies can produce nonessential amino acids naturally; therefore, we do not have to worry about consuming them through food.

Exercise And Protein Intake

Whether the form of exercise is aerobic (cardio) or anaerobic (weightlifting) if you regularly exercise it is recommended you consume more protein to aid in recovery and building muscle.  If you are focusing on building muscle, experts recommend no less then 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.

Proteins Effect on Satiety

When trying to lose weight, satiety or “The feeling of Fullness” can be a big factor to consider when arranging your diet.  Many studies have shown protein has the greatest effect on satiety out of the 3 macronutrients.   Also considering 1 gram of protein is equal to 4 calories versus 1 gram of fat which is 9 calories, you can easily see why protein is a valuable tool to use in your weight loss.

Overview of Protein

– Recommended Usage: 15- 30% of total calorie intake

– One gram of protein is equal 4 calories.

– Aids in repairing and building tissues in our body

– May also be broken down to be used as energy

Carbohydrates

“Carbs” or Carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; they are primarily classified as simple or complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, while complex carbohydrates consist of starches. Fiber is also a carbohydrate and studies have shown it is important we consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day for optimum performance.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy used for all bodily functions and during physical exertion. Carbohydrates are also important to help regulate digestion and aid in the utilization of the protein and fats we consume.

For long-term fat loss, studies have shown it is important carbohydrates make up the largest portion of your diet. Although low carb diets work at first by helping you drop water weight they are not superior in long-term fat loss goals in most cases. It is especially important that the largest portion of your diet be made up of carbohydrates if you are an endurance athlete or have a physical job. That way you can be sure you are provided with enough energy throughout the day, and your body is not forced to break down valuable protein for energy needs.

Carbohydrates Overview

– Recommended Usage: 50-70% of total caloric intake

– One gram of carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories.

– Carbohydrates are your bodies’ primary source of energy.

–  They can spare proteins use for energy, therefore the protein can be used to build muscle and aid in recovery.

Fats (Also Termed Lipids)

Fats are the most calorie packed sources of food in your diet and the reason why a McDonalds Big Mac or Large Fry can have more calories then three healthy meals.  One gram of fat is equal to 9 calories, which is more then twice the amount of calories in a protein or carbohydrate.   If you are trying to lose weight, fats should make up the smallest portion of your diet however do not remove them completely. If used in moderation fats can even be beneficial to your weight loss goals.

Small amounts of fat can be spread throughout the day as fat consumption stimulates the release of a hormone that signals fullness, used appropriately this can be a great tool to keep you from overeating.

However, large amounts of fats in your diet can lead to overeating through lack of actual food volume and can slow your metabolism.

Fat Overview

– Recommended Usage: 10-30% of total caloric intake

– One gram of Fat is equal to 9 calories

– Fats are useful in appetite control if used in moderation but add unnecessary calories up fast.

Conclusion

With that slightly in depth look at what Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates really are, you should understand why having a balanced dietis not just important for weight loss but also  for your general health.  Nutrition is a vast subject, and we barely scratched the surface today, but it should be enough to help you decide the right balance in your diet.

Does exercising on an empty stomach burn more fat?

Thursday, November 15, 2012 11:20
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best time to workout for weight loss

If you have spent a decent amount of time talking to different people about the best way to lose weight, you may have heard the advice…

“Do your cardio in the morning, before you eat”

The effects of exercising in the morning

The basic idea behind this well known theory, is that when you haven’t eaten all night and are in “fasting mode”, all the calories you burn in a workout  will directly come from your body fat stores, because you cannot use previously eaten food as energy. Physiologically this is a great approach for extra fat loss; however, there is one more question I think you need to ask.

“Besides body fat, what is another source our bodies can burn for energy?”

The answer is MUSCLE, and this is never a good thing trust me, no matter how bad you want weight loss, you do not want muscle loss. Too intense of cardio in the morning can burn away hard-earned muscle, but that does not mean this method is useless. There  is a relatively simple way to get around the issue, just to be safe eat a small amount of protein or  5g of BCAAs and 5g Glutamine in a shake  prior to exercise.

True, a lot of the protein you eat prior is going to be burned off as energy for the workout; however, the positive effect of it preserving muscle tissue is well worth it in my opinion.  Keep in mind however, during this workout you will have no recently eaten carbohydrates and fats to use as energy, so you may find it harder to keep the intensity as high as a mid-day workout.

Why your body burns more fat in the morning?

Nevertheless, I think a common misconception needs to be cleared up before we discuss this method of cardio further.

Many people believe the reason you burn the fat directly from fat stores upon waking is that your body is in a glycogen-depleted state. However, this is not the case, you see when you go to sleep, after around 30 minutes, you enter the deep sleep phase, during this phase, 95%+ of the calories you burn are from free fatty acids because it is such a low intensity period.

Therefore, since the primary source of energy your body uses during sleep is fatty acids, experts agree when you are awake you will not have to mobilize fatty acids to be used for energy; therefore they are far more likely to be used as energy first.

In the end you need to understand when dealing with our bodies, things are never simple and no one can tell you one way is 100% better then the other. There are far too many factors involved to justify saying, “Morning cardio is FAR superior then mid day cardio”. However I do think it is useful and do recommend it be used, but rather as a way to split your cardio in half.

Split your cardio throughout the day for optimum results

For example if you normally do 40 minutes of cardio daily, I recommend upon waking you eat a small amount of protein, then do  20 minutes of cardio. Continue as normal and do the last 20 minutes mid day, research has shown for years that splitting your cardio up into multiple sessions is very effective in squeezing out more fat loss due to EPOC.

EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption

EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption means our workouts have an “after burn effect”, meaning immediately after a workout we are still burning more calories then if we never worked out. This elevated state of calorie burning begins to diminish soon after a workout however, although some experts claim EPOC does not have as big effect on fat loss as some people say; studies have shown it does help.  Furthermore, everyone I have recommended it to has seen improved results over one cardio session a day. It may not be a huge difference, but every inch counts.

That is what long-term weight loss is about, like almost anything in life, getting healthy is a game of inches. Saving an extra 100 calories a day may not seem like a lot but that is 36,000 calories a year, which is roughly 10 pounds of fat saved!

Therefore, I urge you to take any advantage you can get in your day-to-day training, before those extra inches you did not go end up being a few extra inches around your waist.

Nevertheless, most of all I wish you good luck in your health goals, becoming healthier is the greatest step you can take towards true happiness.  Money can buy many things, but it cannot buy good health once you lost it, fitness is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth.

Why you should avoid very low calorie diets?

Thursday, November 15, 2012 10:16
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low calorie diets

Very low calorie diets or VLCDs are diets that restrict daily food intake to 1000 calories or less.  This is often done with commercial meal replacements, which is the safer alternative, as these are usually formulated to contain appropriate levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to meet daily requirements.

Meal replacements such as Optifast and Sureslim are increasingly popular and provide a nutritionally complete approach to VLCDs.

The second, less desirable way is a calorie counting approach, involving restriction of foods intake or eating solely one type of food such as in the grapefruit or cabbage soup diet. This type of diet can result in serious nutrient deficiencies not to mention antisocial eating behaviours.

Whichever way they are carried out, VLCDs can have extremely serious side effects and are not recommended unless prescribed by a medical professional for very short term use.

Research has found that VLCDs are generally safe when used under medical supervision in those with a BMI over 30, and may be indicated in those with a BMI between 27 and 30 if they have health complications due to obesity.

For this group of people, large amounts of rapid weight loss may produce health benefits.  However, for people with healthy or even slightly elevated bodyweight, there is no need for such a strict diet, and to follow a VLCD may even be dangerous.

The average woman requires 2000 calories per day, whilst men need about 2500 to maintain their weight.  This is an average figure however, and differs significantly from person to person depending on activity levels, body composition, weight and height.

A VLCD provides less than half the calories required for weight maintenance, which although it may result in weight loss, can also cause serious health problems and is unsustainable and dangerous for long term use.

What does a very VLCD do to your body?

As you are not consuming sufficient carbohydratesfor the body to obtain energy, another source to supply the body with the energy needed for day to day life is needed.  Thus the boy starts to break down protein and fat to obtain this energy.  Whilst fat is generally not too much of a concern in overweight people, protein breakdown or ketosis can result in loss of muscle and organ tissue.

Although you will be losing weight, half of that weight is likely to be muscle loss.  This works against long term weight loss as muscle burns more calories than fat in a resting state, thus by decreasing muscle mass you may in fact reduce your metabolism, meaning it is harder to keep weight off when the VLCD is finished.

Initial weight loss can be extreme. However, this is likely to be due in part to a large amount of fluid loss.  Before the body resorts to protein and fat for energy, it will first breakdown the bodies emergency carbohydrate stores, called glycogen.  Glycogen is bound to water molecules, thus this loss of glycogen can also lead to water loss.

What are the side effects of following a very low calorie diet for a long time?

Minor side effects of VLCD include fatigue, constipation, diarrhoea, dry skin and nausea.  There is also a high incidence of gall stones in VLCD followers.  Followers may also experience extreme hunger and cravings.  These side effects are associated with fast weight loss.

Other more serious effects can occur is a VLCD is followed for a long time, or is not followed correctly.  A very low calorie diet that does not provide sufficient vitamins, minerals and electrolytes is followed, deficiencies can occur.  Loss of bone mass is a likely consequence of long term low calorie intake, as the diet will not provide sufficient calcium to maintain bone density.

Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium may also be lacking.  These are essential in the cellular processes in the body and if an imbalance occurs can result in serious consequences such as heart failure.  General deficiency of other vitamins and minerals can cause a range of other side effects ranging from minor to very serious such as renal and liver disease.

This is why VLCDs are only indicated for weight loss in obese individuals and must always be followed under the supervision of a health professional for a limited amount of time.

Other negative effects of very low calorie diets

A VLCD is an extremely antisocial way of eating.  Whilst on the diet you cannot enjoy meals with friends and so may end up avoiding social situations where eating is involved.  There is little variety in VLCD, as you are usually limited to a range of calorie and nutrient controlled powders, shakes, and puddings that fit your eating plan.

Whilst a VLCD may help you to lose weight, it does not help you improve your eating and develop healthy habits to maintain your weight loss in the long term.  It may produce a quick fix, but may followers report gaining weight back quickly when the diet is finished.

There is no focus on normal natural eating patterns and how to choose the correct foods for a long term healthy diet.  When the controlled diet phase is completed it is easy to return to old eating habits, which can cause quick regain of weight especially since calorie requirements are likely to be reduced with a lower body weight that previously.

In conclusion, a VLCD may be indicated for very obese people under strict medical supervision.  However it is not recommended for those who do not need to lose large amounts of weight and is not a long term weight maintenance option.  A VLCD can be dangerous if not followed correctly and should only be used for a short period of time.

5 Diet Rules for Beginners to Lose Weight Fast

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 14:50
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diet rules for beginners

The decision to lose weight is easy to make, but it is not always quite so easy to get started on a weight loss diet.  There are so many diets promoted in the media that it is almost impossible to know where to start when beginning a diet for the first time.  Many diets promise attractively fast weight loss, but often promote an unsustainable style of eating that can’t be continued in the long term.

Others offer more long term solutions, but rely heavily on calorie counting and seem to make every meal an exercise in maths   Both of which can make following a diet a nightmare.

There is so much conflicting information on the internet, magazines and even according to weight loss experts that it can seem hugely daunting to take on a weight loss diet.  Some sources say low carb is the way to go, whilst others swear by low fat.  Others say fat is fine, as long as the type is right.

Fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals, but has too much sugar; olive oil is full of healthy antioxidants but also full of calories.  It’s no wonder many dieters are pulling their hair out with frustration.

It is tempting to dive straight into the diet that promises the most weight loss in the fastest time, but it is important to remember when starting a diet for the first time is that the simpler the eating plan is, the easier it is to stick to and the more likely it is that you will achieve long term results.

You need to develop new long term healthy eating habits and steer clear of fads that may only produce rapid short term results.  Remember that weight loss is unlikely to be consistent, some weeks you may lose more, others less and some weeks you may even gain weight.  Don’t let this discourage you.

There are so many factors that affect our weight on a short term basis that it is more important to look at the overall long term picture.  Persevere and you will see results eventually.

5 Diet rules for beginners

To help the first time dieter get started, here at some simple top tips to lose weight quickly (but still at a healthy rate).

1# Set realistic goals and stick to them

Healthy weight loss is considered to be 1-2 pounds per week.  This may not sound like much, particularly if you are very overweight, but remember if you lose weight too fast, not only is it bad for your body, but you are unlikely to keep it off.  It’s definitely a case of slow and steady wins the weight loss race!

To achieve weight loss in the healthy range you generally need to reduce your intake of food by 500 to 1000 calories per day.  This could be done as simply as cutting out your two morning tea donuts, or perhaps by reducing portion sizes, or making healthy food swaps throughout the day.

Identifying foods high in caloriesand swapping them for low calorie alternatives can be a simple way to do this that eliminates excessive calorie counting.  Swap biscuits for fruit, soft drink for flavoured water or diet drinks and you are well on your way to achieving this goal.  Set yourself long term goal weights, and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Weighing yourself every day is not productive and can give you the wrong impression.

Weigh yourself weekly at the most and set realistic goal weights for months rather than weeks.  Take into account a healthy weight for your height and your body type when setting goals.  Everyone is different and few of us will ever be the size of Kate Moss, no matter how many diets we follow.

Be aware of what types of eating patterns will fit into your life and you will find easier to follow.  It is no good following an expensive meal replacement diet if you are on a budget, or eating ten small snacks a day if you have a hectic job that doesn’t allow you to stop to eat this many times.  The easier you make your diet changes, the more likely you will achieve long term results.

2# Avoid drinking your calories

Calories consumed in drinks are often forgotten when considering a weight loss diet.  Remember some drinks contain are unexpectedly high in calories.  Steer away from sugary soft drinks, large milk drinks such as lattes, especially when made with full fat milk and definitely when topped with whipped cream and flavoured with syrups.

Remember alcohol is very high in calories, and provides little nutritional value.  Not only is it easy to knock back a bottle of wine without really realizing it, you are more likely to eat more as well as a result of those alcohol induced munchies.

Although they may be a full of nutrients, juices are also high in calories, so it is important to limit your intake of these too.  Also be aware that many other ‘healthy’ choices, such as smoothies can be high in calories due to their high content of sugar and large size.

3# Eat small frequent meals

Eating small, frequent meals rich stimulates your metabolism, meaning you burn calories more efficiently.  Making these meals high in protein and complex carbohydrates also means you will be full longer and less likely to get very hungry and resort to unhealthy food choices or overeat at your next meal.

4# Choose low fat options

Most people know fat as enemy number one to the dieter, and they are not wrong.  Fat has the highest number of calories per gram of any of the macro nutrients  therefore if you reduce your fat intake, you will automatically reduce calories significantly.  The simplest way to do this is to always choose low fat options.

In addition to this try to reduce fat added in cooking.  Switch to low fat cooking techniques such as grilling and flavour with herbs and spices rather than fat.  A small amount of healthy unsaturated fat such as olive oil is good for your heart, but keep it to a minimum to avoid those extra calories.  Finally, limit your intake of the foods we all know are high in fat, chips, hamburgers, ice cream, you know the ones!

5# Burn more calories

For optimum weight loss, it is ideal not only to reduce the calories you eat, but also to increase the calories you burn.  If the calories you eat are more than those you burn, you will gain weight.  Conversely if you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.  Therefore, to increase weight loss, the best option is to burn more and eat less, increasing the energy deficit.

Remember you do need calories for normal bodily function, so very low calorie diets are not recommended without medical supervision.

Find an exercise you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick to it.  Also think about what fits into your daily routine and what you have time for.  Don’t go for a sport just because it is an efficient calorie burner, it is much better to choose something you enjoy that burns less calories, but do it more often.

Try exercising in groups or with a friend to increase motivation, and remember to find any excuse to move.  Take the stairs or walk to work, it all burns calories.

It is vital to remember however, that exercising does not give you the licence to eat whatever you want.  Look into how much exercise is required to burn certain foods; it may be enough to stop you from eating them.  The combination of a reduced calorie intake and an increased output is the quickest way to achieve successful weight loss.

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