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Hey, I am a med student who likes to write. Each week I provide a handful of tips that will help you in your quest to become healthier.

3 Practical Diet Steps To Lose Weight

Written: 07/30/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

The following practical plan will help you lose weight by looking up your diet intake in 3 steps:

1) Conditioning
2) Reducing
3) Maintenance

Step 1: CONDITIONING

Conditioning will last only 4 days. These 4 days are about giving your body time to adapt to the changes and to be prepared for the next step.

In these 4 days, Vitamin C and B complex are given to replenish and prepare the body for the next step. If you feel you are not ready, start by doing small changes first such as eating fruits, drinking more water. Once you get used to that, you can start the next phase.

Planner for Conditioning Four Days Only
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DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3
DAY 4



0730
1 cup juice
1 cup juice
1 cup juice
1 cup juice





0800
1 scrambled egg, 1/2 bran muffin, 1 glass water
1 egg (boiled), 1 toast, 1 glass water, 1 kiwi
1 scrambled egg, 1 biscotte, 1 glass water
1 bran muffin, 1 cup skimmed milk





noon
100 g tuna salad, 2 tbs salad dressing, 2 biscottes, 1 glass water
250 g (fish/chicken), 1 plate vegetable, 2 biscottes, 1 glass water
150 g prawn, vegetable grill, egg salad, 2 biscottes, 1 glass water
250 g yogurt, 150 g fish, 1 salad, 1/2 cup steamed carrots, 1/2 cup cottage cheese





1500
1 apple, 1 glass water
1 apple, 1 glass water











1 apple, 1 glass water





1800
125 g chicken, 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1 plate green salad, 1/2 bran muffin, 1 glass water
250 g lean meat cooked in 2 tbs olive oil, 1 cup green beans, 1 medium baked potato, 1 glass water
250 g roasted chicken, 50 g steamed cauliflower, 1 plate vegetable salad, 1 cup skimmed milk
150 g stuffed chicken breast, 1 plate vegetable salad, baked potato, 1 glass water





2000
1 apple, 1 glass water
1 apple, 1 glass water











1 apple, 1 glass water






Step 2: REDUCING PHASE

The Reducing Phase would be the most important phase to lose weight. It is made up of 3 light meals and 3 snacks in between meal so that you never feel hungry or tired because of too little energy. The time given is only a guide. You can change the time allocated for this phase according to your work schedule and some of you might not have mid-morning or mid-afternoon “tea breaks”. You might add your fruits to your meals but you need to drink water in between.

The Reducing Phase lasts as long as you need to lose weight. It might last for weeks or months depending on how much weight you need to lose. You may devise and create your own planner from one week to the next using the same outline but with different foods which produce the same result on your health (that is a balanced diet with all the essentials nutrients in the correct proportions).

It should be noted that when we lose weight, we not only lose fat; we also lose vitamins, minerals, muscle mass and even bone mass. A good reducing planner should result in minimum muscle and bone loss and maximum fat loss.

DO NOT RUSH or try to lose extra weight quickly or you may put it back on!

Once you have reached your ideal weight, you can move on to Step 3. Your goal weight should be personal to you. It is that weight which you feel most comfortable and happy with. It must be a realistic weight. Remember that each person’s metabolism is different and has a different build.

Reducing Diet Phase







0730
1 cup juice




0800
1 boiled egg, 1 muffin, 1 glass water, 1 cup tea, 1 omelet, 1 bread, 1 toast





noon
200g herb baked fish, 1 cup stir-fry vegetables, 1/2 muffin, 1 glass water, 150g yogurt chicken, 1 plate vegetable salad, 150g stuffed chicken breasts, 1 cup green steamed beans with any dressing, 200g tuna salad, 2 cups lettuce salad, 150g barbecue chicken, 1 cup cabbage salad, 200g chicken





1500
1 glass water





1800
3 cups chicken, 1 cup herb tea 1 glass water, 150g prawn, 1 toast, 150g baked fillet meat, 1 serving vegetable cream, 150g sweet-sour chicken, tofu quiche, 150g lemon fish fillets, 1 cup maize corn kernels





2000
1 apple, 1 glass water





Step 3: MAINTENANCE PHASE

This phase is as important as the Reducing Phase is that it helps you maintain that weight which you have achieved. The maintenance phase is actually a lifetime commitment for some.

In step 3, you maintain the same course of eating habits you had during the reducing phase with a slight change in the diet plan. You can discard the 6 meals a day and go back to 3 meals a day but still stick to the same quantity and type of food.

However, one has to realistic knowing that now and then, they will indulge on “slightly unhealthier” foods on occasions. But this should remain the exception rather than the rule.

Far too often, people go back to their old habits of eating after losing much weight and therefore put on the weight back faster!

Those with a normal weight can use Step 3 all the time to keep an optimum weight.

Reference for planners: Eat'N'Slim by Mansoorah Issany

17 Keys To Ensure That Your Diet Is A Success

Written: 07/29/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

weight loss
Before we even begin, answer these questions:
  1. Have you ever tried dieting?
  2. Have you ever failed in your attempt to maintain a diet?
I’m sure that 99% of people reading this article will answer “Yes” to the first question and 75% will answer “Yes” to the second question.

You will need to change your HABIT first in order to change your current diet into a healthier one.

Be it for weight loss or to achieve a normal blood sugar or cholesterol level, whatever be your goal in changing your diet, changing your habit is never easy! It may not be enough to know about nutrition or to know what you should be doing differently. Most people need strategies and plans for making these changes. This section will help you change your overall diet. It will address the following problems:
  • Getting Started
  • Setting Goals
  • Staying Motivated
  • Overcoming the barriers of dieting
  • Social Support

Getting Started:
If you have never paid much attention to your diet before, making changes to it or using a recommended diet plan can be overwhelming. If you have tried many diets, you may be frustrated if you have not been able to stick to them. The following are the most important things to remember:

1. Make Small Changes
Don’t try to change your whole diet at once. You are more likely to be successful by making small changes and sticking to them for the long term.

2. Highlight the improvements
Any positive changes you make will improve your health. Your diet doesn’t have to be “I must never eat this or that”. If you go back to old eating habits for a meal, for a day or for a week, it doesn’t mean that you have failed and should stop trying to make improvements in your diet.

3. Consult a dietitian
Although this blog serves as a destination for all people seeking to improve their diet, there remains the fact that some people need to consult a dietician in order to supervise what they eat.


Setting Goals:

4. Track your progress
Write down your goals. Keep track of your progress. Periodically go back and check your progress. Small successes can add up quickly and make a big difference in your life.

5. A change a time
Make only a change a time. For example, you may want to work on improving what you eat for lunch, or you could try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Pick a change that will be easy for you to make.

6. Add instead of Subtract
Add something nutritious to your diet instead of taking something away. Try to add foods that you need more like fruits or vegetables. Removing things from your diet (for example, foods high in fat or sugar) may leave you feeling deprived, which may make it more difficult for you to make a change.

7. Opt for the healthier foods
Make a list of the foods that you enjoy and choose the healthier ones.


Staying Motivated:
Getting motivated to change your diet is essential but hard to achieve. Motivation problems may have gotten in your way in the past. Try not to let bad experiences and attitudes from the past stop you from becoming motivated now.

8. Record your efforts
Circle the days on the calendar when you meet a nutritional goal. Use a notebook or diary to record your food intake. These records will motivate you on your dieting endeavor. Pour over your food records when you start doubting yourself or your dieting abilities.

9. Make it a habit
Sticking to a particular diet over a certain period of time may seem to require too big an effort for certain but staying committed to your dieting goals will reinforce the diet. Eventually this diet will form part of your eating habit. The point here is not to lose focus on your diet goal.

10. Make it 12 weeks
Try to stick to your diet for 12 weeks. For some people, 12 weeks is not sufficient to achieve your diet goals. Commit to your diet for 12 weeks until the “new” diet just seem to be another normal part of your day.

11. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat… and Repeat again!
When you’re getting started, try some new routines and stick to them. You can make changes later, but creating an eating habit requires repetition.

Barriers To Eating Well:
Even when you know about the benefits of eating well, you may find it hard to change your lifestyle until you deal with the reasons you give yourself for not eating well. Barriers to eating well often include valid reasons for why you aren’t eating well and excuse you make to avoid something you dislike or fear. It can be hard to tell the difference between a valid reason and an excuse. It’s more important to face those barriers and find solutions.

12. Track down your inhibitions
Recall the last time you thought about improving your diet but didn’t follow through with it. What held you back?

13. Choices
Examine the choices you make about your diet each day and reinforce the positive ones.

14. Combat Fear
Sometimes fear is the reason people avoid change. Changing the way one eat is not an easy achievement for most people.

Social Support:
One more important barrier to eating well is a lack of social support. You may eat on your own most of the time, so no one acknowledges your efforts and improvements. On the other hand, you may be part of a family whose eating habits are very different from those you want to acquire, and your family may not be interested or prepared to accept a change to your eating habit. Any changes you make may be harder because you have to make them in an unsupportive atmosphere. This could mean being around people who don’t support you and behaviors that undermine your efforts.

A lack of social support is a real barrier, but it may be overcome with careful preparation, the right attitude and effort.

15. Talk
Speak with your family or the persons you eat with about the changes you are making. Ask them for support in specific ways, such as not commenting on your eating habit and not to offer you foods that you have chosen not to eat. You may not get all persons to do the above, but you can often improve things by asking for help.

16. Seek out friends
If you often eat alone and feel a lack of support, seek out friends or co-workers who may be interested in sharing in your efforts to change. Many people are aware that they could eat in a healthier way with willing partners supporting them.

17. Make small changes
Make small changes instead of big ones. People are less likely to notice small changes, so you are less likely to feel that others are undermining your efforts. Also, small changes are more likely to be maintained.

Please bear in mind that the above keys are guidelines for dieting and that the outcome of your diet depends primarily on your determination and commitment. To your dieting success!

10 Great Foods to Melt Away Those Pounds

Written: 07/23/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Finding if difficult to fight fat? While regular exercise and diet control are the "secrets" to slimness, there are foods that contain chemicals to burn away superfluous calories and to flee away those troublesome hunger pains. Here are ten foods to help you make peace with your bathroom scale:

  1. Grapefruit
    Myth: Grapefruits provokes breast cancer.

    Reality: They are powerful fat fighters due to their high fiber content. Sugar free, grapefruit drink has fewer calories than an orange of the same weight. In the Enlightened Eater's Whole Foods Guide, Dietitian Rosie Schwartz provides that Phytochemicals and soluble fiber in citrus fruits lower cholesterol.

  2. Chilies
    Myth: Chilies don't just add pow to your dish; they can also increase your body's ability to burn calories for hours.

    Reality: Capsaicin, the compound found in chilies, does increase your metabolism slightly, increasing the energy your body burns during digestion. But don't make it so hot that you will have to wash it down with loads of water. Eating capsaicin may curb your appetite slightly.

  3. Black Beans
    Myth: Beans keep you full longer than other foods.

    Reality: Beans such as black beans and lentils are low in fat and rich in soluble fiber. They digest slowly and maintain the glucose levels in the blood steady. Regularly eating black or navy beans may lower your risk of colon cancer, the following study shows.

  4. Applea
    Myth: An apple a day keeps the doctor "and fat" away.

    Reality: An apple alone is not enough. Eating several apples every day is actually a great idea. Fruits like apples and pears take time to chew and fill you up as compared to one small glass juice which contains the equivalent calories of two apples.

    The following study shows that foods high in flavonoids, vitamin-like compounds countering the artery-damaging potential of chemicals, like black tea and apples actually do decrease the risk of stroke.

  5. Celery
    Myth: Celery is packed with water and "negative calories".

    Reality: You burn more calories chewing and digesting celery than it actually contains. Celery has vitamins E and C. It's a diet food but should be featured on everyone's plate. Vegetables high in phytochemicals (celery, broccoli) can help prevent cancer.

  6. Strawberries
    Myth: Eat as much as strawberries as you want without gaining an ounce.

    Reality: While all fruits are packed with vitamins, some are more nutritious than others. Strawberries, peaches, plums and grapes come with cancer-fighting carotenoids and appetite-suppressing fiber. But water-melon, pineapple and papaya cause your glucose level to spike. So aim for 3 to 6 daily servings of the more nutritious fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have been found to reduce heart disease.

  7. Mackerel
    Myth: Omega-3 fatty acids curb hunger.

    Reality: It's not the omega-3 in fish like mackerel and sardines that sounds the alarm for fat limit in your brain but rather the protein mixed with the fat. The mistake many dieters make is to cut out fat completely. Fat is what makes you feel full.

  8. Cottage Cheese

    Myth: Cottage cheese has much less fat than cheddar cheese.

    Reality: It's true. Cottage cheese is a very good source of protein. The yummy white curds are also stuffed with calcium, vitamin B-12 and some zinc and folate. Riboflavin found in cottage cheese guards against anaemia and cancer.

  9. Low-Fat Milk
    Myth: The more calcium we intake, the better we break down fat.

    Reality: Calcium-rich foods do seem to boost metabolism. People who drink milk and eat dairy products regularly have lower weight and less body fat than those who don't.

  10. Lettuce
    Myth: Leafy foods like lettuce and spinach make feel stuffed with a minimum of calories.

    Reality: Foods such as lettuce are bulky foods containing mostly fibre and water. They occupy a lot of space in your stomach, leaving little room for other foods. They contain also a lot of iron, folate,calcium and vitamin A, B, C and E.

For further reading:
30 foods to fight fat
Best Weight Loss Foods

Healing Power of Tea - 9 Powerful Benefits of Drinking Tea

Written: 07/22/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

Tea"If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty", so goes a Japanese proverb.

Hot or cold, green or black, this ancient beverage is steeped in health benefits.

Quick facts on Tea:
  • Tea is considered the world's most popular beverage, after water.

  • All three conventional teas ― green, black and oolong ― come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), but their chemical content and flavors are different because they're processed differently. Green tea leaves are steamed before they're dried, which prevents the breakdown of catechins and preserves their green color. Black tea is made by allowing the leaves to oxidize and ferment, which darkens them and converts some of the catechins into other compounds. Oolong tea is only partially fermented. Source: Buzzle

  • The name tea derives from the Chinese 茶, pronounced "te" in the Min Nan dialect. The flavour of the raw tea is developed by processes including oxidation, heating, drying and the addition of other herbs, spices, or fruit. Tea is a natural source of caffeine. Source: World of Tea

  • The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs containing no actual tea, such as rosehip tea or chamomile tea. Alternative terms for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied contrast with tea. Source: World of Tea
General Health benefits of Tea:
  1. Heart Helper
    In a 2002 Dutch study of 4807 people, those who drank at least 370 grams of tea daily had half the heart attack risk of non-tea drinkers. In 2002, researchers in Boston found that heart patients who drank two or more cups daily were 44% less likely to die over the next four years. A US study showed that tea can lower bad cholesterols by an average of 10%. In cases where dangerous cholesterol has already stuck to artery walls, flavonoids, the antioxidants in tea, are thought to prevent it from damaging the inner lining.

  2. Cancer Fighter
    In Japan, a 1998 investigation found that drinking ten or more cups of green tea every day delayed the onset of cancer by almost nine years in women and about three in men. And a Canadian study from 1998 suggests another benefit for guys: men who drank three cups a day were 30% less likely to develop prostrate cancer.

  3. Bone Builder
    Flavonoids in tea seem to protect bones. Tea also contain fluoride that stop bacteria from sticking to teet, which together help fight cavities.

Practical Health benefits of Tea:
  • Nasal Decongestant
    Nasal decongestant: A drug that shrinks the swollen membranes in the nose, making it easier to breath. Quote: Medterm
    A strong scented tea can be used as nasal decongestant.

    Mixture: Drop a slice of lemon in your black tea and let simmer for 5 minutes in boiling water. Inhale strongly the scent coming off from the steam.

    NOTE: Please use the above mixture for not more than 3 days to avoid rebound congestion. When nasal decongestants are used for a long time and then discontinued, symptoms often worsen (a rebound effect) because the tissues become dependent on the medication.

  • Aromatherapeutic cure for Cold & Flu
    Mixture: Drop a slice of lemon in your black tea with a 1/2 tsp of camomile and mint. Let simmer for 5 minutes in boiling water and enjoy afterward.

    Try this for a few times a day and you will notice a gradual decrease of your influenza.

  • Sore Throat
    Instead of trying to gargle warm water with cayenne pepper in it, it is better to try the following tea mixture.

    Mixture: Try a dollop of honey with your cup of tea and I'm sure it will work wonders.

  • Insomnia
    Tossing about on the bed can be pretty frustrating. So if next time, you are lying awake on bed and counting sheeps to get to sleep, better get up and try the following tea mixture.

    Mixture: Add a spoon of milk to your tea and 1 tsp of camomile.

  • Power Up
    Feeling depressed and fatigued lately? Boost up your energy with the following tea mixture.

    Mixture: Blend your tea with gingko biloba or ginseng and enjoy.

  • Motion Sickness After a heavy trip, take the following mixture to recover from nausea.

    Mixture: Another popular remedy is 3 or 4 slices of sliced ginger in a cup of boiling water to make ginger tea. Sip as needed to relieve nausea caused by motion sickness.


- Yan Gungaram

That Choice Added 345 Calories to Your Lunch

Written: 07/06/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Each day we all have little choices to make. Sometimes they are so little that we take the opportunity for granted and don't even recognize we had an option.

These sentences can apply to a wide variety of topics:
  • Your choice to take the elevator to the 2nd floor when the stairs will do
  • Perhaps your choice to pay for a health club membership each month and never go
You get the idea, choice are all around us and they are all in our control. For the sake of this message, the little choices we're discussing have to do with your belly, cholesterol level, and anything else bad that fast food can do to you.

Pretend you are rushed and have no choice but to eat fast food. Take a look at some of these and decide for yourself if you can train yourself to recognize the small decisions you face and make smart choices.

Fast-Food Chain: McDonald’s

If You Usually Order: Six-piece Chicken McNuggets (with a side of ranch sauce) and large French fries.

Make It Healthier: Ask for medium fries and replace the ranch sauce with barbecue and you’ve knocked 345 calories off your meal.
Fast-Food Chain: KFC

If You Usually Order: An Extra Crispy chicken breast and a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Make It Healthier: Order an Original Recipe wing and leg (290 calories and 17 grams of fat total). Though white meat seems a wise choice, the breast is one of the worst items on the menu, with 460 calories and 28 grams of fat.
Fast-Food Chain: Wendy’s

If You Usually Order: A loaded baked potato (stuffed with bacon, cheese, low-fat sour cream, and Buttery Best spread) and a small Original Chocolate Frosty.

Make It Healthier: Save 130 calories and 16 grams of fat by loading your potato with chili, low-fat sour cream, and broccoli.

Now before everyone asks why I am recommending fast food, please stop yourself. I am not. I am recommending that IF you must eat out that you recognize the small decisions you can change to maintain your health.

A site named Real Simple put these stats together and they have 9 more scenarios that include Japanese take-out, Indian food, etc. Unfortunately, the format of their site is very annoying as you have to visit a new page for each entry and put up with expanding ads.

Answers to 10 Embarrassing Health Questions

Written: 07/04/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

I subscribe to a couple feeds from Consumer Reports and although I have none of these conditions, they've answered 10 questions that you may be afraid to ask your doctor (or for that matter you may be afraid to Google because your boss or roommate may have some goofy knowledge of tracking searches!)

Here are the questions. You can visit their site for the answers:

  • What's causing my flatulence?

  • I have bad breath, though I don't smoke and I brush and floss my teeth diligently. What can I do?

  • Sometimes I see blood in my stool. Do I need to see a doctor?

  • Should I worry if my urine changes color?

  • I move my bowels only a few times a week. Is that unhealthy?

  • Is there any way to treat or prevent cold sores?

  • I'm an adult whose face often breaks out. Could it be acne?

  • How can I relieve anal itching?

  • What can I do about jock itch?

  • I think I have a yeast infection. How can I treat it?

Read the answers at Getting personal: 10 embarrassing questions by Consumer Reports Medical Guide