Monday, March 5, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

FREE 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 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 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 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!

7 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
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.

Exercise 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.

7 tips for setting your new year’s weight loss resolutions

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 09:07 AM PST

One more year is coming to a close, the pads come out and the resolutions begin. January is actually the busiest time in the fitness and gym industry. February and March are probably the quietest with most people having given up on the weight loss and fitness effort…well until the bikini time comes around again. Setting New Year's weight loss resolutions is no different than setting other goals. Your goals need to S.M.A.R.T, in other words: Simple-Measurable-Achievable-Realistic-Timely, but most importantly you need to have the desire and willpower to work hard towards your targets. In this article we share 7 tips for setting your New Year's resolutions in such a way so they are achievable and realistic.

1. Set life goals

Instead of making a resolution list of the things you want to do make a list of the things you want to have and/or achieve in your life. For example a resolution list of the things you want to do could look like this:

Resolution List 2012

1. Lose weight

2. Join the gym

3. Change my job

Instead think 'what do I want to have in my life'? For example:

Life Resolution List 2012

1. Look good and feel healthier

2. Be happier in my job

3. Be less stressed

Then think how you can achieve each one of them. Weight loss and exercise can then be a process of achieving to look good and feel healthier but is not the end to all means. In addition, there are other ways to achieve your goal such as eat healthier, or cut down on takeaways and sweets.

If you just concentrate on losing weight you will join the gym and get the next diet regime in the hype of the times. Then you will soon lose sight of why you are torturing and depriving yourself from food. No surprise most gym memberships are sold in January to never be used again by February with maybe small exceptions when preparing for the bikini season.

2. Compare your list with last years

What did your resolution list look like last year? Do you automatically list the obvious things which are expected to be in your list? For example I used to be a smoker and for about 10 years in the top of my list was I will cut smoking. Smoking was bad for me and I knew I had to give up so every year I expected myself to try and stop smoking and then feel depressed as I had failed myself.

In addition think why you didn't follow your last year's resolutions. Did something affect you? Did something change? Finding the reasons why you didn't do what you wanted last year it may be a way to help you avoid the same mistakes or help you plan for this year.

3. Be realistic

Christmas and New Year can be emotionally charged times. The end of an era and the beginning of a new one it can make us make decisions based on emotions and not reality.  Don't forget to also ask yourself if you are realistic in what you want. My resolution could well be finding a gold bucket at the end of a rainbow but no matter what I do it may not quite reach fruition.

4. Get off the diet wagon.

Another problem with concentrating with dieting is that you are likely to grab the next diet regime, book etc that looks good. Does it work? You may lose some weight in a few weeks but you will have to stop dieting at some point and then what? Have a break until the next diet or is it that you never stopped.

The weight loss industry is a very lucrative business and it does bank on the fact that you are looking for quick solution. I will go back to my first point which says make life goals and not a dieting commitment. Therefore, weight loss would be part of the life changes you want. Undoubtedly not everybody can do it by themselves, however try to pick that weight loss solution which will help you to learn about healthy eating, give you tips for your everyday life and support in what you are trying to achieve.      

5. Get support

Studies have actually shown that people who have support tend to lose more weight and adhere to diet regimes. Support which comes from your immediate family environment is always the best. However, if for any reason you can't make that work support could come from friends, weight loss buddies, and even weight loss clubs and online weight loss services.

There are plenty of choices out there so you can find the one that works for you.

6. Move everyday

Physical activity and exercise is a bonus for your health and weight management. Make a pledge to move every day. You don't have to necessarily pay big monthly subscriptions to a gym. Make a pledge to move a little bit every day.

Go for a walk, or run in the park, go shopping and walk around the shops, have a spring clean, play a game with the kids, have a swim and so on. All you need is commitment and imagination.

7. Start living

Once you set your life goals and resolutions all you have to do is start living. This is my new year's mojo. Stop dieting and start living. I am sure I'm not the only one who says that but I am loving it.

10 Best 100 calorie snacks

Posted: 18 Dec 2011 09:24 AM PST

Snacks can play a big role in our everyday diet. Snacks are that something you want in between meals, which need to be easy to eat, relatively small but enough to fill the hunger gap, or that little something which will keep your mouth occupied.

However whether you are on a weight loss diet or not, finding what to snack on can be a hard job. The usual commercial choices tend to be high in sugar, high in calories and high in fat and often not a 'healthy' choice.

In general it is recommended to avoid too much snacking and aim for higher in protein lower in sugar snacks. Such snacks would keep you full for longer and can also be better for blood sugar control. You can also read our previous post 13 healthy snack ideas for weight loss for more details. In today's post we have selected the best 100 calorie snacks for weight loss.

10 Best 100 Calorie Snacks

1.     Fruit.

Fruit are low in calories and full of nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They can and make an easy, light and healthy snack and they can always satisfy a sugar craving. The calorific values vary for each fruit with bananas being slightly calorie heavy.

Majority of fruit are also rich in fibre and high in water content both of which tend to make you feel full.

Tip: Keep one or two fruit of your choice in your bag so you can have them at reach wherever you are and whenever you want a snack.

Tip: Alternatively you can make a small fruit salad. Fruit salad panes are usually sold in most food stores or cafes so it can be an option if you are on the go. A 200gr fruit salad is approximately 82 calories; values can vary depending on the fruit used.

Here are the nutritional values for some fruit most commonly consumed.

FruitSugars FibreCalories
Apple (medium) 14.4 g13.3 g72 kcal
Banana (medium)14.43 g3.1 g105 kcal
Pear (medium)16.27 g5.1 g96 kcal
Peaches (medium)8.22 g1.5 g38 kcal
Orange (medium)12.25 g3.1 g62 kcal


2.     Yogurt

Yogurts are protein based snacks which can make you feel fuller for longer. In addition, yogurts can provide a flexible taste option as they be eaten plain or with toppings.

Tip: It is always recommended to aim for natural plain yogurts and add fruit or nuts rather than the pre-prepared fruit yogurts which tend to be anything else but yogurt.

Tip: Also avoid adding loads of sugar or syrups as it can increase the calories and the sugar content.

3.     Smoothies

Smoothies are another flexible option. With smoothies you can create your own combination to please your own taste, you can use fruit and vegetables, yogurt, cream, ice whey-protein powder, and the list can go on. It is not as easy to make if you are on the go or in work.

Tip: Unless you can have a freshly prepared smoothie is best to avoid the ones sold in the shelves. Pre-bottled ones tend to be full of sugar, taste enhancers and preservatives. Plus by the time you drink it most of the vitamins would have disappeared.

Tip: Avoid adding syrups and sugars. You could add a small teaspoon of natural honey or just a sweeter fruit.

4.     Punnet of blueberries or any berries of your choice

Some studies actually suggest that blueberries and in general colourful fruit (and veg.) can actually have a protective role against obesity related diseases. Satisfy the craving and help your body regulate blood sugar, and conditions such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Tip: Be aware that by eating berries alone will not do miracles. A healthy balanced diet as well will be a better winner.

5.     Avocado

Avocados are one of my favourite snacks. They can be eaten alone or in combination with other toppings. Calorific values of the snack will vary according to what you add on it. It can be easy and you could have an avocado on the go. I like to pre-cut an avocado in half and then take it in small container in my bag and eat it with a spoon when I want a snack.

Tip: Add honey and nuts for a sweet option or lemon juice for a savoury option.

6.     Rye crackers with ham or cheese

With approximately 32kcal each rye crackers can be a great snack. Add a slice of ham or a slice of cheese to add more taste. Again this is an easy and flexible snack option. In addition rye crackers tend to have high fibre content and therefore they can make you feel full for longer.

Tip: Have a little bag with 2-3 rye crackers in your bag. I often spend a lot of time driving in my job and they are handy to just munch on.

7.     Tin of tuna

Now this tends to be a very popular snack with body builders. This is an easy and high in protein snack.

Tip: You can add ¼ of finely chopped red onion, a pinch of finely chopped parsley and a small squeeze of lemon juice for taste.

8.     Olives and feta cheese

This is a simple, low calorie and nutritious snack option. There is a huge variety of olives and you can also buy them infused with herbs and spices so it can suit a lot of tastes. Feta cheese is a protein based option and combined with the olives makes a classic Mediterranean snack. If cheese is not to your liking you could have just the olives.

Tip: A lot of food stores or cafe places sell pre-prepared olive containers. Just be aware of the oil they could contain. Avoid the ones in vegetable oils; also olive oil can be healthy but if you eat loads of it then you could just be increasing the calorific values. Just be aware.

9.     Parma ham and melon

A Mediterranean favourite snack. There are different variations in the Mediterranean region. Italians tend to like Parma ham with melon and in Greece they tend to serve feta cheese with melon. Either way, it can be a refreshing and slightly higher in protein snack. If you combine 2 slices of Parma ham with 6 slices of melon you have a snack of approximately 80 kcal.

Mellon is also high in water content and as mentioned above it promotes satiety.

10. Baked beans

Baked beans are a British favourite snack. A small tin of approximately 150g contains 122 kcal. Slightly over budget but it is not a big deal. Values can vary depending on the size of the can and the brand. If I'm stuck for choices I tend to open a small tin however, I know that many people don't like them cold. Depending on your taste they can be an easy and on the go snack or it may need a bit of preparation.

Tip: You can use a couple of spoonfuls of beans with a handful of cheddar cheese.

You can also read:

How to burn fat with food

The Ultimate list for fat burning foods

How to control your desire for food

Single best exercise for weight loss for Women

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 08:49 AM PST

This is a question we get very often especially from women: "What's the best exercise for weight loss?" What can I do so that I get results fast and without the risk of putting the weight back? Is there a single exercise I can do at home and make me slim and fit? There are two answers to these questions and this is what we are going to explain below.

First let me say that this is not a new question for us. If you read most of the comments you will see that women are constantly looking for the best way to get fit. It is no coincidence that one year ago we published the post "Best Weight loss exercise for great results" which talks about the most efficient weight loss exercises. Basically the post gives more insight about the number of calories you can burn through stationary bike, elliptical trainer, step aerobics and running. These are certainly among the best weight loss exercises but this is not the complete answer for today's question.  The complete answer has other parameters which are equally important to the calories burned by each exercise.

The best exercise for weight loss is the one you can do

What do we mean by this? The best exercise for weight loss for you is the one you enjoy doing. It doesn't matter how many calories you will burn what it matters most is that you do it regularly and for a long time.  For example, you can burn approx. 600 calories per hour by doing step aerobics. This is great if you like doing aerobics, if you have the time to do aerobics and if you are physically fit to perform this type of exercise. Maybe step aerobics is the best exercise for weight loss but when it comes to you, this is not your best exercise. You may enjoy walking or running or any other form of cardio exercises and this is what is right for you. The 2 main reasons that most people fail to lose weight with exercise are:  boredom and injury. In other words they either get bored to do their workouts or they get injured because they attempted to perform a workout that does not fit into their body style and physical condition. How do you solve this problem?

Make a list of the exercises you like to do

So, as a first step make a list of the exercises you would like to do and find out how many calories you can burn for a 30 minute workout. Note: You can use our free diet and exercise planner to make your list.

Then once you have your list, identify which of the exercises you enjoy doing and select the one(s) that is more efficient in terms of calorie burning. For example, let us suppose that this is your list:

ExerciseCalories burn (30 minutes session)
Aerobics, high impact250
Aerobics, low impact180
Aerobics, water200
Basketball game270
Bicycling, < 10 mph,150
Dancing, ballroom110
Weight training190
Rope jumping430
Running, 5 mph300
Stair treadmill330
Swimming, laps210
Walking, 2 mph100


From the list above the best exercise is rope jumping with 430 calories per 30 minutes. Maybe you don't like to do rope jumping but you enjoy dancing, water aerobics, swimming and running. If you only have 30 minutes per day to work out then running is your best exercise for weight loss since it is an exercise you enjoy doing, it is an exercise you can do constantly and it is the most efficient exercise in terms of calorie burning from the other exercises you would like to do.

What if I do exercises I like but get bored again?

It is normal that doing the same exercises over and over again will sometimes make you bored. The solution of this is to do cross training. By doing cross training you basically do different exercises instead of doing just one. This has a number of benefits: first you will not get bored, second you get better results (more calorie burning), third you exercise more muscles and fourth you avoid the risk of injury by moving the pressure to different joints.

You already have the list with your favorite exercises so why not choose 2-3 exercises and do them in terms. For example you can do swimming on Monday, running on Wednesday and finish your week on Friday with aerobics. In between you can do walking for 30 minutes (10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon and 10 minutes at night). If you take this approach you will never get bored and you will get better and faster weight loss. You can also apply cross-training within your exercise sessions. For example do 10 minutes walking, 10 minutes running and 10 minutes aerobics instead of doing a single 30 minute session. Choose whatever suits you better and do it consistently for a number of weeks.

Learning how to exercise correctly is very important

It is not enough to exercise but you need to learn how to exercise correctly. For each exercise there is a good and a 'bad' way to do it. Doing it the wrong way will not give you the expected results and also you run the risk of getting injured. It is best to consult a professional trainer before starting any exercise or at least make sure that you have the right equipment (e.g. good running shoes, exercise mats etc) before starting your workout. We have outlined 10 fitness tips for women in a previous post that gives you guidelines on how to structure your workout.

Exercise is only part of the weight loss equation

Everybody knows that the best way to lose weight is by following a balanced diet and doing regular exercise. Exercise is a key part of the whole process that can help you lose weight faster but most importantly keep the weight off and never gain it back. Besides that, there many other tips you can follow for more solid results. You need to take care of your diet and lifestyle habits. We have gathered in a previous post 28 weight loss tips with exercise for getting the best results from your exercise sessions.

 The best exercise for weight loss for women is…

To sum up the best exercise for weight loss for women is the set of exercises you like doing consistently and for a long time without getting bored and can generate the best calorie burning results according to your lifestyle, body structure and physical condition. Finally, always remember that doing any exercise (even walking on a daily basis) is better than not doing any exercises at all.

The 5 most important weight loss tips for 20 year olds

Posted: 05 Dec 2011 09:31 AM PST

The basic principles of weight loss apply to all ages but there are specific weight loss tips for 20 year olds that take into account the energy and enthusiasm of young people. To start with, people in their twenties have more than one reason to take care of their weight and appearance. Ages 20 – 30 is the period to make friends and connections and the last thing you want is to worry about your weight. So, the 5 most important tips that will help you lose weight and make you look better but most importantly feel better are:

Tip #1: Learn the very basic rules of weight loss

You probably do not have the patience to read a lot of theories about weight loss but it is important that you know at least the basic rules:

  1. You will lose weight if you manage to eat less calories and burn more. The only way to eat less is by being selective on what you eat and drink and the only way to burn calories is through exercise and activity (e.g sports).
  2. One pound of fat is 3500 calories. This means that for every 3500 calories you save (by eating less and exercising more) you will lose one pound. If the opposite happens (i.e. you eat more than you burn) you will gain one pound.
  3. If you don't want to go on a diet then use a food calorie counter to count the calories you take in and try to burn more calories through physical activities.

You can also read why lose weight and how to do it correctly for more detail information as  well as easy tips to cut 200 calories per day from your diet

Tip #2: Drinks do have calories

Statistically people in their twenties tend to drink a couple (or more) drinks especially those containing alcohol. What you should understand is that drinks do have calories and if not taken into consideration can literally destroy all your efforts to lose weight. It is common to take care of what you eat but neglect the calories contained in drinks and then wonder why you are still putting on weight. You should take note that:

1 can of soft drink (cola diet – non diet) contains 140 calories. If you multiply that by 30 its 4200 calories or 1 + ½ pounds just by drinking one soft drink per day.

1 can of pre-packaged orange juice may contain up-to 600 calories

A regular vodka and tonic has 130 calories

Medium glass of wine has 130 calories

One pint of beer has about 240 calories

One shot of Whiskey about 55 calories

Calories from drinks are considered "empty" calories since they have nothing to offer (no nutritional value)

Tip #3: If you don't want to join a gym then move!

Going to a gym on a regular basis will help you stay fit and within your normal weight. Unfortunately not all people like or want to spend time in the gym but this does not mean that they cannot lose weight. Use your energy wisely and engage into activities that you like and at the same time burn calories. Sports are perfect examples where you have fun, socialize and lose weight at the same time. For instance:

With Cycling you can burn 300-400 calories every 30 minutes

Playing 30 minutes racquetball is equivalent to 300 calories

30 minutes of basketball is 290 calories

30 minutes of tennis is 300 calories

Hint: You can use our free diet and exercise planner to analyze the calories you burn from each sport or activity

You can also read 28 exercise tips for weight loss and Best weight loss exercise for more detail information.

Tip #4: Do you drink enough water per day?

I cannot stress enough the importance of water for a good health and weight loss. Water helps your body organs function better, enables easier digestion, replaces lost body fluids and can delay (and minimize hunger). The best way to start drinking water is by first taking note on how many classes of water per day you normally drink. Do not be surprised if the results are 1, 2 or 0! Many people tend to drink other beverages instead of water but NONE of them can replace water functions. So, find out your daily average and try to increase that to 6-7 classes per day. The more you can drink the better is for your health.

Tip #5: Breakfast, protein and carbohydrates

A protein rich breakfast is important for many reasons. It will give you enough energy for your daily activities and keep your stomach busy until lunch time. It is a fact that many people do not eat breakfast, especially when they wake up late in the morning but it is important to make an effort and change this habit. You can read the importance of a good breakfast for more detail information.

Also you should have clear in your mind about the role of protein and carbohydrates in losing weight. Both nutrients are necessary for a healthy and balanced diet. Protein promotes weight loss by keeping you full for longer, helping you build more muscles (and burn fat) and by making your bones stronger. Carbs are as equally important since they are used as a 'fuel' from the body. They are especially important for those who exercise regularly and when taken in moderation can do more good to your health than any harm. Read more about carbohydrates and weight loss.

You may also like to read:

Weight Loss for Teens and Weight Loss Tips for Teenage Girls

How do Americans lose weight?

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 06:10 AM PST

A very interesting study by Gallup reveals how Americans lose weight. The study, among other things, shows that the real way to lose weight is not through weird weight loss programs but by adopting the basic principles of losing weight (eating less and exercising more) in your everyday life. These are the concepts we are trying to promote in our web site and products and we are more than happy to see that the majority of the people who want to lose weight follow this path and not any other shortcut. The 10 main findings of the study are the following:

  1. 52% of Americans have succeeded (at least once) to lose weight in their life. This also means that 48% failed but hopefully the results of this study will motivate them to give it another shot and succeed.
  2. The most effective way to lose weight according to the responses is by working out and exercising (31%) and by eating less (23%).
  3. 12 % of those who choose to go on a diet used a calorie counter to achieve results while 10% gave more preference to natural foods.
  4. Among the commercial diets, Weight Watchers is the most popular (4%) while the majority (32%) used a DIY diet i.e. eating less sugars and sweets, taking care of portion size and giving more value to fruits and vegetables.
  5. Diet pills and other weight loss supplements account only for 4% of the answers while surgery is only used by 1%.
  6. Men tend to exercise more compared to women and people over 55 tend to prefer dietary changes rather than exercise.
  7. The best method to lose weight is to combine both diet and exercise. 47% stated that this combination can generate the best results.
  8. It is believed that 66% of all Americans believe that they are overweight but only 1/3 are actively trying to lose weight. These numbers show the magnitude of the problem and backup the statement that obesity is one of the most popular diseases of the modern American Society. These numbers are consistent the last 5 years which makes the problem even more serious.
  9. The percentage of women who are trying to lose weight (or tried even once) is bigger than men. This shows that women take weight loss more seriously than men, something we have identified many times in the past.
  10. Women have more willingness to lose weight and 37% have tried between 3-10 times while men give up after one or two unsuccessful attempts.

Obesity is indeed a huge problem for Americans and despite the directions given by the different Government departments and non-profits organizations the problem becomes even bigger. The percentage of people who never tried to lose weight (48%) is big and this is very worrying. Lifestyle is to blame but it is also the responsibility of each and every one of us to take action for our own benefits and health. Weight loss is the result of eating less and exercising more, you do not need to engage into complicated, restrictive and dangerous programs. We have many weight loss tips that are very easy to implement and help you get started. Do not delay it any longer but take action today. You can continue by reading our 300 weight loss tips

7 weight loss tips for Christmas

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 06:42 AM PST

Christmas is approaching and along with the big present's shopping comes the big eat. Christmas is almost synonymous with putting on weight. After all there are so many festive parties, dinners and goodies which you only get to enjoy once a year.

Can you go through the party season and not topple the scales but at the same time enjoy what the festivities have to offer? I say yes and it is easier than you may have thought. Read below our weight loss tips for Christmas.

Tip #1: Beware of the sweets

I think we all may know that sugar and sweets do contain a lot of calories and are what I call sticky; they stick in the thighs, belly, and bottom and well just about everywhere. If you have the will power of superman then you can go through the festive season without touching them but I'm sure there will not be many people who can do that.

1. Have a daily allowance of sweets. For example set a 200kcal limit a day or 2 sweets a day. Work it out in whichever way it suits you, whether it is keeping your sweet eating for one meal, or a little bit per day, or once a week.

2. Keep your sweet eat allowance for those sweets which you really want. Boxes of chocolates change hands constantly through the season and you could find a couple in work, a couple in the house, sweet sampling in the streets or shops, in your neighbour's or friend's house. As a matter of fact there are in every corner and they look inviting and delicious. Don't spend your day picking and picking and picking, instead save it for those specific sweets which you have been waiting all year for.

Tip #2: Save your calories for the main meals

Cut down on snacking through the day. A lot people tend to pick food all day, and do what we call grazing. Once upon a time everybody used to advise that the secret to weight loss is to eat a little bit and often. This may be recommended if you have insulin/blood sugar problems or if your doctor has advised it for other reasons. However, in general grazing all day can have some problems.

1. You could be consuming more food than you think. Snacks such as a packet of crisps, a biscuit, and a cereal bar etc can contain a lot more calories than you think and when all put together they may be more than your main meal. Be especially careful during the festive period where there are snacks and nibbles everywhere.

2. Plan your snacks and meals so you have an account of how many times and what you are eating.

Tip #3: Plan for the dinner party

Do not skip meals. Do make sure you have the 3 main meals through the day. If you have a dinner party don't just starve all day so you can save your calories for the evening meal. Starving all day and then having one big meal once a day will not do any favours to insulin levels or other metabolism and hunger controlling hormones. The result could be that you may be feeling hungrier and end up eating more or storing more calories as fat.

Tip #4: The 'It is a healthy food so it is ok to eat it' misconception

Well dried mixed nuts are good for you, right? So it is fine if you have a load of those caramelised hot nuts which are popular in Christmas markets, right? Actually the answer is no. Just because a food item contains some healthy ingredients it doesn't mean that is automatically healthy or low on calories. For example a mixed fruit stew, cooked in masses of margarine and sugar probably has as much trans fats and calories as a portion of chips. Same could go for apples covered in chocolate or caramel, or other popular festive foods.

1. Think how far has this food come from its natural form and how much cooking and processing it has gone through before you eat it. Also what ingredients does it contain? A lot of commercially prepared food could be fried or cooked in vegetable oils and margarines. They could also contain high amounts of salts and sugars preservatives etc or you could be adding on top of it loads of toppings such as creams and sauces which are far from healthy.

2. Try home cooking. You could save a lot of money and calories. Well sugar is sugar but if you make your own apples and bake them instead of frying them or add less sugar, or in general go for healthier cooking options you could be better off. You could also be having some quality family time as well.

3. Count all calories. If you are trying to stay on a calorie budget then all calories do count no matter how small or secret or healthy they are. Be aware not to go mad or obsessed with calorie counting but be aware what's coming in.

Tip #5: Work the buffet food.

Buffets are a common festive practice and in general are full of pastries, sandwiches, chips or potato wedges, pizza pieces, breads, mini burgers…and you can fill your plate as much as you like and usually as many times as you like!

1. Look carefully the options contained in a buffet and don't just go through adding everything and anything. There are healthier options such as chicken pieces, salad, some past options. Avoid things which are drowning on mayonnaise or other creamy sauces, loads of pastries or bready foods such pizzas, burgers etc.

2. Don't add it on your plate just because is there and don't eat just for the sake of it. You do not have to eat from every single platter just because is there.

3. Don't over fill your plate as if you are not going to see food for the next 10 years. It is a buffet and it could well be that there is enough food to feed the whole of the neighbourhood. However, it doesn't mean that you have to eat it all. Add one layer not mountains and when you finish wait 5 minutes before you have a second helping. Think are you really hungry or do you just eat because it is there.

4. Don't stand over the buffet and keep on picking. Do you ever say 'I am on a diet' or 'I don't want to eat loads' and you just put one small piece of something on your plate? Then you sit or stand by the buffet and every 2 minutes you go and pick one thing. You can so easily loose count of how much food you had or what you had. Better put on your plate what you think you are going to eat and eat that, than kid yourself with regular trips and grazing.

4. Sit yourself away from the buffet or with your back to it. You will be less likely to go for seconds if you are not constantly looking for food or if you are sitting in a sit which is harder to go back out to the buffet.

Tip #6: Just because it's free it doesn't mean you have to eat it.

You walk through the mall or though the supermarket and there are tones of people who want to sample this and that. You have a tiny piece of chocolate, a piece of cheese, or a piece of cake. In addition, this morning someone brought a box of doughnuts in the office, or there was a buffet in the kid's school. It is all offered for free so why turn it down.

As with everything else a little piece at the time adds up to a massive piece. You also loose count of what you had and finally just because it is free and someone offers it to you doesn't mean you have to have it. Saying no thank you is not a bad thing.

Tip #7: Don't fall into the festive moment of compulsive buying & compulsive eating.

The festive season more than often does end up with masses of money being spend and giving in to compulsive buying. As with everything else left post festivities you have loads of food still to eat in your kitchen.

Marketing is well designed to make you buy and with the festive season is so easy to give in to compulsive shopping without a second thought. But think to yourself do you really need so much of everything. The more you buy the more you are likely to eat and from experience it is usually around March that the last box of chocolate gets eaten.  

5 Weight loss myths for a safe weight loss

Posted: 16 Nov 2011 06:57 AM PST

If you are looking for weight loss information, you probably read hundreds of weight loss tips and tricks, diet reviews and product showcases but how many of these are truth and which ones are fake or just myths that emerged over time? Read our post below for the top 5 weight loss myths of all times.

Myth #1: Fast weight loss diets work for permanent weight loss

The majority of weight loss programs promise fast and permanent weight loss results. This is one of the biggest weight loss myths for two simple reasons. First rapid weight loss diets are restrictive and this makes it very hard to follow for a long time, as a result people get tired and quit and the result is of course weight gain.  Second, crash diets are unhealthy and sooner or later people realize this and give up.

Do not fall into the traps of marketing gurus, if you want to lose weight permanently then follow healthy weight loss tips and guidelines and have in mind that the recommended (maximum) amount of weight to lose per week is ½ to 2 pounds.

Myth #2: Avoid fat and carbohydrates when dieting

Both carbohydrates and fat are necessary for a healthy body. Completely avoiding them is not recommended and will not aid your weight loss efforts. Following a diet that is very low on carbohydrates will make you feel tired and weak and may cause ketosis which can prove very dangerous in certain cases. Carbohydrates are necessary for normal digestion and also give you the feeling of fullness for longer periods thus saving you calories from 'unnecessary' eating.

It is true that fats have twice as many calories as carbohydrates and protein but they are necessary to keep your body in normal temperature levels and your stomach full for longer periods.

The only way to lose weight is by following a balanced diet which includes moderate consumption of both carbohydrates and fat. It is no wonder that during a recent study the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet (both diets are balanced diets) were voted as the best weight loss diets.

Myth #3: You can lose weight by exercise alone

It is a fact that exercise is the only way to burn calories. During a normal day your body burns calories to perform the normal body functions (breathing, digestion, walking, etc) but to accelerate this process and burn more calories you have to exercise. Exercise also promotes good health and increases your chances for a permanent and safe weight loss.

Exercise alone though cannot give you optimum results. You also have to be careful on what you eat. Weight loss will happen when the calories you burn are more than the calories you consume. When this deficit is above 3500 calories you will lose one pound. Also, consider that to burn the calories you consume from a meal may take many hours in the gym so by taking care of what you eat your chances of losing weight are greatly increased.

Myth #4: Light or low-fat foods have 0 calories

Not really. Compared to the same size full-fat version the low-fat will have fewer calories but certainly not zero. The label 'low-fat' is not representative of the number of calories a food may contain. Some low-fat foods have more calories than the full-fat equivalents because of added sugars or other ingredients that add calories.

Myth #5: Just be careful on what you eat without counting your calories

Many people believe that by just eating less (compared to what they used to eat) will lose weight. This is partly true. If you have more weight than normal then this means that you are consuming more calories than what your body needs. So, one of the expected actions to reverse this situation is to start eating less. But this is not the end of the story. You need to know approximately how many calories to save per day in order to lose weight. By making some simple calculations you can find out how many calories to eat per day, how many calories to burn through exercise and how to distribute your calorie intake between meals. Do not forget that you can use our free diet and exercise tracker to make all these calculations fast and easy.

10 Dining out tips for losing weight

Posted: 13 Nov 2011 10:10 AM PST

Eating out is unavoidable but this should not impact your weight loss efforts.  There are little things that make a big difference when eating out and if you manage to follow our weight loss tips correctly, you can enjoy your next meal without feeling guilty and more importantly without breaking your weight loss plan.


10 Dining out tips for losing weight

Tip 1: Select a good restaurant

A 'good restaurant' in our context is one that:

Serves a variety of menu dishes (not buffet) including fish and salads

Displays nutritional information for each meal

Has a good reputation for serving fresh food

Tip 2: Decide in advance what to eat

It is better not to go to the restaurant with an empty stomach and it is advisable that you know in advance what to eat. Before leaving home do your research by visiting the web site of the restaurant and make your decisions.

Tip 3: Choose your meals wisely

Eating out once in a while will not destroy your weight loss efforts but it is better to make smart food choices so that the impact is limited to none. As a rule of thumb try to order 'Mediterranean style' dishes such as fish, poultry, salads, legumes and whole grains. If this is not possible then give preference to the following dishes:

Steak – remove the fat and eat only the lean part (no sauces or gravy)

Chinese – prefer dishes that have lots of vegetables and avoid eggs as well as sweet and sour sauces. Go for steam rice instead of fried and try to avoid oil as much as possible.

Italian – Pasta with red sauce is a great choice. Carbonara and other cream sauces better be avoided.

Pizza – Vegetarian pizzas or margarita are better.

Mexican – Spicy foods are good for weight loss since they help metabolism. You can order chicken fajitas with vegetables and rice instead of chips. Minimize though the consumption or sour cream.

Tip 4: Drink Water or wine with your food

Soft and alcoholic drinks are full of calories and sugars. You can enjoy your meal with a class of red wine or water. It's also ok to order a zero (light) soft drink. Also try to avoid fresh fruit juices and cocktails.

Tip 5: Eat an appetizer

It's a good idea to eat an appetizer before your main meal. This will cut down your hunger and save you many calories. When choosing an appetizer avoid creamy food, cheese (for example nachos), sauces (for example chicken wings with barbecued sauce) and prefer: Salads (for example a small green salad), seafood (smoked salmon is a great choice), soups and vegetables. Have in mind that avocado which is used very often as an appetizer has a lot of fat and calories. (Hint: You can use our free calorie counter to see the nutritional information for each food)

Tip 6: What about side dishes?

Restaurants have many choices for a side dish. You can safely choose steamed or boiled vegetables, baked potato (without butter, cheese or sauces), rice, noodles or even seafood. Potato chips, salads with dressings, fried food is not recommended.

Tip 7: Eating slowly does matter

One of the little things that do play a role is eating slowly and chewing your food very well. When eating slowly you give enough time to the brain to get the 'signal' from the stomach that it is full and thus avoiding the consumption of extra and unnecessary calories. Also by chewing your food very well you make the digestion process faster and easier for the stomach. Take your time, talk with your friends, drink your water or wine and enjoy your dinner.

Tip 8: Size does matter

The size of the portion does matter. Restaurants usually have big plates and this makes the food quantity look small but in reality this is not the case. Do not judge the size of the portion from the plate size but during your meal try to stop when you are feeling full. Do not get carried away by what your friends may be doing or eating and make sure that you leave space for a desert as well.

Tip 9: Deserts

Deserts don't have to be full of fats and sugars to be tasteful. You can still enjoy a fresh fruit salad, a low-fat yogurt or a lemon pie for a desert and be happy. It's ok to have a small ball of vanilla ice cream but as a rule of thumb try not to eat chocolate cakes, cookies and creamy deserts.

Tip 10: Enjoy your meal without feeling guilty

Even if you eat more than expected it is not the end of the World. Do not feel guilty about it, try to enjoy your meal and try to be better next time. What is important though is to take corrective actions. If for example you eat a few calories more then try to burn those calories the next day by walking, running or using other forms of exercise. You need to keep a balance so that you are happy and satisfied. If you made a mistake during your meal then you need to correct your mistake by doing something more during your exercise sessions.

Dash diet and Mediterranean diet voted as the best overall diets

Posted: 05 Nov 2011 07:16 AM PDT

November 5, 2011. A recent 'diet ranking' by 22 experts (under the supervision of health section), nominated the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet as the world's healthiest diets. This is no surprise at all since we have been talking about these diets for a very long time.  In our article last week we explained the real benefits of the Mediterranean diet which go beyond weight loss and DASH diet is included in our ranking for the best weight loss programs.

Both the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet share similar concepts. They are based on the principle of eating healthy food in moderation without exaggerations and by giving preference to lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grain and low fat dairy.

The DASH diet can help prevent and lower high blood pressure (hypertension) and was developed with the endorsement of The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).Besides the benefits of lowering blood pressure the DASH diet can also accelerate weight loss in a healthy manner.

On the other hand, The Mediterranean diet is considered as a heart healthy diet, can help prevent cancer, improve mental health and increase longevity. It is not just a diet but a lifestyle which encourages activity and other healthy habits. One of the unique characteristics of med diet is the consumption of wine in moderation and the excessive use of olive oil.

The other 3 diets that made it to the top of the list are:

TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)- Created by the national health institute and offers more flexibility than other commercial diets.

Weight Watchers Diet – The best diet among the commercial diets

Mayo Clinic – A healthy diet but not very effective for long term weight loss.

In addition to the above list we would add our own Combination Diet which is based on Mediterranean diet principles. It is also flexible and not restrictive. You can read more in our previous post: Lose weight with the Combination diet.

Certainly if you are looking for healthy ways to lose weight the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are the best you can get, not neglecting the effectiveness of TLC, Weight Watchers, Mayo Clinic and Combination diet.

In general when choosing a diet to lose weight you should always select a diet that you can follow and can fit in your own lifestyle. Avoid restrictive diets and prefer non-commercial diets since these are created for the whole purpose of helping you lose weight and life healthier and not for the intention of making profit.

The real benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Posted: 30 Oct 2011 01:15 AM PDT

It is a common claim that people in the Mediterranean live longer and are stronger and healthier. Is it true or is it a claim to help sale olive oil?

The Mediterranean dietary pattern has been linked with weight loss and positive health outcomes. Studies seem to be supportive of following a Mediterranean dietary pattern as a solution for weight loss and obesity.

We already nominated the Mediterranean diet as the best diet in our previous post 5 best weight loss programs for women and we have seen how to lose weight with the combination diet, a diet based on the Mediterranean dietary pattern.

In this article we have gathered a summary of some of the real benefits of the Mediterranean diet which go beyond weight loss.

The Mediterranean diet defined

The Mediterranean diet derives from the countries based in the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. The differences in dietary habits, cooking style ethnic and religious customs make it impossible to give one single definition of what the Mediterranean diet is.

Much of the scientific research originally looked at the benefits of the Cretan diet in Greece. Later studies looked and compared diets in the rest of Greece and Northen Italy. There are common components shared in the dietary patterns in all the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea however, at the same time there is a large diversity.
Therefore, it may be more accurate to refer to a Mediterranean dietary pattern or style rather than a 'Mediterranean diet'.

Health benefits – cardiovascular disease

One of the main elements of the Mediterranean dietary pattern is the high consumption of foods deriving from plant origin such as fruit and vegetables. Why is this beneficial?

Plant foods are rich in fibre, vitamins minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols, factors which can lead to a number of health benefits. Studies indicate that such elements can have a protective role from cancer and CHD (coronary heart disease). A lot of the characteristic of the plant-derived foods consumed in a Mediterranean dietary pattern such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, garlic, herbs, and red wine contain a large amount of bioactive compounds. These can collectively provide significant health benefits. For example, nuts, are rich in phenols, flavonoids, and phytosterols, fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, carotenoids, folic acid, and fibre, all of which are important in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Health benefits – cancer and other conditions

The protective benefits of the Mediterranean dietary pattern, against disease, don't stop only with cardiovascular conditions. Some of the food elements which are part of the Mediterranean dietary pattern, such as aromatic herbs and wild greens, contain antioxidants and other compounds which may have a protective role against cancer and other diseases.

In addition, according to some studies this style of eating has been associated with positive outcomes for insulin resistance (improving insulin sensitivity) and lowering the risk of developing diabetes, inflammation and other conditions.

Drinking wine is a good thing

It is not often you hear the health experts and scientist saying that having alcohol is good. Some of the protective against disease elements of the Mediterranean diet are awarded to the moderate consumption of wine.

The moderate consumption of red wine in particular (1-2 small glasses per day for men and 1 glass per day for women) is suggested to help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Alcohol contained in the wine is believed to favourably change the balance of fats in the blood which results in production of the HDL (high density lipoprotein) or what people tend to refer to as 'good cholesterol'. Another benefit of consuming alcohol but in moderate amounts is that alcohol tends to stop the blood from clotting together. Finally, wine can contain antioxidants as resveratrol, quercitin and epicatechin which can have a protective role in the blood vessels.

Some studies argue that in the case of women wine consumption can increase the risk of breast cancer. Although these links are not always clear cut, in general it advised that women don't consume wine and alcohol in large amounts.

Beneficial for mental health

Some studies have also looked into the benefits of following a Mediterranean dietary pattern in terms of mental health. Although scientific evidence are not as clear studies support there is a link between following a Mediterranean dietary style and reduced risk of developing some mental health conditions. For example some studies have shown that people who follow a Mediterranean dietary pattern show decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Live longer

Studies have shown that people who follow Mediterranean dietary patterns tend to live longer. It is not just an olive oil advert, but it is a scientific fact. I guess it kind of makes sense that if you have fewer diseases you will live longer. Yes that may be one reason why the Mediterranean dietary pattern has been connected with longevity. However, apart from keeping away from diseases which could kill you sooner, elements of the Mediterranean dietary pattern have been suggested to promote longevity.

Variability in the menu

With more than 18 countries based in the Mediterranean region there is plenty to choose from. Each country has its own recipes, customs and styles which can provide the Mediterranean menu with huge variability. Variations are also found within regions of every country so one kind of food may have hundreds of ways by which it can be cooked.

One could argue that you will never feel bored and you can always find something to like in such a huge menu.


Apart from being spoilt for choice the menu can quite palatable dishes. In the Mediterranean regions recipes use plethora of aromatic herbs and spices, wine, and other taste enhancing elements.

The use of such herbs and spices is not only good for the taste but also for health. A lot of these aromatic herbs have protective effects on health. For example rosemary and sage are antioxidants possibly due to the components (such as polyphenols or isoprenoids) they contain.

Weight loss

The Mediterranean dietary pattern has also been praised for helping in weight loss. Mediterranean style diets are believed to offer a healthy balanced option which can be low in calories.

Obviously a dietary style/pattern is what you make of it. For example, vegetables are, in general, low in calories and can contain vitamins and minerals. However, depending on how they are processed and cooked they may provide a meal with high calorific content and very little nutritional value.

The French paradox

Traditionally the French diet is rich in saturated fats, animal products such as cream, meats and they consume high amounts of wine. However, despite following such a diet they used to have low rates of cardiovascular disease and cholesterol and in majority they were very slim.

These statistics have changed in more recent times in which the French follow more westernized diets. A lot of scientists have tried to give different explanations for what they call the "French Paradox" but in general they believe that drinking wine and consuming large amounts of fruit and veg. are some of the main reasons for this phenomenon.

Similarly the Cretan diet can consist of a lot of red meat in some regions, however, the Cretan diet is considered as one of the healthiest.

Lose weight with the combination diet

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 03:59 AM PDT

When I was writing the 'Combination Diet' book someone asked me if writing a diet book was a wise decision. Their argument was that there are so many diet books out there written by big 'celebrity status' names and so called diet gurus, backed up by big companies and advertising campaigns. So they quite rightly asked 'What makes you think that your book can compete with all these?'

I say a fair enough question and here is my answer. First I am not writing a book to compete with anybody. Secondly if all the weight problems were solved and covered by all these books and diets then why is obesity reaching epidemic levels? From my experience so far I can say that there is a considerable amount of people visiting weight loss websites every day and they all are looking for the same thing; a weight loss solution.

Will the combination diet be the answer to all weight problems?

To put it quite simply, No it will not. Each and every one of us is a unique oddity and we can't believe that one simple thing will suit each and every one of the few trillion of us around the world. Yes there is such a thing as optimum nutrition or the best recommended diet pattern but let's be totally honest it is not for everybody. There will always be an 'X' diet which works for 'Z' amount people and an 'A' diet which will suit 'B' amount of people.

Dieting is a personal thing; we all have different tastes, different lifestyles, different metabolism, different habits and preferences. To try and fit everybody in one box will be like setting up our self to fail.

What does the Combination Diet has to offer then?

Through our experience in the weight loss field, (the team who some of you may already know through the weight loss articles) we have seen that people are looking for answers. We gathered this experience and all the information you all have passed to us through the time with your contact, comments and questions and we decided to put the 'Combination Diet' together. So basically the project was inspired by what people have showed us they want and need. 

Why that diet regime? We looked at our scientific knowledge and we looked at what science says and we put together a healthy, balanced diet which aims to return weight loss results. Our no 1 goal was weight loss and our no 2 goal was health. Our philosophy was try to provide people with a solution which will be easy, practical and above all healthy. As you may know there are numerous ways and diets you can go about losing weight but there are not always healthy.

From the above, and to quote my own self, we thought that not everybody is the same and so the 'Combination Diet' had to offer flexibility. Indeed flexibility in terms of food choices and calories to be consumed is the no1 philosophy of the diet.

What else is different?

Weight loss is not always an easy job, as some of you may know. We did not want to just sell a diet to people but put together a lifelong solution. Therefore, we have created the 'combination diet' package. The book itself is packed with tips and guidance for every step of dieting whether being with following the 'combination' regime or whether being making a lifestyle change, or following any weight loss regime. In addition, we have added an exercise section to further help you tackle and improve abdominal condition.

But it doesn't stop there…there is actually more added on to it. With buying the combination diet you are actually buying to a membership which entitles you to online services such as calorie counter, food and activities diaries and support from our experts. In other words you are not alone. We are there to guide you and help you in your weight loss steps. Our aim is to continuously update the members' site with tips, menus, recipes and with whatever else you tell us you need.

More on the diet.

I was looking at the diet 2 days ago with one of my colleagues and I simply said tell me any comments. After going through the diet she said to me I could never eat tuna for breakfast, I would be sick, I don't like salmon and I think I could only eat eggs for a couple of days. My response to her was 'What do you like to eat?' It turns out that she can only eat porridge and although she wants to lose her belly ready for the Christmas period she couldn’t give up her porridge.

I bring this example as I am sure a lot of people may think along similar ways. I would never in a million years want to create a diet which would be a torture for people. This is one main reason why the diet had to be flexible. The diet offers lists of menus for main meals and additional choices which you can combine with your main meals. In that respect you can chose what you want to eat, when you want to eat it and how much you want to eat. There will be choices which you don't like at all, well then you don't have to eat them.

The nutritional and calorie information which come with all the choices will further help you to set your own calorie range to follow every day. There is a step by step guide to help you determine how to set your own calorie range depending on how much weight you want to lose. Are you having difficulty to decide how or what to do, then ask us and we will help you.

To go back to my colleagues comments I have added a few weight loss tips to further take with you with the 'Combination Diet'.

        Tip1.   You do not have to be rigid in following the combination diet. The menus provided are a guide. For some people the choices may suit them just fine for others it may not be all to their taste and preference.

        Tip2.   If the above is the case then make a list of the foods which is no absolute way that you can give up. For Stella it was porridge for breakfast, for you it may be something else. Once you done the list go through it and try to think if you can give it up for a few days, not at all, or if they could comfortably go to a 'once a week' category.

        Tip3.   Be realistic with your list. Well if your list includes I can't give up on chips and pizza, be realistic that this kind of food will not lead to weight loss if eaten every day unless you starve all day just to have chips and pizza for dinner. Well that is unrealistic and unhealthy. If you are willing to eat chips and pizza once a week then this is more realistic and possible.

        Tip4.   Put foods which you can't stop eating in small portions (bag or container etc). For example: Is it chocolate your biggest weakness? Cut the chocolate in small portions and store it in separate bags. Make an agreement with yourself as to when you will eat a portion of chocolate and stick to it. The agreement could be I will eat one portion a day, or I will eat it only when my friend come around for coffee, it can be as specific or as general as it suits you. Make sure you calculate the calories of a portion of the food of your choice and add it to your daily calorie intake.

        Tip5.   If you are like Stella and you can only have one thing for breakfast then don't torture yourself trying to give it up. Try to make it as healthy as possible. In the case of Stella I would say that porridge can be high in sugars especially when adding syrup, sugar, jam etc for taste. Avoid the syrup and add a handful of nuts. Nuts can keep you feeling full for longer so you will not be getting the sugar cravings mid day. Or make sure you have a nice protein based snack or nuts if you do feel the mid day cravings. Use our food finder to calculate how many calories are in porridge and add it up. Adapt the diet to your needs and not your needs to the diet.

        Tip6.   Follow the principles of the diet for any other food changes. For example if you don't like chicken and you prefer turkey then make sure you grill it and not fry it and again use the food finder in the site to find how many calories that food has.

        Tip7.   Be realistic with your weight loss goals and the diet results. Well is needless to say that if you do chose to have a small portion of chips with your dinner every day, because you cannot live without chips then you will also need to be more linear with your expectation. It could mean that losing that extra pound it may take a little bit longer. At the end of the day you will not be losing loads of weight by eating chips. The idea is that if keeping the chips will mean sticking to a diet then that is better than not losing weight at all or resulting to extreme and possibly unhealthy option (i.e. tape warms).

 Click here to find out more details about The Combination diet benefits for weight loss.





Article by H. Hagikalfa. Hara is also the writer of "The combination diet for abdominal fat".

13 Healthy snack ideas for weight loss

Posted: 29 Sep 2011 11:22 PM PDT

To help you stay within your weight loss goals we have gathered 13 healthy snacks for weight loss you can safely try out without the risk of gaining extra weight. The usual source of those extra and often unhealthy calories is the 'snack time'. I like to say that healthy or not if you can avoid snacks then do avoid them all together. If you are following a healthy balanced diet plan then you don't need to snack; you are providing your body with enough calories and food to take you through the day.

However, I must admit that it is not always that simple. I am the first to put my hand up and say that I forever struggle to have nice, easy, healthy snacks which will not topple my calorie counter.

After long planning, I have collected 13 healthy snacks for weight loss to try out. I am employing a 'kiss', 'marry' 'avoid' system. I am actually stealing this phrase from a British TV series but I think it works great when it comes to choosing foods. So for my version of choosing snacks 'kiss' means eat in moderation; it could be that they are either high in calories or may not be as good if consumed in large amounts. 'Marry' as much as you like and it is for life (these are the best snacks for weight loss) and 'avoid' I think is self-explanatory.

Healthy snack foods for weight loss

1. Vegetables. (Marry)

Vegetables can make a great snack. They are low in fat and depending how you have them they can be very low in calories. There is a huge variety of vegetables and there are numerous different ways in having them as a snack which means that they can cover most tastes. You can eat them raw, cut them into sticks or as part of a small salad or grill them, boil them and so on.

Above all most vegetables are full of fibre, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and so on. In simple words they can be all around rich in nutrients and can be very beneficial to health.

Why Not…cut carrots, celery cucumber and peppers into strips and have them with homemade salsa (pre-prepared dips can be high in sugars and preservatives).

Why Not… slice courgettes (zucchini) aubergine and peppers and grill them. You can eat them on their own or with some low fat cheese.     

2. A bag of salad (Marry)

Ok technically it is the same as vegetables. This snack is for those who pick and are likely to go for a packet for crisps. Someone will argue that picking on a bag of salad is not the same as picking on a bag of crisps. Well no it is not, salad is healthy, very low in calories, contains water which help you keep hydrated, does not contain massive amounts of trans fats, or salt. I can go on and on… I personally think is tasty as well.

3. Dried mixed nuts (Kiss)

Another healthy snack for weight loss, which can be nutrient rich, is easy and can make you feel full. However, dried nuts can be rich in fat and calories, so do eat them in moderation. For example 187g of mixed nuts can contain 800kcal, which could be half of your daily calorie needs and can contain 70g of fat, so aim for just a handful. In addition, many of the mixed nuts sold in shops may be roasted in vegetable oils, which can increase trans-fat content, or contain large amounts of salt. Read the label and try to aim for the dry roasted, without added salt or uncooked.

Nutritional values, as well as calorie content will depend on the type of nuts you choose and how they have been prepared. The below table includes an example of some of the nutritional information for dry roasted mixed nuts with no added salt.

Nutrition data for dry roasted mixed nuts, no added salt. (187g serving)
Total Fat70gOf which saturated9g
Total carbohydrate35g
Protein24 g
Calcium 95.9mg
Sodium 16.4mg

Nutrient data taken from out diet and exercise planner

4. Fruit (Kiss)

You must have heard from just about everywhere how important it is to eat loads of fruit and veg. so it may come as a surprise that I actually say in moderation instead of eat ample. Fruit are packed with nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants and minerals and undoubtedly there should be part of a healthy balanced diet. My 'in moderation' does not mean now and then and if you can have a fruit a day please do.

The only issue with fruits is that they can contain quite a lot of sugars. Sugar content as well as nutrient content will depend on the kind of fruit. Do include them in your daily diet having a large variety, and do have them as a snack, however, do not base your diet in large amount of fruit as you may find yourself consuming quite a lot of sugar.

Moreover, be aware that just because a food item contains a fruit is not always a healthy option. For example an apple pie is not a fruit or a healthy weight loss snack.

Why Not…Have a bowl of fruit salad. Try avoiding adding sugar or fruit juice from a carton or bottle. Use the juices of the fruit or squeeze an orange. You can sprinkle a few seeds and/or dried nuts (remember in moderation).

 Why Not…Freeze fruit and use them to blend them into a refreshing smoothie or to replace an ice cream craving. 

5. Olives (Marry)

I must say that olives are my favourite and I can eat the whole big jar in one sitting. If you do eat them to that extend they can add up to a lot of calories but if you just have them as a snack or to complement a salad then they are great. Olives is a main element of a Mediterranean type of diet and they are in general low in carbohydrate content and a source of monosaturated fats. Olives also contain a variety of different nutrients and they do come in a large variety of sizes, and kinds which means you have different tastes to choose from.

Why Not…enhance the taste of olives and make them more interesting. Keep them in a jar with olive oil and add garlic and herbs, or vinegar or even chilli (allow a couple of days the different tastes to blend).    

6. Cheese (Kiss)

Again with cheese you have loads of variety and tastes so you can find what rocks your taste buds. It can be high in saturated fats and calories depending on the type of cheese. As a general rule white cheeses tend to be lower in fat. That does not mean that you cannot enjoy the rest just keep it in moderation. In addition, be aware that some blue cheeses may have a strong smell and may not be the best snack choice in a working environment.

In general, be aware of the fat content and how much cheese you consume. You can combine cheese with some rye crackers or olives or a piece of ham and it will make a good healthy and easy snack.

7. Yogurt (Kiss)

Similarly to cheese be aware that it can be high in saturated fat content but can get the low fat versions. Go for natural yogurts and try to avoid the fruity or the ones which come in different tastes (i.e. toffee, vanilla etc) as in general they tend to have preservatives and sugars and do try adding loads of sugar in it or different fruit sauces, marmalade and so on.

Yogurt can be an easy and versatile healthy snack solution.

Why Not…Make your own fruit yogurt by adding fresh fruit.

Why Not… freeze mixed yogurt with fruit and have it instead of a sweet snack or on a hot summer's day. 

8. Fizzy zero (Kiss)

By fizzy zero I mean all the fizzy drinks which have zero sugar. You may not necessarily want something to eat but do want something to taste. Moreover, thirst can sometimes be mistaken with hunger and is good to have a drink first before attacking the snacks. Ideally is best to have water but I totally understand that some people like to have a tastier drink. If you are a fan of fizzy drinks the ones in the zero or diet category usually contain miniscule amount of calories.

Do not go overboard with them as they do contain sweeteners and there has been quite a lot of controversy regarding their safety in terms of health. But do keep well hydrated through the day and don't wait until you are thirsty to have a drink. My first recommendation again will be water and do keep fizzy drinks at bay.

9. Freshly squeezed juice (Marry)

I had a friend who used to substitute her breakfast and snacks with a freshly squeezed juice. I wouldn't recommend going as far as that but you can definitely use it as a snack. As mentioned above is important to keep hydrated and thirst can be mistaken with hunger.

Try to avoid pre-packed juices as they are high in sugars and preservatives and quite honest fruit have lost most of their nutrients by the time it reached your glass.

Try mix mixing fruit and veg. together for less sugar content instead of just fruit. You can get a juicing book or even just search through the internet and you'll see there is a plethora of different recipes.

10. Rye crackers (Kiss)

I call rye crackers my saviours and they are a sort of a lifeline for me. I always carry a few in my bag and I snack on them through the day. I spend most of my working day in my car and don't always have time for lunch so rye crackers are there for all day snacking, stomach settling, boredom munching and so on.

However, they can contain a lot of carbohydrates although it is less than a slice of bread and they tend to have low GL (glycemic index). You can combine them with a piece of cheese or ham or olives for a nice easy snack but try not to consume them in large amounts.

11. Eggs (Marry)

Eggs are not something which is often seen as a snack but more like a meal. Eggs are high in protein and can keep you full for longer. They are fussier to prepare and is not the sort of snack you just pick and go. However, you know you are likely to have a snack in work or through the day you can get them ready in the morning and take them with you. Hard boiled eggs can be a fast and filling snack.

Why Not…Have an 'eggy'. This is my favourite egg snack and my grandmother used to make for me when I was a child. Part boil (leave the yolk runny)2 eggs. Rough cut them in a bowl and mix with a piece of toast or 2 rye crackers. Add salt & pepper to taste and 1tsp of olive oil. Mix it all up.

It doesn't look as good but it tastes divine. Be aware it can be high in calories. 

12. Ham (Kiss)

A packet of ham can provide an easy and quick high protein snack. Different types can be processed and high in fat. Try to opt for fresher types, lean and maybe roasted or boiled. In general if it comes out of a tin tends to be processed, with added sugars and preservatives. Use ham in moderation.


13. Bread free sandwich (for desperate times)

This is actually a trick I tend to do when I am desperate for something to eat. There are many of times where I find myself in the middle of a village with just a convenient store in site and I need to get a snack which I can eat while driving. If my only option is a sandwich I tend to get something which is easy to eat, like chicken salad, chicken and bacon, I remove the bread and eat only the filling.

Is not the best snack option and pre-packed sandwiches from shops may contain sauces such as mayonnaise, sugars, salt etc. Not the healthiest of all, and not the most economical, but this is a desperate solution. If you can't find anything else and you are desperate try that trick and you will be improving the carbohydrate and calorie profile of a sandwich.

The above 13 healthy snack ideas for weight loss are only a suggestion and you are always advised to consult a medical professional before making dietary changes if you have any health issues or concerns.

5 Best weight loss programs for women

Posted: 07 Sep 2011 06:23 AM PDT

Wondering which are the best weight loss programs for women? Which diets or weight loss solutions can generate the best, the healthiest, the safest and the faster results?  The majority of our readers are women and very often we get comments asking the same questions. For the last couple of weeks we started a research project to find out which are the top 5 ways for women to lose weight. There are a plethora of weight loss programs, diets, supplements and weight loss pills circulating the market and we have selected the top 5 that meet our criteria (see below) and that are best suited for women. We have many times provided weight loss tips for women to help them lose weight without engaging into any weight loss program but in this post we are going to examine in detail the weight loss programs that are worth considering.

Our Criteria for choosing the best weight loss program for women

To compile our criteria for choosing the best program we have considered the following:

The dietary guidelines for Americans – The US government department of health published in 2010 the dietary guidelines for Americans. The guide provides advice on the different aspects of weight loss including diet, recommended calorie intake and exercise. The weight loss programs selected below adhere to these standards.

Healthy and safe weight loss: We have said many times that our goal is to help you lose weight in a healthy and safe way. We do not like crash diets, fad diets, suspicious products or anything that does not promote healthy and permanent weight loss.

A program that works and can be followed by the majority of women:  Many weight loss solutions can generate results but not for the average women. They can work for celebrities or fit women but not for women of all ages and body type. Our goal was to present you with programs that you can follow and above all programs that will generate the results YOU want. Both men and women have weight problems but in general women are more anxious to lose weight. We wanted the programs to be 'women friendly' and take into account the different life stages that a woman has to undergo in her life (period, wedding, pregnancy, and menopause).

Recommended calorie intake for women

Before getting into the details of each weight loss program is it worth noting the recommended calorie intake for women as well as the distribution between the 3 main food groups. The recommendations are provided by the dietary guidelines for Americans.

Daily calorie intake

Women between the ages of 21-25: 2,000 calories

Women between the ages of 26-50: 1,800 calories

Women over 50: 1,600 calories

Food group distribution

Fat: 20%-35%

Carbohydrates: 45%-65%

Protein: 10%-35%

5 Top weight loss programs for women

In order of importance, these are the top 5 weight loss programs for women that in our opinion are worth considering.

1. Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is not just another commercial diet but it is a lifestyle that promotes healthy eating and healthy living. It is a natural weight loss program that was nominated by UNESCO as the world's healthiest diet. The Mediterranean diet is a mixture of the cultures and dietary preferences of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean basin and hence this is from where it got its name.

Adherence of the Mediterranean diet to the dietary guidelines for Americans

The Mediterranean diet is a balanced diet and it is in accordance with the dietary guidelines. In fact most of the guidelines suggested are based on Mediterranean diet principles and the majority of the recommended foods are taken from the Mediterranean diet food pyramid. The endorsed distribution of fat, protein and carbohydrates for a healthy diet is:

Fat: 20 -35 %

Protein: 10- 35 %

Carbohydrates: 50 %

The Mediterranean diet adheres perfectly to these standards and the food components that make up med diet make it a heart friendly diet.

Healthy and safe

The Mediterranean diet is above all a healthy and safe diet. It is a statistical fact that people who live in the Mediterranean basin (Greeks, Italians etc.) live longer and have less incidents of cancer and cardiovascular diseases than Americans. It is not a restrictive diet and can be safely followed by men and women of all ages.

A program that works and can be followed by the majority of women:

The vast selection of food choices available in med diet makes it a perfect choice for women. Med diet gives more emphasis to fruits and vegetables, olive oil, legumes, fish, whole grains and less emphasis to red meat, processed food and other fatty and non- natural products. Since our goal is weight loss we should take into account that to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than what you need. The Mediterranean diet does a good job in this aspect as well since the average calories in each meal are around 1500 (of course this depends on the foods selected but as a rule of thumb the average is around this number) . The recommended daily intake for women between 20-25 years is 2000 calories, for women between 26-50 years is 1800 calories and for women over 50 is 1600 calories. So, a daily intake of around 1500 calories will create a calorie deficit that will gradually lead to weight loss in a natural way.

2. 17 day diet

Unlike the Mediterranean diet, the 17 day diet is not a natural diet but a commercial diet. This means that the sole purpose of the 17 day diet is to help you lose weight. It is not a lifestyle but it has a beginning and an end.  This weight loss program consists of 4 phases, with each phase lasting 17 days.

The main concept behind this program is calorie cycling. Dr Moreno, the diet author, suggests that with calorie cycling you aid your metabolism and keep away boredom while dieting.

In brief the different phases of the 17 day diet program are:

Phase 1 – "The accelerate cycle": At the first stage you are allowed to consume protein type foods in unlimited quantities and small amounts of fat provided that you daily calorie intake is around 1200 calories. This is the stage where you will experience fast weight loss.

Phase 2 – "The activate cycle": You decrease the amount of fat and increase the amount of carbs. Typical calorie intake is 1500 calories per day.

Phase 3- "The achieve cycle": You are allowed to eat almost any type of food but in moderation

Phase 4-"The arrive cycle": This is the maintenance part where you are supposed to watch your weight and follow phases 1-3 when in problem.

Adherence of the 17 day diet to the dietary guidelines for Americans

The 17 diet is not a bad diet. Phases 1 and 2 are not according to standards but phase 3 is a rather balanced phase. We have selected this diet to be part of our best weight loss programs for women because many women want fast results in a short period of time and phases 1 and 2 can give you the results you want in 34 days. The tricky part is to keep the weight off when you are entering phases 3 and 4 and this is where you need discipline.

The 1200 calorie diet plan introduced in phase 1 is the minimum you can go and since it is only for 2 weeks there are no serious implications. We have also presented our 1200 calorie diet for women in the past.

Healthy and safe

Although going as low as 1200 calories per day may not be suitable for some people we believe that for the average woman it should not create any problems (provided of course that you are not pregnant or suffering from any disease or disorder). Phases 2 and 3 are according to safety guidelines and the overall instructions provided in the 17 day diet book do not engage any health risks. The calorie cycling is indeed a way to kick start your metabolism and since each phase is only 17 days it does not create any other side effects.

A program that works and can be followed by the majority of women:

You can get results by following this program provided that you do it correctly and by the book. What many women like about this diet is the fact that is has a clear start and end points. You know from advance that you will enter a diet for 68 days. After that period you evaluate your results and decide the way forward. We did research into various forums and read the experiences of people who followed this diet and most of them did manage to lose weight and most importantly they manage to keep the weight off. Those that failed to do so did not follow the complete set of instructions but they tried a hybrid diet which at the end made them fail.

3. Dukan Diet

We first came across the Dukan Diet right after the media around the world 'announced' that this was the diet followed by Kate Middleton before the Royal wedding. This world's interest drove our curiosity to find out more about the Dukan diet and we decided to include it as one of the top 5 weight loss programs for women.

The Dukan diet is a 'phase diet' similar to Atkins and 17 day diet but it's main idea is to take care of what you eat rather than the quantity of the food you eat.  For this purpose the diet has a long list of foods you are allowed to consume at each stage. It is not an open diet where you choose what to eat (provided that you are within a certain calorie range) but it is a 'closed diet' in the sense that you are given a list of the foods to eat. In brief the 4 stages of the Dukan Diet are:

Preparation Phase – get ready by eating only protein type foods.

Weight Loss Phase – eat protein and fiber and lose weight.

Protective Phase – start eating foods from carbs, fats and protein and watch your weight

Maintenance phase – Eat healthy foods from all food groups.

The 2nd phase does not have a specific timeframe but it all depends on the amount of weight you want to lose.

Adherence of the Dukan diet to the dietary guidelines for Americans

As with the 17 day diet the first 2 phases of the Dukan Diet do not fully comply with the suggested standards because they restrict certain food items from your daily diet and promote low calorie meals which are sometimes below the average. The 3rd and 4th stage though is according to standards and best practices. The list of healthy foods suggested by the Dukan Diet has the same characteristics as the foods suggested in the dietary guidelines.

Healthy and safe

It can become unhealthy if you over do it. Restricting food groups from your diet for a long time is not healthy or recommended. If on the other hand you follow phase 1 and 2 for a reasonable amount of time (a couple of weeks) then you minimize the possible dangers.

A program that works and can be followed by the majority of women:

The Dukan Diet worked for Kate Middleton and many other celebrities and it can work for you as well. It needs some preparation work to ensure that you have in stock the foods items you are allowed to eat but if you are really determined to lose weight using the Dukan diet then certainly you can do it.

4. Slim-fast weight loss program

The slim-fast diet is something like an 'out of the box' weight loss solution in the sense that it comes with ready made products (snack bars, shakes, meal bars) that can be used to replace 2 of your main meals (breakfast-lunch) and snacks. This gives you the opportunity to consume up to 500 calories in a meal of your choice for dinner. It is based on a 1200 calorie diet and is best suited for people who need to lose more than 20 pounds.

Adherence of the slim-fast diet to the dietary guidelines for Americans

Since most of the meals and snacks are ready made products by slim-fast, they ensured that the daily intake of fats, protein and carbs is in accordance to the dietary guidelines. In numbers the distribution of fats, protein and carbs from slim-fast products is 20%, 30%, 50%. Their products also provide satisfactory doses of minerals and vitamins.

Healthy and safe

It is a healthy and safe diet to follow. Their products are not considered as supplements but as balanced food items which are both healthy and safe to consume. There are also associated with positive effects on insulin and blood sugar levels.

A program that works and can be followed by the majority of women:

If you follow the slim-fast program by the book it will work. There is no way out since the major meals are composed of slim-fast products that guarantee the amount of calories you consume. Now, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach. First it is costly because you will have to order all those slim-fast products and second there is a chance that you will get bored quickly and quit. On the other hand it is a perfect solution for the working woman who does not have the time to cook or organize her meals in advance. If you want a quick solution that is healthy and can generate good results then the slim-fast solution is for you.

5. DASH Diet

Last but certainly not least we have the DASH Diet. The DASH diet is a balanced diet similar to the Mediterranean diet. It is the result of research carried out in 4 medical centers and sponsored by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The main purpose of this diet is to help you lower your high blood pressure through healthy eating practices and lifestyle changes. By eating healthy food and following an active lifestyle you also promote weight loss. It is a diet that can be really helpful especially for women over 40 and 50. The basic principle of the DASH diet for losing weight is the following:  first you need to calculate how many calories you need per day and then you must adjust the calories you consume and the calories you burn so that you constantly create a calorie deficit or ensure that you are not creating a calorie surplus. In other words you need to consume fewer calories than what you burn.

Adherence of the DASH diet to the dietary guidelines for Americans

The DASH diet adheres perfectly to the dietary guidelines.  It is a balanced diet which gives more emphasis on fruits and vegetables and less to fats (saturated), sugars and salt. It is a heart-friendly diet which is proven to lower blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol.

Healthy and safe

Together with the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet is probably among the safest and healthiest diets in the World. People suffering from heart related diseases or hypertension are 'forced' to follow the DASH diet for health and weight loss.

A program that works and can be followed by the majority of women:

We already mentioned above that this diet is perfect for women over 40 and it is a very good choice for women of all ages. It is not very difficult to follow as it does not restrict any food groups from your daily meals. All it takes it to be selective on what you eat and in what quantities. You do not need any special preparations on food other than remembering to minimize the consumption of red meat, fats, sugars and salt.


At the time of publishing this post, these are the 5 weight loss programs we believe are more suited to women. For sure there are many other diets and programs that are suitable for women but based on our experience, research and criteria these can produce immediate results. You can also read a previous post on the most popular weight loss diets to get a better view on what is available in the market. What is important is to select a program or diet and stick to it for a number of weeks and then evaluate the results and consider if the particular program can work for you or not. Do not let the fancy marketing advertisements of weight loss products take you over but base your decision on healthy standards and practices.

Easy tips to cut 200 calories per day from your diet

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 07:53 AM PDT

There is often a misconception that if someone wants to lose weight they have to go on a diet. This usually translates in people's minds with following a specific popular weight loss diet regime, usually a quite rigid one. It does kind of make sense as it is the way people eat which is most likely the reason they put on weight. I will always preach in favour of following a healthy balanced diet, however, you don't always need to 'go' on a diet or follow a specific diet, or even radically change all your eating habits.

There are loads of little ways by which people can cut the calories down without a radical diet makeover and still lose weight. Read on these weight loss tips on how this is possible.

1. Tackle the portion size.

The simplest way to cut down on the calories is to reduce the size of the meal portion. What the meal contains will make a difference for both health and weight; however if your diet is more or less healthy and balanced or if you are really determined that you don't want to change what you eat, then go for portion size. This does not mean starve yourself by all means or skip meals. If you were going to have a burger and chips have a small burger and half of the amount of chips you would usually eat.

A personal friend who tends to follow this tip always suggests using smaller size dinner plates and only just about fill them, without going for multiple layers. Well think about the psychological aspect:

a)      If you have an extra large plate and ½ of it is empty you may process this as not enough food or be tempted to fill it.

b)      If you have a medium sized dinner plate and is full psychologically you could think that this is enough food.

Often when we feel hungry we can overload our plates and eat beyond the point of satiety. Think how many calories you can save if you cut the portion size of every meal…

2.  Cut down on fizzy and sugary drinks

Calories from fizzy and sugary drinks are the one's which tend to go unaccounted for. Possibly because people don't tend to think that a glass or two of fizz could tip the scales over.

Well a small size cup (16 fl oz/ 345 g) of the classic coca cola* from burger king contains as much as 150 kcal. The glass that you may consume at home is not that far off on the calories. How many of those do you usually consume per day? Do the maths to see how many calories you could avoid. Stick to only 1 or 2 glasses a day or opt for sugar free or low calorie ones. However, be aware that some artificial sweeteners commonly used in fizzy drinks have been questioned regarding the health risks they may carry if over consumed.

Like the fizzy drinks, a lot of the pre-packed fruit juices and fruit drinks can also be as calorific. For example 1 can (12 fl oz / 436 g) of breakfast type orange drink with juice can contain as much as 665 kcal. Having second thoughts about that glass you had for breakfast?

You can use our free calorie counter to track down the calories each food, drink and activity has.

 3. Skip sugary snacks, biscuits and crisps 

Offices, schools, and workplaces in general tend to house a biscuit tin in the kitchen or common area, or a snacks vendor. The same way dampness breads bacteria, offices bread calories. If you add the couple of biscuits with the packet of crisps and the energy bar you had you will probably find that you had an extra meal. Always carry some healthy snacks like a fruit or a handful of nuts to cover you if you get a craving or the munches and try to say no to the very tempting box of chocolates.    

4. Skip cereals and cereal bars

Ok maybe I should rephrase this in skip some cereals, but I must admit I am not part of the cereal fun club all together. Breakfast is an important meal so treat it with respect. Why should you avoid the most popular breakfast and snack? There are 2 ways that you could potentially be saving yourself from extra calories.

a)      A lot of the advertised as 'healthy' cereals contain enough sugar to cover the needs of the whole neighbourhood. Apart from the fact that too much sugar is not good for the body, they can also contain a lot of calories. I would first suggest to replace your cereal breakfast with a protein based one such as boiled eggs. However, if you have to have cereal it helps to read the labels and chose the lowest in sugars and calories.

b)      I have spoken about the sugar – insulin vicious cycle in previous articles. Basically you if you have loads of carbs for breakfast you are likely to get hunger cravings half way through the day and end up with a snack. On the other hand with a protein based breakfast you are more likely to feel full for longer and thus not need a snack before lunch.

Cereal bars play on a similar tune; too many calories and too much sugar.

5. Don't fry. Go for grilling, roasting, boiling

The way in which food is prepared can change the amount of calories it contains. It can also change the amount of trans fats it contains and frying is definitely guilty for doing both. See bellow the values for 100g of chicken (without the skin and bones) if fried, roast or stewed:

100g chicken = 288 kcal fried

100g chicken = 239 kcal roast

100g chicken = 209 kcal stewed

If you do the maths is pretty obvious that stewed will have the least calories, however, if not to your taste you can still roast or grill food and be as tasty. If you skip frying for majority of ingredients/meals then you could be well on your way of cutting 200 kcal daily (if not more).

6.  Opt for fresh food instead of processed food

Freshly prepared foods tend to be less calorific than processed foods. One main reason is that they usually contain loads of carbs and sugars, especially if they are in a sauce. Replace the frozen chicken nuggets with fresh chicken pieces. Ideally you want to skip the breadcrumbs as well but if you have too… Don't forget to avoid deep frying it as well (see above).

7. Remove the skin of the chicken and the fat from meat

Chicken skin and fat in your steak can add extra calories. Yes it can be really tasty sometimes when all crispy but it will not do any favours to your waistline or your health. Try to buy lean meats or cuts where the fat is visible and remove majority of it. Do the same with bacon as well. It is a fair amount of calories there.

How to prepare your healthy weight loss plan

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 06:56 AM PDT

Pre-designed diet regimes do not suit everybody. In addition, not every diet circulating in the market is healthy or returns weight loss results. Understandably many people just want to follow a simple healthy balanced diet which will help them lose weight. This is what most experts profess anyway, as the right way forward.

At the same time most people don't know where to start. What is healthy, how do you go about it, what is balanced and how much are you meant to be eating to lose weight? All these are common questions people ask and in this article I will try to provide some tips on how to prepare a healthy weight loss plan.

Before you even think about food

A weight loss plan is not just about food but all the other steps you need to make to set up. These steps can help you with any weight loss regime you may want to do.

First: Weigh yourself and decide how much weight you need or want to lose. This way you can plan on how long it will take you to lose the weight, how many calories should you be eating and most of all you can have a clear goal of what you want to achieve. For your weight loss is always recommended not to exceed 1 – 1.5 kg per week.

Second: Keep a foods and drinks diary for a week. I have mentioned the importance and role of food diaries in a number of previous articles such as 'How to control your desire for food' and 'Weight loss: An introduction to a healthier life style'. What, when and why you eat what you eat can play a role in how you plan your meals and your weight loss plan.

Third: Make a list of the reasons why you want to lose weight and what it means to you. Also make a list of coping strategies for the times you may struggle. Use the lists to remind yourself why you are following a healthy weight loss plan in the times you want to give up or give in to that pizza.

Food planning

Before you attack the super market for food shopping you should have an idea of what 'healthy' is. This part could be the most complicated. There is a plethora of foods which do claim to be a 'healthier' option however the reality may be different. For example a lot of oily sprays which derive from vegetable oils and margarines may advertise that they are healthier as they contain less saturated fats. However, they tend to contain a high amount of trans fats which may be more harmful.

1. Do some research on which foods are best to avoid. There is a lot of information available. You don't have to study for a PhD in Nutrition or spend hours on the internet. Make a small list with some basic foods, containing for example trans fats, soy and processed foods and try to avoid including them in your shopping list.

2. Stick with simple and natural foods but do have a variety. Include foods from all 3 categories, which are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. In simple words include meats, vegetables, and fruits. When it comes to more processed carbohydrates such as pasta and bread aim for wholemeal and less refined options. Aim for 'good' fats such as the Omega fats and avoid trans fats.

3. Do try to avoid sugars as much as you can. It is quite well known that the cookies, cakes, and sweets don't help with losing weight. But apart from the obvious sweets can you cut down on the sugar you add in your coffee, or the sugary drinks and fruit juices you drink? You will be pleasantly surprised how many calories and sugars you can avoid consuming in a day. If you have to have a drink or have to have a sweet try to replace them with healthier and less calorific options. For example have a green tea or a fruit tea (no sugar) instead of a fruit juice, or have a fruit instead of a cookie or even a spoonful of yogurt with a tiny amount of honey instead of a cake.

4. Replace and don't exclude. Healthy food doesn't have to be rabbit bland food. As I have already mentioned apart from some exceptions, a healthy weight loss plan is not about restricting yourself with food. It is important to have variety of nutrients. So when you plan your diet replace those foods which may be harmful or calorific. Replace vegetable oils and margarines with olive oil, a cereal bar with a fruit, chips with mash potatoes or even better with a big salad, fruit juice with fruit tea (no sugar), mayonnaise with vinaigrette and so on.

5. On that same note replace the ways by which you cook food. It is not just the ingredients that make a meal healthy or calorific but the preparation of them as well. For example don't fry the food but grill or roast it, don't add loads of vegetable oil but only a tablespoon of olive oil and so on. You can find loads of fun, tasty recipes which include healthier cooking options and fresh ingredients. Make a collection of recipes or cooking ideas beforehand so if you are stuck for ideas or not sure how to do it you can use them.

6. Know your maths and calories. Calories are not the end to all means in a weight loss plan; nevertheless, if you only need 2000 kcal per day and consume 3000 kcal of salad you will still put weight on. In addition you are likely to have some serious wind issues. Don't get obsessed with calorie counting but have an idea how many calories each meal worth.

On average women require 1500 – 2000 kcal per day and men require 2000 – 2500 kcal per day. In simple math's terms 1lb of fat translates to 3500kcal. So in order to lose 1lb of fat per week you need to eat 500kcal less than you need.

You can find charts which calculate the basal metabolic rate (amount of calories used just to be alive) and charts which calculate calories according to different activities. All these charts will not give 100% accurate calculations but you can use them as a guide.

7. Read the labels. It is always good to have a look at the labels of the food you buy. Look for sugar, carbohydrate and salt content. It is very rarely that trans fat content is actually included in the labels, however, avoid a product if it contains hydrogenated oils or cooked in hydrogenated/ vegetable oils. You don't have to become obsessed, but is worth check what you eat. As I mentioned earlier a lot of 'healthy' products may actually have more risks for health than the benefits they may provide.

Moreover, food can have an accumulative effect. What that means is that the 2 grams of sugar in a sandwich may not tip the scale. However, by the time you add all the things you have consumed in a day the result may be high amounts of sugars, salt etc.

The rest

8. Exercise. Last but not least, include exercise in your weight loss plan. The benefits of exercise are not just limited to increasing weight loss but extend in most areas of life. But to keep it to the point, what can exercise do for your healthy weight loss plan apart from being healthy?

Exercise helps with increasing the amount of calories you burn not only while you exercise but also when you are resting. The more muscle you have the more your metabolic rate increases. Well that doesn't mean that you have to kill yourself in the gym. In any way you can increase your physical activity will help. In addition, with exercise you do get fitter and you behind does look better in that dress.

9. Do consult the appropriate medical and/or fitness professionals before making changes to your diet and/or physical activity especially if you have any pre-existing health complaints or concerns. The above are only some suggestions and you should only follow what suits your individual needs.

1200 calorie diet for women

Posted: 13 Jul 2011 01:51 PM PDT

Dieting is one of the ways to lose weight but from the questions we get from our readers it seems that many people do not know where to start. This is normal since the word 'diet' has been associated with deprivation and this keeps people away from even trying to control what they eat. As a result their weight is increasing and the problem becomes even more difficult to handle.

Our goal with this article is to give you an idea of a diet you can follow to lose weight quickly but at the same time healthy and without restricting any food group from your meals. The diet is easy to follow and will give you about 1200 calories per day. See below some common questions/answers about this diet.

How many pounds can you lose by following a 1200 calorie diet? This depends on your BMR and your daily calorie requirements. If for example you need 1500 calories per day to maintain your normal weight then by following this diet correctly for 1 month you can lose up to 2 ½ pounds. The logic is the following: You need 45,000 calories per month (1500 calories per day x 30 days) to maintain your normal weight. If you consume 36000 calories per month (1200 calories per day x 30 days) then you will save 9000 calories per month (45000 – 36000). Taking into account that 1 pound = 3500 calories, this means you will lose about 2 ½ pounds per month.

Is it safe? As a general rule you should always consult your doctor before making drastic changes to your diet. The average woman needs about 1500-1800 calories per day to maintain normal weight. The suggested diet is for about 1200 calories per day which is just 300 calories less than the average. You can also read how to lose 5 pounds quickly for more information on quick weight loss and calorie burning.

For how long should I follow this diet? A month is the shortest period you can follow this diet if you want to get fast results. Depending on your results you can choose to stay within the 1200 calories per day or gradually increase it to 1500 and 1800. This of course depends on your activity level, age and exercise.

Do I have to exercise? Yes. Dieting alone cannot help you lose weight and keep it off. We mentioned above that dieting is one of the ways to lose weight but you also need to exercise regularly in order to increase your metabolism, accelerate the fat burning process and convert the fat tissues into muscles. Cardio exercises for 3-4 times per week are sufficient for beginners.

How to you call this diet? This is an example of a balanced diet where you get to eat all kinds of foods but in moderate quantities. More attention is given to carbohydrates and protein and less to fat (but it is not eliminated completely).

What do I need to get started? You should first download and print the diet and read it carefully. Take note of the items that you do not have available and create your shopping list. Have a look at the recipes and make sure that you can prepare those meals using the correct ingredients in the proper portions. Once you have everything ready take a note of your weight (early in the morning) and start with the diet. Make sure that you do not break the diet rules very often and once per week take note of your weight and mark your progress.

Is this diet for women only? No. Both men and women can follow this diet but it will be easier for women to adjust to the proposed meals because it is closer to the recommended amount of calories they consume per day.

I still have questions, who can I contact? If you still have questions about the diet you can contact our team of experts at

1200 calorie diet for women ( download as PDF )

Day 1


Breakfast: whole grain bar with yogurt and fruit

1 wholemeal cereal bar

1 / 2 yogurt, (Low fat 0% -2%)

1 fruit of your choice (apple, orange etc.)


Snack: Croissant with butter and honey or jam

1 / 2 butter croissants

1 teaspoon honey or jam

Lunch: Spaghetti with tomato sauce with peppers and mushrooms and salad

1 cup cooked pasta

3 tablespoons tomato sauce with peppers and mushrooms

2 cups salad of your choice

Snack: Half a sandwich with wholemeal bread, ham (pork or turkey), cream cheese, tomato and lettuce

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 / 2 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet

1 tablespoon cream cheese

1-2 slices tomato

1 leaf lettuce


Dinner: Peas with cheese, salad and bread

1 / 2 cup cooked peas

1 piece (30 g) cheese (feta cheese or yellow cheese, low fat or 2 tablespoons of cream cheese)

1 cup salad of your choice

1 slice whole wheat bread

DAY 1BreakfastSnackLunchDinnerSnackTotal
Energy (kcal)2241373711373231192
Protein (g)10.312.3610.727.1111.3941.89
Total Fat (g)4.035.9913.245.1318.847.19
Saturated (g)0.383.321.922.366.1114.09
Carbohydrates (g)39.0318.8253.5816.6129.98158.02
Sugars (g)19.968.957.453.0110.4649.83
Vitamin C (mg)83.740.0953.647.4233.63178.52


Day 2


Breakfast: whole grain cereals with fruit and milk, bread, margarine and honey or jam

1 / 2 cup whole grain cereal with fruit

1 / 2 cup low-fat milk (1% -1.5%)

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 teaspoon margarine

1 teaspoon honey or jam


Snack: Half a sandwich with whole wheat bread, smoked salmon and cream cheese

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 thin slice (30gr.) smoked salmon

1 tablespoon cream cheese

Freshly ground pepper


Lunch: Chicken soup with cheese and salad

1 cup of chicken soup

1 piece (30 g) cheese (feta cheese or yellow cheese and low fat)

1 cup salad of your choice


Snack: Cookie with yogurt

1 cookie

1 / 2 yogurt (0% -2%)


Dinner: Omelet with vegetables and ham and salad

1 egg

2 egg whites

1 / 2 cup vegetables of your choice

1 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup salad of your choice

DAY 2BreakfastSnackLunchDinnerSnackTotal
Energy (kcal)2231373371372981132
Protein (g)8.89.4919.818.9520.2767.32
Total Fat (g)5.355.0421.225.1419.2155.96
Saturated (g)1.552.186.561.294.1815.76
Carbohydrates (g)37.2513.9616.514.2912.3294.32
Sugars (g)18.641.593.872.046.6832.82
Vitamin C (mg)10.53019.14188.71119.38



Day 3


Breakfast: Half a sandwich with wholemeal bread, ham (pork or turkey) and cottage cheese and milk

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 / 2 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet

2 tablespoons cottage cheese

1 cup low-fat milk (1% -1.5%)


Snack: Fruit

2 fruit of your choice


Lunch: Artichokes with potato, cheese and salad

3 / 4 cup artichokes

1 piece (30 g) cheese (feta cheese or yellow cheese and low fat)

1 cup salad of your choice

1 small boiled potato (125gr.)


Snack: Cream crackers with ham

2 cream Crackers

1 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet


Dinner: Fish soup (with rice) and bread

1 cup of soup (with rice)

2 slices whole wheat bread

DAY 3BreakfastSnackLunchDinnerSnackTotal
Energy (kcal)2231374071363501253
Protein (g)16.792.5511.927.1919.8558.3
Total Fat (g)6.020.4221.225.1312.3845.17
Saturated (g)
Carbohydrates (g)26.3835.1147.3914.8141.09164.78
Sugars (g)14.3323.87.370.864.951.26
Vitamin C (mg)0.56165.4842.231.122.65212.04


Day 4


Breakfast: Cereal maize (corn flakes) with milk and fruit

1 / 2 cup corn cereal (corn flakes)

1 cup low-fat milk (1% -1.5%)

1 fruit of your choice


Snack: Croissant with butter and honey or jam

1 / 2 butter croissants

1 teaspoon honey or jam


Lunch: Fish soup (with rice) with bread and mayonnaise

1 cup of soup (with rice)

1 slice whole wheat bread

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise


Snack: Half a sandwich with wholemeal bread, ham (pork or turkey), cream cheese, tomato and lettuce

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 / 2 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet

1 tablespoon cream cheese

1-2 slices tomato

1 leaf lettuce


Dinner: Risotto with prawns and salad

1 / 2 cup cooked rice (3 tablespoons uncooked)

5 shrimp (large)

1 teaspoon olive oil

Fresh chives, parsley

2 cups salad of your choice

DAY 4BreakfastSnackLunchDinnerSnackTotal
Energy (kcal)2221373781373201194
Protein (g)10.422.3617.397.1110.3847.66
Total Fat (g)2.665.9921.135.1314.3449.25
Saturated (g)1.593.323.282.362.0612.61
Carbohydrates (g)41.9318.8230.6416.6138.05146.05
Sugars (g)26.068.954.643.015.4148.07
Vitamin C (mg)85.820.092.657.4238.88134.86


Day 5


Breakfast: whole grain cereals with fruit and milk, bread, margarine and honey or jam

1 / 2 cup whole grain cereal with fruit

1 / 2 cup low-fat milk (1% -1.5%)

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 teaspoon margarine

1 teaspoon honey or jam


Snack: Breadsticks with ham

2 breadsticks

1 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet


Lunch: salad with Giants

1 cup cooked beans

1 cup salad of your choice


Snack: Half a sandwich with whole wheat bread, smoked salmon and cream cheese

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 thin slice (30gr.) smoked salmon

1 tablespoon cream cheese

Freshly ground pepper


Dinner: Salad with pasta, tuna and mayonnaise

1 / 2 cup pasta (cooked)

1 / 2 cup chopped tomato

1 / 2 cup chopped bell peppers

80g. tuna in water

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon of mustard or ketchup

Fresh chives, basil

DAY 5BreakfastSnackLunchDinnerSnackTotal
Energy (kcal)2231363311372981125
Protein (g)8.87.2510.769.4924.4560.75
Total Fat (g)5.356.2118.625.048.343.52
Saturated (g)1.552.362.622.181.6210.33
Carbohydrates (g)37.2512.3733.513.9631.07128.15
Sugars (g)18.6427.131.596.3435.7
Vitamin C (mg)10.531.1256.38072.08140.11


Day 6


Breakfast: Half a sandwich with wholemeal bread, ham (pork or turkey) and cottage cheese and milk

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 / 2 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet

2 tablespoons cottage cheese

1 cup low-fat milk (1% -1.5%)


Snack: Yogurt with fruit

1 / 2 yogurt (0% -2%)

1 fruit of your choice


Lunch: Fried Prawns with salad

10 shrimp

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 / 3 cup tomato juice

45gr. slice

1 cup salad of your choice


Snack: Half a sandwich with wholemeal bread, ham (pork or turkey), cream cheese, tomato and lettuce

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 / 2 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet

1 tablespoon cream cheese

1-2 slices tomato

1 leaf lettuce


Dinner: Pizza cheese and salad

1 slice of pizza with cheese

1 cup salad of your choice

DAY 6BreakfastSnackLunchDinnerSnackTotal
Energy (kcal)2231353731373201188
Protein (g)16.799.2719.887.1112.2765.32
Total Fat (g)6.022.2127.95.1316.1857.44
Saturated (g)
Carbohydrates (g)26.3821.5612.916.6132.09109.54
Sugars (g)14.3311.910.213.017.4146.86
Vitamin C (mg)0.5683.7449.977.4221.4163.09


Day 7


Breakfast: Cereal maize (corn flakes) with milk and fruit

1 / 2 cup corn cereal (corn flakes)

1 cup low-fat milk (1% -1.5%)

1 fruit of your choice


Snack: Breadsticks

3 breadsticks


Lunch: Meat soups with bread and salad

1 cup consommé

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 cup salad of your choice


Snack: Croissant with butter and honey or jam

1 / 2 butter croissants

1 teaspoon honey or jam


Dinner: Half a sandwich with wholemeal bread, ham (pork or turkey), egg and cream cheese and salad

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 / 2 slice of ham or ham turkey fillet

1 egg (boiled or scrambled eggs without oil)

1 tablespoon cream cheese

2 cups salad of your choice

DAY 7BreakfastSnackLunchDinnerSnackTotal
Energy (kcal)2221353781373251197
Protein (g)10.423.919.792.3615.1351.6
Total Fat (g)2.665.718.875.9919.6752.89
Saturated (g)1.592.313.663.325.2816.16
Carbohydrates (g)41.9316.9533.9418.8223.65135.29
Sugars (g)26.0636.578.957.5652.14
Vitamin C (mg)85.82025.620.0938.84150.37


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