Make your Refrigerator Diet Friendly

Your refrigerator could prove to be your most effective weight loss diet tool or it could throw your diet plan terribly off course. If your refrigerator keeps tempting you with leftover chocolate cake, while vegetables and fruits rot, it is time for you to give your fridge a makeover for the better. Here we will discuss some of the most effective ways of giving your fridge a diet friendly make over.

Stocking your Fridge for Weight Loss:

This is how you go about stocking your refrigerator for successful weight loss.

    • Keep healthy choices within reach: The key to a diet friendly refrigerator lies in keeping unhealthy, high calorie, high fat foods out and stocking up on healthy foods. Stock up your fridge with low calorie, low fat options such as turkey slices, yogurt, low fat cheese etc. Keep these foods in clear view, so every time you reach out for a snack you grab something healthy. Stowing away the less than ideal options (that tempting tub of ice cream) out of sight also helps.
    • Make fruits and vegetables a priority: Have you been stowing away all the fruits and vegetables in the produce drawer? If yes, stop doing so now. Store your veggies and fruits in covered, see through containers on the fridge shelves where you can easily spot them. You could even chose to wash and chop up the fruits and vegetables into bite sized pieces before you put them into a container. This way whenever you open the fridge, you get a big dose of the goodness of fruits and vegetables. Also, fruits and vegetables are chock full of fiber and nutrients which keep you feeling full for longer.
    • Make smart swaps over time: For losing weight successfully you will have to eventually substitute high fat foods with low fat versions. However, you don’t have to make the change overnight. Research has actually found that switching to low fat healthier versions gradually over time makes it easier to adjust to the new diet and helps stick to the diet plan in the long run. Giving up all your favorite food overnight will just make you feel miserable after sometime, increasing your chances of falling off the diet plan. For instance, begin with low fat dairy products the first week and then next week substitute white bread for whole grain bread.

You can also use your fridge door as a record of your weight loss’a0efforts. Graphs showing how much weight you have lost or pictures of a slimmer you on the fridge door can act as a great motivational factor urging you to stick to your diet every time you go to the fridge. Keep these things in mind and in no time you will see that your fridge has become the most diet friendly weight loss tool you could ever hope for.

Conquer Food Cravings

All of us at some point of time have given into that craving for food, often cursing ourselves later as we realize the amount of calories we have piled on. The way you deal with our food cravings can make or break your weight loss management plan. Treating yourself to an occasional snack will not have a detrimental effect; however, giving in to your cravings habitually will send all your weight loss efforts down the drain.

Here we will discuss some of the effective ways to stave off your eating impulses.

Tips to Deal with Food Cravings

These tips have been suggested by health and nutrition experts to deal with your eating impulses:

 

    • Wait on it: Believe it or not, experts suggest that waiting out a food craving actually works. People often mistake hunger pangs for real hunger. Waiting before you reach out for that snack will help you differentiate between the two. Try keeping yourself occupied for sometime by taking a walk or checking out conversations on Facebook. More often than not, you will find that the urge to eat has disappeared.
    • Gulp down water: People often mistake thirst for hunger. Before you head to the fridge the next time you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water. The body senses a need and we mistakenly assume that it is hunger and reach out for unhealthy snacks. Chances are that you will be pleasantly surprised to find that your craving has subsided after a drink of water.
    • Give in if you must, but just a little: Giving into your craving on an impulse implies that you have lost at least some control. What this results in is you going off the wagon completely. Take a moment to realize what you are doing and make a smart choice. Satisfy your craving but do it on a smaller scale. Usually, the first few bites will be enough to satisfy your craving.
    • Be Realistic: Set realistic goals. Don’92t deprive yourself of your favorite food, because once you get bored of eating the same diet food, your chances of binging will increase. Moderation is the key here. Enjoy your favorite foods once in a while, just watch the portion size.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you feel an uncontrollable urge to eat. Following these simple tips can go a long way in helping you cope up with food cravings.

Tips on How to Increase your Fiber Intake

Increasing the amount of fiber you consume not only improves your overall health but can also work wonders for helping you lose weight. The best part about fiber is that it gives a sensation of fullness and keeps hunger satiated for a longer period, thus helping to prevent overeating. However, you must make sure that the increase in fiber content takes place gradually and not overnight.

Tips to Increase Fiber Intake

Here are some great ways to increase the fiber content in your diet to aid in your weight loss efforts.

    • Switch to Bran Flakes: Opt for bran flakes instead of corn flakes with raisins. This will supply about 25 percent of your body’s daily dietary fiber needs.
    • Eat Whole Fruits More Often: While natural fruit juices are healthy and pack in a lot of vitamins, they contain no fiber. For instance, eight ounces of orange juice has 110 calories. Eating an orange on the other hand will make you feel fuller on fewer calories. Three pieces of a fruit will provide about 12 grams of fiber which is half of the recommended 25 grams of fiber per day.
    • Pick Whole Grain Bread: Whole grain bread provides several grams of additional fiber per slice. White bread, on the other hand, has negligible or no fiber content. Start by making the switch to whole grain bread just a few times in a week to ease the transition and in time you just might begin preferring whole grain bread to white bread.
    • Eat More Beans: Add beans to your salads and soups to increase your fiber intake. Dry beans need to be soaked properly before their preparation. So, if you do not have enough time, canned beans are a good option. However, make sure that you check the sodium content (generally canned foods are higher in sodium). Also, there is a wide choice of beans to pick from and you can be sure to find one that you like.
    • Increase Fiber Content in Your Favorite Foods: Experiment with your favorite dishes by adding to their fiber content. For instance, you could try adding flax seeds (ground) to turkey meatballs for your meatloaf or spaghetti.

Incorporating these tips in your diet plan can go a long way in helping you improve your health as well as aid your weight loss program.

5 Easy Tips to Prevent Overeating

Overeating is one of the major causes of obesity in America. Whether you tend to overeat without realizing (i.e., when you pig out in front of the television) or frequently help yourself to ‘All You Can Eat’ buffets, overeating can not only derail your weight loss diet plan but also lead to health conditions.

But, there is hope yet. There are ways in which you can continue to eat what you love without overeating.

Tips on How to Prevent Overeating

Here are some easy and effective tips to help you prevent overeating.

    • Don’t skip meals during the day: Never skip meals during the day to save calories for meals later in the evening. When you skip meals, no matter how confident you feel, by the evening you are more likely to become over hungry and give in to overeating. Reserving calories for another meal almost always back fires.
    • Eat meals on a regular schedule: Eating meals regularly keeps you from getting too hungry, so that you don’t lose control over how much you eat. Never go without food for longer than five hours. Try incorporating healthy snacks into your schedule and have several mini meals instead of three large meals.
    • Don’t miss your breakfast: Eating breakfast regularly, every morning, helps to keep the body’s energy levels high and blood sugar levels stable. People tend to overeat when they feel sluggish or when the body’s energy levels are low. Also, low blood sugar levels trigger food cravings, which are another major reason for overeating. In fact, research has shown that people who eat breakfast tend to have healthier weight as compared to those who miss breakfast.
    • Curb your appetite before you eat your meal: Drink a glass of cold water or opt for a broth based soup before you settle down to eat the main course. The liquid food will make you feel fuller, so that you don’t gorge on the main course and overeat. Also, snacking on apple slices (with their skins on) and salads (low fat dressing) before a meal will provide you with enough fiber to curb your appetite, without piling up on calories.
    • Drink plenty of water: Drinking plenty of water and eating water rich fruits (like oranges and melons) through the day helps to curb hunger pangs without adding to the calorie count, apart from keeping your body hydrated. Also, quite often, people mistake their thirst for hunger and end up overeating. Next time you feel hungry, try gulping down a glass of water. More often than not, it is just your thirst that you confuse for hunger.

Incorporating these tips in your weight loss diet plan can go a long way to help curb overeating.

Health Foods That Aren't Healthy

Been on a weight loss diet for long, sacrificed all your favorite foods and still can’92t see much progress? More often than not, the reason for this is the touted health foods, which in fact are not so healthy.

Disguised as healthy food, these can actually derail your weight loss plan.

Read on to find out more about which foods are sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

    • Bran Muffins: A bran muffin from a bakery can pack up to 500 calories and as much as 25gms of fat. If you are thinking fat free bran muffins are better, think again. These contain more sugar, so that just increases the calorie content. If you are thinking about the fiber content, maybe you are being fooled there too because most commercially produced bran muffins have lower bran content, which means that the fiber content is also low. A better choice would be bran flake cereal with fat free milk, which packs only 200 calories and around five grams of fiber.
    • Energy Bars: Unless you are an athlete or are super active, energy bars are not a very smart choice when you are trying to lose weight. Although energy bars are packed full of nutrients, when it comes to weight, they are as bad as candy bars. Typically, a protein bar packs around 200 to 300 calories. You should consider energy bars as a treat and not as normal health food.
    • Tuna Salad: Tuna itself is a good choice, whether you are trying to get more omega 3 fatty acids or managing your weight. It is a great source of protein that keeps you full for longer than many other foods. However, when you add in all the additional yummy stuff to a tuna salad, it just spells disaster for your diet plan. Next time you order a tuna salad make sure you stay away from the mayo and the extra toppings, unless you want them adding to your waistline.
    • Granola: Although granola is seemingly made of all natural ingredients, it does not actually make a good option for dieters. While the ingredients individually are quite healthy, they are held together using oil that significantly increase the calorie and fat content. Some varieties may pack in as many as 300 to 400 calories.

Now that you know the culprits, steer clear of these seemingly healthy foods the next time you are at the super market to stay on track with your diet plan.

How to Cut Calories from Your Pizza

Love sinking your teeth into that yummy pizza, but your weight loss diet doesn’t allow it?

It doesn’t have to be so. Just making a few changes can keep you from blowing away an entire day’s calorie at the pizzeria.

Here is what you should do to cut calories from your pizza…

 

    • Don’t Be Too Cheesy: Typically a slice of hand tossed cheese pizza will pack about 220 calories. Just ask for a half cheese pizza when you order. This will save about 50 calories from each slice and reduce the saturated fat content by almost a third. You will be surprised by the amount of cheese still left in your pizza even after slicing away half the cheese. If, however, you love the cheese too much to cut it in half, you could opt for partly skimmed cheese rather than whole fat cheese. Some pizzerias may use a sprinkling of feta as a substitute for regular cheese, which lowers the calorie count. If you are one of those who don’t mind going without cheese, order a no cheese pizza and then dust the slices lightly with grated Parmesan cheese.
    • Meat Matters: Usually any type of meat topping will add about 40 calories to each slice. While you might just love pepperoni, keep in mind that this topping packs in 130 calories in an ounce. Typically, one slice of pepperoni pizza will contain around 200 to 250 calories. Instead of pepperoni, try out chorizo, which will cut down the calorie count by 20 per serving while you enjoy the smoky hot flavor. Canadian bacon is another great choice, as it cuts 80 calories per ounce. Ground turkey breast or extra lean ground beef are also good substitutes for high calorie meat toppings.
    • Try Vegetables: Grab a bowl of vegetable soup or any other broth based soup for starters before you have your pizza. Salads are also a good option before having the pizza to curb your appetite. Veggie toppings like tomatoes, green peppers and onions instead of meats also work great as they are more filling, have more antioxidants and cut more calories.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you hit the pizza joint and you won’t have to worry about going off the weight loss diet.

Fighting Fat at the Movies

Are you headed for the movies this weekend? And are you on a weight loss diet? If your answer to both these questions YES, chances are you are entering into a diet danger zone.

Ready for some scary stats?

Studies show that a single large tub of plain popcorn sold at movie theaters packs about 60 grams of fat, 1,100 calories and 1,235 milligrams of sodium. A large tub of popcorn with buttery topping can set you back by 79 grams of fat, 1,261 calories and 1,300 milligrams of sodium. The amount of calories is almost equivalent to a weight loss diet’s calorie limit.

How to Fight Fat at the Movies

So what can you do to fight fat at the movies? You do not have to give up going to the movie theater. And movies are not as much fun without snacks. Here are a few suggestions for you, so that you can enjoy the movie without jeopardizing your weight loss diet plan.

Plan a Preemptive Strike: It does not matter which diet plan you are following, if you eat a healthy satisfying snack before you leave for the movies, you can help to stop yourself from overindulging at the theater. Try out apple slices with their skins on. The fiber content in the apple will help you feel full. You could also try some raw vegetables with a low fat dip. Again, the fiber content makes you feel fuller and the dip is satisfying. Whole grain crackers with low fat cheese also work well, as they keep the blood sugar level stable and your hunger at bay. Yogurt sprinkled with some sliced almonds or low fat granola also provides enough protein for staying power.

Pop at Home: Curbing your fat intake at the movie theater can prove to be a real challenge. Carrying your own air popped popcorn to the theater is a good alternative. You might say air popped popcorn prepared at home tastes so bland. But it does not have to be that way. There are quite a few popcorn flavors available today, ranging from parmesan and marshmallows to garlic and chocolate. And these toppings are fat free, so the calories are taken care of. Seal the popcorn in a container and shake well so that the topping is evenly distributed.rnrnKeep these things in mind, next time you go to the movies and you will not have any regrets later.

How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

It is not that occasional dessert that ruins your weight loss efforts. It is the wish to shed all those excess pounds immediately. Weight loss experts call this the ‘false hope syndrome’, when dieters start having unrealistic expectations about the time it will take to lose all the excess weight.

Researches today show that unrealistic weight loss goals increase the chances of dropping out of the weight loss program. Another study has revealed that though dieters may eat less temporarily if they have high expectations, their under-eating puts them at a higher risk of overeating at the next temptation.

The question now arises: How do we set realistic weight loss goals? Experts came up with the following tips on how to set realistic weight loss goals. However, consult your doctor about your weight loss program before you use these tips.

  • Resolve to lose weight slowly: This is probably the most important tip which is often overlooked. Jennifer A. Linde, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis says that setting a goal of losing five to ten percent of your initial weight is achievable. So if you currently weigh 200 pounds, an achievable goal would be losing 10 to 20 pounds.
  • Do your Math: Setting a realistic timeframe is also important. Ideally, a realistic goal would be shedding about one to two pounds a week. If you plan to shed 25 pounds, you will be on a three month long program. If it is 50 pounds, set up a timeframe of about six months. Aim at burning 500 to 1,000 calories in a day, either by exercising more, eating less or both.
  • Set Mini Milestones: Set up short term targets. Instead of just concentrating on losing 25 pounds, celebrate your first 5 pound loss.
  • Track your Weight Loss Progress: Keep a food journal. Record your weight loss successes in it. This also works as a great motivator when you are feeling low.
  • Give thought to Long Term Goals: It is alright for you to plan out your big goals, however it also means that you need to start out small and work towards the bigger goal. So, if you are planning on shedding 50 pounds, maybe your short term goal should be going through the day without eating a lot.

How to Lose Fat without Losing Muscle

We are so focused on losing weight that any weight loss is considered good. What people often overlook is the fact that most of the initial weight loss is because of loss of muscle. No exerciser would want smaller muscles because of exercising. The goal of exercising is to improve the ratio of body fat to muscle. This can be achieved only by losing fat without losing any muscle. Maintaining muscle mass is important for sustainable weight loss.

Losing Fat, Not Muscle: Tips

Here are some tips to help you lose fat and still retain your muscles.

Fat Burning and Recovery Cycle: The key to losing fat without muscle loss is not being too aggressive about eliminating carbohydrates. You need to just properly manage the amount of carbohydrates you consume. One of the ways this can be achieved is by first reducing carbs by about 20% of the daily requirement and then within 48 hours, replenishing the glycogen levels in the muscle by eating 100% of one’s daily carb requirements. In effect, the cycle consists of two fat burning days followed by a recovery day. Fat loss will average between one and two pounds in a week, while the muscles are also fed well.

Exercise on days when you consume more carbs: What most people don’t know is that the results of exercise come after we are over with the workout in response to how much nutrition the muscle gets after exercise. Exercise on the days when you are consuming more carbohydrates for fuel. Take a few days off from exercise when you are low in carbs.

Exercise about 1.5 to 2 hours after having your meal: This is because at this time, the insulin and blood sugar levels in the body are gradually declining. After a meal, the blood sugar and insulin levels are high as the cells receive nutrients. When the blood sugar and insulin levels drop, the pancreas secretes glycagon and the nutrients stored in fat cells are released into the blood to be used for energy. If blood sugar levels are too high, the insulin deposits excess in the fat cells. If insulin levels are low, the muscles will be underfed. Both these conditions need to be avoided. Timing your exercise to the fall of blood sugar levels allows muscles to receive nutrients more effectively from fat cells.rnrnHowever, before you start incorporating these tips, make sure you consult your doctor as he will be able to guide you about whether the program suits you and will pose no risk to your health.

Basics of a Healthy Eating Plan

Most people are confused about what healthy eating is, owing to the variety of advice given which are often conflicting. Eating for a healthy life is not that complicated once you get to know the basics. Here we will talk about what a healthy balanced diet should be like. However, people who are under medical supervision or have special dietary requirements need to consult their physicians before following any diet.

Vegetables and Fruits: Eating healthy includes five portions of these in a day. This may include canned, dried or frozen varieties of fruits and vegetables. Pure juices are great too. You can also include lentils, pulses and beans. The key is to select a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, each one a different for the five portions. A portion is about 80 grams, i.e. two medium plums or an apple.

Dairy Products: Experts recommend two to three servings of these. This group will include milk, yoghurt, fromage frai and cheese, but not eggs, cream or butter. Serving sizes for each of these foods will vary based on the concentration of the food. For instance, one serving of milk will be 200 ml, one serving of cheese will be 30 grams and one serving of yoghurt will be 150 grams.

Potatoes, Bread and Other Cereals: For a healthy eating plan you need to have five portions of these in a day. This group will include pasta, rice, oats, breakfast cereals as well as potatoes and bread. Have at least one portion of any of these foods at each meal.

Fats and Sugary Foods: Foods in this group should be eaten in small quantities, about zero to three servings in a day. Oil, butter, mayonnaise, margarine, cream, fried foods and crisps have a high fat content. Soft drinks, jams and sweets have high sugar content. Cakes, pastries, ice creams and chocolates are high in both. However, it is essential that you include a small amount of fat. Opt for unsaturated fat, such as sunflower, corn or olive oil, instead of saturated fats which usually come from pastries, cakes and animal products.

Fish, Meat and other Alternatives: A healthy diet will include about two to three servings from this food group. It includes poultry, meat and fish products. Some of these can have a high fat content so opt for the low fat variety of such products. Trim away any visible fat from meat products. Some alternatives are tofu, textured vegetable protein and mycoprotein.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary.