Archive for March, 2011

7 Tips to Successfully Starting a Diet Regimen

Friday, March 25th, 2011
It is easy to say that you want to start a diet and lose some weight, but are you committed to going through the ups and downs of a diet regimen to reach your ideal weight?  Here are 7 tips to get you on your way to accomplishing your worthy goal:

1. Be realistic.

You have to start off with a feasible game plan and timeline for losing the weight.  It didn’t take mere days to gain the weight so you can’t think that you’ll drop all of the pounds within a week.  People quit their journey when they hit a plateau or don’t lose weight as quickly as they would like, so come up with a real life goal that keeps your metabolism and schedule in mind.

2. Get a support system.

Having a friend who is also trying to lose weight or joining a program such as Weight Watchers is a great way to stay motivated to lose weight because you are accountable to someone and they can give you a pep talk when needed.  Keeping an online weight loss blog works in the same way in that it holds you to your goal because others know about it and expect results with you.  When you feel overwhelmed or want to give up, their support and love can get you through the tough spots that are inherent in weight-loss.
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3. Practice portion control and watch calories.

Most meals today are double the size that we should actually be consuming in one sitting!  When at a restaurant, have the server pack half before it is even brought to the table and when eating, do so slowly so that your body can process that it is eating and alert you to when you are full.  Keeping a food journal can help you to put into perspective how much food that you consume on a daily basis and alert you to any changes that you may need to make to your diet.


4. Up your water intake.

Sometimes when we feel that we are hungry it is really our body’s way of saying that it is thirsty.  Water also helps you to become full faster if consumed before a meal, so that you can put down the fork faster.  Your body needs the water anyway to function and not become dehydrated, may as well let it aid in your weight loss goals.

5. Get moving.

Dieting alone will cause some pounds to leave but you will be much more efficient if you are up and moving around with exercise often.  Park further from buildings so that you have to walk, take the stairs, have sex, get a structured workout in with dvds or the gym 3-4 times a week, weight train to burn fat quickly, dance, swim, go play with your kids, just get moving!

6. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.

Your body needs food for fuel, so don’t try and starve it into slimness because not only is this very unhealthy, your body will start clinging to fat and keeping it on because it is afraid that you won’t eat again soon.  Breakfast jump starts your metabolism, so start the day right with fruit, whole grains, and some protein.

7. Set up a rewards system.

When you achieve a weightloss journey goal, reward yourself!  Then you have something to look forward to and want to push ahead.  Promise yourself a pedicure at the 10 lb goal, a small shopping spree when you hit a size that you haven’t been at before or in a while, makeover when you get to your goal weight, trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, a new trinket that will symbolize the new you such as a pretty ring or bracelet to remind you of what you’ve accomplished.

Losing weight is a life long task for many people and requires a lifestyle overhaul.  Start off with these tips and you can start to kiss the old you goodbye and welcome in a healthier version of yourself!  Good luck.

 

 

Types of Headaches & How to Minimize Them

Friday, March 18th, 2011
Throbbing pain in your head has a way of slowing down your day and making it miserable.  Everyone will experience a headache at least once in their lifetime and the discomfort can range from a dull ache to being almost debilitating.  There are various reasons for a headache, different types of headaches, and also many cures to combat the effects.
Headaches are from either of two categories: primary which is caused by environmental things and not any underlying medical condition and secondary headaches which are caused by medical concerns such as sinus infections or a head injury.   The rate of blood flow to the head is a leading cause of primary headaches, something like drinking an abundance of coffee (which is known to decrease blood flow to the brain) and then suddenly stopping after days of drinking it can lead to a headache because the rush of blood causes the pounding headache.

Stress or tension (primary) headaches…

can be caused by having stress physically on the body or mentally, such as having your muscles tensed in the wrong position like angling the neck wrong while sleeping or by too much work related stress in your life.  This type of headache can be a dull steady pain that can permeate through the neck, all over the head, temples, create tension in the scalp along with knotted shoulders.  Ways to alleviate the stress headaches include getting more rest, taking an over the counter headache reliever, keeping stress levels down, and stretching properly in the shoulders and neck area.

Another type of primary headache…

would be the migraines.  These are evident when blood flow is reduced to the cerebral cortex or there is a change in the contraction and expansion of blood vessels around the brain.  The intense throbbing pain can cause a high sensitivity to light, nausea or vomiting, numbness, and flashing lights along with blind spots in the sight.  Women are the more likely sex to have migraines and they can frequent during menstruation.

Cluster headaches on the other hand…

are more likely to affect men.  These are headaches that cluster in a certain area of the head (generally around the eye area) and happen over a period of days.  Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger a bout of cluster headaches.

Aspirin, a good nap, and dimmed lights is often enough to get rid of many headaches, but there are stronger measures for those suffering chronic headaches.  Check with your physician so that a suitable recovery regimen can be formulated for your specific pain relief needs.

 

 

Best Diets for Losing Belly Fat

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Winning the battle of the bulge (around the waist) is a goal for many people in the United States. We have become a sedentary, overweight nation and the quest for fat burning diets that work is a valid pursuit. Here are some top foods that you should incorporate into your daily diet as well as recipes that will help to get you slim and trim! Drink plenty of water and add in 45 minutes of exercise every other day and you will be looking in the mirror at a new figure.

1. Monounsaturated fats…

…in moderation, are great for your system! This fat is found in avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate and helps to reduce things like heart disease. Our body needs good fats to function, so this type is the one to eat within a balanced diet. You’ll find that you become full faster, have energy for your workouts, and have handy snacks around when you need a pick me up at 3pm while at work.

2. Whole grains…

…such as oatmeal and seed/grain breads will make a great breakfast that keeps hunger at bay and aids in digestion. Eating a breakfast of whole grains will help the pounds to melt off because you stay full longer, it’s nutritious, and it provides ample fuel so that your blood sugar and energy doesn’t drop part way to lunch and you end up snacking on unhealthy vending machine treats.

3. Protein shakes and smoothies…

…made with whey and protein powder are fabulous ways to drink down hunger and boost energy levels! Some think that protein shakes are only for athletes trying to pump up at the gym, but that’s simply not true. Have one as a midday snack and you will feel energized to get through the day and because many flavors can hide in a smoothie, toss in ample berries, some veggies like spinach, and oils like flaxseed oil and you will get down some of your necessary vegetable intake.

4. Egg whites…

…are a real treat and help to fight belly fat! They contain lots of protein and metabolize fat with vitamin B12. An egg-white omlet for breakfast with a small bowl of oatmeal and berries could be just the kickstart that you need for your day, acting as a better meal than a bagel and cream cheese or sugary cereals!

5. Lean protein meats and fish…

…will help your body to get trim because it takes more energy (fat burning energy) to process proteins than fat or carbohydrates. Fish like salmons and tuna, lean beef, and turkey are great ways to incorporate this into your diet.

6. Get those dairy products into your system!

Yogurts along with low fat or skim milks and cheeses can help to get your waist tight because calcium is a fat fighting super hero and can even prevent it from forming.

7. Tea…

…is rich in antioxidants and fights off illness and pounds! Brew pitchers of iced tea to enjoy throughout the day or drink a couple of cups of hot tea and you’ll find that you are burning more calories than if you weren’t drinking the tea. There have been studies that show that people who drank tea about 4 times a day burned 260+ more calories a day than people who did not.

Now for some yummy recipes that are healthy and filling, which will get you going for your goal of a svelte figure.

Italian Zucchini Bake

1 can(s) (28-oz) diced, tomatoes
2 clove(s) (minced) garlic, or .25 tsp. garlic powder
2 tablespoon(s) (chopped) parsley, or 2 tsp. dried
2 teaspoon(s) (dried) basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) pepper
4 zucchini, about 1.25 lbs.
1/2 cup(s) (shredded) fat-free , mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup(s) (grated) Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ÂşF. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine first seven ingredients. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 30 minutes.
Cut zucchini into ÂĽ-inch-thick rounds and sprinkle with salt. Drain on paper towels while you heat an indoor grill or stove-top grill pan to medium-high.
Coat grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Grill zucchini for 4 minutes, or until slightly softened, turning over halfway through.
Remove bay leaf from sauce and pour half the sauce into pie pan. Arrange half the zucchini slices on sauce. Top with ÂĽ cup mozzarella and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan. Repeat layers, using remaining sauce, zucchini and cheeses. Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is bubbly.

Spiced Shrimp over Rice

1 pound(s) (large ) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoon(s) (ground) cumin
1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) pepper
1 cup(s) white rice, uncooked
1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
large yellow onion, diced
1 (orange) bell pepper , diced
1/2 cup(s) (golden) raisins
14 can(s) (diced) tomatoes, in juice
juice of 1 lemon

Directions

In a medium bowl, toss together shrimp, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper; set aside.
Cook rice as package directs.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and peppers, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes, or until pink. Add raisins and tomatoes to skillet; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 3 to 4 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. Stir in lemon juice just before serving. Serve shrimp mixture over rice.

Protein Packed Breakfast Sandwich.

1 small turkey bacon
1 large egg
1 (whole-grain ) English muffin, split and toasted
1 slice(s) (fat-free) Cheddar cheese

Directions

Mist a small nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray; warm over medium-high heat. Add turkey bacon and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove bacon from pan; drain on paper towels.
In hot skillet, cook egg as desired. Place egg on one half of English muffin, top with cheese slice, bacon and remaining half of muffin.

Spinach and Chicken Casserole

2 cup(s) (cooked skinless) chicken breast, 2 cups cooked skinless chicken breast (10-oz. package cooked, diced
1 package(s) (10-oz.) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup(s) (reduced-fat) sour cream
1/2 cup(s) (reduced-fat) mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon(s) (garlic) powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) black pepper
3/4 cup(s) (grated) Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup(s) (shredded, reduced fat) mozzarella cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ÂşF. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine chicken and spinach in prepared dish. In bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
Add about 1/4 of cheese mixture to pan with chicken and spinach; mix well and spread evenly in pan. Top with remaining cheese mixture.
Bake in center of oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes, or until top is nicely browned.

Shrimp and Spinach Pasta

6 clove(s) garlic
1 pound(s) shrimp, peeled and deveined
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon(s) (chopped) flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
4 teaspoon(s) (extra-virgin) olive oil
8 ounce(s) whole wheat pasta, such as rotini, penne or shells
6 ounce(s) (baby spinach) rinsed and patted dry
4 teaspoon(s) (grated ) Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

Mince 4 cloves garlic. Mix garlic with shrimp, lemon zest, parsley and salt in a bowl; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Crush remaining garlic and combine with olive oil in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat. Add shrimp mixture, cooking shrimp about 3 minutes per side. Add spinach, drained pasta and oil mixture. Toss to combine; heat through. Serve immediately, topping with grated Parmesan if desired.

Meaty Pasta

1 pound(s) (90% lean) ground beef
1 pound(s) (Italian-style hot or sweet lean) turkey sausage , casings removed
2 clove(s) garlic, minced
2 teaspoon(s) (dried) oregano
1 cup(s) (diced) carrots, about 2 medium
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
2 whole(s) portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 can(s) (diced) tomatoes
1 jar(s) (26-oz) marinara sauce
1 pound(s) linguine

Directions

Warm a large skillet coated with olive oil-flavored nonstick cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and sausage to skillet along with garlic and oregano. Sauté until meat is no longer pink in middle, about 8 to 10 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon.
Add carrots and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add zucchini, squash and mushrooms, and sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables soften.
Add tomatoes and marinara sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and toss with sauce in a large bowl.

Here’s to a skinny, healthier new you! Adding proper nutrients daily can help your body fight the fat for you!