Saturday, 31 August 2013

Drink Yourself Slim: How Water Helps You Lose Weight

Drink water to lose more weight

Water on its own is not a healthy way to lose weight. However, drinking water is essential if you want to live a healthy life. It can also aid your weight loss journey. In fact, the main reason you struggle to lose weight, especially those last few pounds, is because your body is dehydrated. It starts to act in strange ways when it doesn’t get enough.

You Start to Retain Water

When you don’t drink enough, your body retains water. This makes you feel bloated and you tend to gain weight because of it. This is why during the first couple of weeks of weight loss you will find that your weight drops considerably—you will get enough water for your body to survive and it won’t feel the need to retain it.

Yes, there is such a thing as too much water. If you drink too much, your body naturally retains the excess because it doesn’t need it. Two litres of water per day is the optimum amount for your body to survive but up to four litres is generally considered a safe amount. If you do a lot of exercise, you are ill or it is very warm, you will need to drink more than those two litres as your body gets rid of some through sweat.

You Feel Hungry If You Are Dehydrated

The body is an amazing thing but it can act strangely. As your body becomes dehydrated, it will tell your brain that you are hungry. You start to eat more because you believe that your body needs fuel. Really, it needs water! Before you reach for the snacks, ask yourself whether you are really hungry. Get a glass of water and drink that. Most of the time, you will find that your “hunger” is satisfied because it was water your body wanted all along.

If you still feel hungry after drinking some water, your body may actually want food. Have a healthy snack, such as fruit. Check the time too as you may find that the day has run away from you and it is dinner time after all!

Suppress Your Appetite with Water

Water will also help you suppress your appetite. It works similarly to the way that your brain tells you that you are hungry then you are really thirsty.

By drinking water, your stomach becomes full and tells your brain that. You start to forget that you needed food in the first place.

Of course, water has zero calories so there is less risk of gaining weight. However, you will need to make sure that you weren’t actually hungry. Check the time. The last thing you want is to end up starving yourself with this trick—it isn’t a healthy way to lose weight!

Toning Your Muscles with Water

It may sound strange but water will help your muscles tone. Your muscles need to be hydrated otherwise no amount of weight lifting will help them build.

Of course, this can have a negative impact on your weight loss! Muscle does weigh more than fat—that is a pound of muscle will be smaller in size than a pound of fat. However, toned muscles will change the shape of your body.

While the scales say that you have gained weight, take your body measurements and try on that smaller dress. You may find that you are reaching your other weight loss goals.

Stop Slowing the Digestive System

When you don’t have enough water, your digestive system will slow down. This leads to your metabolic rate slowing. You end up holding onto more calories and will find that toxins are held within your body.

Neither of these do any good for your weight loss!

Water will help you lose weight because it helps speed up your digestive system. You will get rid of all those toxins clogging up your body, feel like you have more energy and effectively lose weight.

Your body really does need water. It needs it to survive and water will help you lose weight. Drink around eight glasses a day and you will keep your body hydrated and functioning properly. Remember to drink more if you do more exercise or it is hot! Your body loses more water during these times.

Image credit: Yogendra174

Friday, 16 August 2013

Is Your Plate Making You Gain Weight?

Portion sizes are a major reason for weight gain. The truth is that people are just so used to eating much more. They believe that they need to eat more to survive but they really don’t.

The main reason for portion sizes getting bigger is our plates. They’ve gotten bigger over the years and we always feel the need to fill them, right?

Fill the Plates with the Right Foods!

There’s nothing wrong with filling the plate as long as it is with the right food. Make the majority of it vegetables or fruit. These are low in calories.

Most people will choose another piece of meat or a larger helping of potato or pasta but this is just fuelling your weight gain. Your body doesn’t need to eat the extra helping. It won’t be able to burn the extra calories and will store them instead.

Guess what happens? You gain weight!

Not Filling It Up Psychologically Tells You It’s Empty

Even if you know the portion size is just right, seeing a partially empty plate plays tricks on your brain. Your eyes tell your brain that there isn’t much on the plate and your brain tells your stomach that it isn’t eating enough.

It’s amazing how that deception works and leads to weight gain.

Even though you know you’ve had enough to eat, you feel hungry still. Your stomach isn’t satisfied so your brain tells you to feed it more. This often leads to reaching for the sweets, crisps or other high calorie food that you have in the house.

Before you reach for anything, ask yourself if you really are hungry. You can subside this by having a glass of water.

If you are genuinely hungry then there’s nothing wrong with eating more. Just think about the type of food you’re after

Switch to Smaller Plates

The best thing to do is reduce your plate size. Stop letting your plate make you gain weight and giving the impression that you’re not eating enough.

Instead of using a dinner plate, opt for the side plate. You may struggle to get all the food on but it will look over-full. Your brain will likely tell your body that you’re getting more than enough just looking at the large pile of food waiting for you.

This can also help you control your portion sizes. You could find that they automatically get smaller as you fit them to the smaller plate. This way, you’ll lose more weight much quicker!

Plate sizes have grown considerably over the last 50 years or so. They started off at around 7in in diameter and are now an amazing 12-13in! That is a lot of extra space that you really don’t need. White plate space can make you think you’re eating too little but it’s important to avoid overeating. Don’t let your plate make you gain weight.

Image credit: rakratchada torsap/

Friday, 9 August 2013

Weekly Weight Loss Weeks 40 and 41

Sorry I'm not updating this every week. I did try to post the link for last week but Bubblews was down and then I never got around to it.

Over the last two weeks, I've lost 1lb. I didn't lose anything in week 40. I'm annoyed that I've lost so little over the last two weeks but I did work out that I've almost lost, on average, a pound per week since starting. In 41 weeks I've lost 40.5lbs. That I can be happy with.

Here are my stories:

Now I just have to kick my butt into gear. There isn't going to be a weekly weight loss in two weeks time as I'm away. I really want that 1.5lbs to get my three stone on Tuesday!

The South Beach Diet Review: Will You Lose Weight Doing It This Way?

The South Beach Diet is one that I tried many years ago. It was before I decided that Weight Watchers was the way to go for me and when I was going through a time of trying all the fad, crash and latest diets to hit the streets.

For me, the South Beach Diet just didn’t work. It was a little like the Atkin’s diet for me. I did lose a lot of weight in the first week—if I remember correctly, I lost 11lbs—but that wasn’t sustainable. After that first week, I just couldn’t stick to it and found it very hard to live on.

It’s time that I write my own South Beach Diet review to help you understand why I don’t think it’s the way to go. This is just my opinion though and you may find that it works for you.

What Is the South Beach Diet?

Before starting my South Beach Diet review, you need to know what the diet is. It was created by American cardiologist, Dr. Agatston, who needed something for his heart patients. He wanted something that would help to improve the health of their heart and found that it helped them lose weight too.

According to Agatston, this isn’t a low-fat or low-carb diet. It focuses on eating the right types of fats and carbs. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is still quite restrictive. The first two weeks there are very few carbohydrates allowed and that includes those in fruit! After that, you need to introduce them back into your diet slowly.

In short, it uses the glycemic index to determine the best foods to eat. Those that are deemed low GI foods will break down in the body slowly. The energy is released over a longer period of time so it is less likely to sugar into the blood. Carbohydrates break down into sugars and lead to spikes in blood sugar. To counter that, the body releases insulin. Eventually, the body can become immune to the effects of the insulin or not enough is released and it can lead to diabetes.

My South Beach Diet Review: What I Think About It

It’s extremely restrictive. The diet is split into three phases and the first once involves banning most of the carbohydrates. This includes many fruits. I don’t see how that is right considering you’re supposed to eat five fruit and vegetables a day to be healthy! Instead, you’re having to get all your nutrients from vegetables and you won’t get all the ones that are mainly found in fruits!

Milk is also banned during the first phase. It led me to question how you would get enough calcium for that two week phase. While kale and other dark leafy greens are full of calcium, I personally prefer to get it from milk and other dairy sources. But that is a personal choice. Low-fat cheese is allowed during this phase, which gives you some dairy products but it wasn’t near as many as I usually eat.

Once you’ve completed the first phase, you move onto the second one. This is the main part of the diet, which lasts until you successfully reach your goal. It can be a long process and this is when some of the carbohydrates are re-introduced. However, this is when I really started to struggle.

The South Beach Diet just wasn’t flexible enough for me. I wasn’t allowed most of my favourite treats at all and I ended up really craving for them. I don’t like being told no. Childish, yes, but that’s just the way I am. If I tell myself I’m not allowed something, that’s all I want. This is why my South Beach Diet review is so negative. I just hated that I couldn’t have biscuits, cakes, white pasta and my favourite yogurts.

Phase three is the maintenance plan and when you get to re-introduce more carbs. You may have guessed that I never got to this stage!

No Portion Sizes – Huh?

Something that really confused me was the fact that there are no portion sizes when it comes to the South Beach Diet. You don’t need to limit the amount you have as long as you feel satisfied. You’re encouraged to snack, as long as they’re healthy.

I’m sorry but no portion control? One of the main reasons for gaining weight is because we eat too much! If there’s no portion control, how do you know when you’ve had enough? Sure, you could listen to your body but does that really work for everyone?

That’s what I like about Weight Watchers. I have a set number of ProPoints to eat and that’s all.

South Beach Diet Review: How Much Weight Can You Lose?

I lost about 11lbs in the first week or so. Yay! It works…

Think again! I put all that back on and more once I realised that the South Beach Diet wasn’t for me. If I’m honest, even if I got to my goal weight, I’m not sure how sustainable this diet is. Yes, there’s a maintenance phase but how liveable is it? At least with the Weight Watchers maintenance phase it’s all about incorporating the healthy eating habits you’ve learnt while losing weight into your everyday life to maintain your weight.

It’s a lot to lose too, right? Well, not in the first week or two. This is when you’re more likely to lose a lot and you will start to ease off afterwards. During phase two, you’re more likely to lose between one and two pounds, which is a healthy amount. That’s if you can control your portions…oh wait! There is no portion control.

You may think that my South Beach Diet review is a little cynical but that’s just because it didn’t work for me. There are people out there who found it worked. I just don’t like all the restrictions. Not only is it hard to stick to the plan but you’ll find it hard to get all the nutrients your body needs. I have to wonder why a doctor would come up with something so potentially dangerous!

Image credit: marin/

Friday, 2 August 2013

Tips for Enjoying Your Coffee On a Diet

Make losing weight and having a coffee easier to deal with

Have you ever tried to enjoy a tea or coffee on a diet? Whether you have it at home or you go out with friends, it can seem like hell trying to make it fit into your weight loss plan. A tea or coffee break is always seen as the time to have a treat—usually a biscuit or two (or the whole packet!) or a cake.

It is possible to enjoy your coffee on a diet. Yes, honest!

Here are a few tricks so your coffee break is still weight loss friendly.

Only Take the Number of Snacks Allowed for the Day

If it’s at work, limit yourself to only taking the amount of snacks you are allowed for the day. If you want others, take healthy ones with you. Vegetable sticks with a hummus dip or a handful of nuts are so much better than biscuits or cake.

Are the snacks readily available in the workplace? Keep them out of reach. You’re less likely to get up for another snack (and be seen doing it) than if they were just in reach. You can boost your weight loss with that simple tip!

Plan Ahead for the Day

No matter where you are, planning ahead for those coffees while dieting is essential. A regular coffee with skimmed milk isn’t going to make you gain weight, as long as you drink them in moderation for your health’s sake. But there are just so many different types of coffees now. Find out how bad each one is for you and plan your drinks throughout the day.

You can also plan for any snacks. You can plan if you’re going to have a biscuit or a slice of cake. You don’t have to say no but you really need to think about it before you quickly eat.

Arrange to Share a Treat

So you meet up with an old friend and she suggests you go to the coffee shop for a catch-up? While you really want to, you know that there are treats there and she will want one. You don’t want to ruin your weight loss efforts so what do you do?

Why not ask her to share a cake with you? There is nothing wrong with sharing that you’re losing weight, unless you currently look way too underweight!

Arrange Where to Go!

There are times that you just don’t have the points, sins or calories available for a specific place. You start to learn the coffee shops and cafes that are the best for your weight loss. Use this knowledge to your advantage and pick the place to go.

This is great if your co-workers want to go somewhere for lunch or you’re trying to arrange a business meeting in a coffee shop. It’s also great for that scenario above when you bump into an old friend.

You can get away with not making it clear you’re on a diet with this trick. You can just say you really like the place or you want to share your new favourite with them.

So, enjoy your coffee on a diet. Plan ahead and try to limit your snacking. Treat yourself but arrange to share it with friends if you can. If you’re really stuck, you pick where to go. When it’s in the house, just don’t have the snacks and then you can’t eat them!

Image credit: Anton Novojilov