Articles from April 2008

Healthy Weight Loss

According to survey done in 1999 almost 108 million Americans were overweight or obese. Around the world this continues to be a major concern, consequently the weight loss industry is valued at approximately $80 billion per year.We all want to believe the ads we see on TV that fat will just melt away, if you’ll only buy the pill, the machine, or the drink that they are selling.  Deep in our hearts we know it’s not true, that healthy weight loss can’t happen that way, but we keep buying into it whether we should or not.

Unfortunately, even if you do find a miracle pill, drink, or supplement that helps you lose weight, there is a good likelyhood that you will regain it along with another ten or twenty pounds. The reason for this is, unless you change your habits you will regain the weight.

Healthy weight loss is the amount of weight you can lose and sustain; it is how much you can lose and still be healthy.  If you are struggling with your weight and want to lose weight quickly, knowing that a half pound to one pound a week is a healthy weight loss might make you impatient.  Losing weight slowly and steadily, though, is the secret to keeping the weight off.

When you lose weight the healthy way – slowly as you change your diet and nutrition habits – the weight not only tends to stay off better, but your body’s metabolism adjusts more efficiently.  If you lose weight too quickly, your body goes into “starvation” mode and your metabolism literally shuts down.  Your body thinks it’s starving to death, so it tries to preserve the fat it has.

Some fad diets do work, but only in the short term, because they trick your body. The minute you go off the fad diet, you will bounce back to your old weight and sometimes even gain more.  To have healthy weight loss, you need to focus more on changing your habits and your lifestyle.  You need to focus on diet and nutrition, exercise and flexibility, and mental and emotional health.

Here are some tips on how you can lose those unwanted pounds the healthy way:

-  Decide on how much weight you want to lose. Your goals must be realistic. Understand that is is virtually impossible for you to lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks.

- Set realistic goals do not expect to be loosing crazy figures like 5 – 10 lbs. per week.

- change your mindset. Forget the fads, potions and gimmicks and realize that you have to eat healthy to stay healthy for the rest of your life.

- Do not starve your self.  You may feel happy that you are loosing the unwanted weight but it is not sustainable as your body cannot tolerate having insufficient food to fuel the energy that you need to go about your daily activity. If you just eat one huge meal for the day, it will likely end up going straight to your problem area, for most of us women that’s our buttocks, thigh, hips and belly.

- Do not diet. This is my own personally held belief but for the purpose of balance we will examine some diet plans at another time.

-  Start your day right. You always hear mothers saying you should have a healthy breakfast, in fact I’m sure that’s one of the things you insist on for your own families. Well when you start the day with a healthy meal it helps to wake up your metabolism. The food you eat throught the day is the fuel that your body will use to burn fat.

-  Eat small, healthy meals frequently. Five  small-serving meals per day is better than three hearty meals.When you eat more frequently in small servings it helps to prevent over-eating, it also increases your metabolism and make calories burn faster.

- Drink lots of water. Sufficient water helps to burn fat and keep your cells hydrated and healthy.

- Reduce your sugar intake. Incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables in your meal. Include potatoes or pasta(preferably wheat flour) as your carbohydrate. Your protein should be very lean meat. Treat yourself only occasionally to those sweet treats.

-  Watch your fat intake. This does not mean you are to avoid all fat. There are healthy fats. These can be found in foods such as peanuts, canola and olive oil.In addition omega-3 which is good for the heart can be had from mackerel, tuna and salmon.

-  Exercise.  does not have to start out being anything structured. Leave your car and walk if you are only going a few blocks, take the elevator instead of the stairs.This is a good place to start but it is necessary to incorporate some kind of regular exercise program into your life

- Go slow. Do not obsess about whether or not it’s working fast enough. Just keep on doing your thing and you will be surprised at the results.

- Once you have decided on a weight loss plan or program, stick to it and make sure that you follow your own set of rules.

Healthy weight loss allows your body to adjust to the changing needs it has as you slowly lose weight, and your metabolism keeps burning.  When you add a fitness regiment that includes weight lifting and building muscle, and you allow your body to experience healthy weight loss, you will be able to maintain the new weight longer than if you dropped a lot of weight all at once.

Healthy weight loss happens when you take a holistic approach to your health.  Change old bad habits and make new ones that will last a life time. Don’t fall for fads and don’t waste your money on pills that won’t work. Just take it one day at a time and stay focused on how wonderful you really are regardless of the number on the scale.

Healthy Meal Planning

Exercise is a major component to staying fit and active as you age, but healthy eating becomes more and more important the older you are and the slower your metabolism processes calories.  Eating healthy can be better accomplished when you have a meal plan to refer to, so we’ve developed sample meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as healthy snacks.

Breakfast Morning snack Lunch Afternoon snack Dinner
One egg, one piece of whole wheat toast, banana, green tea, water Yogurt with granola Low fat turkey sandwich, carrot sticks,
an apple, and water
A handful (no more than 23) almonds Spaghetti with whole wheat pasta, salad with 1 tbsp olive oil, glass of red wine
Breakfast burrito in whole flour tortilla, bowl of mixed fruit, milk, green tea, water 1 ounce of cheese, apple slices, two walnuts Tuna with one tbsp mayo, 1 slice whole wheat bread, five or six taco chips with guacamole ¼ cup cottage cheese, ½ cup pineapple 5 ounce salmon steak, ½ cup rice pilaf, 1 cup steamed broccoli
Breakfast smoothie made with 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup frozen strawberries, ½ cup of vanilla yogurt and ½ c. orange juice,
1 hard-boiled egg, green tea, water
one orange or nectarine Chicken salad: five ounce chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, other veggies to taste and 2 ½ tbsp of low-fat dressing Fruit salad:
Mix together ½ cup each of pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe, and choice of berry.
Two ounces of salmon, spinach salad, two ounces of feta cheese, chopped tomato, five olives,
One poached egg, one slice whole wheat toast, one tbsp peanut butter, green tea, water one orange or nectarine Two tacos: Corn tortillas, five ounces of low-fat ground beef, seasoned, one ounce cheese, lettuce. One apple Five ounce turkey breast, steamed green beans, sliced peaches.

You will notice that these suggested menu incorporates green tea instead of coffee. Try to wean yourself off coffee which contain caffeine which is bad for you. try instead to acquire the taste for green tea which is a much healthier alternative. It is an acquired taste for some but you will be surprised at how quickly you get used to the taste.

Also drink as much water as you can through the day. try to drink at least 8 glasses. If you have a desk job, put a pitcher of water on your desk in the morning and drink it through the day. If you are on the road, then make sure that you have bottles of water with you at all times.

Healthy Cooking

While there may be some monumental changes you are trying to make in your life to improve your health and fitness, something you can do that requires very little effort at all is to focus on healthy cooking.  Healthy cooking does not have to be difficult or expensive.  In fact, there are some relatively simple changes you can make to your everyday cooking habits that will make them healthier.

The first thing you should do to introduce healthy cooking to your kitchen is buy a very nice, big bottle of extra virgin olive oil.  Cooking in olive oil not only improves the flavor of the foods – everything from eggs to chicken – but it also provides you with a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids instead of partially hydrogenated, heart-stopping fat.  Cooking in olive oil is a heart healthy cooking choice.

The second thing you should do to  introduce healthy cooking to your kitchen is to ditch the salt.  Salt seems to be the seasoning of choice, because it’s easy, uncomplicated, and always there.  It also has a bad habit of giving you high blood pressure.  To cook flavorful foods without relying as much on salt, either grow or buy herbs.  You can grow herbs in your kitchen window with very little effort.  When you are cooking chicken, add some rosemary, thyme and garlic instead of salt.  The flavor will be amazing.  When you do use salt, make sure you choose an iodized sea salt, and use it sparingly.

Another healthy cooking change you can make is to stop frying everything.  Steam your vegetables, bake your meat, broil your fish.  Don’t assume that everything tastes best breaded and dropped in the deep fryer.  Experiment with different flavors and cooking techniques.

Wherever possible, switch from processed white flour products to whole grain products.  You can buy whole grain spaghetti and macaroni, bread and dinner rolls for not much more than you would spend for the bleached white flour versions.  Whole grains contribute to overall better health; white flour products add fat to your belly and empty calories to your plate.

Finally, switch to fat free milk.  If you drink whole milk or 2% milk, you may want to transition slowly to fat free milk.  If you have a child under the age of two, you should keep whole milk in the house for them; the fat content is whole milk is beneficial to their developing brains.  After age two, however, fat free milk provides the same calcium and vitamin D without the unnecessary fat and calories.

Try making a few changes at a time until they become habits.  Soon you will realize that healthy cooking is easy.  It is something you can do without making major changes in your lifestyle.