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Low-Calorie Life: How to Eat a Low-Calorie Diet

Posted by on Sep 8, 2011 in diets, weight loss | 0 comments

Though not a comprehensive ‘how-to’ tutorial…these tips are important when beginning or resuming a low-calorie diet. Use them to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Before you begin your low-calorie diet: 1) Be Realistic. If weight loss is your goal, don’t set yourself up for disappointment or health problems by setting unrealistic goals. This should be a positive experience, so start with small, achievable goals. For lasting weight control, aim to lose no more than two pounds per week. Crash dieting is bad for you! Among other things, it will ultimately slow down your metabolism, making it difficult to shed pounds as your body typically goes into preservation or ‘starvation’ mode when you don’t consume enough food. A low-calorie diet that dips below 1,200 calories daily is too low! 2) Clean out your kitchen/pantry! High calorie leftovers and goodies such as cookies, cakes, full-fat cheeses and other full-fat dairy products should be tossed out! Cast out seasonal candies and treats, too. Replace them with wholesome, fresh, unprocessed naturally low-calorie foods. Remember, you can only prepare and eat the foods you have readily available. You can’t polish off a package of cookies if they aren’t there! 3) Restock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy, wholesome ingredients. Start fresh and new. Substitute low-calorie and light products for their high calorie counterparts. Buy whole grain pastas, breads, and cereals; and keep plenty of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables on hand. Low-calorie diet tips 4) Slowly cut back on excess calories. Start by monitoring your portion sizes. Portions (and plates) have grown so much that we don’t recognize what a standard serving is or looks like anymore. Always read nutrition fact panels as food packages often contain two servings but the nutritional analysis label refers to one serving. Become familiar enough with standard serving sizes to be able to ‘eyeball it’ and use smaller plates for meals. Remember, by definition, low-calorie foods offer 40 calories per serving. 5) Minimize your fat and junk food intake. Doing this can and will drastically decrease the amount of calories you take in. Why? Each gram of fat equals 9 calories, whereas each gram of protein or carbohydrate equals 4 calories (less than half). Also cut back on “empty” calories. Refer to what are empty calories for more information. Small changes make a big difference. Swap your 12 ounce can of soda with sparkling water (which is not low-calorie but is actually calorie-free!) and you’ve just lost 1 pound per month! 6) Always eat breakfast. Wait – put down those pastries! Consuming a healthy low-calorie breakfast jump starts your metabolism and sustains you until lunchtime, keeping your blood sugar steady. Ninety-five percent of those that are most successful at losing weight are breakfast eaters. In addition, noshing on a nutritious low-calorie breakfast gives you the opportunity to start the day right, filling up on premium fuel, such as vitamin & mineral-rich whole grains, low/non-fat dairy products, and fresh fruit. Now you are ready to begin/resume your low-calorie...

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Fiber versus Fiber?

Posted by on Aug 16, 2011 in nutrition basics, weight loss | 0 comments

There are two primary types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers are the fibers that bind dietary cholesterol and carry it out of the body as well as help to stabilize blood sugar by slowing the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber-rich foods include oatmeal, oat bran, flaxseeds, beans, strawberries, psyllium seed and fruit pectin (citrus fruits, apples). Insoluble fibers provide roughage that speeds the elimination of feces, decreasing the time that the body is exposed to harmful substances. Normal transit time is health-promoting because environmental and dietary toxins have less time to come in contact with the colon lining and therefore have less of a chance to be reabsorbed into your blood stream. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran, whole grain products, brown rice, nuts and in cellulose’s from vegetables and fruits. Therefore, a fiber-rich diet (> 25 grams) can help prevent constipation, and may decrease the risk of developing diseases of the colon, including colon cancer. Dietary fiber may also help protect against diabetes, heart disease and high blood...

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Tips for Eating Meatless ~ Tofu and Soy Crumbles

Posted by on Mar 27, 2011 in vegetarian | 0 comments

One important step towards eating healthier and watching your calories is to eat one meatless meal per week. What to do? It’s easy. I enjoy eating meatless meals because it keeps my diet varied versus boring and stale. Here one tip I use myself that will get you started! Try tofu and soy crumbles. These are mild-tasting and absorb the seasonings and flavor of whatever you cook them with. Perfect for tacos or spaghetti as a meat replacement. While tofu can be an acquired taste for some, it comes in many varieties and flavors, and can be grilled, sautéed, scrambled…even fried or stir-fried. Tofu comes in firm and soft textures (soft is a great protein addition to smoothies) and is often used as an ingredient. I bought an all-tofu decadent chocolate cake from a gourmet bakery. It was completely all natural and vegan. Guess what? My non-vegetarian, hates health food brother in law didn’t know the difference! They used silken tofu in the cake, and yes, it can be that good. A meat-lover wouldn’t even know the difference, with soy crumbles that is. They used to be packaged as a grain-like product that needed to be re-hydrated to take form. “Now, frozen, bagged, re-hydrated soy crumbles (textured vegetable protein) can be found in the frozen food section and poured into your favorite spaghetti sauce or chili...

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What’s a calorie?

Posted by on Mar 11, 2011 in nutrition basics, weight loss | 0 comments

A calorie or kilocalorie, is a unit used to measure energy. A calorie, by definition, is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 kg of water 1 degree celsius. Calories in our diet come from macronutrients or energy-yielding nutrients, which include fat, protein and carbohydrate. Carbohydrate and protein each offer 4 calories per gram while fat is much more energy-dense, providing 9 calories for every gram. Alcohol is not a nutrient but it does contain calories, specifically 7 calories per gram. The body uses energy, in the form of calories, to perform all of its functions. If you consume more calories than your body needs, the excess may be stored as fat – leading to excessive weight. On the other hand, if/when a food shortage exists, your body can break down stored fat for energy. Losing excess body fat successfully is achieved by creating a (calorie) energy defecit. You can do this by consuming fewer calories than you need daily to maintain your weight or burning off more calories than you take in daily. Eating less through portion control, behavior modification and eating low-caloire, filling foods while increasing your level of physical activity is the best strategy for losing...

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Ask the Expert

Posted by on Jan 2, 2011 in nutrition basics, weight loss | 0 comments

Question: “I’ve hit a plateau in my weight loss program, what should I do?” Answer: It is not uncommon to ‘hit a plateau’ during a weight loss program. You’re headed towards your goal, yet cannot seem to lose that last 10 lbs. There are several things you can do to get back on track. Be sure your weight loss goals are realistic. Are you already at a healthy weight? If not, make sure you are keeping up the intensity of your exercise program. Fitness experts recommend 30-60 minutes of exercise, most days of the week. Talk to a fitness professional about adding weights and/or resistance exercises to your program. Aerobics burns fat but muscle mass burns calories while at rest, increasing your metabolism. Don’t get in a rut, change your routine every couple of weeks. Also, make sure that your calorie intake is adequate. Many dieters fail to eat enough! This alone can trigger the weight loss plateau effect. Also, do not go too long without eating. This is not good for your metabolism/metabolic rate. For a woman, 3-4 hours without food is a reasonable maximum. And always eat...

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