Monday, January 30, 2006

Reduce Stress with Exercise

Reduce Stress with Exercise

We have heard it so many times before that there are many benefits to exercise especially when used to lower stress. If everyone knows that exercise is important then why is stress, disease, and fatigue so prevalent in today's society? The answer is simple. We know what to do we just aren't doing it.

Experts agree that one best way to manage stress is through exercise. Exercise has been proven to relax the body and mind, burn fat, improve cardiovascular system, bring in more oxygen, reduce the chance of diseases, lower blood pressure and the list goes on.

During the stress response, many chemical reactions occur in the body preparing it to what is known as the fight or flight response. During prehistoric days as cave dwellers, we had the opportunity to burn off our stress when an animal attacked, as it was a means of survival. We were able to run away or fight the threat immediately. In today's society, we do not have to fight a bear or tiger, so we do not have much of an outlet readily at hand to burn off the stress or pent up negative emotions. Therefore, we carry it with us creating emotional and physical problems. Exercise can help by providing an outlet for negative emotions such as worry, irritability, depression, hostility, anger, frustration, and anxiety. You can dissipate these feelings by simply taking it out on the tennis court, by running, or punching a bag. Regular exercise provides the opportunity to manage the fight or flight response and helps the body to return to a homeostasis or balanced state more quickly.

Exercise can also improve self-esteem and self worth by realizing that you are benefit directly. You may feel more outgoing and social because of the increased energy and also a better physique creating more confidence and positive self image. Your self-esteem may be enhanced by taking on exercise challenges or goals, giving you a feeling of accomplishment and reward.

Anaerobic vs. Aerobic Exercise:
Aerobic exercise is an activity that uses major muscle groups such as walking, running, swimming, and cycling. This type of exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system by increasing your heart and respiratory rate and brings in more oxygen into the body. To reap the full benefits of aerobic exercise, you must be at 60%-80% of your target heart rate for at least 20 minutes, between three and five times a week.

To calculate your target heart rate use the following formula:
Take 220 - (subtract) your age X (multiply 60%, or 70%, etc. intensity rate.) = Target heart rate (divide by six for a ten second pulse count. Take your pulse for ten seconds and gage where you are during the workout. Speed up the pace if you are below 60%.

Aerobic exercise is key to lose weight as it burns calories which are the energy consumed and adds fat to our bodies. Combined with a healthy diet it is a sure way to lose weight. One pound of body fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. To lose one pound, you must burn 3500 calories. It is easier to combine aerobics and create a small caloric deficit in your diet than to do one or the other solely.

Anaerobic exercise builds muscle strength and power. Isotonics and Isometrics are two kinds of anaerobic exercises.

Isotonics uses your muscles to contract against an object with movement such as weight lifting (also called strength or resistance training.) The benefits of isotonic exercises are stronger muscles, stronger bones, tone, prevent injuries, and condenses and shapes muscle for better esthetics.

Isometric exercise is contracting your muscles against resistance without movement. Such as lifting an object like a dumbbell and holding a position. You are isolating that muscle.

Use both types of anaerobic exercises to maximize your strength to build healthy, lean, and strong muscles.

Select exercises that you enjoy and can do for at least 20 minutes, three to five days a week. Exercise does not necessarily mean hitting the gym and making an ordeal out of it. It can simply be a walk around your neighborhood or dancing to some tunes. Try to think "activity" verses "exercise". When you are in an active mind-frame, you will purposely park a little farther, do stretches at the computer, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.

Commit that you will begin to be more active and stick to your exercises or activities for 21 days. Why 21? Research has showed that it takes about 21 days to create a habit. Document how your feel after the 21 days. Your stress levels should be lowered, you should feel more energized, and see some physical changes such as a slimmer physique.

You may already know the benefits of exercise but are you doing it? So start by making a decision, begin slowly, then gradually work up to more and longer workout sessions. The point of this article is to help you take immediate action.

In the words of Nike...well, you know.

To your health.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Mental Health Related : Stay Safe with a Strong Sense of Confidence

A good number of women who are attacked are chosen because of the way they presented themselves. Something about their posture told the assailant, “here is a weak woman, I can take her”. If you are scared out of your gourd, it will show.

Low self esteem or fearfulness looks like slouched shoulders; head down, arms folded in front or in pockets. Confidence looks like walking tall, shoulders back, head up, eye to eye contact, arms at the side. One statistic revealed that those trained in martial arts are less likely to ever be attacked because of the way they carry themselves. They’ve been trained to defend themselves and to not take a weak position. They have confidence.

Try this experiment. The next time you’re in a public place, mall, grocery store, the beach, no matter, walk past all the people and look them directly in the eye. You might want to smile a little or offer a “how ya doin’?” so they don’t think you’re stalking them. You’ll be amazed at the number of people who will not look at you. They’ll look down or away but not at you. Of course, in some cultures it’s not proper to look people in the eye. Be sensitive to that. But in many circles you will find it hard to find 10 people who will look at you.

By you looking at them, in some subconscious way you’re communicating that you are not afraid. You’re not sending nonverbal clues that you lack confidence. To get into the practice of always looking people in the eye, take it one step further and see what color eyes they have. It only takes a quick glance, you’re not starring down people but if you make an effort to determine eye color, you can be confident that you’re properly looking people head on in the eyes.

Get your hands out of your pockets when you walk. Uncross those arms that are locked across your chest. Not only does it look stronger and friendlier to have open arms, it’s safer. Should the need arise that you need to thwart off a would-be attacker; you’re going to need your arms to free yourself. How easy it is for one to come up from behind you and grab you if your arms are tucked neatly away? You’re just making it easy. How can you poke out eyeballs, or jab Adam’s apples or throw an elbow to the ribs if your arms are hugging yourself.

“But I AM scared,” you confess. There are two things you can do about that. One is take some self defense classes and learn how to not be afraid. The other and immediate method to change how you project yourself is to fake it until you make it. You may be scared out of your wits, but if you get the self talk going, “I am NOT afraid” and get the body language to follow it, head up, shoulders back, arms open, then you’re at least giving the allusion that you are not a weak prey.

Half of your battle is in the mind. Do something about it.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

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5 Tips about body building

Proper Equipment

Okay, the scenario is that you have made your New Year’s resolution and are determined to get into shape.
Too embarrassed to head to the gym just yet, you make the decision to purchase some equipment such as a Nordic Trac or treadmill to get in better shape before being seen in public.
While that is a common occurrence, it is important to make sure you buy the right equipment and equipment in good working order.
Many people will sell equipment at a huge discount in the local paper, making the buy look too good to pass up.
However, while most are honest sales, some are selling the equipment because it does not work or something is wrong with it.
This could lead to further injury so when buying from a private party, bring someone with you who knows about workout equipment or contact the maker of that particular piece of equipment and ask them what to look for to ensure you are buying a good piece of equipment.

Track Progress

Often when trying to get in shape, it seems like you are working hard and sweating, but getting nowhere.
In actuality, things are happening, just not yet seen. Keep track of two things in particular. First, track your measurements.
You will probably be surprised within only a few weeks at the progress made.
Second, track your routines so you can determine what is working for you and what is not as successful.

Circle of Friends

When trying to get into shape, it is important to have family and friends in support.
This means they need to respect your goals and not offer you wrong foods, or try to pull you away from your exercise program. Explain to them how important this is to you and that you need their encouragement.

Envision Success

Try to envision how great you will look and feel once you get in shape.
If you can, find a picture of someone that has the same body type and pin it up where you can look at it every day to help you see the same results you too can reach with hard work and time.

Safety First

Whatever you do, if you are involved in a sport or activity that has potential for injury, specifically head injury, use the proper equipment no matter what anyone else tells you.
For example, if you are involved with skateboarding and this is how you stay in shape, good for you! However, you need to wear protective gear such as a helmet, gloves, knee guards, etc.
Most people think that something significant has to happen in order to get a head in jury.
Unfortunately, that is a huge misconception. The truth is that falling one foot onto the pavement and hitting your head is enough to cause serious injury or death.
This is the time to put your pride aside and think of safety first.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Simple Tips for Easy Weight Loss

Simple Tips for Easy Weight Loss

Current statistics reveal that 75% of Americans are overweight and 40% are obese. For those who desire to lose weight and obtain optimal health, sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. From the Atkins Diet to the South Beach Diet; from the low fat to low carb diets, there are numerous weight-loss plans to choose from. In addition, given conflicting information as to what works best, it can be difficult deciding what to do.

For those who have tried many diet plans with no success, it becomes more difficult and frustrating. Many people forget that a diet might work wonders for their friend but won't work well for them...not because the diet is "bad", but because each body reacts differently. However, there is a way to lose weight that is easy, fast, and doesn't involve deprivation or calorie counting.

Before the weight loss tips are discussed, it's important to address some background information about body genetics and why weight loss can be difficult.

Before anyone starts a diet, it is important to note that each person has a different body build. Some people are short and stout while others are tall and thin. Some have big hips and shoulders, and others are short and very muscular. Genetics can determine body shape and a person's natural build just as it does eye color, hair color, skin color, and so on. The good news is that genetics do not determine whether or not one will be fat, but will determine one's body shape. This means that not every woman can expect to be tall and thin like a Hollywood actress or supermodel such as Tyra Banks. Not every man can expect to be defined and muscular like The Rock. The goal, really, is to be at a comfortable weight for one's body shape and to feel good about it.

So, why are people overweight? Here are 11 of the most common reasons:

1. Slow metabolism: People who are overweight have a hard time burning off food. As a result, the fat is stored.

2. Emotional eating: Those who struggle with weight often eat when stressed or when other emotional upheavals are happening in their life.

3. Hormonal imbalances.

4. Eating portions that are too large.

5. Eating lots of "diet food" (that is low fat,low carb, and "sugar free" foods). Kevin explains in the book why this is a problem.

6. Build up of toxins in the body.

7. Eating late: Late-night eating can cause food to convert to fat more easily.

8. High susceptibility to growth hormones: These hormones are given to animals to help them grow faster and larger, so meat and dairy have residual growth hormones. In humans, these hormones can result in increased fat storage.

9. Not eating breakfast.

10. Numerous diets: Going from diet to diet has a negative impact on the metabolism and causes weight loss to be much more difficult.

11. Food ingredients: The reasons why are amazing and beyond the scope of this article. Readers are encouraged to read for themselves Kevin's two books.

Simple Tips for Easy Weight Loss:

Now that there is a better understanding of body genetics and why people have a tendency to be overweight, here are the tips for fast, easy weight loss.

Tip #1: Drink water upon arising: First thing in the morning, drink eight ounces of distilled water, bottled water, or filtered water (not tap water).

Tip #2: Eat a big breakfast: This should be done 45 minutes after getting up in the morning. Suggested organic foods to choose from (they must be organic) are apples, bananas, rye bread with no sugar, plain yogurt, tuna, lamb, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, raw honey, wild smoked salmon, and so on.

Tip #3: Drink distilled water throughout the day: Eight glasses is recommended

Tip #4: Walk non-stop one hour each day: This doesn't have to be power walking; just walk at your own pace. Walking outdoors is best.

Tip #5: Stop eating after 6:00 PM: This is hard for some people, but do the best you can.

Tip #6: Do a candida cleanse: Candida is yeast overgrowth in the colon that can cause all kinds of health problems. Check online for "Candida Cleanse" or go to your local health food store.

Tip #7: Do a colon cleanse: This cleanse cleans out the digestive system, which is clogged and sluggish in many overweight people. Once again, check online or go to your local health food store.

More and more Americans are becoming overweight. Extra weight can result in many health issues and negatively impact one's emotional state and self-esteem. However, for those struggling with this problem, there is hope. You can lose it and keep it off. Now that you have a understanding of body genetics and why you might be overweight, take action today! Commit to trying at least a few of the steps.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Five Step Roadmap for Losing Weight

Five Step "Roadmap" for Losing Weight

If you happen to be among the millions of people who are weight impaired, you may have already considered, or even tried many alternatives for losing weight...and you may still be seeking that one magic "remedy"...

Sadly, there are no magic remedies, diet pills, or supplements for losing weight. It takes desire, persistence and lots of accurate information seasoned with ample amounts of supportive and caring guidance, to succeed.

Through the trials and tribulations of many failed weight loss plans we now know that if you try to manage your weight by making radical changes in your diet and lifestyle, you will eventually fail...around 95% of the time!

For a diet plan to be successful it must fit within the boundaries of normal day-to-day habits and activities. It must allow for the consumption of familiar foods in familiar and traditional social settings. The exclusion of "taboo" foods or your favorite fast food restaurant is generally a set-up for eventual dieting failure.

When you stop to think about, isn't it usually the things you are told that you can't do or have, that you desire the most? It's a part of human nature. We want what we can't have! Take it away from us, and surely this is exactly what we will want and crave the most...and this includes the foods we eat. Even the most highly regarded sources of information agree that we tend to focus on what we can't have (see what the Bible has to say about it; Romans 7:14-15).

So, a good plan for losing weight should not try to radically change your eating behavior. The plan should adapt to your daily activities and eating behavior. And of course any good plan should incorporate the benefits of good nutrition, convenience and practicality.

The bottom line is that we are all very busy people without a lot of time to spare. We're not about to turn our busy lifestyle upside down to follow some restrictive plan for losing weight. Oh...maybe something like this will work for a short period of time, but the facts don't lie. Short term loss is long term gain (in weight that is!). Although the "crash" weight loss diets may work for a short while, most of us will find that before long the pounds begin to creep back on...and there is good reason for this.

- We’re not going give-up eating at fast food and sit-down restaurants when we need a quick meal.

- We're not going to give-up eating with business associates, good friends and family or any other special meal occasions where dieting guidelines are difficult (or impossible) to follow.

- We're not going to completely eliminate the foods we love and crave.

- And we're most definitely not going to waste precious time preparing special dietary meals from "scratch" every day!

It's important to know that you don't have to stop doing any of the above to lose weight.

You can look and feel like a million bucks, take years off your appearance and have the energy and vitality to accomplish your dreams, by following a few simple guidelines. Here they are...

1) Take it one step at a time.

Some of the greatest accomplishments in life begin by taking one small step at a time. When we are challenged to think deeply, encouraged by others to succeed, and ultimately inspired to take action, great things start to happen!

If you have important weight loss goals you are not achieving, try to spend less time worrying about all the possible
"causes" and start concentrating on how you can make progress.

This is one of the keys to moving forward and a simple, but powerful tool for success.

Step #2 – Assess your dietary needs and lifestyle.

Awareness is the key!

Learn about your specific dietary needs (caloric intake) and daily energy requirements. We're talking a basic understanding here, and not having to go into any great detail. Here is a great tool that can help:

Step #3 - Seek advice from friends and trusted authorities.

Don't believe everything you hear! There are thousands of diet "scams" on the market. When you find a trusted source, ask as many questions as you can about diet and exercise. Find out what has worked for others. But always be on-guard for "quick fix" won't work!

Step #4 – Start creating a SYSTEM of support.

About 85% of our "happiness" and well-being is determined by the quality of our relationships with other people. Loving, caring relationships and a network of friends, family, and colleagues lowers stress, increases longevity and helps us to accomplish our goals in life (including losing weight).

We are social creatures and we do our best when we have friends to cheer us on, offer support, give advice and hold us accountable when necessary. This makes it easy for us to succeed. So, surround yourself with people, tools and activities that make it easier to succeed than to fail! Arrange your living environment and social situations so that every thing around you pulls your forward!

Step #5 – Use your resources.

Read motivational tips, general health information and any other literature you can get your hands-on. Information is power!


There you have it. So, get started today on "your" Road to Success!

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Simple Solution to Weight Control

It is not too uncommon for adults to find themselves in there 30's and 40's with widening middles and a larger size hanging in the closet. This gaining of weight is brought on by a slowing metabolism, sitting at a desk all day and by the stress of daily life. For woman there is the added weight gain of having children.

When you finally realize that your size is increasing year by year it is a hard reality to deal with. You have to look at all the options and there sure are a lot of options.

Buying into and following the latest diet craze is always appealing. Looking at those young toned bodies running on the beach and remembering when you were once young makes the fad diets hard to resist. The problem with most of these diets is that they are only a temporary fix. You are not curing the problem you are only treating the symptom.

To really fix the weight gain issue you need to take a good look at your life. Are you at a desk job? Are you home with kids all day? Do you pack a lunch or eat out? Do you eat on the road while traveling to work and running errands? All these factors play into weight gain for adults.

The solution is simpler than you think. You have heard it before eat less and exercise more. To do this you do not need to go out and join a gym or buy a scale and weigh every bite of food you put in your mouth. You simply need to put into place and take action upon easy to follow lifestyle changes.

To start with take a look at the food you are eating. Turn over the labels and read what a serving size is and how many calories are in a serving. If you keep in your mind that you want to consume around 1500 calories a day then follow the label you will do fine. At 1500 calories you should loose weight and this is an amount that if you eat an extra cookie you have some room for error.

The next thing you need to do is to get up and move. Remember you do not need to join an expensive gym or invest in dozens of exercise tapes just get up and move. Start with parking farther away from the office. Then put a lead on the dog and go for a walk after dinner. If all you feel you can fit in is 5 minutes start there and move up. In the beginning it may be hard to complete a mile but if you stick to it in a few months you will be walking a few miles with no problem and loosing weight.

Follow these extremely simple steps of paying attention to what you eat and getting up and moving and your waist line and over all health will improve in a sustainable way.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Staying Thin with the "Right" Diet

News Flash! This “just in” hot off the presses…

Researches now say that that Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets do not help when it comes to staying thin. In a comparison between low-carbohydrate, low fat and reduced calorie diets, all participants started to regain weight after six months, and by twelve months there was little difference between the groups. "There is no clear evidence that Atkins-style diets are better than any others for helping people stay slim, despite the popularity and apparent success of the Atkins diet," says Professor Arne Astrup of RVA University in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ok…so maybe this is a bit melodramatic, but it drives home a point. We are living in a world of dietary confusion, a Land of Oz and make-believe, where facts are hard to find and commercial diets aim to keep us in a confused state and distract us from the truth. This is just one of the many barriers that people face when trying to lose weight.

So how are we expected to deal with all this dietary misinformation? Here is a suggestion. Ignore the hype, find a safe and healthy diet that makes good common sense, and stay with the plan for life. While this might not seem like any great revelation, it’s amazing how many dieters beat their heads against the wall struggling to lose weight, hoping that “this time” the results will be different. My friend, if this describes your experience with dieting, you are following the wrong plan and need to consider a different approach.

Think back for a moment about how many times you have heard that to lose weight you must be “disciplined” in your approach. Or to put it another way, to lose weight you must be willing to just give up eating your favorite foods (like ice cream) and dining at your favorite places (yes, those fast foods are definitely out of the question). If this ill-advice actually worked, The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics would no longer rank obesity as one of their leading health problems!!

It’s not that Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach or any other weight loss plan can’t help us to lose weight. Ask almost anybody, and they will tell you it’s a snap to lose a few pounds. And, in fact, it is! We have no problem at all losing weight on virtually any diet. The problem surfaces its ugly head when we step on the scale six months down the road. Our high hopes and aspirations for losing weight get crushed when we realize that our weight, like the prodigal son of Biblical report, has found its way back home.

Take a moment to consider this fact: According to a nationwide survey (Gardenburger Inc.) it is estimated that more than three-quarters of all women between the ages of 25 and 54 make a decision to lose weight each year. In this same survey, nine out of ten respondents reported disappointing long-term results (some respondents actually gained weight instead).

You see, losing weight is easy! Anyone on basically any diet can lose weight. The difficult and tricky part is in keeping the pounds from creeping back-on over time.

We’ve been misled with just about every possible explanation and cause for gaining weight, ad-infinitum. If it’s not our lack of commitment, then it’s our low self esteem, failing to plan, or for some other reason. You name it, and there’s an explanation out there! But, the truth be known, when it comes to getting and staying slim, most of these “explanations” don’t make much sense.

What really, really matters in the long run is whether our everyday eating habits and energy intake are in-balance with our everyday energy expenditure.

The reason 95% of commercial diets eventually fail is because they violate this simple principle. They are designed for the “quick fix”, not for normal everyday eating that can last a lifetime. Most commercial diets require additional time and effort to start and follow, and worse, attempt to deprive us of our favorite foods and stop us from eating at our favorite restaurants.

With our busy schedules and increasing demands both at home and work, trying to find even an extra 10 minutes a day can be a challenge. Spending hours, or even days trying to adjust to a new diet plan is not only unrealistic, but is a total waste of precious time!

We all love the novelty and intrigue of trying something different and starting the next new “fad” diet plan is no exception. But unfortunately, the outcome for most of these plans is unsatisfactory. Once the novelty and excitement wear off we’re usually right back to where we started.

Attempts to force-fit changes in our diet generally follow a pattern that goes something like this…

- We start a new diet program. Excitement runs high, we are motivated to the max, the pounds are dropping like crazy, and the World is a wonderful place.

- Our busy schedule gets even busier. There are kids to take care of, bosses to satisfy, and of course there are always those new diet guidelines to learn and follow.

- At some point we find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a time management crisis, and looking for ways to save time.

- We decide to skip a few of the time consuming “special” diet meals and recipes “just this once”.

- Our “stash” of diet foods starts getting depleted, there’s no time for a full-blown grocery shopping experience, and we make the inevitable run to our local convenience store instead (ops……how did those snacks get into the grocery cart anyhow?).

…and so goes the story. We soon find that the restrictions, regulations and requirements of our new diet are incompatible with our normal eating habits. Before we even realize what’s happening we’re back to our old unhealthy, but more convenient way of eating. And the pile of dieting books and other special dieting paraphernalia we spend our hard earned money buying continues to grow.

The moral of the story is this; beware of diets that come loaded with all sorts of gimmicky and strange requirements and attempt to change our normal eating behavior. They are doomed to failure right from the start.

Find a diet that is practical, nutritious and in-balance with your everyday energy requirements. Do this, and you are guaranteed success!

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tips For Losing Weight

Tips For Losing Weight
by: Glenda Erceg

Want to lose a little weight? Even better, would you like to keep that weight off? Weight loss can be easier than you think.

Try eating several small meals a day. This does not mean eating several small meals of high calorie food. It also does not mean you need to give up all the foods you love. Eat half of what you think you want and you will be surprised at the difference this can make in the area of weight loss. When you eat five or six small meals a day you are not as likely to overeat because you will not be as hungry. People make a big mistake when they try to lose weight by eating only once a day.

Many people think that they can lose weight quickly by eating 800 calories a day. This may be true but the potential for gaining that weight right back is huge. As soon as your body adjusts to 800 calories a day and then you start eating more, you will gain all the weight you lost and maybe more.

You can try a diet program at a weight loss clinic. These programs can be very successful but you may need to stay with the program for the rest of your life or risk a weight gain.

One of the best things to do if you want to lose weight safely and keep it off is to watch the snacking. If you get hungry between meals have fruit, raw veggies, low fat yogurt or low calorie snacks like popcorn or prepackaged 100 calorie snacks.

Weight loss does not need to be a terrible ordeal. Cut back on what you eat, exercise everyday and slowly your goal of weight loss will be reached.

I am the source

Resource :
Copyright Glenda Erceg. For more resources on losing weight visit
This article can be reprinted as long as the article, this caption and author biography are kept intact with all hyperlinks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Are you a Weight Watcher ?

The decision to lose weight is not one that many people make lightly - excuse the pun. Often, it has been flitting around in the mind for years. It may even have been reached, acted on and abandoned as another fad diet bit the dust. Then, a rogue photograph appears depicting you doing your best whale impression, or you are unexpectedly required to move quickly (perhaps during a fire drill at work, where everyone sees you panting), and almost expire from the effort. Shamed into action you decide once again that another attempt to shed weight will be worthwhile.

The good news is that you needn't do it on your own. A huge range of weight-loss programs exist today - from independent, locally run clubs to the multi-national organizations- all offering weight-loss plans to suit individual needs and budgets.

Arguably, one of the most successful of the large organizations is WeightWatchers. Founded in a New York apartment over 40 years ago by Jane Nedetch, the small support group for friends has grown into the vastly successful international company that it is today. By combining a program of healthy eating and exercise with group support, WeightWatchers developed a 'partnership' approach to dieting which has since been emulated by many other weight-loss organizations world wide.

How does WeightWatchers operate?

After locating a local meeting venue via the internet or the local press, members can join the organization for a fee of around $25-$30. This membership fee is often waived during special promotion months, which are generally advertised in the media.

A weekly fee of around $10-$15 is paid at each meeting, although monthly and three-monthly packages can be bought in advance at a discounted rate. Membership lapses if a member fails to attend meetings for four weeks. Members must pay for a missed meeting but if they have missed more than two, they need only pay for the first week missed and for the current week. Each member is allowed to miss two meetings in the course of the year without having to pay.

When a member has reached an agreed 'goal' weight and maintained it (within two lbs or one kilo) for six weeks, he or she becomes a Life member and may attend future meetings free of charge, provided the goal weight is maintained and at least one meeting is attended each month.

Online membership is now available for those who cannot attend meetings or who live in a rural area. A monthly online membership costs around $44.

The Points System:
The dietary part of the WeightWatchers program works on a 'points' system. Every food is allocated a point value according to its fat and sugar content. For example, an apple may be valued at one point, while a sausage may be valued at five. Most vegetables and salad ingredients are 'free' and can be eaten without penalty. Members are given a daily point allocation of around 18-22 points, depending on their current weight. No food is forbidden, as long as the point value is factored into the daily point consumption. Points may be saved for later in a week to allow members to eat out.

Various exercises are also given a point value. Bonus points gained by being active, allow the member to save for later in the week, or may be spent on an extra treat to the value of the bonus on that day.

There are ceilings on the number of points which can be saved or earned in any one week to prevent binge eating, starving and excessive exercising.

All members receive a points-value guide to the basic foods in Week One of the program.

The Meetings:
On joining WeightWatchers, the member's height and current weight are recorded in the 'passport' document, which holds each member's personal details for the duration of the program. The member retains the passport and only has to produce it when being weighed. A general goal weight is then set in consultation with the group leader, based on healthy weight to height ratios. A more specific goal can be set later when the member's weight lies within this ratio.

The member receives the Week One support materials which included a weekly brochure containing a tracker (for recording food intake, exercise and points) a possible weekly menu, some words on the topic of the week and a Quickstart DVD ( a support DVD to be used during the first six weeks of the program).

The member then attends the weekly meeting during which the leader delivers a talk on the week's topic and members are invited to share their experiences, questions and advice.

Why is WeightWatchers so popular?
Many devotees of the organization will answer this in just one word: Flexibility.

The weight-loss plan which runs for 24 weeks can be tailored to meet a wide range of needs. The points system allows for total flexibility of menu. No food is forbidden or compulsory and the menus if used are written with busy lifestyles in mind.

Meetings are also flexible; with members being able to attend meetings at other venues should they find themselves unable to get to their usual meeting. Members are also free to choose the level of their involvement at these meetings. While some need the group support each week, many people opt to just 'weigh-in' then leave. Either is acceptable.

In addition, WeightWatchers offers a wide range of support materials: a points value guide to specific brands of foods, a Supermarket guide, the Eating-Out guide, a monthly WeightWatchers' magazine, WeightWatchers' own food products, cookbooks and scales.

Like any weight-loss program, the WeightWatchers system does have some drawbacks. As it is run at a local level by leaders who have previously lost weight on the program, and current members who volunteer, the effectiveness of the support group is dependent on individual personalities. If a new member has trouble fitting in with the existing group, he or she may choose not to return.

Some people may also argue that the points' system approach to weight control is a short term method and just one of many weight-loss options, although none of these other options are promoted to members.

Finally, for many people the weekly fee is too expensive, especially if the member does not like to attend the meetings. It does seem extravagant to spend $15 each week just to step on a pair of scales.

Regardless of these criticisms, people are still flocking to join WeightWatchers and many similar weight-loss organizations across the globe. In today's world, weight-loss needs to be less about vanity and more about health and well being, with all the benefits of looking good 'thrown in'.

Weight Watchers offers a practical, accessible and structured way forward to a fit, healthy lifestyle.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

How To Grow Sprouts

Sprouts not only taste good, but they are also a great source of vitamins, fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, and enzymes. A sprout is produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from the seeds of vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat, and from beans. While Mung beans are perhaps the most common source of sprouts, you can also obtain good results from lentils, soybeans and chickpeas just to name a few.

Sprouts can be grown almost anywhere and the best part is you only need a few basic supplies to get started. By following a few simple steps, you can receive a continual supply of nutritious sprouts.

While there are several commercial products available to cultivate sprouts, here are three of the easiest methods to help you get started.

- Growing Sprouts in Flower Pots -

1. Start with a clean clay or plastic flower pot. Make sure there is a hole in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage. Then place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin in the bottom of the pot over the hole so that the seeds/beans cannot fall out.

2. Next, soak the seeds or beans overnight and then put them in the pot. Remove any that are broken or damaged. Cover the plant pot with a dish.

3. Once a day, hold the pot under running water for a few minutes. This is to soak the seeds/beans thoroughly.

4. Once the sprouts begin to show, remove the dish and cover the pot with a piece of clear plastic wrap to let in the light. Place the sprouting pot near a window that allows daylight but is not in direct sunlight.

- Growing the Sprouts in Trays -

1. Soak the seeds or beans overnight. Remove any that are broken or damaged before you begin the sprouting process.

2. Select a low, flat dish (like a pie plate) or tray. You can purchase growing trays wherever planting supplies are sold.

3. Next, spread out a 2-inch layer of soil and then sprinkle the soaked seeds or beans on top of the soil.

4. Cover the seeds/beans with four layers of damp newspaper.

5. Cover the top of the tray with clear plastic wrap.

6. When the sprouts start to lift the plastic cover, (usually about three days) remove the newspaper.

7. Place the tray in a window so that the light can turn the sprouts green. You will need a space to place the sprouting tray that receives daylight but is not in direct sunlight.

8. Because the thin layer of soil dries out quickly, water twice each day.

9. After about 8-10 days, you will have sprouts tall enough to harvest.

- Growing Sprouts in a Jar -

1. Soak the seeds, grains, or beans in lukewarm water overnight in a wide-mouth glass jar. Remove any that are broken or damaged before you begin the sprouting process. (Sprouting increases the seed volume. 4-tablespoons will be sufficient for a quart size container.)

2. In the morning, pour off the water in the jar and rinse the seeds/beans thoroughly.

3. Place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin over the mouth of the jar. Use a rubber band to hold the material securely in place. This makes rinsing easier.

4. To keep the sprouts constantly damp, repeat the rinsing 2-3 times a day. Remember to drain any excess water because the sprouts should not stand in water.

5. Keep the jar away from the light for the first few days.

6. When the seeds/beans begin to sprout, (usually about the forth day) move the jar into the light to activate the chlorophyll and turn the sprouts green.

- Harvesting and Storing the Sprouts -

Newly germinated grain, seed, and sprouts, increase in food value in the very first period of growth. Grains should be harvested and eaten from when they are six days old until they are 4-5 inches tall. To harvest, just take your kitchen scissors and cut what you need.

Sprouts from beans, peas, etc., are ready earlier and can be eaten when they are 3-6 days old, depending on the type of sprout. For spouts grown in no soil or in seed trays, you can harvest the green "grass" when it starts to grow. Sprouts, from grain sown in jars, are ready sooner and are edible even before they turn green. Seeds sown in soil take a little longer.

If necessary, wash the sprouts thoroughly to remove the seed coat. Sprouts need to be stored in the refrigerator once they are ready to eat. Put the sprouts in tight sealing bags, and they will remain flavorful and crisp for one to two weeks. Rinsing the sprouts daily under cold water can extend their life.

Sprouts may be frozen by blanching them over steam for three minutes and then cooling them in ice water. Drain them and pack into freezer containers.

- Some of the Kinds of Seeds/Beans You Can Sprout -

The following list gives some of the popularly sprouted seeds/beans. It is not all inclusive as you can sprout almost any kind of seed. Remember that seeds soak up 2-3 times their dry volume in water and sprouts need at least six times the volume occupied by the seeds. So be sure that your container is large enough, and start with a minimal amount of seed in a container like a jar, until you determine the correct quantity that will grow to the sprout size you like, without being difficult to remove.

Your local garden shop or health food store will carry a line of seeds for sprouting. When purchasing seeds for sprouting, be certain that the seeds are intended for food and not for planting. This precaution is necessary because some seeds meant for planting have been treated with fungicides or insecticides to protect the young seedlings when planted in a field or garden.

Alfalfa - should be soaked for 6-12 hours. The seeds can be planted in the pots or jars and also in the flats with soil. 1-part seed gives 10-parts sprouts in approximately 5-6 days. Sprouts can be eaten after 3 days. When the root is 1-2 inches long, it will begin to develop tiny green leaves. At this stage, it needs to be eaten immediately so the plant will not switch to photosynthesis that exhausts the stored food in the seed.

Peas - when soaked in a glass jar, will grow sprouts in about 3 days. When the roots are 2-inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-part peas gives 2-parts sprouts.

Lentils - can be grown in either a glass jar or a plant pot and need to be soaked for 12-hours. The sprouts are ready in 3-4 days. Lentil sprouts are ready to be eaten when the root is 1-inch long. 1-part lentils gives 6-parts sprouts.

Barley, Oats, and Rye - should be soaked for 12-hours and then can either be grown as "grass" to harvest, or sprouts ready to eat after 3-4 days. The ideal length for eating is about 1/2-inch. 1-part seed gives 2-parts sprouts.

Soybeans - can be grown in a glass jar or a pot. They need to be soaked for 12-hours and sprouts are usually ready after 3-5 days. They are ready to eat when the root is 2-inches long. 1-part beans gives 4-parts sprouts.

Mung Beans - after soaking for 12-hours, these beans can be grown by any method. Mung beans are the most commonly grown sprouts and are usually ready to eat after 3-5 days. When the bright, white root grows from 1-2 inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-part beans gives 4-parts sprouts.

By growing your own sprouts, you will save yourself money because it is less expensive to buy sprout seeds and grow and harvest the sprouts yourself, than it is to buy the sprouts from a market. Sprouting at home takes only a few minutes a day, and can produce a good part of your daily requirements of the nutrients you need from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, and the freshness is wonderful.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Minerals: Why We Need Them for Better Health

MINERALS are basic elements found in the soil. Plants pick up these elements naturally. When we eat these plants [or animals who have eaten the plants], we absorb these minerals into our own tissues.

SODIUM, POTASSIUM, MAGNESIUM and CALCIUM are minerals the body requires in large amounts, the focus of this report will be on these four minerals. There are many other minerals the body uses but the amounts are very small.

SODIUM, known as salt, regulates the water distribution in our bodies. Salt is the most abundant mineral in our blood and active people need it. Low salt levels will cause dehydration and muscle cramps.

This does not mean piling on extra salt while cooking or eating, we get enough salt depending on the foods we eat.
Meat, fish, chicken, grains, and nuts contain salt.

Other foods high in salt: milk and margarine [except those advertised as low salt], canned foods, ketchup, popcorn, potato chips, french fries and sauerkraut.

According to a Harvard Medical School study, all our body requires is 0.2 grams of salt per day. Too much salt causes dehydration, potassium loss and serious medical problems.

POTASSIUM is a mineral that controls muscle heat and nerve conduction [the transmission of nerve impulses]. When we exercise and feel weak and tired, it's usually low mineral levels in muscle cells. Lack of Potassium is a common cause and there is no warning system to tell you this, unless a blood test is performed.

When exercising, muscle produces heat; Potassium released by the muscle prevents overheating by increasing blood flow. Sweat and urine excrete Potassium so replacing it is vital.

Fruit juices have high levels of Potassium, drinking generous amounts will replenish low levels of this mineral. Other Potassium rich foods are: fruits and vegetables, molasses, pecans, rye, flour, soy beans, walnuts and wheat germ.

MAGNESIUM helps to control muscle contraction and regulates the conversion of carbohydrates to energy. Low magnesium levels cause fatigue and muscle cramps.

A U.S. Department Of Agriculture report states that 36% of Magnesium is supplied through dairy products and meat. Other recommended foods are dark bread, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

Believe it or not, beer is a great source of magnesium. Some professional athletes have been known to hit the beer cooler as a post game recovery drink.

CALCIUM is the most abundant mineral and the main structural material for bones and teeth. Calcium controls muscle contraction and regulates most of the chemical reactions in our body.

Unless you are growing, pregnant or nursing, calcium requirements are low. If your body needs calcium, your own bones will supply it.

Sources of calcium: almonds, asparagus, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, cheese, egg yolk, figs, lentils, milk, nuts, sardines and turnip greens.

Combining these four minerals into your daily diet will increase energy levels and add some snap to your exercise routine!

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Creatine Supplement: A Bigger & Stronger You

Can creatine monohydrate make you stronger, faster and leaner? The answer is a qualified...Yes!

A number of studies have proven that when creatine supplements are used, in conjunction with exercise, significant gains can be made in strength and endurance. It has also been shown to improve muscle strength and decrease recovery time needed following a work out.

Creatine monohydrate works the best for activities that require rapid or intense effort. Activities such as weight lifting and sprinting are examples of this type of activity. If you are jogging or a marathon runner you may not see the same type of results.

About 93% of all the creatine in your body is stored in the muscles. The reason it is stored in your muscles is that it plays a key role in providing your body with a boost of energy it needs to perform work.

The normal energy cycle of the muscle requires a substance called Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP to fuel it. The muscle usually has enough ATP on board to fuel a burst of work lasting about 6 seconds. Creatine restores the ATP to a state where it can act as fuel for the muscle and continue the burst of activity for about another 6-12 seconds.

A good analogy is to think of the muscle as if it were a high performance engine. ATP is the gas for your engine and creatine is an octane booster that allows you to get better performance from your engine.

While the entire process is not completely understood the side effects of creatine include bigger muscles and increased production of muscle tissue.

This translates into more repetitions, more weight lifted and/or the ability to sprint faster. More work equals more muscle and more muscle equals increased strength and endurance.

Additionally, creatine has been shown to decrease muscle soreness and recovery time needed between work outs. Obviously, being sore can be a de-motivator when it comes to working out.

Activities such as jogging or marathon running may not benefit as much from creatine supplementation as weight lifting. The muscles work slower for these activities and seem to be able to restore ATP at a rate that meets the need.

Creatine occurs naturally and can be produced by the body. It is found in beef, pork, salmon, cod, herring and tuna. So, why not just eat meat? There are a number of reasons. Some people prefer not to eat meat. It is also impractical to eat as much meat that may be required to achieve the amount of creatine supplementation you desire. Creatine supplementation also allows you to know the exact amount of creatine you are getting.

The normal dose for creatine is between 2-5 grams per day. For the fastest results you can "load" the muscles by taking between 10-20 grams of creatine for approximately 5 days. Once you have loaded the muscles you can maintain the creatine level by taking the normal creatine dose approximately 30-60 minutes before a work out.

The negative side effects of creatine are that it can make you more likely to become dehydrated and if you are working out very intensely and/or in a very hot climate this can be dangerous. The body can lose up to 2-3 quarts of water in an hour if it is hot enough. The key is to drink plenty of water any time you work out.

Because it is excreted through the kidneys, and due to the increased risk of dehydration, creatine supplements are not recommended for people with kidney disease.

When you first start taking creatine supplements you may notice an immediate gain of weight of between 2 to 5 pounds. Creatine causes your muscles to store more water which seems to assist in creating more muscle. This is a side effect that causes many people to think that creatine is similar to anabolic steroids. Creatine is an amino acid and does not affect the body the same way that steroids do.

Other side effects can include injuries from stressing the joints and muscles by attempting to work too hard. This not a direct result of the creatine but is related to a misunderstanding of what creatine can do for your body.

The results of creatine supplements vary from minor to significant depending on the person using them. A number of factors come into play that affects the outcome. Age, sex, work out intensity and frequency as well as how much creatine store you start with all play a part in the results you will achieve.

If you suffer from any chronic illness or are on prescription medications for your heart, blood pressure or other medical conditions you should always consult your medical provider before taking creatine. This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

The Rainbow of Health

The Bible tells us that God gave the world the rainbow as a sign that He would never again send floods to destroy the inhabitants of the world. Throughout the world the rainbow goes by many names. Some of the names are: the flashing arch, bow of Indra, little window in the sky, bride of the rain, arch of Saint Martin, bridge of the Holy Spirit, crown of Saint Bernard, and the girdle of God.

The rainbow is beautiful to look at and a refreshing symbol to behold after a good rain. It is also a reminder of God’s love for us.

Perhaps we can also use the rainbow as a health reminder. The colors of the rainbow can be a reminder of the colors of the fruits and vegetables that we should eat on a daily basis for optimum health.

The blue and purple of the rainbow can remind us to eat purple grapes, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, and black currents. These contain anthocyanins, which can reduce the risks of cancer, heart attack, diabetic complications, age-related memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease. They can also help control high blood pressure.

Many of the dark purple foods contain phenolics, which may slow the effects of aging and are powerful antioxidants. This group includes prunes, plums, and raisins.

The green color in the rainbow can remind us to eat green peas, honeydew melons, kiwifruit, broccoli, green lettuces, kale, spinach, and leafy greens. These contain lutein, which helps maintain good vision and reduces the risks of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Another green group includes cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, Swiss chard, cauliflower, watercress, and turnips. These contain indoles, which are good for reducing the risks of cancer and tumor growth in cancer patients.

The yellow orange colors of the rainbow can remind us of foods that contain bioflavonoids, which work with vitamin C to reduce the risk of heart attack and cancer. They also have powerful antioxidants that help maintain strong bones, healthy skin, and good vision. The foods in this group include tangerines, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, peaches, apricots, nectarines, papaya, pineapple, pears, yellow raisins, and yellow peppers.

The dark orange of the rainbow can remind us to eat pumpkin, apricots, peaches, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, butternut squash, and cantaloupes. These contain beta-carotene, which can boost the immune system, is a powerful antioxidant, helps maintain good vision, and reduces the risks of heart attacks and cancer.

The red band of the rainbow can remind us to eat tomato based products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava. These foods contain lycopene and can reduce the risk of breast, skin, and prostrate cancer. They also reduce the risk of heart attack.

Other good foods in the red band are red onion, kidney beans, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, beets, cranberries, red apples (with the skin), and red cabbage. These contain anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. They can help control high blood pressure and can reduce the risks of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart attack, and diabetes complications.

A healthy goal is to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. It would be good to try to include fruits and vegetables from the different colors of the rainbow. There are many other fruits and vegetables that are not listed here. Include as many of them as possible for added variety and even better health.

So the next time you see a rainbow, let the rainbow’s colors remind you to eat the colorful fruits and vegetables that will help your body to be healthier.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Using the Swiss Ball for Better Posture and Increased Strength

For individuals looking for better posture and increased flexibility and strength, nothing could be easier than training with a Swiss ball.


The Swiss ball, also called the Stability ball, Exercise ball, Flexibility ball or other names, is a large, inflated, rubber ball. The Swiss ball was originally created in Italy in the 1960's and provides instability or resistance which requires the user to rely on 'core' muscles to retain balance - thus improving strength and flexibility of those muscles.

A Swiss doctor studied its use in a clinical setting by incorporating the ball in rehabilitation therapy. While it is still used in physiotherapy it has also become known in the general fitness world as an adaptable and enjoyable addition to routines building strength, flexibility and proper posture.


Because the Swiss ball is so easy to use and enjoyable, it is able to be used by almost everyone, young or old. However, because the Swiss ball is designed to create instability (thus forcing the body's own muscles to be employed) there is a need for caution. The elderly, injured, pregnant women or anyone otherwise subject to a lack of stability or increased risk of falling, should not use the Swiss ball without personal instruction and care.

When choosing a Swiss ball it is important to choose the size appropriate to your height as well as the intended use. Determine what technique you plan to use the Swiss ball for before purchasing your own ball.


If you are concerned about lower back pain or posture you can use the Swiss ball as an alternative to a regular chair. Sedentary workers find that certain muscles in the back become weak over time and are easily strained. Sitting on the Swiss ball will improve your 'core strength' by forcing the unused muscles to maintain balance.

There are many videos and books as well as group classes that teach routines targeting different muscle groups. The Swiss ball has been used in therapy as well as for professional athletes so you are sure to find a method suitable for your experience and needs.

While it is possible to use the Swiss ball on your own at home or the office (and is recommended as an easy way to fit in your workout) it is helpful to have professional instruction when learning to use the ball correctly. Having someone guide you into proper position will show you what the proper alignment feels like.

Performing warm up exercises is also recommended before beginning a Swiss ball routine. Using the Swiss ball properly will increase the benefits you receive with regular use. No matter what your fitness level, try it out and see how much fun the Swiss ball can be!

The Swiss Ball Makes Exercise Fun and Effective !

If you haven't experienced a workout using a Swiss ball, another name for a fitness ball, you don't know what you're missing.

There's a reason it has become so popular and it's not just a fad. The Swiss ball has been used for many years in physical therapy. It's actually recommended by many physical therapists as a way to help you relieve back pain.

The effectiveness of the Swiss ball is due to the fact it's round. That creates in-stability which in turns causes your body's core muscles to come into play.

Listen, when you do a crunch on the floor, basically your upper abs muscles are working. When you do it on the Swiss ball, your core muscles; which consist of all the muscles in your abs area, muscles in your back, your pelvic area and hips are working to help keep you on the ball.

You just did your crunch but since more muscles were brought into play, you actually increased the value of your exercise. The result is you can actually do fewer repetitions and get more benefit.

That's just the beginning. There are so many exercises you can do on the Swiss ball that you'll never get bored.

Try some pushups, not only with your feet on the ball and your arms on the floor, but with your feet on the floor and your hands on the ball. Spreading your feet apart gives you more stability and bringing them closer together makes the exercise tougher.

Do a few pushups with your feet close together and your hands on the ball and you won't believe the effect! Your arms will scream for mercy!

You can also do some dumbbell training on the Swiss ball and, once again, since you are bringing those core muscles into play, you get a good body core workout as well.

It takes a little while to get used to the ball. You should begin by sitting on it and just getting a feel for it. Roll it back and forth. Side to side.

It's not a bad idea to have someone with you when you first start working out on the ball to help you stay on. And definitely don't begin using weights of any size until you are comfortable and have been exercising on the ball for some time.

I urge you to try including the Swiss ball into your exercise routine. You will see and feel a difference!

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tennis and Running

Tennis Anyone

Tennis is not only a fun sport, but also a great way to exercise.
You do not have to be a Venice Williams to play; in fact, you do not even have to be good. Just running after the ball alone will help get you into shape.
This is a great way to strengthen your cardiovascular system and lose weight.
You can find tennis courts in just about every city and if you would like to play but have no idea how, lessons are reasonable.

Running in the Sand

If you live in a geographical area, where you have the luxury of sandy beaches, and if you are in the process of rehabilitating your knees, ankles, and even some injuries to the back, you should avoid running in the sand during this time.

The reason is that running on sand actually produces greater force on the joints.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Essential Nutrients Missing From Your Diet

There are several essential nutrients missing from the diets most people eat. Replacing them with vitamin supplements doesn't make up for the synergistic effects of nutrients found in food.


Fiber is the indigestible part of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Whole grains and cereal fiber can lower your heart disease risk by 30%. To increase the fiber in your diet to the recommended 14g for every 1,000 calories eaten, have a 1/2 cup serving of Fiber One cereal and add more beans to your diet with lentil soup. Use whole grain bread and add some fruit and vegetables to your meals.

Magnesium and Potassium

Magnesium and potassium are linked to blood pressure control, protection from osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. To add magnesium, have a half-cup of bran and cooked spinach daily. For potassium, eat sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans and bananas.


Calcium provides the raw material for building your teeth and bones. It prevents bone-thinning osteoporosis, contributes to healthy blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of colon cancer. To have the right amount in your diet, drink three glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk every day, or have eight ounces of fat-free yoghurt and 2-3 ounces of low-fat cheese each day.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A cares for and maintains our eyes, the linings of the respiratory, intestinal and urinary tracts, and the quality of our skin. To add more vitamin A to your diet, add darkly-pigmented foods to your daily diet. These include carrots, spinach, kale, winter squash, and a medium baked sweet potato. They do not include lettuce and french fries.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for our body to create collagen, a glue that holds our skin, bones, blood vessels and skin together. It also helps to make brain chemicals, neutralize damaging free radicals, and metabolize cholesterol. Vitamin C may also help the heart and reduce arthritis and diabetes. To add vitamin C to your diet, simply add a glass of orange juice or an orange every day. Other helpful foods with vitamin C are kiwifruit, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, red or green bell peppers, and broccoli.

Vitamin E

Sufficient vitamin E also neutralizes free radicals to protect cells from damage, plays a role in the immune system, can help prevent the common cold, and can lower the risk of Parkinson's disease. Foods healthy in vitamin E include almonds, sunflower kernels, and sunflower oil in salad dressings, which helps you gain the nutrients from the vegetables and carry the vitamin E into the bloodstream.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be
substantiated by scientific fact.)

Atkins Diet - Good or Bad?

The Atkins diet, without a doubt, has been the most controversial diet of all time. Seldom does a week go by that the news media does not mention the Atkins diet.

The Atkins diet, first introduced in 1972 by cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins, is considered the most extreme of the low carb diets. Hundreds of research studies by universities and research teams throughout North America, Europe, and Asia have been conducted on the Atkins diet.

The Atkins diet, as with any diet program, has its good and bad points - but, whatever side you are on, one thing is for sure. Dr. Atkins, and the Atkins diet, has done for the diet and nutrition industry what Mohammad Ali did for the boxing industry. Dr. Atkins created new awareness and introduced new concepts that will forever affect how we look at diets for weight loss as well as diets for health. Although the low carb diet was first written about in the late 1800's, low carb dieting truly came to life with the birth of the Atkins diet.

Let's take a look at three good and bad points of the Atkins diet.

Atkins diet - the good stuff.

1. THE ATKINS DIET BURNS FAT FASTER THAN ANY OTHER DIET. The human body is designed to use two different fuels to sustain life - glucose from carbs or ketones from fat. Glucose is the primary fuel, fat the backup. Every weight loss diet is based on the concept of burning fat. Conventional diets generally are designed to burn fat by starvation - by eating fewer calories than you use every day. This causes the body to dip into its reserve energy source - the fat surrounding your abdomen and your thighs first.

The Atkins diet approaches fat burning a different way. It limits the glucose (carb) intake so the body adjusts itself to using ketones (fat) as its primary fuel. Normally within three to four days of starting, your body is literally a fat burning machine on the Atkins diet.

2. THE ATKINS DIET DOESN'T LEAVE YOU HUNGRY. Unlike most conventional diets, the Atkins diet is not based so much on calorie intake. Dr. Atkins does, however, warn that you should not stuff yourself but only eat until satisfied. Also, since you are replacing carbs with protein, and the main protein source is meat, a high percentage of each meal will consist of meat and fat. Meat and fat are more fulfilling and much slower to digest. Not only do you feel more satisfied at dinner, but it will stay with you longer on the Atkins diet.

3. THE ATKINS DIET IS SAFE AND HEALTHY. The vast majority of studies show the Atkins diet to be extremely healthy, in comparison to other conventional weight loss and lifestyle diets. Nearly every study shows the Atkins diet the winner in reducing cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. In addition, many cases of acid reflux, sleep apnea, and diabetes have either had the symptoms reduced or completely disappear while on the Atkins diet.

Also, you'll often hear "we have no way of knowing the long term safety of low carb diets". Fact is, the Atkins diet has been around for over 30 years - longer than most other weight loss programs. Although first written about at the end of the 19th century, the low carb diet has actually been around for centuries prior to that.

How so? The North American Eskimo. Their diet has primarily been no or very low carbs. Yet chronic diseases that are epidemic today, such as diabetes and heart disease, were practically unknown among the Eskimos. At least this was true until they were introduced to sugar and white flour. The Eskimos have been well studied and found to be a healthy and hardy bunch, even after centuries of living on a low carb diet. Yes - a low carb diet much more extreme than even the Atkins diet.

Atkins Diet - The Bad Stuff.

1. THE ATKINS DIET BURNS FAT TOO QUICKLY. The primary concern here is toxic overload. When toxins enter you body, either from environmental sources or from additives in prepared foods, your body's defense mechanism will quickly try to eliminate them through the liver and kidneys. Quite often the overload is such that the body will also hide some of these toxins in your fat cells. When burning fat these toxins are released again into your bloodstream. You can experience toxic overload when you burn fat too fast, as in the first weeks or months of the Atkins diet.

2. THE ATKINS DIET CAUSES FATIGUE. Yes, initially it does - for a couple of reasons. First, switching fuels from glucose to ketones is stressful to the body. It's a drastic change in your metabolism. You might say it's similar to mild drug withdrawal. Many people actually do have a "carb addiction" and not even realize it. Secondly, as we learned a minute ago, your body will quite likely be working hard dealing with toxic overload if burning fat too fast, as early in the Atkins diet.

3. THE ATKINS DIET LACKS GOOD NUTRITION. Plant life is the basic nutritional source for all living creatures, including humans. When an animal eats plants, some of the nutrients, such as calcium and other minerals, are sent to different parts of the body where needed. And even if we eat an animal from nose to tail, including the bones, we are still missing some of these nutrients and essential enzymes that are burned up in the metabolic process. Good nutrition suffers when we drastically limit carbs, particularly with the induction phase of the Atkins diet.

Atkins Diet - Is It Right for You?

The Atkins diet has been proven safe, effective and Dr. Atkins' nutritional concepts are basically sound. This is probably the best choice for fast weight loss for an upcoming wedding or cruise - or to jump start your new life. A lot of water and a GOOD vitamin supplement are strongly recommended with ANY diet, but particularly with the Atkins diet.

The Atkins diet can be adjusted to a less aggressive program if you have a lot of weight to lose and wisely choose to lose the pounds more slowly over a longer period of time. This would be less stressful, much healthier and give the stretched skin a chance to shrink. Skipping the induction phase is one way. You may find this more sustainable over the long haul using the Atkins diet.

One important key to health and success with any low carb diet is to make every carb count by choosing nutrient dense live carbs. These include fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and green beans. This is critical where total carbs are very limited - such as with the first two stages of the Atkins diet.

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Cosmetic Surgery to Correct Basic Shape and Form Defects

Many women are dissatisfied with the shape or size of their breasts for one reason or another. If you are thinking along the lines of having cosmetic surgery for your problem, remember that some size and shape differences are normal and while breast implants will increase the size, they won’t correct basic shape and form defects. It is possible to have other forms of corrective surgery for that.

The breast implant operation is carried out under general anaesthetic and involves the insertion of the implant by means of a small incision under the breast, the armpit or even the belly-button area. The implant is made of silicone that is filled with a saline solution. The shape is based on the individual needs of the patient.

Cosmetic surgery can also be used to correct Gynecomastia, a condition affecting 40/60 percent of men in the USA, where fatty deposits due usually to an inherited factor cause enlarged breasts. This is called Liposculpture surgery and is a fairly recent development that will restore a thinner, more masculine contour to the chest.

After surgery the patient must wear a snug-fitting garment for several weeks. This will minimize bruising and swelling and help the skin to shrink more quickly. Return to work varies depending on the job. Office workers can return sooner than those doing more physically challenging work.

Whether you body has succumbed to the forces of gravity, or whether your shape is due to a diet too high in saturated fats, a tummy tuck might be just what you need. But don’t make the decision too lightly. Tummy tucks might sound simple and easy, but any operation that requires a general anaesthetic should be considered serious. For this reason, never be afraid to ask about your surgeon’s qualifications and experience.

Basically, a skilled professional trained in this field, excises folds of loose skin and fat, having previously marked the areas to be cut out. Slack muscles are then tightened before the operation is complete. The incision is usually made along the bikini line; the skin is pulled down and afterwards secured with several rows of sutures to minimize scarring. Fat may be harvested at the same time and frozen for use in a future Lipo-suction operation. This possibility should be discussed with the surgeon beforehand.

Other operations to remove sagging skin can be carried out on the thighs, upper arms and neck area. Face-lifts can be used to remove wrinkles and lift sagging areas and scarring is usually minimal, but if indulged in too often, the whole face can become a ghastly caricature of what Mother Nature intended.

More articles about women : - +200 articles collection about women.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Problem In The Sweetener World : Aspartame

One of the biggest hoaxes the public has bought into in the past several years is the artificial sweetener, aspartame. Aspartame is sold under several trade names, including Nutrasweet, Equal, Spenda, and others. All of these are very effective sweeteners and help to eliminate sugar from your diet. Aspartame has no nutritional value, is quite inexpensive, and is often used as a weight control product.

If the story stopped here, aspartame would be a real boon to society. We would have a better handle on the obesity problem. But, unfortunately, the story does not stop here. Aspartame is a dangerous chemical that has no real upside while having very many real downsides. Let's look at some of them.

Aspartame is a chemical that apparently crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects the thinking mechanisms. The symptoms of too much aspartame in the system are very close in effect to those of Alzheimer's. The memory, both short and long term, becomes much less effective. Heavy users of aspartame may begin to forget simple things and lose their ability to discriminate between simple memory functions and things that are long standing habits.

If you are a long-term user of aspartame, or one of those more sensitive to it, people who know you well may be able to sense a difference in your thinking and emotional behavior. But the differences will be subtle and slow in developing, so detection may be difficult. Even your best friends may not notice the changes for a while.

So, what is the solution to this problem? The obvious solution is to understand the consequences of aspartame consumption and to begin reducing or eliminating aspartame from your diet.

Awareness is a key factor in reducing aspartame consumption. Aspartame is generally found in just about any food or beverage advertised using words like "diet", "no sugar", "low calorie", "non-fattening" and "sugar free". Other phrases are also used that are easily recognizable.

It will pay you great dividends in terms of health and happiness to learn about the trade names for aspartame, and then to avoid them when shopping for groceries. Once you know and understand the terminology for aspartame, the rest is easy. You can quickly become adept at identifying the unwanted foods just by scanning the ingredient declaration on food labels.

With a little knowledge and some practice, you will soon become skilled at being able to choose tasty, healthy and nutritious foods when you shop!

(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)

Alternative Sweeteners for Sugar Free Desserts

Do you have a sweet tooth ? Do you crave sweet desserts ? Have you ever felt like a sugar addict ? Most desserts are packed full of sugar, and yet there is plenty of evidence that sugary desserts are not healthy foods.

You may decide to cut your sugar intake for a number of reasons:

- To eat a more natural diet - sugar is a highly processed food, and our hunter gatherer ancestors did not evolve to eat such a concentrated source of 'empty calories'.

- To assist in the control of your blood sugar - research shows that low sugar diets do help to control your blood sugar levels.

- To lose weight. A high sugar intake is a diet buster, regardless of which weight loss diet you try.

So how can you satisfy your sweet tooth without sugar ? There are a number of strategies:

- Create desserts from fresh, unprocessed fruit, with no sweeteners added. Sugar free fruit salad is a classic example of this approach. There are a number of classic desserts that can be served in a version based on this theme, such as Ambrosia, Balsamic Berries and Minted Melon.

- Cut out desserts, or only serve dessert as a very occasional treat. Believe it or not, even the strongest and most demanding sweet tooth will eventually quiet down, if your sugar addiction is not being fed.

- Use alternative sweeteners. Which alternative sweetener you use will be influenced by your reasons for giving up sugar, and by your own taste buds.

Natural sweeteners include honey, and Stevia.

- Honey is still a very concentrated food, and should be used very sparingly, if at all, if your goal is to control blood sugar or to lose weight. However, honey, in very small quantities, does still have its place in a natural foods diet.

- Stevia is an extract from the leaf of the Stevia plant. It is intensely sweet, and only tiny amounts are needed to sweeten a dessert, so it's more suitable than honey for blood sugar control and weight loss. But there are a couple of catches with Stevia: It is approved as a supplement, rather than as a food additive, so you can only use it for foods that you sweeten yourself. And, depending on the brand, it can have a slightly 'liquorice' taste. It’s well worth experimenting with different brands, to find the brand most acceptable to your taste. Generally speaking, the white extracts have less taste. Oh yes, and watch out for the fillers! There's not much point in using a low-calorie / low-carb sweetener like Stevia if it's a brand that's packed with a high-calorie / high-carb fillers, so remember to read the labels.

Artificial sweeteners include saccharine, aspartame and Splenda. It’s worth bearing in mind that some people are sensitive to one or more artificial sweeteners, and report headaches and other side effects. Whether or not you use them is ultimately your decision. Many people have decided that when the only drinks available are artificially sweetened diet drinks or sugary drinks, that for them, the artificial sweetener is the lesser of the two evils.

If you're cooking with artificial sweeteners, read the label and avoid those with high calorie / high-carb fillers. But don't bother cooking with aspartame - its sweetness disappears with the heat of the cooking. This is why aspartame is mainly used for drinks. And it’s worth noting that if you'd like to reduce your artificial sweetener usage, but don't like the taste of Stevia, a combination of Splenda and Stevia is pleasantly sweet and virtually tasteless - somehow the Splenda 'smoothes out' the Stevia flavor.

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision which sweeteners or combination of sweeteners that you use, but with the range of alternative sweeteners available you can make delicious sugar-free choices.

Soothe Nighttime Heartburn and Indigestion

7 Easy Remedies to Soothe Nighttime Heartburn and Indigestion

Who hasn’t bolted upright in the night, awakened by a sudden and terrible burning sensation in the pit of their stomach? Whether you indulged in some overly spicy chili, or overdid it on those late-night leftovers, these quick heartburn remedies will soothe your fiery stomach and help you get back to sleep!

1. The first thing you’ll want to do when you’re awakened by heartburn pain, is to stand up. This helps keep the acid at bay while you go and get a full glass of cool water.

2. Drink the whole glass of water, and follow it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and half a glass of water. Be careful though, if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant, this can cause water retention or increase your blood pressure.

3. DON’T drink milk or suck on mints to relieve heartburn. Milk might feel nice and cool going down, but it actually contains fats and proteins that cause your stomach to secrete MORE acid and make your heartburn worse! Mints, while they may feel soothing, actually relax the small valve between your esophagus and stomach, whose purpose it is to actually KEEP acid at bay! When this valve is relaxed, more acid can seep up and aggravate heartburn symptoms!

4. This is going to sound strange, but downing a teaspoon of vinegar can help soothe heartburn immediately! Why give your stomach MORE acid when it already seems to have enough, you ask? Sometimes, heartburn is caused as a result of too little acid, and vinegar helps quell indigestion by giving your stomach a little extra “juice” (no pun intended!) to do its job!

5. Certain foods can cause nighttime heartburn, including: soda pop or beverages with caffeine (which you shouldn’t be drinking before bed anyway!), alcohol, garlic, chocolate (sorry!), citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato-based products. Avoiding these types of food can help ease your indigestion if you frequently find yourself awakened with that intolerable burning!

6. Eating a banana each day works like an antacid to soothe heartburn. If you’re already stricken with indigestion, eating pineapple or papaya (or drinking the juice) can help settle your stomach naturally. Some people also claim that eating a teaspoon of mustard (yuck!) can work immediately.

7. Avoid eating at least two hours before you go to sleep. Those late night snacks can keep your stomach busy all night and prevent you from easing into a deep, restful sleep. You may also find that sleeping on your left side or sleeping at a somewhat upright angle can keep acid down where it belongs.

If you are awakened by heartburn on a regular basis, or the pain is severe, or if you have heartburn with vomiting, you’ll want to consult your doctor immediately as it may be a sign of a more serious condition such as an ulcer. Above all, avoid spicy, fatty and caffeine-containing foods before bed, and you should be able to drift off to sleep easily.

Sweet dreams!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Are All Vitamins Created Equal?

Everyone has read the reports and seen the news. Our soil is depleted and lacks the necessary nutrients and minerals that our bodies need. The environment is toxic and wreaks havoc on our health. Free radicals attack our immune system. The only solution seems to be supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to compensate for environmental deficiencies.

After hearing all of this, what do most people do? They take a trip to the local supercenter or pharmacy, grab bottles of a popular supplement, and then think their job is done. It is a safe bet, however, that many people are not considering if what they consume is nutritionally complete and balanced. Not all supplements are created equal.

Dr. Myron Wentz, Ph.D and founder of USANA Health Sciences has this to say in the company's "Health and Freedom" brochure: " I began testing health supplements in my analytical laboratory to measure their nutritional balance and their effectiveness in promoting and sustaining a healthy life. Many of the products I analyzed were not only nutritionally unbalanced, but had incorrect and misleading labels. My research proved many times that what consumers thought they were buying and what they were receiving were two different things."

What can people do to ensure they are purchasing supplements that are high quality and nutritionally balanced? Here are 5 tips to assist in this process:

1. Perform careful research! Don't just go along with the latest fads. A good book to purchase is "The Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements" by Lyle MacWilliam, BSc, MSc. MacWilliam is a former Canadian Member of Parliament and a current member of the Legislative Assembly for British Columbia. His book carefully analyzes over 500 products available in the US and Canada. The products that are listed at the top are best in the market today.

2. Look for a company who invests significant time and money in extensive scientific research, has worldwide scientific alliances, and who puts quality first.

3. Check to see if there is a guaranteed potency. Yes, there are companies who offer this and who follow stringent analytical and quality control procedures. In other words, what you see on a product's label is actually in the product.

4. Make sure the company's products follow pharmaceutical-grade good manufacturing practices (GMP). This is a step above FDA regulations. This means a variety of government agencies conduct periodic inspections and require control of procedures, as well as documentation.

5. Lastly, look to see if the company's products provide a money-back guarantee. Believe it or not, there is a company that is so confident about its products that if offers a revolutionary one million money-back guarantee to some professional and world class athletes.

Follow the above 5 tips for optimal health!

Could the food you eat be causing you problems?

Do you class yourself as having a 'cast iron' digestive system? Or do you seem to have digestive problems after eating certain foods?

Much research has been carried out on foods and there is a belief in certain quarters that certain foods, eaten together, could be the cause of many potential dietary problems.

Of course, the reasons for dietary problems can be complex, but since we are organic beings, should we not be aware that eating foods, in any order, might just be the cause, or at least, part cause, of any health or dietary problems?

When you eat your food, your body has to digest it, but have you ever stopped to think whether different food combinations may be harder to digest than others?

Eating a large meal can make some people sleepy and lethargic (something a lot of us feel like at Christmas, after the Christmas day meal!). More interestingly, eating a smaller meal, for example, a sandwich, can create a similar effect, especially if it contained a protein filling. (A lazy British Earl with the surname of Sandwich invented this ubiquitous snack. He was not a dietician!)

This tiredness or lethargy after eating a meal is your body 'shutting down' while it concentrates on digesting the food (forget the Christmas alcohol for the moment).

But what happens when we are reasonably healthy and we eat, say a cheese sandwich or two?

For some, there may be nothing noticeable. But there may be some people out there that wonder why they get indigestion, or feel tired, after a reasonably small lunch, and cannot figure out why.

More surprisingly, it has been shown that some people's allergies show improvement when food is eaten in a certain (correct?) order.

Why are so many babies intolerant to milk? Milk is extremely hard to digest! You may think that your digestive system is not affected by milk, but are you 100% certain of this?

Some children suffer from Eczema in their early childhood, and then find that they 'grow out' of it. Later in life they then suffer from something else, like asthma. Could this just be a result of food intolerance over a long period of time?

Many people suffer from various health problems due to their body being unable to function as well as it should. Could part of this be due to unseen digestive problems? Could your body be less efficient if it has difficulty in digesting the food that it is given? Could your health start to improve if you changed your eating habits?

Eating a mixture of foods, that may not be 'perfect partners', might not show an immediate adverse effect.

Medical problems aside, do you know whether your everyday diet is helping your body, or hindering it? Muesli, Brown bread, Healthy salads are all supposed to be healthy foods, but they can still make you tired! Why is this?

Although your diet may not be one of the 'High protein or 'High fibre' varieties, and you might believe you have a healthy balanced diet, could you still be eating your choice of foods in such a way that it is making digestion difficult for you?

We are what we eat. It seems that we may have to watch how we eat it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

25 Easy & Healthy Tips for Dining Out

Eat Out and Lose Weight -- 25 Easy & Healthy Tips for Dining Out

Diners have become more health-conscious the last few years, and now want healthy choices whether eating at home or at their favorite restaurants. Luckily, the restaurant industry has been quick to accommodate the demand, so you'll find you have many options to "eat healthy" these days.

Whether you're eating at home or dining out, the same rules for watching your weight apply. You need to eat more vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Choose smaller portions of lean meats, fish and poultry. Eat a variety of foods, and fresh, raw foods are better. Cut back on salt, sugar, saturated fats and alcohol. Drink plenty of water, and include exercise every day as part of your daily lifestyle choice.

So whether you're having lunch with the gang, or enjoying a romantic dinner for two, you can enjoy delicious-tasting foods that are low-in calories and good for you, with just a little forethought and planning.

Here are some easy tips to remember when ordering out that will help you to lose weight even when eating at your favorite restaurants:

1. If you know the menu from the restaurant you're going to, plan what you're going to have ahead of time. This will help save you from making a last minute decision that could result in high-calorie choices.

2. Drink at least one full-glass of water or iced tea before eating your meal. This helps your digestive process, and, because you'll feel full sooner, you will eat less.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for the "senior citizen" special or kid's-sized portions. Most restaurants will accommodate you -- and often you'll pay less as well!

4. Order first. That way you're much less likely to be influenced by the choices of your companions.

5. If you're not sure how something is prepared, don't be afraid to ask. And if the dish is cooked in oil or butter, you can always ask if they have a "fat free" option.

6. If everything on the menu is high in fat or calories, ask if the chef could prepare a plate of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many restaurants offer a vegetarian selection, so if you don't see it on the menu, ask.

7. When ordering meat or fish, ask that it be grilled or broiled, and prepared without oil or butter. (When you eat it, use lemon or herbs and spices to give it flavor rather than heavy sauces).

8. Order an appetizer and a salad as your meal. Or a soup and salad. For dessert, choose fresh fruit.

9. When choosing soup, remember that cream-based soups have many more calories than broth-based ones.

10. If you're having a full meal, split the appetizer and desert with your companion.

11. If you decide to order pasta, tomato sauce has fewer calories than cream-based sauces, just like soup.

12. Choose breadsticks over bread, or if you eat bread, don't add butter. Stay away from muffins and croissants, and choose whole grain over white.

13. Choose steamed vegetables instead of baked potatoes or other starches. Again, use lemon and herbs and spices rather than butter to flavor them with.

14. Whenever possible, eat like the Europeans do, and have your biggest meal at lunchtime. Not only will you save money, but you'll cut down on calories at the same time!

15. Take the time to enjoy your meal. Savor the flavors and textures of your food, and enjoy the company you're with. When you eat slowly, you give your body's internal clock the time it needs to know when you've had enough. When you're full, stop eating. Ask your server to remove your plate so you're not tempted to keep eating while you wait for your companion to finish.

16. Ask for salsa on your baked potatoes, rather than sour cream and butter. Not only is salsa much lower in calories, but it adds a "spicy" flavor to potatoes.

17. Order salad dressings and sauces "on the side." This gives you more control of how much to use. Another tip for salad dressing -- rather than pouring the salad dressing on your salad, dip your fork into the dressing first, and then into the salad. You'll get the same amount of flavor, without all the added calories!

18. Choose brown rice over white rice (or french fries), whole grain breads and rolls over white. Not only are they lower in calories, but they are better for you.

19. Stay away from "all you can eat" buffets and salad bars. It's too easy to lose track of the amount of food you're eating, even when it's salads. If that's your only choice, then stay away from the pasta, marinated salads, cheeses and fruit salads with whipped cream. Stick to soups, raw vegetables and fresh fruits.

20. Have your soup first. It will help to fill you up, and most soups have fewer calories.

21. If you're craving something sweet, and don't want fresh fruit, choose sorbet. If you absolutely HAVE to have the chocolate sauce, use the same trick as you did with the salad dressing -- dip your fork into it first, then your dessert.

22. Split your dessert with your companion. You'll still feel like you got to be indulgent, and you'll only have to exercise half as long to burn off the extra calories!

23. When ordering sandwiches, order them with mustard only, rather than mayonnaise. Not only does mustard have almost no calories, but you won't miss the mayo!

24. If the portion you were served is large, only eat half of it. Take the other half home. Not only will you get two meals for the price of one, but you'll cut the calories in half as well!

25. Go for a walk after eating. Stroll along the beach, walk through a park, visit a zoo. You'll burn calories and get your exercise at the same time!
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