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Water: The Drink of Choice With Any Diet
Thursday, 14 April 2011 19:00

Drinking-Water_art_72ppi_200x200Water is a fantastic way to fill the gaps between meals.  When your mouth wants to be busy, say around 3:00 in the afternoon when dinner is still a few hours away, a cold glass of water can help take your mind off of the snacking habit.

What’s wrong with soda or diet soda?

Scientists and health advocates blame soda for a wide variety of ailments ranging from tooth decay to diabetes, even cancer!  The reason is simple: beyond high-fructose corn syrup, which is pure sugar, the remaining ingredients are chemicals.

What about diet soda, you may ask; it doesn’t have any sugar. True, instead it has more chemicals and many scientists believe that these chemicals and artificial sweeteners in particular need to be studied more thoroughly.  There is a general consensus among those in the medical industry that artificial sweeteners play some role in the epidemic of obesity in the world. 

How much water is necessary?

The advice for years was that we should look to drink eight glasses of water a day. Since those guidelines first came out, the composition of people has changed. We are a larger nation and eight glasses of water is not necessarily enough for all body types and activity levels.Therefore, eight glasses a day is a start (drink an extra 8 oz of water for every 25 pounds overweight).

For men, consuming closer to twelve glasses is more accurate. As for women, eight to ten is a good start. But, you can always drink more. In fact, if you exercise a lot or your work is very physical where you are sweating, replacing that fluid loss is crucial. To ensure that you are getting enough water, start by replacing what you have lost. Not only do you sweat but you also urinate. Replace cup for cup to meet the basic needs of the body, but drink more for optimum function.

Not happy with water?

Many people don’t like to drink plain water. Like many healthy goals, it helps to make small changes. So if you can't drink 8 glasses of water a day, start with 4 glasses and try that for a week. Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can gradually increase your daily intake.

To make your water more palatable, spruce it up with a sugar-free flavor packet or a bit of lemon juice. Or consider drinking the flavored and carbonated water that is now available at most grocery stores. Take care to make sure that the water has no additional sugar or artificial sweeteners. Mineral waters, carbonated or non-carbonated, also offer an appealing alternative.

When it comes right down to it, water really is the best thing for your body. It hydrates your cells, cleanses your body and helps you lose weight, stay healthy and feel better..
How to Spot Hidden Sugar on Food Labels!
Thursday, 31 March 2011 19:00

food_labels250x167Eating too much sugar is not healthy for you. Most people would agree with this. Yet, we are still getting way too much of it in our diet. Why?

If you have ever read a food label then you know how confusing they can be. Once you get past simple ingredients like milk, water, corn and cheese, things begin to get a little dicey. How do you read those labels?

Sugar is a carbohydrate. It is called a simple carbohydrate because it is metabolized easier. It doesn't need extra energy to be broken down. In fact, if you've ever had a sugary snack, your blood sugar spikes right away. You get energy for about thirty minutes and then feel like you are sinking through the floor.

Sugars are also used to preserve foods. You normally think of salt, but sugar is used in processed foods in other forms. If you see the word "sugar" on the label you may think twice about using the product. But, when other words are used for sugar, it can be harder to distinguish.

Start by looking at the carbohydrate count on the nutrition label. Under carbohydrates you will see a total carbohydrate measurement and then a breakdown to sugars and fiber. If the sugar number is most of the carbohydrate number then there is more than a lot of sugar in that food item.

Now, look at the ingredient list. Sugar has many scientific names. Foods that end in "-ose" or "-ase" contains sugar. Substances like fructose, maltose and sucrose are all trade names for sugar. Also look for sweet ingredients like molasses, syrup (of any kind), agave nectar and cane sugar.

Some foods have natural sugars. If a food contains strawberries, the label would have strawberries on the list. Strawberries have natural sugar and that is not listed separately because it is a part of the fruit.

There are also sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol. They are composed of sugar and alcohol groups in their chemical make-up. They have less calories and less of an impact on your blood sugar. Xylitol is used in sugarless gum instead of other sweeteners with side effects. But, you do need to note the amount of sugar alcohols in your food. Since they are not completely absorbed by the body, an excess of them can lead to diarrhea or bloating.

Also, ingredients on food labels are supposed to be listed in order of percentage in that food. If these disguised sugars appear near the top of the list, then they are a bigger portion of the calories than may be alluded to on the front of the box.

If you are trying to lower your sugar intake, read the food labels. You may be getting more than you bargained for.

Burning Calories At Work
Monday, 14 March 2011 19:00

man stretchingCarpenters and factory workers have no problem getting exercise and burning calories during their workday. However, for the large population of office workers it can be a real challenge.

So how does someone who sits for most of the day burn calories and stay fit?

Here just some of the ways you can be more active while at your desk.

• Stand up and get a good stretch. Raise one arm over your head and tilt toward the opposite side for 10-15 seconds. Switch the phone to the other hand and do the same thing with the opposite side. A few repetitions will perk you right up.

• While sitting, raise each leg toward your chest using your hands to assist you. Continue as above to stretch your hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

• Stand and march in place. Don't aim for a true aerobic workout though, just get your body moving for a few minutes to increase circulation and jumpstart your metabolism.

• Put your feet together and pull your legs up to be parallel with the floor. Hold for about ten seconds. Do this six or seven times to help burn calories and strengthen your quadriceps and abdominal muscles.

• Bring dumbbells to work. Keep them in a drawer for times like these when you can use them to strengthen your biceps and deltoid muscles. With your arms at your side, raise the weights by bending at the elbow. Then raise the weights toward the ceiling. Alternate this with raising the weights sideways. Go from the resting position and raise it as high as you can toward the ceiling and hold for seven to ten seconds. Repeat six or seven times for each arm.

Why not get active during your break instead of heading to the vending machines for a can of cola to drink with that bag of chips or candy bar? Consider stepping outside when the weather permits. Take a short walk around the building or parking lot to burn some calories. If it's raining or snowing and room permits, walk around inside the building.

Some companies provide exercise equipment for their employees. Consider them an employee benefit just like your 401-K make use of them.

If you work at home you have the added freedom of exercising almost anytime you like. Get up and stretch frequently. Alternate your office work time with housework and aerobic exercise to keep you from getting sluggish. Burn calories every chance you get.

It won't be long before you begin to see and feel the rewards for the positive change you've made. You'll feel better and be more productive. And don't forget that you'll reap the rewards of better sleep and a slimmer waist line.

Weights vs. Cardio - Which is Best?
Monday, 28 February 2011 19:00

silver_weightThe data can be so confusing when you're trying to lose weight and burn fat. You know you need to exercise but there are only so many hours in the day and you want to make most of your exercise time.

So which is best? Cardio or weights?

Calorie for calorie you'll burn more with cardio but that's not the whole picture. If you lift weights for thirty minutes, you'll burn less during that time than if you were swimming, running or on a stair machine. 

However, once you stop your cardio workout, the calorie burning is done. Oh, you'll still burn calories as your body functions but the results from your cardio are essentially done the moment you stop moving.

With weight training, you continue to burn calories as your muscles recover. And muscle keeps your metabolism running more efficiently and burning more fat around the clock.

So in planning your weight loss fitness routine, be sure to include weight training with your cardio plan. When combined with a healthy diet and an active day, unwanted body fat will be gone in no time!
How To Eat Out at Restaurants and Still Stay Healthy
Sunday, 20 February 2011 19:00

ordering_foodRestaurants are notorious for sneaking in unhealthy ingredients. Some people think that the only way to remain truly healthy is to avoid eating out altogether. Or perhaps you can only eat at restaurants that are geared solely towards maintaining health.

This simply isn't true!

The truth is that with a little research and smart thinking you can enjoy most restaurants from fast food joints to four-star establishments and still maintain a balanced diet.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you continue to enjoy eating out:

1. Look for the light menu. Every restaurant won't have a light menu but a growing number of chain restaurants are promoting light alternatives. You may even find light menus up on the fast food board. You'll soon find that light doesn't always mean you'll be giving up flavor.

2. Take half your dinner home. Dinner is served in larger and larger portions all the time. Sometimes it's not your meal that's unhealthy but it's the portion size. To avoid overeating you can simply ask your waiter to serve half the meal and box up the other half for you to take home. You can eat the left overs for lunch the next day.

3. Go grilled. One way to eat smart is to opt for grilled instead of fried items. Fried foods have gobs of additional calories and fat. Grilled chicken or fish make great choices not to mention they're lean proteins as well.

4. Avoid drinking extra calories. If you're watching those calories, don't forget to count the calories that you drink. Drinking soda products or alcoholic beverages while you're out can add calories quite quickly. Choose water as an alternative and then you'll only need to worry about the calorie content of your meal.

5. Be salad smart. You can choose a salad as your main dish as a way to eat smart. You'll probably find a variety of salad choices on the menu beyond the house or side salad. Many of them contain a bigger vegetable variety or meat such as chicken.
Ask them to serve your salad dressing on the side rather than on the salad. Then the amount of dressing you put on the salad is up to you. When it comes to dressing, a little bit can go a long way. Here's a rule not to break: avoid the creamy dressings. That's the fatty stuff!

6. Appetizers can make the meal. If the restaurant serves tasty appetizers, you can order an appetizer as your main dish. If that's not enough food, you might want to order two appetizers. Many times two appetizers will still be less food than a main course selection.

7. Choose healthy sauce. Be aware of how the sauce is made in the dish of your choosing. Avoid cream based ones if possible as they are highly fattening.

8. Look to steamed veggies and fibrous fruits. You know that veggies are an important part of your diet at home, so you should continue to seek them out when you're making your making your selection at a restaurant. Steamed vegetables can be a great side dish, and fibrous fruits (if allowed in your meal plan) can likely be ordered in place of a dessert item.

Just because you're trying to lose weight, don't be afraid to go to a restaurant from time to time when out with friends or family, just follow your program and maintain an awareness of your eating habits including portions and you can't go wrong.

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