Thursday, 31 March 2016

Fitness Truths: post-holiday weight loss, the healthy way

Want a quick fat loss fix post Easter? Think again, as slow and steady always wins the race, says Jean-Claude Vacassin

Chances are you've just over indulged: Easter weekend is jam-packed with family gatherings, food, and of course - chocolate. So having assessed the damage done, you've probably set some pretty good eating and training intentions out again - but what kind of rapid weight loss and return to peak performance is actually realistic?

The reality is that weight loss never happens as quickly as we want it to and for many of us losing excess body fat can seem like an arduous and frustrating process. We are all guilty of wanting the quick fix when it comes to getting into shape, but it is almost certainly never the best way to approach it. Despite the continued presence of the 'lose weight in six weeks' crowd, overall we are starting to see a more positive shift towards longer-term approaches that are less about radical interventions and more about adopting more sustainable habits, which we can keep up.

READ:  - How to Change Your Mindset to Lose Weight

As a general rule of thumb, we should expect to lose no more than two pounds per week, if that is our goal is to lose fat and not valuable lean tissue, and we want to keep it off for good. Why two pounds? In simplistic terms, a pound of fat equates to 3,500 calories, which means that to lose two pounds of fat, we need to create an energy deficit of seven thousand calories each week, or one thousand calories each day, which we can do by eating less, moving more, or doing a combination of both.
It's not an exact science as all foods react differently in our body, but a thousand calories is a fairly significant deficit, which will require some pretty significant diet and lifestyle changes for many of us. The rationale is that if we go any faster than this, we are likely to have to adopt unsustainable behaviours, which yes, will get us quick weight loss results, but very often see us put it all back on once our resolve inevitably buckles and we go back to doing what we were doing previously, hence why so many of us yo-yo diet.
This is a pretty sensible approach and one that works well for many of us, but in truth, how fast we lose weight will vary depending on our starting point, our previous nutritional approaches, our exercise history and many other factors. It is common to see people have a fairly significant drop on body fat at the outset, before it settles into more conservative pattern, which is particularly true for those of us with more weight to lose.
A typical pattern that I see, and one that I describe to people when helping them set expectations is the 5, 4, 3 ,2 ,1, 1,1 ,1, 1… example, which helps to demonstrate how weight loss works for many of us; it is not uncommon for those of us with more weight to lose to drop five pounds in the first week, four in the second, then three, two, and one per week thereafter. It is of course never as linear as this, and the rate at which we lose and continue to lose fat will be hugely individual, but helps to show that we won't continue to, and should expect to, lose weight at a radical rate over more than the first couple of weeks - we need to be patient.


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Protein, Fibre, Apple Cider Vinegar: weight loss hacks to help you lose kilos faster

Diet tricks to help you lose weight faster this year

Protein, Fibre, Apple Cider Vinegar: 10 weight loss hacks to help you lose kilos faster
Whether you're looking to trim down fast or just tired or trying fads and trends that just don't work, then these might be your answer. Losing weight doesn't need to be hard. By making simple swaps and adding a few extras to your diet you can see great results in no time.

1. Eat More Plant Based Foods

Plant based foods are loaded with vital nutrients and phytochemicals our bodies need to for good health and for healthy weight management. They are high in dietary fibre to promote better digestion and bowel regularity, and are generally low in saturated fats and calories.

2. Don't Skip Breakfast

You’ve heard it many times before, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but still over 50 per cent of Australians choose to skip eating in the morning. Having a nutritious breakfast will set you up for a day of healthy eating and is beneficial for healthy weight management. It helps you maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevents you from overeating high calorie and sugary foods mid-morning.
Breakfast provides a good dose of our daily nutrient intake too, including fibre, protein and important nutrients like calcium and B vitamins we need for energy production, bone health, and growth and repair of the body.

3. Include Good Quality Proteins With Meals

Protein sources such as raw nuts and seeds (including chia and quinoa), tempeh, legumes, oily fish, dairy (yoghurt, kefir, cheese), eggs, chicken, and red meat, are digested slower so they keep you fuller for longer and will prevent post-meal spikes in blood sugar levels and insulin. Grains like teff and lupin (a legume) contain good levels of protein too, so they make a nice alternative to regular flour when cooking.

4. Eat More Fibre

Foods containing fibre are filling, so they wont leave you feeling hungry and wanting seconds. Some of the best fibre-rich foods are fruits and vegetables, legumes, wholegrains (whole oats, brown rice, grainy breads, buckwheat, teff), nuts, and seeds.

5. Make Healthy Drink Swaps to Cut Calories

Instead of fruit juice, which is high in fructose, have veggie juice or a piece of fruit instead. Give soft drink the flick, it’s loaded with chemicals, and either high levels or sugar or artificial sweeteners and void of any goodness. Go for sparkling mineral water, you can add a little of your favourite unsweetened juice or fresh lemon. Herbal teas can be enjoyed hot or cold with some fresh fruit and mint.
Don’t forget to drink around 2 Litres of water daily for good health. Drinking water in between meals can be beneficial for reducing overeating and unwanted snacking too. If you are a coffee drinker cutting out sugar or syrups will greatly reduce your daily calorie intake. Chai lovers need to be careful not to buy sugary powdered chai that’s full of sugar, always go for real leaf chai.

6. Watch Portion Sizes

Overdoing any food can lead to weight gain. If you are ingesting more calories than you are burning, then you will naturally put on weight. Enjoy a variety of foods from different food groups in moderation. 
Your protein portions eg. fish, chicken, red meat, tofu, should be roughly the size and thickness of your palm, then fill the rest of your plate with vegetables or salad. This doesn’t mean a huge serving of mashed potato though, include plenty of green leafies, some brassicas and variety of different coloured veggies.

7. Have Healthy Snacks On-Hand

Always have some nutritious snacks on hand to beat afternoon sugar cravings and unhealthy snacking. Keep healthy snacks ready-to-go in your fridge, bag or work desk draw. Some ideal snacks are trail mixes, fresh fruit, small tubs of sugar-free yoghurt, homemade protein balls, apple wedges with almond butter, hummus or guacamole with veggie sticks or flax crackers, green smoothies and veggie juices.
Natural protein powders like whey, pea or brown rice, are also handy to keep on hand, especially at work, to add to smoothies or as a quick pick me up with some chilled water or milk of choice. Great to add to protein balls too.

8. Go Alcohol Free For a Few Months

Give your liver a break in the new year and loose weight in the process by going alcohol free for a couple of months. Alcohol is very high in calories and will contribute to unwanted weight gain if you drink regularly. The average full strength middy of beer and glass of wine contains around 105 calories, which takes around 25 minutes to burn off walking briskly.

9. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Before Meals

Taking apple cider vinegar (ACV) before main meals is an excellent way to give your digestion and metabolism a boost. ACV is a thermogenic food, so it's helpful for enhancing fat burning and assisting with weight loss. It will also help improve digestive issues such as reflux and indigestion, and prevent bloated distended stomachs. Try 1tsp-1tbsp of ACV diluted in a little water around 15 minutes before eating. ACV can also be used in salad dressing.


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5 Ways to Fix the Calorie Damage From Easter Candy

One (or two) chocolate bunnies don't have to derail your weight loss goals.

Did you enjoy your Easter weekend? Maybe a little too much? Even if you found yourself staring at an emptied out basket with candy wrappers strewn everywhere–don't fret. "It takes eating 3,500 calories above and beyond your body's needs to equal a pound of weight gained," says Christen Cooper, R.D., owner of Cooper Education and Communication in Pleasantville, New York. So even if you ate a lot of sweet treats on Easter (and a few days after), you can probably still fit in your jeans. "In fact, you probably didn't even gain a full pound," says Cooper.
But our experts did agree the average Easter basket can contain up to 1,500 to 2,000 calories (yikes!), so if you enjoyed the whole thing, here are five easy ways toget back on track.
1) Estimate the actual calorie damage done and reverse it in small steps, recommends Cooper. For example, if you know you downed about 1,000 extra calories over the weekend, try cutting out your usual dessert (just for this week). A deduction of 200 calories over five nights equals 1,000 calories.
2) Consume a protein-rich shake in the morning to stabilize your blood sugar, suggests Stella Metsovas, R.D., owner of w8lessnutrition. "You don't need to add any fruit to the mix–instead, opt for fiber-rich ingredients (low in natural sugars), like flax seed or hemp seed, fresh or frozen greens, coconut milk or almond milk." 
3) Get rid of sugar bloat with salt. "Take one granule of Celtic sea salt and add to your water, per one liter," recommends Metsovas. "Bloating occurs for many reasons, one of which is a disruption in mineral consumption (i.e., excess intake of sugar)." 
4) Skip the diet sodas and artificial sweeteners for awhile, says Sharon Richter, R.D. They will make you feel more bloated, and their overly sweet taste may trigger another chocolate binge, says Richter. 
5) Sweat off up to 500 calories with this "Mix it up Cardio Burn" workout recommended by fitness expert Amy Dixon. Start with a five-minute warm-up on the treadmill at a moderate intensity, and then do the following as hard as you can (without losing your breath): 10 minutes on the treadmill, followed by 10 minutes on a stationary bike, 10 more minutes on the elliptical, finish up with 10 minutes on the stair mill, and then cool down by walking it off. "Mixing it up is the name of the game," says Dixon, "and working at an uncomfortable intensity will help you burn some major calories." 

I hope you had a wonderful Easter with family and friends! It's alright to slide off the rails every now and again, as long as you've got a back up plan to help you get back on track :)


Monday, 28 March 2016

The science of post-holiday weight loss: Why now is the best time to go on a diet

Feel like you over-ate these holidays? Well now might be the best time to lose weight. Here's why diet-related New Year's resolutions are totally achievable.

If you — or someone you care about — are embarking on post-holiday weight loss, understanding the body’s physiological responses to excess kilojoule intake could give you the edge for a successful New Year’s resolution.
Weight loss is never easy, but the first days to weeks are easier than what’s to come. That’s because whenever you consume more kilojoules than your body burns — think big, festive feasts and then sitting around for hours with your friends or relatives — your body activates a series of physiological processes that actually help you to reverse excess. I call these physiological processes the “fat brake”, because they put the brakes on fat gain.
The most obvious sign of your fat brake is a reduction in your drive to eat. So in the aftermath of holiday overeating, if you’re attentive to your body’s hunger and satiety signals, you may not feel as drawn to as abundant or as rich foods. To make the most of this effect, it’s important to not eat when you’re not hungry — even if that means eating less than a weight-loss diet’s allowance.

Get jiggy with it

In addition to reducing your drive to eat, the fat brake can also increase your propensity to be physically active, the amount of energy you use when you are active, or both. These also help to allay fat accumulation.
This effect of the fat brake means the start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to get into physical activity (but be gentle with your body if you’re just starting out). By the time the fat brake wears off, you could be on your way to active new habits. 

In the aftermath of holiday overeating, if you’re attentive to your body’s hunger and satiety signals, you may not feel as drawn to as abundant or as rich foods.

As well as decreasing the drive to eat and stimulating the amount of energy expended on physical activity, some but not all studies show that excess energy intake — such as over the holiday period — leads to an increase in the amount of energy the body burns while at rest. This is known as your “resting energy expenditure” or “resting metabolic rate”, and the change in it also helps to reverse holiday excesses.
To get a sense of whether your fat brake has activated your resting energy expenditure, consider how much you’re wearing now compared to before the holidays. If you wear lighter clothing or use fewer bed coverings than before festive feasting began, then your resting energy expenditure has likely increased. That’s because body temperature is directly related to resting energy expenditure.

Middle Eastern chickpea and pumpkin salad with feta

The festive season often involves large meals followed by lots of sitting around. Try integrating smaller, healthier meals into your new year diet. We love this Middle Eastern chickpea and pumpkin salad. More healthy recipes here.

Look for the waterfall

If you follow your fat brake’s lead by eating less and being active this New Year, then your body will burn off your holiday excesses very efficiently. This will contribute to rapid weight loss, not only due to the loss of fat, but also due to the loss of glycogen.
Whenever you eat more than your immediate needs, such as during the festive season, your body converts some of that food into glucose (a simple sugar) and then into glycogen. This is stored in your muscles and liver to tide you over in times when you’re eating less. Your body can store about half a kilo of glycogen in total. Remaining excesses are stored as fat.
The interesting thing about glycogen is that it holds roughly three times its weight in water. So when you embark on a weight-loss plan, your body uses up its stored glycogen in the first few days, and the water that was packaged with it (easily a litre) is released. Much of it ends up as urine.
So if you notice that you need to relieve yourself more often than usual in the post-holiday period, it’s a sign that you could be on the right track because your body is using up glycogen.

Fast and furious

With the fat brake reducing your appetite and increasing energy expenditure, and your body using up glycogen, weight loss in the immediate post-holiday period can be the fastest it will ever be — up to several kilos per week. And this can be extremely motivating.
A common misconception is that fast weight loss is bad. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear recommendations to limit weight loss to half to one kilo per week or less.
But, new research shows that fast weight loss does not result in faster weight regain than gradual weight loss. This is all the more reason to try your hardest with post-holiday weight-loss efforts – to make the most of your body’s natural physiology (the fat brake), which is actually helping you to rapidly reverse holiday weight gain.

Beware the speed hump

Once you’ve been losing weight for a while, your body will recognise you are no longer in energy excess, and your fat brake will deactivate. This — and the fact that you will have depleted your body’s glycogen stores by then — will contribute to an increase in your drive to eat and a reduction in your rate of weight loss.
When the fat brake switches off is different for different people; it’s dependent on many factors including how much excess weight you’re carrying, how long you’ve been carrying it for, how much weight you’ve lost, and your genes. For most people, it will likely occur within a couple of weeks (around mid-January), when many people abandon their New Year’s resolution to lose weight.

The best weight-loss tip is to act now to reverse energy excess, while your fat brake is activated and the window of opportunity is still open.

Be alert but not alarmed about the imminent increase in the amount of effort you’ll need to exert to keep losing weight. Accepting this, and the falling rate of weight loss, could mean the difference between giving up your New Year’s resolution, and powering over the mid-January speed hump towards a noticeable outcome.

But be warned — research suggests the fat brake doesn’t stay activated forever, even if you don’t lose any weight. If you don’t act on your body’s signals by eating less and moving more now, it may come to accept the holiday excess as part of the status quo, and you could be stuck with those holiday kilos for the whole year and beyond.
The best weight-loss tip is to act now to reverse energy excess, while your fat brake is activated and the window of opportunity is still open.


6 reasons why you'll need a post-Easter detox

Follow a healthy detox after your Easter binge and your health will thank you!
The supermarket shelves are lined with chocolate eggs and hot-cross buns - and then there are the Easter specials on alcohol. Nobody wants to hold back on Easter celebrations, but we all feel the familiar slump by the time the sun is setting. Unlike last year, we have 6 reasons you should consider a detox so you can bounce back in no time.

Blood-sugar levels

Your blood-sugar levels are the first to suffer from too many chocolates and hot-cross buns. Sugary junk food will give you a sharp spike in energy, but it won’t last long. Ever wondered why you’re so lethargic by the end of Easter Sunday? It’s because these sharp spikes are quickly followed by sharp dips. These dips also result in more hunger pangs; just a short time after you gorged yourself on yet another chocolate bunny.


This is the first line in our body’s natural detoxification process. It has a direct impact on fat regulation, hormone balance, digestion and circulation by filtering nutrients from your food and rejecting the junk. During Easter this ratio heavily favors the junk, meaning your poor liver is working extra hard. A build up of too many toxins from alcohol and junk food means your liver could become blocked, fatty or bloated. The result? A wide range of health issues, including high cholesterol.

A healthy detox can help restore your liver to its best and let your natural detoxification process get back on top.


Find yourself developing extra zits or bad skin after Easter? Your body sweats as a way to get rid of toxins, so the more chocolate you’re eating the more toxins make their way to your skin. But you can reverse these effects by cutting out the bad stuff. Even a short detox can help clear up skin concerns and that’s exactly what members who have completed the body+soul revolution detox discovered. 

“I agree that there are some dodgy detoxes out there but I found the body+soul revolution detox plan great! My eczema cleared right up, now my skin looks healthier and so do I!” Louise from Victoria


While wholegrain carbs are actually an important part of a healthy diet, the highly refined carbs in hot-cross buns are not. Don’t forget to think about all the added sugar that make them taste so sweet and you’re doing your intestines a serious disservice.

There’s a reason you feel bloated after indulging your sweet tooth. Our bodies produce gases when eating and drinking, and even more so when you make unhealthy choices, plus they can start smelling particularly foul! These gases start in the colon and move around the body until they find an escape or are absorbed, leaving you feeling bloated.

Swapping junk for nourishing whole foods will help give your body’s good bacteria a chance to do their job and stop the bad bacteria from taking over and take the edge off bad smells!

Bad breath

Some sugars found in junk foods are fuel for the bacteria in your mouth. This not only results in bad breath, but it can end up building thick layers of plaque on your teeth and gums which means even worse breath and a range of oral diseases. Do yourself and those around you a favour by following your Easter chocolate binge with a few weeks of completely healthy eating to get your breath fresh again.


Alcohol might not be a traditional part of Easter indulgences, but they’re a common part of Aussie celebrations. This, along with extra sugar and refined carbs, puts enormous pressure on your kidneys making it much harder for them to do their job and remove the toxins from your blood. 

On average, kidneys process about 200 litres of blood and produce about the same amount of urine each day. Give these hard-working organs a chance by feeding your body only healthy, nutritious foods. Fewer toxins entering your system means they can get rid of them much faster.

I hope you had a fantastic Easter indulging in its delights and spending time with family and friends! Now lets get ready to get back into routine! Comment below what you enjoyed most about your Easter!


Sunday, 27 March 2016

Your ultimate Easter survival guide

If you've been inundated with chocolate treats this Easter, it can be hard to think of anything else. But while it's important not to totally forget your healthy eating and exercise habits, having fun is also a top priority.
That's why, this week, we have some great advice on how to indulge in the Easter festivities without risking a blowout.

Don’t start too early

The shops have been bursting with Easter treats for some time now, but try not to celebrate too early. Set some rules – perhaps a 'no hot cross buns before Good Friday' and a 'no chocolate eggs before Easter Sunday' rule. Waiting will help make the treats feel extra special too.

Better buys

Easter eggs don’t have to be banned but there is no doubt that you have to tread carefully; the average size chocolate bar (around 54g) provides around 17g of fat, 10g of which is saturated and even a small 30g serve of chocolate contains about 160 calories. If you’re a choc lover who can’t stop until the whole 250g block is gone, you're looking at a whopping 1,345 calories.
On the other hand, chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which can help to prevent a whole range of health conditions, from heart disease to cancer. So if you eat chocolate for its health benefits (yes, we believe you!), choose a dark chocolate that’s at least 70 per cent cocoa.
Here are some other ways to stay on track this Easter:
  • Think small. Mini eggs aren’t just for children and, if you find it hard to stop once the foil’s off, they‘re a great option to help you stay in control.
  • Drink cocoa made with skim milk and an artificial sweetener to satisfy your chocolate cravings.
  • source
  • Indulge in chocolate-dipped fruits or nuts, such as strawberries and blueberries or almonds and walnuts. This way you’ll get the taste with fewer calories and less fat, while boosting your antioxidants at the same time.
  • If you’re overloaded with Easter eggs, stash them in a cupboard so they’re out of sight and take them to work or give them to your neighbours on Tuesday.
  • Let your family and friends know that you don’t want to be wallowing in tempting chocolate and offer them some alternative gift options, such as a favourite magazine, new bestseller, pretty egg cup, DVD, CD or some Easter decorations.
  • Instead of munching on it, why not bathe in it? There are lots of luxurious chocolate-based products out there that'll make you smell good enough to eat!

Do your diary

There's no getting around it; the only way to know exactly what you’re eating and drinking is to enter it into your diary. Do a little experimenting and type in some popular Easter treats to give yourself a good feel for just how many calories each item contains and how much exercise you'll need to do to burn it off.
Here are the calories in a few popular Easter treats to give you a head start in your preparations: 
Easter treat CaloriesWalking-off time (minutes)*
Hot cross bun  20865
Plain croissant 243 76
Hollow milk chocolate egg (100g) 538 168
Cadbury's Creme Egg (1x40g) 183 57
 Jelly Babies (5) 85 27
1 x 40g Lindt Easter bunny21768
*All figures are based on a 70kg woman.
As well as being prepared, keeping focused is a must. Don't worry too much about the odd overindulgence but don't use it as an excuse to give up either. Losing weight and getting healthy is not a race. Do acknowledge what causes you to fall off track. Then, on Tuesday, when the festivities are officially over, get back with the program.
Happy Easter! 
I want you to enjoy yourself this Easter, but if you do fall off the wagon or receive criticism for relaxing a little, don't take it to heart.


Saturday, 26 March 2016

Why Easter Eggs May Help You Lose Weight

"Diets don't work!" scream a lot of PTs and nutritionists nowadays. And more often than not, they then go on to prescribe nutritional advice that can only be described as a diet. And then some. Real food it may be but try telling the average Joe that hot buttered toast in the morning's now out and an ostrich burger with a side of spinach is in (and don't even think about asking for OJ).
A diet is "... the practice of eating food in a regulated fashion to achieve or maintain a controlled weight" according to Wikipedia. Sounds like a diet to me. So unless we're all caving in to every craving and impulse on an hourly basis, we're all pretty much on a diet every day. But a diet that's going to work in the long term needs to be sustainable which is where, in my opinion and experience, paleo-style eating and any other plan or regime that requires you to abandon 'killer carbs'/'preferred source of fuel for the human body' (delete as appropriate depending on bias) or any other major food group, comes a cropper.
I think successful long term weight loss lies not in swotting up on every conflicting bit of nutritional information going but in really getting to know yourself in terms of your relationship with food. Francis Bacon was right when he said "knowledge is power". Forget knowing the GI of a jacket potato though - knowing how to differentiate between genuine hunger pangs and food cravings is a better start, while becoming aware that comfort eating is one of the biggest myths going, and taking some responsibility for what you put into your mouth should both stand you in good stead to finally lose some weight.
I believe that inside every overweight human being is a slim version desperate to break out (and vice versa, for the record). So forget the 8pm carb curfew for now: try following these seven strategies every day for a few weeks and see if you drop a dress size - or two.
Know your hunger. 
Your best friend and magic pill to weight loss isn't a protein shake or even a dumbbell - it's the ability to distinguish genuine hunger pangs from cravings. If you're after something sweet or fatty, the chances are it's a craving, especially if you've recently eaten. Still in doubt? Give it time. Cravings will pass without being fed; hunger will get worse.
Don't give up chocolate. 
If you have a food weakness, probably best to accept that your long term diet plan needs to include it. Whether your food fix is a chocolate biscuit (or two), a bit of Easter egg, salty chips, or a supersized curry, chances are you need to factor-in the occasional splurge.
Know your limitations. 
If the biscuit tin, box of wine or another food or drink fix talks to you after a hard day, don't keep it in the house. You're only human and a Ben & Jerry's/Rioja bender will always seem more appealing than a bubble bath or glossy mag. But if you remove temptation, you'll survive... thrive, even. And be slimmer.
Don't kid yourself it's comfort eating
Comfort eating is the biggest weight loss saboteur going. The comfort is short lived and usually comes from planning and buying high cal stodge; everything after that is anti-comfort: guilt, shame and remorse. These sounds like big emotions to attach to something as benign as a bit of cake eating but after a decade of working with people with a variety of food issues, I've come to believe one thing: comfort eating soothes very little.
Beware the office feeder. 
Don't succumb to peer pressure to eat and don't snack mindlessly - two things that go on a lot in the workplace nowadays. It seems every birthday, pregnancy, resignation and redundancy is an excuse to dash to M&S and splash out on 'tubs to share'. Don't do it - even if you stop at just a couple of those mini flapjacks, that's still 15 minutes on the treadmill, while a slice of your colleague's homemade cake would take an hour on the cross trainer to burn off.
Lose the liquid cals. 
Don't think drink calories count? Let me give you some numbers: if it's not factored into your daily calorie intake, a venti latte a day could mean a pound of weight gain in just 12 days. Yes, those liquid calories soon add up. Giving up just one glass of wine a day could mean weight loss of a pound in just over a month. Don't be clueless, don't be naive: know the connection between your belt notch and the glass in your hand.
Never eat your workout. 
I'm nearly out of space so I'll be blunt here: you're probably not burning half as much as you think during your workout. If you think you've earned that 'little muffin break' after a good workout, be aware that you've probably just consumed every last sweat calorie. Eat to appetite only and then eat well: if you're looking to lose weight, that means unrefined carbs like pulses, brown rice and potatoes with their skins, lean protein and lots of high fibre veg and salad. And not too much of anything either.


Easter Weight Loss And The Easter Bunny. Are They Both A Myth?

Millions of Americans are well into their annual spring diet program, trying to lose weight fast before summer arrives. Unfortunately, Easter can derail our weight loss efforts faster than Peter Cottontail hops down his bunny trail. With mountains of candy eggs and legions of chocolate bunnies, Easter packs enough fat and calories to obliterate even the best weight loss program. Attempting to stick with a healthy diet through Easter may leave the dieter wondering if Easter weight loss is a bigger myth than the Easter bunny.

"Easter is third in candy consumption in the United States with 940 million dollars spent on it in 1998. That's a lot of chocolate bunnies" (Source: "In 2000, Americans bought $1.9 billion of Easter candy and consumed 7.1 billion pounds to edge ahead of Christmas sales that year" (Source: Topeka Capital Journal, April, 2004). 

So what's a weight watcher to do, short of filling the Easter eggs with diet pills and weight loss products? By following a few simple guidelines, it is possible to maintain a diet plan through Easter and perhaps even achieve some healthy weight loss.

All Easter Candy Is Not Created Equal:
First and foremost, it's important to be aware that all Easter candy is not created equal. While no Easter candy could properly be called a diet product, it is true that some varieties are less fattening than others. On the healthier side of the scale are marshmallow eggs and jellybeans. Palmer Marshmallow Eggs, for example, in a 47 gram serving, boast just 130 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, and 38 grams carbohydrate (13% Daily Value).

Another Easter candy option that's may fit into a weight loss plan is Brach's Classic Jelly Bird Eggs. The recommended serving of 14 pieces (41 grams) has just 150 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat and 37 grams carbohydrate (12% Daily Value).

Marshmallow Peeps, one of the most popular choices in the country, are another low fat option. A 5 peeps (42 gram) serving boasts just 160 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat and 40 grams carbohydrate (13% Daily Value).

Although Easter candy will never be featured as the next big weight loss pill, it is true that some confections are healthier than others. Choose wisely.

Chocolate Is Not A Diet Food:
In spite of the fact that jellybeans will never have a permanent place in a diet and nutrition program, at least they're healthier than chocolate. Far from being a diet food, chocolate packs in the calories because it's so high in fat.

For someone seeking fat loss this Easter season, perhaps the worst thing to find in their basket would be the Palmer Whacky Rabbit Chocolate Bunny (2.5 oz.). The recommended serving size is 1 package (71 grams), which will cost an astounding 360 calories, 20 grams fat (31% Daily Value), 12 grams saturated fat (60% Daily Value) and 46 grams carbohydrate (15% Daily Value).

Other chocolate Easter products likely to annihilate a weight loss diet include Hershey's Candy Coated Eggs with 210 calories per 9 piece (41 gram) serving, Nestle Butterfinger Nest Eggs with 210 calories per 5 piece (43 gram) serving, and Russell Stover Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny (7 oz.) with 220 calories per 1/5 piece (40 gram) serving.

To maintain some weight control this Easter, cut back on the solid chocolate goodies and opt instead for lower-calorie alternatives like the Cadbury Creme Egg. With a serving size of 1 egg (39 grams), this Easter favorite contains 170 calories, 6 grams fat (9% Daily Value), 3.5 grams saturated fat (18% Daily Value) and 28 grams carbohydrate (9% Daily Value).

Other options may include Snickers Minis, with 170 calories per 4 piece (36 gram) serving, or Nestle Crunch Nest Eggs, with 180 calories per 5 piece (37 gram) serving.

Hide The Easter Basket (Again!)
"Peter Cottontail should be hopping down the Bunny Trail any time now. But you might be surprised at what he'll be bringing this year. While there's still sure to be plenty of colored, hard-boiled eggs on Sunday, candy makers say he also will be toting 90 million chocolate bunnies, 600 million marshmallow chicks and bunnies and 16 billion jellybeans. That's hefty load for such a little animal, huh?" (Source: Topeka Capital Journal, April, 2004). 

There's no doubt that the sheer volume of Easter candy available is enough to hamper even the best weight loss program. An Easter weight loss tip to deal with this issue is to eat just a little bit every day. Spreading the candy feast out over several weeks will not only minimize weight gain, but it will also prevent additional candy purchases well into summer. So after all the eggs and treats have been found this year, go ahead and hide them again in a kitchen cupboard. Out of sight is out of mind, and hiding that Easter basket (again) may be the weight loss strategy that makes the difference this year.

Join In The Hunt!
While most people acknowledge that they should exercise to lose weight, most lack the motivation to engage in weight loss exercise on a regular basis. The solution this Easter is to join in the Easter egg hunt with the kids. A 170 pound woman will burn approximately 116 calories in 30 minutes of hiding Easter eggs, and another 154 calories in just 30 minutes of egg-hunting (source: caloriesperhour website). Get out there and have some fun!

Easter may not be the best time to pursue fast weight loss, but it is certainly possible to enjoy the holiday without raising your body fat percentage to new highs. By following the weight management techniques outlined above, you'll be able to greet the Easter bunny with a smile this year.