Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Best diets to lose weight

Posted: 16 Nov 2012 06:26 AM PST

woman doing exercise

If only I had a penny every time someone asked me: 'Which one is the best diet?' I would be rich by now. Well what does make a diet be the 'best diet' for losing weight? I would say that each and every individual on this world would have their own answer. Some of the elements I would look in a diet are:

1. Good weight loss results would be one element. Losing weight is the aim so it does make sense.

2. Health outcomes and risks I would say is the next, after all you don't want to be placing unnecessary risks on your body.

3. User friendliness, in other words how easy is it to follow and

4. Sustainability of the weight lost.

So let's see what we get in the weight loss world. In our diet menu today you will find:

Mediterranean Style Diets – a combination of health and good weight loss results

High Protein Diets – Popular commercial diets

Healthy Diets – Focus on health

1.The diet that suits you

I will first exclude all those fast and radical diets which can have high risks for your health from this category. What is left is the one diet which you have tried and tested and works for you. This is very general as it could be any diet but that any diet is what works for you.

Yes there is such a thing as optimum nutrition and we will look as some diets which do offer that.  However, unless a weight loss diet rocks your boat and ticks your boxes it is not the best for you. If you try to do something which you don't particularly like you will manage to do it for so long before giving up and you could end up hating the whole thing.

In addition, not everybody loses weight in the same way or rate. Choose a diet which will suit your preferences and circumstances, will have be health friendly and will return good weight loss results for you.

2. The Mediterranean dietary pattern

To make it clear, the 'Mediterranean style' is not one diet. The Mediterranean diet derives from the countries which are located around the Mediterranean Sea (approximately 18 countries). Each country and regions within the countries have their own dietary habits, customs, cooking practices and so on. So we are talking about a dietary pattern rather than one diet.

To the point however, the Mediterranean dietary pattern has the subject of numerous scientific studies and research over the years and it is believed to decrease the risks of developing certain diseases and returning positive health outcomes. In addition, studies suggest that it promotes weight loss.

Some examples of a Mediterranean type diets are:

The Cretan diet

It derives from the island of Crete in Greece. Although it is not a weight loss diet per se or is not designed by some weight loss/nutritional author it has been suggested by studies to be the cream of the crops of the Mediterranean style diets. You don't have to move to Crete to follow the diet either (although it may sound as a good idea) there is a plethora of cook books and dietary information out there which can provide you with more details. The bonus is that moderate alcohol intake is one main part of the diet.

The Combination diet

It is our very own creation. It is a 2 week dietaiming mainly for abdominal fat. The diet is designed to provide flexibility and a holistic approach to weight loss. What that means is that apart from the diet you get a weight loss package which includes calorie calculator, food diaries, access to weight loss advisor and updates.

3. High Protein Diets

The 'low – carbohydrate' style of dieting is not something new, however it is in the few recent years that it has gained a lot of popularity. More and more studies suggest that diets higher in proteins and lower in carbohydrates tend to be effective in controlling blood sugar and decrease the risk of development of some health conditions.

High protein diets do not go without criticism and scientist are still cautious in their recommendations for consuming high amounts of animal protein.

Why is that? Consumption of high amounts of animal protein has been connected with increasing cholesterol and blood pressure.

Studies do suggest that if consumption of high amounts of animal protein are part of a healthier diet and lifestyle (i.e. coupled with consumption of ample fruit and veg. and an active lifestyle) it actually has beneficial effects to health.

In addition, it is believed that consumption of high amounts of protein can place considerable strain on the kidneys. However, research indicates that high amounts of protein should not lead to kidney problems unless there are existing kidney conditions.

On the plus…

Studies suggest that protein tend to keep you full for longer and therefore people tend to consume fewer calories. In addition, it is suggested that it helps in controlling blood sugar better which has a number of health benefits and it can lead to fewer cravings.

The New Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet has been around for ages and is a classic high protein diet. After having received a lot of criticism of being too rigid and not incorporating any carbs resulting in low amounts of fruit and some veg. it came back in a revised version The New Atkins Diet. The New Atkins diet does incorporate more carbohydrate options and it is still quite popular.

The Ducan Diet

A fairly new diet which gained a lot of popularity after a few celebrities said they are following it. It can be easy to follow as it is not very restrictive. It does make recommendations for a healthier lifestyle rather than just losing weight and for exercise. Although it is not something new or revolutionary it can be a 'not too bad option' out of the commercial diets, is not extreme or unhealthy and people do report to lose weight.

The DIY diet 

This is the diet which you follow at home by yourself. If following a rigid program is not your cup of tea it is easy to just make your own. The basic principles of any high protein diet are to consume a higher amount of protein, moderate amount of carbohydrates which mainly derive from wholegrain and a moderate amount of fat. On top of this add ample amounts of fruit and vegetables.

You could pick up a cook book which provides healthy, higher in protein recipes and DIY at home. Keeping an eye on the calories will need to be part of your diet if you want to lose weight.

4. The health related diets

These are the diets which mainly concentrate on health first and weight loss second. This is not to say that other diets do not have health benefits it is more like the case that some diets have been designed to tackle some specific health issues. Needles to say however, that if you have any health issues and concerns the best point of contact is your doctor and/or health professional and you should above all follow their advice.

The DASH diet

The DASH diet claims to be designed by a team of doctors and health professionals and to also have been tried and tested before being sold to the public. The main focus of the DASH diet is to lower blood pressure and it was recently been voted in a survey as no 1 best diet.

As it concentrates on blood pressure it recommends low consumption of animal protein. Although there is a main DASH diet plan, each individual is meant to enrol to the official site and get a personalised diet plan according to the information he/she provides (i.e. age, gender, weight etc).

The plus…It does recommend seeing dieting as a lifestyle approach rather than a short event and encourages people to make lifestyle changes. It also incorporates exercise advice. Overall is not a bad diet although it can be too low on protein at times.

The minus…Just because it is designed by health professionals it doesn't necessarily translate to this diet is good for you specifically if you suffer from high blood pressure or other health conditions. The DASH diet site also recommends checking any diet plans with your own health professional(s) as it could not suit your circumstances. Well if you do suffer from specific conditions your health professional should be advising you regarding your diet in the first place and paying for extra subscriptions may not be necessary.

Also following a very low protein diet for too long may lead to other deficiencies and that should also be discussed with your health professional.

The healthy balanced diet

It is very similar to the DIY diet. You just opt for healthy balanced food options. You can try this at home and could be your cheaper option. It may not recommended for those who are unsure where to start although there is ample of information available everywhere. Couple your diet with exercise or any physical activity and you could have excellent weight and health results.

Consulting an appropriate health/fitness professional is always recommended before making any diet and exercise changes.

A diet is what you make of it. In simple words a diet will be as good or not good depending on how you follow it and how much does it suit your personal circumstances.

Studies which have compared commercial diets between them do not necessarily find large differences in their results. Although some diets may be of better dietary quality what it really comes down to is what works for each individual.

I do exclude those diets which can harm your health though…

How many carbs to eat per day

Posted: 16 Nov 2012 03:59 AM PST


Many people are often confused about the role of carbohydrates in a weight loss diet. We got a number of questions from readers asking a very simple question "How many carbs should I eat per day?" In this post we explain in simple terms how to calculate the amount of carbohydrates to consume per day, analyze foods that have a lot of carbs and how to control your daily intake of carbs.

Step 1: Determine your ideal total daily carbs

The amount of carbs you should be eating each day depends on factors like your age, height, weight, sex and activity level.  The first step to determining the amount of carbs you should have each day is to determine the amount of calories you should have in a day.  Total calories are best determined by a qualified professional but can be estimated semi-accurately by an online calculator that takes into account all of the factors listed above.

The best calculators are based on a scientifically verified mathematical formula like the Mifflin St. Jeor formula and also take into account your daily exercise or activity level.  If you are trying to lose weight subtract 300 to 500 calories from that number.  Once you have a number or a range for your total daily calories, divide the number by 8.  What you get is approximately the total grams of carbohydrates you should consume each day.

  • Endurance athletes need more energy from carbohydrates and should divide their daily calories by about 6 instead of 8.
  • Individuals who are diabetic should consult a registered dietitian or a physician before making dietary changes.

Step 2: Know your major carb sources

There is nearly an infinity of food products that contribute carbohydrates to the diet, so how do you know which are carb heavy and which are not?  Usually you should consult the nutrition label to see how many grams of carbohydrates are in each serving.  Pre-packaged foods that are traditionally carb-heavy include snacks such as pretzels, chips, cookies, and candy, but also soda and juice.  Yes, even juice.

A true serving of juice is about 4 ounces, or about a quarter of a traditional water bottle.  When you have a full glass of orange juice at breakfast you can be loading on the carbs long before you've even started your day!

On top of this, many of us get a large portion of carbs from foods that don't come labeled.  These are foods prepared by family, friends, ourselves, or even the local take-out restaurant.  Rice, pasta, or bread could be the smoking bullet in these dishes, but surprisingly some vegetables such as peas, potatoes, and corn make the list too.  All of these items are very high in carbs and should not make up the bulk of a meal.

Finally, we get to treats.  A single candy, chocolate, donut, pastry, or mixed drink can pack a punch where carbs are concerned.  Here is where moderation is key and it doesn't have to be painful.  Life is worth living and sweets are a great part of it, but they are better enjoyed when they aren't accompanied with guilt and health expenses down the line.

Step 3: Splitting per meal

Unless you are an endurance athlete a good general rule is to have 45 to 60 grams of carbs at each meal and 15 to 30 at snacks.  If you are on the petite side, for example if you are a shorter female, you want to aim for the 45 and 15.  If you have a larger frame and higher daily calories you probably want to go for 60 grams at meals and 30 grams for snacks.   It is important to split your carbs up throughout the day and not to have them all at once in a single meal.

When you eat many carbs at once your body stores some in the blood and some in the muscles and liver and everything else gets converted to body fat.  It would be great if the body began breaking down fat when you need more energy later in the day, but your body generally drains carbs from your blood, muscles, and liver first leaving you tired and sluggish.

Step 4: Fiber

Fiber is technically a carbohydrate, just not one that our body can use for calories.  Fiber instead goes through the digestive system straight to the colon as food for bacteria.  It may sound strange, but it is important that these bacteria stay happy.  Studies have shown that individuals with healthy intestinal bacteria are often lower in body weight and less at risk for some types of cancer.  Also, high fiber foods tend to be healthy for many other reasons and are a good choice for at least half of the carbs in your meal.  Good ways to include more fiber include eating oats, whole grain bread or pasta, brown rice, and alternative carbs like quinoa.

Step 5: Added Sugar

If you still have the number for the total calories you should have each day, divide it by 40 and that's the amount of grams added sugar you should be consuming.  Sugar found in fruits is almost exactly the same as the sugar you will get anywhere else, be it high fructose corn syrup or table sugar, except for one important difference: nutrients!

The value for total ADDED sugar is so low because added sugar has no nutritional value other than calories.  If you choose to get all of your sugar each day from whole fruits have at it, but if you want to have the chocolate cake or the breakfast donut you should at least be aware of the amount of added sugar and how it factors into your healthy diet.

7 Tips to become aware of carbs in your diet:

  1. Know your total calories and divide by 8 to get grams carbs
  2. Aim for 45 to 60 grams carbs for meals
  3. Aim for 15 to 30 grams carbs for snacks
  4. Be aware of major carb sources in each meal and try to keep it to about ¼ of your plate.
  5. Try to have at least half of your carbs from whole grain sources
  6. Aim for 30 grams fiber each day
  7. Limit your added sugars to 10% of your daily calories

How to lose 5 pounds in 2 days

Posted: 16 Nov 2012 03:09 AM PST

lose 5 pounds

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

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

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

How to lose 5 pounds in 2 days

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

Consume More Natural Diuretics

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

Avoid Salt

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

Drink More Water

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

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

Low carbohydrate diets and weight loss

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

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

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

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

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


ilany said...

The most excellent place to start cutting calories is in soft drinks. Each drink packs one hundred fifty to two hundred calories, and most people consume several each day. Changing sugared soft drinks with a no calorie substitute will result in losing one pound per week with no any other modifications.

ilany said...

The most excellent place to start cutting calories is in soft drinks. Each drink packs one hundred fifty to two hundred calories, and most people consume several each day. Changing sugared soft drinks with a no calorie substitute will result in losing one pound per week with no any other modifications.