Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's the Skinny on Weight Gain?

The New York Post reports today on tipping the scale this holiday season. Original Article

The Skinny on Holiday Weight Gain

Tipping the scales this holiday season?
Reports of your holiday weight gain have been greatly exaggerated. Media stories often suggest that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And in surveys, people say they gain, on average, about five pounds this time of year.
But several studies now show that the average weight gain during the winter holidays is just one pound.
The news isn’t all good. Most people don’t ever lose the pound of weight they put on during the holidays, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine. Since the average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, that means much of midlife weight gain can be explained by holiday eating.
For people who are already overweight, the holiday weight news is worse.Although the average gain is only one pound, people who are already overweight tend to gain a lot more. One study found that overweight people gained five pounds or more during the holidays.
And we start packing on that extra pound of holiday weight early in life. Researchers at the University of Oklahoma studied holiday weight gain among college students during the Thanksgiving break. The students were weighed the day before Thanksgiving, then weighed again about two weeks later. The average weight gain for the 94 students was about one pound. Students who were of normal weight gained about a half a pound during the period. Students who were overweight, meaning their body mass index was 25 or more, gained about two pounds.
Holly Hull, the lead researcher on the Oklahoma study, says Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a “high risk” time for the overweight. “I think the number of people who only overeat at the Thanksgiving meal is slim to none,” said Dr. Hull. “The holiday season doesn’t represent one day of overeating. You have this period that extends through the new year where there’s more alcohol, more snacks, more finger foods and appetizers that are energy dense.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

No Guilt Holiday Drink Recipes

We are obsessed with Hungry Girl website. She exists just to give us great ideas and food alternatives to keep us in shape this holiday seasons!

Check out these ROCKIN' cocktail recipes from HG!

Purple Zazzle-tini!

(80 calories, no fat, - 2 points)

1/2 cup Pink Energy Drink
2 oz. Baja Bob's Blue Raspberry Martini Mix
1 oz. Vodka

Shake with ice. Pour. Revel in the purple-iciousness.

Chilly Chocolate Mudslide

(approximately 130 Calories, 1g fat - 3 points )

1 Packet Diet/Sugar Free 25 Calorie Hot Cocoa Mix
3 oz. Hot Water
2 oz. 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soy Milk
1/2 oz. Sugar Free Torani White Chocolate or Vanilla Syrup
2 Packets Splenda
1 teaspoon Hershey's Lite Chocolate Syrup
                               1 oz. Vodka

Dissolve hot cocoa, chocolate syrup and Splenda in hot water. Add light soy milk, vodka and Torani syrup. Pour into blender. Blend with ice on the highest speed for about 45 seconds. Pour, and top with a squirt of Fat Free Reddi-Wip!

Hittin' The Peach!

(75 calories, no fat - 2 points)

4 oz. Diet Sprite
2 oz. Hansen's Natural Juice Cocktail, Low Calorie Peach Mango (or Minute Maid Light Mango Tropical)
1 oz. Sugar Free Peach Torani Syrup
1 oz. Vodka

Shake with ice and enjoy this tropical treat!

Cherry Vanilla Thrilla'

(70 calories, no fat - 2 points)

1/2 cup Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Sugar Free Black Cherry Torani Syrup
Lots of ice

Pour ingredients into a shaker. Shake. Pour. Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry. Yum!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Weight Loss, is it possible?

Do you find it almost impossible to stay conscious and contentious about weight and nutrition during the holidays? Of course you do. More than half of all Americans are overweight: You're not alone.

A new government study might give you a ray of hope though: The study shows that Americans gain only about one pound over the holidays. The study found that people participating were influenced by two main factors over the holidays: The level of their hunger, and the level of their activity. In other words: Those who reported being less active or more hungry during the holidays had the greatest weight gain.

So common sense says: If you can stay focused on dealing with just those two things, you'll probably win your personal holiday weight loss battle. At the very least, you'll win by not adding more weight to what's already waiting to be shed.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of weight gain," says Dr. Samuel Klein, the Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. "Preventing the increase in weight is a lot easier and better than actually gaining weight and then trying to get it off again."

So the answer seems simple: Eat less and exercise more. The reality of implementation of course, is far more difficult.

The good news is that most of the people overestimate how much weight they'd gained over the holidays. Fewer than 10% gain 5 pounds or more.

The bad news is: The small amount of weight gained is never lost. One pound of weight gain is quite a small amount, but since it's not usually lost again: The weight adds up over time - to obesity.

Now we all know there are tons of tips out and about this time of year, designed to help us keep from putting on that extra pound or two during the holidays. Unfortunately what's usually not talked about is: The reality of day-to-day holiday stress and situations. Let's explore the tips... along with their reality checks... in depth:

Weight Loss Tip 1: Stay active. The best thing you can do is try to stick to your normal schedule and routine.

Holiday Reality Check: It's pretty hard to have any kind of decent routine in the busy months of November and December. Busy people tend to sacrifice yoga classes, long walks, and visits to the gym because they need time for extra things like decorating the house, cooking, cleaning up before the visitors get there, and of course: Shopping.

The Good News: Walking around the shopping mall and stores is great exercise, and so is cleaning the house. In addition to those activities, decorating can be quite intensive too: You're climbing up and down to hang things; lifting, lugging, and dragging boxes out of storage; bending, twisting and turning to get it all looking just right. So don't beat yourself up about not making it to the gym... you're getting plenty of activity and every little bit helps!

Weight Loss Tip 2: Don't let yourself get too hungry. If you go to a party and you're starving, everything will look even more scrumptious than normal. And of course, you'll eat much more because of it. Try starting each day with a good, solid breakfast - particularly something with protein. And when you're at the party, try munching on the veggies to help keep you feeling full. These two things will help your hunger stay under control, and will in turn help you refrain from "gorging" on anything you see just because you're famished.

Holiday Reality Check: We're all very busy during the holidays, and it's not always possible to remember to eat - let alone eat well - particularly in the morning when we may have already overslept and are now running late for everything. And eating healthy at a party isn't always possible either: Not everyone in this country serves vegetable plates, salads, or fruit bowls. Sometimes the only things in site are junk: Chips, candy, and cookies.

Here's a suggestion: Try taking your own veggie plate to a party where you know there won't be one available. A quick and easy way to do this is simply buy a bag or two of pre-cut veggies and some ranch salad dressing. Alternatively, eat a decent meal before you go to the party. Don't overdo things, but don't make it a light snack either. Eating first will help you to just "nibble" a bit on the worst of the holiday treats offered.

Weight Loss Tip 3: Stay away from the food. Literally. Just don't go anywhere near the buffet table, appetizers, or treats... and you'll be fine.

Holiday Reality Check: In most cases, the food is everywhere. And even if it's not right in front of your face, you sure can smell it! Trying to just "stay away from it" is pretty unrealistic - and it can feel like torture for some of us. And for most people: When you can't have something, you want it even more. So trying to stay away from the food will most likely just make you overindulge worse than you would have otherwise.

Try this instead: Allow yourself whatever you'd like. But with a catch. First: Take only half the amount you normally would. And take just one food item. Eat that and enjoy it without guilt. 
Then, wait a full 20-30 minutes before you get something else. Then repeat the process: One item, half the portion size as you normally would, enjoy it without guilt, then wait before getting something else.

Allowing yourself to eat gets rid of the mentality of "I can't have it (and thus I'm more determined to have it)" It lets you enjoy the good food and the holidays, without beating yourself up. This is healthy and can help tremendously with the way you view food and eating in general. Only taking half of it though, will help you not take in as much calories, fat, sugar or other bad stuff you usually avoid. And then waiting 20-30 minutes before you get something else will help your body realize when it's had enough... or too much. So you're much less likely to overdo things, and feel horrible physically later.

Weight Loss Tip 4: Wear cloths that are slightly tight on you. This should help you feel full faster, and keep you from eating too much food.

Holiday Reality Check: We want to wear looser cloths because we're looking forward to eating all that great food! Yes, wearing something tight might help us not go back for a second helping of potatoes... or it might ruin a favorite outfit.

In the end, how you approach this tip is up to you, and you alone. Make your decision and be happy with it.

Weight Loss Tip 5: Keep your portions small. Try to load up on salad and vegetables, and take just tiny amounts of anything else.

Holiday Reality Check: Taking just a "bite sized" amount of anything is going to put you into the have-not mental state mentioned earlier. You'll feel as if you can't have something, and you'll want it all the more.

Try the tip noted above instead: Take half the size you normally would. Trying to have just a little bite of pie will whet your appetite for more, but having a whole piece is going a bit overboard - particularly if there's 5 different pies for you to sample. So try actual sampling instead: Cut a piece half the normal size. This allows you to have a "whole slice", and more than several little bites. Then wait about 20 minutes before you go and try the next pie. Even if you end up eating a bit of all 5 pies, by having a half-sized slice of each, you've drastically cut the amount of calories, carbs and sugars compared to what you would have had with whole slices. And you'll still feel stuffed and satiated, instead of deprived and resentful.
So there you have it: 5 different, common holiday weight loss and eating tips, followed by the reality check of each, and a suggested compromise that should help you enjoy the holidays to their fullest, without depriving yourself of the great food we all look forward to.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to actually have Happy Holidays!

© 2005, Kathy Burns-Millyard. Are you tired of diets, gimmicks, and dangerous weight loss pills too? Learn more about how to lose body fat naturally by visiting ScaleTippers.com right now!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Poll: What's Your Worst Diet Excuse?

It seems that it's part of the human condition to make excuses for things.
Excuses why we were speeding, why we didn't have our homework, why we're broke, and of course, why we're fat or unhealthy.
The Mirror.co.uk recently published The World's Worst Diet Excuses. They list the excuse, why it is just an excuse, and what can be done to "beat it".
I think this list is good food for thought because it challenges the thinking and the excuses people have told themselves for so long that they believe they are true.

Which of the 10 dieting excuses have you been guilty of making now or in the past? Participate in the poll and comments below.

What's your worst diet excuse?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chocolate is Good for your Heart!

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older women who eat more chocolate are less likely to develop heart problems over a nearly 10-year-period, new study findings report.
The authors found that women older than 70 who ate chocolate at least once per week were 35 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease over the course of the study, and nearly 60 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure.

What's nice, study author Dr. Joshua Lewis told Reuters Health, is that women did not have to eat a ton of chocolate to see benefits.

"We would therefore caution against people eating foods with high sugar and fat regularly and believe our findings support moderate rather than frequent chocolate consumption," said Lewis, based at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Australia.

But it is probably too early to begin recommending people eat more chocolate, cautioned Dr. Brian Buijsse at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who did not participate in the study. And even if additional large studies confirmed its benefits, doctors still may not want to prescribe chocolate, he added.
"The danger is that many people will start eating more of it than is necessary, without cutting back in calories from other snacks, which will result in weight gain and will counteract any beneficial effects of chocolate," Buijsse said.

This is not the first study to tout chocolate's potential benefits: in 2008, Italian researchers found that eating dark chocolate regularly may help lower levels of inflammation, which is strongly associated with heart and blood vessel disease.

The previous year, another study showed that foods rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids - including dark chocolate and apples and red wine -- may help shield postmenopausal women from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Flavonoids are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in many industrialized countries, by helping to increase nitric oxide, which in turn helps boost the functioning of blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

To investigate further, the authors reviewed data collected from 1216 older women, who estimated how often they ate chocolate, and the amount. One serving consisted of the equivalent amount of cocoa in 1 cup of hot cocoa. The authors tracked the women for almost a decade, noting who was hospitalized or died from heart disease.

Roughly half of the women said they ate less than one serving of chocolate per week. Nearly 90 of those who ate chocolate rarely were hospitalized or died from heart disease during the study period, versus 65 women who ate chocolate more frequently.

Another 35 of the infrequent consumers experienced heart failure, while only 18 women who reported eating chocolate at least once per week were hospitalized or died from the same condition, the authors report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Although they grouped women who ate chocolate daily and weekly together, the authors also looked at each separately, and found that both appeared to fare equally well, suggesting that only one serving per week might suffice to get heart benefits.

The study's nature means researchers can't prove any cause-effect relationship. Given the growing body of evidence suggesting the benefits of chocolate, the next step should be a large clinical trial that vigorously tests chocolate's benefits, Lewis said in an e-mail.
Buijsse agreed that more research is needed, in part because other factors in the current study may explain its results. For instance, he said in an e-mail, elderly women with early signs of heart disease may have reduced their chocolate intake, perhaps because their doctors told them to adopt a healthy diet.
"For now, I would say that if people want to eat chocolate to improve their health, they should keep it to low amounts and replace it for other energy-dense snacks," Buijsse said.

SOURCE: http://link.reuters.com/fev96m Archives of Internal Medicine, November 8, 2010.