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This is a good read on wt loss/strengh training

Incorporate exercise (especially around strength training) to create long term success

A warning about focusing on exercise for weight loss without a good diet in place

You’ll notice that exercise is the last thing to be mentioned when it comes to weight loss. For many people this might come as a surprise.

As it turns out, exercise alone is quite ineffective at helping people lose weight and many people fail for this very reason. It’s not that they were physically lazy – they just didn’t properly educate themselves to succeed.

In fact, there are studies showing the inefficacy of cardio when it comes to reducing weight in overweight or obese populations. Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise or that cardio is bad.

This simply means that without a good diet, exercise will fail in more cases than not. This specific type of failure is especially harmful; failing to lose weight despite weeks of engaging in painful, unenjoyable exercise may leave a person with ill feelings towards fitness.

Luckily, there is a correct way to incorporate exercise into a weight loss regimen. One trend that you’ll see in a lot of successful Fitocrats that have lost weight and kept it off is that they focused on strength training. More specifically, they got better at lifting relatively heavy weights through compound lifts.

Why strength training in particular?

As mentioned earlier, strength training allows you to put on lean mass (i.e. muscle) which in turn increases your metabolism and keeps you burning additional calories all day.

Think of the difference between strength training and cardio as buying vs. renting a house. The time you spend building muscle not only burns calories, it goes towards accumulating long term rewards, namely an increase in caloric expenditure.

Lastly, many who are extremely overweight will just find strength training more pleasurable than running or other forms of cardio. Cardio can be extremely difficult or painful if you have a lot of weight to lose.

Again, this doesn’t mean that cardio is bad; it’s great for health and you should do it if you find it fun. In fact, many Fitocrats have lost weight through cardio as the primary form of exercise. If this is you, consider it a testament to your grit and fortitude.

Myths and Facts about Coconut Oil

Myths and Facts about Coconut Oil This article describes common beliefs, myths and facts regarding coconut oil.Knowledge is power! And correct knowledge is absolute power. So, when you are out to know something, try knowing it to its core. There are innumerable things spread in this world we think we know a lot about them, but actually we know very little about.A major portion of our knowledge is based on what we hear from others and that is why many a times it is not authenticated. The same is the case with our knowledge about Coconut Oil. It is almost a homogenous mixture of myths and facts about coconut oil. Let us try to get to the facts behind these myths. Let us re-discover Coconut Oil.

Myth-1: Being composed predominantly of saturated fats, it raises cholesterol level and increases the risk of heart attack.

Fact: Common man understands only “Bad Cholesterol” by the term “Cholesterol” and most of them are unaware of the fact that there are two types of cholesterol and one of them is good for health. Further, most of them do not know that so far, contribution of saturated fats towards rise in bad cholesterol level could not be proved. This belief is the gift of some anti-coconut oil and anti-saturated fats mission powered by some edible oil producers to promote non conventional oils such as soy bean oil, rice husk oil etc. The fact is, to your dismay, that Coconut Oil raises the Good Cholesterol (High Density Lipoproteins) level which is beneficial for health. This good cholesterol helps lower the Bad Cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins) level and actually clears the blockages in the arteries and protects your heart.

Myth-2: Saturated Fats present in Coconut Oil adds to body weight and leads to obesity.

Fact: On the contrary, the Medium Chain Fatty Acids (Saturated Fats) present in Coconut Oil increases rate of metabolism, thereby leading to higher consumption of energy for metabolic activities and resultant burning of more fats. In fact, coconut oil is prescribed for losing weight and a systematic intake of coconut oil will help you loose a considerable weight. So you see, the myths and facts about coconut oil are very contrary to each other.

Myth-3: Coconut Oil is an irritant for skin.

Fact: Just the opposite! It is one of the most soothing oils for the skin. The unrefined coconut oil may cause some irritations due to presence of dust & other unwanted particles in it, but that too in very rare cases. In cases of inflammation caused by insect sting, allergy, sun burn, reaction of drugs, bruises etc., this oil can miraculously soothing. The anti microbial properties of coconut oil can even help heal wounds.

Myth-4: Coconut Oil is sweet to taste and not good for diabetics.

Fact: This oil tastes like any other oil and is not sweet (How it can be when it has only fats and no glucose in it!). Moreover, this oil promotes secretion of insulin from pancreas and thus helps control diabetes. Recent experiments have proved that regular uses of coconut oil can greatly reduce the chances of diabetes.

Myth-5: This oil is thick and is not absorbed easily.

Fact: Perhaps the condensation of coconut oil in winters and its solid look gave birth to this myth. Now, like other myths and facts about coconut oil, this is also amazingly contrasting. Coconut oil, and more so the Virgin Coconut Oil, is thin, non sticky and is readily absorbed. That is why coconut oil is preferred for massaging and as tanning oil.

Myth-6: Since it is derived from coconut (which contains a lot of moisture), this oil goes rancid easily.

Fact: The coconut oil is one of the toughest oils in this regard. It is so stable that even if it contains some moisture above the permissible limits, it has a far longer shelf life than other oils and does not go rancid for years. Just imagine what happens if the moisture remains within the permissible limits.

Myth-7: This oil is bad to taste.

Fact: Now, this sounds like the last weapon one can try. You just cannot prove that it tastes good, since likes and dislikes are very personal and differ heavily from person to person. Still, the staunchest of the critics will agree that coconut oil has a superb taste. Still don’t believe me? Now I have left with no choice but to suggest you to go for the practical. Fry something in it, taste it and then come back to me.You just read some of the most interesting myths and facts about coconut oil. There are others too, but they seldom stand a chance against the goodness of coconut oil. All I can say to you is to try it yourself.   

Watch the scale


Why Scales Lie by Renee Cloe, ACE Certified Personal Trainer (reprinted with permission: http://www.naturalphysiques.com/)

We’ve been told over and over again that daily weighing is unnecessary, yet many of us can’t resist peeking at that number every morning. If you just can’t bring yourself to toss the scale in the trash, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the factors that influence it’s readings. From water retention to glycogen storage and changes in lean body mass, daily weight fluctuations are normal. They are not indicators of your success or failure. Once you understand how these mechanisms work, you can free yourself from the daily battle with the bathroom scale.

Water makes up about 60% of total body mass. Normal fluctuations in the body’s water content can send scale-watchers into a tailspin if they don’t understand what’s happening. Two factors influencing water retention are water consumption and salt intake. Strange as it sounds, the less water you drink, the more of it your body retains. If you are even slightly dehydrated your body will hang onto it’s water supplies with a vengeance, possibly causing the number on the scale to inch upward. The solution is to drink plenty of water.

Excess salt (sodium) can also play a big role in water retention. A single teaspoon of salt contains over 2,000 mg of sodium. Generally, we should only eat between 1,000 and 3,000 mg of sodium a day, so it’s easy to go overboard. Sodium is a sneaky substance. You would expect it to be most highly concentrated in salty chips, nuts, and crackers. However, a food doesn’t have to taste salty to be loaded with sodium. A half cup of instant pudding actually contains nearly four times as much sodium as an ounce of salted nuts, 460 mg in the pudding versus 123 mg in the nuts. The more highly processed a food is, the more likely it is to have a high sodium content. That’s why, when it comes to eating, it’s wise to stick mainly to the basics: fruits, vegetables, lean meat, beans, and whole grains. Be sure to read the labels on canned foods, boxed mixes, and frozen dinners.

Women may also retain several pounds of water prior to menstruation. This is very common and the weight will likely disappear as quickly as it arrives. Pre-menstrual water-weight gain can be minimized by drinking plenty of water, maintaining an exercise program, and keeping high-sodium processed foods to a minimum.

Another factor that can influence the scale is glycogen. Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and it’s packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it’s stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small imperceptible increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with it’s associated water. It’s normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if you’re prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.

Otherwise rational people also tend to forget about the actual weight of the food they eat. For this reason, it’s wise to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink. Swallowing a bunch of food before you step on the scale is no different than putting a bunch of rocks in your pocket. The 5 pounds that you gain right after a huge dinner is not fat. It’s the actual weight of everything you’ve had to eat and drink. The added weight of the meal will be gone several hours later when you’ve finished digesting it.

Exercise physiologists tell us that in order to store one pound of fat, you need to eat 3,500 calories more than your body is able to burn. In other words, to actually store the above dinner as 5 pounds of fat, it would have to contain a whopping 17,500 calories. This is not likely, in fact it’s not humanly possible. So when the scale goes up 3 or 4 pounds overnight, rest easy, it’s likely to be water, glycogen, and the weight of your dinner. Keep in mind that the 3,500 calorie rule works in reverse also. In order to lose one pound of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in. Generally, it’s only possible to lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week. When you follow a very low calorie diet that causes your weight to drop 10 pounds in 7 days, it’s physically impossible for all of that to be fat. What you’re really losing is water, glycogen, and muscle.

This brings us to the scale’s sneakiest attribute. It doesn’t just weigh fat. It weighs muscle, bone, water, internal organs and all. When you lose "weight," that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost fat. In fact, the scale has no way of telling you what you’ve lost (or gained). Losing muscle is nothing to celebrate. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns, even when you’re just sitting around. That’s one reason why a fit, active person is able to eat considerably more food than the dieter who is unwittingly destroying muscle tissue.

Robin Landis, author of "Body Fueling," compares fat and muscles to feathers and gold. One pound of fat is like a big fluffy, lumpy bunch of feathers, and one pound of muscle is small and valuable like a piece of gold. Obviously, you want to lose the dumpy, bulky feathers and keep the sleek beautiful gold. The problem with the scale is that it doesn’t differentiate between the two. It can’t tell you how much of your total body weight is lean tissue and how much is fat. There are several other measuring techniques that can accomplish this, although they vary in convenience, accuracy, and cost. Skin-fold calipers pinch and measure fat folds at various locations on the body, hydrostatic (or underwater) weighing involves exhaling all of the air from your lungs before being lowered into a tank of water, and bioelectrical impedance measures the degree to which your body fat impedes a mild electrical current.

If the thought of being pinched, dunked, or gently zapped just doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry. The best measurement tool of all turns out to be your very own eyes. How do you look? How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Are your rings looser? Do your muscles feel firmer? These are the true measurements of success. If you are exercising and eating right, don’t be discouraged by a small gain on the scale. Fluctuations are perfectly normal. Expect them to happen and take them in stride. It’s a matter of mind over scale.

5 Things to <3 love <3 coconut oil

5 Things to Love About Coconut Oil

1. It may help with weight loss. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that are metabolized differently than fats from other oils. These unique fats may help with weight loss.

2. It can raise your good cholesterol. Although coconut oil contains saturated fats, it's not the bad kind you normally think of. In fact, coconut oil can raise your good HDL cholesterol and give you a dose of antioxidants!

3. It may strengthen your immune system. Coconut oil contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. This can help in fighting harmful bacteria and illness in the body!

4. It helps you to absorb important minerals. The fats and substances in coconut oil help your body to better absorb calcium and magnesium, which are important for bone health.

5. It helps with blood sugar levels. Coconut oil also helps control blood sugar levels by improving the secretion of insulin and the utilization of blood glucose.

So the next time you cook, why not try a little coconut oil instead of your usual cooking oil?

MOTIVATION

Diet Motivation Tip 4: Don't Be a Perfectionist
So what do you do if you've scarfed down a pint of ice cream before noon? "Perfectionist thinking gets in the way of success more than anything I know," according to Vicki Saunders, RD, who oversees the inpatient weight loss and lifestyle program called Transformations at St. Helena Hospital in Napa, Calif. "A 100-calorie indulgence is just that. But if it's perceived as a failure and a reason to give up, it can turn into a thousand-calorie indulgence." Bottom line when you slip up: Forget about it. Tomorrow is a new (healthier) day.

Diet Motivation Tip 5: Use the Buddy System
"It's hard to make major lifestyle changes when you're swimming upstream by yourself," says Saunders. Finding other people with similar goals can greatly improve yours odds of diet success. When your spirit - or willpower - flags, having people to call on can provide the support you need to continue. Saunders recommends looking for people at your local gym or Y, Overeaters Anonymous, or an online support group. "Having a support group to turn to, whether it's your family or people in a weight-loss chat room, can make all the difference" for diet success.

Diet Motivation Tip 6: Be Patient
One of the biggest diet motivation-busters is the dreaded weight loss plateau. You've been doing everything right, exercising and eating well, and the numbers on the scale have been steadily dropping. Then suddenly: nada. The scale stays stuck for several days in a row. According to Ann Kulze, this is perfectly normal. "Turn it around and congratulate yourself on the diet success you've had so far," she urges. "This is a natural part of the weight loss process." When you hit the plateau, you may want to try something slightly different to jump-start your diet. "Commit yourself to expending an extra 100 calories a day with walking, for instance," Kulze advises. "And look honestly to see if you're backsliding in little ways with your eating." A few minor adjustments and you'll soon be back on course.

Diet Motivation Tip 7: Reward Yourself
Dieting is hard work -- and it's not always a whole lot of fun. Small rewards can provide an incentive to keep going. But make sure your rewards are not food-related. (Translation: Rewarding yourself for losing 5 pounds with a box of chocolates is not what we're talking about.) Set mini-goals along the way and reward yourself when you reach them. Your reward could be a massage, a round of golf, a new pair of jeans, or a hot bubble bath. "Celebrating your diet success will fortify your resolve to continue," says Kulze.

Diet Motivation Tip 8: Have a Maintenance Plan
For many people, losing weight is far easier than keeping it off. It's important to remember that healthy eating is a lifelong goal, not a one-time project. If this has been a problem for you in the past, devise a maintenance strategy ahead of time. Vicki Saunders says you may want to consult an expert to help create a diet or exercise plan that works for you. "Plan an appointment with a professional, whether it's a nutritionist, a counselor, or a trainer, for an added boost," she says. An expert can help you get off on the right foot -- and maintain your healthy habits even after you've reached your ideal weight.

Blue Diamond Almond Milk or Silk Almond Milk?

So not to long ago I was starting to think I was becoming lactose intolerant. I began becoming very gassy and at the time was consuming my fair share of milk products, particulary my favorate Chocolate spinach shake. I was THRILLED I was getting in more veggies without even knowing it. Then things changed. I began becomingEXTREMLEY BLOATED and gassy. It took some time but I've found the culprit. I had changed my brand of almond milk about 6 weeks ago from SILK unsweetened almond milk to Blue Diamond unsweetened almond milk due to saving $1 per 1/2 gallon. This is what the difference is....

Blue Diamond contains an additive called  Carrageenan. 

Some folks can eat just about anything. Some people might
have no problem producing a tall glass of homemade soymilk,
then converting it to chocolate milk by adding the
following ingredients: Three teaspoons of sugar. One
teaspoon of chocolate powder. Two tablespoons of Vaseline
petroleum jelly. The Vaseline might produce gastric
distress, and the soymilk drinkers would erroneously
conclude that they are "allergic" to soy. Some people
do not experience gastric discomfort caused by the
Vaseline-like food additive, carrageenan. Many people do.

Carrageenan is a commonly used food additive that is
extracted from red seaweed by using powerful alkali
solvents. These solvents would remove the tissue
and skin from your hands as readily as would any acid.

Carrageenan is a thickening agent. It's the vegetarian
equivalent of casein, the same protein that is isolated
from milk and used to thicken foods. Casein is also
used to produce paints, and is the glue used to hold
a label to a bottle of beer
. Carrageenan is the magic
ingredient used to de-ice frozen airplanes sitting on
tarmacs during winter storms.
.....

Carrageenan is a gel. It coats the insides of a stomach,
like gooey honey or massage oil. Digestive problems often
ensue.
Quite often, soy eaters or soymilk drinkers react
negatively to carrageenen, and blame their discomforting
stomachaches on the soy.

High weight molecular carrageenans are considered to be safe,
and were given GRAS status (safe for human consumption) by
the FDA. Low weight carrageenans are considered to be
dangerous. Even SILK admits this.

 

I'll be switching back to Silk Almond unsweetened ASAP. 

10 habits that can help you lose

Weight control is all about making small changes that you can live with forever. As you incorporate these minor adjustments into your lifestyle, you'll begin to see how they can add up to big calorie savings and weight loss. Here are my top 10 habits to help you turn your dream of weight loss into a reality:

 

1. Evaluate your eating habits. Are you eating late at night, nibbling while cooking, finishing the kids' meals? Take a look around, and it will be easy to identify a few behaviors you can change that will add up to big calorie savings.

2. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. You need a strategy for your meals and snacks. Pack healthful snacks for the times of day that you know you are typically hungry and can easily stray from your eating plan.

3. Always shop with a full belly. It's a recipe for disaster to go into the grocery store when you are hungry. Shop from a prepared list so impulse buying is kept to a minimum. Eating right starts with stocking healthy food in your pantry and refrigerator.

4. Eat regular meals. Figure out the frequency of your meals that works best in your life and stick to it. Regular meals help prevent bingeing.

5. Eat your food sitting down at a table, and from a plate. Food eaten out of packages and while standing is forgettable. You can wind up eating lots more than if you sit down and consciously enjoy your meals.

6. Serve food onto individual plates, and leave the extras back at the stove. Bowls of food on the table beg to be eaten, and it takes incredible will power not to dig in for seconds. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your mind to get the signal from your belly that you are full.

7. Eat slowly, chew every bite, and savor the taste of the food. Try resting your fork between bites and drinking plenty of water with your meals.

8. Don't eat after dinner. This is where lots of folks pack on the extra pounds. If you are hungry, try satisfying your urge with a non-caloric beverage or a piece of hard candy. Brushing your teeth after dinner helps reduce the temptation to eat again.

9. If you snack during the day, treat the snack like a mini-meal. The most nutritious snacks contain complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fat.

10. Start your day with breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. After a long night's rest, your body needs the fuel to get your metabolism going and give you energy for the rest of the day.

15 Foods To Help You Lose

By Denise Foley

Want To Curb Your Appetite And Stop Sugar Cravings? Then Put These On Your Grocery List.

Thirty billion a year -- that's about how much Americans spend on slim-down products, many of which don't even work. A better way to get real weight-loss results? Go grocery shopping. New research points to more than a dozen foods, from beans to beef, that can help you fight hunger, kick your candy addiction, boost your metabolism-and ultimately shed pounds. And some of these superfoods deliver health bonuses too.

1. Eggs. Skip the bagel this morning. Eggs, which are full of protein, will help you feel fuller longer-a lot longer. A multicenter study of 30 overweight or obese women found that those who ate two scrambled eggs (with two slices of toast and a reduced-calorie fruit spread) consumed less for the next 36 hours than women who had a bagel breakfast of equal calories. Other research has shown that protein may also prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to food cravings.

2. Beans. You've probably never heard of cholecystokinin, but it's one of your best weight-loss pals. This digestive hormone is a natural appetite suppressant. So how do you get more cholecystokinin? One way, report researchers at the University of California at Davis, is by eating beans: A study of eight men found that their levels of the hormone (which may work by keeping food in your stomach longer) were twice as high after a meal containing beans than after a low-fiber meal containing rice and dry milk. There's also some evidence that beans keep blood sugar on an even keel, so you can stave off hunger longer. Heart-health bonus: High-fiber beans can lower your cholesterol.

3. Salad. Do you tend to stuff yourself at meals? Control that calorie intake by starting with a large salad (but hold the creamy dressing). In a study of 42 women at Penn State University, those who ate a big, low-cal salad consumed 12 percent less pasta afterward-even though they were offered as much as they wanted. The secret, say researchers, is the sheer volume of a salad, which makes you feel too full to pig out. Health bonus: A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people who ate one salad a day with dressing had higher levels of vitamins C and E, folic acid, lycopene, and carotenoids-all disease fighters-than those who didn't add salad to their daily menu.

4. Green tea. The slimming ingredient isn't caffeine. Antioxidants called catechins are what help speed metabolism and fat burning. In a recent Japanese study, 35 men who drank a bottle of oolong tea mixed with green tea catechins lost weight, boosted their metabolism, and had a significant drop in their body mass index. Health bonus: The participants also lowered their (bad) LDL cholesterol.

Pears. They're now recognized as having more fiber, thanks to a corrected calculation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At six grams (formerly four grams) per medium-size pear, they're great at filling you up. Apples come in second, with about three grams per medium-size fruit. Both contain pectin fiber, which decreases blood-sugar levels, helping you avoid between-meal snacking. This may explain why, in a Brazilian study that lasted 12 weeks, overweight women who ate three small pears or apples a day lost more weight than women on the same diet who ate three oat cookies daily instead of the fruit.

6. Soup. A cup of chicken soup is as appetite blunting as a piece of chicken: That was the finding of a Purdue University study with 18 women and 13 men. Why? Researchers speculate that even the simplest soup satisfies hunger because your brain perceives it as filling.

7. Lean beef. It's what's for dinner-or should be, if you're trying to shed pounds. The amino acid leucine, which is abundant in proteins like meat and fish as well as in dairy products, can help you pare down while maintaining calorie-burning muscle. That's what it did for 24 overweight middle-aged women in a study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Eating anywhere from nine to 10 ounces of beef a day on a roughly 1,700-calorie diet helped the women lose more weight, more fat, and less muscle mass than a control group consuming the same number of calories, but less protein. The beef eaters also had fewer hunger pangs.

8. Olive oil. Fight off middle-age pounds with extra virgin olive oil. A monounsaturated fat, it'll help you burn calories. In an Australian study, 12 postmenopausal women (ages 57 to 73) were given a breakfast cereal dressed either with a mixture of cream and skim milk or half an ounce of olive oil and skim milk. The women who ate the oil-laced muesli boosted their metabolism. Don't want to add olive oil to your oatmeal? That's OK-it works just as well in salad dressings, as a bread dip, or for sautéing.

9. Grapefruit. It's back! A 2006 study of 91 obese people conducted at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic found that eating half a grapefruit before each meal or drinking a serving of the juice three times a day helped people drop more than three pounds over 12 weeks. The fruit's phytochemicals reduce insulin levels, a process that may force your body to convert calories into energy rather than flab.

10. Cinnamon. Sprinkle it on microwave oatmeal or whole-grain toast to help cure those mid-afternoon sugar slumps. Research from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture found that a little cinnamon can help control post-meal insulin spikes, which make you feel hungry. Health bonus: One USDA study showed that just a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon a day lowered the blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

 

1. Vinegar. It's a great filler-upper. In a Swedish study, researchers found that people who ate bread dipped in vinegar felt fuller than those who had their slices plain. The probable reason: Acetic acid in the vinegar may slow the passage of food from the stomach into the small intestine, so your tummy stays full longer. Vinegar can also short-circuit the swift blood-sugar rise that occurs after you eat refined carbs such as white bread, cookies, and crackers.

12. Tofu. It seems too light to be filling, but a study at Louisiana State University showed that tofu does the job. Researchers tested it against chicken as a pre-meal appetizer for 42 overweight women-and the participants who had tofu ate less food during the meal. The secret: Tofu is an appetite-quashing protein.

13. Nuts. Yes, they are fattening: A handful of peanuts is about 165 calories. But research shows that people who snack on nuts tend to be slimmer than those who don't. A study from Purdue University found that when a group of 15 normal-weight people added about 500 calories worth of peanuts to their regular diet, they consumed less at subsequent meals. The participants also revved up their resting metabolism by 11 percent, which means they burned more calories even when relaxing. Health bonus: Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids. And researchers at Loma Linda University recently found that eating 10 to 20 whole pecans daily can reduce heart disease risks.

14. High-fiber cereal. Studies show that you can curb your appetite by eating a bowl for breakfast. But how well does it really work? Researchers at the VA Medical Center and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis tested the theory against the ultimate diet challenge: the buffet table. They gave 14 volunteers one of five cereals before sending them out to the smorgasbord. Those who'd had the highest-fiber cereal ate less than those who didn't have as much fiber in the morning. Try General Mills Fiber One (14 grams per serving) or Kellogg's All Bran With Extra Fiber (13 grams per serving).

15. Hot red pepper. Eating a bowl of spicy chili regularly can help you lose weight. In a Japanese study, 13 women who ate breakfast foods with red pepper (think southwestern omelet) ate less than they normally did at lunch. The magic ingredient may be capsaicin, which helps suppress appetite.

 

 

5 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

5 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

Ever tried to lose fat for any sustained period of time – and then hit the wall? You changed nothing, but suddenly the fat no longer disappears.

The human body is incredibly adaptive, and will do its level best to maintain equilibrium (homeostasis).

The plateauing effect is the biggest motivation-killer there is. Unfortunately many popular diet books are strangely quiet on the issue — weight loss plateaus don’t make good testimonials.

What You Must Do Now

The best single word of advice is to make a change.

Don’t make the mistake of doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result (Ben Franklin’s definition of insanity).

What changes can you make?

1. Zig-Zag Calorie Intake

Zig-zagging, or calorie cycling is the process of varying daily calorie intake, while maintaining the same weekly intake.

Instead of consuming (for example) precisely 1800 calories each day – you can mix it up (calculate your daily calories here). Eat 1500 calories one day, and 2100 calories the next. This can be as simple as halving then doubling a portion size, or adding a post-workout shake into the plan.

Just keep your body guessing. Further: Zig-zag calculator.

2. Strength Training

If you are not doing this as part of your program or lifestyle, then it’s time to start. Working your muscles will help to strengthen bone tissue, increase lean mass, and ultimately boost metabolic rate.

3. Change Your Exercise Routine

So you go walking a lot? Then try jogging, or swimming, or cycling — anything that will change the way your body is working. If you are doing low intensity cardio work, then try some high intensity exercise (such as HIIT). Need help? Check out these exercise ideas.

4. Alter Macro-nutrient Intake

Although it sounds complicated, once again, the idea is to change what you are eating. If (for example) you are eating a moderate diet that is higher in carbs – try eating less carbs and more protein. There is no need to get super-technical over the whole thing.

If you have a carbohydrate snack every day at morning tea time – change it to a protein snack. Whatever you are doing consistently – try mixing it up a bit. However if you want to get technical, use a nutrient calculator.

5. Change Meal Frequency

If you are eating three square meals a day – start adding snacks in between (which may mean reducing the portion size of the main meals). Eating often is an old and common style of eating – once again, you are trying to boost your metabolic rate.

I know all that – What else is there?

Some of us seem to have more adaptive bodies than others. I remember when I was eating a fairly rigid diet, having three strength training sessions per week, and as much as seven (often intense) cardio sessions a week. After 3-4 weeks – the fat simply stopped coming off.

The frustration was enough to make me take my meal plans (stuck to the fridge), screw them up and throw them away in disgust. I was furious and disappointed. I felt that I was doing everything “right”.

So what was the answer?

Chill out and back off… I was becoming obsessional. I started eating more, and gradually reduced my cardio levels. I gave my body and mind a break. In the process I have learned to eat more intuitively.

Every person is unique, and we must learn how our individual body responds – and how to work with that.

Skinny Texas Cheese Fries

Skinny Texas Cheese Fries 
Skinnytaste.com
Servings:
2 • Serving Size: 1/2 • Old Points: 6 pt • Points+: 7 pt
Calories:
259 • Fat: 12.3 g • Protein: 10.1 g • Carb: 29 g • Fiber: 2.9 g • Sugar: 1.4 g
Sodium:
590.5 mg (without salt)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes (2/3 lb total), yukon gold or russet, washed and dried (skin on)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 slice center cut bacon, cooked & finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp diced scallions
  • 1 tbsp sliced pickled Jalapeno (jarred on canned)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up. Lightly coat with cooking spray.

Cut each potato lengthwise into 1/4 inch thin slices; then cut each slice into 1/4 inch fries.
In a large bowl, combine cut potatoes and oil; toss well. Add seasoning (paprika to salt and pepper). Toss to coat.

Place potatoes in a single layer on a lightly greased large baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until tender crisp, turning once half way through (depending on thickness this may require more or less time).  

 Remove from oven, place fries into two small oven safe dishes (or one large dish for sharing), top with cheddar cheese, sliced jalapenos, scallions and bacon bits and return to oven for  about 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Serve with low fat buttermilk ranch dressing and serve.

Low-fat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 13 • Size: 1/4 cup • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 1 pts
Calories: 52.3 • Fat: 2.0 g • Carbs: 5.5 g • Fiber: 0.0 g • Protein: 3.4 g • Sugar: 3.7 g
Sodium: 288.8 mg

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 3/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Hellman's light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups 1% low fat buttermilk

Directions:

In a small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, powder, onion powder, parsley, chives, salt, and cracked pepper. Mix well.

Stir in the white balsamic vinegar; then buttermilk.
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