From the category archives:

Weight Loss Articles

Judging by my own experience of going on vacation, it seems it’s not just me that struggles with a health and fitness routine when the routine is broken.

Check out this article about Hugh Jackman’s attitude towards training on holiday:Wolverine X-men 3

It’s not unusual for celebrities to endorse diet plans, whether one they created themselves (likeAlicia Silverstone‘s “Kind Diet”) or one recommended by a trainer or nutritionist. ButHugh Jackman‘s new diet plan, “the rosé diet,” might be my favorite celebrity eating/fitness plan yet.

Jackman, who has just signed on to play Wolverine in another X-Men franchise spinoff, has to stay in shape as part of his job description. But that doesn’t mean that he likes it. When asked how his workout routine fit into his travel schedule, he replied, “It doesn’t.” When he was pressed for more info about his fitness regimen and how he gets into shape, he added, “There’s a bodybuilding theory that you can drink before noon and still stay in shape. It’s given me the idea for a plan. I’m going to wake up at six and start drinking rosé – then I’ll train in the afternoon!”

Although Jackman’s comments were tongue-in-cheek, it is refreshing to hear a celebrity admit that their workout routine isn’t always fun. Plenty of stars claim that they don’t work out at all, despite their superfit gym bodies, and others have personal trainers and specialized routines that the average person might not be able to recreate for themselves. It’s nice to hear Jackman admit that he works out because he has to, not always because he wants to. Even Wolverine has to push himself to get up in the morning and work out, and I think even the most dedicated exercise fanatic has had a day or two where getting up early to lift weights was a bit of a struggle. And the rosé does sound pretty appealing right about now. Especially if Mr. Jackman would like to join me for a glass.

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Here’s a common sense article from the Diet Detective:

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know it’s not easy to make it last. In fact, there are a few key problems you should pay attention to before the diet even starts.

Here are a few of the most common problems and ways you can avoid them.

» The problem: After losing those pounds you suddenly feel that, overnight, your body has changed, making you a charter member of the exclusive “fast-metabolism-I-can-eat-whatever-I want” club.

Then, one morning you wake up and the reflection in the mirror reveals a truth that cannot be denied. You were never in the club. Not only have you regained the weight you lost, you’ve actually added more pounds. When this happens, you probably feel frustrated, ashamed, powerless, and you’re probably ready to throw up your hands in defeat.

SnackingThe fix: To begin with, it ought to be obvious that once you lose weight, you need to keep the weight off by eating the same types of foods that helped you shed the pounds — not by going back to consuming whole boxes of cookies in front of the TV. But it is not obvious to most.

Most dieters are restricting foods and not planning a livable diet. What is a livable diet? It’s a diet you can live with for the rest of your life. So let me ask you a quick question: How long can you hold your breath? If you’re good, maybe 30 or 40 seconds. So, yes, you can do it, but only for a very short period of time. Well, that’s how most people diet — they can do it for a bit, but they can’t keep holding their breath forever.

To come up with a livable diet, you need to find foods you can eat that are healthy and tasty, instead of thinking about what you can’t eat. Make sure to find foods that are not boring and bland. The most important factor to consider when you create a livable diet is accommodating your own individual food preferences.

In fact, the Journal of Nutrition reports that taste is the single most important reason people choose the foods they do, and that this is also an important factor for regulating “hunger, satiety and voluntary food intake.”

Not sure how to choose the foods for your livable diet? Look for calorie bargains: foods that taste great but are healthier and lower in calories than what you normally eat (and that you won’t end up eating too much of — which would negate the Calorie Bargain effect). To help you find Calorie Bargains, start by purchasing a few cookbooks or going online to take a look at Eatingwell.com and CookingLight.com. Get the Hungry Girl series of books (www.hungry-girl.com/books) to find some creative tips on low-calorie foods and snacks.

» The problem: You’ve been on a diet and haven’t lost as much weight as you’d wanted to. You’re demoralized and have no desire to try again.

The fix: Connect to the past. Keep in mind that every time you diet, you learn something. Whether or not you’re successful, there is a lesson to be learned. Review your diet disasters and never be ashamed of your failures. Keep an open mind. Think of the strategies that didn’t work when you tried to lose weight in the past. By looking at these failures, you learn what not to repeat. Make sure to ask yourself: Why didn’t these strategies work, and what have I learned from them?

Examine successes. One of the most important techniques associated with permanent weight loss is to review your past successes.

For instance, from Atkins, you might have learned you didn’t need two slices of bread to feel satisfied by a sandwich: Just the meat and veggies wrapped in a lettuce leaf were satisfying on their own. From South Beach, you might have learned about good carbs versus bad carbs. Maybe Weight Watchers helped you realize that surrounding yourself with supportive people keeps you motivated. Or, with Jenny Craig, you might have learned portion control by eating the program’s prepared foods.

Write down everything you’ve learned from your past successes. Then, hold on to those facts, attitudes and behaviors to keep the weight off.

» The problem: Diets are exhausting. They take time, effort and often don’t provide enough calories for sustained energy.

The fix: Planning is the answer. Develop an action plan by thinking ahead. When pursuing a goal, it is crucial to have a well-thought-out written plan. You can minimize crises by anticipating obstacles and planning for how you will surmount them. There are seven characteristics of effective planning and goal setting that you can remember with the acronym SMARTER: Specific; Motivating; Achievable; Rewarding; Tactical; Evaluated; Revisable.

Also, make sure to eat smart. If you don’t eat enough food, especially essentials, such as fruits and vegetables, you will feel deprived and tired. Also, don’t ignore exercise when dieting. It can help you stay strong, and research shows that it will help give you needed energy.

» The problem: If “diet” is simply another word for deprivation, it makes sense that any time we deny ourselves food, we will want to eat more than ever. We tend to want things we can’t have, so why would we think food was any different? Keep in mind, if you restrict too much (and eat too few calories), your body can hold on to the fat because it thinks it’s starving.

The fix: Do not restrict yourself too much. Balance is key here, and you need to eat less of the garbage foods and more high-quality healthy foods. Yes, you do need to make some changes in your diet, but if you toss out everything but lettuce, celery and the occasional apple, you’re setting yourself up for failure. The key is to compromise with yourself: Make healthier, lower-calorie choices. Also, make sure to follow the advice of experts: Eat lean protein to fend off hunger. Fill up on lots of vegetables. When eating bread and pasta, make sure to only eat 100 percent whole-grain — and limit excessive amounts. By doing that, you’ll be able to keep those cravings under control.

Charles Stuart Platkin, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.

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Good article here from The Mail about how you can lose weight by chewing your food more. There’s some great tips here although I’m not convinced about the not drinking water while you eat idea. I’ve not come across any evidence at all to support this hypothesis. Still the rest is sound advice.

Think losing weight is all about cutting calories and hours spent burning calories in the gym? There might just be an easier way.

Last week, new research found chewing food for longer may help you lose weight. So maybe it’s not what you eat, but how you eat it.

And now, James Duigan – personal trainer to Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – and Femail’s expert nutritionists Dr Marilyn Glenville and Kim Pearson reveal how to lose weight without even trying…

CONCENTRATE ON CHEWING

It’s simple according to new research, the longer you spend chewing, the fewer calories you consume.

A study found people who chewed each mouthful 40 times ate 12 per cent less food than those who chewed just 15 times, leading researchers to suggest eating quickly, gorging and binge eating could have a substantial effect on being overweight.

The study also showed obese participants chewed less and ingested more quickly than slimmer ones. 

Experts believe chewing for longer prevents over-eating by giving the brain more time to receive signals from the stomach that it is full.

It is also thought to lower levels of ghrelin, the ‘hunger hormone’, circulating in the digestive system, meaning eating more slowly can be a simple and effective way of tackling weight problems.

‘The mouth is the first part of your digestive system so chewing your food properly is the start of an efficient mechanical breakdown of what you eat,’ says female nutrition specialist, Dr Marilyn Glenville.

‘It also takes around 20 minutes for the stomach to register it is full so chewing thoroughly slows you down and can help prevent you overeating and gaining weight. Take your time chewing and you’ll find you don’t want or need as much food at meals.’

‘Chewing properly liquidises food to ensure your body can digest it efficiently and absorb maximum nutrients,’ adds James Duigan, author of Flat Tummy Fast and celebrity personal trainer (bodyism.com). ‘As it takes time to register you’re full, takes a 20 minute before your next course and you might feel you don’t need any more.’

ALWAYS EAT WITHIN AN HOUR OF WAKING UP

Experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is clinically proven that people who eat breakfast are generally lighter, slimmer and less prone to cravings than those who skip a morning meal. 

The body’s internal chemistry is at its most active first thing in the morning, so anything eaten then will be used to the maximum and recent research has found that people lost twice as much body fat when they consumed half their daily calories at breakfast. 

‘Always eat within an hour of waking up,’ advises James Duigan. ‘After going without food for hours during the night, the body is ready to refuel.

Putting off eating or missing breakfast altogether slows down your metabolism and can lead to sugar cravings and long-term weight gain. 

‘What you eat first thing will determine what your body wants for the rest of the day so avoid sugary cereals and pastries and make healthy choices always including some filling protein like eggs and smoked salmon.’ 

FOCUS ON YOUR FOOD

Experts have found that doing other things at the dinner table stops your brain receiving signals about being full, meaning people who regularly multi-task when munching could pile on more pounds.

Women trying to lose weight are especially susceptible to this phenomenon with research finding they regularly notched up more calories when juggling eating with other activities. 

Talking on the phone, listening to music or watching TV proved to be the main culprits behind chomping greater quantities. Another study by the University of Bristol found a group that had been distracted while eating their meal ate twice as many biscuits half an hour later than those who had not. 

‘There is a psychological communication between the brain and the digestive system when we eat, smelling, preparing and sitting down at the table is all part of that,’ says expert nutritionist, Kim Pearson.

‘When we eat in front of the TV our bodies don’t get those messages meaning we pay less attention to our food choices, don’t absorb the process of eating and feeling full, and consequently often overeat.’

‘Putting other activities aside and planning to simply eat at the table means you are more likely to think about what and how much you are eating, make better food choices and consequently stop eating when you are full,‘ adds Duigan.

CAREFUL HOW YOU COOK

‘Overcooking food can kill off or reduce the number of nutrients your meal contains, and when we don’t get enough good nutrients we don’t feel satisfied and soon start to get cravings. ’ says James, who advises trying to make sure at least half the food on your plate is raw.

‘If you have a sensitive digestive system and can’t cope with raw foods then remember the basic rule that the less time you spend cooking, the more nutrients will remain,’ James advises. ‘Steam, bake, blanch or grill vegetables and grill or bake meat or fish, and avoid microwaving – studies have shown it can destroy up to 97 per cent of antioxidants in vegetables.’

EAT FRUIT FIRST

Fruits contain simple sugars meaning they are broken down by a different enzyme to other foods. Typically fruits only take about thirty minutes to digest, while carbohydrates and proteins are much slower and can take as long as two hours. Foods rich in fat, protein and starch requiring more digestion may even stay in the stomach for longer.

Experts suggest this is why if you eat fruit after a meal you may experience digestive trouble as, hampered by the food eaten before it, the fruit sugar will outstay its welcome in the stomach and ferment.

‘If you eat fruit around 30 minutes before a meal it will digest quickly and well,’ explains James. ‘But eat it after or alongside proteins and carbohydrates and your digestive enzymes will clash, the fruit will sit on top of other food and nothing will get processed efficiently.’

DON’T EAT AFTER 8PM

‘We’ve all had a ‘food hangover’ feeling sluggish and uncomfortable the next day after eating too much, too late, the night before, and it makes sense if we think of food as fuel,’ says James Duigan.

‘Your body needs you to put in the most when you are going to expend the most, so eating a large meal in the evening, when your body is slowing down or sleeping is contrary.’

Avoid falling into the trap of eating high-energy treats, such as ice cream or crisps, late at night. These can contain as much as a quarter of an adult’s total daily recommended calorie intake at a time of day when far fewer calories are used.

‘Imposing an 8pm food curfew can be the key to cutting out evening snacks,’ advises Kim Pearson. ‘If you find this hard try swapping chocolate for herbal tea or even cleaning your teeth after dinner to switch your mind off from the idea of eating.’

EAT LESS WHEN YOU’RE STRESSED

‘When we are in a state of stress our bodies release hormones and cortisol which are designed to warn us of danger,’ explain Dr. Marilyn Glenville.

‘As a consequence all of the bodies energy is put into protecting us from the threat which is causing this stress, including the energy we need for digestive function. If we eat when we are stressed the body will struggle to absorb nutrients from food, so ideally wait until you are calmer before eating.’ 

Avoid eating when you’re stressed – digestion is hindered and your body is likely to store fat more readily

If you must eat either eat very small amounts or opt for foods like soup and porridge which are easier for the body to breakdown. Always avoid raw food when stressed as the body requires far more energy to break them down for digestion.

SLICE YOUR FOOD

A recent study found people who sliced their food when eating consumed on average 20 per cent fewer calories than those eating the same foods left whole. They also rated sliced servings as 27 per cent larger than equal amounts of complete foods meaning they put less onto their plates and cut back their portion sizes. 

‘By slicing the food you are taking more time to think and chew what you eat.’ Says Dr Glenville. ‘This makes you more likely to exercise greater portion control and also enables your digestion to perform at its peak so you get maximum nutrients from your meals.’ 

EAT LITTLE AND OFTEN

‘If you go for more than five hours without eating the body starts to think it’s being starved and floods itself with the stress hormone cortisol to prepare for what it thinks is a famine’ says James Duigan. ‘Plus when you do finally eat you are more likely to overeat or pick at the wrong things because you are so hungry.’

Kim Pearson agrees: ‘Studies have shown cortisol can often lead to use gaining weight around our midriff. Eating regularly balances our insulin and prevents peaks and troughs in the blood sugar so if you eat regularly you’re blood sugar remains balanced and you are less likely to overeat or seek out sugary snacks.’ 

Try eating small, frequent, healthy meals throughout the day to prevent this energy dip but don’t use this rule as an excuse to overeat, if you eat quality meals and are not hungry in-between then go without.

Keep water drinking with meals to a minimum – it makes digestion more difficult and can lead to bloating

COOK CAREFULLY – OR NOT AT ALL

‘Overcooking food can kill off or reduce the number of nutrients your meal contains, and when we don’t get enough good nutrients we don’t feel satisfied and soon start to get cravings,’ says James Duigan, who advises trying to make sure at least half the food on your plate is raw. 

‘If you have a sensitive digestive system and can’t cope with raw foods then remember the basic rule that the less time you spend cooking, the more nutrients will remain. 

Steam, bake, blanch or grill vegetables and grill or bake meat or fish, and avoid microwaving – studies have shown it can destroy up to 97 per cent of antioxidants in vegetables.’ 

THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK

When you drink can be as important as what you drink. ‘Dehydration is very stressful to the body,’ explains James Duigan.

‘Drink plenty of still filtered water throughout the day to prevent this, but remember if you drink at mealtimes the liquid slows down digestion, diluting the acid in your stomach meaning food and nutrients are less well absorbed. This often results in uncomfortable fermentation, bloating and gas in the stomach.’ 

To avoid this try to drink water 15 minutes before or after a meal, and if you need to drink while you eat limit yourself to small sips only.

As an added bonus some research has found drinking water before a meal may also help to take the edge of our appetites.

ALWAYS EAT PROTEIN WITH STARCHY CARBS

‘Eating protein with starchy carbohydrates like pasta, rice and bread actually slows down the digestion of the carbohydrate, balancing your blood sugar and lowering the speed at which it releases energy, meaning you feel fuller for longer,’ explains Dr Glenville.

‘Eaten alone starchy carbs can cause a sharp rise in insulin which will dip shortly afterwards leaving you hungry, and probably reaching for a quick sugar fix.’ 

Add tuna to a jacket potato, beans to toast or oil, which has the same effect on starchy carbs as protein, to pasta to balance out your meals.

James Duigan advises eating a few nuts everytime you eat fruit to slow down the body’s absorption of sugar, meaning less reaches your waistline.

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Say no to starvation.

September 30, 2011

Good article here from, weirdly, The Hindu.com. Sensible, practical advice and well worth heeding.

The king of rock n roll, Elvis Presley, in one of his desperate attempts to lose weight, was rumoured to have sedated himself heavily for over two weeks so that he could sleep all the time, thus not requiring any food! However, this only left him weaker, heavier and more frustrated. In 2007, Beyonce Knowles, the popular singer admitted to following a ‘lemonade diet,’ to lose 10 kilos for an upcoming role in a movie. You can only imagine the acidity that would have caused!

All over the world, people hElvis knew the scoreave resorted to drastic remedies in order to rid themselves of their excess body baggage. Crash diets where only one food group is allowed (for instance, the cabbage diet), or liquid diets that serve only juices and soups but restrict solid foods have all been popular before people fell victim to their own eating habits, leading to severe physical and psychological stress.

Say no to starvation: If you’re overweight or obese, you may think that by not eating any more, your body will burn the fat that you’ve accumulated over the years. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. “Many people make the mistake of starving in order to lose weight quickly,” says Dr Anoop Misra, Director, Centre of Internal Medicine (CIM), Fortis Hospital, New Delhi. “Excessive restriction of calories only causes a stronger appetite as it tricks the body into thinking that it requires more food due to deficiency of essential nutrients. Calorie restriction must be gradually developed over a period of time and a balanced diet should be followed.”

In order to do this, try to eat a little less at every meal, so that you’re satisfied, but not overtly full and don’t restrict any food group. Remember, it’s not the foods that are ‘bad’ but what you do to them. For instance, even the starchy potato, the villain of most weight watchers, is good for you when it is steamed and not deep fried, adds Dr.Misra who is also the Chairman, National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation of India.

Beware of BMR: Just as different cars burn the same fuel differently, giving you better or worse mileage, every individual’s capacity to burn food as fuel is different too. Your body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories even when you are at rest) begins to slow down when you starve. In the long-term, this can make losing weight much more difficult.

“It has been scientifically proven that when individuals go on prolonged fasting, the body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) reduces to conserve energy, making it extremely difficult to lose weight despite not eating adequately. Severe starvation causes muscle wasting and creates serious electrolyte imbalances leading to cramps and other side effects,” says Mumbai-based dietician Meghna Rajpurohit.

Havoc with hormones: When you follow an extremely low calorie diet, normal hormonal functions may be temporarily or permanently disturbed, putting you at risk to thyroid disorders. “The effects of starvation on the brain can cause a lack of concentration, loss of motor skills, and increased likelihood of anxiety and depression. As the condition progresses, brain function decreases, leaving the victim in a state of fatigue or torpor,” explains Dr Misra.

Strike the right balance: If weight loss is your goal, then it’s time to re-think your relationship with food. Increase your BMR by eating small meals at short intervals; say every two-three hours. This, experts advise, will help your body burn calories faster. Combining this practice with adequate exercise will help you get rid of fat.

In all cases, moderation is the key, so just don’t exceed the ‘feed limit’!

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