How To Lose Weight Successfully And Permanently

Obesity rates are rising throughout the western world. For most of us, that means that many of us have a pound or few to lose. These days, being a little overweight is almost perceived as normal. However, we all know that to maintain a healthy life we should be keeping our weight in the healthy range. Failure to do this leads to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and many other unpleasant health issues.

We are all so used to instant gratification that it can be hard for any of us to get into better eating and exercising routines. We all want the weight to fall off yesterday and to look and feel like we did 10 years, or 10 pounds, ago. The best way to lose weight successfully for the long term is to start with a sensible eating plan and stick to it.

Lose Weight Naturally

For those who are seeking a healthy lifestyle, a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will have you glowing and full of energy in no time. Fresh foods prepared at home have much lower levels of fats, sugars and salt, than most foods bought on the run. Preparing food yourself is not only more cost effective but also allows you to have a better idea of the calories and carbs that you are consuming.

Fresh vegetables, nuts, fruits, and in particular, berries are full of antioxidants which have many health benefits. Natural foods such as cocoa beans, and chocolate, in particular, but also green tea and red wine (in moderation), are extremely high in flavonoids and phenolic acid which have recently been found to reduce fat secreting enzymes and triglyceride production in the fat cells of lab mice.

To lose weight naturally and safely is a fairly basic equation: eat less fuel than you are burning off. What does this mean? Eat less than you usually do, and exercise more than you usually do. Having said this, it is important that you maintain this ratio in a healthy balance. No one can exist forever on lettuce leaves and run 5 miles daily. Taking diets and exercising to extremes is not healthy, will burn you out, and leave you extremely bored and feeling dissatisfied.

A varied healthy diet and an exercise routine that you enjoy will be far more successful in the weeks ahead than a harsh diet with an unpleasant exercise component that you can’t maintain long term. Harsh diets and dreaded exercise routines will only led to broken diets and rebound weight gain. Generally the results of those diets are weighing more in the end than you did before you started.

Committing to a healthy and sensible lifestyle will enable you to maintain it long term. This will lead to permanent weight loss and not yo-yo dieting.

How To Lose Weight Safely

Slow and steady wins the weight loss race. Yes, we all want to drop a dress size overnight, but this will never happen safely. Fad diets and pills that claim to allow you lose ridiculous amounts of weight fast do sound tempting and better still, easy. However, they are never safe weight loss options. Generally, all you lose short term is muscle tone and fluid. The minute you rehydrate yourself, the pounds go straight back on.

It is important to not lose your muscle tone. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn in a day. Another way of thinking about it is, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works. This is clearly a win-win situation for everyone. Combining some muscle resistance into your workout routine will not only having you looking more toned and terrific, but the extra muscle will be doing your metabolism a great favor.

Harsh low carb diets can be dangerous in the long term as the body starts to burn up muscle as fuel. While low carb diets can allow you to drop weight quite quickly initially, losing your muscle in the long term is counter productive to permanent weight loss.

Most diet experts agree that a safe weight loss goal is 1-2 pounds per week.

Easy Tips To Lose Weight

* drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Not only will the water prevent you from becoming dehydrated while working out, the water will assist your body in flushing all those toxins out that are being broken down from the stored fat cells. Drinking plenty of water can also help alleviate the hunger pangs a little. Anyone participating in a low carb diet (less than 100 carbs daily) definitely needs to keep their fluid levels up to minimize kidney damage.

* exercise first thing in the morning. Many people swear by exercising before breakfast. The theory behind this is that your body is forced to burn up stored fat as there is no energy floating around your body from consumed food.

* don’t eat for an hour before or after exercising. This is similar to the theory above, where your body is forced to burn stored fat for its energy rather than whatever you have just put in your mouth.

* eat every 3-4 hours. Smaller portions broken up into meals every 3-4 hours is better for your metabolism than 3 big meals spaced further apart. When you body is receiving a constant supply of food it is happy to start burning fat as it realizes there is more food coming. However, once you go past the 4 hour mark your body instantly goes into starvation mode and clings to every last calorie that hits your lips next. For the doubters out there, take a good look at those you know who constantly seem to be eating and are super thin. Then there are the others who hardly eat a thing and gain weight just by looking at food. Having said this, we are not saying that you should eat 6 huge meals daily, rather divide what you used to eat during the day into 5 smaller portions. Better still, have 3 smaller meals, and 2-3 super healthy snacks, such as fruit or vegetables or low fat cottage cheese.

* weigh yourself weekly first thing in the morning. Most people’s weight fluctuates through a day or week. Select a day of the week to weigh yourself and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to jump on the scales every day, or twice daily, as you will only end up being discouraged. Don’t forget that all that water you are drinking actually weighs something on those scales!

* measure inches rather than pounds. Muscle weighs more than those flabby bits. Once you start toning up it can be disconcerting if you stop losing weight off the scales or even start to weigh more. This is where the tape measure and clothes come in. If you are looking better in your clothes then you are still losing fat overall. Your waist and hips may still be getting smaller but the muscle you are building up is weighing more. Another good reason to not become obsessed by the bathroom scales.

* incorporating lean protein into each meal is a great tip for leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Diets rich in good quality lean protein, for example, chicken, fish, or low fat cottage cheese, have also been proven to be effective in keeping the lost pounds off.

Exercise

No successful weight loss campaign is complete without mentioning exercise. Exercising not only burns calories, but if done correctly can speed your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you have finished. A workout routine that incorporates an aerobic component and some resistance work is going to be best for losing those inches. The aerobic component will burn the calories and fat, and the resistance component will increase your muscle, allowing your metabolism to be more effective.

You should be exercising 3-4 times weekly minimum. Start off slowly and build your times up. Warm ups and cool downs are essential for minimizing muscle strains and injuries. Once you start becoming used to your workout you will need to up the intensity and times to achieve the same benefits. Concentrate on reaching your target heart rate and staying in the correct zone for aerobic or fat burning. These charts are easy to obtain online and are posted in most gyms.

If you are considerably overweight or out of condition you should seek a medical clearance before starting off around the block in your running shoes.

Select an exercise that you actually enjoy for maximum pleasure. This will also reduce your chances of giving up.

Exercise with a buddy for extra encouragement if you need it. Socialising and exercising at the same time will help the time go faster and not seem so hard.

Include the whole family in such pursuits as walking the dog, skating, roller-blading, skiing, running, or just playing. Every extra bit of movement will be burning more calories.

A weekly workout with a few different activities lessens the chances of injuries and boredom. Mix it up a bit. Try some of these exercises:

* Walking is an effective way of burning calories and fat. Walking is a free activity that is low impact on the joints and a great place to start for those who haven’t exercised for a while. Walking is also great for warming up and cooling down before running and jogging.

* Jogging is great form of aerobic exercise for those with some level of fitness. As time goes by you will be able to pick up the pace and increase your distance.

* Skipping rope is another great and cost effective way to shed those pounds. 10 minutes of skipping rope is equivalent to a 30 minute jog. Great for the time challenged and a portable piece of exercise equipment. Also invaluable for when the weather prevents running and walking outside.

* Weights and bands are great for strength and resistance work. Depending on your budget, you can either workout at home or in a fitness club. There are numerous DVDs out there to give you some workout tips. Strength training can either be incorporated with an aerobic workout or performed separately on a different day.

* Swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise with minimum impact on sore joints like knees and hips. A vigorous swim will burn calories and can make a nice change from a jog or walk.

* Aqua aerobics is the perfect solution for those with joint problems, rehabilitation, pregnant ladies, and the elderly or unfit. The water acts as both a cushion for the joints and resistance for the muscles. Highly recommended for those who have difficulties exercising without encountering discomfort.

* Exercise bikes are highly effective ways of burning the calories and the fat. The great advantage to exercise bikes is that you can install one at home and pedal away at all hours of the day and night when the gym may be closed. Exercise bikes also make a great option when the weather is too nasty to exercise outdoors. Nowadays, exercise bikes have plenty of built-in programs to prevent boredom setting in and you can see how many miles you have pedaled and how much of your lunch or dinner you have burned up. Heart monitors can make these calculations even more accurate. For those with lower back problems recumbent exercise bikes are probably a better choice. These are a little more like sitting in a proper chair and correct posture of the lower back is maintained. They are also easier to step through to get on and off.

Conclusion

There is no quick and easy way to lose weight successfully and permanently. A sensible and healthy diet combined with exercise 3-4 times weekly at minimum is the best formula. Once you become accustomed to the workouts you will enjoy them and miss them when you can’t do them.

Select exercise routines that you enjoy and this will make it easier for you to participate.

Crash dieting and fad diets are dangerous for your health and only result in less muscle tone, slowing down your resting metabolism. The more muscle tone you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.

Permanent weight loss is a lifestyle decision incorporating pleasurable workouts with a healthy and fresh diet. Once you start to reap the benefits you will be highly motivated to continue.

Staying Motivated In The Summer Heat Is Easy – Sweat Don’t Melt!

Summer has arrived. It is time to pack away those winter woolens and drag out the cut off shorts and swimmers. Are we panicking yet? Looking at last year’s bikini can assist many with staying motivated in the summer heat. For others, the outdoors heat is enough of an excuse to stay indoors and turn up the air conditioner.

For fitness fanatics and those on a new summer inspired fitness regime, exercising in summer has many great benefits and also a few hazards. Follow these tips to ensure that you don’t end up with heat stroke while working out in the summer heat:

* Drink plenty of fluids. Water is a vital component of not suffering from heat exhaustion. If you are not sure how much you should rehydrate yourself, weigh yourself before and after an exercise session. The weight you have just lost is from lost water. Every kilo (2.2 pounds) lost is equivalent to 1 liter of water (4 cups) that you need to drink. Exercise drinks containing electrolytes can be invaluable for restoring balance when you become significantly dehydrated. It is a great idea to have a drink 20 minutes before you start exercising and then have a drink every 15 minutes once you start.

* Wear sunscreen.
Waterproof and sweat resistant sunscreen is best. You do not need to burn your skin while you are burning up calories and fat grams.

* Appropriate hours. The worst hours to exercise outdoors in summer are between 10am and 3pm. This is when the UV rays are at their most damaging, and the temperatures are generally higher. Exercising early in the morning, or later in the afternoon when the temperatures are lower will be much more pleasant and less damaging to your body.

* Be temperature aware. Once the temperature reaches dangerously high on the thermometer, it is time to move your activities indoors, or wait until it cools down.

* Go to the gym.
An air conditioned gym can make a pleasant and safer environment than exercising outdoors getting sunburned and heat stroke.

* Home exercise in a dedicated home gym with air conditioning or a good fan can be another sensible idea. Resistance bands, a fitness ball, and a Life Fitness recumbent exercise bike can make for an excellent and cost effective work out routine.

* Wear appropriate clothes that allow you to sweat, your skin to breathe, and you to move freely. Sun sensible clothes may be necessary in the middle of the day, which is another reason why it is better to exercise early in the morning or later in the evening.

* Stick to the shade.
If you are walking, jogging, or running in the warmer parts of the day stick to shady paths. The decrease in temperature and UV rays is hugely dramatic.

* Wear a hat to ensure that you do not fry the top of your head. A sunburned scalp is extremely painful and speeds up the process of heat exhaustion.

* Swap to water sports. This not only refreshing but cooling. Your body is far less likely to overheat when swimming laps or doing aqua aerobics.

Conclusion.

Staying motivated in the summer heat can be simple. To maintain your fitness levels and a bikini worthy body stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and drink plenty of water. If all else fails, exercise in air conditioned comfort.

The Many Benefits Of High Fiber Foods Can Include Weight Loss

There are many health giving benefits of high fiber foods. Your parents were right when they told you to eat your veges. Having a daily diet rich in high fiber foods is an easy way to assist with bowel health, reduce bad cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and help manage weight.

What is fiber?

Fiber is a dietary product derived from plant sources. These plant products are not broken down in the digestive process. As a result of this, the bulk, or fiber, passes through the stomach and intestines relatively unchanged. Fiber is not absorbed by the body. There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
* soluble fibers are those which will break down in water and include psyllium, oats, apples, carrots, peas, citrus fruits, and barley. Soluble fibers will form a gel like substance and are valuable for reducing the bad blood cholesterol and lowering glucose levels.
* insoluble fibers, as the name would suggest, do not break down when in contact with water. Nuts, vegetables, whole wheat, and wheat bran are excellent sources of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is important for maintaining food bulk as it passes through the bowel, and will aid those who suffer from conditions such as constipation and hemorrhoids.

What are good sources of high fiber foods?

It is important to consume both soluble and insoluble fiber on a daily basis. It is an excellent idea to vary your fiber sources to maintain a healthy and well balanced diet. Refined foods such as white flours and rices have a lot of their fiber removed in the processing. Peeling edible skins from fruit and vegetables will also reduce the fiber count of those foods. Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits will all provide varying amounts of fiber.

These are some of the higher fiber content foods:
* beans such as kidney, lima, black beans, and baked beans.
* lentils.
* vegetables such as peas, broccoli, green beans, artichoke, turnips, and corn.
* fruits such as pears, raspberries, apples, figs, blueberries, peaches, oranges, strawberries, and apricots.
* nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios.
* others such as oats, wholemeal flours and pastas, wholemeal bread, and popcorn.

How much fiber should you eat?

As a rough estimate, men under 50 should consume 38 grams daily, while men over 50 need 30 grams. Women under the age of 50 should consume 25 grams daily, and women over 50 need 21 grams. Children’s needs vary greatly depending upon their age.

Health benefits of high fiber diet:

* assists in weight loss. High fiber foods tend to take longer to chew and are more bulky. This aids in filling you up sooner, and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer. High fiber foods tend to have less empty calories and generally make for healthy snacks.
* reduces bad cholesterol. Soluble fibers tend to help absorb the harmful LDL’s.
* prevents constipation. Fiber adds bulk to your food, making passage through the intestine much easier. Be sure to also drink plenty of water.
* assists blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of sugars in foods through to the bloodstream. This can be particularly helpful for diabetics.
* reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Easy ways to increase your fiber:

* add psyllium husks to breakfast cereals and yogurts.
* bake with wholemeal flours instead of plain flour.
* feed the family wholemeal pastas, and use brown rice instead of white.
* buy breads with fiber added, or the wholemeal varieties.
* leave the skin on your fruit.
* add extra vegetables to your dinner.

Conclusion.

A diet rich in high fiber foods has been proven to reduce the incidence of colon (bowel) disease, reduce bad cholesterol levels, assist with weight management, and stabilise blood sugar levels. For more information on high fiber foods the Mayo clinic has an excellent fiber chart which you can access here Mayo Clinic’s Fiber Chart.