10 snacks under 100 calories for your sweet tooth

Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:05
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100 calorie snacks

You sometimes need to eat something sweet but at the same time you do not want to ‘break’ your diet. Finding low calorie snacks and desserts can be a challenge, so here are some recipes and snacks less than 100 calories to keep around the house for those moments of temptation. They are delicious and easy to prepare and will satisfy your sweet tooth without adding extra calories to your daily diet.

Chocolate covered banana

This tasty treat is one that you can make on your own or get in the frozen foods aisle of your supermarket.  Chocolate covered bananas make for an excellent dessert with only a few calories and yet numerous health benefits!  When making your own chocolate covered banana you want to use half a banana and about a half ounce of dark chocolate.   For frozen bananas you can check the nutrition label for calorie information, but often they are smaller bananas than what you would see in the fresh produce aisle.

Mini fruit filled crepe

Crepes make a great sweet snack because they can be bought or made in large quantities and quickly wrapped with some fresh fruit for a refreshing and low-calorie treat.  The crepes you make or buy should be only about 5 inches across or else should be cut in half.  Fill with ½ cup of fruit such as cinnamon apples.  For breakfast the thin, delicate sweetness of a crepe is also a great alternative to its heavier cousin, the pancake.

Smoothie

Mix a third a cup low-fat frozen yogurt, a cup of frozen berries, and a handful of ice and blend for 20 seconds for an excellent on-the-run snack.  Since all of the ingredients are frozen there is no concern for fruit spoiling.  Those who usually buy fresh product may even have a reason to switch; frozen berries are picked at their peak and often have more nutrients than fresh fruit that is out of season.

Kettle Corn

Among the greatest inventions of the popcorn industry is the 100-calorie microwavable bag.  If you’ve never tried kettle corn it is lightly sweet and salty.  Add that to the vast amount of fiber popcorn can add to the diet and you’ve got yourself a healthy yet sizable treat.

 

Dried mango

1 ounce (about 3 large pieces) of unsweetened dried mangoes is a snack great for those who like a bit of work to their food.  Other dried fruits make great snacks too but try to go for the unsweetened variety; I promise the fruit has enough sugar on its own!

 

Cappuccino

Fancy coffee is not usually considered a snack, but it should be.  With sugar, cream, syrups, and chocolate as common ingredients it can be easy to get even as much as 400 calories in a large beverage!   So how do you get to a 100-calorie coffee?  First, order a coffee that is about the size you would get in a restaurant.

Most coffee joints offer 12 ounces as their ‘small’ portion, but for some this is simply not enough caffeine.  If you feel the need for an extra jolt, ask for another shot of espresso in your cup.  Coffee itself has virtually no calories and may actually have some antioxidant benefits.

A 12 oz. cappuccino made with 1-cup non-fat milk, and a single packet of sugar gets you to about 100 calories.  For adventurous coffee drinkers you can get a double shot of espresso, add a tablespoon of light cream, a tablespoon of chocolate syrup, and a packet of sugar for a small but stimulating dessert-like effect.

Chocolate covered walnuts

Walnuts are a very healthy nut and actually stay fresh longer when coated in chocolate! Combine about 4 walnut halves with about 15 grams melted dark chocolate (a quarter of a normal chocolate bar).   This snack is a bit high in fat, but also a good source of protein and sugar, which makes it a great pre- or post-workout treat.

A small box of raisins

This may be a flashback to your childhood lunchbox, but there are some great reasons to get more raisins in your day.  Grapes are rich in antioxidants that, like red wine, can help to prevent heart disease.  Additionally, these small boxes are easy to keep in a purse, a gym back, or at the office, making this snack ultra-portable as well as ultra-healthy.

Greek yogurt and pomegranate seeds

Seeding a pomegranate is a quick way to stain your clothes.  The solution?  Seed the pomegranate underwater.  After you pull the seeds out they will sink to the bottom while the bitter while pulp floats to the top.  Skim the top and strain the seeds.  Once dry, they can be refrigerated and last for a week or more.  Mix ½ cup of these seeds with about ½ cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt and enjoy!

Rice crispy treats

Lets end with a classic here.  Rice crispy treats are a nostalgic and easy snack that you can bring just about anywhere.  Individual packs are 100 calories and just as delicious as when you were a kid!

 

So here you are, 10 snacks to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking your diet!

4 ways to avoid weight loss disappointment

Sunday, November 11, 2012 7:48
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weight loss disappointment

The market is saturated with weight loss products, resources, weight loss plans, tips, articles, hypnosis and counselling solutions and everything else your mind can think. You would think that all the weight loss problems are solved. Well if you are on this page it is probably the opposite. Going on to lose weight is not always as straight forward as it seems and often it turns up in disappointment.

There are things you can do to avoid weight loss disappointment and in this article we have summarised 4 of them. It must be said they are not the only things you can do to help you but they do give a good start.

Planning and setting goals

Having a plan will do wonders in helping you to achieve your goals. It kind of makes sense that in order to achieve your goals you will have to set them first.

1# Set your goals. Set both short term and long term goals. How much is the weight you want to lose? When do you want to lose it by? Keep it realistic and feasible. It is no good to say that you want to lose 100 lbs in 1 month. Set goals which are easy to reach and reflect the reality of your lifestyle. Factor everything in, your family, work, commitments how they affect you etc.

2# Consider your attitude to food. For many people food is more than just a means of survival. Food can serve social, emotional, habitual purposes in our lives and they can all affect the way we go about weight loss dieting. Are there any types of food that you can’t live without? Do you tend to emotional eat? Is food the last thing in your mind and you always end up with last minute takeaways?

Your attitude towards food could be one of the reasons you have put on weight. Finding what causes the ‘problem’ and making practical changes then could be half away to solving your problem.

3# Practical planning. What that means is all the everyday little things you need in order to follow your weight loss plan. Some of these include, clearing your cupboards of all things that you may be tempted, having food plans and/or recipes for your daily meals, working out your shopping list etc.

Choosing the way

Once you know what your goals and plans are then the next natural step is to try and match these with an appropriate weight loss plan. The market is saturated with different weight loss diets, weight loss plans and so on. If you have tried most of them and failed you should possibly consider that they have failed you and not the other way around. So how do you pick a plan that is guaranteed to succeed?

4# The one that suits your lifestyle. Not all weight loss plans are good for everybody. You may know of one that your friend tried or someone in the office tried and lost weight or you may have read about one which most people recommend. Well no, none of them would do if they do not suit your personal preferences and circumstances. Look at a few and match them to what you want and what you need.

5# Avoid fad plans and trends. If it promises too much too fast, or if it involves a super or miracle food it is likely that is a ‘fad’. With these kinds of plans you are less likely to lose the weight you want and you are more likely to have a dent in your pocket and loads of disappointment.

At the end of the day you didn’t put the weight on overnight so it is less likely that you will lose it overnight. Aim for safe and slow weight loss, after all your health is important. 

6# Weight loss plan versus life style plan. Now should you be looking for a weight loss plan which lasts, let’s say one month, or should be looking at making lifestyle changes? Obviously the advice would be look at making those lifestyle changes which in the long run they will promote positive outcomes for both your health and weight.

Think of it this way: you say you put on weight after months or years of ‘bad’ eating habits. You can go on a diet lose some weight and then go back to what or how you were eating pre-diet. The result: weight gain.

It may be that some people do have a relatively healthy balanced diet and what they are looking for is those couple of pounds loss. A specific weight loss plan may just do it. It may also be that for some people it works that they need a structured diet plan in order to be able to start learning and getting used to eating changes.

Either way it is always best to have in your plan a transition process in which you move from weight loss plan to everyday eating. 

This is the real life

Being realistic about what you want and how you will achieve it is quite important as mentioned already. However, being honest and realistic with your self is something which is often overlooked. Losing weight requires making an effort, planning, showing willpower and sometimes fighting those cravings.

One of reasons people tend to fall for the fast, fad miracle weight loss plans is because they don’t want to make that effort and would rather believe that the ‘x’ and ‘y’ miracle pills will do it for them and it doesn’t then disappointment comes.

7# Are you ready to lose the weight? Ask yourself if you are ready and if you do actually want to lose the weight. Falling on the trap of ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘diets don’t work for me I tried everything’ is easy and in some ways comfortable. Think well if you do want to do it as doing it because you have to, or for someone else when you are not sure you really want to then you are likely setting yourself to fail.

8# Are you motivated? Motivation is key into reaching any goal. If your efforts are for all the wrong reasons then you are likely to not go too far or give up.

Tip: Make a list of why you want to lose the weight. Ask yourself if it is important to you that you do lose the weight. Also ask yourself where you want to be in a month’s time and in a year’s time. People may lose weight for various reasons so concentrate on those personal reasons.

It may be that you want to lose weight so that you increase your chances for pregnancy, or because you don’t want be ‘a fat bride’ or because you are on the edge of getting diabetes or even just because you want to wear the clothes you like without feeling bad for yourself.

Make 2 copies of your list and then place one in your kitchen (i.e. wall, fridge, cupboard etc) and one copy in your bag. This way you will have it handy every time you are in doubt.

9# Love yourself. Are you on a weight loss diet because you always have done, or because you just think that is what you should be doing? If you can’t find those important reasons to motivate you then maybe it is not about losing weight. Stop torturing yourself with another ‘diet’ and start loving who you are and what you look like.

Keep flexible

Weight loss comes with ups and downs and plateaus. This is a fact. At the start you may lose more weight or you may have a slow start, then plateau then start moving on. Your body will be going through changes and in the process and it will try to adapt to those changes and even fight the weight loss.

10# Be positive, little changes add up. Don’t look at short term and don’t obsess with the scales. One week you may lose more, one week not at all. Keep positive and think of all the little small things which you may have achieved through out your weight loss.

11# Keep evaluating your plan. Re-think of your goals and what is working or not working for you. Make changes and also break the boredom.  If you are on a weight loss for months it can get boring and tedious, especially if you have reached a plateau. Make small changes, think your food intake, and try new healthy recipes, get active or try a different approach. Keep motivated.

Causes of belly fat and health dangers

Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:40
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causes of belly fat

Overeating

A simple and straight forward reason for belly fat is just too much food. People consume more calories than they burn and the rest is stored as fat. Over a long period of time they put on weight and become overweight and obese. There are factors such as gender, body type and genetics which will affect the tendency of the body of storing more fat in some parts than others.

However, when passing the stage of carrying a few extra pounds, (in general) fat will be stored everywhere. There are no catches here, only the well-known old fashion “too much food too little exercise”.

For the old fashion cause there is an old fashion solution. Healthier diet, decrease calorie intake and increase exercise/activity.

Hormones and gender differences

Hormonal imbalances, conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and menopause can influence weight gain and also the area in which the body will store fat. For example women during and after menopause tend to store fat in the abdominal area easier. This is mainly due to the hormone changes women undergo during menopause, such as the decrease in estrogens.

It must be noted that hormonal imbalances are not exclusive to women, and men can be affected as well.You may have heard the ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ saying. Well is not just an excuse to blame fat distribution on sex differences. Men and women do have differences in the ‘sex’ (steroid) hormones.

In simplified terms women have higher levels of oestrogens and progesterone hormones and men have higher levels of androgens such as progesterone hormones. These differences translate into women having the tendency to store more fat around the hip area and men in the abdominal (belly) area.

Being a man or a woman will not make you put on weight. Excess calorie intake and lack of exercise will (unless you do have hormonal imbalances and/or health conditions).

If you do suffer from any conditions which affect your hormones consult your doctor who can give you options for treatment. In addition, the doctor can advise you for condition specific diets.

Environmental pollutants and estrogens

It has long been established by science that environmental pollutants/chemicals can have disruptive effects in the body’s processes. In the past decade much attention has been given in the effects specific chemicals have in human metabolism and more specific in influencing weight gain and obesity.

The ‘Obesogen Theory’ supports that exposure to chemicals which can disrupt the endocrine system (hormonal, metabolic etc), especially during development, can program the development of obesity and other diseases.

Ok so you can’t move to Mars for a pollutant free environment… However, you most definitely you can avoid using to many plastics, or remove food from plastic packaging before placing in the microwave.

In addition, avoid too many soy products and drinking too much beer.

One such chemical believed to influence weight gain and belly fat is the environmental estrogens. In the body estrogen is a ‘sex’ hormone. In very simple words the environmental chemicals tend to mimic the effects of the hormone when in the body. Studies have shown that there is a strong link between consumption of environmental estrogens and weight gain, with more specific increasing fat storage in the abdominal (belly) area. Men seem to be more affected than women.

Environmental estrogens can be found in plastics (food containers, bottles etc and can pass in food) and also in some foods such soy products (i.e. phytoestrogens in foods such as tofu, soy milk etc).conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Although, the exact mechanisms of how this happens are not fully understood, it is however accepted that environmental chemicals do influence how and in which areas people gain weight.

Alcohol

There are a number of theories related to alcohol and belly fat. One of the theories relates to the estrogen content of drinks such as beer (see above). Another theory suggests that alcohol influences liver metabolism which leads to storing fat in the abdominal area (belly). However, the exact mechanisms are not fully understood and some research evidence is not as strong.

A more simplified connection is that alcohol does contain high amount of calories. Well a few drinks can accumulate a few extra calories which add up to putting on weight. In addition, it is suggested that alcohol increases appetite and food intake. A few drinks coupled with a calorific takeaway the result: belly fat.

Diseases and conditions

There are certain diseases and conditions which affect metabolism. An example is AIDS; the disease has been correlated with dysregulation of lipid metabolism and increased abdominal fat. With any health complaints, conditions/ diseases a medical professional should be consulted about such issues.

Medication

Another factor which can lead to increased belly fat is medication. There are numerous drugs which can affect metabolism and weight gain. One such example is antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. Abdominal weight gain could be one of the adverse effects of taking a specific medicine and it may not affect everyone.

Dangers of belly fat

Dangers of belly fat are mainly associated with visceral fat; the kind which is stored deep in the abdominal cavity and in the organs. Visceral fat is considered to be metabolically active and an endocrine organ which means that it produces hormones which are involved in energy metabolism and appetite regulation.

The visceral kind of belly fat has been associated with a number of conditions and diseases. Some examples are increased risk for ’metabolic syndrome’ insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The list goes on and on and can include increased risk for cardiovascular disease, liver disease, inflammation, cholesterol, dyslipidemia, and so on, and in general with the metabolic complications of obesity.

It must be noted that you don’t need to be obese to have a high risk of developing any of the above conditions/diseases. Being relatively slim but with a belly can still have the same effect. In additions, visceral fat is the one which you can’t see, and is easy to ignore.

What can you do? Well what about the old classic solution. A healthy diet coupled with increasing physical activity?

Always consult a medical professional if you have any health complaints or concerns and/or before you change your diet or exercise

7 best ways to trim your tummy without exercise

Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:16
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woman with thin waist

Is it really possible to trim your tummy fat without exercise? Exercising is beneficial for most of people. Not only is good for health and weight loss but it also has added beauty benefits. You look fit, trim, everything tends to stay in place and where is meant to be, not to mention that clothes do look good on. Let’s face it though, exercise is not for everybody. Call it luck of time, call it ‘I don’t like it’ or demanding lifestyle, well is not feasible for everybody.

So what can you do to get your waistline back in control which does not involve exercise? How can you lose belly fat without spending endless hours in the gym? Read on to find out.

1. Diet

No 1 after exercise is diet. If you are putting on weight it usually indicates that you have eaten one too many. Even if you follow a healthy diet, overconsumption of calories will lead to putting on weight. If you lose weight you will lose belly fat and it usually tends to be the first to go.

Always ensure that any weight gain or increased belly fat is not due to any medical/health reasons. In addition always consult a medical professional before making changes to your diet.

Which is the best diet to lose belly fat? The one diet which suits your individual needs, it is healthy and balanced. Usually diets based on moderate macronutrient intake (moderate protein, fat and carbs) are the best recommended. Personally I am a supporter of Mediterranean style diets, as they tend to provide a variety of nutrients, they can be rich in essential fats (such as omega fats) and research indicates that such diets can be beneficial to health.

2. Cut down on sugars

If you are following a healthy balanced diet for weight loss you are most probably on the way of low sugars. Why cutting down sugars is important? Apart from the calorific value they usually carry, which is quite high, sugars can lead to negative health effects.

Belly fat has been linked with increasing the risk of developing conditions such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. On the other hand such conditions can lead to increased belly fat. By decreasing sugar intake you can aid in improving conditions such as insulin resistance which in turn can aid in losing belly fat. It is a matter which is a little bit interrelated and slightly more complicated but is beyond the scope of this article to analyse it in detail.

Be aware that sugar is not just the white or brown powder you add to your coffee. Pastries, pasta, bread etc. are all sugars, or as most commonly referred to, simple carbohydrates.

3.  Cut down on foods which make you bloated

If your tummy refuses to fit in the jeans, it may not just be because you have put on weight but could be due to bloating. In general sugars and simple carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, pastries etc are all guilty of making you bloat which is one more reason to cut down on them. Some nutritionist / dieticians support the theory that complex carbohydrates tend to be better as they are broken down slower (to put it in simple words). However, if your diet is mainly based on carbohydrates, you may benefit from cutting down on them either way.

In addition, consuming too much fibre, grains and legumes can have the same effect. Fibre can have health benefits and is always recommended to be included in everyday diet.

However, consumption of large amounts of fibre can lead to gastrointestinal complaints and bloating. The magic word I like to usually use is ‘in moderation’.

Fibre is found in vegetables and some fruits as well as grains. Consuming a combination of all foods without going overboard with one or the other should be enough to provide substantial amounts of the nutrients you need and keep any complaints at bay.

If you do suffer from increased bloating and regular gastrointestinal complaints it is always recommended to consult a medical professional. Conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and food intolerances, could be the cause. The appropriate medical professional should be able to advise you on diet and treatments.

4. Cut down on stress and stay happy

Ok I agree that this is easier said than done. I must say that I find nothing more irritable than being stressed and people telling me to relax. However, according to research both stress and depression could have a role to play in the expanding waistlines.

Studies indicate that stress hormones increase appetite for sweet and high calorie foods as well as increasing capacity to store any excess calories. In other words not only it makes you want to eat fatty foods it helps in turning it into fat. Moreover, stress hormones combined with increased levels of insulin are indicated to increase abdominal fat.

With depression the processes may be a little bit more complicated. However, studies similarly show that there is a link between depression and increase in abdominal fat.

Avoiding every stressful situation we all know can be mission impossible especially if you juggling work, family, kids, global recession, hurricanes, and everyday life. Why not try distressing with having some ‘me’ time and maybe have a nice bath or book a massage.

If that is hard to do, you can have a glass of wine or practice some breathing techniques which aim to alleviate stress. Alternatively you can go for a walk in fresh air or do some therapeutic journalism.

5. Improve your posture.

Do you remember when your mum used to tell you night and day to stand straight, stop slouching and keep your shoulders back? I do sometimes wonder if anybody did actually did listen to all that… Well slouching will not make you put on weight on your belly as such and if you do stand straight will not make you lose weight as such either.

What it will do is actually improve the look of your belly and will help to condition your muscles a bit. Slouching can make your belly look bigger than it is along with all the not good effects on your back, chest etc.

Why not try it and you may see that you may have stopped some of those aches and pains on your back.

6. Liposuction

I will include it but in general I would not recommend any surgical procedures for the purpose of weight loss. Liposuction can be found with a number of different names and can be done with a number of different techniques. In its essence it is the removal of fat deposits from specific areas of the body via a surgical procedure. Depending on the area and/or the amount of fat to be removed the procedure can be performed under general or local anaesthetic.

As with every surgical procedure it carries dangers and it should not be taken lightly. Infections, blood clots, severe bruising and deformations are some of the complications that can take place. The more fat is removed and the less experienced the surgeon is, the more dangers the procedure can carry.

Moreover, unless you remove what makes the fat to be stored it will be back. Is it your diet, your lifestyle, stress lack of physical activity what expands your dress size? Well if it stays the same it will only have the same effect.

7. Tummy tuck

As with liposuction it is a surgical procedure and it carries a number of dangers. Although it is a way to trim your tummy without exercise, I would not recommend it.

Tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) usually includes carrying out liposuction to remove the excess fat and also removing sections of the skin. As with any major surgery it can put increased strain in the body and it can have fatal results. It can also carry risks of infection, blood clots, scarring and deformations.

In some cases tummy tuck may be necessary or beneficial such as after major weight loss. It is often the case that the skin has lost its elasticity and there are folds of skin left on the body. Apart from beauty purposes the skin folds may be removed for health reasons as well.

Always consult the appropriate medical professional before making any changes to your diet and especially if considering any surgical conditions. In which case do make sure that it is your last option and the benefits do outweigh the risks.

How to lose belly fat after pregnancy

Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:05
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fitness class

Oh, the happiness of ‘pitter patter of tiny feet’ around the house. During the 9 months of pregnancy you may have made allowances in your diet for those cravings, or an extra this and that which you wanted at the time. Post pregnancy a lot of women rush straight away into trying to lose those extra pounds gained, especially in the belly area.

How and when you chose to lose weight post pregnancy is important as it can affect both the health of the mother and the health of the baby. So how can you go about it? Read on to find out.

Pregnancy weight and Belly fat
Belly fat, Water retention or just unconditioned muscles?
Breast feeding
A healthy balanced diet v a radical regime
10 Tips to lose belly fat after pregnancy

Pregnancy weight and belly fat

It is part of the pregnancy process that the body will store extra fat around the hip and abdominal areas. It will do so as the mother will need extra energy during the pregnancy and for lactation and other processes. According to research an average woman of 65kg will gain up to 12.5kg during the full term of pregnancy. That is not all fat however. It also includes water retention, the placenta, the baby’s weight (usually an estimated 3.5kg).

Therefore, post-pregnancy the weight you have left is not all extra fat which you have accumulated. Before starting any diet have an idea of how much extra weight you have gained. Your doctor probably would have given you some guidance through the 9 months on how your weight gain is getting on and if you have exceeded the expected mark.

Belly fat, water retention or just unconditioned muscles?

Well think to yourself, is your post pregnancy belly all about fat or is it other matters going on? As mentioned above a considerable amount of water retention takes place during pregnancy and also your body has gone through major hormonal changes during and after pregnancy; some of which will take its course to sort itself out. Allow some time for your body to recover before you start a weight loss regime or placing any extra strain to your body. This is also important for your health.

It is a big deal for your body the whole thing and it does need that time to recover and get back to pre pregnancy mode. Some people advise to allow for 6 weeks before starting weight loss and exercise. I will also add to that listen to your body and allow as much time as you feel you need to and listen to your doctor most importantly. The medical professional who has and/or will be following your progress will be the most qualified to advise you on your health. If your doctor doesn’t think your body can cope then you should listen to that.

In addition, to water retention and hormonal changes think that your muscles may have been stretched and been unconditioned through those 9 months. What may be spilling out of the top of your trousers could just be a matter of firming those muscles up again.

Breast feeding

During lactation and breastfeeding the energy demands of the mother increase. The body does need energy to produce and deliver the milk. Undoubtedly not all women will breast feed however if you do there may be a possibility that you will lose a lot of the pregnancy weight easier. Although studies have shown controversial results on the matter, in general it is believed that women who breast feed will tend to lose the weight they gained during pregnancy.

One theory is that the breast milk does contain a large amount of fat most of which comes from the mother. In that 1st the quality of the mother’s diet will affect the quality of the milk and 2nd the mother will be mobilising some of this fat from her own reserves. Also as the energy demands of breast feeding are high then the mother will be using more calories than pre-pregnancy.

For example, it is suggested that an average woman who breast feeds will need around 568 kcal per day (this energy (kcal) requirement is only for the lactation of an average of 680g/day of milk at 0-1 months). These energy requirements will be different from person to person and at different points postpartum.

Therefore, daily energy intake for women who breast feed will be different from those who don’t. The chosen diet should take into account those extra energy requirements. Another thing to consider is the physical demands of looking after a newborn. These will add up extra energy used.

A healthy balanced diet v a radical regime

Ok so you saw in the magazine the photo of the latest celebrity who has gone back to shape just 6 weeks postpartum. She professes for that radical, low calorie or some other sort of diet and you think if she can do it then I can as well. Well I would say don’t do it. Think that those celebrities do have a team of experts, such as nutritionist, cooks, personal trainers, nannies, and photo specialist who airbrush the photos. Not to mention as Gwyneth Paltrow suggested to one of her interviews, the first signs of osteoporosis.

What you need to consider…

1. If you are breast feeding the quality of the breast milk will reflect the quality of your diet. You do need a large amount of nutrients for that milk so if your diet is lacking of nutrients then you will be in danger of depleting your body of vital nutrients, such as vitamins, iron, calcium etc.

2. Your body needs time to recover in both nutritional aspects and physiological aspects.

3. During the first few weeks you will have the effects of the hormones oxytocin and prolactin which have a relaxing effect. Some studies suggest that too vigorous exercise too soon after child birth may lead to injuries.

4. Pregnancy and child birth are major matters for your body. A number of physiological, body shape and hormonal changes take place. It may not be realistic to expect to get back to your pre pregnancy weight and shape.

It is always best to follow a healthy balanced diet which will provide you with all the nutrients you need and will promote healthy outcomes for both yourself and your baby. A Mediterranean style diet may be a good choice to start from.

Below are some tips summarised to help you with your post pregnancy weight tummy loss.

    Tip 1.    Plan ahead.

 Ideally the best way is to start planning during pregnancy. Watch your weight and try to gain only the weight which is expected to be gained during pregnancy. Follow a healthy balanced diet such as a modified Mediterranean dietary pattern which will provide all the necessary nutrients and will promote positive health outcomes. The less weight you gain during pregnancy (apart from the weight which is part of the pregnancy) the easier will be to get back into shape.

     Tip 2.    Don’t just concentrate on losing belly fat.

By losing weight you will lose belly fat. As mentioned there are major hormonal changes taking place in your body and the weight you may have accumulated in your belly could be part of those hormonal changes. In general belly fat is metabolically active and is easier to mobilise.

     Tip 3.    Breast feed.

Breast feeding has a number of benefits for the baby and the mother. An additional bonus is that it may aid in losing those extra pounds and fat reserves.

  •  As mentioned above the average energy requirements per day for breastfeeding are 568 kcal (this energy (kcal) requirement is only for the lactation of an average of 680g/day of milk at 0-1 months). What that means is that your body will need an extra 568kcal per day.
  • At average women need approximately 1500 – 2000kcal per day. During breast feeding you will need to add an extra 568kcal per day.
  • By only consuming an extra 413 kcal per day (instead of the 568kcal) you would be allowing for a weight loss of 0.5kg per month. In general it is not recommended to aim losing large amounts of weight during the first months of the pregnancy.
  • Above all show priority to your health and your baby’s health and only reduce your calorie intake if safe and possible. It is important to consult a medical professional first. There may be other reasons which could inhibit following any weight loss regimes.

Be aware that breastfeeding may not be possible for some people. This could be due to certain health conditions, or physiological problems etc. Do not place extra physical or psychological strain to breastfeed if it is not feasible for you.

    Tip 4.    Follow a healthy balanced diet.

Ok I probably said that 100 times already. Apart from aiming for weight loss watching what you can have important health benefits as well. During pregnancy women tend to develop a form of insulin resistance. Although it is part of the physiological changes if overweight, or have pre-existing metabolic complaints or overloading your body with sugars etc could lead in developing diabetes and other conditions.

Balanced healthy diets such as a Mediterranean style diet can help in improving insulin sensitivity. Such diets are rich in fruit and vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates, and protein. Improving insulin sensitivity can also improve abdominal fat mobilisation. 

    Tip 5.    De-stress

Pregnancy, child birth and a new born baby can all be very stressful. Try to rest and de-stress. Stress can lead to weight gain in many ways and has been connected with increasing abdominal fat. Have a bath, listen to some music or take a walk. Take a few minutes every day for ‘you’ to relax and de-stress. Apart from the weight loss benefits it will do miracles for your mental health. Needless to say don’t add extra stress with killing yourself to lose weight.

    Tip 6.    Sleep well.

Caring for a new borne can have detrimental effects to your sleep. Sleep deprivation as well as low quality sleep and/or broken sleep can lead to weight gain or slow down weight loss. Easier said than done however try to get as much rest and sleep as possible through the day.

    Tip 7.    Show off your baby with a walk to the shops

What a better way to get some exercise than taking a light walk to the local shops or the park. Take your pram and show your baby to the world and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine (weather permitting).

    Tip 8.    Pelvic floor and abdominal exercises.

Contracting the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles can be a light exercise which you can do at any point through the day. You will not burn loads of calories by practising these exercises but it will help to condition those muscles which have taken a battering through your pregnancy. You can practice by just contracting either your pelvic floor or your tummy muscles for the count of 10 and realise and repeat again. You can practice when you watch tv or having a bath, or driving.

Always consult a medical professional if you had a caesarean as they may not be appropriate. In addition do not try to spend all day in a constant muscle contraction as this is not good for your muscles and could affect your back as well.

    Tip 9.    Follow light exercise.

As mentioned earlier, do not aim to follow strenuous, vigorous and intense exercise as it could be placing too much stress and strain to your body and could lead to injuries. Exercise will help in getting your muscles back to form and will help in losing weight.

An easy exercise solution would be to just simple do the house work or push the pram to the park (you will discover prams are heavier than they look). Always consult your doctor before taking on any exercise especially if you had a caesarean. Alternatively there are a number of exercise classes for post-pregnancy such as water exercises, mother and baby clubs which can offer specialised training and exercise.   

They may also be a place where you can socialise with other mothers and exchange ideas and tips or just have a little break from baby care.

With time you can increase intensity of exercise as your body recovers and you feel stronger. If you still find it hard to get you belly in shape then maybe do some more full body work outs. Muscles in the abdominal area could stretch through a pregnancy and/or caesarean and often can get damaged. It is not always possible to get them back to the pre pregnancy condition but by consulting your doctor and a fitness professional they can give you a better idea of your tummy condition.

 Tip 10.  Drink plenty of water.

A lot of the remaining weight could be all the water retention from pregnancy. Drink plenty of fluids and especially water. This can help with the water retention. Also do walk and move around as this will help with blood circulation. Not strenuous however.

 

Can you lose belly fat with Green Tea?

Saturday, November 10, 2012 8:57
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green tea

If you are researching for ways to lose belly fat then it is certain that you came across this question a number of times. Also if you have read articles on the Internet from web sites that sell or promote green tea products then most probably they told you that green tea is one of the best ways to lose belly fat. Well, the truth is somewhere in between. Read on to find out if green tea can help you lose weight and belly fat.

A brief history about Green Tea

Green tea has been the traditional drink for many Asia countries including India, Japan and of course China. It contains large amounts of antioxidants (polyphenols) that can fight free radicals (can damage the cells and create a number of health problems including cancer).

For many years Green Tea was used by Chinese for medication purposes and in the last decade scientists around the World investigated the possible benefits of Green tea for treating various health conditions including obesity. These studies showed that green tea can be useful for fighting or preventing atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, cancer and diabetes.

Green Tea for Weight loss

Green tea can certainly aid weight and fat loss but not to the degree presented by many web sites or product promoters. The effectiveness of green tea for losing weight has been identified through various clinical studies but cannot generate real results if not combined with traditional weight loss methods i.e. diet and exercise. The facts about the effectiveness of green tea and weight loss are:

  • Green Tea is possible to increase your metabolism if consumed daily (2-3 cups per day).
  • It can help control your weight and fat levels but not your appetite.
  • Green tea will not help you get rid of belly fat but it will help you gain less weight and less fat.
  • Green tea should not replace diet and exercise but can be used as a complementary method to assist your weight loss efforts.
  • Most clinical studies to date (November 2011) regarding the effectiveness of green tea for fat loss were done on mice and not on humans. Other studies carried out by research organizations on humans showed that regular consumption of green tea paired with regular exercise can generate better results than exercise alone. These studies were conducted by Japanese and Chinese scientists.
  • Experts suggest to drink your green tea hot (and not cold) as this shows down calorie intake and gives you a better taste.
  • The energy you get from regular intake of green tea can help you exercise longer and thus lose more calories.

To sum up, green tea is not a magical product. By drinking green tea alone you will not lose your belly fat or weight. To make the most of green tea you have to drink it regularly (2-3 cups per day) and never forget that the most effective way to lose belly fat is through balanced diet and regular exercise.

Vegetables that burn belly fat

Friday, November 9, 2012 9:53
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vegetables that burn belly fat

Are there any vegetables that burn belly fat? The importance of consuming fruit and vegetables daily for their health benefits is been highlighted every day. Fruit and vegetables have truly a number of health benefits. A plethora of studies support that adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables can help in reducing the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.

They can also benefit in decreasing the risk of developing metabolic related conditions such as metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Fruit and veg. have components such as vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and etc which are vital for the processes of the body. So it is important to follow a diet which is rich in fruit and vegetables. But how do they relate with losing abdominal fat?

Studies have shown that in the hunter-gatherer times (pre-historic) people ate 800 different varieties of plant foods. In recent times the Average American eats 3 servings of fruit and veg.

These are not enough to provide adequate amounts of elements naturally occurring in plants (such as vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants) which are essential for health.

Consumption of fruit and vegetables can help in fighting obesity and reducing body weight. What is less of a fact is what a lot of people may preach that specific fruits and vegetables will have magic powers in terms of burning fat from specific areas.

So let’s see what the actual truth is and what vegetables can do for belly fat.

Belly fat facts

Always remember that:

  1. There is no such thing as spot fat burning. In simple words if you diet or exercise you can’t selectively lose weight from the place of your choice only.
  2. Abdominal fat has been associated with inflammation and the risk of developing metabolic conditions, (such insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes) along with other health conditions. In very simplified words is a cycle in which inflammation and insulin resistance can increase belly fat and vice versa.
  3. Consumption of specific foods will not help you to spot burn the abdominal fat as you may have read elsewhere. However they can help with improving metabolic conditions, improve weight loss in general or help in improving general body processes, all of which can lead to increasing abdominal fat loss.
  4. Finally, when you lose weight usually the first place to go is the fat from the abdomen as it is metabolically active and therefore easier to mobilise. Which means that by eating foods which increase weight loss will increase the fat you lose from your belly.

With these facts in mind you will be able to understand more about the role of vegetables in the diet. I may also help you clear some of the common misconceptions.

Vegetables that burn belly fat 

Vegetables are great for losing weight as they have high water content, low calorie density and high nutrient density. What all that means?

Studies have shown that foods such as vegetables which have high water content promote satiety when consumed in a meal. So basically you feel fuller faster and/or with less food.

Vegetables can also make you feel fuller as they can contain high amounts of fibre. Fibre has a number of health benefits but also can promote satiety when consumed. In addition to fibre fruit and vegetables can be very rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants amongst others.

Last but not least vegetables are low in calories so you can eat and eat and eat without toppling the scales over. All these elements make vegetables great for both health and weight loss and it is vital to follow a diet which is rich in fruit and vegetables.

You would think that all you have to do is drink more water with your meal. However, scientists argue that just drinking water while eating will not have the same effect as it is the water contained inside the actual food which promotes satiety.

Eat ample of colourful fruit and vegetables

A study carried out by the Tufts University in Boston looked into the effects of dietary blubbery powder in obesity. The study suggested that blubbery powder can help to decrease inflammation and insulin resistance which are common in obesity and especially in increased abdominal fat. Although they did not show any changes in body weight, however decreasing inflammation and improving insulin resistance can improve metabolic processes and can help in increasing abdominal weight loss.

In simple words consumption of colourful fruit and vegetables which contain polyphenols can have cytoprotective and anti-inflammatoryactions and can further provide metabolic benefits to combat obesity-associated pathology.

Cruciferous vegetables

‘Cruciferous vegetables’ sounds all foreign and exotic but is nothing more than the everyday cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and few others. Some studies suggest that this category of vegetables contain phytochemicals such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C)   . These phytochemicals are suggested to help fight the effects environmental estrogens have in the body and for our interest in abdominal fat.

The problem however is that many of these studies on vegetable phytochemicals have been carried out in cell level. In other words in a laboratory and there are not a lot of strong evidence on humans. What that means is, scientists are not 100% sure that this does work on the everyday person.

Moreover, vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli also contain compounds which are goitrogenic. To explain simply, these compounds affect the works of the thyroid gland in many different ways. A lot of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ on the effects of the goitrogens, as well as how these can be eliminated, have not been fully understood by research. However, the thyroid gland is an organ which can influence metabolism and lead to body weight changes, not to mention that it is not good for health anyway.

How to lose belly fat with vegetables

  1. Do eat loads of fruit and veg. Eating ample fruit and veg is vital for health and beneficial for weight loss. They do provide the body with a number of essential to the body elements such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals etc.
  2. There is not one magic vegetable that will make your belly fat disappear. Fruit and vegetables can help you lose weight for many of the reasons mentioned above. Some people may support that if you eat specific vegetables will automatically lose belly fat but studies have not so far shown such a thing.
  3. Losing weight will help in losing belly fat. Have a more holistic approach in terms of your abdominal fat.
  4. Eat a variety of vegetables. Some vegetables are suggested to have protective against disease or chemicals properties. However, sticking to one vegetable will not provide you with the entire essential for health nutrients. In addition, overeating one vegetable or one category of vegetables in the hope that they will decrease belly fat may actually lead to other metabolic disorders.
  5. Do include all the vegetables in moderation. Each vegetable has its very own benefits. Goitrogenic vegetables do have a number of other beneficial nutrients so do not exclude them from your diet. The answer here is in moderation.
  6. Do eat all the colours of the rainbow. Studies have shown that colourful vegetables can have disease protective properties. They can also help in improving metabolic processes which could help to increase weight loss and abdominal fat. Coupling it with a healthy balanced diet and exercise is even more effective.
  7. Follow a balanced dietary pattern which will provide all the nutrients. Let’s be realistic. Following in general a diet high in fat, high in calories, high in takeaways etc don’t think that by just eating specific vegetables will solve all your weight and health problems. Definitely do eat loads of fruit and veg. regardless of what diet you have but be realistic in your expectations.

How to Burn Fat And Build Muscle At The Same Time

Thursday, November 8, 2012 16:38
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man building muscles

One thing I can assume, is that everyone reading this article is either looking to lose fat or build muscle, that is a given. However, this is 2012, people want results as fast as possible, and most men and some women want to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously.

That is the fastest way to get your ideal body right? Well for some people using this type of mindset is what is slowing their progress to a halt. For very experienced trainees (2 years+) it can be hard or seemingly impossible to accomplish this.

Burn fat or build muscle?

The problem with trying to accomplish both these goals at the same time is to dependably gain WEIGHT, be it muscle, or body fat you need to be in a calorie surplus. A calorie surplus is when you are taking in more calories per day then your body is burning. Now on paper that means you will weigh more and hopefully some will be muscle but you will also likely gain FAT.

Alternatively, to lose WEIGHT whether it is body fat or muscle (which is to be avoided at all costs) you need to be in a calorie deficit.  Now a calorie deficit is when your body is taking in less calories than burn in a day , so your body has to use existing ” energy stores” as fuel, whether that be fat  stores or breaking down muscle.

How to burn fat and build muscle at the same time

That is the bad news, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of you, there are timing strategies and techniques you can use to burn fat, while you build muscle.  Remember there is no way for them to be as consistent as doing each goal separately from a physiological standpoint but they are effective and used by many people with great success including myself and people I have personally trained.

Another thing for you to consider is you new people to the fitness world are the ones who will have the best consistency with both goals simultaneously. Being  relatively new  you will get results a lot faster than someone who has been training 2+ years , you will likely constantly be improving your arm , chest and shoulder size while dropping your waist size.

Nevertheless, back to the basics, here are some helpful tips and techniques you can use to make progress at losing fat while building muscle.

Use nutrient timing effectively

Immediately after your workout drink a fast absorbing protein such as a whey protein shake. Then about 30 minutes to an hour after training consume a large balanced meal mainly consisting of protein (Chicken, Fish, Beef, and Eggs) and Carbs (Pasta, Whole Wheat Bread, Brown Rice, etc.)

Do your cardio immediately upon waking before breakfast

Studies have shown this is the biggest opportunity for your body to tap into fat stores instead of using eaten carbohydrates later during the day.  This will also put your body into more of a fat loss state for the rest of day until your workout.

Avoid empty calories

This is especially important when trying to build muscle while losing fat. You need to make every calorie count and a large coke will not benefit you in any way towards your goal of building muscle although it is 200-400 calories.

Train hard and constantly progress your workouts

This will be one of the biggest determining factors in whether you actually build the muscle or not, you will need to expose your body to a lot of stress consistently  through weight training to make your body need to constantly adapt and  actually build the  muscle.

Consume at least your bodyweight in protein everyday

A 180-pound man should be consuming at least 180 grams of protein daily to gain muscle. Most body builders consume 1.5 times their bodyweight in protein.

Consume more calories (Mostly from Protein and Carbs) on days you workout.

On training days your body will be likely to use consumed protein to build muscle and needs more carbs for energy and recovery. I am not saying eat like a pig on training days but at least consume a large carb and protein filled meal 2-3 hours pre workout and around an hour after your workout.

If you follow those strategies everyday and really focus on the training and nutrition, you will be very likely to build muscle and lose fat, especially if you are a beginner.  It may not be as fast as focusing on weight loss only or “bulking up” and gaining fat and muscle, but it can effectively give you a balance between the two.

It is also important you realize how much a few pounds of muscle really is, to get an idea go to a supermarket and look at 2 lbs of lean beef.  Even competitive body builders would be thrilled to gain 10 pounds of muscle every year; building muscle is just a long process in general. However, once you do put on a good amount of muscle it will be there for years and years.

How to get motivated to start exercise

Thursday, November 8, 2012 11:48
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start exercise

I must say that this is a subject that hits a chord with me. I am sure I am not alone on that but I am the kind of person who wants to be fit and feel healthy and I am forever making plans and statements about starting exercise. However still getting to move or stick to exercising is a mission impossible.

Needles to say that in all the years I have tried every trick on the book some have worked better than others. So here I have summarized a few ways which are tried and tested and I would vouch are my best tricks to get me going.

1 # Get a buddy

I know this is nothing new and I have mentioned it many times before. However, I would say I find it no 1 in motivation for sticking to any activity. I probably sound like I can’t do anything on my own, but hey I get bored easily and lose my enthusiasm very quickly, coupled with some laziness is not a good recipe.

Whenever I teamed up with a friend I kept exercising. Having a buddy is more than just exercising. It gives an opportunity to have a social time, have a laugh on the way, push each other and motivate one another. There were many of times in cold winter rainy evenings in which I would never have left the comfort of my couch for an exercise class but I did as it was more fun going with my buddy.

This brings us also to the point of make sure your exercise buddy is someone who you get along with and is fun to be with. If your buddy bores you to death or they are unreliable it may not bind very well.

2# Find a type of exercise you really enjoy

Exercising is not just going to the gym. I have read in many of articles or books that unless you are pumping iron (weights) you are not doing anything. Ignore that, trust me. Resistance exercise with the use of weights and/or going to the gym has its own value and benefits but in my opinion is not the only thing you can do.

So use your imagination on this. Do try different things and opt for the one you really like. Doing what you really enjoy is a motivator on itself to make you want to keep doing it.

3# Do something fun

Things like pole dancing lessons, zumba fitness, and ballroom dancing are becoming more and more popular and readily available. A lot of these activities are a lot harder than it may seem like it and you will be getting a really good work out. I remember joining a pole dancing class (more specifically pole aerobics) a few years ago and it was a pretty novel thing at the time. Well to my surprise it was a hard workout and it did take me a week to walk after it (exercise induced muscle soreness).

Ok this may not sound very good but my point is that I did enjoy it so much that I kept going for months and got some really good fitness out of it. Getting fit or exercising was the added bonus of having fun with a group of girls, and feeling more confident in the way I carried myself. There are numerous fun ways to exercise some other examples could be martial arts, Pilates, box exercise, horse riding, and boot camps among other things you could do.

Do make sure you do go to a certified and legible place though as apart from other safety issues you could end up with loads of injuries. This would apply to any form of exercise class.

! It is important that the instructor is adequately trained and has the knowledge and skills to teach whatever is meant to teach. You may often find situations in which dancers will teach dance for example but they don’t necessarily have the skills to show the correct techniques, or provide adequate workouts.

4# Everyday functional activities.

This is my exercise without exercising and is a point I have mentioned loads of times before. That was the most successful exercise adherence I had while I was a poor working university student, but I must say I was at my fittest. You don’t have to be a poor student to do this. All you have to do is use your everyday activities and turn them into a workout.

Walk everywhere possible, cycle to work, use the stairs and clean the house. Those good all days I did not have a car or a lot of money to use the buses which may sound like a ‘sorry’ story but I had a great body. I used my bike to go to the shops or work, or if I couldn’t take my bike I used to walk instead; as simple as that.

You don’t have to do a great deal of motivating as if you have to go to work you have to go. Well I guess you have to convince yourself to take the bike instead of the car but trust me once you start making it a routine you will just do it. The best is that you will be getting fit and you won’t even feel like exercising.

In addition, by incorporating exercise in your everyday life exercising doesn’t feel like an extra chore you have to add to your day. When you see things like chores it is less likely to want to do them as that means more work and more time away from resting and having fun.

Example activities and calorie spending per minute

Activity

Calories per min (aprox.)

Raking leaves

0.025

Walking leisurely

0.036

Washing the car

0.026

Walking uphill

0.055

Scrubbing floors

0.049

Gardening

0.036

Calorie expenditure is only an approximate example. This will depend on the intensity in which an activity will be carried out. All these activities apart from a calorie expenditure point they can present an opportunity for challenging your fitness and muscles and provide some benefits.

Obviously things like how often, how much, how hard etc are all factors which will influence the results you will be getting. Walking once a week for 5 min is unlikely to provide with great fitness or weight loss gains.

! A plus point for any exercise is that once you start seeing the results you will be even more motivated to keep going. Now that is a good addictive motivator to keep on exercising.

Exercising while you are doing everyday things can also save you loads of money. Thing how many things you can do with that extra cash.

 5# Get angry and get even.

No don’t go beating people up on the street; this is not at all what I am trying to say here. Have you ever been in at the point where you do something and then all of a sadden something clicks in you and it makes you realize what you really want and just go for it.

Confused? Do you have these days were you put on an outfit and can’t fit in it or just don’t look good and then get depressed usually? Well don’t get depressed, get angry and get motivated.

What is motivation? A quick internet search will give you hundreds of definitions, but to their core all they are saying is that motivation is the thing, the reason, the drive, the urge that something that makes you want to do something.

So you have put on weight the last few months/years or you are out of shape or unfit, is not time to sulk about it. Get angry and use that something to drive you into starting exercising and get going.

6# Think of your health

I tried for years to stop smoking for years until a close friend died from throat cancer. In his funeral I was sitting with some friends saying ‘why did he keep smoking’; all these in the smoking area with a cigarette in my hand. After that day I stopped smoking in the realization that you don’t have to have a terminal disease, or for the doctor to say you have to do it, in order to do it.

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, with the everyday stresses, bad eating habits, maybe smoking, or being slightly overweight then you are increasing your risks for developing certain health condition.

Nobody things that it will happen to them but one bad health knocks your door often is late to reverse what damage is done. This in some ways incorporates the factor of learning to love yourself.

Regular exercise can have benefits such as help improve blood sugar metabolism and lower the risk of developing diabetes, help in lowering blood pressure, improve joint and back pain, and also help in improving sleep, psychological state and increase energy levels. These are just some of them, as the list can go on.

7# Make use of good weather

When the sun is shining on a warm day we want to go out and do things. Use this to your advantage. Build your exercise routines in the spring and summer and just carry them into the winter time. Doing a little bit of planning may help. Try to construct your exercise and make it into a routine instead of doing random things on the spare of the moment.

For example go cycling once a day or swimming twice a week, or join a sport. The idea is that if you spend spring and summer building a specific routine then it will be easy to continue with it when the weather is less motivating.

8# Use a personal trainer

This will require making a financial investment. It would work a little bit as a buddy. If you have specific appointments with a personal trainer it would make you exercise for those sessions. Well if you can’t get going get someone who will drag you out. You could still find a number of excuses why to cancel sessions etc but on the other hand if you are paying you wouldn’t want to waste your money.

Unless you have plenty of money to spare personal trainers can be pricey and is not something you could keep forever. However, on the plus side a good trainer would work with you to motivate you or help you find the things that could motivate you in continuing exercising. So it could be the push you need.

9# As part of weight loss

Do exercise as part of another goal like weight loss. If you have found enough motivation to lose the extra pounds and want to reach your goals exercise could help you with this. Use the same reasons and drive that push you in the weight loss diet to push you in exercising.

10# Motivational props

Use little things which can get you up and going. For example studies have shown that music can help in motivating people to exercise. Also athletes some may also use music before a competition to get ‘psyched up’, relax or get energizer.

Do you want to get running every morning or go to the gym? Wake up and get some music playing. What kind of music wakes you up and gets you going is a personal thing however.

Other little things you could use are a picture of yourself from the past, a picture of a model/celebrity or why not an athlete, a book or an inspirational story etc. There are loads of little things from our everyday life and environment which we can draw inspiration and get motivated from.

5 home remedies to lose weight

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 17:39
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home remedies for weight loss

“You cannot lose weight at home; the only way to lose weight is by going to the gym 3-4 times per week”. This is what most people believe and although this is one of the most effective ways to get fast results, there are still other ways or home remedies to lose weight. In this post we will discuss 5 home remedies that are simple and easy to introduce in your daily life.

#1 Remedy: Protect yourself from the kitchen cupboards

If you can’t find any snacks (chocolates, potato chips, sweets) in your kitchen cupboards you won’t eat them! This is a very simple technique that works great. Take pre-caution measures and empty your cupboards; remove all sweets, chocolates and other snacks that are ‘bad’ for your diet. Instead add more fruits on the kitchen table, unsalted popcorn, nuts, green tea and other snacks that are calorie friendly.

#2 Remedy: Get the right tools

Having the right tools when you need them is very important. We are talking about kitchen tools that will help you prepare your food in a healthier manner and in a diet friendly way. For example:

A Kitchen scale: If you follow any diet or recipe you will need to measure your ingredients and food portions.

A collection of healthy recipes: The web has a plethora of weight loss recipes but in most cases you can’t find them when you are ready to cook. So, get prepared in advance and either bookmark or print your favorite recipes, prepare your shopping lists and make sure that you have everything in place before you start.

Olive oil: We love olive oil since it is healthy (can lower you cholesterol levels) and has less fat than other alternatives (butter, corn oil etc.).

Steamer: This is optional but very useful when you have one at home. A steamer will cook your vegetables and other food saving you a lot of calories.

You may also need an egg separator (to separate the egg white with the yolk), a fruit juicer (to prepare your nutritious drinks) and a fat-separating pitcher (to remove fat from stocks and soups).

#3 Remedy: Do not eat in front of the TV

Eating in front of the TV is a bad habit. The only place to eat is the kitchen table and once you have finished your dinner, try not to snack while watching TV. Snacking usually involves food items that are high in calories and fat so it’s better to avoid them altogether.

#4 Remedy: Exercising at home

While the other home remedies are more for preventing weight gain, the only way to reduce your weight while at home is through exercise. Exercising at home doesn’t have to be intense but it has to be regular. Doing a couple of exercises once in a while will not do any good at all but exercising regularly (at least 2-3 times per week) can generate results.

There are many ways to workout at home, you can either get a fitness DVD and follow the instructor (Pilates is a very good example) or you can create your own workout schedule. The most important thing to remember is that your routine should be intense and raise your heart beat levels otherwise you are just wasting your time.

Also, do not underestimate the efficiency of household chores in losing weight. Cleaning the windows for example is a great exercise that will keep your house clean and will also act as a great fat burner. Doing gardening work, carpet cleaning, car washing are some other examples of activities you can do at home.

#5 Remedy: Take it seriously

If you made the decision that you want to lose weight and that you want to do it at home then you need to take it seriously. Being at home makes it easier to break your schedule and skip your workouts. It is more likely to choose the comfort of your couch instead of the effort to exercise so you need to make up your mind and take some serious decisions.

You need to set-up a schedule and follow it religiously, you need to prepare your diet plan and stick to it at all costs. If you fail to have self-discipline then it is more than certain that you will NOT lose weight while at home and none of the above home remedies will ever work.

On the other hand, if you are prepared to make sacrifices and if you have the willingness to meet your weight loss goals then you can do it at the comfort of your home. It’s your call.

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