Selasa, 16 Jun 2009

Top 12 Tips to Keep Your Weight-Loss Goals

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Top 12 Tips to Keep Your Weight-Loss Goals

Dieting is a challenge. But little tricks can help you stick to your goal to shed pounds – and keep them off. Here are my top 12 tips to keep you motivated:

1. Cheat
Give your diet a rest for a day. It’ll help you lose weight faster. Really.

Cheating helps weight loss by manipulating leptin, the powerful “anti-starvation” hormone. It fluctuates with calorie intake. Low levels of leptin tell the brain that you’re not eating enough (causing the body to preserve fat as a starvation protection mechanism). Normal to high leptin levels signal the body to use fat as an energy source.

2. Scale Back

If you like to torture yourself, weigh yourself every day. If not, step on the scale only once a week – at most. In reality, weekly measurements are much more reliable, as long as you’re consistent in your measuring method. This means always using the same scale and always weighing yourself at the same time of day.

3. Low-Cal Foods

Lose weight and feel full? Yeah, right, you’re thinking. Well, the secret lies in choosing high-volume, low-calorie foods.

Research has shown that total volume, not calories, determines how full someone feels after a meal. By eating foods with a high-volume-to-low-calorie ratio – such as fruits, vegetables, salads and lean proteins – you can consume fewer calories while upping your overall satisfaction with meals. Conversely, foods like pastas, pizza, fast food, bagels, breads and potatoes all cram tons of calories into a small space.

So cut back on high-calorie dishes and pick lower-calorie, higher-volume foods.

4. Get Portable

In our busy lives, eating three meals a day – and healthy snacks in between – is hard. Here's one way to make it easier: Choose portable items, especially for those between-meal snacks. Here are some examples of ready-to-eat healthy snacks:

Fruit: Full of phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins, low-glycemic carbohydrates and many other nutrients, fruit is one of the best possible things you can reach for.

Beef jerky: High protein, extremely portable and delicious!

Nuts: Just be careful not to overdo it. Take only a small handful, then close the lid.

Meal replacement shakes: Simply add water and mix, and you’ll have a meal to go. For even less prep, pick up ready-to-drink versions.

5. Never Eat Carbs Alone

Why are carbs a problem? When starchy foods (think breads and pasta) are consumed by themselves, lots of sugar is rapidly released into your blood. The dramatic rise in blood sugar results in an equally massive surge of the storage hormone insulin, and fat burning comes to a screeching halt. Fortunately, you can easily circumvent this by substituting protein for some of the meal’s carb content. Combining nutrients slows carbohydrate digestion, yielding a more stable, steady release of sugar into the blood.

6. Grab a Late-Night Snack

You may not believe this, but a pre-bedtime snack can be good for you – if it’s done right.

However, you can’t reach for that piece of leftover cake, cookies or chips. Instead, pick up a slow-digesting source of protein, such as chicken, fish or turkey. These low-carb, high-protein choices won’t give you an insulin boost (the major reason after-dinner snacks are discouraged) and will fuel muscle tissue as you sleep.

For example, if you finished dinner at 7 p.m. and then ate nothing until the next morning at 7 a.m., you just went a full 12 hours without feeding your muscles. That’s a sure recipe for muscle loss, especially when you’re dieting.

A protein snack may help you sleep better, too, because many proteins – like turkey – are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that relaxes mind and body.

7. Fill Up On Half the Portion

It’s possible to cut your daily calorie intake, fill your belly and improve overall health all at once. The key is to fill half your plate with veggies.

8. Beat Belly Fat

Why is it that most people tend to store fat in their love handles and tummy anyway?Blame it on the stress hormone cortisol. People with high cortisol levels have higher amounts of belly fat. Those with lower cortisol levels tend to be leaner. The No. 1 way to cut cortisol is with a solid exercise and stress-management program. The easy way is taking nutritional supplements.

9. Empty Calories

Regularly drinking sugar-rich beverages can easily tack on an extra 3,500 calories each week. That’s equivalent to one pound of fat!

The simple solution: If it has calories, don’t drink it. That includes fruit juice. If you want the vitamin C in a glass of orange juice, eat an orange – the actual fruit contains even more nutrients, more fiber and much less sugar. Go with calorie-free beverages such as plain water, flavored waters, “diet” teas, or other diet-friendly flavored drinks such as Crystal Light.

10. Count Fiber, Not Calories

As you try to eat more fiber – shoot for 35 grams a each day – you’ll automatically choose healthier foods and consume fewer calories. Foods high in fiber (such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains) are typically lower in calories as well. Increasing dietary fiber will slow digestion and keep blood sugar and insulin spikes at bay throughout the day.

11. Substitute Teaching

Just because you’re dieting doesn’t mean you have to give up on eating out. You can order almost anything on a menu when you learn substitution.

In the mood for a cheeseburger? You can get the flavor of a cheese-smothered, flame-broiled beef patty without all the calories. First, lose the processed bun and ask for a fork and knife. Second, substitute those greasy fries for a healthier side. Try fresh fruit, mixed vegetables or a side salad.

12. Liquid snacking
Have an intense between-meal or late-night craving? Guzzle down a large glass of water. It’ll make you feel full and control the craving.

by : Joel Marion, Lifescript Weight-Loss Expert

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