Drink Water to Lose Weight

New research says that drinking water is the safest way to lose weight.

drink_waterWe’ve known for a long time that water helps to lose weight, so what’s so special about this new evidence?

It’s all about timing. The trick is to drink two 8-oz glasses of water before each meal. Now, I know what you’re thinking – that’s just a trick to fill me up before I start to eat. Well, it’s a bit more scientific than that.

Results published in the journal Obesity from a study conducted out of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg showed that participants lost an extra 4.5 lb compared to the control group.

This study was conducted on 48 overweight/obese men and women aged 55 – 75 who were on a calorie controlled diet. Half drank water before meals and half didn’t. After just three months, the water group lost an average of 15.5 lb compared to the control group who lost 11 lb. After a year of dieting and drinking water, the water subjects continued to lose an extra 1.5 lb and managed to keep the weight off compared to the control group who gained back about 2 lb.

While scientists can’t offer an explanation why water affects weight loss, there are a few benefits to following this advice.

  1. Drinking two 8-oz glasses of water before meals keeps you hydrated and you’re less likely to drink sugar-laden soda pop, juice or other beverages.
  2. Water helps rid the body of toxins that can build up and cause excess weight. It is also a sure way of keeping you regular.
  3. Most people don’t get enough water in their diet and suffer from dehydration, which leads to eating more and weight gain.
  4. Drinking two 8-oz glasses of water before meals is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough water during the day.
  5. Drinking two 8-oz glasses of water before meals is also a great way to suppress appetite and chances are, you will be too full to finish what’s on your plate.
  6. Eating high water content foods like fruits and vegetables is another healthy way to get enough water in your diet.
  7. Water is essential for delivering valuable nutrients to cells and organs in the body and helps in maintaining a healthy body.
  8. Drinking enough water is good for your nails, hair, skin and complexion.
  9. Drinking water is a surefire way to cure bloating.


Chromotherapy Painting the Way to Good Health

Chromotherapy is a discipline that dates back to ancient Ayurvedic medicine and the alignment of the chakras or spiritual centers down the spinal column that are located at energy points in the body.

Chromotherapy painting the way to good healthEach chakra is associated with a color and directly connects the systems of the body. Ayurvedic medicine believes that when there is an imbalance in your chakra, the best therapy is chromotherapy. By using the corresponding color for the imbalanced chakra, you can restore balance to your body:

  • Red = gonads, kidneys, spine, sense of smell
  • Orange = urinary tract, circulation, reproduction
  • Yellow = stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas
  • Green = heart, lungs, thymus
  • Blue = throat, ears, mouth, hands
  • Indigo = eye, pineal glands
  • Violet = pituitary gland, the central nervous system and cerebral cortex

Even though skeptics call chromotherapy a pseudoscience, there are many studies that prove how color affects our mood and disposition. It is no coincidence that hospitals are painted blue on the inside. From the color of paint on the walls to the color of your drinking glasses, color has a profound affect on your daily lives:

  • Red = stimulating, energizing, healing powers.
  • Orange = stimulating, warms the emotions
  • Pink = soothing, relaxing, inspiring
  • Yellow = wakens the mind, positive, sunny
  • Green = harmonizing, rejuvenating, calming
  • Blue = peaceful, healing, cooling
  • Violet = soothing, tranquilizing, spiritual, meditative

It is no surprise then that the color of the foods you eat also has a profound impact on your life and physiological well-being. If you are feeling a lack of energy, then eating red foods is what you need to pick yourself up. By using the chakras of the body, you can determine which areas are out of whack and eat that color food to help restore balance:

  • Red = beets, black cherries, radishes, red pepper, strawberries, red apples, red plums
  • Orange = yams, apricots, mangoes, peaches, cataloupes, carrots, squash, oranges
  • Pink = pomegranates, raspberries, water melon
  • Yellow = corn, bananas, lemons, pineapples
  • Green = lettuce, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, green beans, peas
  • Blue = blueberries, blackberries, grapes, bilberries, blue plums

So, the next time you eat a meal, take a look at your plate – how colorful is it? Is it mostly grey and brown? Then it’s time to liven things up and start adding the rainbow to your diet.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Fibre for Weight Loss

When we think of fiber, most people will imagine bran – that dry, tasteless, unpleasant substance.

Fiber for Weight LossBut fiber comes in many forms like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Each of these food sources have a part of them that humans cannot digest and therefore, this component, whether it be cellulose in that of the skins of vegetables and fruits, or the hard exterior shell of seeds and grains, indigestible fiber moves slowly through the system and is hard to digest. Because of this fact, fiber helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. It’s also very low in calories.

Fiber also helps to keep the system clean and regular and this too can help with weight loss and ridding toxins from the body.

The recommended daily amount of fiber for Americans is 25-35 grams; however, the average American consumes only eight to 11 grams a day – less than half the daily recommendation.

The reason for this is that the average American diet consists of too many processed foods and refined grains high in sugar and low in fiber. Diets of this nature often lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes – two diseases that are increasing at an alarming rate in the States.

One of the first things diabetics learn when assessing how much sugar is in a food is that this number can be significantly lowered by the amount of fiber consumed at the same time. Fiber slows down the digestion and helps keep blood sugars stable, so you don’t spike and crash. This is often the cycle with high sugar, low fiber diets – the spike and crash. It’s a vicious cycle and is the reason why so many people fall off their diets. After eating a regular high carb, low fiber meal your blood sugar spikes and stimulates insulin production. When this spikes, there are certain symptoms that follow like hunger, the jitters, headaches and fatigue. The only cure for this is more carbs and more refined sugars and so the cycle begins and the weight starts creeping back on again.

So, include more fiber in your diet.

There are two kinds of fiber – insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is the one everybody associates with bran. It needs water in order to travel through the system and along the way, picks up carcinogens and toxins, ensuring they don’t stay in your system for too long. Examples of insoluble fiber include:

  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Nuts

Soluble fiber comes from pectin and gummy substances, which stick to cholesterol and bile acids in the small intestine and removes them from the body. Examples of this type of fiber can be found in:

  • Oats
  • Oat bran
  • Barley
  • Dried Beans
  • Soybeans
  • Apples
  • Nuts
  • Flax seeds
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Include more fiber in your diet and reduce your cholesterol, lower you blood sugar and lose weight. It’s that simple!

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Burn Fat with Thermogenesis

With winter fast approaching and colder days upon us, our fitness goals become even more of a challenge, especially weight loss.

Burn Fat with ThermogenesisDuring the winter months, when days are shorter and there’s less sunlight, our metabolism slows down and our moods may not be as energetic. However, it’s not a total loss, because one of the benefits of colder days is that your body has to work harder to maintain its core temperature and this means it has to burn more energy.

While you know how to burn calories in the gym, what you may not know is that you can prolong these fat-burning effects all day long. Thermogenesis is the name of the game. In simple terms, thermogenesis is the creation of heat within the body during energy production and transfer at the cellular (mitochondrial) level.

There are three kinds of thermogenesis – exercise-induced, diet-induced and thermo-regulatory thermogenesis. The latter form is further broken down into shivering and non-shivering and is concerned with maintaining the body’s core temperature. We are going to focus on the first two.

Exercise-induced thermogenesis is the result of action and the muscles requiring energy to fuel that action, whether it is cardio, weight training or running for the bus. This kind of thermogenesis doesn’t last very long, so it is important to find other ways to continue to burn fat long after you’ve left the gym.

Diet-induced thermogenesis is dependent on three things:

  • The type of foods you eat
  • The timing and frequency of meals
  • The number of calories you intake

Digesting food requires a tremendous amount of energy and this means calorie burn. To take advantage of this process, opt for foods with a high thermic effect. These are foods like proteins, high fiber foods, caffeine and spicy ingredients like hot red peppers, ginger and cinnamon. Just by sprinkling your food with chilli flakes, you will elevate its thermic effect, creating a high concentration of thermogenesis which translates into burning more calories and fat too, and you can’t argue with that.

The more often you eat throughout the day, the more likely you are to stimulate thermogenesis. So, take your daily total amount of calories and break them down into smaller meals until you have 4-6 meals a day. Since digesting food creates energy and burns calories, the more you eat, the more fat you burn – as long as you stay within your daily allotted amount. Now you can see why skipping meals is so counter-productive to fat loss.

The number of calories you eat in one sitting is vital to the success of thermogenesis and fat burning. If you’re really serious about thermogenesis and knowing how many calories you need in one sitting to burn the most calories, you would need to take a glucose tolerance test. If you know your daily number of calories, then dividing that into at least 4 smaller meals will definitely sustain the fat burning effect of thermogenesis and help you to burn fat without compromising muscle.

Because protein is considered a highly thermic food – with a thermic effect of 30% – it is important to include it in every meal. If you’re a serious trainer, one of your daily six meals will be supplementing your workouts before and after. By taking a whey protein isolate shake before and after training, you can stimulate thermogenesis for a higher burn during your workout and can sustain this effect after your training by ingesting another protein shake afterwards – within 45 minutes of working out. This will also greatly benefit your muscular recovery and growth.

So if you want to kick your sluggish wintertime metabolism in the butt and get energized, follow these thermogenic rules and you’ll be embracing spring as lean and mean as you left it.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Meal Timing is Everything

So last night I decided to drop in on a friend of mine on my way back from hiking in the park with the dogs.

Meal Timing is EverythingUsually, I’m really strict about getting home and eating at a set time, but last night I was feeling spontaneous and I hadn’t spoken to my friend in a while and it was time to check in.

I stayed later than I intended and when I returned home, I was ravenous. I had a fillet of fish and chicken breast in the fridge that I could’ve cooked up, but it was 40 degrees outside and that always kills my desire to cook. So I started munching – first cheese and crackers, then some nuts, a peach, some watermelon, more cheese and crackers, more nuts, half an avocado and finally a bowl of bran cereal and raisins. I went to bed feeling bloated and disgusted with myself.

It suddenly dawned on me that this must be the single most reason why people do not stick to their diets or why people have such a hard time losing weight. Busy people living busy lives. If you have to take your kid to soccer practice straight after work, your diet is going to suffer. If you have to go to a networking event after work, your diet is going to suffer.

Most of us don’t even think about what we’re eating, but let our emotions and cravings guide us. If you’re at soccer practice, popping a few coins into the vending machine for a chocolate bar just to tie you over seems reasonable. If you’re at your networking event that is usually held at a pub somewhere downtown that offers delicious greasy food and you’re hungry and there’s beer on tap – what do you think is going to happen?

By the time you get home, you’re starving and you think – what the heck, all I had was a plate of fries and two beers, that’s not enough to keep me going till morning. So you eat again. When you get home from soccer practice, you have to feed the family and you only had a chocolate bar and that’s not enough to keep you going, so you eat again.

The problem is now that your blood sugar is so low, your brain tells you to eat and eat and eat some more because there must be a famine because you haven’t fed your body for hours. That’s what our bodies and brains are hardwired to do. Instinctually, our brains are a little paranoid, always thinking that famine is around the corner, so when you mess with your meal times and your sugar levels, you screw with your mind and that causes you to overeat. Not only this, but the longer you go between meals, the more likely you are to pack on the fat. Your brain thinks there’s no food, so when it finally gets that nourishment, it stores it just in case.

So what do you do?

Eat less but more frequently. You still have your main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – but you want to add a healthy snack in between each meal and yes, even have a little something before you go to bed to stop your blood sugar dipping during the night. If you know you have something scheduled straight after work, take a packed meal with you. It’s better that you eat a healthy sandwich on your way to the event than not eat for eight hours and gorge yourself once you do.

To some this sounds like too much work and not something you’ll stick to, but all it takes is a little planning and discipline. If you plan out your grocery shop properly, you can make it easier for yourself to have food at the ready for such emergencies and I say emergency, because ultimately, this pattern of eating is not only bad for your waistline but your overall health and it will affect your longevity.

I’m really anal when it comes to meal planning, but if I don’t make sure I stick to the plan then I’m eating when I shouldn’t and not eating when I should and it even affects my moods and levels of energy. So it pays to be strict with yourself. Here are some tricks I’ve learned that keep me on track and never without healthy food:

  1. Batch cooking – this doesn’t mean that you have to eat the same thing every day. What I’ll do is take some skinless chicken breasts and cut them up into bit-size pieces and fry them in a little oil with some seasoning (I’m a big fan of Worcestershire Sauce). I’ll cook the chicken to the point where it is just done, so that when I use it in the next coming days, it won’t be overcooked and rubbery and lacking nutrition. I can now use this chicken in a curry, or a Caesar salad or soup. The options are endless. I make no more than 3 days worth in a batch. Any larger and I’ll freeze it for another time, but rarely do I do that because I like to keep it fresh. If I had a large family though, I would definitely freeze it.
  2. Buy in bulk – I buy yogurt, nuts and dark chocolate in bulk so that I’m never short of a healthy, portable snack and nothing makes me grumpier than running out of chocolate!
  3. Plan lunches ahead of time – that way I’m not scrambling in the morning. Again, I use batch cooking. Lucky for me, I have a few recipes for sandwich stuffers that I love so much I can eat it every day. I’ll do that for three days out of the work week and then by Thursday and Friday, I’m onto the next option. I usually always take a whole wheat wrap for lunch and stuff it with either fish that I’ve cooked ahead of time with some lemon, dill, olive oil and garlic in the oven for 20 minutes (just another little tip there) or a spicy turkey burrito or grilled chicken. It’s all good and mixed with some leafy greens and herbs like cilantro, it’s better than anything you could buy.
  4. If I’m going out after work, I always eat beforehand to avoid giving into temptation when I’m out and to avoid dips in my blood sugar.
  5. Avoid anything that comes in a box. Processed foods are your enemy. Always buy fresh and make food from scratch so that you can control what goes into every meal.
  6. Don’t keep any junk food in the house – just in case you do succumb to bingeing.

I hope some of these pointers will help keep you on track. Nutrition should never be overlooked and the more you give in to temptation the easier it becomes to do it again and again and again.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM