BMI on Children’s Report Cards

Friday, April 29, 2011 10:01
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Most parents believe their child is at a healthy weight, but more than likely the child is overweight.

Arkansas has been giving kids a BMI score since 2004 and now some other US States have recently begun to consider following suit. They may be adding a BMI score to student’s report cards along with diet and exercise tips. After all, obesity rates continue to soar in America.

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How can I lose the weight I have gained quickly?

Thursday, April 28, 2011 16:41
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Hi My name is Kaila,

I am from the U.S. and am currently living in Spain for 10 months on an exchange program.

I am 17 years old and weight 56 kg, 5 foot 1.

Before leaving I weighted 48 kg 5 foot 1.

I don’t want to come back being like 20 pounds heavier. I don’t know if it’s normal or not to gain that much weight and not grow.

How can I lose that weight that I have gained quickly? I am self-cautious of returning and having my friends see me because I feel i look really heavy and am not happy with how much I weigh now. What can I do to lose it QUICKLY? I only have 2 months left.

I never gained weight so fast before and here I have put it on so quickly. It’s really weird for me. I am eating normal and not terribly. I am not sure what the problem is.

Thank you for your help


Answer: (by our weight loss expert, Hara Hagikalfa – View Author Bio)

Dear Kaila thank you for your question.

Firstly I will answer your question about putting on weight so fast. There can be many absolutely normal reasons why that happened. Change of environment and climate could be one of them, you said you have been in Spain for about 10 months, and it may sound like a long time, however, our body can take time to acclimatised completely and go back to its usual rhythms. I would assume that also a lot of daily habits may have changed that could influence your metabolism or your eating habits. Sometimes accumulation of a lot of small changes can make a big difference. An average of 8 kilos gained in 10months is not a massive amount and it could have happened easily.  I must note that your BMI (body mass index)  is within normal range and you wouldn’t be considered overweight. I understand that it is important to feel comfortable in yourself; however, I would suggest that 5 to 8 kilos max weight loss should be enough and I would not suggest any more as you would be running the risk of becoming underweight.

Before you start any kind of diet I would suggest that you keep a diary of the food you eat for a couple of days. A week would be best as it can give you a fuller picture but I sense that you are eager to start losing weight as soon as you can.  The diary will give a picture of what you eat, what time, how much etc. From that you can compare what you used to eat before you went to Spain and also find things which you may not realised were there. You can see my article Weight loss: An introduction to a healthier life style for more information about it.

In addition, you may want to make a note of when did you start to put on weight. Was it gradually through the 10 months, was it sudden, was it after a specific time, i.e. exams and so on. By finding the route it will help you to deal with the problem easier. For example things such as stress, feeling low, increasing alcohol intake, and starting oral contraception, not sleeping well can all affect weight gain. It could well be having too much fun with your friends and sleeping late or studying too much and being stressed that have increased your weight gain. Think of your everyday habits as well and what may be different now. Could it be that you used to walk 30min to school every day, or that you were more active and had higher energy expenditure?  If you have any concerns at any point about putting on too much weight unexplained always consult a medical professional. You should also consult a medical professional if you have any medical conditions, before taking on any diet or exercise.

In terms of losing weight I can suggest the following tips:

1. Have a delayed protein breakfast. Carbohydrates can make you feel hungry and tend to lead to snacking in between meals or a large meal for lunch. See also some tips I have provided in What should I eat to get rid of love handles?

2. Lower your carbohydrate intake through the day. If you want to lose weight quite fast it may mean that you may be strict with your diet in some respects. You can still have balanced meals which contain all the nutrients and you don’t feel hungry. For example try to limit the sugar in coffees, and teas, avoid sugary drinks such as juices, milkshakes, coke etc. Have a large salad with chicken, fish, tuna (protein) and only one slice of bread. In general have loads of vegetables and salads with meats which are grilled instead of fried. Have some carbohydrates in the form of bread or potatoes but limit the amounts.

3. Avoid takeaways, fast food, fried foods, and rich sandwiches with sauces such as mayonnaise (avoid sandwiches all together if possible). Alcohol can also add to calories.

4. Exercise will increase energy expenditure (calorie burning in simple terms) so if you can take on some exercise or even just being more active such as walk instead of taking a bus, swim or cycle, whatever is best suited for you. Even just 30min a day can help in increasing weight loss. It is best to combine resistance with aerobic exercise (resistance –i.e. weights, aerobic – i.e. running). Also for aerobic exercise you will need to make sure that you are eating enough carbs which is the main fuel during aerobic exercise.

5. Keep well hydrated. At the beginning what is lost is mainly water so make sure you keep hydrated. Especially if the Spanish weather is hot.

View all questions and expert weight loss advice


Red Pepper Helps Cut Appetite

Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:20
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Eating red pepper may help curb your appetite, claims a new study, especially if you don’t normally eat it.

Researchers tested the effects of ordinary dried (ground) cayenne red pepper. Cayenne red pepper is a chili pepper and is one of the most commonly used spices in the world.

Previous studies have shown that capsaicin, the active component that gives hot peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and help burn calories.

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5 Weight loss tips to boost your metabolism

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 16:05
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Metabolism is a term used very often in weight loss and many people fail to understand what is metabolism and the role it plays in losing weight. In plain English metabolism is a term used to describe the rate at which your body burns calories. Young people and those who are not overweight turn to have a faster metabolism which simply means that they can burn calories faster. By burning calories faster they are able to maintain their current weight or if they accelerate their metabolism to lose weight faster. Many factors affect metabolism and these include the age, sex, weight and activity levels. Despite that there are many ways to improve your metabolism which will result in a more efficient weight loss and we have gathered the 5 best ways to boost your metabolism.

1. Keep your stomach busy and the calorie burning process active

One of the most efficient ways to boost your metabolism is to keep the process that burns calories active. You can do that by proving your body with small but frequent meals spread throughout the day. This is one of the most common weight loss tips and is suggested by all diet plans and programs. Instead of eating three large meals you can instead go for smaller meals every 2-3 hours. By doing so you give enough time to your body to break down the calories consumed into energy. On the other hand if you consume a lot of calories at once your body cannot process them and as a result energy is transferred to the reserves, commonly known as fat.

2. Eat foods that increase the metabolic rate

Boost Metabolism

Boost Metabolism

Some foods have special characteristics that are said to increase metabolism. Such foods and drinks are: Green tea, soup, Spicy food, grapefruits, apples, pears, broccoli and black chocolate. In general green fruits and vegetables can help the body burn more calories while spicy foods can increase body temperature which in turn increases the amount of calories your body can burn. In addition several scientific studies identified that low-fat dairy products, lean meat and generally foods that are high in protein can give metabolism a boost.

3. Cardio exercises and Resistance training exercises

If you ask a fitness trainer what is the best reason to do cardio exercises such as aerobics, the most common answer you will get is: “It can boost your metabolism”. This is true because such activities increase the heart beat rate which in turn makes the calorie burning process faster. While this is true it is also true that the metabolic boost can be temporary and will slow down as your heart returns to the normal beat rates. This is where strength training exercises (for example weight lifting) come into place. With weight lifting and strength training exercises you can replace your fat tissues with more muscles. Having more muscles in the body will enable you to lose calories while at rest. Muscles are the only tissues in the whole body that can burn calories. This is also the reason why athletes and people who exercise regularly have a faster metabolic rate than people who live a sedentary life.

4. Never skip breakfast

Many experts suggest that you should never skip breakfast and there is a pretty good reason for that. Breakfast is important for many reasons and one of them is it can kick-start your metabolism. While sleeping your body is at rest and the metabolism slows down. If you skip breakfast your metabolism will stay slow until your first launch but will not be able to cope with the large amount of calories consumed and as a result a lot of calories will not be burned. On the other hand by eating a good breakfast you wake up your metabolism and accelerate the calorie burning process. In addition you will end up consuming fewer calories during your main meals.

5. Last but not least, iced water

Water is vital for the normal functioning of the body; there is no doubt about that. The body is more than 60% water and it needs water to replace the liquids flushed daily from the body through urine and sweating. Apart from that water and especially iced water can also serve as a metabolism booster. When drinking iced cold water the body needs more energy to warm up the body and thus more calories are burned. Additionally water can keep your stomach happy for longer periods, can help you detox the organism by removing bad toxins and can help you understand when you are really hungry.

Boosting your metabolism through these tips can generate only one outcome and this is faster weight loss.

Poll: Dr. Sears’ or Gary Taubes’ Obesity Theory?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:28
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I think Dr. Barry Sears was feeling a little bit left out of the diet wars lately.

With all the press, Dr. Oz, Gary Taubes, and now Pierre Dukan are getting, it’s only fair that Sears, founder of The Zone Diet, would want a piece of the action.

He recently did an interview for NBC’s Daytime and said the nation’s obesity problem is due to omega-6 rich fats in the diet.

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5 Strategies to Cut Healthy Food Costs

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:28
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Have you noticed prices have jumped up since last year?

Not only is how milk and bread gas more expensive, but food prices are steadily on the rise. Instead of paying $2 or $3 for a gallon of milk, expect to pay up to $5 for some brands.

There are ways to still eat healthy while on a budget. Here are my top 5 ways to outsmart the rising cost of food.

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Active Pregnancy Benefits Baby’s Heart

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:00
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It’s been known for a long time that exercising during pregnancy is beneficial for moms.

It prevents excessive weight gain, wards off gestational diabetes, reduces the need for instrument interventions during delivery, makes it easier to return to pre-pregnancy weight and reduces back pain, leg cramps, hemorrhoids… the list goes on.

And while fit mom = fit baby may seem logical, and has scientific validity in the first trimester – not much research has been done into long-term benefits for the babies’ cardiovascular health.

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10 Tips on how to set your weight loss goals

Monday, April 25, 2011 15:30
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You cannot lose weight if you do not set weight loss goals. Setting your weight loss goals from the beginning of your efforts will make it easier to achieve your targets. We have mentioned many times that weight loss is like a big project and as with every project you need to have a plan and a vision for the final result. You need to know where you are now and what you want to achieve when the project is completed and when. In this post we outline 10 weight loss tips that can help you set weight loss goals for weight loss success.

1. Decide why you want to lose weight

Before setting actual goals you first need to think and decide why you want to lose weight. Is it because you want to look slimmer, is it because of health reasons or is it because you want to impress your friends? Make up your mind and convince yourself about the reasons you want to start a weight loss program. If you are not sure why lose weight then the chances of achieving your goals are minimized.

2. Set Realistic targets

When you have the answer for the first question your next step is to think of realistic weight loss goals. In other words think how much weight you can actually lose and not how many pounds you ideally want to lose. There is a big difference between the two. The first case is what is possible based on your body type, lifestyle and activity levels while the second is that you would like to achieve in an ideal world. And because the ideal world does not exist make sure that your goals are realistic and achievable.

3. Set specific goals

weight loss goals

Weight loss goals

A very important step when setting goals is to make them specific. For example do not just say ‘I want to look better’, but be more specific by saying ‘I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of this year’. Your goals need to represent numbers and timeframes. Of course the numbers and dates you will set have to be realistic and reasonable. If you set a goal to lose 10 pounds by the end of this month then this may not be feasible. Try to combine realistic goals with specific and achievable. Have in mind that a healthy weight to lose per week is 1-2 pounds. Anything above that is considered healthy and is not recommended.

4. Break your goals into smaller milestones

In step 3 you decided how many pounds you want to lose and when. Your next step is to break that into smaller and more manageable milestones. For example if your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 6 months then your short term goals will be to lose 3 pounds in one month or even better to lose about 1 pound per week. Smaller goals are easier to achieve and manage. When meeting your short term weight loss goals you also get motivated to continue and meet your optimum targets. When working through the process concentrate on your short term goals by in the back of your mind keep your long term goals as well.

5. Monitor the results and adjust your plans

When setting goals you need to have a system to monitor your progress and make adjustments to your plan. In weight loss this is achieved through the use of a weight loss journal. A journal can help you monitor your progress and take action when necessary to accelerate the process. Typical items to include in your journal are: date, current weight, target weight. When monitoring your results do not panic. There will be cases where you won’t be able to meet your short term targets but this is normal and acceptable. In such cases you need to remain calm and analyze the reasons of failures and take corrective actions.

6. Keep your self-motivated throughout the process

Motivation is a key ingredient for weight loss success. When you are motivated you can easily meet your targets. A good way to motivate yourself is to set easy targets at the beginning and to reward yourself each and every time you meet a target. For example do not set a goal to lose more than 2 pounds in a month (when starting) and when you achieve this goal buy a present or go out and celebrate. Also, think for a moment what motivates you to lose weight and keep this thought in your mind every time you face a difficulty. (see also weight loss motivation)

7. Do not be afraid of failure

Many people fail to meet their goals because they are afraid of failure. This is a common reaction not only in weight loss attempts but general in life as well. Be prepared to fail and be ready to get back in track. Weight loss is not a one-off process. It requires lifestyle changes that need to be permanent. If in the process you fail to adjust your lifestyle then it is possible that at some point you won’t be able to meet your goals. When this happens you should not quit and give up but instead you should learn from your mistakes, adjust your plan and goals and start again.

8. Weight loss is not only about diet but is also about exercise

When setting your goals do not forget that exercise is also a vital part of losing weight. In that sense you need to set targets that are associated with exercise and not only with dieting. For example ” I need to walk 30 minutes each day” is a weight loss goal associated with exercise. Use one of the exercise burner calculators available on the Internet and make up your exercise targets. Remember that healthy weight loss is based on one very simple principle: Weight loss = Calories in – Calories out and that to lose 1 pound you need to burn about 3500 calories. With this in mind adjust your daily/weekly targets so that your dieting and exercise goals can satisfy the above equations. (see also Healthy weight loss)

9. Know when to stop

The main reason for setting goals is to make your life easier and help you achieve your targets. If at some point you feel that having weight loss goals gives you more stress than normal then maybe it’s time to temporary give up your goals and relax. Do not let the monitoring and targeting ruin your life. Try to set easier goals and if this fails as well and you still want to lose weight then get some advice from experts. A doctor or fitness expert can create a personalized plan that can work for you. They will take care of the numbers and monitoring and you can just follow their advice.

10. Do not forget that the best way to lose weight is the healthy way

Last but not least do not forget that there is only one permanent way to shed pounds and this is the healthy way. Do not get carried away and resort to weight loss pills or supplements in an effort to meet your goals faster. Short-cuts and miracles do not happen in weight loss. Instead of resorting to fast track methods that will only generate short term results you better stick to your plan and aim for long term success.

Beginner Exercises that Fit in a Studio Apartment

Monday, April 25, 2011 10:45
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If you live in a big city, and you’re not Paris Hilton, odds are you live in a tiny apartment; at best a one-bedroom, but most likely you’re cramped, like a rat in a cage, inside a tiny studio apartment. Eek!

So unless your spool coffee table can double as a Bowflex, you probably don’t much have room for exercise equipment.

But don’t fret. If you’re just starting on the journey to fitness, here are eight space-saving exercises you can fit in your itty-bitty apartment. And all you need is your body and perhaps a few dumbbells or cans of soup if you want to up your game a bit.

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Debunking The Dukan Diet

Monday, April 25, 2011 10:20
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The Dukan Diet continues to be in the media spotlight with help from Kate Middleton, Jennifer Lopez and Giselle Bundchen who have recently endorsed the French plan.

This modified Atkins diet continues to take the world by storm especially after it’s recent “official” release in the USA. It is the number one diet right now in France, so what is The Dukan Diet really? Is it just another fad diet?

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