Jumat, 25 Februari 2011

Top Ten Secrets to Successful Weight Control

Weight control and weight management are really two sides of the same coin. In reality, the habits that help you drop pounds are the same ones that will help you maintain it. After all, losing weight isn’t really considered a success unless you manage to keep it off.
Dietitian Susan Bowerman shares her secrets to successful weight loss
The top 10 strategies of successful ‘losers’:
  1. They get to know themselves really well

    One key to success is learning how to manage your own high risk situations - such as eating when you’re stressed or cleaning your plate out of habit rather than hunger. Successful losers are adaptable and plan ahead - they know what situations might get them into trouble and have a backup plan for dealing with them.
  2. They get a lot of exercise

    On average, the National Weight Control Registry enrolees’ burn about 2000 calories per week through exercise. That’s a lot they get about 60-90 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise daily. The most popular exercise is walking, and they average 8-10 km a day.
  3. They set goals and monitor their behaviour

    Setting goals ones you measure, like how many minutes you walk, how many calories you take in, or how many sit-ups you do are helpful because you can track whether or not you meet these goals. Successful losers keep track of how much exercise they get, and they keep food journals sometimes using a food log to plan meals ahead of time. These self-monitoring strategies are critical and provide much needed feedback on behaviour changes
  4. They have regular meal patterns and frequency

    Many people get in trouble with their weight because their eating patterns are so disorganised. Successful losers report that eating at regular intervals and snacking only when they hungry are keys to success. Skipping meals usually backfires, and having routine meal times means that you don’t go long stretches without food which often leads to excessive snacking or larger meals later on.
  5. They eat a low fat , nutrient -dense diet

    No surprises here, but a high quality diet one with plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains is what keeps people satisfied. The fruits, veggies and whole grains are bulky and filling, and their calorie cost is relatively low. Adequate protein is key, since protein is highly satisfying and will help keep snacking at bay between meals.
  6. They practice portion control

    By learning what size portion you need to eat to feel ‘not hungry any more’ rather than feeling ‘stuffed’ you can help trim your intake significantly. Portion control strategies include using smaller plates, serving your food in the kitchen (rather than having serving dishes at the table), and using meal replacements such as protein shakes or bars.
  7. They practice stress management

    By learning what size portion you need to eat to feel ‘not hungry any more’ rather than feeling ‘stuffed’ you can help trim your intake significantly. Portion control strategies include using smaller plates, serving your food in the kitchen (rather than having serving dishes at the table), and using meal replacements such as protein shakes or bars.
  8. They have an attitude adjustment

    Many people who have successfully controlled their weight say that they had to change their thinking about dieting and weight control. Some felt it was ‘in their genes’ to be fat, or that they couldn’t lose because they’d never been successful in the past. Eventually, they faced the problem head on recognising that success would come through a series of small steps and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
  9. They adopt a plan and stick to it

    Once you have an established routine of how you generally eat and how frequently you exercise, learn to stick with this routine day in, day out. People who have controlled their weight and are successful maintaining it do this – even when on holiday or eating out. You may eat out less often, because you prefer having more control over what you eat by preparing meals at home.
  10. They have learned to control their environment

    Successful losers learn how to control situations that are likely to get them into trouble. The foods that are available in the refrigerator or cupboard at home, in restaurants, at the workplace or in the grocery store are all environments that can be controlled. To gain control over the food environment, keep ‘safe’ foods in the house, choose restaurants where you know you can get foods that you want, bring appropriate foods to work and prepare a shopping list before you go to the supermarket.

Fruit, Vegetables and Ways to Get 5-7 Servings a Day

Do you eat 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables every single day? It’s hard enough to get one or two servings each day, let alone seven! So what are some ways to do it? And importantly, why do we need to eat that much?

Fruits and vegetables are hugely important for staying healthy and they are a great source of essential nutrients the body needs. They naturally contain fibre, antioxidants, fructose (naturally occurring fruit sugar) and various vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They also tend to be low in fat.

What about the sugar in fruit?

Fruit naturally contains sugar, called fructose, but this shouldn’t be a reason not to eat it. Fruit contains many other great nutrients and the benefit of these out weighs the sugar quantity you’ll get from eating a piece of fruit. But do watch your intake, try to make up your daily requirement with 2-3 servings of fruit and 4-5 of vegetables.

So what are some good ways to hit the ‘magic number’ of fruit and vegetable each day?

  1. Add fruit to shakes and smoothies for a tasty drink
  2. At breakfast, add sliced fruit on your cereal or oats, or sliced tomato or avocado on your toast
  3. Fruit and veg are healthy snacks – snack on a piece of fruit or sliced vegetables sticks such as carrots/celery/peppers (add hummus or salsa for a bit of interest)
  4. Keep the fruit bowl full, you’re more likely to reach for a snack that is readily available in your home or in your bag
  5. Dinner is a good way to increase your vegetable intake. It’s easy to throw extra vegetables into a stir-fry or eat them as a side
  6. Variety in cooking is needed to alleviate boredom. Try something new each day: stir-fry, roast, boil, poach, steam or bake
  7. Although fresh is best, frozen and canned fruit and veg count too. If you choose canned fruit, go for ones without a sugary syrup and that are low in salt and sugar
  8. One glass of unsweetened 100% fruit juice counts as one of your servings
  9. Grow your own. It always seems to taste better when you’ve put the hard work in yourself!
  10. Buy what’s in season – it tastes better and is usually cheaper

So head down to your local farmers’ market, fruit and veg store or supermarket and stock up on healthy, tasty and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

Six Habits That Can Ruin Your Healthy Diet

Weight loss, eating a healthier diet, becoming more active, working towards a better body shape. Whatever your goal, there always seems to be a few habits that get in the way, even with the best intentions.

Success means not only achieving your goal, but also maintaining it. Here are some common dieting habits to be careful of.

  1. You think you can lose weight without exercise

    To be healthy, lose weight and keep it off, you need to exercise regularly. Exercise helps you achieve a better body shape by toning the muscles; supports metabolism; helps increase energy levels fitness and endurance, plus it’s good for the mind!
  2. You drink too many calories

    Staying clear of the fizzy drinks is great, but don’t replace it by drinking more fruit juice. Remember: juice can contain almost the same number of calories as fizzy drinks. Yes, juice has natural sugars, which is better than sucrose or artificial sweeteners, but always read the label, as often is sugar added, and there’s no fibre. Where possible, eat your fruit, rather than drink it.
  3. You think all fats are bad

    Beneficial fats are unsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are primarily found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. Fat is essential for health, just make sure you limit saturated fats and trans fats.
  4. A diet is a way of life, not a temporary thing

    Just because you’ve reached your target weight, or achieved your goal doesn’t mean you can stop your diet. Do celebrate your success, but don’t fall back into old habits. So many people who lose weight end up putting it back on – don’t be one of these people!
  5. Nibbling and not knowing when to stop eating

    Eating small, regular meals throughout the day is fine, but make sure you keep them balanced and don’t lose track of how much you’ve eaten. It’s so easy to get caught up doing work or busy talking while you eat, and forget to stop when you’re no longer hungry!
  6. Losing motivation

    Motivation is a huge part of sticking to your eating or exercise plan. Get family and friends around you that build you up and encourage you. This is especially important when you notice results starting to plateau. Try putting post-it notes or inspirational photographs around the house and in the pantry to remind yourself of your goals and how far you’ve come so far.

Remember, it’s easier to break habits, than it is to build them. So get family and friends to keep you motivated, stay focused and strong – the results will pay off.

How To Beat Emotional Eating

Are you feeding you stomach, or feeding your feelings? Often the answer is both. We need to eat to fuel the body, but sometimes we eat to satisfy our feelings. It could be particular foods because we’re happy, sad or even bored, but when we eat for reasons other than physical hunger, it’s emotional eating.

Eating when we’re not really hungry is a sure way to add unnecessary calories (and kilos!) that can quickly ruin your weight management programme.

So how do you beat emotion eating? Know the difference and then manage it.

Knowing the difference:

  1. Emotional eating appears suddenly, physical hunger comes on gradually.
  2. Even if you’re full, you’re more likely to keep eating if it’s to satisfy a feeling.
  3. If your stomach is growling for food, you’ll eat almost anything to fill the gap. If you crave a particular food such as ice cream, chocolate or potato crisps, you’re probably eating to feed a feeling.
  4. Emotional eating feels like it you need to eat the food you crave instantly, whereas if it’s physical hunger, it can wait.
  5. You may feel guilty after emotional eating, but if you’re physically hungry you won’t.

Managing emotional eating:

  1. See if you can recognise what feelings cause you to want to eat emotionally.
  2. Take your mind off the craving by doing something else – try going for a walk, do some housework or talk to a friend.
  3. Find a comfort food that’s a healthy alternative, so when the feeling comes you’ve got an option that isn’t junk food.
  4. If you’re on a diet, elimination of all unhealthy foods can do more harm than good. For example, if you can’t live without chocolate, don’t deny yourself completely. Have a small portion, and then put it away. It’s about moderation, not elimination.
  5. Sometimes it’s just a taste you need. So try eating only a few bites. You’re likely to remember the satisfying experience, rather than the guilty feeling after you’ve finished the whole pack!

If you recognise that you’re eating for an emotion, remember that whatever your food choice, learn how to control it and use moderation.

Foods To Boost Your Mood

“You are what you eat”. You often associate this saying with body weight, but did you know the food you eat also affects your mood?

Each day we are bombarded with the stresses of life; coming from work, people, even family! Stress impacts our mood, and it’s when we feel pulled in different directions; we often reach for unhealthy, convenience foods.

One of the best ways of coping with stress and boosting mood is to keep your energy levels balanced and mind positive. This is when eating a healthy diet helps.


A good way is to eat foods that the body absorbs slowly as this helps to keep your blood sugar level balanced and can also help your mood stay balanced.

Slow-digesting foods include whole-grain products like mueslis, porridge, brown rice, hummus and lentils. Try to combine eating complex carbohydrates (whole-grain foods) with lean protein.

What to avoid:

Foods such as white breads, sugars and those that are high fat and high salt are absorbed quickly and cause blood sugar levels to spike within the hour you eat them. This is quickly followed by a sudden crash in energy.

After an energy crash, you start to feel tired, get hungry again and end up reaching for a convenient snack like a chocolate bar or biscuits and as a result, push yourself toward another blood sugar crash.

And the good news:

You’ll find by eating healthy and balanced meals, you not only help to keep your mood in check, but it does wonders for managing your weight. Bonus!

Kamis, 24 Februari 2011

Hydration and Exercise

Around 60-70% of the human body is composed of water, so it’s fair to say that water is vital for survival. It functions to keep our body temperature regulated, allows us to breathe, is essential in digestion and excretion, assists body movement, just to name a few!

Drinking 8-10 glasses of water each day is recommended, but during exercise or when in hot environments, we need to drink more, because we sweat more.

Did you know… Studies have shown as little as one percent dehydration can cause major changes in body temperature, while two percent dehydration will drop your performance levels significantly! So to operate efficiently it's crucial to keep your fluid levels up.

But is water enough? Or do you need a sports drink to stay properly hydrated? Sports drinks will keep you well hydrated and give you energy if you’re participating in high intensity exercise for more than an hour. However, if you’re not exercising to this level, plain water will do just fine.

What defines a sports drink? Sports drinks (sometimes called electrolyte or isotonic drinks) are developed to contain the right level of carbohydrates (5-8 g/litre) and electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) to keep you well hydrated; replacing what is lost from the body during exercise.

Other drinks that contain high amounts of carbohydrates (such as Lucozade and Red Bull and soft drinks) stop water being absorbed quickly and therefore can delay hydration, so are not suitable before exercise.

So if you’re doing a high intensity workout, choose a sports drink. But, if you’re not working out to this intensity and drink them as part of your everyday routine you may end up putting on weight because of the extra carbohydrate content.

If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add a slice of lemon, orange or a sprig of mint to give your water some flavour without adding the calories you’d get by using cordial.

Hydration tips for exercise

  1. Make sure you’re well hydrated before you exercise - start drinking approximately two hours before
  2. Keep your fluids topped up during exercise
  3. Always remember to re-hydrate after exercise - it’s essential for recovery. Try to drink one to two glasses per hour until your urine is pale again

7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise

You’ve been told the benefits of exercise a thousand times and you know what you should be doing, but it can be so easy to find excuses. ‘I’m comfortable on the sofa’, ‘My favourite TV programme is on’, or ‘It looks so cold outside’.

We’ve heard them all before, so how do you get (and keep) the motivation to get up and exercise regularly?

  1. Plan.

    Leading a busy life, it can be hard to think there is room to fit in daily exercise. Make exercise a priority and plan it into your daily routine. Don’t make it optional. It also helps to plan exercise when you’re more likely to enjoy it. For example, if you find it hard to get out of bed in the mornings at the best of times, don’t try and exercise in the mornings. Try your lunch break or after work.
  2. Get your gear on.

    The first step (and often the hardest is just putting on your shoes and exercise gear). Once they’re on, it’s much easier to get going. Even better, treat yourself to something new. It’s surprising how a new pair of running shoes, item of clothing, or new gadget can encourage you to ‘try them out’. Plus you look good and feel good!
  3. Variety is essential.

    Change your running route, try cycling instead, or swim in an outdoor pool instead of indoors. Keep it interesting by changing parts of your workout so you don’t get bored. The gym can quickly become a sterile environment, so if you’re a gym go-er, throw in the occasional outdoor session.
  4. Make it social.

    Exercise with friends, have a laugh and you’ll keep each other motivated. They offer you support, can give positive feedback and make it fun! Alternatively, try group fitness classes or join a local team. If you thrive on competition, team sports are great. As is exercising with someone who’s slightly better than you so you are always are pushing yourself to keep up.
  5. The art of distraction.

    Exercising to music or while chatting to friends keeps you distracted. You may just find yourself exercising for longer or finishing quicker than you thought. If you’re at home, try exercising while watching TV or during the ad break.
  6. Have realistic goals.

    You may not be planning to run a marathon, but it’s important to have goals and put them into practice to keep yourself motivated along the way. But be realistic! Don’t set them too far above your level that you’ll never achieve them. Write them down and remember to review them regularly as your fitness improves.
  7. Don’t forget to reward yourself.

    It could be running an extra mile or losing a couple of pounds, but as you reach your personal goals and are happy with your performance, reward yourself. You might give yourself a day off or buy a new pair of jeans. Be proud of yourself.

Always remember the feeling you get after exercise – endorphins flying around your body, you feel healthy and pleased with yourself. Next time you’re thinking of skipping a session, remember this feeling and get exercising!

Eat Right, Sleep Tight

Getting a good night’s sleep should be one of the easiest and most natural things to do. But busy lives and hectic schedules make us less likely to eat properly, and bad food habits can prevent us from getting good quality sleep.

Professor Luigi Gratton shares his tips on good nutrition for a good night’s sleep.

When we’re busy, we tend to eat less than we should during the day, and then much more than we need in the evening. This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing,” says Herbalife’s Luigi Gratton, M.P.H., and Vice President of Nutrition Education.

Gratton suggests being aware of how certain foods can affect our sleep pattern. Protein-heavy foods stimulate the production of chemicals in the brain that keep us alert, and large meals eaten just before bed can lead to indigestion and heartburn - a perfect pairing to keep you up at night.

Low-fat, high carbohydrate meals are digested more quickly, and stimulate the production of different brain chemicals - ones that help aid relaxation and facilitate sleep. So it’s best to opt for a high protein breakfast and lunch to keep you alert and clear-headed all day, and save the carbohydrates for dinner.

If you’re like most people, caffeine is a stimulant, so a cup of coffee before you hit the sack is probably unwise. Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt normal sleep patterns; you might be able to fall asleep, but not for long. This makes it hard to reach the deepest and most restful stage of sleep. So even with a full eight hours, you still feel sluggish in the morning. Chances are you’ll also be roused from sleep by a full bladder, since both caffeine and alcohol act as diuretics.

Whether to snack or not before you go to bed depends on your usual patterns. If your evening meal is small and light (and early), then a light snack is fine if you feel it helps you sleep and you can afford the extra calories. Calcium-rich foods like milk and yoghurt are good choices, since calcium helps muscles to relax.

Good nutrition for a good night’s zzzz’s:

  • Have a lighter dinner, focused on salad, vegetables, fruits, wholegrains and beans
  • A bowl of lentil soup with a salad and some fruit for dessert
  • If you know that caffeine keeps you awake, avoid caffeine-containing beverages for 6-8 hours before going to bed
  • Keep your alcohol intake moderate to avoid sleep disruption
  • Drink most of your fluids during the day, and cut back after dinner. If you need to take medications at bedtime, use only a small amount of water
  • If you like to have a bedtime snack, include foods that are high in calcium to induce muscle relaxation
  • A cup of warm milk is an age-old remedy for sleeplessness, and for good reason

Does a Healthy Breakfast Really make a Difference?

“Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper.” Know this saying? Yes. Live by it? Probably not.

Do you remember as a child your mother saying: ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ It’s not an old wives tale; having a good breakfast plays a vital role in leading a healthy life.

When you eat the right foods at breakfast, it sets you up for the day by kick-starting your metabolism, providing a steady stream of energy to keep you going in the morning, plus it can help to manage your appetite – great news if you’re on a diet plan.

Breakfast and metabolism

Metabolism is the physical and chemical processes that create and use energy in the body. The break down of the food we eat and its transformation to energy is a function of metabolism. While you sleep the body’s metabolism slows, as its food supply is deprived and its energy requirements is only for essential bodily functions. So you can imagine, if you don’t eat breakfast, your metabolism stays as this slower rate and doesn’t get that kick-start it needs for the day and to give you more energy.

Breakfast and energy levels

If you try to start the day, without fuelling your body with the right food, you’ll likely to end up crashing mid-morning and reaching for ‘quick fix’ snacks to keep your energy levels topped up. These unhealthy snacks are often high in sugar, high in fat and lack adequate protein. They cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then dramatically drop, meaning your appetite won’t be satisfied for longer than about an hour. You can maintain a steady stream of energy by eating a healthy balanced breakfast, particularly one that provides a good source of protein and complex carbohydrates.

Breakfast to lose weight

Think you lose weight faster by skipping breakfast? Think again. It actually slows your weight loss efforts because it slows your metabolism, a driving force behind your weight loss. But be sure to eat a healthy breakfast – one that’s balanced in key macronutrients such as complex carbohydrates and protein. Including adequate protein for breakfast is especially important as it helps you feel fuller for longer so you’re less likely to crave unhealthy snacks mid-morning.

Need some healthy breakfast ideas?

Eat foods such as wholegrain muesli with nuts, fresh fruit and low fat yoghurt; wholegrain toast topped with eggs and sliced tomato; or oats with skim milk, nuts, seeds and fruit. Watch out for breakfast cereals that are high in sugar, fat and salt.

Do you get enough vitamin D?

It’s dubbed the ‘sunshine vitamin’ but how do we get enough vitamin D when the sun isn’t shining or you avoid sunlight?

Sun exposure is required for the skin to produce vitamin D, as a normal balanced diet contains very little. This has brought about a growing concern for vitamin D deficiency in particular groups: older people or those living in institutional care with little exposure to sunlight, those with darker skin tone, and those who cover themselves because of cultural or religious reasons.

So how do you make sure you get enough? You don’t need to bake yourself in the sun and risk skin cancer to get a good dose of vitamin D.

How much you need depends on your skin colour. If you have fair skin, you may only need approximately 5 minutes of daily exposure in summer sun, whereas if you have darker skin, you may need up to 20 minutes each day.

More exposure is needed over winter to product vitamin D because UV levels are considerably less. But by getting enough sunlight hours over summer, you can build up your stores for winter.

It’s also important to remember that even when it’s cloudy, you are still exposed to UV light, so just because you can’t see the sun, doesn’t mean you’re not getting vitamin D!

Very few foods contain vitamin D: oily fish, eggs and some fortified milks and margarine. It’s a good idea to include these healthy foods in your diet, even if you don’t think you have concern for vitamin D deficiency.

Those over the age of 50 years need almost double the amount of vitamin D than those younger than them. So to make sure you get the recommended amount, try to get about 15 minutes of sensible sunshine each day and eat the healthy foods mentioned above.

Rabu, 09 Februari 2011

Signs of a Perfect Sex Partner

"Do I have a perfect sex partner? If not, how can I get one?' Indeed a million dollar question that hovers in the minds of most couples!

Though it might be hard to find an absolute sexually compatible partner, but most couples don't even know the traits that they or their better half should posses to be a perfect sex partner.

Having an outstanding sex partner takes a huge burden off an individual's mind. It allows them concentrate more on the act, instead of thinking too much about whether they're making love to the right person or not. When it comes to a perfect sex partner, attributes like height, weight, age, behaviour, choices etc take a backseat. What matters is that he/she suits you and shares an amazing chemistry in the bedroom.

Dr. Kirti Mishra, a clinical physiologist and a relationship expert elucidates, "The idea of a perfect sex partner varies for different individuals, but some common traits like sexually active, experimental in bed, hygienically sound etc are a must, as they are the key for finding sexual bliss. Most couples today are working on their personal attributes to match their partner's prerequisites and thus become a perfect sex partner."

Apart from good looks, a hot body and a heady sex drive, let's explore the less superficial elements of what makes a perfect sex partner. And if your partner bears these qualities in bed, you can unquestionably boast of having a great sex partner...

1. Hygiene holds the key
Everyone likes making love to a clean and tidy partner, so good hygiene holds great importance in a sexual relationship. Ensure that your partner is well manicured with a fully waxed body to ensure a higher comfort level. Too much hair on body makes it uncomfortable to enjoy each inch of your lover. So look out for a soft and clean skin in your partner complemented with a nice smell, as a bad body odour is a huge turn-off.

Hot tip : "During sexual intimacy, everyone wants a hygienically fit partner, as this not only enhances the comfort level, but lets you enjoy the act more. So make sure you seem as fresh as if you have just stepped out of the shower before getting into bed. Sexual scents and aphrodisiacal fragrances are a good choice," recommends Dr. Devesh Roy, a sex therapist.

2. Oral sex shouldn't be an issue
You know what pleases you, so a wonderful partner to have in bed is one who doesn't hesitate going out of the way to give you that pleasure. If not routinely, your partner should be ready to please you orally as per their own mood and comfort level. While no one is perfectly adept at the oral act, but a partner who tries learning the little tricks to arouse you can surely add magic to your love life.

Hot tip : "Don't wait for your partner to tell you or give hints each time they feel like experiencing oral pleasure, instead make it a part of the love making act. It is quite safe and enjoyable as the actual act, so don't be unwilling to go for it," states Dr. Deepak Gupta, a sex expert.