Monday, 27 June 2016

Get an amazing body

Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson reveals her secrets to a slim, toned body.
You may not know her name, but you've seen the results of her work. Tracy Anderson is responsible for transforming hundreds of curvy men and women into toned, tight gods and goddesses, including Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Her techniques helped her shed 30 kilograms after the birth of her son. Here, she reveals her secrets.
Many of us yearn for flat, strong bellies because they make us feel sexy and attractive. But there's more to a strong abdomen than that, isn't there?
Our core is the centre of structural connection, connecting our lower muscles to the upper torso. Among other things, it is the area of structural stability: we need a strong core for good posture, improved balance and a pain-free back. Also, a fat abdomen increases the likelihood of heart disease and other killers. A strong core also helps us look sexier and feel more confident.
Can women who have had children ever get their beautiful, flat stomachs back?
Yes, absolutely! I'm a perfect example. But it's not easy. The only way is through smart, consistent exercise. I have dedicated much of my career to solving this problem for women because I was horrified by what happened to my body after giving birth to my son, Sam.
That's how I developed my post-pregnancy program, which reawakens the core abdominal muscles (which separate during pregnancy) through my unique sequence of exercises. The bottom line is start exercising immediately after your doctor gives you the green light.
Is it true that once we hit a certain age we're destined to have flabby stomachs and thick middles?
In my experience, anyone can have an amazing body at any age. All it takes is a consistent and intelligent approach. As I always say to my clients, young and old: if you do the work, if you exercise with focus, commitment and clear outcomes in mind, you will have a youthful, energised body. If you don't do the work, or don't do it in a smart way, then you will pay the price. That being said, it is true that when we hit 30 or thereabouts, our bodies begin to show signs of physical decline. We must fight for our quality of life and we should start now. But incredible change is possible in all areas, no matter who you are. Your mid-section can get tight again, your arms can get strong, your legs long and sexy. You can even regain sexual vibrancy again!
Does diet matter more than exercise, or exercise more than diet, or should we be focusing on both?
Both. Your body is a reflection of what you eat and how you move. The foods we eat and the exercises we choose have a direct relationship to our energy levels and body shape. If we do the work, the results will be visible for all. Inner and outer beauty require care and attention. But it can be time-consuming. For whatever reason, most people who have flabby bodies don't have positive associations with exercising and eating well, but those with sexy bodies usually have positive associations. Once we become fit, a great workout feels better than eating a chocolate sundae. When we eat clean, nutritious foods, we feel more powerful than when we're eating junk. It is just convenient to eat poorly and not exercise. In my experience, some of the most successful people in the world - those with the most demands on their time - make time for proper nutrition and consistent exercise. We can no longer make excuses.
What part does attitude play in our quest for health, fitness and beautiful bodies?
Attitude is everything. It is the inspiration that allows us to move our bodies when we are unmotivated. And it's the motivation that gets us to work consistently, especially when things get tough. Attitude helps us attain the body we always wanted, but thought was beyond our reach. I have learned through my years of research and training countless women and men around the world, that the mind, when used properly, is a powerful tool that can make our dreams a reality. But, like every other muscle, it must be exercised. So we must stay positive and fight for the physical and emotional health we deserve.


Saturday, 25 June 2016

Small steps for big weight loss

Most of these weight loss tips and tricks can be done either instantly or in under 5 minutes, so what are you waiting for? Browse through our collection for a low-effort, high-impact guide to weight loss.

Losing weight doesn't require strict dieting, steely willpower and deprivation. The small-steps approach to weight loss can be the secret to long-term success. Accredited practising dietitian Dr Clare Collins spills the beans on how to make small changes that have a big impact.

1. Re-introduce yourself to your hunger

Dr Collins says: "It's not abnormal to have hunger pains before you eat. It's super important and it's tragic if you don't experience it. The best way to work out if you're truly hungry or just hungry with your eyes is to have a glass of water. If the twinges go away, you're not really hungry."

2. Breakfast is your weight-loss weapon

Dr Collins says: "There is more evidence reconfirming that breakfast improves concentration, memory, test performance and long-term weight loss. Some people have a busy life; they don't get home till late and won't have dinner till 9pm, so they're not hungry when they wake up. The key to learning to eat breakfast is to move the chaos back to earlier in the evening so you can wake up hungry."

3. Don't drink your kilojoules

Dr Collins says: "Some of our appetite regulators rely on chewing, stomach distention and feedback from your stomach to let you know when you're satisfied. When you drink kilojoules they can slip past the radar: a slice of bread at 70 calories takes a few minutes to eat, but 70 calories of a drink slips down in seconds."

4. Get real on portion size

Dr Collins says: "Bring out those measuring cups and kitchen scales, and spend one day weighing and measuring to understand portion control. Or simply divide your plate into quarters and fill half with salad or veg, a quarter carbs and a quarter protein."

5. Smart ways to eat out

Dr Collins says: "If you only eat out once a month, have what you like, but if you're eating out regularly, eat smart. Skip the entree and only have a main with a side of vegetables."

6. Prioritise healthy eating

Dr Collins says: "Plan ahead and get in the habit of knowing what's for dinner for the week. Cook a casserole on Sunday night so you're zapping it in the microwave when you get home from work during the week. Or pack a zip-lock bag with cherry tomatoes, some mixed lettuce and baby carrots to go with a chicken roll at lunchtime."

7. Lighten the foods you love

Dr Collins says: "Add heaps of vegies to your meal. Vegies are your secret weapon to diluting kilojoules in your food - you can save between 25 and 50 per cent of your kilojoules. For example, add onion, finely diced carrot and zucchini, half a cup of red lentils, crushed tomatoes and garlic to your spaghetti bolognaise. You're maximising nutrients and minimising kilojoules."

8. Get the right advice

Researchers at the University of Minnesota concluded that dietary instruction from a registered dietitian was very beneficial when it came to long-term weight-loss success. A long-term study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health also found that dieters who attended counselling sessions with a health professional lost more weight than those who didn't. "An accredited practising dietitian has the skills to help you develop a personalised weight-loss plan," Dr Collins says.

9. Go for wholegrains

Dr Collins says: "When you choose a wholegrain product you actually get a higher vitamin, mineral and fibre intake. They contain more vitamin E, zinc and iron, and more of the B vitamins, which are the ones you need when you burn up energy. From a weight-loss standpoint, wholegrains take more effort to chew, therefore your brain is more likely to receive signals letting you know that you're full."

10. Invest in your health

Dr Collins says: "The small steps really do make a difference. If you can invest and commit to those small steps you're much more likely to live your life in the healthy weight range."


Thursday, 23 June 2016

10 Weight Loss Myths You Should Stop Believing

Because none of us has time to waste secretly sabotaging our goals.

There’s a lot of bad advice out there when it comes to weight loss. And when you’re really trying to work hard and shed some pounds, chances are you’ll try anything that sounds promising. We’ve all been there.
But unfortunately, a ton of the “tips” you’ve heard are simply not true. In fact, some of the biggest weight loss myths are more likely to do the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve—yes, that means make it harder to lose weight. (No, we’re not trying to ruin your day.)
Here are the top weight loss myths you’ve probably heard, and what makes them total BS.

Myth 1: You can spot lose fat.

As nice as it would be to be able to choose the exact spots we want to lose fat and where we don’t (read: boobs), it just doesn’t work that way. “You can target areas when you’re working out, but you can’t choose where you’re going to lose your weight from,” Kira Stokes, celebrity trainer at BFX studios and creator of the Stoked Method and Stoked Series classes, tells SELF. “Your body is one complete unit, it has to be thought of as such.” Overall, you’re going to lose inches if you work out and eat healthy. But you can’t choose where you’re going to lose those inches from. “And everyone’s body is different,” Stokes adds. So the areas you lose inches in first will differ greatly from where your workout buddy does.

Myth 2: Fad diets work.

Just like all trends, fad diets are temporary. “You do it for two weeks and lose 10 pounds, but what happens after that deadline?” says Amanda Foti, M.S., R.D., a senior dietitian at Selvera Wellness. “They’re usually not realistic for long-term sustainability.” Without a plan for transitioning back into a regular eating pattern, most people just go back to old habits and regain the weight. You may want a quick fix (don’t we all), but it’s not going to make you feel so great. Fad diets are also very restrictive, which makes them really hard to stick to if you’re trying to live life in the real world. So when you have a work dinner and none of your diet-approved foods are on the menu, it throws you off and you just decide to throw in the towel. One bad diet down, you vow to start a different one next week, and the whole cycle starts anew. “I see a lot of chronic dieters, over, and over, and over,” Foti says, for this exact reason.

Myth 3: Cardio is better for weight loss than strength training.

Most people assume an hour-long run is going to burn more fat than a short lifting sesh. Not true. Cardio is important for weight loss, but if you’e pressed for time and have to choose one or the other, “you’re better off spending your time on strength training,” Stokes says. “Your body burns more at a resting state the more muscle you have on your body.” So building muscle will keep your metabolism revved for not just an hour after your workout, but all day long, since your body will be working to fuel and maintain those new guns.

Myth 4: Because one plan works for other people, it’s bound to work for you.

There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. “Different bodies need different things, and one diet is not going to work for everyone,” explains celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, founder of AKT InMotion and co-host of My Diet is Better Than Yours on ABC.  “Our bodies function very differently and need different things.” Which is why it’s important to pay attention to what eating plan and fitness regimen work for you. Sure, it’s great to take suggestions from friends who have had weight loss success, but there’s no guarantee you’ll see the exact same results.

Myth 5: If you work out hard enough, it doesn’t really matter what you eat.

Unfortunately,  you can’t just do one or the other and call it a day. “People don’t want to hear it, but you’re negating what you’re doing in the gym if you’re going out and sabotaging yourself by not watching what you’re eating,” Stokes says. “If you’re truly trying to make a change in your body, you have to make a complete lifestyle change, which includes both working out and changing your diet.” If you’re just trying to maintain your current weight, Stokes says a regular workout routine may be enough. But if weight loss is your goal, diet needs to be a huge part of the equation, too. “Especially for people who have just that last five pounds to go,” she adds, since those who have more to lose may notice immediate changes when adding just fitness or good nutrition into their lives; for those last five pounds, not so much.
In terms of what holds more weight, Foti says it’s very individualized. “I’ve had clients respond more to fitness levels increasing, others respond better to diets.” Usually, whatever is the more dramatic change will make a bigger impact upfront. But you’ll hit a wall eventually if you don’t focus on both.

Myth 6: Eating at night is bad.

Whether it’s due to the time of day or simply the food choices people make when they’re tired, late-night eating has long been associated with weight gain. But that doesn’t mean you have to be done dinner by 6 p.m. sharp. “It’s more about your overall nutrition,” Foti says. “If you don’t go to bed until 11 p.m., you can eat at 8 p.m. and still have ample time to digest it.” Going to bed stuffed can disrupt your sleep, but so can hunger pangs. Foti says at the end of the day (ha, ha), it’s better to eat something light before bed than skip a meal.

Myth 7: Indulging = cheating.

Foti encourages her clients to treat themselves a couple times each week. “It allows them to not feel so deprived, so they’ll stick with healthy choices longer,” she says. Rather than focusing on resisting temptation and completely avoiding certain things, work a few indulgences each week into your plan. That doesn’t mean three massive cheat meals a week, she says, but working three servings of something in will keep you satisfied without going off track. For example, if you know you’re going to a pizza place with friends on Friday, plan to have one slice. You have to keep your lifestyle in mind, and form a realistic plan that won’t make you miserable or skipping out on social events all the time.

Myth 8: You need to work out harder and longer.

Instead, focus on smarter workouts. If you’re pushing your body so hard that it can’t sustain it, you can end up doing the opposite of what you want to achieve (not to mention, seriously injure yourself). “Overtraining can actually take you too far the other way,” explains Kaiser. “Your adrenals can fail, causing your metabolism to shut down and go into starvation mode.” Which means your body will cling onto whatever fat it’s got for survival. If you’re not used to a rigorous exercise routine, start with just a couple days a week, and work up to a varied routine that includes a balance of cardio, strength training, and flexibility.

Myth 9: Becoming a vegetarian will boost weight loss.

Some diets, like vegetarian or vegan, have a halo of health that makes it seem like you’ll inherently drop pounds on them. But you can still gain weight on a meat-free diet if you don’t approach it the right way. “You can still be vegetarian and have a lot of junk food—the only thing it means is no animal products, so you can still have chips, sandwiches, unhealthy foods,” Foti explains. Sure, it will seamlessly cut (most) sources of saturated fats out of your diet, but you still have to be conscious that you’re making the right food choices and not loading up on simple carbs and sugars in their place.

Myth 10: Working out just makes you hungrier.

Some people tend to avoid cardio, especially running, because they claim it just makes them eat more after. But by that logic, you’re supposed to just not work out and not eat? Not only is it not effective (read: you have to workout and eat right to lose weight), but you’ll miss out on all of the other amazing benefits of exercise—and probably be pretty grumpy. Kaiser recommends checking your hydration levels first and foremost after getting sweaty. “Sometimes you feel hungry because you’re dehydrated and you sweat too much, but you’re actually just really thirsty,” she explains. Also, being hungry after a workout is a good thing—it means you metabolism is running strong. “The best time to eat is right after you work out because your body is going to use food instantly to recover.,” Kaiser adds. “If you work out and don’t eat, then you’re going to feel crazy hungry the rest of the day and eat more later.” You don’t need to have a full meal right away, but even something light like protein powder mixed with coconut water, Kaiser suggests, will help you avoid that ravenous feeling later.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

How to Lose Weight Fast: 3 Simple Steps, Based on Science

There are many ways to lose a lot of weight fast.
However, most of them will make you hungry and unsatisfied.
If you don’t have iron willpower, then hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly.
The plan outlined here will:
  • Reduce your appetite significantly.
  • Make you lose weight quickly, without hunger.
  • Improve your metabolic health at the same time.
Here is a simple 3-step plan to lose weight fast.

1. Cut Back on Sugars and Starches

The most important part is to cut back on sugars and starches (carbs).
These are the foods that stimulate secretion of insulin the most. If you didn’t know already, insulin is the main fat storage hormone in the body.
When insulin goes down, fat has an easier time getting out of the fat stores and the body starts burning fats instead of carbs.
Another benefit of lowering insulin is that your kidneys shed excess sodium and water out of your body, which reduces bloat and unnecessary water weight (12).
It is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds (sometimes more) in the first week of eating this way, both body fat and water weight.
This is a graph from a study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in overweight/obese women (3).
Weight Loss Graph, Low Carb vs Low Fat
The low-carb group is eating until fullness, while the low-fat group is calorie restricted and hungry.
Cut the carbs, lower your insulin and you will start to eat less calories automatically and without hunger (4).
Put simply, lowering your insulin puts fat loss on “autopilot.”
Bottom Line: Removing sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet will lower your insulin levels, kill your appetite and make you lose weight without hunger.

2. Eat Protein, Fat and Vegetables

Each one of your meals should include a protein source, a fat source and low-carb vegetables. Constructing your meals in this way will automatically bring your carb intake into the recommended range of 20-50 grams per day.
Girl Eating Kebab
Protein Sources:
  • Meat – Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, etc.
  • Fish and Seafood – Salmon, trout, shrimps, lobsters, etc.
  • Eggs – Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
The importance of eating plenty of protein can not be overstated.
This has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day (567).
High protein diets can also reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, reduce desire for late-night snacking by half, and make you so full that you automatically eat 441 fewer calories per day… just by adding protein to your diet (89).
When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients. Period.
Low-Carb Vegetables:
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Full list here.
Don’t be afraid to load your plate with these low-carb vegetables. You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20-50 net carbs per day.
A diet based on meat and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. There is no physiological need for grains in the diet.
Butter Curls
Fat Sources:
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Butter
  • Tallow
Eat 2-3 meals per day. If you find yourself hungry in the afternoon, add a 4th meal.
Don’t be afraid of eating fat, trying to do both low-carb AND low-fat at the same time is a recipe for failure. It will make you feel miserable and abandon the plan.
The best cooking fat to use is coconut oil. It is rich in fats called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are more fulfilling than others and can boost metabolism slightly (1011).
There is no reason to fear these natural fats, new studies show that saturated fat doesn’t raise your heart disease risk at all (1213).
Bottom Line: Assemble each meal out of a protein source, a fat source and a low-carb vegetable. This will put you into the 20-50 gram carb range and drastically lower your insulin levels.

3. Lift Weights 3 Times Per Week

You don’t need to exercise to lose weight on this plan, but it is recommended.
The best option is to go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Do a warm up, lift weights, then stretch.
If you’re new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.
By lifting weights, you will burn a few calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight (1415).
Studies on low-carb diets show that you can even gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat (16).
If lifting weights is not an option for you, then doing some easier cardio workouts like running, jogging, swimming or walking will suffice.
Bottom Line: It is best to do some sort of resistance training like weight lifting. If that is not an option, cardio workouts work too.

Optional – Do a “Carb Re-feed” Once Per Week

Overweight Man Eating Cake
You can take one day “off” per week where you eat more carbs. Many people prefer Saturday.
It is important to try to stick to healthier carb sources like oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.
But only this one higher carb day, if you start doing it more often than once per week then you’re not going to see much success on this plan.
If you must have a cheat meal and eat something unhealthy, then do it on this day.
Be aware that cheat meals or carb refeeds are NOT necessary, but they can up-regulate some fat burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones (1718).
You will gain some weight during your re-feed day, but most of it will be water weight and you will lose it again in the next 1-2 days.
Bottom Line: Having one day of the week where you eat more carbs is perfectly acceptable, although not necessary.

What About Calories and Portion Control?

Apple And Calculator
It is NOT necessary to count calories as long as you keep the carbs very low and stick to protein, fat and low-carb vegetables.
However, if you really want to, then use this calculator.
Enter your details, then pick the number from either the “Lose Weight” or the “Lose Weight Fast” section – depending on how fast you want to lose.
There are many great tools you can use to track the amount of calories you are eating. Here is a list of 5 calorie counters that are free and easy to use.
The main goal is to keep carbs under 20-50 grams per day and get the rest of your calories from protein and fat.
Bottom Line: It is not necessary to count calories to lose weight on this plan. It is most important to strictly keep your carbs in the 20-50 gram range.

10 Weight Loss Tips to Make Things Easier (and Faster)

Here are 10 more tips to lose weight even faster:
  1. Eat a high-protein breakfast. Eating a high-protein breakfast has been shown to reduce cravings and calorie intake throughout the day (192021).
  2. Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. These are the most fattening things you can put into your body, and avoiding them can help you lose weight (2223).
  3. Drink water a half hour before meals. One study showed that drinking water a half hour before meals increased weight loss by 44% over 3 months (24).
  4. Choose weight loss-friendly foods (see list). Certain foods are very useful for losing fat. 
  5. Eat soluble fiber. Studies show that soluble fibers may reduce fat, especially inthe belly area. Fiber supplements like glucomannan can also help (252627).
  6. Drink coffee or tea. If you’re a coffee or a tea drinker, then drink as much as you want as the caffeine in them can boost your metabolism by 3-11% (282930).
  7. Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods. Base most of your diet on whole foods. They are healthier, more filling and much less likely to cause overeating.
  8. Eat your food slowly. Fast eaters gain more weight over time. Eating slowly makes you feel more full and boosts weight-reducing hormones (313233).
  9. Use smaller plates. Studies show that people automatically eat less when they use smaller plates. Strange, but it works (34).
  10. Get a good night’s sleep, every night. Poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for weight gain, so taking care of your sleep is important (3536).
Bottom Line: It is most important to stick to the three rules, but there are a few other things you can do to speed things up.

How Fast You Will Lose (and Other Benefits)

Obese vs Thin Woman
You can expect to lose 5-10 pounds of weight (sometimes more) in the first week, then consistent weight loss after that.
I can personally lose 3-4 lbs per week for a few weeks when I do this strictly.
If you’re new to dieting, then things will probably happen quickly. The more weight you have to lose, the faster you will lose it.
For the first few days, you might feel a bit strange. Your body has been burning carbs for all these years, it can take time for it to get used to burning fat instead.
It is called the “low carb flu” and is usually over within a few days. For me it takes 3. Adding some sodium to your diet can help with this, such as dissolving a bouillon cube in a cup of hot water and drinking it.
After that, most people report feeling very good, positive and energetic. At this point you will officially have become a “fat burning beast.”
Despite the decades of anti-fat hysteria, the low-carb diet also improves your health in many other ways:
  • Blood Sugar tends to go way down on low-carb diets (3738).
  • Triglycerides tend to go down (3940).
  • Small, dense LDL (the bad) Cholesterol goes down (4142).
  • HDL (the good) cholesterol goes up (43).
  • Blood pressure improves significantly (4445).
  • To top it all of, low-carb diets appear to be easier to follow than low-fat diets.
Bottom Line: You can expect to lose a lot of weight, but it depends on the person how quickly it will happen. Low-carb diets also improve your health in many other ways.

You Don’t Need to Starve Yourself to Lose Weight

If you have a medical condition then talk to your doctor before making changes because this plan can reduce your need for medication.
By reducing carbs and lowering insulin levels, you change the hormonal environment and make your body and brain “want” to lose weight.
This leads to drastically reduced appetite and hunger, eliminating the main reason that most people fail with conventional weight loss methods.
This is proven to make you lose about 2-3 times as much weight as a typical low-fat, calorie restricted diet (464748).
Another great benefit for the impatient folks is that the initial drop in water weight can lead to a big difference on the scale as early as the next morning.
On this plan, you can eat good food until fullness and still lose a ton of fat. Welcome to paradise.


Friday, 17 June 2016

Foods To Eat More Of If You’re Trying To Lose Weight

Fiber is a nutrient experts say you probably aren't eating often enough.

Fiber is a bona fide nutritional superstar. It plays a key role in various
important physical processes like increasing your satiety, keeping you
regular, and helping maintain good heart health, and it can even
promote weight loss when you chow down on sufficient amounts. Only
issue is, even though fiber is undeniably important, you may accidentally
be skimping on your intake.

“Nine out of 10 Americans are not eating enough fiber,” Ashvini Mashru,
R.D., L.D.N., author of Small Steps to Slim, tells SELF. She’s referring to a
July 2014 report in the journal Nutrients, which says Americans have
“persistent and alarmingly low intakes of fiber.” (For full disclosure, the study received a funding grant from Kellogg Company.) A March 2013 study in the American Heart Association‘s journal Stroke also found that “most people do not get the recommended level of fiber.” Luckily, the very simple solution to this problem involves filling your plate with fresh, wholesome foods. Read on to learn what fiber is, how it keeps you healthy, and how to get enough of it in your diet.

What exactly is fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate found in plant-based foods like produce and whole
grains, Shilpa Ravella, M.D., a gastroenterologist with expertise in nutrition
and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF. But fiber differs from other carbohydrates in an essential way: your body can’t break it down and absorb it. “Fiber is the part of plant foods that is not digested by the small intestine,” says Ravella. That means it can do a few unique things other nutrients can’t.

There are two main forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. In the body, soluble fiber dissolves and helps make a gel-like substance, says Ravella. That gel-like material can help lower your “bad” cholesterol, according to Mayo Clinic. Some of the best sources of soluble fiber are barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits like apples and pears, says Mashru. (Most foods with a lot of fiber have both
types, but they usually have more of one than the other, notes Ravella.)

Insoluble fiber doesn’t undergo a similar transformation when it comes into
contact with water, but it does add bulk to food and soak up water as it goes through your digestive system. “That can increase pressure on colonic walls and help stimulate bowel movements,” says Ravella. You can load up on insoluble fiber via whole grains and vegetables like carrots, celery, and
tomatoes, says Mashru.

How much fiber should you get each day?
Women between the ages of 19 and 30 should try to consume at least 28
grams of fiber per day, according to the United States Department of
Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines. That number drops to 25 grams between
the ages of 31 and 50.

“I would recommend aiming for at least the recommended daily fiber intake, but ideally you should include as many minimally processed plant foods in your diet as you can,” says Ravella. “It’s hard to construct a diet with ‘too much’ fiber as long as you are getting fiber from whole foods rather
than supplements.” If you’re looking for more high-fiber foods, here are some suggestions to get you started.

Keep in mind that items like meat and dairy don’t naturally contain fiber. And while things like white bread and pasta maystart out with fiber, the refining process removes a lot of it, so those options aren’t as nutritionally rich as their whole-grain counterparts. “In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber,” says Mashru.

Getting more fiber is a great goal to have, but it can also throw your digestive system for a loop. “It can take your body time to adjust if you’re going from a low-fiber to a high-fiber diet. Increasing the fiber in your diet can initially cause gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, [and constipation],” says Ravella. Upping your water intake is an easy way to reduce that kind of discomfort, explains Mashru. “Fiber absorbs water, so the more fiber you add to your diet, the
more fluids you should drink,” says Mashru.

OK, so how are fiber and weight loss related?
Fiber is a non-negotiable part of living a healthy life, whether you want to lose weight or not. But it can be especially useful if you’re looking to shed some pounds. “Fiber adds bulk to your diet, a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining [a healthy one],” says Mashru. That extra volume can help you feel satisfied sooner, and since fiber stays in your system longer than many other nutrients, it can also help you feel fuller longer, she explains.

Fiber offers a few other weight-related bonuses. “High-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to be low in calories,” says Mashru. The nutrient also helps regulate your blood sugar, which is part of why refined carbohydrates like cookies that have had a lot of fiber removed can lead to intense blood sugar spikes.

In addition, fiber may also help sort out your gut microbiome, or the collection of bacteria that keeps your stomach healthy and could be related to your weight. “We are increasingly learning that the makeup of gut bacteria can play an important role in weight management,” says Ravella. “Generally speaking, soluble fiber is fermented by gut bacteria—though some insoluble fiber can be
fermented, too—and promotes the growth and maintenance of beneficial gut bacteria,” she says.

The bottom line? Give fiber a slot high up on your list of nutritional priorities. Just remember to drink enough water throughout the day, and you should be golden.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Can't Lose Weight?

Top Dietitian, Lyndel Costain shows you how to get off the want to lose weight – can’t lose weight seesaw. Trouble and problems losing weight, and difficulty sticking to a diet usually means your motivation to lose weight and/or your expectations need some attention. These strategies will help you take control.

Getting Your Head Straight

You no doubt know how to lose weight - eat fewer calories and exercise more and you will see results. You may also have a list of things to change, such as eating more fruit and veg, going for a daily walk or buying low fat options.
If, like many people, you have difficulty losing weight and keeping it off – despite your best intentions, what do you think could be getting in the way?
First, reality-check your mindset with the want to lose weight quiz.
Next, answer the How are You Feeling about Losing Weight questions.

To change your weight, first change your mind

Research shows that one of the most important factors that influences weight loss success is your attitude – whether or not you believe (and keep on believing) that you can make the changes you need to make to lose weight, and that they are worth doing. This is because what you think, affects how you feel, and in turn the actions you take.
The best way I can describe this positive mindset is ‘getting your head straight’ about food and weight. It’s not something I can easily put into words – but you will know when it happens. From all my years of working with people with weight and eating problems, and from my own personal experience, I truly believe that it is they key to success.

Three Key Strategies for Taking Control

1. Understand Why You Eat
When I ask people what prompts them to eat, hunger usually comes down near the bottom of their lists. Some people struggle to remember or appreciate what true hunger feels like. We are lucky that we have plenty of food to eat in our society. But its constant presence makes it harder to control what we eat, especially if it brings us comfort or joy.
If you ever find yourself in the fridge, even though you’ve recently eaten, then you know hunger isn’t the reason. More than likely some negative emotion – feeling angry, lonely, sad, stressed, anxious, bored - has triggered a habit of using food to feel better.
The urge to eat can be so automatic that you feel you lack willpower or are out of control. But it is in fact a learned or conditioned response. A bit like Pavlov’s dogs. He rang a bell every time he fed them, and from then on, whenever they heard the bell ring they were ‘conditioned’ to salivate in anticipation of food.
Because this ‘non-hungry’ eating is learned, you can reprogramme your response to the situations or feelings that trigger it.
How To Do It
The first step is to identify when these urges strike. When you find yourself at the fridge when you aren’t hungry, ask yourself ‘why do I want to eat? What am I feeling?’
If you aren’t sure think back to what was happening before you felt the urge. Then ask yourself if there is another way you can feel better without food. Or you could chat to your urge to eat, telling it that you aren’t actually hungry and it’s merely a learned response. Whatever strategy you choose, the more often you break the ‘eating when you’re not hungry’ habit, the weaker its hold becomes.

2. Practise Positive Self-Talk
When you look in the mirror do you talk to yourself more like A or B?
A ‘I’ll never be slim. I’ve only lost a measly half a stone in four weeks. And I broke my diet last night. I may as well just give up.’
B ‘This is going well, that half a stone has really made a difference. I enjoyed a treat last night, now I’m really looking forward to watching the next half a stone disappear.’
Both of these are examples of ‘self-talk’ – automatic thoughts, or statements all of us constantly make to ourselves - which influence how we feel and act. Self-talk may be positive and constructive (like your guardian angel) or negative and irrational (like having a destructive devil on your shoulder).
If you’ve had on-off battles with your weight over the years, it’s highly likely that the ‘devil’ is there more often.
Self-talk that says ‘you’re hopeless’, can make you feel like a failure which, can then trigger you into the action of overeating and/or totally giving up trying to lose weight.
One of the most powerful things about self-talk is that the last thoughts we have are what stays in our mind. So if we think ‘I still look fat’ or ‘I will never be slim’, these feelings stay with us.
How to Do It
The trick is to first listen out for your self-talk and recognise it’s happening. Keeping a food and feelings diary really helps.
Then turn negative talk into a positive version of the same events - as in the A and B examples above - where the resulting action was to feel good and stay on track.
Reshaping negative self-talk helps you to change your self-definition, from someone who can’t ‘lose weight’ or ‘achieve this or that’, to someone ‘who can’. And when you believe you can... you can.

3. Really Choose What You Want to Eat
This strategy is like your personal brake. It also helps you manage ‘non-hungry’ eating and weaken its hold. It legalises food and stops you feeling deprived. It helps you to regularly remind yourself why you are making changes to your eating habits, which keeps your motivation to lose weight high. But it doesn’t just happen. Like all skills it requires practise. Sometimes it will work well for you, other times it won’t – but overall it will help.
How To Do It
Basically, ask yourself if you really want to eat that food in front of you. This becomes the prompt for you to make a conscious choice, weighing up the pros and cons of making that choice, and feeling free to have it, reject it or just eat some. Remembering all the while that you can eat this food another time if you want to. Paul’s story is a good example.
Paul is having a business lunch at a restaurant he visits regularly. His favourite dish is steak bernaise and fries then crème caramel.
But at his last medical his doctor advised him to lose weight for his heart’s sake. He has taken this seriously and thought a lot about changing his lifestyle. But he can’t avoid business lunches.
Faced with the menu his automatic response is the steak. But then he stops and thinks.
  • How hungry is he?
  • How will he feel after he eats it?
  • What would be a better and still tasty choice?
After all he comes here quite a bit, so can order the steak another time.
He opts for a spicy chicken fillet with new potatoes and vegetables. He really enjoys the spicy flavour, and feels comfortably satisfied, rather than stuffed and guilty.
Having a dessert would just ruin the nice taste and feeling he has, so he easily decides against it. His confidence is boosted as he now knows he can enjoy other things.

Step by Step

These are just a few of the skills that can help you take control. Learning new habits and ways of thinking about things takes time. Think back to when you learned to ride a bike. No-one expected you to do it first time. You no doubt fell off a lot and needed picking up. Step by step, and with the right support, you took control of that bike and learned how to keep it on course. Just like you can with your weight.

How Sue Did It

Sue’s story is a good example of how using these strategies works. For 10 years she had been trying different diets in an attempt to lose weight quickly - and was still 3 stone overweight.
All this ‘failure’ had pushed her self-esteem and confidence in her ability to lose weight to rock bottom. If she ate one ‘bad’ food she felt so guilty she binged. This ‘all or nothing’ thinking signalled the end of the current diet and the start of more negative feelings – and overeating.
Sue read one of my articles about how the right mental approach can help people break free from this destructive cycle, and we met. Her big aim was to spend time learning more about her eating habits and the thoughts or situations that triggered overeating.
She stopped ‘dieting’, kept a food and feelings diary and was finally very honest with herself. This gave her a huge sense of relief. And by stepping back she was able to view things differently.
Unrealistic expectations and guilt around food were her biggest problems. And by no longer viewing food (and herself) as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ she was able to develop a healthy relationship with it. Sue also spent time planning ahead so she had the right foods to hand for regular, nutritious meals and snacks. She took up her beloved tennis again too.
Sue was now taking care of herself in a much more positive way – and she was loving it. But this change didn’t happen overnight. After the initial enlightenment it took Sue two years to practise and get used her new habits - with plenty of ups and downs along the way. But over that time she lost that 3 stone and felt in control. Eating well – not perfectly – became her way of life.
Like Sue, achieving the right mindset can feel like a switch being turned on in your head. Something just clicks and this weight loss business starts to makes sense.
Mental blocks ebb away.
  • Motivations become clear and powerful.
  • Your self-worth and belief in abilities grow.
  • You realise that healthy meals, regular exercise, and tools such as those offered by Weight Loss Resources will help, but they aren’t the answer in themselves.
  • You accept responsibility for what you eat and how active you are, and feel empowered to make the changes you choose to make.
  • You take control by making real choices - knowing and accepting the consequences – and no longer feeling deprived.
  • You move from someone who can’t lose weight long term to someone who can.
Now I should clarify that there is no magic here! Keeping your head straight requires time, skills, practise, a realistic attitude and good support. This might sound like a tough call. But you will know from your own experience that just going on a diet isn’t the answer. In fact, managing your weight is like a good marriage - it takes work and a daily investment of care and thought. And the results are worth it!