How to lose 5 pounds in 2 days

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

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

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

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

How to lose 5 pounds in 2 days

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

Consume More Natural Diuretics

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

Avoid Salt

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

Drink More Water

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

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

Low carbohydrate diets and weight loss

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

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

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

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

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

10 Delicious Treats for Under 50 Calories

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

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

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

What is a ‘treat food’ for you?

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

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

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

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

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

10 Tasty Treats Under 50 Calories

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

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

2.  Apple with yogurt and cinnamon – 45 calories

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

3. Raisins – 45 calories 

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

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

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

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

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

6. 3?4 cup almond milk -45 calories

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

 7. 1 cup Air popped pop corn – 31 calories

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

 8. 6  Maraschino  cherries – 50 calories

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

 9. 2 Small squares of dark chocolate – 50 calories

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

10. One container of sugar free gelatine -10 calories

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012 15:24
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food pyramid

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

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

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

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


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

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

Exercise And Protein Intake

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

Proteins Effect on Satiety

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

Overview of Protein

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

– One gram of protein is equal 4 calories.

– Aids in repairing and building tissues in our body

– May also be broken down to be used as energy


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

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

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

Carbohydrates Overview

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

– One gram of carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories.

– Carbohydrates are your bodies’ primary source of energy.

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

Fats (Also Termed Lipids)

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

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

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

Fat Overview

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

– One gram of Fat is equal to 9 calories

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


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

Does exercising on an empty stomach burn more fat?

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

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

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

The effects of exercising in the morning

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

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

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

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

Why your body burns more fat in the morning?

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

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

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

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

Split your cardio throughout the day for optimum results

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

EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption

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

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

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

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

Why you should avoid very low calorie diets?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does a very VLCD do to your body?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other negative effects of very low calorie diets

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

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

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

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

5 Diet Rules for Beginners to Lose Weight Fast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Diet rules for beginners

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

1# Set realistic goals and stick to them

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

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

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

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

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

2# Avoid drinking your calories

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

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

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

3# Eat small frequent meals

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

4# Choose low fat options

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

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

5# Burn more calories

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

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

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

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

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

Belly fat truth and myths

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 14:41
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belly fat truths

One common concern among dieters is the fat accumulated around the belly, waist and bum. It is obvious that the weight loss world has hundreds of solutions for you to tackle the belly fat issue. In this article I have collected 7 truths and myths about belly fat.

Belly Fat Myths and truths explained

1. There are specific foods that burn belly fat.

There is no or very little scientific evidence to show that there is a specific food or supplement which will cause weight loss in general let alone in specific areas. To my knowledge research supports that green tea and dietary calcium (through foods not supplemented) can help in increasing weight loss. For everything else there may be some theories, very little, poor or no evidence at all that they increase weight loss. For those supplements which could increase weight loss but are deemed unsafe I will put them in the same category.

If you lose weight, you will lose weight from the belly area as well as others. There is no need to spend your money just yet with the promise or guarantee of belly specific fat loss. Just follow an appropriate weight loss diet. 

2. Fibre is the saver of the overweight world and you must eat loads of it. Oh yes, it also burns belly fat.

Fibre is recommended in almost every weight loss diet, tip, and article. If you believe everything you read then fibre will save the world, is a magic substance, it will take the dog for a walk and clean the house for you while it makes you thinner!

Well undoubtedly fibre has health benefits like helping to lower cholesterol. It is recommended to include fibre in your diet, especially the one found in vegetables and fruit. However, large amounts of fibre consumption, especially the one which derives from all-bran and cereal, can lead to gastrointestinal complaints and irritation.

3. Women tend to store belly fat easier especially during or after menopause.

Well that may not be quite as true. In fact studies suggest that men tend to store fat more in the abdominal area and women in the areas around the hips and bottom. A theory for this is related to the sex hormones and the differences of them between men and women which lead to differences in fat storage. However, sometimes body type and build can affect where someone may have the tendency to store fat easier. Body shape does not mean that you will be stuck with fat in your tummy however.

It is true that during or after menopause hormones undergo through a lot of changes which do affect where fat is stored. Decrease of some hormones such as oestrogen and increase of others such as cortisol, can favour deposition of fat in the upper body and around the waist instead of the hips and thighs.   

5. It is very difficult to burn belly fat.

As mentioned earlier when losing weight you will lose from the belly area as well. Some studies actually suggest that is easier to lose fat from the belly than other locations. Fat in simple terms can be divided into subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the one stored in the surface underneath the skin and is usually found in the lower body.

Visceral fat is usually stored in the deep abdominal cavity and the organs. Belly fat which is subcutaneous (Usually the one you can pinch) is the one which can be harder to lose.

Sometimes it could be loose skin or unconditioned abdominal muscles which may give the impression of having a ‘tummy’. Also bloating can have the same effect.

Studies do indicate that a healthy balanced diet such as cutting down on refined carbs and sugars and increasing protein intake, should be sufficient for belly fat loss.

6. Belly fat is more dangerous than other fat for your health.

Well always think how much excess fat do you have? If you are within a healthy weight range and you just have a bit of a superficial tummy, no it will not kill you. In simple terms subcutaneous abdominal fat is not as harmful as visceral fat. Storing measurably a lot of excess belly fat is considered to increase health risks.

Scientists suggest that a large waist can increase the risk of development of type II diabetes even if BMI is within healthy range. Therefore, it is recommended that waist circumference measurements are taken in combination to BMI. Waist circumference and health risk will be dependent in a number of factors such as ethnic background.

Body fat (especially visceral fat) is considered to produce hormones and in general to be a biologically active tissue. Excess fat (especially visceral fat) can influence cells response to insulin, appetite regulation, and inflammation; and can lead to cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type II diabetes, amongst others.

7. Crunches will not help you burn belly fat and are dangerous.

There is no evidence that spot training will burn fat from a specific area. So no if you do 100 crunches does not result in burning all the belly fat and only the belly fat. However, any exercise can help in conditioning the muscles and if performed correctly it is not dangerous. Adding a set of crunches, which are performed correctly, will not result in miracles but also it will not kill you.

It is needless to say that you don’t need to invest your money in a super crunch buster machine either. If you have a ‘bit of a tummy’, exercises which tone the abdominal muscles such as Pilates, can give the flat tummy effect by conditioning the muscles and holding things better in place.

If you have any musculoskeletal complaints which crunches could make worst it is obvious to say, avoid them.

A full body work out which incorporates both resistance and aerobic exercise for the average person is the best choice. This way you do get to condition most muscles and systems around your body. Increasing your muscle mass will help in increasing your metabolic rate and therefore increase the calories you burn.

Always consult a fitness professional when taking on exercise. A fitness professional can assess you physical and fitness condition and devise a program which will correspond to your individual needs. Also can show you the correct techniques for performing exercises and avoid potential injuries. 

5 reasons to avoid low fat diets

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 10:05
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healthy diet

When you walk into a supermarket, you are bombarded with products claiming to be ‘low fat’ ‘no fat’ ‘fat free’ or ‘less than 10% fat’, so it is no wonder that many people have a negative attitude to fat in their diet.  Many weight loss diets promote very low fat eating patterns and we are constantly advised to steer clear of high fat foods. Is a low fat diet really the best way to lose weight, or do we need some fat in our diets?

The different types of fat

The answer depends very much on the type of fat.  Saturated fats found in fatty meat, cakes, pastries, many commercial foods and other animal products such as cheese and full fat milk, can be detrimental to our health.  This fat increases the unhealthy cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL) and the total cholesterol in the blood, while lowering levels of healthy high density lipoproteins (HDLs); the type of cholesterol you want in your blood.

HDL cholesterol helps to remove the unhealthy fat from the blood stream, preventing the build up of blockages.  A high intake of saturated fat in the diet has been linked to heart disease, some cancers, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and a range of other conditions; therefore it is safe to say that a diet low in this type of fat is the way to go.

Similarly, a diet high in trans fats can also lead to negative health effects, much the same as those of saturated fats.  Trans fats are found in many commercial food products such as cakes and biscuits and in some oil based spreads such as margarine, (although this is now tightly regulated, and most margarine now contain very little or no trans fats).

Fat contains the most calories per gram of all of the macronutrients, (carbs, protein, fatand alcohol), therefore it makes sense that reducing them will reduce our calorie intake and assist with weight loss.  However, fats are not all bad news.  In fact it is necessary to include some fats in your diet, or risk nutrient deficiencies and increase risk of conditions such as heart disease.

The fats that we should be including in our diets are the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs and MUFAs).  These types of fats are found in fish, nuts, vegetable oils, seeds and grains.  A healthy diet should not contain more than 30% of calories from fat, but it is essential to include these healthy fats for the body to function correctly.

We need to consume unsaturated fats to provide essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and 6.  These cannot be synthesised in the body, but are necessary for numerous processes and functions.  Essential fatty acids play a key part in hormone production, cell membrane structure, and cell communication to name a few.

 Why we need fat in our lives

1#  For a strong immune system and inflammatory response

Diets low in unsaturated fats, in particular Omega 3s have been associated with reduced immune response.   In animal models, essential fatty acids have even been found to reverse or significantly improve autoimmune diseases.   It is also thought that Omega 3s may have anti-inflammatory effects and thus be beneficial for sufferers of conditions such as arthritis.

2# For correct function of the brain and nervous system

Fatty acids help to conduct electrical impulses in the nervous system, they are also the building blocks for cell membranes and hormones which regulate function of the nervous system.  Omega 3 fatty acid, DHA, is important both for nervous system development in babies and in preventing deterioration of the nervous system in the elderly.  It may delay development of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognitive function.  Another essential fatty acid, EPA, when combined with DHA may provide benefits for conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD.

3# To absorb fat soluble vitamins

The fat soluble vitamins A, E, K and D are absorbed by the body via chylomicrons, which are globules of fat.  If your diet is low in fat over a long period, you are at risk of deficiencies of these vitamins, as they cannot be absorbed.  These vitamins are essential for functions such as bone growth, blood cell development and clotting, healthy skin , eyes and reproduction.  As well A and E being powerful antioxidants, fighting free radicals in the body.

4# To lower unhealthy blood cholesterol

Unsaturated fats such as omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol, as well as reducing the overall amount of fat in the blood.  This protects against heart disease, and is also likely to reduce risk of other lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and stroke.

5# For healthy skin, hair, eyes and bones.

Due to their role in cell membranes, essential fatty acids play a part in keeping skin and hair healthy.  Deficiencies of these fats may result in flaky itchy skin and dry brittle hair.  It has also been found that women taking Omega 3 supplements experience less bone density loss over time, indicating a preventative effect in conditions such as osteoporosis.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also thought to have beneficial effects on many aspects of eye health.  A diet high in this essential acid can help to protect against macular degeneration, decrease dryness and redness and improve production of tears.

What’s the recommended calorie intake for women to lose weight?

Monday, November 12, 2012 19:44
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daily calories

The recommended calorie intake for women to lose weight depends on the following factors: age, weight, height and activity level. Let’s see how you can calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) and the number of calories you should eat per day in order to lose weight.

Step 1: Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Depending on your BMI you belong to one of the following categories:

BMI of 18.5 or less –> Underweight
BMI of 18.5 to 24.99–>Normal Weight
BMI of 25 to 29.99 –>Overweight
BMI of 30 to 34.99 –> Obesity (Class 1)
BMI of 35 to 39.99 –> Obesity (Class 2)
BMI of 40 or greater–> Morbid Obesity

This is more of a scientific classification of your weight and does not necessary mean that if you have a normal BMI (18.5 -24.99) you do not need to lose weight. If you want to lose weight or not this depends on how you feel about your body. The BMI calculation is just an indication that is used for medical purposes. To calculate your BMI you need to apply the following equation:

BMI= (weight in pounds * 703) / (height in inches) x (height in inches)


BMI= (weight in Kg) / (height in meters) x (height in meters)

Step 2: Calculate your Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR)

BMR is the amount of calories our body needs to carry out basic body functions such as breathing, digestion, blood circulation etc. It is the minimum amount of calories you spend each day. You can calculate your BMR using the following equation. Please note that the formula below applies for WOMEN only:

BMR = 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)


BMR = 655.0955 + (9.5634 x weight kg) + (1.8496 x height cm) – (4.6756 x age)

Step 3: Calculate how many calories you need per day

Once you know your BMR you can calculate how many calories you need per day in order to maintain your current weight. This number is important because if you want to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than what you need. To calculate your daily calorie requirements you can use the following formula depending on your lifestyle:

If you are sedentary (minimum or no physical activities): BMR + (BMR x 20 %)

If you are lightly active (doing some form of light exercise, e.g. walking): BMR + (BMR x 30%)

If you are moderately active (exercise at least 3 times per week): BMR + (BMR x 40%)

If you are very active (exercise daily): BMR + (BMR x 50%)

If you are extra active (intensive work out on a daily basis): BMR + (BMR x 60%)

The table below shows the average daily calorie requirements for women based on their weight.

Weight Female
50 kg / 110 pounds 1680 Cal per day
60 kg / 132 pounds 1800 Cal per day
70 kg / 154 pounds 1920 Cal per day
80 kg / 176 pounds 2040 Cal per day
90 kg / 198 pounds 2155 Cal per day
100 kg /240 pounds 2270 Cal per day

Calorie intake for women to lose weight

Ok, so you have calculated all the above numbers but what do these numbers actually mean? Let’s demonstrate this will a real example.

The basic Data: Woman aged 40, Current Weight: 70Kg, Height 1.60M, Lifestyle: Lightly active (doing office work, household activities and walking for 1 hour per week).

Calculating the BMI

BMI= (weight in Kg) / (height in meters) x (height in meters)

BMI = 70 / (1.6×1.6) = 27.34

A BMI of 27.34 tells us that this woman is in the category of overweight.

Calculating BMR

BMR = 655.0955 + (9.5634 x weight kg) + (1.8496 x height cm) – (4.6756 x age)

BMR = 655.0955 + (9.5634 x 70) + (1.8496 x 160) – (4.6756 x 40) = 1433 Calories

1433 is the number of calories needed by this woman’s body to carry out normal functioning.

Calculating Daily Calorie Needs

For lightly active (doing some form of light exercise, e.g. walking): BMR + (BMR x 30%)

i.e. 1433 + 430 = 1863 Calories

1863 Calories are needed per day for this woman to maintain her current weight of 70Kg. For this particular woman to lose weight she should consume fewer than 1863 calories per day. If her goal is to lose 2 pounds a month then she needs to save 7000 calories per month (1 pound of fat is 3500 calories). So, to be able to save 7000 calories per month she should reduce her calorie intake by 233 calories. This means that the max amount of calories to consume per day in order to lose weight is 1863-233 = 1630. Following a balanced diet and exercising regularly can speed up this process.

Healthy recipes for Weight Loss

Monday, November 12, 2012 17:47
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healthy weight loss recipes

Sometimes you are looking for a healthy launch, snack or dinner but you just don’t know what or how to prepare it. We have carefully compiled a list of healthy recipes for weight loss that are delicious, can be prepared easily and above all they are calorie friendly. We will continue to update the list on a regular basis and you are welcomed to submit your own healthy recipes.

Healthy Recipes for Weight loss

Low carb meat loaf
Spicy cauliflower
Baked walnut-cinnamon apples
Mixed berries whey-protein smoothie
Green salad with Greek graviera cheese recipe

Healthy Lunch Recipes for Weight Loss

Low carb meat loaf (serves 8 )


2lb extra lean minced beef,   2 red onion finely chopped, 1 garlic clove finely chopped,  ½ red pepper finely chopped,   ½ cup fresh parsley chopped,  1 tsp cumin, 3 eggs, 2 tbsp olive oil.


Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. When mixture all blended together form a meat loaf on a baking dish. Cook the loaf in the oven at 200 degrees for 45min or until cooked through. Use a knife to check if cooked at the thickest point of the loaf.

Serve with vegetables or salad.

Spicy cauliflower (serves 1)

You can make your vegetable option more interesting and tasty. Eat as a main meal or a side salad to your main meal.


325g (12oz) steamed or lightly boiled (cooked through but with a crunch) and chopped cauliflower.

90g (3oz) chopped red peppers

1 tbsp pine nuts

75g (2 ½) finely chopped spring onions

100 g (3 ½) finely chopped tomatoes

1tbsp finely chopped mint

Sauce: 1tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp turmeric, 1tbsp lemon juice, pinch of cumin, salt & pepper to your taste.


Mix well all the ingredients given above for the sauce. Place the cauliflower, pine nuts, spring onions, tomatoes, and mint in a bowl. Add the sauce and toss/mix until all evenly combined.

You can add a pinch of chilly if you like more spice. Taste before adding.

Nutritional Information: Carbs: 9.5g, protein: 6g, fat: 24g,

Healthy Snack recipes for Weight Loss

Baked walnut-cinnamon apples (serves 4)


4 apples , 1 cup of raisins, ¼ chopped walnuts,  ¼ tsp cinnamon,  ½ tsp natural vanilla extract, ½ cup of water.


Preheat the oven at 150 degrees Core and pierce the apples using a fork in several places around the centre to prevent them from bursting. Mix the raisins, walnuts, cinnamon & vanilla in a bowl and stuff the apple with the mixture. Place in a baking dish and put any mixture left over the apples (if any left) and then poor the ½ cup of water over them. Cover with foil and bake for 30min or until tender.

You can serve with Greek style or thick natural yogurt for extra taste. 

Healthy Drink Recipes for Weight Loss

Mixed berries whey-protein smoothie (serves1)

An easy recipe for breakfast or a refreshing snack beverage. You can use fresh berries instead of frozen if you are looking for a less cold option.


50g frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries etc.), 25g whey protein powder, and water.


Place the frozen berries and the protein into a mixer/blender. Add half a glass of water and blend. Add water or ice-cubes to your preference.

You can blend with low fat natural yogurt or milk if you like smoothies thicker and with fuller taste.

Nutritional Information:Fat: 0.5g, Carbs: 10g, Protein: 18g

Healthy Salad Recipes for Weight Loss

Green salad with Greek graviera cheese recipe (serves 4)


Salad: mixed lettuce, (romain, red leaf, green leaf) 5 cherry tomatoes chopped in half, 1 red pepper, a pinch of fresh thyme, 4 x wedges of greek graviera cheese (if you can’t find graviera use a salty yellow cheese of your preference. Chop and mix together in a salad bowl. Use as much lettuce as you like and as many different varieties you like.


Sauce: In a shaker add: 1tspn honey with a little bit of hot water (to mix and liquidise the honey with a spoon).

then add: 2 tbspn olive oil, 1 tsp wholegrain mustard, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp raisins,. Cover the shaker and shake all together.