Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

How many servings of vegetables a day? 5 servings. Find out why

Posted: 11 Nov 2012 12:59 AM PST


The keystone message of the medical industry, to eat more vegetables, can be difficult to swallow, but this is one area where you should redouble your nutrition efforts.  Why?  Eating more vegetables usually result in a slimmer, stronger figure, a lower risk of chronic disease, and a longer life.

It's true that produce is a powerhouse of important nutrients like Vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron, but here are some additional reasons to keep reaching for the crisper.

Tantalizing Texture

Texture is an easily forgotten aspect of the eating experience, trumped constantly by aroma and flavor, and yet it plays a key role in the snacks that wreak so much havoc on our waistlines.

Food companies are keenly aware that when you've got a craving, the odds are that you'll reach for something crisp.  Crisp foods make for great mindless eating, a hazard for those trying to watch their weight.  Fortunately there are some excellent crisp vegetables to take the place of processed snacks.

Baby carrots or those sliced on an angle can make a great replacement for chips when paired with hummus.

Mini bell peppers make a great, nutrient dense finger food at only about 90 calories a pound.

For creamy food lovers, cooked cauliflower can be incorporate into a dip for a tasty, healthy twist.

Peas, cooked, masked and mixed with avocado, can make for a low calorie guacamole.

Added Antioxidants

The term 'antioxidant' snuck into our food vocabulary so gradually that many people are still unsure of exactly what it means.   Here's a brief low-down: our body is constantly exposed to harmful stressors in the form of UV sunlight, smog or smoke, and even the blackened surface of grilled foods.

These evildoers cause oxidation in the body (like human rust) that increases the likelihood of arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.  Antioxidants are chemicals formed naturally in many plants such as soybeans, sprouts, beats, and onions and are the body's first line of defense against such diseases.

As a bonus, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage) have a whole additional class of health promoters called isothiocyanates that have been shown to very drastically reduce cancer risk when eaten regularly.

Fiber and Filling Factors

Weight loss gurus are well aware that adding fiber-rich foods to the diet can increase fullness after a meal, resulting in easier weight loss.  Vegetables are a great source of both important types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber, while not filling, is important for gastrointestinal and heart health.  Insoluble fiber is very filling and promotes digestive regularity.  Both types promote health and weight loss, but on top of that the vitamins and minerals can fight hunger in a surprising way.

Many of the nutrients we need each day go toward cognitive functions like concentration and sharp-mindedness.  By eating vegetables that keep a clear, focused head can help reduce mindless eating and fight temptations.

Shelf Stability

That's right, vegetables have a great shelf life.  Frozen and canned vegetables have lasting power and retain many of their original nutrients.  Frozen vegetables in particular are picked and frozen at the peak of freshness, meaning that they may have better flavor and health qualities than even their fresh equivalents.

Pre-made frozen vegetables dishes, like those at Trader Joes, are quick and easy entrĂ©es on a busy day.   With advances in food production vegetables have even taken a leap onto your snack shelves.  Puffed vegetables (ignore corn products) and other vegetable snacks can be worth your while as long as the sodium stays low. 

Bursts of Color

Much like texture, visual stimulation is a powerful driver in eating behavior.  Why consume controversial artificially colored foods when bright beautiful hues are available naturally in the garden?  Keeping attractive bright vegetables around the house can encourage healthy eating behaviors.

When storing vegetables, keep them at eye-level in your refrigerator, instead of in a drawer, as a reminder of your nutrition goals.  Disposing of forgotten and spoiled vegetables hidden in the crisper is just one more deterrent to a healthier lifestyle.   On food, colorful vegetable salsa can improve the appeal of a healthy baked fish or chicken dish.

Savory Sensations

Yes, texture and color are under-appreciated  but where would we be without flavor?  The heat of peppers, the pungency of onions, the bitterness of greens and the sweetness of tomatoes make for a rich palette of flavors far beyond that of the fatty, salty foods that weigh down the western diet.

Incorporating more of these dynamic, rich vegetables into the diet can actually change your taste preferences so that less healthy foods begin to taste bland!  Changes in tastes like this take time, but are well worth the commitment.  Simply reducing calories can make an impact on temporary weight loss, but adding vegetables can create lifetime habits that result in lasting health.

Vegetables are the most diverse and colorful part of the eating experience and can change your body for the better.  Incorporating more vegetables into your diet is less challenging than you think, just stick to these rules:

  • For a snack, pick vegetables with a crunchy texture
  • Experiment with super-vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • For better weight loss, eat more fiber-rich vegetables
  • Choose frozen or canned vegetables for shelf-stability
  • Buy pre-made frozen vegetable dishes for a fast weeknight meal
  • Keep vegetables at eye-level in the refrigerator
  • Use more flavor-rich vegetables like peppers and onions to liven up a meal

How much weight should I lose?

Posted: 11 Nov 2012 12:47 AM PST

weight loss scale

The amount of weight each person should lose is partly a personal choice. So in some ways aim to lose the weight you want to lose. For some people it may be a matter of losing a couple of pounds for others it may be a lot more.

If you do not have a personal goal and are unsure how much weight loss to aim for, there are ways to work it out.

Below we have summarised some of the methods, most commonly used to classify people according to their weight and body measurements. These methods can help you determine if you are overweight, obese or even within a healthy weight range. These classifications are only a guide and they do come with their flaws so do use them as they intended; as a guide.

How to set your personal weight loss goals 

1. Do not attempt to lose more than 1-1.5 kg per week

Regardless of how much weight you want to lose don't aim in losing more than 1-1.5 kg per week. When it comes to weight loss 'too much too fast' is not recommended for health reasons. It may sound like a dieter's heaven but trust me it is usually not good.

2. Do not fall on the underweight classification.

You may be on your ideal weight or even slightly underweight but you know that there is a bit of a tummy, or an annoying big bottom etc. Well maybe it is not weight loss what you should be looking for. Maybe just eating the right foods, or adding some exercise to firm the areas which bother you could be the answer. On the other hand it could just be the shape of your body, and learning to love what you got is even better.

3. The 2 most important things about weight are your health and being happy.

You may need to lose 200 lbs in order to reach your ideal weight but you don't particularly want to be America's next top model. Have the weight you feel comfortable with and happy with even if slightly over the line, as long as this does not affect your health. The truth is thin does not always mean healthy.

4. Don't get obsessed with numbers such as your weight, your body mass index (see below), calories etc.

Firstly being obsessed may not be a good place to be, secondly all these numbers are guides and not a setting stone. You may find that you don't lose pounds but inches and fat. How is that possible? Well weight loss can be more complicated than just losing weight; your body's composition can change, as well as other factors.

Body measurements and classifications

Here we have summarized the following, body mass index (BMI) measurement, waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference. You can use them as a guide to help you find your ideal range of weight. It is always best to use a combination of them for a better picture of your body's weight.

For example, you may be within your ideal weight range but you may have a high waist circumference which could indicate a high risk to specific health conditions. In simple words you could be carrying a high amount of fat in your belly and this is linked to developing some diseases/conditions. Or on the other hand you could be exercising and carrying a lot of muscle which can lead to a high BMI (i.e. very common with athletes). This doesn't mean you are overweight.

Ideally you can have direct body composition measurements, such as bioelectrical impedance, which can determine the percentage of fat, lean mass, and water in the body. However, this can be costly and sometimes hard to get.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a simple way to classify individuals within ranges according to their weight and height.

BMI does not actually measure or show the amount of fat and non-fat mass in the body.

You can calculate BMI as follows:

BMI = (Mass (kg))/(Height (m))^2

BMI = weight divided by (height x height)

For example: If your weight is 60kg and your height is 1.70m then:

60 ÷ (1.70 x 1.70) → 60 ÷ 2.89 = 20.76

Your BMI is 20.76.

Once you have calculated your current BMI then you can look on the table below to see at which category you are. You can also look at table 2 to see height and weight recommended ranges.


Body Mass Index (BMI)



Severe thinness


Moderate thinness

16.00 – 16.99

Mild thinness

17.00 – 18.49

Normal range

18.50 – 24.99




25.00 – 29.99



Obese class I

30.00 – 34.99

Obese class II

35.00 – 39.99

Obese class III



Female Height to Weight Ratio





4′ 10″




4′ 11″




5′ 0″




5′ 1″




5′ 2″




5′ 3″




5′ 4″




5′ 5″




5′ 6″




5′ 7″




5 ’8″




5′ 9″




5′ 10″




5′ 11″




6′ 0″





Male Height to Weight Ratio





5′ 1″




5′ 2″




5′ 3″




5′ 4″




5′ 5″




5′ 6″




5″ 7″




5′ 8″




5′ 9″




5′ 10″




5′ 11″




6′ 0″




6′ 1″




6′ 2″




6′ 3″




Waist –To – Hip Ratio (WHR)

WHR is often used to determine the overall health risk. Increased abdominal fat has been linked with increased risk of developing some conditions. WHR is another simple way of categorising individuals' health risk according to the circumference of their waist and hip.

It is calculated as:

WHR =Divide the circumference of the waist with the circumference of the hips.

Place the tape around the waist and hips to the areas shown on the picture. The point at which the tape measure meets is the reading of the circumference.

Once you have calculated your WHR you can look at the table below to see if you are within a range which increases risk of developing health conditions. As mentioned it can be used in combination with the BMI.

For example if you are on a normal range BMI but have a high WHR you could be looking at losing weight from your abdominal area (belly). This could be easily achieved with a healthy diet and some exercise. Therefore your weight loss goal could only be a few pounds and even less than a stone but your concentration would be more in what foods you eat and how you can improve the condition of your belly. 

Waist to Hip Ratio Chart



Health Risk Based only on WHR

0.95 or bellow

0.80 or bellow

Low Risk

0.96 – 1.0

0.81 – 0.85

Moderate Risk

1.0 +

0.85 +

High Risk

Waist circumference is a simplified way of the WHR measurement. Just measure the circumference of your waist as above. Waist Circumference it is often used to determine overall health risks in relation to the circumference of a person's waist. Waist circumference can be recommended for those people who may be classified within a healthy range with using BMI measurements but may have excess fat on their abdomen.

The table below shows the classifications of waist circumference in relation to the health risk. As mentioned earlier in the case where you need to lose abdominal fat, a healthy balance dietmay be most adequate. In addition you may not be measuring weight loss in terms of pound/kilos weight in general but in inches.


Waist Circumference

Men (cm)

Waist Circumference

Women (cm)

Risk of metabolic complications

Neither overweight nor obese




Abdominally overweight but not obese

≥94 and <102

≥80 and <88


Abdominally obese



Significantly increased

How much weight should you lose? 10 tips to help you decide

1. There is not one fits them all answer when it comes to translating measurement (i.e. BMI) with pounds to lose. There are a number of changes that your body will make during a day, a month and even more during a weight loss regime. There are different body types, genetics, ages, and 100s of other factors which are all pointing to one thing:

Everybody is an individual with different needs and circumstances. Even 2 people who appear to have the same height do not necessarily mean that they would have the same weight. Moreover, no one has a stable weight through all their day let along their whole life.  

2. Use the calculations and measurements above to find in what range and category you are in. Are you overweight, in a risk of having a lot of abdominal fat, within normal weight range? But don't forget they are a guide not a setting stone.

3. Once you have an idea of your body measurements you can start planning on what you need to concentrate on. This could be just losing a couple of pounds to feel more comfortable in yourself, or losing some inches of your tummy or losing more weight to get within a normal range of weight.

4. Don't obsess over numbers. Above all is your health and satisfaction. Lowering the risk of developing health conditions and being at the weight you feel satisfied is a good place to start. If you are however borderline underweight or your goals bring you to an underweight range do reconsider. Your health is important and skinny does not translate to healthy. Start thinking that maybe you should start loving your own body.

5. It is important to think what is it you want to achieve. Regardless of what measurements say what is your own goal? Do you just want to go down a couple of dress sizes even if you are still in an overweight range? How much do you weigh then? For example if you are a dress size 18 and want to just go down to a size 16 your goal could be losing 1-2 stones.

This is only an example as each person's body is different. The point is, do think where you want to be. Set your goal and review your progress.

6. Losing weight versus losing fat. Yes you don't always have to see it on the scales. There is such a thing as losing fat mass but not necessarily translating to pounds but more in inches or sometimes it is not as clear at all. You could be putting lean mass on. Keeping a record of your measurements sometimes can give you a guide of what is going on. But don't over obsess.

7. This brings us to the point of don't just look at finding an exact weight goal from day one. Keep in mind that you did not put on the weight in one day so it is unlikely that you will lose it in one day.

If you have quite a lot of weight to lose set a 2 week goalsto start from. It takes about 2 weeks for your body to make long term changes and adapt (this can vary depending on each individual).

Monitor your diet and weight loss and body changes (i.e. lost inches, lost pounds, to hard diet to follow etc.). After that, set your weekly goals and monthly goals. For example you want to lose 10lbs in one month, so you will aim for approximately 2lbs per week. It may be that one week you lose 1lb and one week you lose 3lbs but overall you have reached your monthly goal.

Over the time you will know at which point you are happy with what you have achieved.

8. Do it healthy. I think I have already said that a few times. Well here it goes once again. Being healthy is more important than being thin and thin does not always mean healthy. Aiming for a healthy body state, a change towards a healthier diet and lifestyle rather than stressing about how many pounds you should be is probably a better thing to do.

9. If your weight loss is for mainly health reasons then it is also advisable to consult an appropriate medical professional. A medical professional should provide you with the guidance you need regarding your health and weight.

I know that sometimes physician may tell you that you must lose weight for your health but often don't tell you how or how much. Insist in guidance. Don't be afraid to ask for advice and more information. It is your health and this is their job.

10. In that matter it is always recommended to advise a medical professional before taking any exercise or diet regime, especially if you there are pre-existing health complaints.

10 snacks under 100 calories for your sweet tooth

Posted: 11 Nov 2012 12:05 AM PST

100 calorie snacks

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

Chocolate covered banana

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

Mini fruit filled crepe

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


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

Kettle Corn

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


Dried mango

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



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

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

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

Chocolate covered walnuts

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

A small box of raisins

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

Greek yogurt and pomegranate seeds

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

Rice crispy treats

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


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

4 ways to avoid weight loss disappointment

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 11:48 PM PST

weight loss disappointment

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

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

Planning and setting goals

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing the way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the real life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep flexible

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

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

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

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