Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Free Tips And Advice

One recent study from Kaiser Permanente found that people who received weekly e-mails about diet and fitness for 16 weeks substantially increased their levels of physical activity and intake of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables while cutting back on trans and saturated fats.

Sign up for FitBodyNow's free ebooks and newsletters here:

Monday, 29 October 2012

How To Get Fast And Amazing Weight Loss Results

Do you want to get fast, easy, significant, and permanent results with diet exercise...without feeling terrible along your journey?

When You Exercise...

1. Do workouts that you enjoy

I'm sure you don't want to be miserable doing something that most of us already procrastinate, right? Well, the best solution here would be to do workouts that you enjoy doing. It could be playing some type of sport, mountain biking on a trail, walking through the park, exercising at home, or maybe you can get more motivated exercising at the gym. Bottom line, there is no set rule that says that only traditional exercising is considered "exercising". Have fun and still lose weight!

2. Don't adjust your life around exercising 

Instead, comfortably fit exercise into your daily life. For example, find a good time to do your workout so that it won't interfere with your daily life, exercise at home, join a 24 hour gym, etc.

3. Focus on fat burning workouts... To get amazing results as fast as possible, the best type of exercises to do are fat burning workouts. Workouts that burn fat off are low intensity cardio routines and muscle building exercises.

When You Go On A Diet...

1. Choose one that is simple to follow

A surefire way to lose momentum with losing weight is by going on a complicated diet program. Choose a plan that is simple to follow and doesn't have you doing dangerous and expensive methods that will do nothing but cause you frustration, little to no results, and you possibly regaining the weight you've lost!

2. Choose a program that is 100% natural

Natural dieting is the only way to get amazing results quickly and most importantly, permanently. An example of a natural diet is a diet that is based on eating regular foods, without starving or depriving yourself, and eating these foods in a way to boost your metabolism.  A natural diet is actually one that makes it easy for you to continue living a healthy lifestyle as well.

Bottom line, if you want to get fast and amazing results with your diet and exercise plan, then I highly recommend you consider doing those easy and proven effective tips above.

Article Source:

Friday, 26 October 2012

Lose Weight On Your Thighs and Feel Great In Shorts Again

Have you checked your thighs and felt depressed? Do they jiggle while you walk? Do you have saddle-bags or wobbly inner thighs which rub together?

Upper leg fat can be a concern for lots of women and men. It can contribute to obesity, help to make our jeans fit oddly, and stop us from ever pulling on some shorts. It is also a stubborn kind of fat, and shedding it may be a very long and disheartening process.

However it does not need to be. To get rid of thigh fat once and for all, take this advice to heart:

Lower Your Body Fat Percentage

Sadly, spot reduction is really a health and fitness myth. Short of liposuction, that's an unpleasant and often temporary solution, there is no way to get rid of fat from a single area of your body without removing it from the rest of your body.

To reduce the amount of fat in your upper thighs, you will have to lessen your overall body fat percentage. The old-fashioned way is still the best: Consume less food, move more. Cardiovascular and weight training will help you get leaner, more solid thighs (as well as everything else).

Have you any idea just how much of your weight derives from fat, and just how much stems from muscle? If not, you need to use calipers or an electronic body fat calculator to find out. If you require guidance, talk with an expert in nutrition, fitness instructor, or your medical provider.

Get a minimum of one hour of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times each week. Do 15 - 30 minutes of weight training every second day. You will begin to notice results quickly, and the more time you stick with it, the slimmer your upper thighs are going to be.

Physical Exercises That Target the Thighs

Our thighs are a big muscle group. After you drop the excess padding around the upper thighs, you will want to have sculpted muscles to show off. You can obtain those toned thighs and legs by carrying out certain exercises that concentrate on the region.

Thigh exercises that don't call for extra equipment include squats, wall sits, and lunges. You can perform these every second day until eventually you reach muscle fatigue (shaky legs). Walking or running down and up the stairway is another surperb way to develop your thighs.

Losing Leg Fat at the Gym

Nearly all physical fitness centers have a multitude of machines that will tone the thighs. Leg presses and leg curls are great choices, along with any sort of machine that requires you to climb steps or pedal.

For added firming, find machines that work the abductor muscles (outer thighs) and also the adductor muscles (inner thighs). This equipment looks similar to the ThighMaster device, and they work really well.

Toning Your Thighs The Whole Day Long

Naturally, you will not need a gym - or even a break from your normal routine - to build toned thighs. You can actually sculpt your upper thighs and legs while you run errands, drive around, and perhaps whilst you work at your desk.

Whilst sitting or standing, clench your thighs and butt as hard as you can. This is a popular method to sculpt and strengthen the butt, but it would also give your thighs a good workout.

Walk longer distances than required by parking the car farther away from your destination. Or run errands on foot when it's possible to. Walk up the stairs as opposed to the elevator or escalator. Every little bit helps.

You can even find special thigh-toning workout routines that you can do while you work. The ThighMaster and comparable devices fit in between your knees when you sit, so they really are convenient to use just about anywhere.

You can even order online for small exercise bikes that fit below your desk. Pedal as you work to get rid of upper leg fat fast!


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

3 Simple Diet Tips To Help You Lose Weight

For decades, researchers have extensively studied the mechanisms behind feeling hungry and feeling full. It has been revealed that the stomach monitors the volume of food that comes in rather than the number of calories. You feel full after eating a big bowl of vegetable soup but not full after eating a small, yet calorie-rich, piece of cheesecake. Eating foods with a low-caloric density such as fruits, vegetables, and soups triggers feelings of fullness. But rich or calorie-dense foods don't trigger feelings of fullness as readily since they take up little space in the stomach. Here are three ways to add more big foods to your daily diet:

Easy Weight Loss Tips

1. Pick big foods. 

Vegetables and fruit are your best bet. Most vegetables average only 20 calories per serving. (One serving equals half cup cooked or 1 cup raw.) Fruits supply just 60 calories per serving. (One serving equals half cup juice or one tennis ball-size piece of fruit.) Aim for seven to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

2. Boost your fiber. 

The fiber adds bulk to food, helping you feel full longer. One recent study showed that adding 14 daily grams of fiber (the amount in a serving of Fiber One cereal) over a four-month period reduced calorie intake by 10 percent, resulting in a 4-pound weight loss. High-fiber foods include grains, vegetables, beans, and fruit. Add steamed vegetables to pasta dishes, beans to your casseroles, and fruit to shaved chocolate for a filling dessert.

3. Add water. 

Eating foods with high water content, such as chicken soup, reduces subsequent calorie intake at the next meal compared to eating drier foods with the same number of calories, such as chicken casserole. Slurp soup for a first course, particularly soups with lots of vegetables in a base of vegetable or low fat chicken or beef stock. Smoothies made with fruit, nonfat yogurt, and lots of ice also make a filling, watery snack or quick meal. Not only does the water help you feel full, but the air blended into your fruit concoction also helps stave off hunger.

In conclusion, by practicing these three tips, weight loss is achievable. You can live your life healthfully by picking big foods, boosting your fiber and add more water in your daily intake. 

Good luck in reducing your weight naturally and safely.


Friday, 19 October 2012

Reach And Maintain Your Ideal Weight

1. You don’t have to be Superwoman.

Don’t fret if you feel as though you’re not doing enough. Women often have the innate feeling that they’re letting someone down. Don’t worry if you’re not able to spend ten hours a week at the gym or go for a run every morning. All that really matters is that you can commit to improving your health and fitness, and stick to a program. Professionals advise working out three to five times a week in 20-60 minute sessions, but our busy schedules don’t always allow this. You can easily become frustrated if you can’t meet someone else’s ideal. Working out twice a week at twenty minutes per session will put you on the right track.

2. Focus on your successes.

Concentrate on how good you feel about your new health and fitness regime. If weight loss is part of your plan, and you’re struggling to meet your goal, don’t beat yourself up about it. Focus on what you’ve done to this point, and use today as a new starting point. You’ve made a commitment to yourself, and that is your biggest success.

3. Put weights before cardio.

Many women begin their health and fitness routines with cardio exercises, and then follow it up with weight lifting. The disadvantage is that you may be missing out on a critical component of the routine, because you’re spending all of your time with cardio. If this is a regular occurrence, the outcome can be disappointing despite countless hours at the gym. Reverse the order and perform weight training first. You’ll likely see a more positive visible outcome.

4. Don’t overdo it.

The average women’s health and fitness regime requires a workout of no more than an hour at a time. Spending too much time at the gym or doing the same exercises over extended periods can become tedious and boring. By focusing on the exercises and narrowing your time frame, your workout sessions will be more fun and more efficient.

5. Keep an eye on your heart rate.

Women should work out at 75-85% of their maximum heart rate. When your heart rate is too low, it’s a sign that you’re not working to your full potential. Too high a rate, on the other hand, shows that you’re pushing yourself to a potentially dangerous level. Sticking with a happy medium of 50% or so will not help you to realize your fitness goals. Keep a heart rate monitor on hand or do a manual count incrementally during your workout to ensure that you’re reaching, but not exceeding, your ideal target heart rate.

6. Get support.

It’s important to be involved in some sort of fitness social support web. If you are currently in a regime with no fitness community, you may find that your workouts are lacking or not that successful. A social support can bring a greater sense of camaraderie, kinship and even healthy competition. If you normally workout alone at home, try visiting a gym for a sample workout, or joining a yoga, Pilates or sailing class. Running clubs and golf courses are other ways to keep in shape and meet new people.

7. Be self-supportive.

It’s tough to take on a new health and fitness routine. You need to have commitment and discipline, and you need to be prepared to work hard. Give yourself a pep talk. Don’t pressure yourself too much. You deserve a pat on the back, so go ahead and give yourself one. Others give you great feedback, so why not you?

Women’s health and fitness has become a bigger issue than ever before. Fast food and sedentary lifestyles are robbing women of their good health and stripping them of their self-esteem.

It’s up to you to make the change to a healthier lifestyle. Go at your own pace, and you’ll be amazed at how far you can go.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Weight Loss Common Myths

Dieting is surrounded by myths and gimmicks. No single food or diet can help you lose weight. Extreme low-carbohydrate, high-carbohydrate, high-protein or limited diets can damage your health. To reduce body fat and lose weight, you need to change the way you eat and increase your physical activity.

More of us are overweight or obese than ever before, and the numbers are steadily increasing. Around 68 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women are carrying too much body fat and 25 per cent of children are overweight or obese. This means that the incidence of obesity-related disorders, such as coronary heart disease and diabetes, is also on the rise.

There's no magic weight loss potion

Dieting has led to many unhealthy misconceptions about weight loss. There are no magical foods or ways to combine foods that melt away excess body fat. To reduce your weight, you need to make small, achievable changes to your lifestyle. You need to change the way you eat and increase your physical activity.

Some dietary fats cause weight gain

Fats contain approximately double the amount of kilojoules (calories) per gram than carbohydrates or protein. They are a very concentrated form of energy. If you eat a lot of fat you are more likely to put on weight than if you eat a lot of carbohydrates.

The type of fat you eat may also be important. Research shows that animal fats (saturated fats) may be more 'fattening' than plant and fish fats. Fish and plant fats appear to be more readily used by the body and less likely to be stored as fat in the belly. They can also provide some health benefits.

Excess carbohydrates or protein can also be converted into body fat. If you eat more kilojoules than you use, you will put on weight whether those kilojoules came from fats, carbohydrates or proteins.

Low, moderate or high-carbohydrate diets

In the short term, very low-carbohydrate diets can result in greater weight loss than high-carbohydrate diets but in the long term weight loss differences appear to be minimal. Very low- carbohydrate diets can be unhealthy if too much animal fat is consumed and if plant foods are overly restricted. The long-term safety of these diets is unknown.

Five food myths exposed

There are many myths about foods - what you should eat and when you should eat them. We expose five myths as false!

1. Potatoes make you fat – false
It was once thought that the key to weight loss was eliminating all high-carbohydrate foods, including pasta, rice and potatoes. We now know that carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source. Eating a potato, or any type of carbohydrate rich food, won't automatically make you fatter. However, if you are watching your weight, enjoy potatoes in moderate quantities and be careful of how you eat them (for example, butter and sour cream are high in fats).

You have to regularly eat more energy than your body needs to put on weight. This is harder to do with high-carbohydrate foods than high-fat foods. Eating a diet high in carbohydrate (and also fibre) is likely to push fat out of the diet.

2. Food combining diets really work – false
There are plenty of diets based on the belief that the digestive system can't tackle a combination of foods or nutrients. Commonly, carbohydrates and proteins are said to 'clash', leading to digestive problems and weight gain. The opposite is often true. Foods eaten together can help the digestive system. For example, vitamin C in orange juice can increase iron absorption from a meal rich in plant-based iron like beans and rice, lentils and other legumes.

Very few foods are purely carbohydrate or purely protein; most are a mixture of both. The digestive system contains enzymes that are perfectly capable of breaking down all the foods we eat. Food combining diets should be avoided.

3. Breakfast should consist of fruit only – false
There is no evidence that eating only fruit at breakfast has any health or weight loss benefits. Most fruits are not very high in complex carbohydrates, which the body needs after an all-night fast. They are, however, a good source of fibre and vitamins. Cereal foods (especially wholegrain varieties) like bread, muffins and breakfast cereals are a much better source of carbohydrates to get you going in the morning.

4. There are some magical foods that cause weight loss – false
Some foods, such as grapefruit or kelp, are said to burn off body fat. This is not true. Dietary fibre comes closest to fulfilling this wish because it provides a feeling of 'fullness' with minimal kilojoules. High-fibre foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, and legumes also tend to be low in fat.

5. Drinking while you are eating is fattening – false
The theory behind this misconception is that digestive juices and enzymes will be diluted by the fluid, and this will slow down the digestion and lead to excess body fat. There is no scientific evidence to back this up. In fact, evidence suggests that drinking water with your meal improves digestion. Kilojoule-heavy drinks such as alcoholic beverages can be fattening if consumed in excess, but drinking them with meals doesn't make them more so.

The key to weight loss

Suggestions for safe and effective weight loss include:
  • Don't crash diet. You'll most likely regain the lost weight within five years.
  • Aim for slow weight loss. You should lose no more than 0.5kg a week or 10kg in six months.
  • Aim for a healthy waist circumference of less than 94cm for men and less than 80cm women.
  • Cut down on dietary fats, especially saturated fat, and choose low fat varieties where possible.
  • Cut back on refined sugars.
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain breads and cereals.
  • Consume less alcohol.
  • Eat less takeaway and snack foods.
  • Exercise for approximately 30 minutes at least a few times every week. Introduce more movement into your day – try to accumulate 30 minutes of walking daily.
  • Don't eliminate any food group. Instead choose from a wide range of foods every day and choose 'whole', less processed foods. Have a regular pattern of eating and stick to it.
  • Drink at least 1,500ml of water per day.
Where to get help:
  • Your doctor
  • Dietitian

Things to remember
  • 'Crash dieting' can affect your physical and mental wellbeing.
  • There are no magical foods or ways to combine food that will help you lose weight.
  • The best way to lose weight is slowly, by making small, achievable changes to your eating and exercise habits.
Injury Prevention Top Tips for Tennis Players

Howard Green the fitness coordinator from Bolton Arenas International High Performance centre gives his top tips to stay injury free.

1. Physical Competency -

Players should be able to execute fundamental movement skills to a high level, movements include: squatting; lunging; single leg squatting; force absorption linear and laterally; pushing; pulling; bending; twisting and bracing.

2. Complete a thorough warm-up -

Warm-up up should aim to raise body temperature and mobilise the key joints and muscles. The format should include dynamic flexibility/mobility exercises; linear and lateral movement; and specific theraband exercises to warm and prepare the muscles of the shoulders and arms.

3. Adequate rest and recovery -

Players must be sensible with taking enough rest in-between competitions and training. At a base level players must: eat well, sleep well (8-9 hours) and complete flexibility/mobility work before and after activity.

4. Address key injury areas -

Player should carry out pre-hab/injury reduction exercises. Mobility work for - ankles, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders. Strength and stability work for - knees, hips, core, shoulders and wrists.

5. Prepare and restore muscle/tissue quality -

Prior to activity use self myofascial release (foam rolling & hockey balls) to improve tissue quality. Use dynamic stretches to address key individual flexibility areas. Post activity complete maintenance stretches 10-15sec for key muscle groups. Evening flexibility session complete developmental stretches for 30sec. Be aware due to the nature of the sport, players can get tightnesses in specific areas - neck muscles of non-playing arm; chest, back, and shoulder muscles of playing arm; hips; glutes; hamstrings and calves.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Easy Weight Loss Tricks

Shedding pounds and getting in shape in time for Christmas just got a whole lot easier, thanks to these must-read discoveries.

1. Chug water before each meal

Subjects in a Virginia Tech study who drank two glasses of H20 before eating consumed fewer calories and lost more weight compared to those who skipped the hydrating step. "We think the water helped them better manage their hunger and contributed to feeling full," explained Brenda Davy, PhD, RD, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at the university. And on top of making you feel full, drinking agua could very well keep you from consuming high-calorie beverages during meals since you will have already quenched your thirst.

2. Eat nuts

We love a weight loss tip that calls for noshing on fatty delicious food. In a small-scale study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a hospital in Boston affiliated with Harvard Medical School, found that when subjects ate walnuts at breakfast, they felt more satiated than those who didn't snack on nuts. In fact, the walnuts were so filling that hours later, at lunch time the people in the study reported still feeling full. That's partly because nuts don't have carbs, which tend to cause surges in blood sugar. Without going into the whole scientific explanation, when blood sugar levels spike, it sends a message to our bodies that we should start storing fat. This leads to packing on pounds and, in some extreme cases, the onset of diabetes.

3. Ditch see-through food containers

Outta sight, outta your mouth. That's the conclusion Cornell University scientists drew after observing that subjects ate 70 percent more candy when the sweets were stored in a clear jar versus an opaque one. So keep tempting snacks and anything high-calorie in a nontransparent container (at home and on your desk at work) or tucked away where you won't see them, like at the back of the fridge or in cabinets behind, say, a stack of canned lima beans.

4. Snack on seaweed

This sushi restaurant staple, which is sold in most high-end grocery stores and specialty food stores, was found to reduce the amount of fat absorbed by your body. Researchers say the pudge-blocking quality is thanks to a certain kind of fiber in the seaweed. Just keep in mind that it's often served loaded up with salt, which can make you retain water and look puffy. Avoid getting bloated by buying totally naked seaweed (look for it in the frozen foods aisle) or asking your server to make sure your dish has no salt added.

5. Go to the gym before work

Research out of a McMaster University study claims the brainpower we use up during a crazy day at work makes us lose the will to do anything else, like yep, exercise. So people who put off working out till the end of the day are much less likely to end up doing it. Plus, hitting the Elliptical (or the pavement or the 6 a.m. Pilates class) wakes you up and may even keep you more invigorated throughout the rest of your day.

6. Turn down the heat

It's still chilly enough at night that you might be turning up your thermostat before getting into bed. Well, experts say you might want to reconsider that. Researcher learned that when people are exposed to slightly chilly conditions (think: in the 60s), a process called non-shivering thermogenesis kicks in. And that causes your body to burn calories — around 100 to 200 a day!

7. Spice up your food with pepper

Adding a teaspoon of cayenne red pepper to what you eat throughout the day can increase how many calories you burn and squash hunger pangs, specifically for fatty, sugary, and salty foods, according to a brand-new study from Purdue University as reported on Keep the spice on hand (we love using it to add flavor to anything from chicken and rice to soup) and when you go out for Thai or Mexican, order something with the little hot pepper icon next to it on the menu. That's often a sign cayenne red pepper is an ingredient.

Source: Easy Weight Loss Tricks - New Weight Loss Studies - Cosmopolitan

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Eating Out Healthily

The 2006 Family Food Survey found that households where the head of the household was under 30 years old were spending more than 40 per cent of their food budget on eating out.

Eating out usually means that we have little control over how the food is prepared or how large the portion is. Foods eaten out tend to be higher in fat and research has shown that those who eat out regularly generally have higher intakes of fat, salt and calories. Studies have also shown that eating with friends can tempt us to overeat. Meals with multiple courses eaten over longer periods and with alcohol are all associated with overindulgence. Large serving bowls and spoons increase the likelihood of piling more food on your plate than you usually eat.

Unlike packaged food, foods bought from cafes, restaurants etc don't have to carry nutritional information and so opting for the healthiest option might not always be obvious, or easy. However, with some knowledge and thought, eating out can be enjoyable and healthy!

General tips on eating out healthily
  • If you're unsure as to what something is, or what it contains - ask! If the waiter/waitress doesn't know, then the chef will.
  • Think ahead, if you know you're eating out later and it could be a lavish affair, choose wisely earlier in the day to keep calories, fat, sugar and salt intakes under control.
  • Don't eat an extra course just to be polite.
  • Only order a sweet after the main course, and only if still hungry. Opt for sorbets, or fruit dishes to balance out a heavy main course.
  • Think about sharing a course with a companion if the portions look large.
  • Speak up about how you'd like a dish prepared eg ask for no mayonnaise, dressing on the side.
  • You're more likely to overeat at an 'all you can eat' style buffet.
  • Choose side orders of salad or vegetables to fill up on.
  • Cut off any visible fat from meat to keep saturated fat intake down.
  • Look out for smaller portions ie a main meal option as a starter size.
  • Opt for dishes which are grilled, baked, steamed, poached or cooked in own juice rather than fried.
  • Check the menu for dressings on salads and ask for it to be served separately. An otherwise healthy and nutritious salad could be drowned in a high fat sauce, bumping up its calorie content.
  • Avoid cheese, cream or butter-based sauces.  
  • If you're a cheese lover, think about sharing the cheese board option to keep saturated fat, salt and calorie intakes in check.

  • A takeaway provides a convenient night off from cooking, but they can be a poor choice for health-conscious consumers. Portion sizes can often be large, so think about sharing to keep the amount of food to a sensible limit.

Healthy Chinese food

  • Choose side orders of salad or vegetables to fill up on.
  • Often high in salt and can be oozing in fat, avoid dishes described as deep-fried or battered.
  • Opt for stir-fried chicken or vegetables to keep fat content as low as possible.
  • Choose plain boiled rice rather than fried rice.
  • Avoid the prawn crackers and crispy seaweed dishes - both moreish and loaded in calories.

Healthy Indian food

  • Often high in fat, especially those with creamy sauces such as korma and masala.
  • Avoid those pre-meal poppadums and chapattis - both high in fat. Bhajis and naan breads are also surprisingly high in calories.
  • The best dishes to limit fat and calorie intakes are oven-cooked tandoori and tikka dishes. Madras, jalfrezi, balti or dupiaza are also all right.

Healthy Italian food

  • Go for the thin crust pizzas rather than the deep-pan or 'filled crust' options.
  • Ask for small amounts of cheese or opt for the reduced fat versions some outlets now offer.
  • Keep the meat-based pizza toppings like pepperoni and salami to a minimum and go mad with vegetable and fish-based options instead.
  • Pasta dishes served with a tomato or vegetable-based sauce are much better than creamy or cheese-based varieties.
  • Forego the garlic bread or focaccia and try either plain bread or a mixed salad to accompany your meal instead.
  • Choose fruit or plain ice cream rather than fancy desserts.

Fish, chips, burgers and kebabs

  • Portion sizes are often huge, so think about sharing a portion of chips between two.
  • Eat the fish and leave the batter.
  • Avoid small fried items such as scampi or chicken nuggets as they contain more fat than a single larger item.
  • Forget the super-size deals, a small, plain burger is fine! Ask for salad and forego the mayo.
  • Try shish kebab instead of the fat-laden doner.

Healthy sandwiches

  • Look out for different bread types to add variety and taste.
  • Go for protein-based fillers such as ham, lean meat, fish, low fat cheeses like cottage cheese and Edam.
  • Avoid mayonnaise and other high-fat dressings. Try chutneys and pickles instead.
  • Look out for vegetable-based or salad-packed varieties to fill out the sandwich and keep calories low.
  • Look carefully at pre-packed versions. Some are very high in calories - opt for those less than 400kcal per pack.

Eating healthily on special occasions

  • Occasions like Christmas, parties, weddings and so on can often be difficult times for those trying to eat healthily and watch their weight. Thinking ahead and preparing for such times can help. In addition to the tips for eating out, the following may also help:
  • At buffets, don't stand near the food table - the temptation to keep grabbing a handful or plateful of something nearby can be overpowering. Talk to friends in another part of the room.
  • Just because food is offered doesn't mean it has to be eaten. Feel free to pass.
  • Avoid pastry-based foods such as mince pies, canapés, tarts, sausage rolls etc.
  • Aim to fill at least half your plate with healthier options, and add some colour to your plate. Naturally colourful fruits and vegetables like crudités are not only low in calories but contain vitamins and antioxidants which are beneficial to your health.
  • Try not to arrive at the event hungry. Have a light meal or healthy snack prior to getting there to prevent overindulgence.
  • Mix alcoholic drinks with low-calorie soft drinks and water. Not only does alcohol contain calories, but the more that is consumed, the more likely that good intentions go out of the window!
  • At functions like weddings and christenings, choose the cake course as a dessert instead of having dessert and the cake.

5 Foods To Cure Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers or stomatitis are red boils which grow inside the mouth. These small erosions in the lining of the oral cavity or the tongue are harmless but really painful. Mouth ulcers or stomatitis can caused due to allergy to a toothpaste, stress, poor digestion, vitamin B and folic acid deficiency, spicy food, smoking or alcohol to name a few. By eating the right food, you can cure as well as prevent the chances of getting mouth ulcers.

5 foods to cure mouth ulcers:

Vitamin B: Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to mouth ulcers, anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression. Include vitamin B rich foods such as oysters, fish eggs, soy milk, meat, eggs and rice milk to cure mouth ulcers.

Iron rich foods: Iron not only cures mouth ulcer but also strengthens bones and muscles. To stay fit and healthy, always have iron rich foods such as spinach, beef, oysters, chicken liver, turkey, ham, sesame, cereals, pumpkin, potato, broccoli, wheat gram and eggs.

Folic acid: As mouth ulcers or stomatitis are recurring, you prevent them by including folic acid in your diet. Dark green vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, asparagus, lettuce, green peas and turnip greens are rich in folic acid. Also include beans, papaya, pineapple, banana and grapefruit in yor diet to cure mouth ulcers.

Coconut water: This is not a food but has a great healing effect. To cure mouth ulcers easily, drink plenty of coconut water. Coconut water soothes stomatitis inflammation and also prevents the mouth ulcer from recurring.

Fruits: Citrus fruits, pineapple and bananas are healthy foods to cure mouth ulcers. These fruits help as they improve digestion, are anti-inflammatory and rich in vitamin C.  Beware, eating citrus fruits when you have an ulcer can sting!

When you have mouth ulcers or stomatitis, have these foods to cure them. These foods have other health benefits so include them in your diet.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Why You Should Focus On Being Fit, Not Skinny

Since the 1960s, being skinny has become a female beauty ideal. While being thin is probably good for us, and being overweight is unhealthy, the main issue is that the fashion ideal often promotes a too-skinny look, so thin that it becomes unattainable for most women, and if we try to attain that look, we risk developing eating disorders.

BMI, or body mass index, is still the best way we have (though by all means not ideal) to gauge whether we are the best weight for our height. And as a general rule, it does makes sense to keep to a healthy BMI. Unless you’re an athlete or a body builder with an unusually high muscle mass, in which case BMI will not work for you. But for the average person, active or sedentary, it should work.

Having said that, your main focus should not be your weight, or being skinny, or fitting into a size 2 (or zero!) jeans. Rather, your goal should be being fit and healthy.

When the focus shifts from the number on the scale to our health, we tend to obsess less about counting (counting pounds, calories, grams of carbs or fat) and instead we focus on a better, healthier lifestyle. And this is what we should all be striving for. Simple changes, such as moving more – using the stairs instead of the elevator; reducing sugar, and replacing sour cream with greek yogurt and fat with applesauce in recipes; going outside more; being more active and less sedentary; adding whole grains to our daily menu and not keeping junk foods in the house.

All of these little steps add up to a real change in lifestyle, and overtime, this should reflect in our body weight too, especially if we remember to limit our portions.

Skinny can be natural for you, but if it’s not, trying to get there could be unhealthy – even dangerous. Instead, focus on being more active, making better food choices, and limiting your portions. It’s always better to focus on being fit and healthy instead of on some unattainable (for most) fashion goal of extreme thinness.


Friday, 12 October 2012

How I 'Cured' My Eczema

I had suffered from this horrendous skin condition virtually since birth.  I had put up with the unbearable itching and pain that prevented me from sleeping, the cracking and weeping and the unsightly flakey skin.  I had, on occasion, been caught, completely absent mindedly scratching away and pulling bits of flakey skin off and perhaps this was one of the worst aspects of this condition - the embarrassment.    Twenty five years on, I can say that I have finally got it completely under control.

I say 'cured' - with the quotations, in the title of this blog entry because although I don't suffer with eczema any more, I believe that it would return just as quickly as it disappeared if I was to stop my current skin care routine.

I would like to make it clear from the outset that everything in this blog post is just my opinion and I am not sponsored by any of the manufacturers of the products that I mention here.  This routine works for me but it may not work for you.  I wanted to share it with you because it has changed my life and if it does the same for just one other person then I'll be over the moon.  If you follow this routine and it does work for you, I would love to hear from you.

Like me, you've probably tried every 'miracle cure', Chinese herbs, every pore clogging emollient cream, every oily bath mixture, every moisturiser, every scent free, colour free and fun free product out there and spent a small fortune in the process.  If you're like me, you also have a cupboard full of half used bottles, pots and sprays that all remind you that you're never going to find anything that sorts out your skin.  Don't give up - it's just about finding what works for you.

One of the worst affected areas of my body was the skin around the corners of my mouth.  I would permanently have itchy, red, flakey cracked skin.  It stopped me from smiling widely, yawning  properly or opening my mouth wider than absolutely necessary because every time I did, the skin painfully cracked open.

One day I decided to stop eating any citrus fruit when I noticed that whenever I ate pineapple, I suffered from ulcers inside my mouth and my palate went soft and prone to injury.  By sheer fluke, this is how I found out that citrus fruit also triggered the eczema around my mouth.  It took a few weeks, but my mouth cleared up completely.  I also found that the patches of eczema on the rest of my body were not quite as bad - but sadly far from cured.

If you suffer from eczema around your mouth then I would also warn against using toothpaste that has the blue colouring in it.  Stick to the plain white stuff.  Also, do not use alcohol hand sanitisers.  I don't know the science behind it but it sets my eczema off something chronic!

I also suffered from nasty patches of eczema on the insides of my elbows, neck, on my wrists and hands (severely), around my eyes, behind my knees and on my lower legs.  One day I spotted a new body lotion and decided to give it a whirl.  At around £5.10 for 200ml, Vaseline Intensive rescue repair and protect lotion was not going to break the bank but I had a feeling it would end up on the 'lotions and potions scrapheap' with the rest of them.  However, this stuff worked like magic.  At first, on raw, broken skin, it stings like a *insert swear word here* but it works.  It helped my skin to start to retain some moisture and within just a couple of weeks, my skin was looking pretty much normal save for a little bit of redness.

I used this lotion religiously all over (including on my face and around my eyes) for months and regularly gently exfoliated and all trace of redness and eczema disappeared.  But then I got bored and fed up.  The lotion starts to feel a bit waxy on the skin after a while and in warm weather, it made me feel quite clammy.  I also craved something with some scent to it - bonkers I know when you've discovered something that stops your eczema dead in its tracks, but hey-ho, that's just how I am.

Next, I tried Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E.  It smells good enough to eat, and again, it's a snip at around £3.60 for 250mls.  I started slathering this on (including my face - although excluding my t zone as it can trigger spots) around 2 years ago and it keeps the eczema at bay and it keeps me happy as it smoothes my skin and leaves it smelling heavenly.  If I get bored of the smell, I swap it for the scent free version for a while.

If I get lazy and don't use Palmer's for a few days, I can see a dramatic difference in the condition of my skin and the eczema starts to slowly return which in turn very quickly motivates me to start slapping it on again.

I would say that Palmer's doesn't seem to be able to clear up the eczema on it's own, it just seems to prevent it flaring up.  So, if I have an allergic reaction to something and I have a flare up, I simply apply the Vaseline lotion and it puts everything right and then I revert back to the Palmer's to maintain the skin condition.  I have now not used a steroid cream for years.

With my skin being so pale, it's virtually opaque, I was also delighted to find that Palmer's gradual tanning lotion is also compatible with my skin.  I wouldn't want to apply it every day because it has the classic fake tan smell but when I apply it a couple of times a week, it leaves my skin nicely moisturised and takes the edge off my the blue hue.

I realise I've rambled on so here it is paraphrased:

  1. Try cutting out citrus fruits from your diet;
  2. Clear up the eczema with Vaseline lotion (make sure you get the right one! See above), apply it every day and every time your skin comes into contact with water;
  3. Exfoliate very gently on a regular basis (eg. twice a week) once the eczema has cleared;
  4. Maintain the skin condition by swapping the Vaseline lotion with Palmer's.  Apply it every day and every time your skin comes into contact with water.  Keep exfoliating.
  5. Treat flare ups with Vaseline lotion.
  6. Avoid applying these lotions to your t-zone if you are prone to breakouts.

As I said before, this won't work for everyone but it's had a dramatic effect on me and hopefully some of you will experience an improvement by giving it a try.  The great thing is that these products can be used on children and it doesn't cost the earth.

Good luck and if it works for you, spread the word!  


Monday, 8 October 2012

Top 15 Diet Tips

Everyone knows the key to losing weight is to eat less and exercise more. Sounds simple enough, but in the context of real life and its demands, it can be anything but simple. So how do successful losers do it? Here are 15 top diet tips.

Best diet tip 1: Drink plenty of water or other calorie-free beverages.

People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. So you can end up eating extra calories when an ice-cold glass of water is really what you need. If you don't like plain water, try adding a slice of citrus fruit or a splash of juice. Brew infused teas like mango or peach, which have lots of flavour but no calories.

Best diet tip 2: Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away.

Start by focusing on getting the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. It sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it, because at the same time you are meeting your fibre goals and feeling more satisfied from the volume of food. You're also less likely to overeat because fruit and vegetables displace fat in the diet, not to mention the health benefits of fruit and vegetables. To get more vegetables into your diet work them into meals instead of just serving them as sides on a plate.

Best diet tip 3: Consider whether you're really hungry.

Whenever you feel like eating, look for physical signs of hunger.

Hunger is your body's way of telling you that you need fuel, so when a craving doesn't come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it. When you’ve finished eating, you should feel better, not stuffed, bloated or tired.

Keeping your portion sizes reasonable will help you get more in touch with your feelings of hunger and fullness.

Best diet tip 4: Be choosy about night-time snacks.

Mindless eating occurs most frequently after dinner, when you finally sit down and relax.

Sitting down with a packet of crisps or biscuits in front of the television is an example of eating amnesia, where you mindlessly eat without being hungry, just out of habit.

To stop doing this either make the kitchen out of bounds after a certain hour, or allow yourself a low-calorie snack.

Best diet tip 5: Enjoy your favourite foods.

Putting your favourite foods off limits leads to weight gain because it triggers 'rebound' overeating, say experts.

Instead of cutting out your favourite foods altogether, be a slim shopper. Buy one fresh biscuit instead of a packet, or a small portion of sweets instead of a whole bag.

Basically, enjoy your favourite foods but in moderation.

Best diet tip 6: Enjoy your treats away from home.

When you need a treat, consider taking a walk to the shop or planning a family outing to get it.

By making it into an adventure, you don't have to worry about the temptation of having treats in the house.

When you just can't get out, stock your kitchen with fresh fruit, which can be every bit as delicious as any other dessert.

Best diet tip 7: Eat several mini-meals during the day.

If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. When you're hungry all the time, eating fewer calories can be challenging.

Studies show people who eat four to five meals or snacks per day are better able to control their appetite and weight.

Consider dividing your daily calories into smaller meals or snacks and enjoying as many of them as you can early in the day as dinner should be the last time you eat.

Best diet tip 8: Eat protein at every meal.

Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats and thus may be the new secret weapon in weight control.

Diets higher in protein and moderate in carbohydrates, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to help weight loss, say experts.

Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like yoghurt, cheese, nuts or beans in meals and snacks.

Best diet tip 9: Spice it up.

Add spices or chillies to your food for a flavour boost that can help you feel satisfied.

Food that is loaded with flavour will stimulate your taste buds and be more satisfying so you won't eat as much.

Best diet tip 10: Stock your kitchen with healthy convenience foods.

Having ready-to-eat snacks and staples on hand sets you up for success. You'll be less likely to give in to temptation if you can make a healthy meal in five or 10 minutes.

Stock your kitchen with:
Fat-free microwave popcorn
Frozen vegetables
Bags of pre-washed vegetables
Tins of chopped tomatoes
Tinned beans
Whole grain wraps or pitta breads
Pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts
A few containers of pre-cooked brown rice.

Best diet tip 11: Order children’s portions in restaurants.

When you are eating out, order a child's meal or a small sandwich as an easy way to trim calories and get your portions under control.

Another trick is to use smaller plates. This helps the portions look like more, and if your mind is satisfied, your stomach is likely to be, too.

Best diet tip 12: Eat foods in season.

If you don't like certain fruit or vegetables, it could be because you ate them out of season when they have little taste or flavour. When you eat seasonally, fruit and vegetables taste better.

Best diet tip 13: Swap a cup of pasta for a cup of vegetables.

Simply by eating less pasta or bread and more vegetables, you could go down a dress size in a year.

You can save between 100 and 200 calories if you reduce the portion of starch on your plate and increase the amount of vegetables.

Best diet tip 14: Use non-food alternatives to cope with stress.

Sooner or later, you're going to be faced with a stressful situation. Instead of turning to food for comfort, be prepared with some non-food tactics that work for you.

These could include reading a few chapters in a novel, listening to music, writing in a diary or practicing meditative deep breathing.

Best diet tip 15: Be physically active.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, don't use exercise either to punish yourself for eating or to "earn" the right to eat more.

When you do this it sets up a negative thought pattern, which is why so many people say they hate to exercise.

Instead, focus on how great you feel, how much better you sleep and how much more energy you have when you exercise. Physical activity is good for you whether you are trying to lose weight or not, so keep it positive and build a lifelong habit.

For more information, see:

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A Week of Healthy Lunches

If the only planning your lunch involves is where you'll get your sarnie from, you're missing a trick. Ready-made food can be high in calories and fat, making it harder to eat healthily and keep those pounds off. Find out how to transform your midday meal and make good choices when you're short of time.

If you are somebody who makes a dash to the supermarket for a sandwich and a bag of crisps come lunch time, you are not alone.

We take a paltry 19 minutes for lunch and 78 per cent of us plump for a sandwich. Nearly half of us will wolf it down at our desk, too.

But some simple forward planning can transform your midday meal.

Healthy, well-balanced meals can be quick to make and much cheaper than something ready made.

If you work, you can take a packed lunch or even microwave a baked potato if you have a decent staff kitchen.

Try these ideas - both your waistline and wallet will thank you for it.
Seven-day plan

Before you start
Butter and margarine are high in calories and fat, so all these recipes are designed to be made without.

If you can't say no to butter, use sparingly.

A little ripe avocado, spread like butter on your toast or for sandwiches can make a healthier alternative.


Spicy chicken and roasted vegetable tortilla wrap

The night before: pop chopped courgette, pepper, mushrooms and strips of chicken breast into a roasting tin.

Lightly brush with olive oil, paprika and ground chilli and put in the oven on a low heat until the chicken is well cooked and veg is tender.

In the morning: pack into a plastic container and take to work with a tortilla wrap and a handful of ready-washed salad leaves.

For just-made freshness, assemble your wrap at lunchtime.


Couscous mixed with chopped vegetables and fresh herbs

Low-fat yogurt

Couscous is as versatile as pasta and takes just five minutes to cook.

Try it with a variety of raw or cooked vegetables, chopped avocado, walnuts or beans and stir in plenty of fresh herbs.


Watercress, spinach and rocket salad with red peppers, red onion, smoked mackerel and a balsamic dressing

Fruit juice

You can quickly assemble this simple salad in your lunch hour.

You can substitute tinned tuna or salmon for mackerel.

Make up the salad dressing at home and pop in an old jam jar to keep in the office fridge.

You can use extra-virgin olive oil, then whisk in a little balsamic vinegar and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Experiment by adding lime juice, some Dijon mustard or dried herbs such as basil or rosemary.


Roast beef sandwich on rye bread with horseradish and rocket leaves

Piece of fresh fruit or prepared fruit chunks

Buy pre-sliced beef and make at home.

Get organised and prepare your fruit at home too, rather than spending on shop-bought versions.


Jacket potato with cottage cheese and chives and a large green salad

Cereal bar

Use your work microwave for a healthy hot potato rather than heating a ready-meal.

Pierce a washed spud all over and pop in the microwave on high heat for ten to twelve minutes, depending on size.

Spear with a knife to ensure it's cooked all the way through then serve with cottage cheese, chives and salad.


Poached or scrambled egg on wholemeal toast with grilled field mushrooms and tomato

Fruit smoothie

Enjoy a cooked brunch with a home-made fruit smoothie – try whizzing up a banana, berries and some pineapple with a little orange juice.


Homemade vegetable soup, eg spicy parsnip, pea and watercress, tomato and basil or carrot and coriander

Crusty granary bread

Canned fruit in juice with low-fat Greek yogurt

For spicy parsnip soup, fry chopped onions, spring onions and garlic in a little oil until brown.

Add chopped parsnips, potatoes and a tablespoon of garam masala mixed spices.

Add a pint of vegetable stock and cook until veg is soft.

Whiz up in a blender until smooth and stir in a tablespoon of tahini paste before serving.

Make a double batch and you'll have enough for Monday's lunch, too.

Healthy choices you can buy

On days when time is short, use these tips to navigate the shelves when buying your lunch.


  • Mayonnaise: it can turn a low-fat tuna sandwich into a lunch laden with unhealthy fats and calories. Steer clear by going to a shop where they will make your sandwich from scratch.
  • Salads with separate dressing sachets - add sparingly and save yourself up to 150 calories.
  • Triple sandwich packs: unless you are an Olympic athlete you simply don't need this many calories in one sitting.
  • Cheese: it might make for a delicious sandwich, but even small amounts will hike up your calorie and fat intake.
  • Cup-a-soup on it's own. It isn't enough. It won't see you through the day and will have you heading for the biscuit barrel.
  • Following a large lunch with a large dinner. If lunch has been a blow-out, reduce your evening meal accordingly.
  • Choosing reduced-calorie options. Check labels because some are filled with additives or artificial sweeteners to keep the calorie count low.

Tuck into

  • Anything around the 350-550 calorie mark - women should have closer to 350 calories for lunch, men nearer 550.
  • Sandwiches with plenty of salad.
  • Fresh, canned or pre-prepared fruit if you fancy something sweet - that way you get a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and fibre too.
  • Low glycaemic index (GI) carbs such as rye bread, oat cakes, bulgar wheat, new potatoes, couscous, quinoa, pearl barley, soya and linseed bread, whole-wheat pasta and brown or wild rice. All are slow-release energy foods, which means no sudden sugar highs or lows.
Seasonal Summer Foods

  • Leaves: watercress, spinach and rocket are packed with beneficial phytonutrients and vitamin C, betacarotene, iron and calcium.
  • Avocado: packed with essential fats, vitamin E and fibre, all essential for heart health. Those watching their weight should eat in moderation.
  • Peppers: their distinctive flavour is down to a chemical called capsaicin that can also act as a natural painkiller. Red peppers are an excellent source of betacarotene and vitamin C.
  • Berries: no matter what the berry, each is packed with its own unique set of beneficial nutrients - the deep colour gives this away.