Gwyneth Paltrow made the headlines a few years ago when she revealed she was a devotee of this extremely strict diet. The main emphasis of the macrobiotic diet is wholegrains, these are supposed to make up 60% of all meals and the rest should be made up of mostly raw vegetables. It’s safe to say that the list of what you can’t eat is longer than the list of what you can eat. Say goodbye to anything and everything remotely fun or tasty, for example: Meat, processed foods, dairy products, eggs, sugar, poultry products and alcohol. Boring.
It’s every chocoholic’s dream: Research now shows that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate can reduce overall body fat and shrink your waist. A study among women with normal weight obesity (or skinny fat syndrome) who ate a Mediterranean diet that included two servings of dark chocolate each day showed a significant reduction in waist size than when on a cocoa-free meal plan. Researchers say it has to do with the flavonoids, heart-healthy compounds in chocolate that have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just be sure you’re reaching for a bar with at least 70 percent cacao, and stay away from the “alkalized” stuff, which has a significantly reduced flavonoid content.
Evening eating is often the most problematic for women, as it can be related more to emotional issues than to real hunger. You're tired, lonely, bored, anxious; you want to relax or reward yourself after a tough day. But indulge too many nights in a row and that temporary water gain becomes permanent fat gain — and fatter abs, rather than the flat abs you want.
“This is for me but this is also for my family. Because what’s the point of…not truly enjoying yourself. Not being present with your kids and your husband but being somewhere in the past or being scared of something in the future and not having the knowledge of being in my body and feeling comfortable in it and feeling present” – Marisol Peeples, Texas
I’m in favor of any program that promotes whole foods over hyper-processed fare, and this is one thing the popular diet plans can agree on. Overly processed foods have been linked to weight gain, perhaps because many unhealthy packaged foods (think: potato chips, ice cream, frozen pizza, cookies and the like) lack the fiber found in many whole foods, including vegetables. Fiber helps fill us up, and research suggests that by simply adding more fiber to your menu, you can lose weight nearly as well as a more complicated approach. Consistently choosing whole foods is one way to do this.
In addition to blasting belly fat, you should also be working out and trying to build up your muscle mass. Even when you’re at rest, your body is constantly burning calories, and the “resting metabolic rate” is much higher in people with more muscle. That’s because every pound of muscle uses about six calories a day just to sustain itself. If you can pack on just five pounds of muscle and sustain it, you’ll burn the caloric equivalent of three pounds of fat over the course of a year, and be even closer to obtaining that lean physique you’ve always wanted.
When you start a new program that your body is not accustomed to, expect to be a little sore, tired, or both. Start at a comfortable pace. Going all out the first few times you exercise could leave you feeling so sore that you have to take the next week off. Spending four weeks on the couch instead of in the gym will put you right back at square one, which just plain sucks.
Everyone’s body is different when it comes to digesting some gas-forming foods, but there are a few you should be wary of: It’s best to avoid beans and cruciferous veggies (think cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli) for a couple of days if you want to look slimmer. Choose lean proteins like chicken and fish or, if you’re vegetarian, go for small amounts of nuts and seeds for protein. Pair with non-gassy vegetables like asparagus, spinach, and cucumber to help prevent bloat.
The protocol was approved by the institutional review boards at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of the Louisiana State University System, as well as by a data and safety monitoring board appointed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. All participants provided written informed consent. The trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00072995).
We all know that nuts are a great healthy snack but often people get scared by the fact that too many can be bad news - when to stop?!? Well the American Pistachio Growers say that 37 pistachios are the equivalent of LESS THAN 100 calories! Plus nuts like almonds are high in fibre, which helps you feel satisfied in between meals. We don't need another excuse...
There’s some truth to the old adage that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day,” and if you’re looking to blast belly fat, what you eat at the start of each day can make all the difference. According to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast may be the most important investment you can make for your waistline. The study showed that eating breakfast triggered women’s brains to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical that helps to control impulses. In other words, eating a balanced breakfast decreases your chances of reaching for that 3 p.m. candy bar and keeps your belly slim.
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As far as sugar goes, high-fructose corn syrup is the worst of the lot. The man-made substance is a combination of corn syrup (which itself is 100 percent glucose) and pure fructose, making it a unique nightmare for your waistline. In one study, researchers fed subjects beverages sweetened with either glucose or fructose. Though both groups gained the same amount of weight over a two-month period, the fructose group gained its weight primarily as belly fat because of the way this type of sugar is processed in the liver. To avoid the belly-bloating HFCS trap, make sure you look at nutrition labels carefully and ditch the processed snacks and fruit drinks.
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We know this can be a bit of a tall order when you're working long hours but trying to eat at least 2 meals a day at home will work wonders for your waistline. Logistically you don't have the time or effort to knock something healthy up in the office kitchen, so unless you're super organised you will often go to snack stores for your food. So if you try to eat a healthy and satisfying breakfast and dinner at home you're less likely to snack through the day at your desk or when you get home late at night.
How much fiber should I eat per day? Most Americans eat less fiber than the USDA daily recommendations suggest. This article looks at the guidelines for fiber intake in men, women, and children. We also talk about how fiber can help with weight loss, and discuss how much fiber is too much. Learn about good sources of dietary fiber and a handy meal plan. Read now
“It can be easy for people to focus merely on what they are eating and on the weight loss progress,” says Mast. But sustainable weight loss relies on other factors as well. Mast emphasizes that finding a supportive community or one-on-one health coach is invaluable. Without a positive support system or the knowledge to develop a healthy eating plan, your weight loss is likely to stall. Speaking of which…
Push yourself, surprise yourself, believe in yourself: “Go lower.” he said. I looked at him questioning what he just said to me as if I didn't hear it at first and then moved my gaze from him to over at the chair behind me. I paused. Squats. My initial instinct was to try to do them on the chair because I had done them there just a month before, and I knew I could do it. It was comforting to know I could. The only difference this time was I was hoping to do more of them to put me into the improvement category and to be honest -just to get them done. A lot had happened in that time since the last time and I know I had gotten better at so much BUT I was still uncertain I could go as low as I was being asked to go. “You mean low like ON the step?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer. “Yes, on the step. Go low. You can do it, do just one. I know you can.” He reminded me and smiled in a playful way that pushed me. And I felt it. That he genuinely believed in me. It’s amazing to me that he believed in me so deeply that day when I wasn’t sure if I believed in myself on the same level. Sometimes others see us before we see ourselves and it’s sometimes necessary when we hear from them what we should be telling ourselves all along. Even though I had been telling myself one thing that day - it was there. The desire to want to go for it even though I immediately went for the easier option and didn’t push myself. I’ve never really needed to push myself physically or known how to. But in that moment I just needed a reminder and reason to go for it and he saw me and gave it to me. It’s better to try it and not accomplish it than to not have tried at all so I decided to go as low as I could no matter how low I couldn't go. I moved my legs shoulder width apart, put my weight on my heels and I hesitantly lowered myself, lower, lower and then I felt the step under me. I stopped mid squat, looked up, and smiled, surprised, “I did it!?!?” He smiled right back and quickly said, “yeah, but now KEEP GOING!” And I raised myself up before lowering myself back down and up and down again and up and down again and did just that- kept going.
Get some exercise . . .successful slimmers tend to make exercise part of their plan. It doesn’t have to be hard – even 20-30 minutes of fairly brisk walking a day will pay dividends. Add two weekly sessions of resistance training (which helps you burn more calories even whilst you're asleep) and you’ll be looking great that much quicker. Every little helps – look for opportunities to be more active in your daily life.
Most low-carb diets advocate replacing carbs with protein and fat, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. If you do try a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your intake of saturated and trans fats by choosing lean meats, fish and vegetarian sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and eating plenty of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
1 Reference for 5%: Blackburn G. (1995). Effect of degree of weight loss on health benefits. Obesity Research 3: 211S-216S. Reference for 10%: NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf [PDF-1.25MB]