Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting a handle on my love handles...

So, this week DH went out and bought a new scale that tells weight, BMI, body fat, and hydration. And God help me.... I actually stepped on the thing. It was honest with me. Reminded me of my extra 20 lbs, reminded me to drink more water, and then... and then the little bugger told me what percentage body fat I have. Evil little contraption. You'd be proud of me. I didn't react. I didn't throw anything. I didn't yell or grumble. I even went back for more the next day. Amazing, right? Deb's new exercise routine is inspiring me to challenge myself. Hate is such a strong word, and I try not to use it superfluously, but I can safely say, "I HATE exercise." So much. With a passion so much. Would rather have a root canal so much. And so, in lieu of exercise (the last resort), I give you: The top ten foods to help reduce body fat. Tricks first, then foods. Enjoy! And wish me luck!!! :)

10 STEPS: Eating to Reduce Body Fat... Pain Free!
By Mandy Gibbons

1. Don't drive yourself nuts running away from cravings
I am not saying pig out on junk every time the thought pops into your head but on those occasions where you just can't function because you are dreaming of that Mars Bar you so desperately need then by all means buy one, eat it and get the craving out the way so you can get on with life.

2. Work with your hunger pains
Many folk seem to think they are gaining results from suffering away listening to their tummies rumbling, feeling sick and dizzy from not eating, convincing themselves that they must be losing tonnes of body fat. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! By causing your body to starve you are actually encouraging your body to store the food you consume as well as slowing down your metabolism. Take note of the time you are hungry and plan your meals so you have something on hand. Remember if you're training regularly you should be eating up to 5-6 nutritious and meals per day - all of which should contain a lean source of protein.

3. Do you have fat phobia?
Do you avoid meat, eggs, dairy products and any thing else that might have fat? If you do then you're going to have to smarten up because it will cause you more grief and could deter those much wanted fat loss results. Lean Red meat and poultry, fish, egg whites and low fat dairy products play a major role assisting with providing your body with the "goods" it needs to build strong healthy muscles. As for junk food well there is nothing wrong with having a cheat meal once per week, in fact it can help boost your metabolism by shocking it!

4. Using veggies and salad to your advantage
Rather than filling up on rice, pasta, potato and bread for all your meals take advantage of the great recipes and the variety that veggies and salad offer. Not only do they fill you up but they don't rely on as much flavoring to make them taste good. PLUS they don't have any where near as many calories. Your evening meal is a perfect example of how this can help you reduce body fat. Due to our lack of activity in the evenings, consuming less calories is a better fat loss option than consuming heavy rice and pasta dishes, especially when all you are going to be doing is sitting and sleeping.

5. Drink lots of water!
To keep you hydrated and feeling refreshed.

6. Have fun with your protein intake.
If you battle with consuming enough protein then find a protein shake, bar or meal replacement that you find convenient and the enjoy the taste of. If you get bored with your protein shakes or bars just change the flavors and even brands. Hey - you may as well take advantage of the massive range of exciting new protein options available.
You also have the option of mixing vanilla protein shakes with yogurt and other low fat dairy products to help make them more enticing. There are loads of protein shake recipes on the net so head to and do a search on them. You will be surprised just how many you find!

7. Battling with Calorie reduction? Mix it up for some variety!
Why not cycle your calorie intake? As most of you know reducing your calories by 15 % can help break that plateau .... but then what do you do when your body gets used to that? Say for example you're consuming 1900 calories per day. You've completed the above option of reducing your daily calorie intake by 15% which equals 1615 calories per day. You can then mix it up a little. Decrease your calorie intake by 10% (1900 - 10% = 1890 calories per day). Then " up" your calorie intake by 5% (1900 + 5% = 1995 calories per day) and so on - get my drift? Keep your body guessing while also stimulating your metabolism. Some people alter it on a weekly basis some every few days... go with what works best for you. Throw this into your eating plan once in a while to clean out the cobwebs.

8. Keep your portion sizes simple
If you use "gram portions" with your meals and find that your eating program falls by the wayside because you don't have time to weigh your food etc then use "portions sizes or comparisons" to quickly calculate the size of your meals. A deck of cards is a great way to gauge a portion size. Find something on hand that is close to the size of the amount of food you require for your portions so you can have it handy and compare it. It's faster and helps the reduce the hassle of preparing meals.

9. Add variety to your meals
"Spice up" your food. Why not introduce new Indian, Italian, Mexican and Asian dishes into your eating program to help keep those taste buds happy.

You may think that this is old fashioned - but it works and it's fun. Why not have a "bring and share" food bash. Have everyone bring over their favorite low fat casserole / dish / salad / whatever. Socialize with your food and make it fun. You will be surprised at just how many wonderful low fat cooking ideas can arise from a bring & share dinner.

10 Foods to Help Reduce Body Fat

Sweeten your oatmeal or frothy coffee drinks with this sweet spice instead of sugar (which has 16 calories per teaspoon) and you can save a couple hundred calories a week, enough to shed 2 to 3 pounds in a year without doing anything else. You'll also be doing your heart a favor as protective estrogen levels decline: Pakistani researchers found that 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day could lower heart-damaging cholesterol by 18% and triglycerides by 30%.

High-Fiber Granola Bars
A small British study found that women who eat a fiber-rich, high-carb breakfast burn twice as much fat during workouts later in the day as those who eat more refined (lower-fiber) foods. Try a granola bar with at least 4 g of fiber, like Kashi, instead of the typical bar that contains just a single gram. Refined carbs spike your insulin levels, which limits your body's ability to use fat as fuel, explains Lisa Dorfman, RD, adjunct professor at the University of Miami.

Hot Sauce
Forget bland condiments. If you want to burn fat, spice things up. In a study of 36 men and women, Australian researchers found that following a spicy meal, levels of insulin--the hormone that triggers body fat storage--were lowered by as much as 32%. One theory: Capsaicin, the chemical that gives chiles their fire, may improve the body's ability to clear insulin from the bloodstream after you eat, so you're more likely to burn fat following a meal spiked with chile peppers than after one that isn't packing heat.

Just 3 ounces of canned salmon delivers 530 IU (more than the Daily Value) for vitamin D and 181 mg of calcium, a power-packed nutritional combination that may be just what your waistline needs as you get older. In a 7-year study of more than 36,000 women ages 50 to 79, researchers at Kaiser Permanente found that those who took both calcium and vitamin D supplements gained less weight after menopause than those who took a placebo. Other research shows that without enough vitamin D, our appetite-regulating hormone leptin can't do its job. Other fatty fish choices include tuna, sardines, and mackerel.

Instead of snacking on some chips, open up a bag of nuts: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may keep you feeling fuller longer. In a 1-year study of people with diabetes who were following a low-fat diet, Australian researchers discovered that those who included 8 to 10 walnuts a day lost more weight and body fat. The subjects also reduced their insulin levels, which helps keep fat storage in check.

Water with Lemon
A California study of 240 women found that dieters who replaced their sweetened drinks with water lost an average of 3 pounds more a year than those who didn't. Subjects who sipped more than 4 cups of water a day lost 2 additional pounds, compared with those who drank less. Plus, the phosphoric acid in soda may contribute to bone loss--and osteoporosis--by changing the acid balance in your blood.

Ground Flaxseed
Flaxseed is rich in fiber and healthy fats, which help stabilize blood sugar, so you're less likely to binge. Some research suggests flax can also help soothe symptoms of hormone swings because it's high in plant estrogens. Ground seeds are easier to digest. Sprinkle them over cereals, soups, or salads; add them to smoothies; or substitute 1 cup of ground flaxseed for 1/3 cup canola, corn, or other oil or shortening in muffins and cookies. Note: Lower oven temperature slightly, since baked goods brown faster with flax.

Raw fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables promote weight loss because they are very low in fat,and very low in calories. They are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They eliminate wastes quickly and help reduce cravings for sweets. They keep your energy levels steady so you don't become too hungry or too tired. And they carry off excess body acids, and are rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that satisfy the body's nutrient requirements with less food. Consider this: animals given raw, enzyme rich foods never gain weight regardless of calorie intake. Given cooked, enzyme poor food, they fatten up. If you have never taken a mouthful of cantaloupe juice, you simply have not lived. Strawberry juice mixed with pear, or apple and yam is a taste of ecstasy. Blueberry juice is a taste of liquid heaven. A mixture of carrot, apple, beet, celery, tomato, and lemon tastes like a living V8, giving an energy-boost to the day that is far better than a coffee. Fruit and vegetable juices are the cleansers, energizers, builders and regenerators of the human system. A combination of either fresh raw fruit or vegetable juices will supply all the enzymes, vitamins and minerals critical to increase vitality!

Complex Carbohydrates
These include foods like oatmeal, whole grain breads and brown rice. Since these are not refined like their counterpart, simple carbs, they keep you feeling full longer, help you eat less, and do not have the sugars found in simple carbs.

Grab two or three glasses of low-fat milk a day and drink up. The more calcium that is stored in fat cells, the more fat those cells will burn. If you do not like milk, try yogurt, cheese or anything that is high in calcium.

Finally, whenever you eat a meal, any calories that are not burned up are stored for later use. If you eat a large meal with 800 calories, you may only use 300 of those. Because of this, the timing of your meals matter. Split up the total calories you eat in a day between 6 small meals. If you eat 2000 calories in a day, (2000 divided by 6 meals per day) each meal should be around 330 calories. Eating smaller meals more often will help the body use energy more efficiently without needing to store any as fat.

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