Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Why you should avoid very low calorie diets?

Posted: 15 Nov 2012 02:16 AM PST

low calorie diets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does a very VLCD do to your body?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other negative effects of very low calorie diets

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

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

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

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

5 Diet Rules for Beginners to Lose Weight Fast

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 06:50 AM PST

diet rules for beginners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Diet rules for beginners

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

1# Set realistic goals and stick to them

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

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

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

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

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

2# Avoid drinking your calories

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

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

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

3# Eat small frequent meals

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

4# Choose low fat options

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

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

5# Burn more calories

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

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

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

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

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

Belly fat truth and myths

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 06:41 AM PST

belly fat truths

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

Belly Fat Myths and truths explained

1. There are specific foods that burn belly fat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. It is very difficult to burn belly fat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to lose belly fat in 2 months or less

Posted: 14 Oct 2012 12:58 PM PDT

lose belly fat fast

Two months may seem like a long time to lose belly fat, but you have to remember it took you years to put on that extra weight, you cannot expect it to disappear overnight. Two months for most people is a very realistic goal to start seeing great results from their nutrition and workouts.

In two months of training, you can safely lose up to 15 pounds of body fat, drop a good amount of water weight, and maybe even build some muscle.  However, the key to success will be your consistency; you cannot put in a low effort by missing workouts constantly and using poor diet and expect great results.

How to lose belly fat in 2 months

The beauty of exercise and dieting is that you get out of it what you put in to it every time. Nevertheless, our bodies are complex organisms; therefore, you will also have to be smart about your training to achieve optimum results. Unlike what you may have heard on TV or read in a magazine, there is no magical fat loss pill, you cannot lose weight by sleeping in a certain kind of workout belt, and cooking in a certain brand of oven will not make your food magically healthier.

However there  are key diet guidelines that can help you and I will list them for you right now , no you don’t need to pay me 3 easy payments of 9.99 or buy my book , it is completely free and useful information anyone can benefit from.

The Diet

Basic Diet Guidelines

-Choose Whole Grains and Fresh Vegetables over Refined Grains and Simple Sugars

- Avoid highly processed food, along with other food sources packed with empty calories, which have no nutritional value. (Such as Soda)

-Drink at Least 96 ounces of water everyday.

- The first week of dieting, measure and weigh all your food with an automatic scale, which usually cost around 10 dollars. This will give you an idea of serving size on foods.

- Eat four or more meals per day to help balance your diet and keep your metabolism higher. Eating smaller meals allows you to keep variety in your diet and keeps you from having extreme bouts of hunger and cheating on your diet.

Food Specific Guidelines

Fowl - With any food such as chicken or turkey, you can save a lot of fat and extra calories by removing the skin.

Fish- Fish is generally a healthy alternative, but beware some types of fish such as salmon are high in fat. When buying tuna be sure to get it preserved in water not oil, as the oil adds empty calories

Nonfat Milk - Nonfat milk is a great alternative to whole milk and low fat milk, once you get used to the thickness and slight taste change you will never need to go back.

Cheese - Cheeses are another food that some types are exceptionally high in fat, while others are lower in fat, you can always choose no fat cheese.

Beef - When choosing beef, it is important to go with leaner cuts ,for example a 3 ounce cut of  sirloin could have 25 fat , while a leaner cut only has 10.

If you follow these general guidelines the first 2 months of dieting I am sure you will see great results, if you notice your results are not coming fast enough after a week or so , you may need to count your calories daily to ensure weight loss.

However, most people will see great results by just “cleaning” up their diet.  Cutting out a lot of fat in your diet will cut many calories from your day-to-day nutrition. Fat is the most calorie packed nutrient and is a major reason a lot of people are overweight  One meal from a fast food restaurant such as McDonalds  because of its of its high fat content can pack as much calories as 3 home cooked meals. 

The Workout

Exercise is another important factor you will need to consider if you want to lose the most weight possible. To lose that stomach fat you will need to lose fat from all over your body. Weight training or Cardio can be a great tool to maximize your fat loss, and the easiest programs to pickup and start losing weight on are HIIT programs.

The intensity of these programs keeps you active, and your heart rate elevated throughout the entire workout, burning a lot of calories meanwhile improving your cardiovascular efficiency. The programs themselves are also very adaptable and can be done with minimum equipment. For ease of starting, I included an example program below you can do with no equipment at all, and still burn many calories and thus lose fat.

HIIT Walking / Jogging Program

Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
Week 1 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 15 seconds , walk 60 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 15 seconds , walk 60 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 15 seconds , walk 60
Week 2 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 15 seconds , walk 60 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 15 seconds , walk 60 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 15 seconds , walk 60
Week 3 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds, walk60 seconds. 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds walk 60 seconds. 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds walk 60 seconds.
Week 4 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds walk 60 seconds. 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds walk 60 seconds. 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds walk 60 seconds.
Week 5 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds, Walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds, Walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds, Walk 30 seconds
Week 6 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds, Walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds, Walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:  Jog 30 seconds, Walk 30 seconds
Week 7 20 Minutes Total:   Jog 60 seconds , walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:   Jog 60 seconds , walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:   Jog 60 seconds , walk 30 seconds
Week 8 20 Minutes Total:   Jog 60 seconds , walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:   Jog 60 seconds , walk 30 seconds 20 Minutes Total:   Jog 60 seconds , walk 30 seconds


The program is simple; you start only jogging 15 seconds and then walking 60 the first 2 weeks. However, as your cardiovascular system gets stronger, in week 3 and 4 you now jog 30 seconds and walk 60, and so on until you progress to week 8. If for some reason, you get stuck and could not complete at least 2 of the 3 workouts for the week, redo that current week instead of moving on.

Also, be sure to allow at least a 1 day of rest in-between workouts, I recommend something like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. When your body gets more used to training and you notice you do not get sore as much, you may do more frequent workouts.  


If you follow the diet guidelines I listed above, along with a good exercise routine such as the one I outlined, you will definitely be on the right step to losing the weight you want. Just remember it takes time for true fat loss to occur, however once you do lose it, it will stay gone for good and you can live a healthier life.

Why do women have belly fat?

Posted: 14 Sep 2012 01:26 PM PDT

woman with belly fat

God created women from a man's rib. Does this include the belly fat as well? Women have higher fat percentage than men causing women to attain belly fat faster. As annoying as it may seem, but women do have belly fat for more than one reason. This article will try to explain why women have belly fat and also provide some tips on how to lose belly fat for women.

Reason #1 Reproductive function

People always say that "the essence of being a woman is to give birth to a new life". This is indeed true because the ability of a woman to carry a baby on her tummy for nine months and give birth is what differentiates a woman from a man.

Because of such function, a woman's body needs to increase its fat deposits, most especially on their belly, to prepare for childbearing. These fat deposits are reserved energy to make sure that a woman has constant supply of energy during pregnancy as well as during delivery. In addition to that, belly fat also acts as a cushion (along with amniotic fluid) to help protect the fetus from possible accidents and the other forces of the external environment. 

Reason #2 To protect vital organs

Belly fat, in general, is present to both genders as well as to either lean or obese persons. However, the quantity of belly fat differs – less for slender people and more for obese people. But the fact still remains that belly fat is always present.

Belly fat is there to protect your internal organs (stomach, guts, liver, spleen, pancreas, etc.) from physical harm. There was even a claim that a man survived a bullet attack because he was too fat that the bullet wasn't able to penetrate through the thick belly walls.

True or not, the fact that belly fats alter the momentum of penetrating objects still remains as well as the fact that belly fat protects the organ in one way or another. But you have to remember however that excess belly fat also poses risks to one's health. If a bullet won't kill you, your fat deposits will.

Reason #3 Alcohol drinking

Statistically, men drink around 2 to 6 bottles of beer on an average and women drinks around 1 to 5 bottles of beer.  But women have lesser alcohol control causing them to increase their beer consumption to twelve bottles of beer per session or until she's to drunk to stand.

This means that your caloric intake increases as you order another bottle. Here are some of the common alcoholic drinks and their corresponding average calorie content. Do note however that caloric content may change depending on alcohol content

Alcoholic Drink, volume calories

Whisky: 100ml, 220

Gin:100ml,  220

Brandy: 100ml,  220

Rum: 100ml, 220

Beer: 500ml, 184

Martini: 100ml, 175

Bailey's Cream: 1 glass, 120

Bacardi: 1 glass, 118

Reason #4 High calorie food is a woman's BFF

God said, "Man represents my image, woman – my emotions." No wonder women are way more emotional than men. These emotions are the reason why women are more sensitive than men.

When a woman feels depressed, she will either dial a friend's phone number or dial for a pizza. It has been proven from a recent study that women love to eat when they feel sad. This is because; food provides a feeling of fulfillment causing you to feel relieved from any stress.

Excess sweets, carbohydrates, fats, or any food with such kind of calorie amount tends to be left unburned. Unused calories, as we all know, are converted to fat deposits, especially in the belly, which the body can burn by doing exercises.

Another high calorie food that women love to have when depressed are sweets. Among any other sweets, chocolate has been the number one choice because of its ability to raise the happy hormone serotonin and provide the body with phenylethylamine – a chemical that makes you feel happy and in love, thus making chocolate the ultimate food for a depressed woman.

Reason #5 Chitchats than workout

Women are highly motivated to lose weight and get rid of belly fats. However, when a woman finds her gym buddies, she usually chitchats with them and forgets about workouts.

Because of such characteristic, gyms become a rendezvous point for people who want to do talk with other people, rather than the original purpose of going to the gym to burn fats and tone muscles

Another contributing factor is that, when a group of women gather for a girls' night out, women talk, eat, and drink. This sedentary activity will definitely increase the numbers on the scale.

As mentioned above, women have belly fat for a reason. In some cases it is absolutely uncontrollable and necessary as this is used for special functions. On the other hand, some women have belly fat because they did not properly take care of them. That means, if you want to learn how to lose belly fatand acquire flat and lean abs, you better start eating right and exercising regularly.

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