Christmas is just around the corner so I came up with the: “Top Ten Tips For A Healthy Christmas” I hope theses tips can really help you and get you even closer to your weight loss goals. As this is my last post of the year ( I will be back next year)
I would also like to wish you all reading this a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Every bit of success with your weight loss goals at the end of this 2014 Weight Loss season, and even more so for the new Weight Loss season ahead in 2015!
Without further ado here are my TOP TIPS!
ONE- Boil your vegetables in a small amount of water until they are al dente ( slightly undercooked). Do not overcook them as you don’t want to be tempted to add any unnecessary sauces on them ( ketchup, mayo etc)
TWO- Have regular meal times, so you don’t feel the hunger pangs. Don’t forget to start the day right with a healthy breakfast!
THREE- Avoid eating food such as crisps, chocolates and sweets, as it has no nutritional value and WILL NOT HELP YOU IN YOUR WEIGHT LOSS GOALS.
FOUR- Go for a really good cut of meat ( if you eat meat that is) and if you are eating Turkey, Goose or Chicken, take off the skin as it’s really high in fat.
FIVE- Pile your plate full of vegetables because it will leave less room for high fat foods such as stuffing and pigs-in-blankets to undo your good work.
SIX- Instead of having Christmas pudding, I suggest you go for a fruit salad mixed up with all the fruits you can think of and get eating. May not be to some peoples liking but after a really heavy meal I think it’s a smart decision.
SEVEN- Stop eating just before your belly pops. As your brain is quite slow to catch up to the fact that you are full, whereas your stomach knows from the get go and of course will let you know in due course who is actually boss.
EIGHT- Mindful eating..watch how much is going onto your plate, and secondly if you are glued to the telly you are not going to be very mindful of what you are eating.
NINE- Go for a 10 to 15 minutes walk an hour after you have had Christmas dinner. If you can slip away earlier then do so.
TEN- Last but not least enjoy the day… ITS CHRISTMASSSSSS
There are a lot of traditions that come at Christmas, but one that I know for sure is causing people lot of heartache is weight gained over the Christmas holidays.
So here are some examples of the most common Christmas habits that are making you gain weight, and how to avoid the extra kilos.
Doing No Exercise- I no its really tempting to just relax all day long, but make it a priority to maintain your fitness commitments, and if you don’t have one then get to work! No time better then right now. Take regular walks after you have eaten you will need it for all the extra food you will be consuming.
Going Hungry- A very common mistake is eating to many high fat pastries, while waiting for the “Real Food” arrive. Avoid doing this by making sure you have little nibbles in-between. Having filling snacks will make you want to eat less when the “Real Food” finally does arrive, its Christmas so you know you will be eating a lot more than usually right? So make sure you are eating healthy snacks and not the trash ones if you want to keep to your weight loss goals.
Buying Too Much Food- Having your cupboards stocked with excessive amounts of snack food, chocolates etc a recipe for disaster. Purchase only what you need and you wont feel like you have a mountain to climb come the next days after Christmas is over. Avoid buying large boxes of sweets and chocolates if you are looking to lose some real weight this month.
Eating Poor Quality Food- This one is a given, next time you go out to a party take a look at the slim people compared to the overweight ones. Generally speaking, slim individuals are pickier when it comes to food choices. Each time food comes around ask yourself this “ Do I really need to eat this? That then makes you ultimately responsible for what you eat and what you do not eat (Rather than blaming somebody else for being to full/eating food that will hamper your weight loss goals).
Drinking To Much Alcohol- The festive season should not be seen as an excuse to forget your limits if you a drinker. Make sure to have at least two days where you are not drinking any alcohol at all, drink plenty of water and don’t even bother drinking high sugary drinks like fruit juice and fizzy drinks as its not good for your weight loss goals.
Letting Christmas Go On Until January- I can only let you get away with this if you are Spanish! Get out of “Christmas mode” before the New Year, and start eating and excising, before you know it the extra weight that you want to lose will be gone… but you will never know unless you do it and see for yourself.
Vegetable oils are claimed to lower cholesterol levels, which if these claims were true, would help to protect you against heart disease (The Worlds Biggest Killer).
However… Despite lowering the LDL cholesterol, they can have disastrous effects on your health and metabolism.
Now I will share with you the reason why Vegetable oil is no good for you and what you can have instead for optimal health.
You would think Vegetable oil would be healthy because it has “Vegetable” in it… afraid not. The Term “Vegetable Oil” is just a false advertisement and not true what so ever!
Vegetable oil is made from grains, seeds and beans.
Here are some examples of what I am talking about:
Corn Oil= Grain
Canola Oil = Seed
Soybean Oil= Bean
Sunflower Oil= Seed
Safflower Oil= Seed
Peanut Oil= Bean, Yes it’s a bean not a nut.
Sesame Oil= Seed
More alarming than that though is the fact that all vegetable oils listed here are extracted using the poisonous solvent Hexane and this chemical process is responsible for over two thirds of hexane emissions in America.
Hexane processing strips the remaining nutrients from the oil, and turns a significant quantity of polyunsaturated fats into artery clogging trans fats! Forget looking for that on the nutrition label, (Nobody would buy it).
Since replacing just 2% of calories with dietary trans fat is associated with doubling your risk of death from cardiovascular disease, this is a significant health issue (Obviously).
What You Should You Use Instead?
When It comes to any food, keep in mind that where it comes from and how you store it can matter a lot.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (The Best)
Others (not just for cooking but for general health Below)
Nuts (In moderation)
VEGETABLE OIL IS NOT A FOOD. IT’S AN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT, AND IT HAS NO PLACE IN ANYONE’S DIET!
Antioxidants are frequently mentioned in everyday conversations. You also find antioxidant supplements on store shelves, and their health benefits are beloved by both marketers and the media. However, not many people actually know what they are and how they work. The concept of antioxidants is fairly complex so I would like to explain it in simple terms for better understanding.
So What Is Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that fight damage by free radicals, the unstable molecules that can harm cellular structures. Antioxidants do this by giving electrons to the free radicals and neutralizing them.
Antioxidants And Free Radicals Are Both Important
Free radicals are constantly being formed during metabolism. Without antioxidants, they would destroy our bodies fast. However, it is important to keep in mind that free radicals also serve important functions that are essential for survival too. E.g. your immune cells use free radicals to kill bacteria that try to infect us.
As with so many things in the body, we need a certain balance… we need the right amount of free radicals, and the right amount of antioxidants to keep them in check. When this balance gets disrupted, things start to go wrong.
When free radicals outnumber antioxidants, this leads to oxidative stress (which is a distributive unbalance between Free radicals and Antioxidants) during oxidative stress, important molecules in the body can become severely damaged. sometimes even leading to the cell itself dying.
A lot of stress factors and lifestyle habits are well known to promote excessive free radical formation and oxidative stress:
High blood Sugar Levels
Consuming Large Amounts Of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Radiation Including Sunbathing A Lot
Infections By Bacteria, Fungi or Viruses
Too Much Oxygen In The Body
Excessive Intake of Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Zinc
Too Much Oxygen In The Body
Intense And Prolonged Exercise, Which Causes Tissue Damage
Excessive Intake of Antioxidants, Such As Vitamins C And E
Prolonged oxidative stress leads to increased risk of negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. It also contributes to the ageing process.
Antioxidants Are Found In All Sorts Of Food
It is an essential source of antioxidants. They are naturally found in foods both plant and animal based origin, especially in vegetables, fruits and beverages like coffee and tea.
Types of Dietary Antioxidants
There are many different varieties of antioxidants found in foods. They can be broadly categorized into two groups, Water- soluble and fat- soluble antioxidants.
Water- Soluble antioxidants perform their actions in the fluid inside and outside the cells, whereas fat- soluble antioxidants act mainly in the cell membranes. Here is a list of a few important dietary antioxidants:
Vitamin C- One of the most important water- soluble antioxidants and an essential dietary nutrient.
Vitamin E- The main fat- soluble antioxidant that plays a critical role in protecting the cell membranes against oxidative damage.
Flavonoids- A large group of antioxidants found in plant foods.
Should You Take Antioxidant Supplements?
Real foods have hundreds if not thousands of different nutrients that work together. Taking just one or two isolated nutrients won’t have the same beneficial effects.
The best/ healthiest way to ensure adequate intake of antioxidants, is a diet which is rich in various vegetables and fruit, along with other healthy dietary habits.
However, low- dose supplementation, such as in multivitamin tablets, may be the answer if you are deficient in certain nutrients.
Most fruit consists primarily of carbs, while the avocado is high in healthy fats, which for me makes it rather unique. There are many reason why you should eat Avocado, so here are some beneficial ones I would like to share with you all.
Avocado Is Very Nutritious- This fruit comes from an Avocado tree, it is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to all sorts of dishes due to fact it has really good flavour and rich texture. It is the main ingredient of guacamole.
These days Avocado has become a very popular food among healthy eaters. Its is often hailed as a superfood… which I would agree with as it has strong health benefits.
Avocados are green as you may know but you can get black ones too, typically the blacker it is the softer it is to eat also.
They Contain More Potassium Than Banana- Potassium is a nutrient that most people are really not getting enough of. This nutrient helps maintain the body’s cells and serves various important functions.
Avocados are actually very high in potassium with a 100 gram (3.5 ounces) serving containing 14% of the RDA, compared to 10% in bananas, which is a typical high potassium food.
High potassium intake also reduces high blood pressure, strokes, kidney failure and high risk of a heart attack
Avocados Are Loaded With Fibre- Fibre is another nutrient found in relatively large amounts in Avocado. Fibre is indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases. A distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre is known to be able to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine, which are very important for the optimal function of our bodies.
Avocados Are Good For The Eyes- Not only do Avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves. This includes nutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health. I also happened to stumble across various studies just out of interest last week, and found that it dramatically reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in the elderly therefore, this also suggest that Avocados should have benefits for eye health over the longer term.
Avocados Help You Lose Weight- They really are weight loss friendly foods, especially in the long term. Avocados in your diet can help you naturally eat fewer calories and have an easier time sticking to a healthier diet. Avocados are also high in fibre, and very low in carbs, two attributes that should also help promote weight loss, at least in the context of a healthy real food based diet.
Avocados taste really nice- Try it for your self…ENOUGH SAID!
So only a month left until winter arrives, but its still not to late to eat some Fall foods that are also optimal for a healthy diet. Here are Five Top Fall Foods that will benefit you if you get eating them right away.
Apples- You know what they say an Apple a day keeps the doctor away! This delicious fruit contains pectin (type of fibre) shown to help lower LDL (aka bad cholesterol) In addition, as you may know apples count as part of your five a day.
Sweet Potatoes- This tasty tuber Is packed with vitamin A and potassium. A medium sweet potato contains 155% the recommend daily value of vitamin A, an antioxidant responsible for healthy eyes and hair. Potassium is another key mineral found in sweet potatoes and helps your muscles work efficiently.
Pears- This fall fruit is bursting with health benefits. Pears provide a healthy dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. At about 5 grams per medium fruit, pears are also a valuable source of fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut.
Brussels Sprouts- Packed with vitamin K and folate, Brussels sprouts are a must for your fall menu. This veggi is loaded with Vitamin K, which provides important blood clotting and bone strengthening functions. Folate is necessary for neural tube development (which is part of the brain and spinal cord), making Brussels sprouts a great choice for expectant mothers.
Pumpkin Seeds- Pumpkins are of course a classic hit at Halloween, but the seeds are even better. A one- ounce serving ( about 85 seeds) are relatively low in carbs with only 15 grams. They also carry a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, which is necessary for a healthy immune system.
Many normal weight people have the metabolic problems associated with obesity. This is because the fat under the skin is actually not that big of a problem at least not from a health standpoint; it is however a problem for cosmetic reasons.
It’s the fat in the abdominal cavity, the belly fat that is the bigger issue. If you have a lot of excess fat around your waistline, even if your not very big, then you should take the time and go through the steps to get rid of it. Belly fat is normally estimated by measuring around the waist with a tape measure.
Anything above 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women is known as abdominal obesity.
Here are 3 proven ways to lose belly fat.
Eating Protein Long-Term To Reduce Belly Fat- Protein is the most important when it comes to losing weight. It has been shown to reduce cravings by up to 60%, boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.
I know you are probably reading this because you want to reach your weight loss goal, then I would say adding protein to your diet is perhaps the single most effective change you can make.
Not only will it help you lose… it can also help you avoid re-gaining in the first place!
I read a study in from Denmark and it showed that protein, especially animal protein, was linked to significant reduced risk of belly fat gain over a period of 5 years. This same study showed that refined carbs and vegetable oils were linked to increased amounts of belly fat, but fruits and vegetables linked to reduced amounts.
So basically, make a really big effort to increase your intake of Eggs, Fish, Seafood, Meats, Poultry and dairy products. These are the best protein sources in the diet.
Bonus Tip: Vegetarians’ example of what you can eat instead of meat: Nuts and Seeds, Ricotta Cheese, canned Yellow Corn, dried Apricot, Oats… All the foods mentioned are from different food sources and an example of what I consider some of the best food sources to get your protein without eating meat. Of course there is so much more than that available for you to choose from.
Eat Food Rich In Fibre- Eating a lot of this can really help you with your weight loss goals. Eating high fibre foods/ water rich foods like Vegetable soups, fruits, salads and vegetables instead of foods without fibre and water, you can eat the same weight of food but feel full on fewer calories.
Eating Fibre is great thing to do first thing in the mornings too, eat cereals such as Oats to get the full benefits first thing. Though I would like to mention that no one fibre is perfect, so I would suggest you eat a wide variety of fibres to gain better health benefits of fibre.
Its not just your waist that trims either with a fibre rich diet you also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and constipation.
Bonus Tip: When adding fibre, take it slow as eating too much fibre straight away can leave you bloated and give you gas. Your body needs time to adapt. Also whilst increasing your fibre intake you should be drinking more liquid too.
Aerobic Exercise- Exercise is important for many reasons. It is one of the best things you can do if you want to live a long and healthy life, and avoid diseases.
Working out is very effective when looking to lose belly fat. But keep in mind I am talking about whole body workouts not just the topic of this article which is the stomach (for work out terms, Abdominals).
Spot reduction (losing fat in one spot) is a myth and not possible, and doing endless amounts of crunches will not make you lose fat from the belly.
This is why Aerobic exercises like Walking, Running, Swimming etc. have been shown to cause major reductions in belly fat. Exercise also leads to reduced inflammation and blood sugar levels.
Bonus Tip: JUST DO IT!
I would like to share with you 7 health habits that make you, but also keep you slim! Making behaviour changes is the real key to permanent weight loss, but just getting started in the first place is the only step you have to worry about for now… so if you want to look nice for more than just a season you have come to the right place
Drink Water Daily- That simple drink up! All dieters and healthy people in general who replace sweetened drinks with water have been shown to lose more weight. Also staying hydrated helps keep you fuller for longer and not craving food. If water is too plain for you to drink, try adding some lemon or lime and if too sour use cucumber slices to give it some flavour.
Eat Your Breakfast- Start every day with a balanced breakfast that combines high fibre and protein to help you boost your metabolism the right way, stabilize your blood sugar, control your hunger pains and boost your energy levels.
Eat Nuts- (If allergic to nuts please skip) Tree nuts such as Almonds are full of healthy fats, protein and fibre, making them the perfect snack to keep you going until your next meal. You don’t need to go crazy with it, a handful is more than enough.
Snack Attack- Waiting too long before meals can slow your metabolism, and increase your hunger, which typical means overeating. Aim to eat 4 small meals and 2 snacks throughout the day to keep your metabolism up and those cravings at bay.
Get Some Sleep- Lack of sleep leads to an increase in obesity and to be honest without this you are wasting your time. When you are tired you tend to crave those high fat sugary foods, so getting the correct sleep (which is 8 hours) has added benefits such as anti-ageing and disease prevention.
Keep Track- Get yourself a diary and start writing down all the foods you eat. Having this food journal will help you stay accountable and keep you on track. And if you lost or gained weight you can look back at what you had that day, week or month and know exactly what is working and what is not.
Chill Out- Relax! Stress increases cholesterol levels, which in turn leads to fat. So stop stressing or your just adding unwanted pounds in your life you could do without.