Weight Loss Using Xenical or Alli: A Review of Orlistat

3:35 AM Weight Loss Trainer 0 Comments

Many weight loss drugs compete for the lucrative market of obesity. Amongst those, Xenical and Alli have become in recent years some of the most popular brands in that particular market. But how should they be used and how do they work?

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How Does Orlistat Work?

Xenical and Alli both contain the same molecule called orlistat and are manufactured by the same company, Roche Pharmaceuticals. Xenical contains twice the dosage of orlistat found in Alli pills, which is why only Alli is available over-the-counter while Xenical needs to be prescribed.

Orlistat works by preventing the intestines from absorbing part of the fat contained in food. About one-third of eaten fat therefore goes through the intestines and is evacuated in the bowel movements. Xenical or Alli do not have any impact on appetite. In other words, it does not decrease the feeling of hunger throughout the day, unlike most other FDA-approved weight loss drugs.

Alli or Xenical should therefore be taken only as a diet supplement. Taking orlistat without any significant dietary change will not bring any weight loss. Instead, it will cause diarrhea, which is one of the most common side effects of orlistat.

Common Side Effects of Xenical and Alli

Because of the way orlistat works, all undigested fat ends up in the stools. Therefore, eating an excessive amount of fatty food causes the evacuation of a large amount of fat. This can cause severe and urgent diarrhea, fatty stools or even fecal incontinence. While taking Xenical or Alli, it is therefore extremely important to stick to a low-fat diet for the duration of the treatment.

Other minor side effects reported for orlistat include fever, sore throat, runny nose, excessive sweating and fatigue. If those symptoms persist, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

Is Weight Loss Achievable With Xenical and Alli?

Yes, it is, but only if orlistat is taken in conjunction with a sensible low-fat diet. Studies have shown that orlistat does indeed have a positive impact on weight loss. However, after discontinuing treatment, a significant proportion of patients have regained some or all of their original weight. Sticking to a sensible diet is therefore extremely important, even after the end of the treatment.


The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.


Weight Loss – The Good, Bad, and Ugly Fats

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good, bad, and ugly fats

There is a lot of seemingly confusing information about the effects of the types of fat and what they have to do with weight loss. Well, there's good fat, or essential fatty acids which must be consumed through food because the body cannot produce these. There's bad saturated fats like the fat in butter, milk, and cream.

There's not-so-bad unsaturated fats that are typically found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Then there's that king of the bad fats, the bad boy of the fatty fun park, hydrogenated oil, or trans fat, as it more commonly known. Of course, too much of any of these fats is not good for health or for successful weight loss. So how does one know how much of which fats are the best combination?

Fats Necessary For Optimal Nutrition

As bad a rap as fat gets in the media, it's actually a good thing and is necessary for maintaining life and health. Those good essential fatty acids are found in the fat of the food people eat every day. Fat is also necessary in keeping skin healthy, carrying essential vitamins and minerals, and helps young children's developing brains.

Fat is actually a good thing, but it always seems to get the blame for any sort of weight gain. The truth is that anyone can put on weight and get fat from eating just carbohydrates and protein. "Excess calories from any source is what's responsible for weight gain," according to Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory.

Fat Has Twice the Calories of Carbs or Protein

Fat is desirable in the foods folks eat because it carries the flavor of the food. Everyone has had one of those no–fat cookies that tastes like compressed sawdust. They taste like that because they have no fat to carry the flavor. Here's a simple fact for those trying to lose weight or have stated a weight loss program: one gram of fat contains more than twice the amount of calories as a gram of carbohydrate or protein.

As far as identifying what fats are good or bad, some types of fat are just bad for folks trying to lose weight. Too much of any good or bad fat leads to heart disease and increases stroke risk. But there are fats that are very bad. Trans fat is one of those very bad fats. Trans fat is very common in most commercially prepared foods but because of recent research, is in the process of being totally eliminated from those type of foods. Trans fat raises bad LDL blood cholesterol levels while lowering good HDL cholesterol levels. be sure to check nutrition labels and avoid trans fat whenever possible.

Most Fat is Bad Fat for Those Trying to Lose Weight

Because any fats are going to hinder weight loss, it's best to limit the amount of fat consumed. A lot of the fatty foods eaten by most folks today contain a lot of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance necessary for life and good health in humans. Excess cholesterol is typically found in egg yolks, shellfish, high fat dairy products, liver or organ meats, high fat meats, and poultry skin.

Eating lots of these fatty foods will not only raise the bad cholesterol levels in the blood but will also prevent optimal weight loss. Losing weight is a simple formula of consuming less food, eating the right amount of whole, unprocessed foods, and increasing the level of exercise. While some good fats are necessary for proper nutrition, there is no place for some types of bad fats in a successful weight loss program.

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Weight Loss Without Diets

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weight loss without diets

The term "diet" has two distinct meanings. The dictionary defines "diet" as a mode of living with special reference to food. A second definition defines "diet" as the taking of food according to rule. For the best results with permanent weight loss, abandoning food rules and restrictions can be more effective. Sounds too good to be true? The following explanation is intended to make you a believer of the non-diet club.

Food Restrictions versus Dieting

Indeed, the human body requires a diet in terms of food intake for survival. This corresponds to the dictionary’s first definition of the word. The problems arise when several restrictions are placed in relation to intake. This is not to say that there are cases when certain foods are absolutely off-limits, such as for those with allergies, heart conditions and so forth. Those are situations that demand restrictions. On the other hand, food restrictions or rules related to efforts toward weight loss can cause the yo-yo dieting cycle all too common among those attempting to lose weight.

Restrictions lead to deprivation. Feeling deprived causes yearning for the very thing we are sacrificing. The loss of that item begins to take its toll when life’s stresses surface and comfort is greatly needed at that moment. Want instant comfort? Instant gratification? The number one pick is that all-time favorite mouth-watering food item you have sacrificed during the course of your “diet” be it a single day, a week or a month. The damage far exceeds the few extra calories. The cycle has begun and does not stop as easily the next time around. The chances are slight for a change any time soon because your negative thoughts begin to steer your behaviors and more food finds its way to your mouth…more comfort.

Even the best weight loss programs have restrictions; they are simply hidden well underneath the savvy marketing tools. For example, have you heard that you can have shake for breakfast and lunch and then the best meal ever for dinner and lose the weight? Or, eat your favorite foods, but keep within limits of total calories? These are fine approaches, but certainly not the most effective ones.

How to Lose Weight Without Restrictions

So what is the most effective plan of action for weight loss? Changing thought patterns, ideas and the meaning of food in one's life will help– the rest will follow. Sound simple? Of course not, and it is not an easy task. However, the results can be shocking when the kitchen is not the comfort zone when life stresses are in full force.

Here are a few questions to ponder to get you on your way:
  1. What is food’s role in your life?
  2. What is food fulfilling beside hunger for you?
  3. What else can satisfy that need?
  4. Are you hungry when you eat?
  5. Consider the time, place and people you are eating with most often.

There are many good weight loss plans from which to choose that define healthy eating guidelines. For example, Weight Watchers operates on helping members make healthy food choices, eat appropriate serving sizes, and incorporate exercise into daily habits.

Additionally, while not a weight loss plan, the American Dietitic Association offers a plethora of information regarding the most effective steps toward permanent, safe weight loss. However, for lasting results, it may be necessary to take a look inside one's self to better understand the role food plays in one's life.

Effective Changes for Losing Weight

The following tips will help you on your way to weight loss:
  • View food as food – nothing more, nothing less.
  • Know the basics of good nutrition.
  • Savor every morsel of your new-found relationship with food.
Fear not. You will never waste another moment contemplating the purchase of diet pills, shakes, food, programs if you heed this advice. And please, do not expect overnight changes. Indeed, food has become a love-hate relationship for many of us. The key is to make it neither and breaking up is hard to do.

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Weight Loss Tips for Dining Out

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weight loss tips for dining out

When you are trying to lose weight, you have to make a commitment to yourself to make healthier choices in all areas of your life. Occasionally eating at a restaurant is a part of life for many people. When dining out with your friends and family, it should be part of your weight loss plan to eat healthy at restaurants as well as at home.

Trying to eat healthy at a restaurant doesn’t mean that you have to deprive yourself of your favorite food, but if your favorite meal is high in calories make sure to practice moderation. Eating a smaller portion of your favorite dish can help you cut out some of the calories and still provide you with the satisfaction of enjoying good food.

Make a Calorie-Cutting Plan for Dining Out

Having a plan in place for eating at restaurants can be a tremendous help with staying on track with your weight loss. When you have thought about some of your possible food and beverage choices ahead of time, it may make it easier for you to follow through with selecting healthier menu items when it is time to place your order.
  • Enjoy a Refreshing Glass of Water – Make water your drink of choice when dining out to cut down on calories. Choosing water or other low calorie beverages can help you save 100 or more calories that you may get from drinking soda, juice or other beverages.
  • Hold the Bread - Skip the bread basket or limit yourself to one piece. Save your calories (and carbs) for the main course.
  • Do Your Homework! – Find out if the restaurant you will be eating at has nutrition information available to the public. Taking a few minutes to look for nutritional information on the restaurant’s website can help you be better prepared to make a healthy choice when it is time to order your meal. Be careful though, there have been some recent studies that have shown that some menu items may contain quite a few more calories than the nutrition information shows.
  • Move a Little More – If you are planning on having a big meal or eating higher-calorie menu items, then adding some extra physical activity to your day may be a good idea. Exercising or being more active may help burn extra calories to off-set some of the calories you will be consuming in your meal.
  • Consider Your Options – Some restaurants offer “healthy” menu items for people concerned with their health or watching their weight. So, make sure to scan the menu for “healthy” or “low-calorie” meals. Some places even offer smaller portions of popular items that can help you save money and calories. Ordering your meal from the appetizer section may also be a help in practicing portion control.
  • Eat Less Throughout the Day – If you know ahead of time that you will be dining out, then try to slightly cut calories in your other meals to keep a moderate calorie total for the entire day.
  • Take it Easy on the Alcohol – If you decide to enjoy a beer, mixed drink or wine with your meal, limit your alcohol consumption to one drink. Alcohol generally carries a lot of calories and the calories might add up quickly without you realizing it.
  • Play it Safe - Try to be sensible about your selections. Look for lean cuts of meat that are not fried (preferrably baked or grilled). If your meal comes with sauces, then ask to have them on the side. Order vegetables without added butter, sauces or cheeses. Think about starting your meal with a salad (dressing on the side) and ending it with fresh fruit for dessert.

Making Healthy Restaurant Choices are Just a Piece of the Puzzle

To successfully lose weight and keep it off you need to make changes in your habits. Trying to make healthy choices when you occasionally eat out is just one part of your overall healthy lifestyle. Focus on the big picture when you are trying to lose weight. Remember to exercise regularly, eat moderately and celebrate your accomplishments on your journey to lose weight and improve your health.

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Weight Loss and Calculating Body Mass Index

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calculating body mass index

BMI, or Body Mass Index is a rough assessment of a person's weight compared to height. While this is used widely as an indicator of just how much fat tissue is present in a particular body, it is not always an accurate assessment of a person's complete weight loss picture. There may be a better way.

Problems with BMI Calculations

While the BMI equation is very popular, the results from this equation can be grossly inaccurate and misleading. This may cause some folks to get the wrong idea about just how much weight loss is needed in a particular situation. An accurate baseline is needed in order to lose weight successfully and the BMI may not provide this baseline.

The BMI equation does not consider the particular specifics of a person's body composition. In other words, if person A works out and has more muscle, the BMI equation has no way of distinguishing what is fat and what is muscle. Older folks, or those with a low amount of body muscle may also get an inaccurate reading and thus be considered healthy. BMI measures body mass only.

Estimating Weight Loss Through Body Composition

Muscle is a good thing because it makes a body look better, and it burns more calories than fat tissue. More muscle means more calories burned and that is a great thing for someone trying to lose weight. Because the BMI does not provide an accurate assessment of total body fat, there are other ways to determine the correct amount of weight to be lost.

Weighing on a scale is not the best way because there can be daily fluctuations of weight levels. The mirror may actually be the best way to determine how much weight loss needs to occur and from where. Take a close look in the mirror without being overly critical. Think of it as a broad brush approach to weight loss. Find the biggest problem area first and start there. Don't get all caught up in the details and minor areas. Broad brush strokes.

Correct Measurement of Body Fat Percentage for Optimal Weight Loss

Perhaps the most accurate method to find out the actual percentage of body fat and muscle tissue is to be weighed while in water using hydrostatic testing. The process begins with a person sitting in a seat that is attached to a scale hanging over the water. The subject first weighed on the scale to determine a baseline weight. Next the person then submerged in the water and weighed once again. Fat is lighter than water, muscle heavier. The two weights are combined and a proper body fat percentage is determined.

There are other methods for determining BMI like bioelectrical impedance analysis which runs a tiny bit of electricity through the body to measure the resistance levels of fat and muscle. Skinfold measurements is another low–tech method which uses a special set of calipers to measure subcutaneous fat. None of these methods will provide a reading as accurate as hydrostatic testing. Obtaining an accurate assessment of lean body mass compared to fat body mass is an important first step on the road to successful weight loss.

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Weight Loss and Selective Restriction

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selective restriction

Whatever their reasons, people often like to give up something for Lent. They feel like better people if they can cut out all sweets from their diet, cut back to one pack of cigarettes per day or none at all, or give up their spot on the sofa to exercise on a regular basis.

Giving Up Chocolate for Lent

Often, people let go of something they hadn’t really wanted in the first place. Perhaps they choose to forgo all pie or cake for 40 days, when they actually wanted to lose weight in the first place.

Some brave souls will give up chocolate. However, the ambrosia from the cocoa bean has many medicinal benefits. Along with dark chocolate, it lowers LDL ("bad" cholesterol) and raises or elevates the mood, giving one a sense of well being. Maybe that’s not the best one to choose to give up.

Restricted Eating

Taken to an extreme, restricted eating can be part of a serious eating disorder. Some people restrict their intake to minimal calories each day. Their total intake is not even enough to promote health. The excessive food restriction can go along with a distorted body image in which they see themselves as fat when others see them as profoundly thin.

Feelings of control and anger can contribute to eating disorders. Food restriction is not even being suggested here. People can slip into over restriction if they feel a great deal of power from not eating. What one might give up for 40 days is something other than food.

Selective Restriction

The suggestion is to select one of the underlying emotions that contribute to weight gain and restrict it. Anger is the negative emotion that will be select. We know that it is one of the four basic emotions that children from all cultures display. Some people will deny that they get angry. They will admit to frustration but not anger. However, frustration is just a polite form of anger. In order to loss weight and maintain that weight loss, one needs to learn to control their anger.

For 40 days, it is being suggested that one restrict the amount of displayed anger they will permit themselves. Displayed anger is the term used, but internal anger is also visible to others.Overt anger is seen with hair-trigger explosions. Anger that is stuffed inside is made visible in a strained expression, negative outbursts of emotion, and added pounds with increased binge eating.

Relaxation Training for the Release From Anger

Anger can be released by practicing a simple relaxation technique. Look around for things that could distract you and attend to those items first.

The relaxation takes only a moment but concentration is best when focus is clear.
  • Lay or sit comfortably.
  • Imagine all your anger like the dark center of a golf ball.
  • Close your eyes and see the anger ball in your mind.
  • Imagine a blue-white light filling the ball and dissolving it.
  • See the radiance spread farther and farther outward while the anger ball gets smaller and smaller, until the light pops out through your finger tips, your hair, and every pore, filling your whole body and dissolving the ball at the same time.
  • Open your eyes and live the day as if anger were gone.
  • Practice this brief relaxation three times a day.

Before the end of the 40-day time of personal sacrifice, the feeling of anger will gradually grow less intense. Less anger will hep make healthy food choices easier. Healthy food choices will result in lost weight or maintained weight loss. This year, for Lent, try giving up anger.

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Low Carb Diet Problems Can Impact the Most Vigilant Carb Counters

7:28 AM Weight Loss Trainer 0 Comments

low carb diet problems

Low Carb Diet Problems Do Not Demonstrate That the Diet Itself is Flawed

Health authorities who believe in the low fat diet have argued that any problems people experience while restricting carbohydrates must indicate that the approach itself is fundamentally flawed. But this line of thinking is illogical. In fact, a vast body of evidence suggests that low carb is more effective and healthful than the low fat approach.

What Can Explain Instances of Low Carb Diet Failure?

Carbohydrate restriction works because cutting carbs controls both blood sugar and insulin levels. Without ongoing spikes of insulin and blood sugar, the fat cells in the fat issue cannot store enough triglycerides to lead to obesity, at least in normal people. Carbohydrate restriction drives the body to burn its fat stores for fuel instead of glucose.

Nevertheless, food is not the only factor that can impact hormones and fat tissue metabolism. The following factors may also be able to derail fat tissue metabolism – even in the face of extreme carbohydrate restriction – and thus could lead to weight gain even on a low carb diet:
  • natural hormonal changes (such as puberty, menarche, pregnancy, menopause)
  • genetic changes or abnormalities
  • diseases
  • brain injuries
  • certain medications
  • stress
  • insomnia
  • other as of yet unidentified X factors

All the above factors theoretically can elevate insulin levels and blood sugar levels – independent of diet – and thus can be potentially blamed for weight loss failures.

Carb creep and special food sensitivities

"Carb creep" can stymie low carbohydrate plans. In the earliest phase of the Atkins diet, Induction, dieters are restricted to 20 grams of carbohydrate a day. Considering that the USDA food pyramid permits 375 grams of carbohydrate for people on a 2,500 calorie a day diet, this level of carb restriction is profound. It is all too easy to hit the 20 gram mark and thus get knocked out of fat burning mode. For instance, half a can of Coke can bring the daily carb count up to 20 grams. A full can of Coke has nearly 40 grams of carbs – twice the recommended daily limit for the Induction phase of Atkins.

Sensitivities to certain foods can also be a problem. And while dietary fat generally does not provoke an insulin response, dietary protein does drive a mild insulin response. Theoretically, someone who consumes thousands of excess calories of protein thus could drive a significant insulin response. That said, evidence shows that meat overfeeding is extremely hard to do, absent carbohydrates in the diet.

Multiple Possible Causes of Low Carb Diet Problems

Individuals struggling on low carb diet plans should speak with their physicians (and preferably an endocrinologist) as soon as possible. Hormonal problems driven by dietary and non-dietary factors may indicate a subtle or as-yet-undiagnosed health problem. Dozens and perhaps hundreds of factors in our environments and bodies can influence fat tissue metabolism, so it may take some detailed medical investigative work to determine the ultimate nature of obesity in any one person.

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