Losing Weight the Healthy Way

By Reid Terranova

With millions of Americans overweight, obesity continues to be a serious problem and is predicted to reach epidemic levels by the year 2020.

One way to prevent this scenario is to make people aware of the risks of being overweight or obese.

Here are some diseases that you are putting yourself in risk of if you are carrying a lot of extra pounds:

1. heart disease
2. stroke
3. diabetes
4. cancer
5. arthritis
6. hypertension

Losing weight helps to prevent and control these diseases.

The quick weight loss methods which have spread like fire these days do not provide lasting results. More often than not, dieting methods which involve dietary drinks, foods and supplement or pills do not work. If they do, the results are just temporary.

It is better to rely on a healthy weight loss option which will provide lifetime results. You have to set realistic goals and not expect to lose a lot of pounds in a short span of time.

Here are some tips on how you can lose those unwanted pounds the healthy way:

1. Do not starve your self.

The key to a healthier way of losing weight is: Do not diet.

You may seem happy and feel that you are losing those unwanted flabs on your belly and thighs by skipping meals. But remember that this would not last long. Your body cannot tolerate having insufficient food to fuel the energy that you use up everyday.

If you get used to skipping one or two meals a day, your stored calories will be used up instead of the energy that should have been provided by your meals. So if you just eat one huge sandwich in one day, it will end up straight to your problem area (i.e. highs, buttocks, hips).

2. Start your day right.

Mothers always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have a healthy meal in the morning to jump-start your metabolism.

Your food intake after you wake up will be used to burn fat all day long.

3. Eat small, healthy meals frequently.

Five small-serving snacks per day is better than three hearty meals. Eating more frequently, and in small servings, can prevent over-eating. This will also increase your metabolism and make calories burn faster.

4. Decide on how much weight you want to lose.

Keep your goals realistic. In the long run, it is virtually impossible for you to lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks. Have a mindset that you want to eat healthy to stay healthy for the rest of your life.

Once you have decided on a weight loss plan or program, stick to it and make sure that you follow your own set of dieting rules.

5. Drink lots of water.

Your body needs sufficient water to burn fat and keep your cells hydrated and healthy.

6. Avoid too much sugar.

Plan your meals around lots of fruits and vegetables, some bread, rice or pasta for that carbo fix that you need, plus lean meat and protein rich-foods. Sweets, sodas and pastries should be once-in-a-while indulgences only.

7. Watch your fat intake.

Fat is not the culprit to being overweight. You need this to keep your weight at the proper level.

There is such a thing as healthy fats. Olive, peanuts and canola oil have them. Tuna, salmon and mackerel have omega-3 fats which is good for the heart.

8. Exercise.

Leave your car if you are only going a few blocks from home, take the stairs instead of the elevator, jog, cycle or skate. Use these activites and other home chores if you are too lazy to go to the gym and take exercise classes. Make sure that you do this regularly and you will not even notice that you are already shedding pounds with these mundane activities.

It does not matter how much weight you plan or need to lose. What is important is that you set realistic goals for yourself.

Go slow. If you have already lost 5 or 6 pounds, give yourself a break then try to lose the next 5 pounds.

Eat healthy, drink lots of water, have enough sleep and exercise. This will give you a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which would result to a new, healthier you.

Healthy Diet Essentials

By Bliss Blaire

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a healthy diet is one that Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

But just what minerals and nutrients are vital to our health and well-being? Consider these nutrient-dense foods when you’re looking to improve your vitamin and mineral intake.

Vitamin A is needed for good eyesight and optimal functioning of the immune system. Cod liver oil, dairy products, sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables are all great natural food sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is imperative to the body’s ability to process carbohydrates. Whole grain breads, cereals and pastas have high amounts of thiamin.

Riboflavin, or B2, can be found in fortified cereals, almonds, asparagus, eggs, and meat. It’s used in many body processes, including converting food into energy and the production of red blood cells.

Niacin, also known as B3, can be found in lean chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, enriched flour, peanuts, and fortified cereals. It aids in digestion and also plays a key role in converting food into energy.

Vitamin B6 can be found in fortified cereals, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, light-meat chicken and turkey, eggs, and spinach. It’s vital for a healthy nervous system, and helps break down proteins and stored sugars.

Vitamin B12 is needed for creating red blood cells, and can be found in beef, clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, poultry, and soybeans.

Citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach are all loaded with vitamin C, which is vital to promoting a healthy immune system, and making chemical messengers in the brain.

Vitamin D can be found in fortified milk, cheese, and cereals; egg yolks; salmon; but can also be made by the body from sunlight exposure. It’s needed to process calcium and maintain the health of bones and teeth.

Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant and is essential to your skin’s good health. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, and vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, and soybean to get this vital nutrient.

Folic acid can be found in fortified cereals and grain products; lima, lentil, and garbanzo beans; and dark leafy vegetables. It’s vital for cell development, prevents birth defects, promotes heart health, and helps red blood cells form. Pregnant women need to take special care to ensure they are getting enough of this for themselves and their developing baby.

Dairy products, broccoli, dark leafy greens like spinach and rhubarb, and fortified products, such as orange juice, soy milk, and tofu are all loaded with calcium. Like vitamin D, it’s very important in helping to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.

Organ meats, oysters, clams, crabs, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole-grain products, and cocoa products are all high in copper, which aids in metabolism of iron and red cell formation. It also assists in the production of energy for cells.

Iron can be found in leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, poultry, soy foods, and some fortified foods. It’s needed to transport oxygen to all parts of the body via the red blood cells.

Potassium can be found in foods like Broccoli, potatoes (with the skins on), prune juice, orange juice, leafy green vegetables, bananas, raisins, and tomatoes. It aids in nervous system and muscle function and also helps maintain a healthy balance of water in the blood and body tissues.

Red meat, fortified cereals, oysters, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, and dairy products are great dietary sources of zinc. Zinc supports the body’s immune function, reproduction capabilities, and the nervous systems.

Protein is the main component of muscles, organs, and glands. Every living cell and all body fluids, except bile and urine, contain protein. The cells of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are maintained with protein. Children and adolescents require protein for growth and development, and adults need it to maintain cell integrity. It can be found in foods like beans, milk and meat.

The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. Complex carbohydrates are the best choice for a stable blood sugar level. Whole grain breads and cereals, legumes, and starchy vegetables are all good complex carbohydrate sources.

Essential fatty acids play a part in many metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels of essential fatty acids, or the wrong balance of types among the essential fatty acids, may be a factor in a number of illnesses. Good sources are fish and shellfish, flaxseed, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts.

Though this list is far from complete, it gives a good base of knowledge on which to build a healthy, well-balanced diet.

The Key to Staying With Healthy Diet Plans

By Antonia Sparks

Over and over, we’re inundated with healthy diet lectures, from doctors, in magazine articles, nutritionists, diet coaches and the personal trainers. It reaches the point where you hope to never hear another word about a healthy diet plan, whether it makes sense or not. With so much unrelenting outside pressure, this good and well intentioned info begins to fall on psychologically deafened ears – too much information!

For the most part, healthy diet plans need not be grueling. Often it is just a matter of applying common sense.

However, we all know that, should we choose to ignore the facts, chances are good that we’ll pay for it down the road in poor health. The fact remains, we all know how to construct a personal healthy diet plan all on our own. You just need to know how to go about it.

Everyone has personal taste preferences. One of the problems with recipe books and the so-called healthy diet plans is that you may not like half of the ingredients called for in the recipes. This makes it hard to stick with the program.

One way to circumvent this problem is to start with the food pyramid. While you know that orange, red and yellow fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants necessary to good health, there are only a couple you truly enjoy.

If you hate sweet potatoes, but like apricots and yellow squash, look for recipes that include these and forget the sweet potatoes. Consult charts which list fruits and veggies high in fiber and choose those you like and will actually eat. A healthy diet plan is one which you embrace!

Every successful healthy diet means that you make every effort to cut back on sugar, salt, fats and refined processed foods. As possible, buy natural meats which contain no hormones or antibiotics. Fresh and frozen fruits and veggies are better than a canned product.

When you do eat meat, choose lean meats, poultry and fish. Eat smaller portions of meat and larger portions of fruits and veggies.

The old style American dinner plate  of the 1950s consisted of a big chunk of meat, a few tablespoons of veggies and a large baked potato, smothered in butter. No one today would try to argue that this style of eating healthy. Since we know better now, it’s time to come to the party of your own accord. You’ll avoid many health problems and live longer.

Simple carbs, such as white bread, quickly convert to sugar, raising your chances of gaining weight and risking diabetes, by exhausting your body’s ability to process insulin.

Instead of white rice, try brown or wild rice, or a mixture if a sudden switch is too much to bear. Go for whole grain breads and complex carbohydrates, which convert more slowly and don’t produce those sugar spikes.

When planning the dairy content of your customized healthy diet plan, make a gradual shift to low fat milk, sour cream and cheeses. If you normally drink whole milk, try a half and half mix of whole and 2%, until you adjust to the taste of the 2% milk. It won’t take long before you don’t even notice the difference.

Whole milk will eventually taste far too rich. If you haven’t tried soy milk, buy a quart and see what you think. Soy milk is packed with amino acids and is a much healthier choice than cow’s milk. Yogurt is another good choice in a healthy diet plan.

The real key to staying with healthy diet plans, is that you choose healthy foods you actually like!

Which Healthy Cooking Oils Should You Use?

By Anouk Brandt

You have long been told that fats are bad for you and you may be trying to keep them out of your diet. So, are there healthy cooking oils to use as an alternative?

Some people are so good at avoiding fats that they may actually have health problems as a result when they thought they were doing the right thing.

The fact is that some fats are good for you, and some are essential to your diet if you want to remain healthy. The bottom line is, saturated fats are the ones that you want to avoid.

If you have had a heart attack, you are best to avoid them completely, but the occasional use of saturated fats is not going to be too bad for you.

You do not want to consider anything with saturated fats as healthy cooking oils through. That is adding a bad type of fat when there is just no need to do so. Save the saturated fat for an occasional steak and cook with something else.

There are some products that were made with hydrogenated oils. These oils were essentially added to hydrogen because this allowed items to sit on store shelves for longer periods of time without rotting. It was a long term preservative.

However, it has been found that these oils are actually dangerous for the body and most healthy cooking oils no longer contain hydrogenated oils.

You can never assume this though, so make sure you read the packaging thoroughly before you decide if you have found something healthy or not. There are many alternatives to this type of oil, so keep it out of your diet.

Look for healthy cooking oils that have a heart healthy claim on the bottle. This does not mean anything sometimes, but some types are proven to be better than others for the heart and the body, and they deliver the fats that your body needs every day.

Some of the better types are safflower oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and olive oil. There are other good types as well.  You can usually substitute safflower oil for vegetable oil in any dish or recipe without changing the flavor and it is better for you.

You don’t need a lot of healthy cooking oils to get the benefits your body needs.

Keep in mind that deep fried foods are not good for you no matter what type of oil you use!  However, it is better to use these good oils than to use something else. If you love deep fried, limit how often you eat it.

You only need a teaspoon or even less to lubricate a pan when cooking many foods, so watch out how much you add to the pan, even when using healthy oils for cooking. Use the right type of oil keeping it in your diet, and you will enjoy better health in the long run.

Fun Healthy Snacks for Kids

By Clare Jamison

Try some fun healthy snacks to get your kids on the right track with good healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.

Getting your children to eat the right foods can be hard if they are given the wrong things everywhere that they go. Grandma and the babysitter mean well, but that does not mean that they should be given sugar all of the time.

Once they get a sweet tooth, it can be hard to get them to eat the right things so that they can grow up healthy and strong. You have to find new and interesting ways to present the right foods to your kids.

Fun healthy snacks may be more about the way that you present them to your children than the types of foods that you offer.

Although you really want to try to give them the ones that you know they will or have eaten in the past. If they have tried and spit out broccoli, perhaps one way to get them started is to skip the broccoli and try something else. You can always try to serve that broccoli at a later date. Instead, think about the things they have had and liked in the past and go from there.

One way to get fun healthy snacks into your kids is to make them up in fun and creative ways. If this is not your strong point, there are plenty of ideas out there that you can use. For one, you can make the tried and true ‘ants on a log.’

This is a celery stick with peanut butter smeared inside. On the top of that peanut butter you can stick raisins. The celery is the log and the raisins are the ants. Many kids love this, especially boys who think eating ants is gross and fun all at the same time. You can use purple raisins for black ants and yellow raisins to represent some other type of insect if you wish.

Most kids love to dip. This is not the best idea when they are always putting potato chips into fattening dips, but there are other things that you can do. Give them rod pretzels and give them some fat free ranch dressing for dip. They will love it.

You can also find a recipe for a layered dip that included grated celery, radish (just a touch for a little kick), carrots, and anything else that you want to include. You can put fresh, low fat cream cheese or sour cream in a layer to stick it all together and give your kids baked tortilla chips and let them dip away. This may be one of their favorite fun healthy snacks.

Those are just a few fun healthy snacks you can try with your kids. There are many more ideas out there that you can use. You can find cookbooks with simple and yummy ideas that you can try, and more complicated meal plans that also include the foods that you want them to eat.

Don’t forget to modify things that they like, such as cake, but using applesauce instead of oil to keep the cake moist. This saves calories and most people can not tell the difference. Keep up your hard work and you will see a pay off from your healthy and happy kids.

No Nagging About Healthy Lifestyles

By Clare Jamison

Women tend to think of how good healthy lifestyles can be, and they wonder about how the men in their lives can just ignore something so obviously true and desirable. What does one do when the man in one’s life just hates to exercise or live healthy?

Women in loving relationships have a hard time knowing what to do about keeping the man they love healthy and living as long as them. Statistics clearly suggest that not only do men in general live seven fewer years than women, they don’t even stay healthy the whole time they stay alive.

Truth be told though, nagging into adopting a healthy lifestyles, may work some of the time, but it really takes something out of the relationship.

This is what you need to do to influence the man with love to get results.

When someone ignores something that one considers obvious, it can be quite hard to bring the thing up for discussion in a really sincere way. One is just so annoyed at how one has to force someone to do something that obvious. Heartfelt sincerity though is considerably underrated. If you could set all the annoyance and anger aside and approach the problem with heartfelt concern, it can often make a huge difference.

Showing your concern, you can start with talking about what you know of the family history of the man in your life. If you could bring up specific instances of heart disease or anything else on his mother’s side or that of his father’s, that could really build your argument up.

Healthy lifestyles can be a lot of work. Nothing says that you really care about a person the way helping with all that work can. Planning heart healthy meals that appeal to the man in your life could be a great start.

Men love to grill. It makes them feel like they’re doing something hard that should deserve appreciation. The good thing in this is that grilled food can be very healthy. The heat of the grill tends to melt all the fatty parts away.

Planning exercise together can put out a particularly positive message. In fact, research finds that couples that exercise together stick to their schedules for far longer. Group bike rides out together, group dance lessons, walks together and gym time together can all really set things up the way you hope.

There are all kinds of little changes that can really add up. Changing the brand of juice you buy so that you go sugar and additive-free, parking the car farther away than usual when you go anywhere, choosing whole-wheat over refined – can all make a difference.

And finally, almost nothing works when you reason with a man about being sensible like appealing to his provider instincts does. Men want to know that they will forever be looked to as the family’s provider. Healthy lifestyles is certainly a way to make sure he is going to be around to be that provider.

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A Healthy Body Image is a Beautiful Thing

By Gwyn Seabrooke

We all know that true beauty comes from the inside and your attitude is reflected in a  healthy body image.  Then why is it that so many of us are unsatisfied with the body we were born with, leading to a poor self image, lack of confidence and a whole lot of unnecessary unhappiness?

Teens are particularly vulnerable to this syndrome. Let me tell you, I have yet to meet an ugly human being, with the exception of people who are constantly negative and grumpy in their outlook on life. Attitude matters, tremendously.

I’ve seen many an individual who, at first glance, is well proportioned and seemingly attractive – until they open their mouth with a sarcastic or demeaning remark. Their attitude is well reflected in facial expressions and body language.

On the other hand, there are people who may not fit the description of a model or Greek statuary, but are nonetheless beautiful. Such people may have an over-inflated view of themselves and their visual attractiveness, but they cannot be said to have a healthy body image. This type uses their attractiveness as justification to treat others with disdain.

Most people start finding fault with their bodies during adolescence. “Oh, if only I had longer legs, nicer hair, a smaller nose, better looking lips, etc.” There’s been an ad on TV recently, describing a program where young children are confidently saying “I promise to think of myself as a beautiful person!”

Apparently, this program is responding to a growing trend of kids who are ultra sensitive to jeers and jokes from their peers regarding big knees, long arms, short legs or whatever the kids deem to be ‘out of the norm’. The program is intended to help kids develop a healthy body image.

When kids tease or taunt other kids, a sensitive or insecure kid may focus obsessively on their supposed physical faults. If they are teased for being ‘fat’, they may become anorexic, simply to avoid the taunts and ‘fit in’ to their friends mold of extreme and unhealthy skinniness.

The fact is that people come in all shapes and sizes, each with their differences. Think how boring it would be if everyone you met had a body which was more or less identical to their own!

Variety is the spice of life and one person is neither superior or inferior just because his feet are smaller than average, or her hair is curly rather than the currently popular string-straight hair. Having a healthy body image involves accepting your body as it is, not trying to make your body conform to today’s idea of beauty.

Some people will opt for plastic surgery to modify their body. What happens to that person’s self image when, ten years later, the beauty police do a makeover of ‘what’s beautiful’? Who knows that breast implants, for example, go the way of alligator shoes and fur coats? Will you then have a healthy body image, ‘knowing’ that you are now out of step?

One of the better approaches to a healthy body image is to make an objective analysis of your good and lesser attributes. If you’re actually overweight or underweight, do something about it!

Exercise and eat right and the picture will change soon enough. When you do it for yourself, rather than to meet another person’s expectations, you’re well on the road to a healthy body image.

Women love fashion, so take advantage of what fashion can do for you. Choose styles that flatter your body. If you think your thighs are too fat, work on the issue through exercise. In the meantime, shop for styles which de-emphasize the big thighs and play up your best points.

A baggy turtleneck sweater, with a hem that ends halfway to your knees, is a fashionable and comfortable solution. You’ll feel confident that no one is looking at you, judging your thighs to be enormous. Besides, whether your thighs are too large is a subjective matter. The idea is to wear clothes which make you feel good about yourself. Hey, nobody’s perfect and everybody knows it!

In Hitchcock’s classic movie, The Rear Window, one of the characters was a beautiful ballet dancer, who could hardly beat off handsome admirers. In the end, her soldier boyfriend, a short, geeky looking guy, comes home and is greeted with obvious joy and love by his ballerina.

Beauty is much more than skin deep.  A healthy body image makes you happy, beautiful and irresistible!