Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

How to read a nutrition label correctly

Posted: 30 Jan 2012 07:17 AM PST

If you are seriously interested in losing weight then one of your first steps is to learn how to read a nutrition label correctly. Nutrition labels are in all foods and it is very important to be able to interpret the data from the label and based on that to make the decision on which foods to consume.

For individuals who are trying to become more health-conscious, reading a food label can be difficult.  These tips can help you learn how to read a nutrition label and change the way you eat forever.

How to read a nutrition labelServing size:  The most important thing you will take away from a nutrition label is the serving size.   For instance, look at the serving size and number of servings on a 16 oz soda or a box of cereal.  You may realize that the beverage you have been enjoying at only 120 calories actually has 2 or 3 servings in the bottle or the serving size for your cereal is much smaller than what you pour every morning.  (See also: Easy tips to cut 200 calories per day from your diet)

Calories: The percent daily values on a label are based on a 2000-calorie diet.  If you are thin, small, and inactive this may be an overestimation for you.   If you are bulky, tall, and athletic this is an underestimation.  Before looking at a label, get an estimate of how many calories you should be eating a day.  If you use an online calorie calculator, be sure it factors in your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.


For those trying to lose weight, subtract 300-500 calories.  Remember that the calories listed on the box are only for one serving of that food.  If there are five servings in a package and you eat the whole thing, that's five times the calories listed! (See also: The ultimate list of fat burning foods)

Fat, saturated fat, and trans fat:  After you have an estimate of the amount of calories you should eat a day divide it by 30.  That is the estimate of total grams of fat you should have in a day.  Only about one-fourth of those fat grams should be saturated fat.  None of it should be trans fat.  When a food is well balanced the percent daily value of each nutrient, listed down the side, should be about equal.  If a label has a much higher percent daily value for fat than it has for calories, you have yourself a high-fat food.  If the percent daily value of saturated fat is higher than total fat, beware: the fat in this food is particularly unhealthy.

Sodium:  Generally the milligrams sodium should not be more than twice the amount of calories.  Canned soups commonly have disproportionately high sodium for the calories.  Why to I compare sodium to calories?  Because if you eat a 1200 mg sodium soup that is 200 calories, you have 'used up' a large chunk of your daily sodium on a small portion of food.  Are you going to eat unsalted food for the rest of the day?  Very unlikely. People with high blood pressure should consult their doctor, but should usually aim for about 2000 mg of sodium a day.  If you don't know if you have high blood pressure, or even if you think you don't, go to get it checked.

Cholesterol: Recent evidence has shown that only about 10% of the population is affected by consuming dietary cholesterol.  These individuals should try to keep the total daily cholesterol below 200 milligrams per day.  Foods low in cholesterol have less than one tenth the cholesterol compared to calories. For example: a 200 calorie food should have less than 20 mg cholesterol, a 300 calorie food should have less than 30.  For those who do suffer from high cholesterol, eating foods enriched with plant sterols may be beneficial.  If you do not know if you have high cholesterol, go get it checked!

Carbohydrates, sugar, and fiber:  If you know about how many calories you need per day, divide that by 8.  That is the total amount of carbs you should have each day in grams.  Divide that number again by 5 and that's the amount of sugar.  Yes, it's a low, low amount!  The majority of your daily carbs should not be sugar.  Diabetic patients should consult their doctor or dietitian about carbohydrates in their diet.  Patients are generally recommended to have about 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal.  This is even a good rule of thumb for the non-diabetic population.  If you do not know if you are diabetic, guess what?  Go to get your blood sugar tested, along you're your blood pressures and cholesterol!

Finally, fiber is very important for health and has been linked to successful weight loss.  About 25 grams a day is recommended and it can be a hard goal to reach, so if your food is high in calories (in the 400-600 range) it should also be high fiber (5 g or more per serving).  (See also: 13 healthy snack ideas for weight loss)

Protein: Protein, like fiber, has been liked with feelings of fullness and reduced appetite.  Some people have decided that this link warrants a diet where you consume nothing but protein and fat and cut out carbs completely.  High protein diets can result in severe kidney damage, so I strongly discourage this weight loss strategy.  Also, carbohydrates are the pretty much only source of energy used by the brain; so if you cut them out don't expect to be thinking very clearly.

Again, if you know your ideal amount of calories per day, divide that by 20 and you will have a rough estimate of your daily protein requirements in grams.  Unless you are building or maintaining a lot of muscle, try not to exceed this number.  Contrary to popular belief, supplementing vast amount of protein in your diet is not a great way to gain muscle.  Muscle building requires muscle-specific exercises and requires less protein than you might think.  Those with kidney disease should speak with a physician or a dietitian about their protein intake.

Vitamins and Minerals:  The only vitamins and minerals required to be on a nutrition label are Vitamins A and C, Iron, and Calcium.  Deficiencies in vitamins A and C are not very common, however iron deficiency (known as anemia) and calcium deficiency (a risk factor for osteoporosis) are common.  Women in particular suffer from anemia and osteoporosis.  Unlike for protein, carbohydrates, and fat, the levels of nutrients recommended do not change by weight or height, only by gender and age.  Look for the percent daily value and aim to get 100% each day, or else take a multivitamin.  Other vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, and phosphorus may be listed on the nutrition label.  These are great to know when they are there, but are not listed reliably on all foods.

One or two trips to the supermarket along with these tips can be all it takes to become a master of food for life, something that will definitely come in handy in achieving healthy weight loss!

Summary Tips for Reading the Nutrition Label:

  • Check your serving sizes and try measuring them out
  • Multiply all other values by the amount of servings you consume
  • Learn the amount of calories per day that is right for you
  • Calculate the amount of fat and saturated fat you should eat per day
  • If you have high cholesterol, aim for less than 200 mg cholesterol per day
  • Sodium is too high if it is more than twice the amount of calories
  • Have about 45-60 grams carbs at a meal and about 15-30 grams for snacks
  • Aim for only about 10% of your daily calories from sugars.
  • Snacks should have 2 g or more fiber, meals should have 5 g or more.
  • Try to pick snacks with protein but don't drastically exceed your protein per day
  • Aim for 100% of vitamins and minerals each day
  • Check your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol regularly.  In fact, do it now.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

What are liquid diets and do they work for weight loss?

Posted: 26 Jan 2012 07:34 AM PST

Fast weight loss, no calorie counting and no hassle. This sounds like every dieters heaven and a dream come true. This is also what most liquid diets profess to offer, but is it too good to be true?

Liquid diets defined

A liquid diet is more or less what it says on the box; a dietary pattern which consists mainly of fluids (liquids). There are a number of different ways and patterns in which liquids diets can be followed, depending on who has devised the dietary plans. Some liquid diets suggest replacing all meals with a liquid of some sort and some which replace only some of the daily meals and suggest a low calorie solid meal for the rest.

The liquid meals tend to be shakes, or soups, juices, smoothies or just a dietary liquid formula. For some commercial liquid diets you can purchase their pre-prepared shakes, soups or dietary formulas and often they may also provide some snack bars and other nutritional supplements. There are also the do it yourself liquid diets in which dieters can make their own liquid meals, juices, shakes and etc.

Some of the most common commercial liquid diets (pre-prepared or DIY) include the slimfast, Medifast, Optifast, Hollywood diet, Master Cleanse diet, Cabbage diet and the juice diet. (See also: Most popular weight loss diets)

Apart from the commercial form of liquid diets there are also 'hospital' or 'medical' liquid diets and are usually prescribed before a medical procedure, because the patient may be unable to swallow solid food, as a supplement to the existing diet or in general for a specific medical reason. Medically prescribed liquid diets vary in their constitution and could be of clear liquids (water, gelatine, broth) or of a specific formula.

The weight loss principles of liquid diets

Well the weight loss principles are pretty much simple and more or less the same for most of them. By eating the recommended liquid meals people consume a low amount of calories through the day. Therefore, they lose weight. Some of the diets do include a miracle or a super food element to them and a number of them also profess on the detox element of following a liquid diet.

Studies haven't yet provided strong scientific evidence regarding the existence of a super food so I cannot positively and with no doubt say that it is the magic powers of cabbage which will make you lose weight if you follow the cabbage diet for example. Another common claim of the liquid diets is detoxing; the body goes through a detox process by following liquid diets. Based on the detox claim diet loss is either enhanced by effect or is a pleasant secondary effect of detoxing.

However, there is not strong scientific evidence regarding the detoxing effects of diets either. As a matter of fact there is no evidence to actually support a 'detoxing' process takes place at all, apart from the one which your liver does all the time.

So what is proven? Most liquid commercial diets tend to consist of 400-800 kcal dietary plans. These diets tend to belong in the category of very low calorie diets (VLCD) which create a calorie deficit and in principle lead to weight loss.

Do they work?

It is quite relevant how well these diets work and whether people do lose weight on them. Liquid diets are not recommended to be followed for long period of time and some are only safely recommended for 7-10 days. A week to 10 days does not usually produce any measurable significant fat loss and most of the weight lost is water and sugar. The result is to put the weight back on quite quickly post dieting. (See also: Do quick weight loss diets work?)

If you follow a VLCD for prolonged time you will lose weight but so you will with starvation which in some cases may be cheaper. However, starvation is not recommended as a safe, healthy or wise way for weight loss and I would most definitely not recommend it.

Studies which have tested some of the commercial liquid diets have produced controversial results. In simple words there is not much agreement whether they work in promoting weight loss and whether the weight is maintained post diet. For some cases of morbidly obese people a VLCD may be recommended as the best solution. However, such cases the risks of following a VLCD outweigh the risks of obesity. Moreover, they should always be followed under the guidance of a medical professional as they can have detrimental effects to health.

Issues involved

As with most controversial diets there are a number of issues related to liquid diets. Here are some of them.

Potential of misuse: As already mentioned liquid diets are usually recommended to be followed for a limited amount of time. However, guidelines and recommendations can often be ignored and people can follow them for longer periods. Well recommendations are there for a safety reason and when ignored the results do come with a potential risk and a number of health problems.

Inadequate nutrient intake: Formulas sold as part of a liquid dietary pattern have improved a lot since they first come out. However, still there is a debate about the limited amount of nutrients they may contain. The lack of nutrients may be more prominent in DIY versions which tend to be based on just one food or one group of foods or if a diet is followed for prolonged periods.

Inadequate fibre intake: Fibre can be an important element for digestive processes, health and weight loss. Quality is as important as quantity, and a number of liquid diets may not provide either of them.

Constipation / Gastrointestinal complaints/complications / Nausea: Constipation can be a side effect due to inadequate fibre intake. But also your digestive processes may be suffering a little bit, thus gastrointestinal complaints can be common. 

Hair loss: Think nutrient deficiency. Our body needs all nutrients including fat and there is a reason for it.

Dizziness: Very low calorie intake can be one of the reasons why people may experience dizziness. You may think you have enough energy stored for the whole neighbourhood however your body doesn't like sadden changes and it does take time to adjust. Losing a lot of weight too fast is something else which may lead to health complaints.

Regaining the weight past dieting: If the weight lost is mainly water and sugar then you are most likely to put it straight back on. On the other hand is a common diet issues. If you follow a diet for 'x' amount of time and you lose 'y' amount of weight and you go back to what you where eating before the diet you are likely to be back t where you started.

Moreover, if you follow a VLCD for a period of time your body will try to adjust to that diet. The minute to stop liquid dieting and go back to solid food and higher calories here will come the weight.   

Metabolism slowing down: Look above. You go to a VLCD your metabolism will slow down on a bid to survive. These mechanisms are there for a reason; if you were in nature and there was no food you would need to survive as long as possible. So you could be potentially struggling to lose the weight. In some cases a VLCD may be the only option to kick start a weight loss and research may have shown favourable results for morbidly obese cases. However, this is usually done under the guidance of a medical professional and when the risks of obesity outweigh the risks of dieting, or when some metabolic processes have 'lost their way' to put it in very simply words.

No behavioural modification: Following a box standard liquid doesn't quite teach people how to eat or makes a lot of changes in the eating behaviour. The extra weight got there in some way and part of it is because of specific eating behaviours. Changing these behaviours is what will help to deal with the future and maintaining the weight loss.

The verdict

Indeed a lot of liquid diets may have improved a lot in recent years. However, some are still in the category of 'fad' dieting which most of the time is not recommended. For some people it may be that little help to push them into weight loss or may kick start the processes, but for most it may not be a recommended solution. Not all liquid diets are the same and therefore quality of the diets is different between them. Make sure you consult a medical professional, and search for real scientific evidence.

Overall, apart from some specific cases you may be better off sticking to the old fashion healthy balanced diet.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

20 ways to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes or less

Posted: 22 Jan 2012 09:16 AM PST

Do you know that by burning just 100 calories (extra) per day you can lose about one pound per month without extra effort? It sounds good and really is if you manage to spend just 10 minutes per day. This will not be your 'official' exercise routine but the ace in your sleeve to get faster results.

Everybody can find 10 minutes per day to work out and there are hundreds of exercises to choose from. You can even do them at home or at a time it suits you better. Most people prefer to exercise in the morning before going to work and this is the best time to exercise. Morning exercises are more efficient in burning fat since your body has to convert fat (from the reserves) to energy in order to deal with the extra requirements and in addition will help wake up your body, digestive system and mind.
Burn 100 calories in 10 minutes
Below we outline 20 suggestions to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes or less but you can still use our free exercise tracker to find even more exercises and activities.

5 exercises that burn more than 100 calories every 10 minutes*

Aerobics, Step: high impact128
Bicycling, Stationary: vigorous134
Circuit Training: general102
Rowing, Stationary: vigorous109
Ski Machine: general122


15 Sports and activities to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes*

Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph102
Martial Arts128
Rope Jumping128
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile)128
Skiing: cross-country102
Snow Shoeing102
Beach Volleyball102
Water Polo128
Climbing stairs100
Weight training (super circuit)137


Calories and weight loss

We mentioned above that doing a 10 minute session per day can help you lose 1 pound per month. For those interested in the theory and reasoning behind this statement, this is the logic: One pound of fat is approx. 3500 calories. In simple terms if you manage to burn 3500 more than you consume you will weigh one pound less. So, if you do a 10 minute session per day (using one of the exercises and activities specified above) you can generate a deficit of 30×100=3000 calories per month which is about one pound. Of course there are other factors involved like loss of water weight so we suggest also reading about the difference between weight loss and fat loss.

5 Tips to make the most of your 10 minute sessions

Plan in advance: 10 minutes is not a lot of time and with a bit of effort everyone can find 10 minutes to exercise. What is important is to plan your session in advance and preferably from the day before.

Be Flexible: You do not have to perform your 10 minute session at the same time every day. Sometimes it will be more suitable to exercise in the morning but other times you may do it after work or even late at night. What is important is to exercise daily and avoid skipping a session.

Improvise: Your goal is to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes and there are more than one ways to do this. You can choose to do the same activity every day or a number of activities during a single workout. For example you can run for 5 minutes and do stationary cycling for another 5 minutes. The combinations are endless all you need is imagination and willingness.

This is a bonus: Do not forget that this is not your formal workout routine but a bonus to help you get quicker results. You should not rely on this 10 minute workout alone but you should still follow a more formal routine for at least 2-3 per week and a balanced diet.

Why not make it 15 minutes? This is not actually a tip for your 10 minute session but once you get into the habit of doing 10 minute sessions why not increase that to 15 minutes per day and get 50% more results. If you follow this approach by making one small step at a time you will soon realize that you can actually do many things and get the motivation you need to meet your weight loss goals.

* Kcal estimation is based on 10 minute sessions for people weighting 160lbs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

The Difference between Weight Loss and Fat Loss and Why You Should Care

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 09:27 AM PST

What is really the difference between weight loss, fat loss and muscle loss and should you really care? Does the scale lie or is there a relationship between weight and fat loss?

The answer is straightforward and this is what we are discussing below.

Weight loss – Water Weight – Fat loss – Muscle loss

The percentage of total overweight and even obese people is rising at alarming levels (Around 33% of Adults are Obese and 17% of Children). People are looking for more ways then ever to lose weight and that is fine, but what is not fine is some of the methods people are using to achieve weight loss and how it truly affects their body.

Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss
If the average person loses 12 pounds for example, they will automatically assume it was ALL fat loss and this can be a very costly assumption.  When you lose weight or gain weight for that matter, you are changing your bodies’ composition of Water, Fat, and or Muscle. Now I listed them in that order for a reason, water weight is the quickest to change and we will discuss that first.

Water Weight

Water weight commonly refers to the amount of weight in water your body is carrying at that given time and is a constantly changing, considering the human body is estimated to be made up of around 60% of water. Water weight can be affected by many variables in your day-to-day life and can cause your weight loss to be misleading.  If most the weight you lose is from water weight, you will most likely gain it back very quickly and that can be a main reason people are turned off by dieting. Most diets these days actually capitalize on this misunderstanding and promise quick weight loss when all they are doing is manipulating your water weight through sodium and water intake itself.

If you do not drink enough water throughout the day, your body will go into a "survival mode" in which it holds on to every ounce of water it can.  The other major factor in water weight changes is salt or sodium intake, if you consume less sodium you will hold less water weight and if you consume more sodium your body will retain more water weight, sodium directly affects your body's tendency to store water.

So hopefully by being  more informed on that variable in your weight loss, you can now watch your weight  loss more closely from that aspect  and understand whether the weight you are losing is mostly coming from water weight, which means the weight is likely to come back quickly and is not true fat loss.

Fat Loss

Luckily, the next easiest form of weight loss can be done by losing fat, which is what people actually want to lose. Fat is built up over time and stored around your body, in what experts have coined fat stores.  However, it is also important to note where you actually store your fat is largely dependent on your genetics and this is not the same in every individual.  To target these fat stores and get rid of excess fat you will need to force your body to burn the stored fat as energy. That is what they are there for after all, your body stores fat for later energy use.  However, if you never take any measures to get rid of this excess fat it will just keep building and building.

To lose fat efficiently you need to be in a calorie deficit for the day, meaning you need to have burnt more calories that day then you consumed, if you did not consume enough calories that day your body will be forced to find other ways to create the energy, such as using its fat stores. However, there is more to consider when trying to achieve fat loss through calorie deficits and exercise and that brings us to the final variable.

Muscle Loss

Muscle loss is the hardest thing to achieve and that is a good thing, you never under any circumstance should lose muscle no matter how bad you want to lose weight. Muscle loss is the hardest to do because to lose muscle you need to either be in too big of a calorie deficit (Approaching Starvation) or doing too intense of cardio where your body burns muscle instead of fat.  If you cut calories too much and are barely getting enough to even function, like some extreme diets recommend is very dangerous to your short and long-term health. Most experts have agreed that by following a very low calorie diet you may lose 1 pound of muscle per 1 pound of fat so a 50/50 ratio, which is unacceptable.

The other way I mentioned you might lose muscle is through too intense of cardio sessions. Cardio should be done in a pretty comfortable pace if done for long periods of time and if you do  need to  do intense cardio, be sure to  do it in short intervals , long bouts of intense cardio is very  likely to use muscle as energy and is a big risk to your general health.

How to ensure you are losing fat…

So, in summary the easiest way to make sure you are losing weight in the desired way of fat loss is to monitor how fast you are actually losing the weight.  If you are losing the weight at too fast you are most likely losing water weight or even worse muscle.  A good goal for fat loss is to lose 2-5 pounds a week depending on how overweight you are, but remember 5 pounds for most individuals is the top of the line.

More than 5 pounds per week would be a strong indication that not all of the weight loss is resulting from fat loss and you need to reconsider the methods you are using.  I included a helpful list of weight loss tips below that hit the key points in being sure your weight loss is mostly fat loss and truly beneficial for you in the long run.

1.  Be sure you are meeting your recommended daily servings of water, which is 96 ounces plus an extra 8 ounces for every 25 pounds you are above your goal weight.

(Recommended by theNationalAcademyof Sports Medicine)

2.  Avoid very low calorie diets. Calculate your BMR to find out how many calories you should consume per day just for normal function and never go beyond this number.

3.  Be sure your cardio sessions are not too intense to avoid your body using muscle as energy instead of fat.

4.  Monitor the rate that you are losing your weight at weekly intervals, if you are losing more than 5 pounds a week it is most likely that not all is coming from fat loss and is dangerous to your health.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

10 most popular weight loss articles of 2011

Posted: 31 Dec 2011 08:38 AM PST

During 2011 thousands of people visited our web site, read our articles, commented on our posts and interacted with our free online tools. To wrap up a successful year for Weight Loss Help and Tips we have selected the 10 most popular posts of 2011. These are the posts that received the most comments and social media mentions (Facebook likes, Google+ and tweets). Go through our list and select your favorite posts and do not forge to share them with your social media friends! You can also register to our RSS Feed (on the sidebar) to receive our new articles directly in your inbox.

Weight Loss TipsWeight Loss Tips
The most visited page of our web site was the home page. More than 1000,000 people landed on our home page in 2011 and selected one of our articles. Our huge collection includes more than 500+ weight loss tips.

Fast weight lossFast weight loss
20+6 tips that matter the most when it comes to fast weight loss. This post explains the most important factors that affect weight loss and what you can do to ensure that you will lose weight and keep it off.

20 Healthy weight loss tips
We always encourage and promote healthy weight loss methods. This post outlines 20 healthy weight loss tips you can easily fit in your lifestyle and get results without making too much effort.

Diet and Exercise PlannerFREE Diet and Exercise Planner
During 2011 we also introduced our free diet and exercise planner. Our on-line tools include a food calorie counter and fitness calorie counter as well as a diet calendar and weight tracker.

Weight loss tips for womenWeight loss for women
The majority of our readers are women and this post is especially for them. 12 Weight loss tips for women of any age and body type. If you are not the woman that can spend endless hours in the gym then this post is for you.

Weight loss tips for teenange girlsWeight loss tips for Teenage girls
More than 60 teenage girls commented on this post asking for weight loss advice and more than 50 got a personalized answer (by email) from our experts. We try our best to reply to all emails and help even more teens get into the right path of following a good diet and exercise program suitable for their age.

Weight loss motivationWeight loss motivation
You cannot lose weight if you are not motivated enough. Motivation is perhaps the most important success factor. If you are motivated and know what to do you cannot fail. Set your weight loss goals today!

Best Tips for Fast weight loss7 Best tips for fast weight loss
The 7 most effective tips for quick results. If you need results fast you must ensure that you follow these 7 tips. Start now and post your favorite weight loss tip in the comment and see  what works for other people.

Best Weight loss programs for womenBest weight loss programs
There are hundreds or even thousands of weight loss programs on the Internet today but which ones are the best? Which programs can you trust that they can generate results in a healthy way.

Weight loss exerciseExercise for weight loss
Last but not least, exercise for weight loss. Regular exercise promotes good health, well-being and weight loss. If you are serious about losing weight then exercise is a must.