Measure Your Progress

An extremely important part of your fitness program is being able to measure your progress.

Body fat testing is not painful, nor is it expensive. You can get it done at most any gym or fitness center. Simply ask if they have an expert who can measure body composition.

It’s also a good idea to take ‘before and after photos’ and post them somewhere you’ll see them every day.

But most importantly, measure 5 – 10 different aspects of your progress.

My most successful clients measure everything in their life that’s affected by their weight loss, normally on a simple scale from 1 – 10, such as:

– their daily energy level
– their attitude
– the way they feel when they look in the mirror
– the way they fit into their clothes
– the compliments they get from people
– their level of mental focus
– their waist, hips, and thigh measurements
– their body weight
– their body-fat level
– their endurance in their workouts
– etc, etc, etc…

Make a long list of ways you can measure your progress – but be sure to include things that are truly important to YOU. If having loads of energy is important to you, then you should be measuring your energy level every day to see if your diet and/or workout routine are doing their job.

On the other hand, if you already have a lot of daily energy, than you might not want to measure that – you might prefer to measure other things that are more important to you at your current stage of life.

Take time to design your list, then chart your progress in a daily journal every day for each of the categories on your list. Then take an average for the whole day, and write that average at the top of your page.

Making Fish and Seafood Part of a Healthy Diet

Maximizing protein content while minimizing fat and calories is a goal of many people who are trying to lose weight, gain fitness or just enjoy a healthier diet. There are few foods that combine low fat, low calories and high protein the way fish and seafood do.

In addition, the protective oils in many cold water fish are being studied for their possible role in preventing heart disease and lowering levels of cholesterol in the bloods.

In addition, fish dishes are delicious, easy to prepare and often inexpensive. Many people have avoided buying more fish because they were unsure of how to cook and prepare it. While fish dishes can sometimes be a challenge, there are many recipes, both online and in cookbooks, that make it easier than ever to prepare fresh fish for yourself and your family.

Many nutritionists recommend that everyone eat fish at least twice a week. Substituting low fat, low calorie fish dishes for more calorie dense, fatty meats is a great way to lower the amount of total fat in your diet, and this can boost your level of fitness or help you lose weight.

The amount of protein in fresh and frozen fish and seafood is very high, certainly comparable to higher fat sources like beef, pork and lamb. And fish is generally thought to be a healthier choice, since all that protein comes with less fat and fewer calories. Everyone knows about the importance of protein in the diet, for both children and adults. Protein is a vital building block of muscle, and it plays a role in repairing muscle damage, growing strong nails and hair and other important bodily functions.

While protein is found mainly in animal based foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products, there are plant based sources of protein as well. These non animal sources of protein include peanut butter, lentils, peas and nuts. The downside to many protein laden plant based foods, however is their high content.

This is yet another feature that makes fish so appealing as a source of protein. Fish contains just as much protein as many of these higher fat, higher calorie sources. Eating fish provides – shall we say – a greater protein bang for the buck than many other sources.

You may have heard that salmon contains a lot of fat, and it is true that salmon does contain more fat than many other fish. Compared to high fat meats like sausage and bacon, however, salmon is still a relatively low fat source of protein. Like other fatty foods, however, it is important for those watching their fat intake to limit their consumption of salmon.

One advantage fish has over other types of meats is the type of fat it contains. Most meats contain saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature. Unlike cattle, pigs and other land animals, the fat in fish is of the polyunsaturated variety. Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, and they are healthier fats for the people who consume them.

Saturated fats are thought to play a greater role in heart disease, stroke and hardening of the arteries. That is why healthy cooking typically involves the use of polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil and olive oil, instead of saturated fats such as beef lard and butter.

Many people worry about the level of pollution in general, and mercury contamination in particular, in fish. While it is true that polluted waters are of some concern when it comes to fish, seafood products are actually quite safe to eat.

In addition, many types of fish, like salmon and sardines, are farm raised, and their diet and environment is strictly controlled. It is recommended, however, that fishermen and fisherwomen limit the amount of their catch that is eaten if they live near a polluted river or stream. The local fishing and hunting authority usually issues guidelines for eating fish in areas where pollution is a problem.

Make a Weight-Loss New Year’s Resolution and Stick With It All Year Long

Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions each year. We all start with great intentions but after a few weeks, we fall back into our usual unhealthy lifestyle and the weight we did lose creeps back on. Let’s take a look at what steps to take to make sure we still stick to our weight-loss resolution at the end of December.

Determine your “Why” and write it down.

Think about the reason why you want to loose weight. Is it to look better in a bathing suit for that vacation in July? Is it to be healthier and get your risk for heart disease and diabetes down? Do you want to be able to enjoy a more active lifestyle? Do you want more energy to play catch with the kids? Be as specific as possible.

Now take out a sheet of paper and write down your big “Why”.

Set and write down sensible weight-loss goals.

The next important tip to being able to stick to your weight-loss goal is to set a sensible goal to begin with. You shouldn’t expect yourself to loose more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. Look for a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator online to help you determine whether you are underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. The higher your BMI, the more weight you can expect to lose in the long run. If you are in the normal range, but feel that you should lose weight, you may not want to aim for more than 5 pounds. On the other hand, if you are obese, than losing 50 pounds this year may be a good goal for you.

I would also like to encourage you to consult with your physician before starting any weight loss program. He or she can give you an even better idea on a good goal for you.

Make a plan you can stick with all year long.

You know yourself better than just about anyone else. Most likely you’ve been on a diet or two (or more). So you already know what doesn’t work for you. You’ll be most likely to stick with something common sense making small changes that you can live with from here on. Eat healthier and consume fewer calories, but also get more active.

Set small goals along the way.

Look at where you are at now and at your goal for the end of the year. Now break it down into several small goals. You want to break your weight loss journey down into small chunks that seem more attainable. Focus on the first “mini” goal until you reach it and then move on to the next one.

Keep track of your progress.

Keep a journal and record what you eat and how active you are during the day. If you chase the kids around the yard for 20 minutes, record it. Writing these things down builds accountability. You’ll find yourself thinking, “If I eat that cookie, I’ll have to write it down. I better skip it”. Or if you haven’t been a couch potato all day, you may be motivated to take a quick walk around the block so you can jot it down in your journal.

Celebrate each small goal.

Remember those small goals you planed out? Make sure you celebrate each goal you reach – but not with food. Reward yourself with a new blouse, a manicure, or a good book. Pick something you truly enjoy. This will build some positive reinforcement that will keep you going until you reach the next goal.

Keep your “Why” in mind.

Don’t loose track of the big picture. Remind yourself daily of your big “Why”, the reason why you want to lose weight. Keep the sheet of paper with your reason for losing weight close by and read it every morning or every evening. This is another big motivator to keep you going all year.

Losing weight can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have a fair amount to lose and you are just starting out. Don’t let it intimidate you though. Take it one step and one pound at a time. Before you know it, it will be the December and you will be 5, 10 or 50 pounds lighter. I know you can do it!

Lowering Cholesterol Through The Foods You Eat

If you have high cholesterol and you are thinking of lowering your cholesterol level, don’t worry because you can do it yourself and a lot of other people are also experiencing the same problem. This may be a tough job but it will be worth it in the end. There are several ways and steps to be healthy. If you want to be serious, you must closely follow each step.

Actually, there are two kinds of cholesterol in your body, HDL and LDL. The difference between the two is that HDL is the cholesterol that is bad for you and LDL is the healthy one. An increase in blood cholesterol is very common in most people. Lowering cholesterol takes discipline to follow some of these helpful tips:

1. Eat fish. This is an effective way to easily lower cholesterol. Salmon is a good choice because it is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seed is also a good source of Omega-3.

2. If you love desserts, try to limit them and choose healthier ones. Eating graham crackers, fat-free frozen yogurt, and angel food cake is a nice alternative. Set aside the mouth-watering desserts you have been eyeing.

3. You should eat foods that are rich in fiber. Oatmeal, vegetables, beans, fruits, wheat bread and some cereals are examples of foods that have high fiber.

4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are the natural foods that contain no cholesterol at all. You can eat a lot of them without the slightest chance of cholesterol.

5. You must avoid fast foods such as French fries and all the food that is cooked in a deep fryer. These are the foods with the fattiest ingredients. They are dipped into oil and absorb too much oil. Although they are tempting, it is worth the sacrifice. Stay away from burgers too, or reserve them for an occasional special treat.

6. If you like salad, try and find a new salad dressing, which is cholesterol friendly. Most salad dressing is full of cholesterol and Trans fats. Maybe a choice of vinegar with lemon juice or Olive oil will be a good option. Bacon bits, egg yolks and croutons should be avoided.

7. If you really can’t get away from burgers and steak, you can grill them in your backyard and use lean cuts of meat instead. This type of cooking prevents reduces the amount of fat in the meat and barbecuing is fun and enjoyable which makes eating pleasurable.

8. If you want a nice healthy sandwich without the fats, have whole wheat bread with a mix of lean turkey and lots of vegetables. Remember to skip the salami, hot dogs and of course the mayo. This type of food is highly processed with cholesterol and fats.

Now after all the worries, you realize that adjusting your diet isn’t going to be too hard at all right? Lowering cholesterol is not a tough job. It just takes patience and dedication and you will have the your levels under control in no time.

Remember, it is important to consult your physician before making any significant changes in diet or lifestyle. Always follow their advice regarding the control of cholesterol levels.

Lowering Cholesterol Naturally

While there’s plenty of medical advice that indicates the statin family of drugs are highly effective in lowering your levels of cholesterol, there are many people who are seeking alternative non-medical solutions to lowering high cholesterol. These people include the not-so-old who wish to make lifestyle changes now rather than face 30 or more years on medications. Why take the chance of suffering unacceptable side-effects from statin medications, such as erectile dysfunction in males and abdominal pain and muscle soreness in both sexes? Also, the long-term use of these drugs could lead to as yet unknown problems. So, eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats and combine this with the following natural health tips.

Natural Health Tip No 1: Regular Exercise. Start a program of regular exercise that will lead to achieving a healthy body weight. This means exercising three or four times a week to a level where your heart rate is raised to an acceptable rate for your age. Walking, swimming and cycling are all good activities that don’t place unnecessary strain on your body. Be sure to warm up with at least five minutes of muscle-stretching exercises beforehand. Raised oxygen levels also help your body organs maintain their vitality and firms and tones your muscles.

Natural Health Tip No 2: Plan Your Menus. Think about the healthy foods you like and plan your meals a week in advance to coincide with food shopping day. This saves you having to make compromises to your diet that involve the wrong foods. It also means you’ll have plenty of low fat products on hand that may be hard to find at the corner store.

Natural Health Tip No 3: Smart Cooking Techniques. Avoid bad cooking techniques such as deep-frying and try to prepare your foods by simmering, dry baking, steaming or using Asian stir-fry techniques. Even microwaving can allow foods to cook in their natural juices and retain their nutrients. And be sure to eat lots of raw foods, especially fruit and vegetables.

Natural Health Tip No 4: Take Your Supplements. Supplements such as Omega-3, inositol hexaniacinate, pantethine, and guggulipid can be effective in lowering cholesterol. Supplements for lowering cholesterol should be used as a part of an overall plan that includes diet and lifestyle changes.

Natural Health Tip No 5: Clean Out Your System. Plan an occasional system cleanout day where you consume only fruit and vegetables. The high water content of fruit and vegetables facilitates the spread of their valuable nutrients through your body and helps flush out the wastes that have built up from eating the wrong foods.

Natural Health Tip No 6: Relax. Stress and ill health go hand-in-hand. While you can’t and shouldn’t eliminate stress, you can learn to control it by meditation and relaxation techniques and by regular exercise. If you are currently on prescription drugs, don’t stop them without consulting your doctor. But follow these natural health tips and you should be able to lower your cholesterol. In any case, you will certainly be much fitter and healthier.

Low-Carb High Protein Diets

This type of diet became very popular as of recently due to the promotion of the ever-popular Atkins Diet Craze. This diet is very popular because there is no calorie counting involved, and many foods that many people love to eat are allowed on the diet. Further, the Atkins diet is a high-protein diet, which means that weight lost during this diet will not result in lost muscle mass, since protein is the main nutrient needed for maintaining healthy muscle tone. This diet basically eliminates carbohydrates, which are simple sugars or foods that break down into simple sugars. These serve as empty calories in your diet, providing no nutrients yet many calories.

While we wonÕt cover the Atkins diet here, we can give you basics of the high-protein, low-carb diet. First let us identify carbohydrates. Sugar, including powdered sugar, granulated white sugar, brown sugar, or any type of sugar you can think of, is the main carbohydrate that you would need to eliminate. All types of pastas count as carbohydrates, meaning all noodle and spaghetti products must be eliminated. Starches of any type, such as white rice, potatoes and potato chips, need to be eliminated. Cereals are mostly carbohydrates and should be avoided entirely during the diet phase. Because of the low-carb craze, there are many low-carb options of sodas, milk, ice cream, bread, beer, and wine available in the average supermarket. If you do consume these, be sure to do so only occasionally and in moderation, even if it is a low-carb type. Otherwise, the aforementioned foods should be eliminated entirely when not of the low-carb type. Beware of foods that contain hidden sugars, like bacon, barbeque sauce, ketchup, salad dressing, cough syrup, and fruit juice. As strange as it may seem, fruits and fruit juices should be eliminated while in the weight loss phase of this diet, as they are nearly pure carbohydrates. Anything made with flour needs to be eliminated during the weight loss phase, since as mentioned earlier they are high in carbohydrates.

Now what can you eat? Well, the good news is that you can eat all meats, fish, poultry and seafood, except prepared meats like bacon and honey baked ham, which are high in sugar. Skip the bread and have meat and salad, or meat in your salad. Eggs are very low-carb friendly, but be sure to skip the mayonnaise or salad dressing unless it is low-carb type mayonnaise or dressing. Any type of vegetable is fine, but be sure to realize that when making that salad that tomatoes are actually a fruit, and you want to limit your consumption of them at least during the weight loss phase. Choose brown rice as your starch replacement, as it is low in carbohydrates comparatively to potatoes, bread or white rice. Cheese is good in limited amounts, as this is a high-protein, low-carb food. Butter and cream can be used, but should be consumed in limited amounts. One complex carbohydrate that is good is fiber, as it does not break down into simple sugar, and helps the body with elimination. Further, fiber fills you up quickly without adding significant calories, so hunger pangs are fought off successfully.

Finally, make sure you are drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day minimum in addition to any other liquid you may consume. Dehydration often masquerades as hunger and causes overeating. Of course, again exercise is a necessary and vital part of your diet plan, which we will cover in the next section on exercise.

Once you lose the weight that you set out to lose, the weight loss phase of your diet is over. Of course keep in mind that you are making lifestyle changes, not going on fad or binge diets. This means that you will not go back to your old eating habits. Instead you will introduce certain foods back into your diet in moderation. For example, you may add a couple of strips of bacon once a week to your meal plan. You can enjoy small portions of deserts of any kind, simply in moderation. It is best to avoid soft drinks all together, or opt for the low-carb type permanently. If you do introduce any other carbohydrate-laden foods, be sure to do so only at one meal, and in small portions. Reducing carbohydrates will become a lifestyle to you when following this plan, one is very likely to boost your overall energy level and help you keep the weight off.

Low Glycemic Diets

Introduction: low glycemic diets are good for everyone but the people who need these diets most are Diabetics and those trying to lose weight. Foods are measured by GI glycemic indexing.

What is glycemic indexing (GI)? The glycemic index ranks from 1 to 100.This is the method by which foods are measured and shows the amount a food will raise blood sugar and insulin levels. The rate at which your blood sugar rises is very important in managing diabetes and weight maintenance. High glycemic foods are those that are quickly digested and turned into sugar. They will cause a considerable rise in high blood sugar. Foods ranking 70 or greater on the GI scale are considered high glycemic foods. Examples of these foods are:

Foods high in sugar or glucose

* Baked or mashed potatoes
* White Rice
* White (not whole grain) bread
* Cookies, cakes, muffins, doughnuts-made with refined white flour
* Junk foods

Low glycemic foods include some fruits and vegetables they are 55 or less on the GI scale. Examples of these are:

* Most fruits (apples, pears, oranges, berries, etc.)
* High fiber grains (bran, whole grain wheat’s)
* Pastas
* Whole milk
* Low-fat yogurt
* Lentils
* Whole grain cereals

Why use a low Glycemic Diets: High glycemic foods can cause weight gain and are dangerous for those suffering from Diabetes. High glycemic foods increase your appetite, and cause your body to increase triglycerides. They can also lead to weight gain. Cutting carbohydrates is not enough. You need to be aware of how all the food you eat measures up to the GI index.

Protein foods such as cheese, vegetables, eggs and fresh meat are not included in the GI index because they do not include large amounts of carbohydrates. Therefore these foods can be eaten when you are on a low glycemic diet.

Diabetes is a life threatening disease when not taken care of and it is very important to be aware of the glycemic index of the foods you eat. One of the first methods of treatment is to put these patients on a low glycemic diet. This will help them to lower their blood sugar levels and maintain a normal blood sugar level.

Obesity: A low glycemic diet will also help you lose weight. Eating more protein foods and low glycemic foods will help you drop those pounds and when you maintain a low glycemic diet will help you sustain your weight.

Eating in a healthier manner is just a matter of understanding the different foods and paying attention to what you eat. Educate yourself a little on which foods are high in protein and low in glycemic levels and you will be able to improve your health and have more energy to do the things that are really important to you.

Low Carb Diet Requirements & How They Work

A low carb diet, also known as a low carbohydrate diet, is a diet program designed to promote weight loss while restricting the consumption of carbohydrates. The theory behind a low carb diet is that carbohydrates consumption is linked to increased insulin levels and obesity. Some nutritionists have varying opinions regarding the validity and safety of a low carb diet, but others refer to the strong evidence lending truth to the claim that a low carb diet can actually promote weight loss.

A low carb diet specifically consists of eliminating or reducing foods that contain sugar, grains and starches. With each of these products being labeled as carbohydrates, they are replaced with other foods containing increased fat and protein. Many people enjoy vegetables as part of a healthy diet and while they too are classified as carbohydrates, they are believed to be much healthier than grains.

As with most diet programs, there are two sides to the story with individuals who oppose and those who agree with the approach. Specifically, some experts believe that low carb diets carry their own risks and possible side effects, including headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and/or dehydration. By lowering or eliminating dietary fiber, many believe that constipation may also occur as a result of the fiber absence. In addition, some believe that the replacement of cholesterol and foods high in saturated fat my increase the risk of developing heart disease. There are also some concerns that kidney problems may ensue as a result of the organs becoming overworked, but there are no scientific studies to support this theory as of yet.

The acceptance of low carb diet foods have had various impacts on some of the world’s largest food producers. Pasta makers, for example, suffered a reduction in the need for their products and believed that the loss was connected to low carb diets. A popular doughnut manufacturer admitted that earnings were lower than usual and associated the reduction with low card diets, which reduced the demand for their product as well. Several companies, on the other hand, watched as their profits were on the rise as they promoted low carb products in stores and restaurants.

This article is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is not to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice or a nutritionist’s recommendation. Prior to beginning any dietary program, including a low carb diet, individuals should consult a physician for proper diagnosis and/or an appropriate path toward weight loss.

Low Carb Diet Plans

Word “Diet” actually refers to what a person eats or drinks during the course of a day and our body weight is the result of what and how much we eat and drink. Therefore, for maintaining a healthy body and to look good we must follow a proper Diet Plan.

For a diet to be ideal, it must be nutritionally balanced, i.e., it must include wide variety of foods with enough calories and nutrients. And a Diet Plan should be easy to follow so that one can maintain the consistency following it throughout his life. Nutrition plays a great role in your health.
As we all know that negligent and mismanaged eating habits lead to the health problem called Obesity, people are affected with it globally. It is the major cause for diseases like diabetes, heart attack, different types of cancer, osteoarthritis etc. Hence, a suitable diet plan will play a vital role to escape from Obesity.

Low carbohydrate or Low Carb Diet is a diet with less assemblage of carbohydrate with increased proportion of protein and fat. It is recommended to the people who are obese and diabetic, with high cholesterol level, high blood pressure and hypoglysemia.Excess intake of carbohydrate results in weight gain because it allows body to produce and release high amount of insulin, resulting high blood pressure, that damages blood vessels by raising the level of triglycerides which is a fat present in the blood and it lowers HDL cholesterol level that protects against heart diseases.

Moreover, low carb diet is beneficial as it promotes decreased amount of insulin production and allows consumption of fat as energy source.
Various components of a low carb diets are saturated fat like stearic acid found in beef and other fats including coconut oil, olive oil, butter, cheese, lard, fish oil, tallow, palm kernal oil, peanut oil, and flaxseed oil with unlimited amounts of meat, limited amount of green vegetables can be taken, with a good supplement of vitamin and minerals.

Before taking “Weight Loss” sessions one must know the actual requirement of Weight Loss Supplements. If you need to burn more calories throughout day, you may need thermogenic supplements. If you need to control your overeating habit, then you may need appetite-control supplements.
With a boom in the weight loss industries, we see plenty of weight loss products everywhere. Weight loss supplements includes pills from Herbalife and Metabolife, fat-burners, stackers and other diet or sports supplements.
When we come across word “Herbal,” we feel that it is all safe to consume it, but it was reported that herbal pills containing Ephedra have shown many side effects similar to weight loss drugs. So, manufacturers are now trying to make weight loss supplements Ephedra free.

As the saying goes “slow and steady wins the race.” Accordingly, if anyone follows a diet plan thoroughly without any break and without taking help from weight loss supplements, result will be permanent, health friendly and more satisfying.

Losing Weight One Pound at a Time

Over two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. That’s quite a high percentage of adults who have a need to shed a little or a lot of fat!

The only way to do this is one pound at a time!

Many overweight individuals wish and hope for a quick cure to their weight problems. They’ll try anything that promises instant results! Unfortunately, these ‘miracle weight loss’ products are scams! They may help a person shed some water weight, initially. But, the fat isn’t going anywhere without a little effort on that person’s part!

For those of you who have tried weight loss diets or are thinking about trying one, consider all the dieters who have tried the same diets and failed. The number one reason for permanent weight loss failure is the inability to stick with the diet!

Many individuals become ‘yo-yo’ dieters. They try one diet for awhile, lose a few pounds, quit the diet, gain back the weight (and then some), and move on to another diet. The process is repeated. With each new attempt, there is often more weight to lose than there was initially!

Successful Weight Loss Strategies

If you want to lose weight successfully, you must realize, first, that there are no miracle diets or products that will blast away the fat! You didn’t gain the weight overnight! You aren’t going to lose it overnight, either! You will have to put forth effort to lose the fat, one pound at a time! Even after you’ve shed those extra pounds, you will have to continue to work at controlling your weight, if you wish to keep the fat off!

In an article on Consumer Reports.org which rates various popular diets, Cathy Nonas, R.D., M.S., (an obesity researcher at North General Hospital in New York) states, “The best diet is the one you can stay on.” Consumer Reports goes on to say that “adherence is important…To maintain lost weight, dieters must permanently reduce their calorie intake, because they will need fewer calories to fuel their now-smaller body.”

Fad diets typically fail in the end. From my own personal experience, I have found that eating sensibly works best! If you want to lose weight (one pound at a time), keep it off, and feel good, too, why not try cutting down on the empty calories found in most American diets? Eat more raw vegetables and fruits and whole grains. Go easy on the fats and processed sugary or salty snacks. Limit yourself to smaller portions and avoid having second helpings. This type of diet is one that you CAN stick with and live with for the rest of your life!

Yes, you’ll have to make a few lifestyle changes, and you’ll have to work on being more disciplined in your eating habits. But, in the end, it will be worth it! You’ll look better! You’ll feel better! Your confidence will return, and you’ll believe that there isn’t anything that you cannot do!

Wouldn’t it be worth giving up that 44-ounce Coke and that huge order of greasy French fries for a healthier, happier you? If you simply can’t do without a few French fries and a Coke now and then, go ahead and treat yourself to a small serving. Cut back on calories somewhere else that day. Occasionally, it’s okay to indulge. But, if you seriously want to shed the extra fat and keep it off, be conscious about everything you put into your mouth. You’ll lose that weight, a pound at a time!

Note: Before beginning any weight loss program, be sure to check with your medical professional.