Friday, July 31, 2009

Walk When You Talk :)

Seems like Idea knows what they're talking about in their new commercial. Walking is an easy way to burn calories in order to lose weight and decrease body fat.

The number of calories you burn depends on how fast you walk as well as how much you weigh. Apparently, research suggests that a person needs to burn 2000-3000 calories through physical activity every week to control body weight - which works out to be about 60-90 minutes of walking per day.

The minimum duration for which a person must walk in order to lose weight is 30 minutes. Shorter bouts of walking can improve one's overall health but is unlikely to lead to weight/fat reduction.

The good part though is that the 60-90 minutes of exercise can be spread out into small bouts of 15-20 minutes at a time. Walking short distances instead of driving / taking a cab, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car at a farther spot in the parking lot etc. all help.

Walking can be complimented by making small reductions in one's calorie intake such as skipping desserts after meals, using skim instead of whole milk, replacing sugar with an artificial sweetener etc.

However, if you feel that you cannot start with 60-90 minute walks, you can start with 15-20 minute sessions and add a few minutes every week. The important thing though is that once you manage to lose weight through any form of exercise, including walking, you must continue with it for the rest of your life in order to keep the pounds from piling back on!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The G M Diet

The General Motors Diet was developed for employees of General Motors and their dependents. It was developed in conjunction with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration of the United States.

Along with being a tool for rapid weight loss, the diet also flushes your system of toxins, giving a feeling of lightness, well-being and an improvement in one’s attitude/emotions.

The idea behind this diet is that the food you’re advised to eat burns more calories than what it gives to the body.

This 7 day diet requires that you abstain from all forms of alcohol and drink at least 10 glasses of water every day. This is what the diet program looks like:

Day 1 : You can eat all fruits except bananas. Consumption of melons is strongly recommended. Fruits are laden with nutrition, and limiting one’s food intake to only fruits prepares the system for the upcoming program.

Day 2 : All vegetables – boiled (with a little bit of salt & pepper) or raw. There is no limit to the amount or type of vegetables you can consume. For the complex carbohydrate requirement of the body, you can start the day with a large baked potato (which may be topped with a small pat of butter) for breakfast. The idea is that vegetables, when consumed boiled or raw, are virtually calorie free and provide the essential nutrients and fiber. However, one must take care not to overdo the salt, as it helps retain water in the body. The dose of oil (in the form of butter) is recommended for energy and balance.

Day 3 : A mixture of fruits and vegetables of your choice in desired quantities. However, no bananas and potatoes are allowed as the carbohydrate requirements of the body are met through the natural sugar present in fruits. The system is now prepared to start burning excess fat.

Day 4 : You can consume up to 8 bananas & 3 glasses of milk. This can be accompanied by a special soup which is made of onions, green peppers (capsicum), tomatoes, cabbage and carrots – in limited quantities. You probably will not be able to consume all 8 bananas but they are recommended to make up for the potassium you have lost and the sodium you may have missed the past 3 days.

Day 5 : Is feast day! You will eat beef (or chicken for non-beef eaters and tofu + paneer for vegetarians) and six tomatoes. The beef is for iron and proteins, and the tomatoes are for digestion and fiber. It is recommended that you increase you water intake today as that will help get rid of toxins and the uric acid you will be producing.

Day 6 : Today you can eat unlimited amounts of beef and vegetables. Beef will give you iron and proteins, and the vegetables will give vitamins and fiber. By now your system will be in a complete weight loss mode.

Day 7 : Today your diet will consist of brown rice, fresh fruit juices (without added sugar) and all the vegetables you can consume. Canned/packaged fruit juices should be avoided as they are high on sugar.

The soup that was suggested on Day 4 is a supplement to the diet and can be consumed anytime throughout the program. You may substitute vegetables according to your taste. For instance, you may add vegetables such as asparagus, peas, corn, turnips, green beans, cauliflower, etc. However, any kind of beans (lima, kidney etc.) are best avoided as they tend to be high in calories.

Beverages that can be consumed while on the diet:
Water - flavored with lemon if desired
Club Soda
Black tea & coffee - No cream/cream substitute or sugar

I am planning to go on this diet later this month. Will let you know how much weight I manage to shed!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tone Up!

Here are some easy tips for losing weight and toning up your abs, legs & back. I recently read them somewhere. They do not require enrollment at a gym and can be done at home or outdoors.

  • Walking briskly or jogging for 30 minutes daily.

  • Whenever possible pulling in our stomach as much as we can, holding for a few seconds and releasing. This is a great way to tone our abs. Similarly, squeezing and releasing our butt will help in getting firmer hips.

  • Lying on our back with our feet raised up towards the ceiling (at an angle of 90 degrees to the floor), lifting our hips towards the head in a back & forth movement will tone up lower abs.

  • For some of us, our body tends to store fat on our back. To lose that flab, lie down on your stomach, facing downward. Place your palms on your back below the waist. Slowly pull your shoulders up and back, keeping your feet on the ground. Repeat 20 times.

  • To firm your legs, stand with your hands on your hips or resting on a wall (for support). Raise your right let to the side of your body as high as you can. Keep your back straight. Bring your leg down without touching the floor. Repeat 20 times. Do the same exercise with your left leg.

  • Drinking 10-12 glasses of water daily helps flush out the toxins from our body and give us a glowing complexion.

  • And of course, easier for some but very difficult for most of us - avoiding sweets and fried food as much as possible :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Drink Your Way to Fitness

Tons of people swear by the efficacy of honey & lemon juice in warm water in helping aid weight loss. I read somewhere recently about why this concoction might work and what other purposes it serves, and would like to share it here...

The key ingredient in this mix is the water. Research shows that drinking water as soon as you wake up in the morning, raises your metabolic level significantly. This works because through the night, our body is deprived of water, and since our system uses water as a medium for all processes, it (the system) slows down during the night. Drinking water in the morning helps re-start the system thereby hiking up the metabolic rate.

Lemon & honey are also known to contain vitamins & minerals and are therefore considered safe even when consumed on an empty stomach.

However, this drink alone is not enough to lose weight. It has to be accompanied by exercise & sensible eating. And it is also believed that once our body gets used to this concoction, the weight loss stops, though the drink will continue to help in the digestive process.