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10 Proven Tips for Weight Loss – The Realistic Approach

More often than not these diets involve pretty much starving the body of calories while lazing on a sofa set  so as to force dramatic drops as quickly as possible. These approaches are neither safe nor effective, potentially impacting the overall health of the person and leading to a chance of weight regain that hovers somewhere around the 100% mark.

The real problem is that dieting never has and never will be easy to do correctly, which is something that must be understood and appreciated by all approaching weight loss long in advance of beginning their endeavour. With this in mind, the following is a brief rundown of ten common-sense tips for weight loss which are not only realistic, but also proven effective and comprehensively safe:

  1. Water– Drinking vast quantities of water while dieting offers a myriad of positives, which makes it all the more surprising that such is a habit that very few dieters practice to the necessary degree. Water is exceptionally good for the body, aids digestion and offers the best form of natural appetite control by giving a full feeling for longer. What could be more simple than drinking a glass of water before and after every meal to help boost the satisfaction enormously?
  2. Busy– Boredom can be nothing less than the Antichrist of the dieter, leading to increased and excessive eating simply as a way of passing the time. In short, those who are too busy to think about food and eating will naturally eat far less than those with nothing to do.
  3. Think – Consider each and every item eaten and assess firstly whether or not it is a good idea for the diet, along with if there is a possible healthier alternative. This may appear binding but becomes surprisingly easy over time.
  4. Time– Never expect to lose abundant weight healthily in a short period of time. This is one of the most detrimental habits of all, with so many giving no more than a few weeks and then quitting altogether as motivation is destroyed. Be realistic and allow as long as it takes.
  5. Supplies– Cram fridges, freezers and cupboards full of only the foods that are suitable for the eating plan chosen. Choose as many quick and easy healthy snack-esque foods as possible to avoid the perils of unhealthy fast foods when in a hurry. In short, if the poor choices are made unavailable, the healthy route becomes the only option.
  6. Plan– Eating on the fly is a sure fire way of slipping up, so plan as many meals as possible in advance. If possible, it is a good idea to know what will be eaten for dinner before breakfast is ever through.
  7. Frequency– Eating little and often rather that infrequently in large quantities is well known to be a far healthier approach, regardless of the fact that very few actually practice the method themselves. Tough to begin indeed but simple once picked up.
  8. Results – Many diets advise not to use scales and measuring devices so as to avoid problems with motivation, but the simple fact of the matter is that most people have to see results first hand to believe something is working. As such, balance is the key as hourly or daily weighing is never a good idea, though weekly or monthly could prove beneficial.
  9. Persistence– Beginning a diet or healthy eating regime is simple – staying on one for a long period of time is not. The body has to get used to a new intake and will undoubtedly throw up complications and even mood problems in the interim, but rest assured that all will eventually pass as the new approach becomes the norm.
  10. Exercise – The obvious and oft-maligned finale, exercise is essential not only to burn the calories, but maintain a health metabolism and stave off boredom which, as mentioned earlier, can see any diet come crashing down.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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6 Signs you’re obsessed with food

Some statistics for thought: On any given day, 45% of women are on a diet, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. On average, we think about our bodies 8 times a day, found one recent survey. About 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance; what’s worse, 40% would trade 3 to 5 years of their lives to achieve weight loss goals.

No wonder many women report signs of disordered eating behavior—such as excessively counting calories or working out just to burn off food—even if they never develop a full-blown disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.

Problem is, there’s often a fine line between eating healthfully to slim down and becoming fixated with food, so we talked to top food behavior experts to understand the difference. Here are some red flags that could indicate a food/weight obsession.

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1. You eat in reaction to bad or good news.
You’re having a stressful day, so you treat yourself to Cheetos at the vending machine. Or you just nailed a big presentation, so you supersize your french fries as a reward.

“If food is your automatic reaction to dealing with any emotion—good or bad—it could signal an unhealthy relationship,” says Cynthia Bulik, PhD, director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Another sign: When you’re upset, you turn to food before you call your partner or a friend.

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2. You eat without feeling hungry.
It’s 12:30, your usual lunchtime. But today you had a late breakfast and aren’t feeling very hungry. Do you make a beeline for your favorite sandwich shop anyway? If so, that means you’ve detached eating from physical hunger, says Adrienne Ressler, LMSW, national training director for the Renfrew Center Foundation, one of the country’s top treatment centers for eating disorders.

“You may eat out of boredom, anxiety, habits, desire, or some other emotion,” says Bulik. But going with your gut—literally—is best for your health. Women who follow internal hunger and satiety cues report higher levels of self-esteem and optimism and lower BMIs, according to a Journal of Counseling Psychology study.

3. You have out-of-control eating binges.
Everyone indulges in an extra slice of pizza or another handful of M&M’s. But if you regularly eat much more than you intended, stuff yourself until you’re uncomfortably full, or feel like you can’t stop eating, that could be something to watch.

Overeating like this can result from going too long between meals or restricting yourself, not to mention that age-old culprit: boredom. “Binge eating is often associated with eating rituals, like sitting down to watch TV,” says Ressler. “You start with a bag of popcorn. All that salt makes you crave something sweet, like ice cream. Then you feel thirsty, so you have a soda.”


4. You count every last calorie.
It’s one thing to watch your intake while you’re trying to lose weight. But over time, people can gauge how much to eat to maintain weight loss without poring over every label. If you’ve cut calories dangerously low (under 1,200 a day for most women) and your life revolves around your food “rules,” then you’ve taken things too far.

Calorie hawks also feel guilty when they don’t follow their plans—”like the rest of the day is ruined,” says Bulik. Severe restriction can lead to anorexia or thwart weight loss efforts by slowing metabolism—plus, you’ll feel hungry, exhausted, foggy, and grumpy if you don’t consume enough nutrients.
5. You view foods as “good” or “bad.”
Bread is “bad”—so having a bagel for breakfast is a rare treat. Baby carrots are “good,” so there’s zero guilt about snacking on them. If you compartmentalize food choices like this, you’re setting yourself up for a tricky tango later, says Bulik: “Once you have a ‘bad’ label on something, under certain conditions you’ll crave it more, lose all control, and binge.” Research shows that people have only so much willpower; if you try to limit too many things at once, you’ll end up caving more quickly.

Of course, certain foods are inherently healthier than others—for example, you can’t eat fast food whenever you want. But that’s where portion control comes in. Train yourself to have just one Munchkin and then concentrate on something other than eating, says Bulik.

6. You follow extreme/weird diets.
Are carbs banned from your pantry? Do you drink all of your meals? Are you on a regimen where you can’t eat certain food groups, like fats and carbs, at the same sitting? Extreme plans like these may seem okay for short-term results (say, a high school reunion or family wedding), but “these diets can be really dangerous,” says Ressler.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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The Real Reason For Weight Gain

Over the past several decades Americans have steadily gotten fatter. Although our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are partly to blame, a big reason for our national weight gain is that we’re simply eating more.

In the mid-2000s, government surveys show, the average American adult ate about 2,375 calories per day, nearly one-third more than he (or she) did in the late 1970s. What accounts for all those added calories?

According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day. Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average—a 29 percent increase.

The average portion size has increased, too, but only by about 12 percent. And, surprisingly, the average number of calories per 1-gram serving of food (known as “energy density”) actually declined slightly over that period, which suggests that calorie-rich food has played a relatively minor role in our expanding waistlines.

“The real reason we seem to be eating more [calories] is we’re eating often,” says the lead author of the study, Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “The frequency of eating is probably, for the average overweight adult, becoming a huge issue.”

Popkin blames food advertising and other marketing for the shift from three square meals a day to near-constant eating.

“It’s all about making people think they want to have something in their hands all the time,” he says. “Why are we snacking all the time and munching all the time? [Food] is there, it’s available all the time, it’s tasty. It’s not very healthy, but it’s tasty. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s fatty—it’s all the things we love.”

Lisa Young, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and the author of The Portion Teller, agrees that the ubiquity of snack foods has helped drive overeating.

“You never used to see food staring you in the face when you went to…a drugstore,” says Young, who was not involved in the new research. “It’s in your face and it’s cheap. You go get a magazine, you can get a candy bar.”

To tease apart how eating habits have shaped calorie intake, Popkin and a coauthor analyzed data from four nationally representative food surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1977 and 2006. Their analysis, which appears in the June issue of the journal PLoS Medicine, was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

The findings weren’t entirely unexpected. In a previous study, Popkin and his coauthor found that the amount of time between snacks and meals has shrunk substantially since 1977, while the amount of calories consumed from snacks has risen dramatically.

Christopher Gardner, PhD, the director of nutrition studies at Stanford University’s Prevention Research Center, in Palo Alto, Calif., says that although the new findings ring true, the survey-based approach Popkin and his colleague used has some inherent limitations.

Despite being nationally representative, the surveys didn’t follow the same individuals over time, and in some cases also used different questions and methods, Gardner points out. Moreover, they relied on the participants’ memory of what they’d eaten in the previous 24 hours, which can be unreliable.

“When people try to describe the portion sizes they are consuming, they are often inaccurate,” Gardner says, adding that similar inaccuracies may crop up when recalling and calculating the energy density of specific foods. In fact, he says, the number of meals and snacks may be easiest of all to remember and track, which may have somewhat exaggerated its importance to total calorie intake.

But Gardner, too, says that frequent—and often mindless—snacking has come to seem normal.

In our food-filled environment, Young says, “We need to be conscious of when we eat, how much we eat, and what we eat.”

Young recommends sticking with three meals a day and choosing healthy snacks (such as fruits and vegetables) rather than processed foods. “And keep your portions in check,” she says.

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8 Sneaky Ways To Burn Calories Without Going To The Gym

Activity is not just about “exercise,” it’s about moving your body more all day long. This type of light activity is essential, whether you’re a card-carrying couch potato or a marathon runner. Growing evidence finds that too much sitting harms your heart health. Worse, that damage is not easily undone by jumping on the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes in the morning if you spend the other 23 ½ hours sleeping and sitting.  A recent study of 1,579 people found that people whose jobs require more than 6 hours of chair time a day are 68% more likely to wind up overweight than those who sit less.

The solution: Stand more. By using these tips you’ll be in motion more all day long. That alone could be enough to help you shed stubborn pounds for good. 

1.  Limit yourself to one TV show: Watching TV is a great way to unwind. But when it comes to the tube, there’s such a thing as too much downtime. The average American tunes in for 3 hours a day, which is really bad news for your waistline, especially when you consider that watching TV burns only slightly more calories than sleeping. Harvard researchers have found that every 2 hours spent watching television increases the likelihood of obesity by 23% and raises your risk of developing diabetes by 14%. Trade 1 hour of TV time for one long walk, and you can slash your obesity risk by 24% and lower your risk of diabetes by 34%. 

2.  Step it up: There’s a reason an exercise machine called the Stair-Master exists: Taking the stairs is really, really good exercise! In one study, exercise scientists calculated that by taking just two more flights of stairs (up and down) each day, you could burn off 6 pounds in a year. Find excuses to make multiple trips between floors at work (using a restroom on another floor is one way) and at home.



3.  Walk the halls at work:
When you’re stuck for ideas at work, get up and walk the halls. Stand and stretch during phone calls. Twice a day, get up and walk to talk to a colleague instead of e-mailing. Stanford University researchers calculated that if you were to walk across your office building and back to talk to a coworker instead of spending the same 2 minutes e-mailing, you could spare yourself 11 pounds over 10 years–effectively avoiding the “midlife spread.”

4.  Stand at your desk: Here’s a very simple move that every office worker can do: Stand up. Sitting at your desk for an hour burns 63 calories. Standing burns 127, twice as many. If you have a cordless phone, you might even be able to pace a bit, just to get the blood flowing even more. Many workplaces are now offering drafting-style tables and high chairs for office workers, which gives you the option of working on your feet most of the day and sitting down to take breaks (instead of the other way around–standing when you need a break). Ask your human resources manager about them. You’ll be surprised how much more energy you have when you spend your day on your feet rather than in your seat.

5.  Sitting at desk on swiss ballGet on the ball: Sit on a large stability or Swiss ball while checking e-mail in the evening. It’s an easy way to engage all of your muscles for 15 to 20 minutes. You might even be inspired to do a few stretches and crunches after you log off.


6.  Fire the maid and gardener:
All those services that you hire to make your life easier can also end up making you heavier. Small daily tasks, like weeding the garden, mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, and cleaning house, can add up to an aerobic workout. In a 2-year study of 230 overweight and inactive men and women, researchers at the Cooper Institute, an aerobics-research organization in Dallas, found that those who spent 30 minutes a day raking the lawn, taking the stairs, and walking from far spaces in parking lots achieved the same improvements in fitness, blood pressure, and body fat as those who went to the gym for vigorous exercise 20 to 60 minutes at a time, 5 days a week.

7.  Prep yourself slim: Cooking is a great wayo burn calories. Slicing, dicing, and braising burns twice as many , in fact, as calling your Chinese takeout place. Because you’re in charge of the ingredients, cook with metabolism-boosting ingredients like those from the Active Calorie Diet. Limit takeout and delivery to two meals a week, tops. 

8. Consider a stepper: Office workers are ideal candidates for a portable mini stepper like the Stamina InStride Electronic Mini Stepper–essentially, just two small Stair-climber  -like pedals without the giant machine attached. Research from the Mayo Clinic found that workers who used these clever step devices while making phone calls or answering e-mail burned an extra 290 calories an hour–enough to burn off more than 40 pounds over the course of a year if they used the machines just 2 hours a day. The strategy is a little unconventional but worth considering. The stepper is relatively inexpensive and small enough to slide under your desk when you’re not using it. Stepping is also something you can do while watching TV at night.

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To learn more about other weight loss tips or to have a personalize fitness program created for your weight lost goals browse through our fitness page by clicking here

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Why You Shouldn’t Drink Milk

The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

  1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!
  2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
  3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.
  4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.
  5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  6. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

  

Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:

  • Everybody needs calcium — but probably not as much as our government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from diet, including greens and beans is better utilized by the body with less risk than calcium supplements.
  • Calcium probably doesn’t prevent broken bones. Few people in this country are likely to reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.
  • Men may not want to take calcium supplements. Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may be reasonable for women
  • Dairy may be unhealthy. Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.

 

If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth noting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly:

  • Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance.
  • There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!
  • Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.
  • It’s full of saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.
  • Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.
  • Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.

 Simply put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, “Got Proof?” — and the answer was NO!

Plus, dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

• Allergies
• Sinus problems
• Ear infections
• Type 1 diabetes
• Chronic constipation
• Anemia (in children)

Due to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk an alternative. But that isn’t really a healthy form of dairy either …

Yes, raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization — but to me, these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential risks.

From an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!).

If you don’t believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase – the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk — sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.

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6 Tips for Dealing with Dairy

  1. Take your Cow for a Walk. It will do you much more good than drinking it”s milk.
  2. Don’t rely on dairy for healthy bones. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.
  3. Get your calcium from food. These include dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon with the bones.
  4. Try giving up all dairy. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements with your sinuses, post-nasal drip, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life.
  5. If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products. I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally.
  6. If you have to feed your child formula from milk, don’t worry. The milk in infant formula is hydrolyzed or broken down and easier to digest (although it can still cause allergies). Once your child is a year old, switch him or her to real food and almond milk.

Still got milk? I hope not! Remember, dairy is not crucial for good health. I encourage you to go dairy-free and see what it does for you.

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Read More About The HarmFul Effects Of Milk