The Best Weight-loss Superfoods

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weight-loss superfoods

Some foods are automatic diet-busters. They cause cravings, fail to fill you up and generally cause havoc with your waistline. At the other end of the scale are the slimming super foods. Whether they’re low in calories or high in fibre, these foods are a dieter’s best friend, leaving you fighting fit and looking fab.

What are they and why has nobody told you about them before, you ask? Read on and find out.

Grapefruit, Sardines and Fruit and Vegetables are Weight-loss Wonders

Like the super foods themselves, grapefruit’s benefits are the slimming world’s best kept secret. This tropical fruit contains unique plant compounds – yet to be deciphered – which reduce insulin levels. As excess insulin in your blood can make you feel hungry when you’re not, grapefruit is the ideal binge-buster.

While all fish are healthy, sardines are the dieter’s pet. Loaded with protein, they help stimulate your metabolism, making you feel fuller for longer. They’re also full of omega-3 fatty acids which increase your metabolism, making you burn calories quicker.

While you probably know you need your five-a-day to stay healthy, you may not know that fruit and veg are also weight-loss wonders. Contained on the outer layers of most fruit and veg, fibre is an indigestible substance which slows digestion making you feel fuller for longer. Other fibre-filled foods include oats and whole-grain breads, pasta and cereals.

Pumpkin, Green Tea and Egg Help you Eat your way Thin

Halloween’s no longer the sole reason for buying pumpkin. Brimming with filling fibre, it’s also the ideal snack food containing a meagre 26 calories per kilo. Make pumpkin soup or add it to your stew and watch the pounds fall off.

More a weight-loss super-drink than food, green tea should be the first thing a dieter downs in the morning. An all-round health promoter, green tea is rich in anti-oxidants which help regulate your blood sugar levels and raises your metabolism.

Egg tends to get a bad rap from the diet police. The yolk is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, while the healthy white is attacked by flavour gurus who simply consider it bland. Well, egg-lovers can now rejoice, for research shows that eating an egg a day can help you shed those pounds rather than put them on.

A study from Louisiana State University found that women who ate an egg and jelly on toast every morning lost twice as many pounds as those who ate a bagel for breakfast with no egg. The reason for this? Protein. Egg protein is so filling that people who consume it early in the day feel less hungry later on. So what are you waiting for? Eat up and slim down!

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The Right Weight Loss Diet Begins in the Mind

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Weight Loss Diet Mind

Terminating a life long pattern of turning to food for feelings other than hunger is vital for any weight loss diet to work. Filling emotional needs with emotional solutions and using food for physical nourishment only is key to any effective diet program. Seeking comfort, security, love, or solace in appropriate ways allows the dieter to manage their food intake intelligently and effectively.

Steps Toward a Mindful Weight Loss Diet

The first step towards attaining or maintaining an ideal weight is recognizing that weight management is more about thought processes and lifestyle than food. Thousands of dieters start a fast diet regime every day, one that may indeed melt off a few excess pounds immediately, only to have an emotional issue or craving throw them back into making unhealthy choices. Understanding one’s relationship to food is crucial to reprogramming self-defeating patterns.

Secondly, creating a vast array of choices other than food for emotional needs and building a reserve base of alternatives for times when "chocolate calls" or the beckoning smell of a favorite comfort food gives the dieter an upper hand over old counter-productive patterns. A network of supportive friends to call or a planned activity to replace non-hunger related cravings for food builds new neurological patterns that become healthy habits.

A complete physical prior to starting a diet program is a must. Blood work results will let both dieter and doctor know if there are underlying conditions contributing to weight gain and give the otherwise healthy dieter a baseline from which to start. Results such as elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol or a high blood sugar level may give the dieter whose health has been adversely impacted by excess weight a strong motivational edge.

Why Fast Diets Don’t Work

An essential for weight loss success is understanding that the reputed "best diet" or "best weight loss program" is doomed to failure unless it provides enough food to satisfy actual physical hunger and maintain energy and health. Focusing only on food, crash diets, severely restricted calorie diets or highly advertised fad diets are seldom long term solutions and may ultimately sabotage success.

Avoiding physical hunger is imperative to dieting success because hunger signals the reptilian part of the brain that starvation is imminent. Human beings are wired to preserve life at any cost and hunger is interpreted on a subconscious level as a threat to the dieting individual’s very existence. Fast diets cannot address the fundamental issue of hunger and automatic self-sabotage is often the result.

Tips for Successful Weight Loss

The successful dieter plans for success well before starting a weight loss plan. Just as a star student prepares for finals, the dieter who prepares for success before beginning will reap a higher level of achievement. A mind that has been prepared for change is better able to work with that change. Choose a weight loss start date of less than 30 days and begin both physical and mental preparation.

  • Get a complete physical during the pre-diet period. The best diet will be an individualized one recommended by a physician or nutritionist.
  • Eliminate all foods from household cupboards that are not on the recommended diet. (A local homeless shelter will make good use of them). Begin stocking only foods compatible with the recommended diet.
  • Learn to read food labels and double check manufacturers statistics with an unbiased source like The Nutribase Nutritional Facts Desk Reference by Dr. Art Ulene.
  • Since water is a staple for every effective weight loss program, plan for a way to have it nearby at all times.
  • Monitor thoughts for negativity or victim mentality. Such thoughts will sabotage success.
  • Begin thinking of nurturing things that are not food related. Make a list.
  • Pamper the body, mind and spirit with personally meaningful non-food activities or things

Beginning the Weight Loss Diet

Do not confuse preparation with procrastination; set a definite date and prepare for success with both physical and mental housecleaning. Dr. Judith Beck Ph.D., of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research has excellent tips on how to reprogram the mind to prepare for dieting success. Her research, and that of other experts in the field indicate the best diet is unlikely to be the fast diet many dieters wish for. The best diet program will likely be slow, simple, and steady, but it will be sure and lasting if the dieter changes their thinking and coping techniques along with their eating habits.

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Sweetened Drinks and Your Weight

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sweetened drinks

The beverage industry has been flourishing over the last several years. Do you feel like fruit drink, flavored fortified “water,” or green, black or white iced tea? What about a sport drink, energy drink or coffee drink? And of course the old standby, soda, is still available. These drinks all have something in common: they contain plenty of sweeteners.

National survey data shows that energy intake from beverages more than doubled between 1965 and 2001. Regular sodas remain the most popular beverage in the U.S. today at an intake of over 35 gallons per person per year.

Effect of Calories in Beverages

Several research studies have shown that people tend to gain more weight from liquid calories than from the equivalent amount of calories from a solid food. Consequently, reducing sweetened beverages in the diet tends to promote weight loss.

A research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in May 2009 revealed that each daily 12-ounce serving of sweetened soft drink eliminated from the diet resulted in one pound of weight loss after six months. The researchers compared the effect of liquid versus solid forms of calories. For every 100 fewer liquid calories consumed per day, participants averaged two-thirds of a pound of weight loss after six months and 0.44 pounds at 18 months. When participants cut 100 calories worth of food per day, they lost significantly less weight (0.13 pounds at 6 months and 0.2 pounds at 18 months). Considering that half of the 150 to 300 calories added to the typical American diet over the past 30 years have come from beverages, limiting sweetened beverages could have a big impact on weight.

Why Sweetened Drinks Cause Weight Gain

Different hypothesis exist to explain the phenomenon. Some researchers believed that fluids don’t stimulate feelings of fullness like solids do, thus overall energy intake from all forms is not balanced. In other words, when drinks containing sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, other sweeteners, or even alcohol are consumed, people don’t adjust their total caloric intake from solid foods to account for these drink calories.

Indeed, research shows that individuals consuming beverages shortly before or with a meal eat the same number of calories as individuals consuming a calorie-free beverage. Sweetened caloric and alcoholic beverages appear to release different chemicals in the gastrointestinal track than do milk and food, affecting their ability to make people feel full.

Other researchers point to human evolution as an explanation for why sweetened beverages cause weight gain. Humans have evolved between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, and for all but the last 11,000 years of that evolution, the most common beverages available were water and breast milk. After childhood, people only drank calorie-free water for the majority of human history.

Wolf and his colleagues discuss the history of beverages and how the body deals with them in Obesity Reviews. They hypothesize that “humans may lack a physiological basis for processing carbohydrate or alcoholic calories in beverage because only breast milk and water were available for the vast majority of our evolutionary history” (Obesity Reviews; 2008: 9, 151-164).

Tips to Decrease Intake of Sweetened Beverages

Regardless of why soda and other sweetened drinks cause increased calorie intake, there is no doubt that cutting down will help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Here are some suggestions to help you switch to healthier beverages:
  • Water is of course the beverage of choice for quenching thirst. If you find it difficult to drink straight water, try squeezing some lemon or lime in it for a bit of flavor.
  • Diet sodas are a good alternative to regular sodas. Better yet, use seltzer with a splash of 100% fruit juice for a low calorie beverage.
  • Drink 1% or skim milk with your meals when possible. The combination of fat, protein and carbohydrate is better detected than when the liquid contains only carbohydrate. Plus it will help keep your bones strong.
  • At restaurants, you can save some money and your health by requesting a glass of water instead of soda or juice.

So next time you are offered a soda, juice box or sweetened iced tea, think water. Limiting your liquid calorie intake can only help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight.

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How to Avoid the Freshman Fifteen

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freshman 15

Who's afraid of the Freshman 15? The myth that college freshman can expect to gain 15 pounds in their first year away from home has achieved the status of truism. Everyone knows that they'll gain 15 pounds that first year. It's as if college campuses are a magical magnet that attract added weight. Who needs to worry about gaining weight in the midst of all the other worries and upheavals of the freshman year?

The good news is that the truism simply isn't true. In fact, research shows that the average freshman college weight gain is far lower than most people believe. A 2008 study conducted at Auburn University in Alabama found that the average freshman weight gain was 4.8 pounds over the course of the year, with young men gaining just over 5 pounds and young women gaining just over 3 pounds.

The bad news from that same study--among those who did gain weight during their freshman year, many of them slipped into a higher BMI category, moving from health to overweight, or overweight to obese. Even worse, according to researchers, even those who didn't gain weight often slipped into unhealthy eating habits.

So how do you avoid being one of those who have to struggle with the dreaded Freshman 15? These tips will help maintain both your health and your weight during the first year away from home at college.

Adopt a Healthy Attitude Toward Food

One of the main reasons that freshmen gain weight during their first year away from home, researchers found, is the easy access to food. Most freshmen have open, all-you-can-eat access to the cafeteria, which ends up being a social gathering place as much as a place to eat. In addition, many students turn to food for comfort and to alleviate boredom. Learn to eat when you're hungry and find other ways to deal with stress, and you'll have gone a long way toward avoiding the Freshman 15.

Treat Your Body Right to Avoid to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Stress leads to over-eating, so de-stressing is a major tool in defending the body from added weight. One of the best stress-busters known is - who would have guessed it - a healthy diet. Pick foods that are high in antioxidants that help fight stress--like vegetables with a lot of color. A general rule of thumb--the brighter or darker the vegetable or fruit, the more antioxidants it provides.

Get Plenty of Sleep to Avoid Gaining Weight

It's tempting to stay up all night partying or studying for that mid-term, but your body won't thank you for it. Sleep--especially deep sleep stages--are essential for renewing cells and keeping the body working right. Poor sleep habits can even affect the metabolism and make it harder for the body to use food efficiently. Adopt a reasonable sleep schedule and stick to it.

Watch Out for the Parties

When you do hit the party circuit, remember that a single 12 ounce beer, even a light beer, packs a whopping 100 or more calories--and virtually no nutritional value at all. People are also a lot more likely to snack on high-calorie empty-nutrition foods like potato chips when drinking, adding even more danger. As far as other drugs go, there are lots of reasons not to smoke it up. Add the fact that those munchie urges will pack on pounds.

Take Advantage of the Gym to Stay Healthy

Regular workouts will never be easier than during the college years. Take full advantage of student privileges at the gym and pool to get regular exercise. Besides burning calories, a hard game of tennis or volleyball or a session with the treadmill is a great way to bust stress that leads to overeating.

Avoiding the Freshman 15 in healthy ways has an added bonus--the establishment of healthy habits that will last a lifetime and help you maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life.

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How to Lose Weight While Consuming 2500 Calories a Day

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Lose Weight While Consuming Calories

There are several ways to lose weight while consuming 2,500 calories a day. Much of your strategy will depend on how many calories you're currently consuming and your activity level. When losing weight, consult your doctor to make sure it's OK to make changes to your diet and that you're in good enough health to work out. If you feel you need help deciding on a meal plan, consult a nutritionist.

Keep Track of Your Daily Calorie Intake

Determine how many calories you consume each day. Check food labels for calorie counts, or go online. There are many websites that can break down the calorie count of individual foods so you can see where you are on a daily basis. Keep track of your daily calories for about a week to determine what an average day looks like.

Calculate how many calories are currently consumed per day, on average. If the daily total is generally more than 2500, you will need to cut calories. There are 3500 calories in a pound, according to Diet Bites, so to lose a pound a week you will need to cut out 500 calories a day. If you currently consume 3000 calories a day, cutting back to 2500 should result in a one pound loss per week.

This is easier to accomplish than you might think. Trading two regular sodas a day for water will remove about 300, changing from a doughnut for breakfast to a healthy cereal with non-fat milk should take care of the rest.

Exercise Can Aid Weight Loss

Work out to burn calories, as long as your doctor approves. Some exercise machines, such as treadmills or stationary bikes have calorie counters built in to keep track of calories burned. There are also many websites online that allow you to type in any given activity, current weight, and how long you exercise for. The website has a tool that will then calculate calories burned. This is helpful if you are consuming 2500 calories a day currently and want to lose weight without changing your diet.

Unless your doctor specifically recommends over-the-counter or prescription diet pills, avoid taking them. These can be dangerous to some individuals, especially in combination with other medications or for those who have medical conditions to start with.

It's possible to lose weight without starving yourself or spending hours at the gym. Eating a sensible diet and working out regularly should help you lose weight, even while consuming 2500 calories a day. Consult with your doctor or a nutritionist for additional help, if desired.

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How to Lose Weight without Feeling Deprived

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Lose Weight without Feeling Deprived

With summer just around the corner, losing weight and toning the body have become popular topics. The following weight loss and exercise tips may help to shape up for bikini weather, while maintaining a satisfied stomach.

Weight Loss Boosters

These tips may assist on the path to a trimmer figure.
  • Drink green tea - According to Jennifer Warner in the article, Green Tea Fights Fat, “…substances found in green tea known as catechins may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decreasing body fat.” Drink anywhere from 3 to 5 cups of green tea a day to assist the body in burning calories.
  • Limit carbohydrates and increase protein – For those who have followed the Atkins Diet or South Beach Diet, it’s no secret that cutting carbohydrates will help to shed unwanted pounds. Replace grains with meat, soy, or beans temporarily in your quest to shed pounds.
  • Cut coffee from the diet –There is little proof that caffeine actually causes weight loss. However, caffeine is a stimulant that may interfere with sleep patterns, a necessary element of losing weight, which leads to the next tip.
  • Get enough sleep – A lack of sleep may cause certain hormone and substance levels in the body to become askew. Levels of cortisol, a hormone that regulates certain body systems, are normally lower at night while the body is sleeping. However, a lack of sleep may cause an overabundance of cortisol in the body leading to an increase in body fat. Additionally, lack of sleep may also increase the presence of grehlin while lowering leptin levels, two blood substances that help control weight as well.

Exercise Tips to Lose Weight

One of the best ways to boost weight loss is to add exercise into the daily routine. Interval training, the practice of alternating short bursts of intense exercise with periods of slower activity, not only burns calories, but improves aerobic endurance. The simplest interval training routine is to alternate walking or slow jogging with sprints.

The Mayo Clinic Staff explains how the muscles respond to interval training in the article, Interval Training: Can it boost your calorie-burning power? “During intense exercise, muscles produce waste products that can contribute to muscle soreness. Too many accumulated waste products can make exercise painful and exhausting. But by alternating bursts of intense exercise with easier intervals, you'll help reduce the buildup of waste products in your muscles.” Less waste in the muscles leads to an ability to exercise more often.

Keep in mind that exercise alone most likely will not shed unwanted pounds. A combination of exercise and diet together will provide the best results.
Finally, be sure to consult with a doctor before beginning any new diet or health plan.

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