Diet and Weight Loss

Healthy Weight Loss Diets

When it comes to choosing a weight loss diet there are just far too many to choose from. With b-list Hollywood celebs and even washed up reality TV stars speaking about the latest fad diet they are on it could be easy to believe that following their diet will be the shortcut to a fantastic looking figure. The problem with so many fad diets is that more often than not they are not just unhealthy but you might also require a super human effort to ignore the pangs of hunger as you avoid certain foods and eat less than you need to.

A healthy weight loss diet is one which attempts to balance all your nutritional requirements – infact on some diet plans you might even be eating more than you do currently, the difference is that you are eating more of the right stuff rather than the food that actually leads to weight gain. For example if you skip your lunch then around 4pm your body will tell you in no uncertain terms that it is hungry and it NEEDS something right now. The quickest and most obvious solution is to grab a chocolate bar because it instantly satisfies the craving, but it’s only a quickfix solution and provides too many ‘bad’ calories for your body to digest.

You might have even heard that some fad diets require you to cut out certain foods that are rich in fats and carbohydrates, but these are actually essential nutrients for your body! If you start cutting them out over a long period of time it can have a negative effect on the way your body functions – and that should never be a compromise for losing weight!

Some balanced weight loss diets require you to eat 5 times a day which might seem crazy until you take a closer look at what you are being asked to consume. The enemy of any dieter is hunger, and a healthy weight loss diet will aim to eliminate any hunger pangs you might have. When your meals contain fruits and vegetables along with unprocessed carbs like wholewheat bread and brown rice it will not only fill you up with healthy nutritional food that your body actually needs, it will also help to keep you feeling full for longer since the complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and your body needs to do more work to process it.

Essentially, a healthy weight loss diet is one which reduces your reliance on quick fix foods like crisps, soft drinks, cakes and chocolate bars. While they are super tasty, the nutritional value is questionable. That’s not to say that they can’t be incorporated as part of a healthy weight loss diet plan but eating them everyday as part of your normal eating routine is one of the biggest reasons why people become overweight. The only reason you are craving these items is because you haven’t filled your body with enough good food which your body needs time to digest.

Can Green Tea Aid Weight Loss?

green Tea

Lose Weight with Green Tea

New ways to lose weight can throw up some surprising methods and probably none more so than the simple act of consuming green tea. The Chinese have been drinking green tea as a health supplement for many hundreds of years but it’s only recently that the west has begun to understand how it can aid weight loss.

It is already known that normal tea is packed full of anti-oxidants which help protect against free radicals in your body (oxygen molecules which are released during digestion and are linked with many diseases such as cancer and heart disease), but during the manufacturing process many other qualities are lost. Green tea is not heated during the process which means that to drink it is an acquired taste, but all the healthy benefits remain.

Green tea can help you lose weight because it contains substances which act upon different parts of your body. It works to increase your metabolism, suppress your appetite and regulates the glucose and fat take up.

The metabolism is a major driver of how quickly you will lose weight. A fast metabolism is able to use the food it gets and burn it off in every day activity while a slow metabolism won’t be as efficient at using all the food and it tends to store it as fat instead. Also, if you embark on a calorie controlled diet your body may adapt by putting you in to survival mode which slows your metabolism down and uses less energy.  In a report published in 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea helped to improve the fat oxidation and thermogenesis in the body, or in other words it increased the metabolism to burn more calories.

Controlling your appetite is a big factor when losing weight – infact if we could control what when and how much we ate we’d probably never be in a position to have to lose weight. Green tea extracts contain a substance known as epigallocatechin gallate (ECCG) which is known to help reduce your appetite and desire to eat. One study on lab rats showed that animals were eating up to 60% less than normal with no ill effects.

Finally, the Tang Center for Herbal Medical Research, at the University of Chicago found that green tea is high in a substance called catechins and this may help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the amount of fat and glucose that is taken up by the body. This substance also helps to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in your body.

All the human studies have shown no side effects from drinking increased levels of green tea or taking green tea extracts other than the well known diuretic effect which tea has on the body. Although there haven’t been enough large scale studies to conclusively say that green tea will help you lose weight, the smaller studies all indicate that this could be the case and since it has no side effects if you start drinking it you really have nothing to lose but your weight! Happy New Year and New You in 2011!

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Caffeine as an Appetite Stimulant

Caffeine increases alertness and pep. A common ingredient in weight loss products, caffeine is considered an appetite suppressant. Although it may help you feel energized, caffeine may actually lead to weight gain and contribute to obesity.

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages helps people wake up and feel alert. Too much caffeine, that is, more than four to seven cups of coffee a day, can have negative effects. Heavy caffeine use can cause irritability, sleeplessness, nervousness and anxiety. It may also cause a rapid or irregular heart beat and muscle tremors. Those who routinely drink several cups of coffee daily may become addicted and develop headaches when they do not drink their usual amount of caffeine.

Weight loss products often contain caffeine as an appetite stimulant and as a means to boost metabolism and increase calorie burning. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases urination. Any initial weight loss seen when you first use weight loss products with caffeine is due to loss of water weight, not fat. Water weight loss is temporary.

Caffeine stimulates appetite indirectly by increasing levels of stress hormones. The hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine stimulant the central nervous system, increasing heart rate and blood pressure and decreasing oxygen circulating to the brain. This response provides a burst of energy, also called the “fight or flight” response.

When these hormone levels remain elevated for long periods, however, your normal metabolism is disrupted. High cortisol levels increase fat buildup around your midsection, which in turn stimulants the release of even greater amounts of cortisol. Constantly elevated levels of stress hormones stimulate the appetite and cause food cravings, usually for high-fat foods.

Regularly consuming high levels of caffeine affects the pancreas. Caffeine stimulants the pancreas to produce higher quantities of insulin. The artificially high levels of insulin cause blood sugar levels to fall, resulting in hypoglycemia. Your body needs the sugars from food to correct the hypoglycemic condition, so you crave sweets or high-fat foods.

Many caffeinated beverages are high in calories. Sugary sodas and specialty coffees are loaded with hidden sugar and fat. Additionally, the sugar in caffeinated beverages, combined with the diuretic effects of caffeine, make you feel thirsty. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, leading you to overeat.

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References

Meri Rafetto, RD, Theresa Grumet, RD, and Gerri French, RD, MS, CDE. Fitness24/7Blog: Weight Loss Hint—Caffeine—It’s Not Helping You Lose Weight

South Beach Diet 101: South Beach Diet Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine

MayoClinic.com: Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?

Simple but Protein-Packed Snack

Have plenty of protein powder? Want something great to munch on when you get a craving for something sweet but don’t want to compromise on your diet? Then pack on the protein with these delicious coconut chocolate bites. This no-bake treat is perfect for having for dessert after a lean meal or for snacking on whenever your sweet tooth starts acting up. They’re healthy, chocolately, and totally indulgent – without packing on the extra fat! Go ahead. Indulge in these protein-packed treats the next time  you need a boost.

Ingredients
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons solid coconut oil
2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut milk
Melted bittersweet chocolate chips (just microwave in a bowl and add water to thin if needed)

Start out by mixing together all of your ingredients in a bowl until a sticky dough forms. Work the dough until it’s consistent enough to roll into small balls. Add more protein powder if the mix is too wet. Then, roll into small balls and place on parchment paper. Drizzle each ball with a little bit of melted chocolate. Then, refrigerator or freeze until firm. Serve and enjoy!

Cool Down with a Protein-Packed Ice Pop

Looking for a way to indulge in the comfort of ice cream while still staying on your high-protein diet? Then try out this great recipe from BodyEnergyShop.com for Chocolate Protein Pops. They’re easy, delicious, and perfect for anyone who wants an extra boost of protein throughout the day.

Ingredients

8 ounces of chocolate rice or soy milk
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons of raw cacoa powder (sold in health food stores)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 frozen bananas
8-10 ice cubes

In a blender, blend together the milk, protein powder, cacoa powder, vanilla extract, bananas, and ice. Add a few ounces of water if the mixture is too thick. Then, pour the mixture into ice pop molds. Freeze overnight to have a delicious and sweet treat that’s packed with proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Have one before or after your workout to get a boost for your body, or whenever you get a craving for something rich, creamy, and delicious.

The Power of Appress

At BodyEnergyShop.com, we know the power of dieting. And we also know the power – or better, lack thereof – behind diet pills. For most people, diet pills simply do not work. There’s no magic formula for making you lose weight instantly. It takes a combination of good nutrition and exercise to actually achieve results. However, there is an aid that you can use to help encourage faster, more effective weight loss. And don’t worry, it’s not another diet pill.

Appress, also known as Glucappress PCL, is a natural and non-hormonal way for people just like you who have trouble losing weight to actually achieve results. When coupled with a nutritious diet that is low in refined carbohydrates and just 80 minutes of exercise per week, Appress may be that weight loss solution you’ve been looking for. With clinical trials to prove it, this appetite suppressant makes for a powerful ally when you want to get into the body you know you deserve. It’ll help you feel energized, less hungry, and in more control of your diet – and once again, this is not just another diet pill.

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Don’t Forget to Diet

If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t just think that running a few miles or joining a gym can help. There’s actually a whole lot more that goes into losing weight than just exercise.

According to the Dallas Morning News, a 2009  British Journal of Sports Medicine study revealed that 26 of 58 overweight patients failed to achieve any weight-loss progress through exercise. Because physical activity did make them healthier in other ways, including blood pressure, resting heart rate and positive mood, “exercise should be encouraged and the emphasis on weight loss reduced,” the report concluded.

So basically, that means that you should be exercising to improve your overall level of health, but don’t expect to start losing weight until you couple a physical fitness routine with a healthy diet. Fewer calories and more wholesome, nourishing foods give your body the energy it needs to fuel your workouts while maintaining proper function of all of your bodily systems. At the same time, it can help you lose weight by avoiding the possibility of your body storing excess fats.

But don’t think that a healthy diet is one that is free of all sweets, sugar, carbs, and fat. Actually, all of these things are important for maintaining a healthy body. The key is to differentiate between good fats and bad fats and to enjoy sweets and treats in moderation. A healthy diet consists of well balanced meals that use the right portions and emphasize fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, and natural fats and sugars. Be realistic while dieting. Remember, you don’t have to make eating an activity that you hate. You can still enjoy the foods you love. Just remember to enjoy them in moderation and to keep up with an exercise routine. Then you can start seeing some real results.

Finding a Diet that Can Work for You

Believe it or not, most diets work. However, when it comes to determining how long they will be effective, that’s a different story. In the short term, most diets will help you lower your overall caloric intake, which in turn causes you to lose a bit of weight. However, not all diets are sustainable because when you go on a diet, you’ll find that you’ll be tempted more to cheat and when you eat, you’ll have a tendency to eat more than you need to because you feel limited. As a result of the back and forth that the diet makes you feel, you end up not losing the weight or just hitting a plateau. It’s time to start dieting better.

Dieting can be sustainable when you make the decision to change your lifestyle yourself – not when a diet tells you to. Consumer Reports did a diet survey and found that 4,000 of the 32,000 respondents were able to lose an average of 37 pounds and maintain the loss for five years or more using “self-directed lifestyle changes.” Plus, 83% of successful losers did it on their own — with no specific commercial diet plan, regimen, or book.

Make the decision to change your life. Don’t wait for a miracle book or video or food system to do it for you. You can lose the weight successfully now by choosing a diet that will work for you – on your own.

Which Burns More Calories?

weights

For dieters everywhere, the method of exercise can make all the difference. However, when it comes down to which exercise is better for losing weight, you’ll find differing viewpoints. On one hand, cardio has been regarded as the foundation of a weight loss plan. Cardio exercise helps you boost your metabolism which in turn helps you kick start your ability to burn calories. However, on the other hand, there’s a new research study that’s been released by the University of Southern Maine which suggests that weight training may offer more calorie-burning potential than cardio exercise.

In most cases, many people believe that strength training results only in bulking up, but this new study shows that participants who did 30 minutes of weight training vs. a 30 minute run at a fast pace ended up burning more calories. Factor in strength training’s ability to boost metabolism for up to 36 hours after the workout and you’ve got a great form of exercise that’s ideal for helping you slim down for swimsuit season.

You’ll Never See Strength Training The Same Way Again

Most people hold the belief that cardio burns far more calories than strength training. Now there’s research to prove that myth wrong. Strength training can actually be superior to steady-state cardio in burning calories.

The study, which was conducted by the University of Southern Maine, showed that participants burned just as many calories doing 30 minutes of weight training as they did running at a six minute per mile pace for the same amount of time.

“If you do steady-state cardio, when you leave the gym, that’s it for your calorie burn,” says David Jack, general manager of Competitive Athlete Training Zone in Acton, Massachusetts in an interview with MSN Health and Fitness. “But when you do strength work, you’ll continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours.”

Plus, other research has shown that strength training boosts your metabolism after your workout by building muscle that improves your fat-burning potential overall.

Don’t just think cardio when you want to slim, trim, and burn. Instead, try strength training to build lean, hard muscle that can make you look and feel your best.