Category Archives: Weight Loss Information

Portion Control – Basic Cooking Tactics for the Beginner

healthy-meal-prepIf you’re trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight you’ve worked hard to achieve, you know your food choices play a big part in tipping the scale in the right direction. But for a lot of people, making smart choices for meals and snacks isn’t always easy.

You probably don’t have a personal chef, unlimited food budget, or loads of free time to dedicate to eating healthy all the time. But it’s still possible to change your eating habits for the better. Here are some things you can do to make healthier meals:

Keep It Simple

Forget about making gourmet meals with expensive and hard-to-find ingredients. Find healthy and easy-to make recipes that have a few basic ingredients (especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts and seeds, and legumes) and common seasonings, herbs, and spices. Here are some excellent healthy recipe websites: http://www.eatingwell.com/, http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder, http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/

Man cooking and woman looking recipe in electronic tabletFollow Directions
Unless you’re a professionally trained chef, leave the experimentation to the experts. When you’re trying to eat healthy and make your own meals, it’s important to follow the recipe’s directions. Your culinary creations are far more likely to turn out right when you use the specified ingredients, and be healthier when you follow directions.

Cooking is a Skill That Requires Practice

If you’ve been used to eating at fast food restaurants on a regular basis instead of cooking at home, you’re going to need to practice cooking healthy meals. At first, the dishes you prepare might not turn out like you expect. And that’s OK. It’s just part of the learning process. Be patient with yourself, learn from your mistakes, and before long making healthy meals at home will be a lot easier. Watching the Food Network will give you some great tips as well!

Have to have fast food? Make the right choices.

Many restaurants have healthy choices,  it’s a matter of being aware what’s good for you and what’s bad for your diet. here are a few good tips: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/meal-ideas/25-healthy-grab-and-go-lunches

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/on-the-go/healthy-fast-foods/

Have a Backup Plan for Healthy Meals

One of the common pitfalls of adopting healthy eating habits to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, is the lack of a backup plan. When you’re pressed for time, you might not have a lot of time to cook. Without a backup plan, it’s all too easy to turn to fast food loaded with empty calories when it’s time to eat. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Plated Meal- Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from MagicKitchen.com
Plated Meal- Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from MagicKitchen.com

Choose Your Favorite Portion Control Meals
If cooking isn’t your thing, or you know you’re going to be pressed for time, you can still eat healthy. Make Portion Control Meals by MagicKitchen.com your backup plan to stick to your goals. Our professional chefs have prepared dozens of healthy, tasty, and lower-calorie meals like Chicken & Apple Curry With Jasmine RiceBeef Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy, Brown Rice & Green Beans, Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans, and many others.

Cook healthy meals at home and have a backup plan to eat healthy when you’re extra busy, and you’ll be headed in the right direction to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

 

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Getting Ready for a New Diet

We make our resolutions every New Year’s Eve, full of enthusiasm and maybe a few drops of wine, determined that this year is going to be our slimmest year yet. Come springtime, most resolutions are forgotten about and we fall back into our old routines – dessert after dinner, fast food, a bag of chips here and there. It’s a well-known fact that gyms are busiest in the months of January and February and then as the year continues, newbies stop going and their gym membership card grows dusty in their wallet. And yet, there are some who achieve their aims, whether they wanted to drop a dress size, or fit into that pair of jeans from when they were a teenager. How do they do it? There are a number of factors common to all successful diets:

Goals

Know why you want to diet. Many people will just decide, “I need to lose weight!” While that is a key aim of all diets, it needs to be more specific than that. Do you want to lose weight for a specific reason? Maybe you want to lose weight for a special occasion, or for health reasons. It is best to narrow down your goals, in this way you will have better focus. One of the main factors that contribute to achieving your goals is knowing exactly what they are. Defining your goal is the first step towards achieving your goal.

Visualisation

Say your goal is to fit into a pair of jeans. Picture your new svelte self comfortably wearing them. Focus on every detail of this picture, until it is crystal clear in your mind. Imagine how great you will feel when you can fit into those jeans. You can now use these feelings and images to motivate you whenever your diet feels impossible to follow.

Planning

Once you’ve decided on what you want from your diet, the next step is to devise a plan to achieve it. It is important to set a goal that can be realistically achieved. For instance, deciding you want to lose fifty pounds in a week is unrealistic, whereas losing that same amount in a year is doable with effort. Make sure the diet that you choose to follow has shown results similar to what you want to achieve.

The right diet for you

It is tempting to get caught up in the spin surrounding the latest fad diet. But these are often designed for a specific lifestyle, one that may or may not fit in with your current lifestyle. When you make a decision to diet, it requires a lot of change in your life. By attempting to change your whole lifestyle at the same time as starting a diet, you are overloading yourself and setting yourself up to fail. It is best to choose a diet that fits in with your current lifestyle.

Diet and exercise

A good way to enhance the effects of your diet is to combine it with a fitness plan. By exercising you will be burning fat and increasing your health while your diet helps you to keep the weight off. As well as making you look better, exercise will make you feel better by increasing your natural endorphins. When you feel better you are more motivated to achieve your goals.

Team up with a friend

Going it on your own can be difficult, especially in those moments when temptation strikes. See if you can find a friend who has similar weight loss goals to you and team up with them. You can give each other support and strengthen each others commitment to your diets. So when you feel that cupcake on the coffee shop counter tempting you, you can imagine how disappointed your friend would be if you succumbed to it and you can pass it up.

By following these tips, you will be fully prepared to achieve your dieting goals, and the best part is, once you achieve you goal, other goals become much more doable. A successful diet can be the first step on the journey to a new you!

References
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/4-ways-to-get-that-diet-going
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/get-ready-to-diet/

Featured images:

This is courtesy of Goodtoknow Diets, the experts in exercise, low calorie food and healthy living.

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Twelve Fantastic Apps for Getting and Staying Fit

Whether you want to lose weight, eat healthier or exercise more efficiently, chances are you’ll need some good weapons to help you win the bodily battle. These apps are a great start as you build the weapons that will help you win the war.

Life has a way of getting hectic, and often your diet and exercise plan is the first thing you sacrifice when you are pressed for time. Loading one or more of these apps on your smartphone means that your diet weapons are with you 24/7, helping you stay on track and focused.

Exercise Apps

1. DailyBurn

The dailyburn.com site is one of the biggest fitness communities available online, and this app is its bite-sized companion. Your personal goals and tracking information are synced to the app for on-the-go tracking and accountability.

2. Fitness Buddy

Fitness Buddy has over 1,000 exercises with a great deal of variety. Photos, illustrations and descriptions help guide you through each exercise. You can mix and match to set up 45-minute routines.

3. Daily Ab Workout

Are you ready to start building your six-pack? Every day, a different ab routine, with 20 different exercises in each routine, is available. The randomizer helps keep you from getting bored.

4. iPump Fitness Builder

This app helps you set up routines for at home or at the gym using whichever type of equipment you have on hand. Thousands of exercises are available from which to choose.

5. FitnessClass

Fitness Class gives you access to streaming classes and videos. The workouts have a lot of variety and include everything from kettle ball routines to yoga.

6. Authentic Yoga

Featuring Deepak Chopra, this app is customizable for any fitness level. It can focus on whichever goal you are working toward, whether it’s flexibility, strength or balance.

Diet Apps

1. LoseIt

This app and its accompanying website are easy to use. Without a lot of clutter, they help you quickly track calories eaten and burned.

2. SparkPeople

A pint-sized version of the popular free diet online community, this app allows you to track food consumption and exercise while on the go. It’s available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

3. Weight Watchers

The mother of all weight-loss plans has an app that allows you to track your points wherever you are. The app requires a membership in the Weight Watchers program.

4. CarbLovers Diet

Do you want to lose weight but don’t want to cut out your carbs? This app can help you make healthy choices without giving up the foods you love.

5. Fooducate

Take this app with you on your next shopping trip. You’ll see how the foods you buy stack up nutritionally.

6. Shake a Snack

Do you need some ideas for healthy snacks? With this app, you can shake your phone to find a randomized snack between 100 and 300 calories.

Diet and exercise are both integral to an effective low fat diet plan. LowFatDietPlan.org has additional tools to help such as a BMI chart and weight loss goal calculator. Keep these tools in mind as you build your weight loss weapon arsenal.

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The First Diet

The idea of dieting to lose weight is really a fairly modern concept. For centuries, people worked and hunted to get enough food, often working sun up till sundown to achieve this aim!  There is a reason so many old recipes call for pork fat and bacon and lots of it! People working that hard needed as many calories as they could get!

Nutrition is also a modern concept. People in the early centuries thought one food was as good as another, and didn’t differentiate. But this meant that some people did gain weight, because the foods they were able to obtain, or the foods they preferred to eat, caused weight gain. People who had sedentary jobs, or who were gluttons, would and could gain weight.

Along came an obese man named William Banting in England in about 1850. He was having trouble getting around, and decided that losing weight would alleviate the pain in his ankles. He went to his doctor, who told him there was no cure for obesity, that some people just had it.

A fascinating article here details what Mr. Banting went through in an attempt to shed pounds:

“Banting went into hospital twenty times in as many years for weight reduction. He tried swimming, walking, riding and taking the sea air. He drank “gallons of physic and liquor potassae”, took the spa waters at Leamington, Cheltenham and Harrogate, and tried low-calorie, starvation diets; he took Turkish baths at a rate of up to three a week for a year but lost only 6 pounds in all that time, and had less and less energy.”

Finally a chance encounter with Dr. William Harvey, an ear, nose and throat specialist, started Banting on the right track.  Harvey’s advice to him was to give up bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer and potatoes. These, he told Banting, contained starch and sugar tending to create fat and were to be avoided altogether.

The first low-carb diet was begun! Banting lost 50 pounds in 50 weeks, and was thrilled! He wrote a pamphlet called, “Letter On Corpulence Addressed to the Public”. This was the first diet book, and was not well received by the medical community. But the public loved it.

The booklet later went into four editions, and achieved worldwide circulation after being translated into French and German. 68,000 copies of the booklet were sold over the next six years.

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