Not all party food is created equal. If you throw a party yourself, you are in complete control of making low calorie dishes and using heart healthy recipes.

Assuming you haven't made everything on the buffet table, here are 10 high-fat high calorie party foods to avoid:
  1. Dips. When we think of party foods, they almost always include dips. Most dips contain sour cream and you can bet it isn't fat-free. Veggie dip, ranch dressing, Mexican dip and cheese-based dips are all off-limits when you are on a diet.
  2. Cream sauces. Alfredo and other cream sauces are high in fat and can easily be substituted with a marinara sauce for fewer calories, less fat and better health.
  3. Fried foods. Fast food restaurants aren't the only ones serving up fat-lady fried foods. If it's crispy on the outside, you can bet that it has been fried in an unhealthy oil.
  4. Casseroles. Sweet potato casserole, tuna casserole, chicken casserole: you name it, it's filled with butter, sugar, carbs and extra calories. Avoid casseroles; instead pick foods in the most natural form (like vegetables, fruit, chicken, turkey or seafood.)
  5. Mexican dishes. Mexican food is festive and delicious, but it's also loaded with sour cream, sauces and high-fat cheeses.
  6. Italian dishes. The typical Italian dish is fried, paired with pasta and topped with cheese. It may be a family favorite, but you can cross chicken parmesan off your party food lists when you are looking for healthy options.
  7. Bread and rolls. Carbs are always a concern for people on a diet. Bread can be addictive and having one or more rolls with your meal can add several hundred calories, not to mention the butter or oil that you put on top of it.
  8. Potato dishes. It's best to avoid any potato-latent issues during the holidays. Potatoes are high in carbs and calories, especially when they are creamed with butter and sour cream. The best option for potatoes when you're on a diet is baked sweet potato.
  9. Desserts. Not all desserts are evil. That being said, you know in your heart that cheesecake, cake, pie, cookies and other desserts are loaded with sugar, calories and fat. Instead, opt for fresh fruit or Jell-O for a low calorie dessert.
  10. Drinks. Don't overlook the high amount of calories in pop and alcoholic drinks. You can eat healthy the whole holiday season, but if you load up on drinks you can still gain weight. Save the calories and fill up by sipping on water.
If you can manage to avoid these 10 party foods you will save yourself and lot of calories and have a better start on your weight loss goals for the new year.

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Consumers' email boxes have been flooded with ads for how the acai berry will help users lose weight quickly. While the idea of losing weight effortlessly while taking an acai supplement is appealing, this may be a case where the marketing far exceeds the science. An examination of the actual science and clinical research is necessary to determine if the idea of losing weight with acai is fact or fiction.

A Quick Recap on the "Amazing" Acai Berry

The acai berry grows in the acai palm trees of the Amazon rainforest. The acai berry is very high in antioxidants, healthy omega fats, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Acai gained international recognition as one of the healthiest fruits in the world after Dr. Perricone named the acai berry as the "#1 superfood" on the Oprah Winfrey show. Acai has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Early Show, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It is important to point out that while the acai berry itself has been the subject of extensive news coverage, specific brands of acai were never endorsed by Oprah or Dr. Oz.

Sine 2000, when acai was first introduced as juice and supplement in the USA, sales have been growing steadily. After Dr. Perricone named the acai berry the #1 superfood in 2004, sales started to take off. Acai berry juices, freeze dried acai supplements and acai smoothies became the "must have" exotic health tonic for many people.

Acai Berry Health Benefits Start to Take on Mythical Proportions

As use of acai berry supplements increased in 2005 and 2006, the stories of health benefits started to flood internet forums and websites. Users reported increased energy, better immune response, increase in libido, reduction in joint pain, better mood and more. Clearly, the very strong nutritional profile of the acai berry was producing incredibly positive benefits in many users.

Starting in 2007, a new health benefit of the acai berry was starting to make its way around the internet - incredible weight loss! New companies started to pop-up on almost a daily basis with claims that the acai berry was a weight loss miracle and could help consumers burn away pounds with little to no effort.

Acai Berry and Weight Loss - A Match Made in Marketing Heaven

A search of PubMed for clinical studies on the acai berry and weight loss turns up no real results. An examination of the web sites making strong weight loss claims shows no clinical evidence to support their claims. A review of the mechanism of actions in the phytonutrients that make up the acai berry uncover no explanation as to how acai could help with rapid weight loss.

In the end, it does appear that the claims of being able to lose 30 pounds in 30 days while using any acai product are untrue. Incredible claims of weight loss with acai are fictional and not based on the facts. In fact, many of the websites that make incredible weight loss claims have tiny print at the bottom of the page that says that rapid weight loss is not typical and the stories of the weight loss on the site are actually fictional.

When it Comes to Acai Berry and Weight Loss - It is Not All Bad News

The claims of rapid weight loss by just popping a few acai pills is a case of being "too good to be true." On the other hand, the theory behind acai increasing energy and helping people feel good is based on science. Studies show that the real key to long term weight loss is to exercise and reach a point where more calories are burned than consumed. The acai berry, with its ability to increase energy may help consumers exercise more and be more active, which can lead to real weight loss.

Consumers looking for a quick fix to rapid weight loss will not find the solution in the acai berry. On the other hand, consumers looking for a healthy fruit that can help increase activity levels and exercise and in turn achieve some long term, realistic weight loss goals may want to consider the acai berry.

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Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 50 pounds, weight loss can be a long hard battle. You can lose weight this year if you put your mind to it though. As complicated as it may seem, weight loss is as simple as calories in and calories out.

Calories In: a Weight Loss Plan

In order to lose weight, you first need to take stock of the calories that you eat each day. For one week, keep a diary of everything that you eat. Keep track of every snack, every meal and every drink. Do not hide anything in this journal. If you go back for seconds, write that down. If you get a double helping of mashed potatoes, write that down. This journal is for your eyes only, and you cannot lose weight until you understand what you are eating.

Once you have an idea of what you are eating, come up with ways to take calories out of your diet. Instead of making major changes to your diet, start small. If you drink 4 glasses of soda a day, cut that down to two. If you eat two or three helpings at a meal, cut that down. Find ways to cut back on what you eat without changing what you eat.

After adjusting to these minor changes, you can also begin to substitute the unhealthy foods you eat for more healthy choices. This may begin to happen naturally as you reduce your caloric intake. For example, if you do not eat two helpings of dinner, you may still be hungry and so you may snack on carrots or popcorn after dinner. Be sure that you do not replace your unhealthy food with more unhealthy foods.

Calories Out: a Weight Loss Plan

As long as you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight, guaranteed. If you burn the same amount of calories that you eat, you will maintain your weight, and if you eat more calories than you burn, you will put on weight. In order to increase the amount of calories that you burn in a day, make simple changes in your life. Park at the edge of the parking lot and walk a few feet further. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. The more you move the more calories you will burn.

This year as you attempt to lose weight, do not spend money on these fancy weight loss plans unless you need the motivation from a program. If you want a plan that will help you lose weight for sure, brush up on your simple math and begin adding up the calories. Calories in must be fewer than calories out in order for you to lose weight.

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7 weight loss tips
The following is a list of seven weight loss tips that can help you lose weight fast without diet pills. You can lose weight fast in the beginning by following these easy tips.
  1. Drink water. The number one tip for losing weight fast is to drink more water. Drinking water helps your body to flush out harmful toxins that tend to prevent weight loss. Experts in the diet industry suggests between six and eight glasses of water per day, but the more he water you can drink the better.
  2. Skip the pop. Don't drink diet or regular pop. Avoid drinking soda of all kinds to quickly reduce bloating and take inches off of your waist.
  3. Increase your fiber. Whole wheat and whole grain foods, along with fruits and vegetables, fill you up without overloading your body with excess calories. Gradually increase your fiber intake to lose weight fast.
  4. Eat more vegetables. Aim for five vegetables a day and gradually add more to your daily menus. Natural, unprocessed foods are best in regards to losing weight. Swap your regular snacks with carrot sticks, cuts up celery and cucumbers or canned vegetables.
  5. Limit TV. Watching too much TV encourages you to eat more than you realize. Avoid the excess calories and mindless eating by cutting down on the amount of time you spend in front of the TV. Find other activities to enjoy that occupy your hands as well as your time.
  6. Exercise. Cardio is essential for weight loss. Initially 30 minutes a day is an appropriate amount of exercise. Over time you want to work up to 60 to 90 minutes a day in order to lose weight quickly.
  7. Strength training. Resistance training raises your metabolism, builds muscle and burns fat. Add strength training to your cardio routine for the perfect for the balance of exercise. Resistance training is the most effective and quickest way to achieve a slimmer body. You'll be able to see and feel the results from strength training almost immediately. Within six weeks you should start to see a difference on the scale.
You can experience quick weight loss by following all of these tips simultaneously. Diet alone cannot help you lose weight quickly, nor can exercise alone. Combining diet and exercise, along with streaking more water, increasing your fiber, eating more vegetables and making exercise a part of your daily routine is the only way to lose weight fast without using diet pills.

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Holidays always include favorite foods and Valentine’s Day is no different. In the case of Cupid’s delectable treats, however, Valentine food is usually candy. The confections come in many flavors all sporting the same shape, a heart.

Everything from small hard pieces with fun messages, favorite candy bars newly released in heart shape, to pounds and pounds of chocolate. How does one survive a field of hand dipped, cream filled, richly rich land minds?

Valentine Candy Sabotage From Caustic Family and Friends

The reality of life is that there are those who really do not want others to succeed at weight loss. There are many reasons. Some don’t want others to be able to do what they cannot. There are those who are afraid a spouse will leave them if they are at a healthy weight. It’s easy to see that there could be any number of reasons why someone would place a stumbling block in the way of a dedicated Positive Loser.

Sometimes the friend or family member’s overt attempts to subvert one’s efforts can be extremely caustic, capable of burning someone’s resolve and utterly destroying all their hard work. When they will not respect the individual’s new way of being with food, these caustic people must be avoided.

Chocolate Therapy and Its Positive Effects

This author is not saying that chocolate should be avoided on the biggest cocoa day of the year. In fact, much has been written about the enjoyment and even benefits of chocolate. In small amounts, it can lift the spirits and give a sense of well being.

It has been reported for some time that dark chocolate has a soothing effect on emotions. Now, something chocolate lovers are happy to hear, is that dark chocolate has real health benefits as well. A Penn State study found "that a diet in flavonoid-rich cocoa powder and dark chocolate had favorable effects on LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) when compared with a diet that limited or excluded other flavonoid sources . . ."

Therefore, since one of the keys to successful weight loss is portion control, caution and moderation is suggested. The important point is that a small amount is all that is needed.

Surviving Chocolate Cravings and Maintaining Weight Loss

Valentine’s Day can bring disappointments and Valentine blues. Many people with negative emotions turn to food to overcome emotional upheavals. The Positive Loser will conquer chocolate cravings if they reframe their experience and set a new plan into place.

To reframe an emotion, one rehearses the opposite statement from the one they are telling themselves. The mind will believe what it is told. If the internal message is how sad and disappointed they are, they will continue to feel sad and disappointed. Some restructured self messages could be:
  • "I never have a date on Valentine’s Day." Reworded: "I loved planning a Valentine tea party for my nieces."
  • "My date was such a dud." Reworded: "My date was so different. It was fun to get to know them and find out what they do."
For a plan to take mastery over the angelically innocent box of chocolates, decide on an approach before the box is open. These are a few suggestions.
  • Take tiny snack size plastic bags and place one or two pieces of candy in each bag that has been labeled with the date it can be eaten.
  • If that takes too much control, give half of the candy to someone else, getting it out of the house.
  • Put a three by five card on the box and indicate the date each piece can be eaten.
  • Reward positive food choices by having one piece of chocolate at the end of the day.
  • It is easier to wait until late in the evening to have a piece of candy than to have one earlier and then try to have no more that day.
Think of it as a game rather than a power struggle. The tiny piece of chocolate has no power other than what is given to it by the one who wrestles with their own cravings. The Positive Loser refuses to struggle with power they already own.

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The brain is a powerful and complicated organ. It has the ability to make a person feel fatter from one day to another and even from one moment to another. This can happen even without gaining weight. But how does it happen?

Why People Distort Their Size

Everyone distorts their body image to some extent. The reason is because people cannot view themselves from the perspective that others see them. The closest a person can come to viewing themselves as others see them is through a mirror. Otherwise, people perceive themselves from within and they rely partially on how they feel to get a sense how they look. This is what is going on when a person says, “I feel fat.”

Eating Disorders and Body Image Distortion
The most severe distortions of body size are usually seen in individuals with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. For example, an anorexic person may perceive themselves as obese when others see them as emaciated. This person may talk about their stomach sticking out when it’s actually caving in. These are extremes, but distortions that are significantly different from reality can also be seen in people without diagnosable eating disorders.

Distortion of Body Size and Self-Esteem

Distortions of body size that are significantly different from actual size are often seen in people with low self-esteem who focus on their weight and dieting to correct what they perceive is the problem – their weight. Self-esteem is the acceptance that one is worthy despite personal weaknesses. A person can perceive themselves as fatter than others view them regardless of what their size actually is. This type of individual believes they are not worthwhile unless they accomplish goals that they have set for themselves. The goals can be social, such as attracting a mate; academic, such as getting straight A’s in school; or financial, such as earning a certain amount of money. When self-worth is based on external things, feelings of self-esteem are fleeting and fluctuate depending on what is going on at the time and how the person evaluates these things. When they think that they’ve achieved what makes them worthwhile, they feel better and when they perceive themselves as failing, they feel worthless.

The person who is preoccupied with their weight and size links their size with feelings of self-worth. That is, when they feel badly about themselves they feel fatter than when they feel they have met expectations. They can report sudden shifts in body size from one day to the other or even from one moment to the other. For example, a person can report that things were going relatively well on a given day when suddenly something goes wrong. It might have been a conflict with a friend, a bad grade in school, or not having lost weight as expected. At this point, the person can feel suddenly bigger or fatter, although it’s physiologically impossible for the body to have gotten bigger that quickly.

At the bottom of this phenomenon is a lack of self-worth and a belief that self-worth is connected to external things. The solution to this problem is not dieting or losing weight, but the realization that size is not the issue and that self-esteem comes from within. It’s at this point that body size distortions can start disappearing.

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