Calorie Calculator

Those that are looking to lose weight may find it easy to get started. The change in eating habits this often involves may give many people an immediate weight loss boost. Sustaining this may be harder. Once the body adapts to a change in diet, the individual may need to think more about issues like the calorie, cholesterol and fat content of the food they eat. A calorie calculator may be a useful tool here.

What are Calorie Calculators?

These tools (also often called trackers or counters) are aimed at helping the individual assess the food that they eat. So, for example, they may be able to use a calculator to find out how many calories are in a specific food or portion size. Some counters may also give further information such as typical fat content.

These kinds of calculators are available online and are often free to use. In some cases they may be included in the subscription cost of a broader weight loss program such as a meal planner or online diet journal. It is also possible to buy a hand held calorie counter or to download applications to certain types of phones.

What are Calorie Trackers Used For?

People will use these tools for a variety of reasons. For example, they may want to:
  • Meal plan (on a daily or weekly basis) to make sure that what they eat sticks to their recommended calorie intake each day.
  • Check out the content of a specific food to see how healthy or unhealthy it is.
  • Monitor their fat or cholesterol intake for either medical or dietary reasons. People on the Alli diet, for example, must be careful not to consume too much fat and a tracker could help them keep an eye on their intake.
  • Use a combined calorie checker/burner tool to assess how many calories they have burned off with exercise.
  • Work out what their daily calorie intake should be.

Not all calculators offer the same services and it may be worth checking a few out before choosing one to use.

Why Count Calories?

Everyone has a specific daily calorie intake that will keep them fit and healthy. People with weight problems often consume too many calories for their body shape and size and for the levels of exercise that they take. An individual that eats too many calories will basically see what isn't burned off turned into fat.

On a weight loss plan their intake may be set at a certain level. If they can stick to this (and get their recommended amount of daily exercise) then the individual stands a better chance of losing weight consistently and of keeping it off in the future.

But, those who haven't paid much attention to this in the past may need a helping hand. Working out how to fit foods into a daily calorie intake can be made a lot easier if they can assess the content of what they eat on a numerical basis.

So, for example, if an individual is given a calorie limit of 1600 calories a day, then using this kind of tool can make it much easier to understand both how to eat more healthily and how to build meals that will stick to their limit. They know how many calories they should eat and a calorie tracker can help them plan meals and/or track food content quickly and simply.

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Calculating BMI

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an indicator of relative body fat. The body mass index calculation takes into consideration the ratio of weight to height, and defines what weight category a person falls into. As such, by calculating BMI one can help predict health risks for weight associated diseases, and may want to consider their weight management options.

What is BMI - Body Mass Index?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an indicator of relative body fat that can be used to predict a person’s risk for weight associated diseases. It is determined using a simple calculation that takes into consideration the ratio of weight to height, and defines what weight category a person falls into. As such, BMI is used to classify whether a person is underweight, of normal weight, overweight or obese.

The Body Mass Index Calculation

BMI is defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres (kg/m2).
As such, the body mass index calculation uses the following equation:
BMI = Weight / (Height)2

How Does Calculating BMI Correlate to Normal Weight, Underweight, Overweight or Obese?

According to the WHO, a person is:
  • of normal weight if their BMI lies between 18.5 and 25 kg/m2.
  • underweight if their BMI falls below 18.5 kg/m2
  • overweight if their BMI lies between 25kg/m2 and 30kg/m2
  • obese if their BMI falls above 30kg/m2

Implications of Calculating BMI

By calculating BMI to determine if one is underweight, overweight, obese or of normal weight, a person may realise if they are at risk of weight-related complications and whether they should consider implementing a weight management strategy. Overweight, obese and underweight each pose health risks, and can lead to various complications and diseases, some of which can be life-threatening.

Health Risks When Body Mass Calculation = Overweight or Obesity
It is well known that excess weight is linked with certain diseases. These health risks are especially high for obesity, which is associated with life-threatening conditions including cancer, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, heart disease and stroke. Of note is heart disease, which is the number one cause of death for obese people.

Studies have shown that even a small weight loss - as little as 10% - can help lower the health risks for developing weight-associated diseases.

If a person is found to fall in the overweight or obese category, they may want to think about employing some lifestyle changes or investigate other options in order to reach a more healthy weight.

Besides diet and exercise, weight loss options include obesity drug treatments and surgery. Obesity drug treatment is usually only employed when changes in lifestyle measures have failed. In addition, whether one is suitable for weight loss treatment with an obesity drug will depend on various factors, including their BMI status and any other known health risks, such as diabetes or dyslipidaemia. Restrictive weight loss surgery is usually only employed for morbidly obese patients.

Health Risks When Body Mass Index Calculation = Underweight

Of course, being underweight is associated with health problems as well. First, underweight may indicate malnutrition, an eating disorder, or an underlying cause for weight loss that is not as evident. In addition, being underweight increases one’s health risk for osteoporosis, infertility and a weakened immune system.

For anyone concerned about calculating BMI and the resultant health risks, it is suggested that they seek help from a health professional regarding their weight gain or weight loss options.
By simply calculating BMI, one can gain an indication of the amount of relative body fat they have and determine which weight category they fall into. If a person’s BMI falls within the underweight, overweight or obesity ranges, they can then assess their lifestyle and possibly seek professional help in order to determine what changes may be made reach a more healthy weight and prevent future complications and diseases.

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Brown Fat

Fat, usually associated with white or yellow globules that stick to your body in unwanted areas, may not be as bad as previously thought. Some fat, primarily brown fat, or baby fat, may actually help in the battle of obesity. Unlike its white counterpart that stores energy, brown fat burns calories to generate body heat.

Until recently, brown fat was thought to exist only in infants. But researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts, found that not only do adults have brown fat, but those who are thinner have more than those who are not.

Who has Brown Fat?

Researchers believe that most adults have brown fat located primarily in the neck, above the collarbone and in the upper chest area. But the amount each person has depends on specific factors. Mainly, younger adults have more than older, thinner adults with normal blood glucose levels have more than those who are obese, women are more likely to have it than men, and patients who use heart drugs known as beta blockers have less brown fat deposits.

Help in the Fight Against Obesity and Diabetes
All three studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine on April 8, 2009, examined tissue sample from over 2000 patients. Scientists used a high-tech imaging positron-emission tomography and computed tomography (PET-CT) scan to determine how many calories were used and how much fat was burned.

The results suggest that brown fat plays an important role in regulating blood glucose levels and burning excess calories. It also shows that brown fat is more active in colder weather.
According to the article by Linda A. Johnson, “Watching Your Waistline? Fat May Be Your Friend,” published by the Associated Press on April 9, 2009 scientists are excited about the potential this research has for the ability to control obesity and diabetes treatment as well.

In the CNN article, “Brown Fat Burns Calories—May Lead to New Obesity Treatments, by Anne Harding on April 10, 2009, Dr. Aaron Cypress of the Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that these preliminary results may lead to the creation of drugs that help increase brown fat activity and burn extra calories. As of right now, the drugs on the market to fend obesity primarily try to decrease calorie intake.

Healthy Diet and Exercise Still Important

But Cypress also warns that brown fat alone will not contribute to dramatic weight loss. Even those who had high levels of brown fat only burned an additional 500 calories. Healthy eating habits as well as exercise is still the best way to lose weight.

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Tighten Loose Skin

Losing weight takes time, dedication, commitment and a lot of effort. Losing a lot of weight and maintaining the weight loss requires a complete lifestyle change. Unfortunately, many people are unhappy with their bodies after they lose a significant amount of weight because they have excess loose skin.

How Loose Skin Develops

Loose skin can occur if you lose weight too quickly, have carried the weight for many years, are getting older and have less elasticity to your skin or if you fail to exercise while you lose the weight. Diet alone isn't enough to reduce hanging skin. Even dieters who feel they have done everything correctly find themselves with excess loose skin.

Building Muscle to Tighten Loose Skin

There are some things you can do to tighten loose skin after losing weight, however. It's not a magic trick or an overnight fix, but it can be done over time with a commitment to exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Eat the right foods. Eating the right proportion of protein and carbs at every meal helps build muscle that tightens hanging skin. For best results include nuts, lean protein, poultry, oats, eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables in your diet.

The muscle you build under your skin helps to fill out the hanging skin left by fat loss. Your body takes on a tighter, firmer appearance over time with the help of resistance training.
Muscle revs up your metabolism. As a side effect of exercising regularly, building additional muscle mass fires up your body's metabolism. This allows you to burn calories faster, burning off the hidden layers of fat and giving your body a toned look.

Tips for Building Muscle to Reduce Hanging Skin

  • Focus on working the major muscles of the body. Though it may be tempting to spot train certain problems areas, it is less effective overall. Sagging skin under the arm will tighten up over time with a combination of resistance training and cardio. It isn't necessary to do endless repetitions of bicep curls or triceps kickbacks to see results.
  • Take time between workouts to rest your muscles. Your muscles grow when they are resting. The ideal workout schedule is to either do resistance training every other day or divide your upper and lower body workouts and alternate them.
  • Drink extra water and green tea to help kick your metabolism into overdrive.
  • Gradually increase the amount of weights you lift and the number of reps per set. Don't let your body adjust to a workout routine. Switch up your resistance training schedule often to throw your body off guard and allow it to keep burning calories and fat at a higher rate.
  • Use interval training as part of your resistance training. Alternate heavy and light session to produce better fat loss results and tighten loose skin.
  • Change your BMI to tighten loose skin. Changing your body composition can drastically change how your body looks.
Though other options exist, such as body creams and surgery, the best way to remove loose hanging skin is to follow a healthy lifestyle, eat right and commit to weight training in order to build muscle and burn more fat.

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herbs and spices

Of the many herbs and spices available, the best fat burners include those with high levels of spiciness. Cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne peppers, ginger, cloves and curry spices all boost fat burning and contribute to weight loss.

Cinnamon in the Diet Boosts Fat Burning

Adding cinnamon to food and drinks can give a healthy and festive flavor to meals, but it also may be one of the best spices for everyone from dieters to diabetics. The beneficial properties of cinnamon come from its proven ability to modulate blood sugar and help the body process carbohydrates.

According to a 2004 report from the USDA, as little as a half to one teaspoon a day can affect blood sugar levels, and similar amounts have also been shown to lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, levels. Oatmeal, hot cocoa, tea and fruit can all be flavored with cinnamon. Diet foods have never tasted so good.

Cardamom as a Thermogenic Herb

The Indian spice cardamom is known as a thermogenic herb, one that increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. In Ayurveda, the Indian system of regulating dietary health, cardamom is considered one of the best digestive aids and is believed to soothe the digestive system and help the body process other foods more efficiently. The spice is popular in Indian and Scandinavian food, but can also be added to tea and coffee to add a quick and easy fat burning boost.

Cayenne Pepper Spices Up the Fat Burn

As anyone who has taken a bite of hot pepper can attest, cayenne is a distinctly hot spice. But the heating effect doesn't end at the tongue. Cayenne pepper actually increases body temperature and speeds up metabolism, making it one of the best fat burning spices available. The active ingredient is capsaicin, which is also present in other spicy peppers. Add cayenne to Mexican, Cajun and other foods to spice up weight loss.

Cloves Help Burn Body Fat

Cloves are pungent spices commonly used in baking and to flavor meat dishes, but they also provide the added benefit of boosting metabolism and increasing weight loss. Like cinnamon, this herb lowers blood glucose, improving the body's ability to regulate insulin levels and prevent diabetes, according to Dr. Alam Khan of the Agricultural University in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Curry as the Secret to an Asian Weight Loss Diet

Curry, actually made up of a variety of spices including turmeric and cumin, is a powerful herbal blend that works best when the spices are used in combination with each other. Popular in Asian foods, including Indian and Thai cuisines, curry provides weight loss effects that could be the secret that keeps people in Asian cultures so thin in comparison to people following a typical western diet.

Ginger Boosts Metabolism and Burns Fat

A study by Australian scientists found that ginger increases metabolism, making it one of the best herbs for weight loss around. Ginger is also considered a thermogenic food and is commonly used in Asian cooking. Home cooks can toss some ginger into a soup or stir fry to gain the fat burning boost.

One of the best things about using herbs and spices to help with weight loss is that it takes so little, often no more than a teaspoon a day, to gain the beneficial effects. Using spices to burn body fat may be one of the easiest, and tastiest, ways to lose weight ever discovered. For the best fat burning diet, home cooks can mix spices with other foods that burn fat, increasing the beneficial effects and bringing their weight loss to a new level.

Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8. 2003.
Dr. Alam Khan, Presentation: Experimental Biology 2006 conference, San Francisco, CA. April, 2006
Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga , et al. Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine. Physiology & Behavior Volume 89, Issue 1, 30 August 2006
Bordia A, et al. Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.) on blood lipids, blood sugar and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1997 May;56(5):379-84.

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cellulite thighs

Cellulite is nothing more than fat under the skin which tends to look like cottage cheese primarily on the thighs and butt. There is no other substance feared and hated more by women. The desire to get rid of it is so strong that women will go to great financial and risk-taking lengths to be free of it. Billions are spent on products and treatment methods promising to make it disappear. Some of these products sound logical and others are down-right silly, but none of these get rid of cellulite. That's the sad truth.

Since there is so much money to be made from products promising to get rid of cellulite, Americans will continue to be bombarded by advertisements pushing ineffective products and treatments. It's up to the consumer to educate herself and not be vulnerable to such scams. The good news, however, is that by becoming an educated consumer there will no longer be wasted time trying things that don't work. The time will be spent using effective methods of controlling the appearance of cellulite.

If Cellulite is Just Fat Why Does It Look Lumpy in Some Places and Not in Others?

Areas of the body where more fat tends to be deposited and where skin is thinner are where the fat will take on the appearance of cottage cheese. That is why it tends to appear mainly on thighs, butt, and stomach.

There are several factors that influence whether you will get cellulite or not. They are:
  • Gender-More women than men get cellulite.
  • Genetics-It tends to run in families.
  • Fat-The more fat on the body overall, the more likely cellulite will show.
  • Skin Thickness-The thinner the skin the more cellulite will show. Women and certain ethnic groups, in general, have thinner skin than others and are more prone to showing cellulite.
  • Age-The older you get the more likely that cellulite will appear. This has to do with changes in the thickness of the skin as we age.

What are Some Ineffective Products and Treatments for Cellulite?

The numbers of products that are sold as cellulite treatments are numerous but here are a few:
  • Massage-the argument is that cellulite is caused by poor circulation and massage will improve circulation.
  • Topical creams-meant to "dissolve" cellulite.
  • Vitamins, minerals and herbs
  • Body wraps
  • Spa treatments

Some products may give a temporary appearance of improvement due to plumping of the skin rather than an actual decrease in cellulite.

Are Liposuction or SmartLipo the answers to Cellulite?

Neither liposuction nor Smartlipo is approved by the FDA for getting rid of cellulite. Despite any advertising or anecdotal claims to the contrary, there is no good science demonstrating that these expensive procedures are effective with getting rid of cellulite. To date, most doctors (including plastic surgeons) still recommend getting fit as the most effective way to control cellulite.

What are the Most Effective Ways to Control Cellulite?

Get fit. Gradually reduce overall fat, increase muscle mass through strength training, drink plenty of water, and eat healthily. It's an inexpensive method and it doesn't waste your time. There's no magical cure for cellulite but by doing what works, you'll also achieve other health and appearance benefits.

The Psychological Approach to Dealing with Cellulite

  • Accept that cellulite is just fat.
  • Think about the factors such as age, gender, and heredity that may be involved in your problem with cellulite.
  • Learn how to best lose overall fat and tone muscles so that you can reduce cellulite in a direct way.
  • When you've done all you can do sensibly, move on with life. Keep working on getting fit and have fun. Don't let cellulite get in your way.

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