Sunday, December 25, 2011

More Exercise, Less Calories – the Great Weight Loss Debate

You are likely to start a passionate and heated discussion if you asked someone if she ate fewer calories or exercised more to lose weight. Just like the famous beer commercials, this debate is not likely to be decided anytime soon.

There are some who strongly believe in the idea that a lot of exercise is the perfect solution to weight loss. Eat whatever you want and as long as you exercise you will be able to maintain a healthy weight.

While there is a lot of truth to the above statement, just as many people in our society claim that they sometimes find it impossible to exercise enough to make sure that they are maintaining a healthy weight let alone drop any extra pounds.

So does this mean that we are all going to end up overweight because we cannot spend hours in the gym each week? Of course not, but if you do not watch the amount of calories you are taking in you could very well end up dealing with some serious weight issues.

If you are already looking to shed some unwanted pounds and feel that you are never going to be able to accomplish that because you are unable to find enough time to exercise, you no longer have to worry. Studies have shown that a low calorie diet along with drinking at least eight glasses of water a day can help a person drop the weight even without the exercise we were originally programmed to believe we must have to achieve our goals. Whenever you find yourself with a spare moment though, it is in your physical best interest to get some exercise. Go for a walk or jump on the treadmill. Anything and everything helps so do not completely forget about good old-fashioned exercise.

Of course, exercising on a daily basis is ideal and if a person could at least get to the gym a couple times a week that would be great. However, if you are not someone who has the time for that right now, you can still lose the weight. There is no need to continue to put off dropping those extra pounds because with a controlled diet you can finally achieve your dream weight goal. You can continue living the daily routine you are used to, eat so that you are not starving, and lose weight without even really trying too hard.

A great way to make sure that you are getting a reduced calorie diet but yet still getting enough nutrition to keep you healthy is to plan out your meals and snacks. By making sure that you are getting in enough whole grains, vegetables, and fruits you are getting a lot of nutrition you need all while maintaining a healthy low calorie diet. Try to avoid things such as cheese, sugar, calorie-packed meats, and foods high in unhealthy fat.

By taking such simple steps, you will soon see that you are on your way to a much healthier lifestyle. This of course, will be accompanied by weight loss, which is something that is great when it is done the right way. Just make sure that even after you have achieved your ideal weight, you continue with your new healthy way of eating to maintain that weight.

The Truth About Low Carb Diets For Weight Loss

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m sure you’ve heard of low carb diets. They were quite a rage, especially with the popularity of the Atkins diet.

Losing weight is an important goal for so many people and everybody is looking for the quick and easy solution to lose weight. Some need to lose weight to prevent long-term complications such as diabetes and there are those who need to lose weight because of medical reasons such as morbid obesity. Of course, there are people who do not really need to lose any weight but do so for reasons of vanity or obsession.

Whatever is your reason for losing weight, you will find that there are many different diets out there including low carbohydrate (carb) diets. The truth is that most of them will achieve weight loss if you follow them correctly and stick with one long enough.

Get Rid of Belly Fat and Save Your Life

Abdominal obesity, commonly known as belly fat is clinically diagnosed as central obesity. Not only does it make you look unsightly, it can be dangerous to your health. Numerous research studies have shown a strong correlation between belly fat and the increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

Let’s talk about the social aspects of belly fat first before we get to the health risks. You are likely to be a subject of ridicule by being called by one or more of these popular slangs – beer belly, beer gut, love handles and muffin top. Not very flattering and begin to wear you down emotionally or could lead to serious psychological problems.

Having fat in the belly area is dangerous because it makes you store fat in your liver. This can interfere with the normal function of removing insulin from your bloodstream, making your body resistant to insulin. This excess insulin sends a signal to your brain that makes you prone to overeating. This sets up a vicious cycle of eating more and gaining weight. Being overweight is the leading cause of health problems.

Belly fat and its relationship to diabetes

People with excess belly fat or diagnosed with central obesity are predisposed to insulin resistance as explained earlier. Insulin resistance is a major contributor of developing of diabetes mellitus type 2 (Type 2 diabetes). Additionally, abdominal fat secrets a group of hormones called adipokines that could further reduce glucose tolerance. Major research studies have confirmed this direct relationship between belly fat and the higher risk of diabetes.

Importance of waist–hip ratio (WHR):

WHR is the ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips. It is calculated by measuring the smaller circumference of the natural waist, usually just above the belly button, and dividing it by the hip circumference at its widest part of the buttocks or hip. The absolute waist circumference (> 40 in (102 cm) in men and > 35 in (88 cm) in women) and the waist-hip ratio, more than 0.9 for men and more than 0.85 for women are used as measures of central obesity.

In a study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), WHR has been found to be a more efficient predictor of mortality in older people than waist circumference or body mass index (BMI). If obesity is redefined using WHR instead of BMI, the proportion of people categorized as at risk of heart attack worldwide increases threefold.

From left to right: the “healthy” man has a 33-inch (84 cm) waist, the “overweight” man a 45-inch (114 cm) waist, and the “obese” man a 60-inch (152cm) waist.

What can you do to get rid of belly fat?

Now that you know the harmful side effects of having belly fat, the real question you need to ask yourself is how to get rid of it. It is a common misconception that doing spot exercises like sit-ups, crunches and other abdominal exercises will reduce belly fat. That is simply not true as these exercises build abdominal muscles but have very little effect on losing the fat around the belly.

Probably the best way to lose belly fat is to jog or walk briskly for at least 30 minutes everyday to see measurable results.

Belly dancing is another great way to eliminate fat in belly areas. Belly dancing is not only effective, but also fun. It burns anywhere from 200-400 calories per hour! Belly dancing not only burns fat, but it also tones muscles making your stomach flatter and well toned.

A change in your exercise program as well as eating healthy will help you get rid of belly fat. Replacing high-caloric alcohol drinks with water will significantly decrease the size of your gut. Most mixed drinks have significant amounts of empty calories that will add to the fat in your belly area.

Cutting back on fast food also helps to get rid of that pesky spare tire around your middle. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet does wonders for your body too.

If you do have a sweet tooth, try to use both artificial and organic sweeteners instead of raw sugar. Any sugar substitute will work in baking and adding to your tea or coffee. Try using honey instead of sugar for a healthier and tasty drink.

Most Americans tends to eat diets that are much higher in sodium content than is necessary. High sodium levels in your body make you thirstier. It is tempting to reach for a cold beer or a sugar-laden cola to quench that thirst. That of course won’t help you lose that belly fat.

Is Drinking Diet Sodas Really Healthy?

Usually when you start a new diet, you are asked to give up regular sodas in favor of diet sodas. But is drinking diet sodas really healthy?

The main benefit of switching to diet soda is the lower number of calories consumed. Most regular sodas contain over 100 calories per 12oz.can.

If you have several cans of regular sodas a day, you may be taking in several hundred extra calories. Diet sodas, on the other hand, normally have zero calories. So you can instantly lower your caloric intake by several hundred calories when you make the switch.