Saturday, July 29, 2006

Healthy Eating or Calorie Counting?

If you’re going to eat healthily, you don’t just need to balance your diet: it’s no good eating just the right proportion of carbohydrate, protein and fat if you’re still eating far too much food! That’s why food labels also tell you how many calories the food contains, so you can limit your calorie intake and make sure not to consume too many in a day.

The amount of calories you will need varies from person to person, depending on your gender, age, build, what kind of work you do, and all sorts of other factors. As a rough guide, though, women need about 2,000 calories per day to function properly, while men need around 2,500. A good way to organise this is to have 500 calories for breakfast, 500 for lunch and 1,000 for dinner – as men and women tend to eat together in the evenings, a man may find it easiest to eat a large lunch in order to get his extra 500 calories. In practice, you will probably want to keep each meal a hundred calories or so under these amounts, to allow for a modest amount of snacking.

The world is full of fad diets, but this is one that works: combined with exercise, there is simply no way for calorie-counting to fail, provided you have the willpower to stick with it. The reason that there are so many ways out there to ‘lose weight fast’ is that many people, unfortunately, find it hard to make themselves count calories. One tip: if you find it annoying to add up how many calories you’re putting in food, you might find it easier to work out and write down how many calories there are in the meals you make regularly. This will allow you to plan better and have some days where you don’t need to worry about what you’re putting in the food.

John Gibb is the owner of

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Weight Loss Tips

Whether you have a little or a lot of weight to lose, it can seem daunting. Nowadays, we are inundated with stories of people who lose weight and gain it back again, or who find it difficult to lose weight at all. Over time, it's easy to become convinced that weight loss just isn't going to happen for you, or that it will require a total change of lifestyle. This just isn't true, as these easy weight loss tips will prove.

Weight loss tip #1: Keeping in mind that society is geared toward large portion size and getting more for your money, simply divide all the portions you've been eating (especially those you eat out) in half. See how it feels to just eat half a restaurant meal, then stop. Have the rest packed up for lunch the next day. Chances are, you won't be hungry after eating half the meal, but if you are, eat another quarter. Then have the rest packed up. You're not depriving yourself - a generation ago, the half- or three-quarter meal you end up eating is more or less the same amount of food as a full meal you would have been served a generation ago. Even cookies and muffins that you buy to go have been supersized - again, eat half.

Weight loss tip #2: Walk as much as possible. Get in the habit. It's great to go to the gym and work out, but in its own way, 'built-in' exercise is even better. It requires no special equipment, you don't have to schedule time for it - you just do it as a matter of course. Remember, until cars became commonplace, walking is how most people got around most of the time. In many European cities, they still do. And people who do this are seldom overweight - go figure!

Weight loss tip #3: Eat real food. In other words, avoid boxes and cans, and eat things that are in their natural form - or as close to it as possible. In the supermarket, shop around the edges - the meat and produce - and avoid the inside aisles. Preparing 'real' food might be a bit more work, but it's very rewarding, and much healthier.

These are not very 'high powered' weight loss tips - you won't lose a pound a day, or whatever the leading programs claim. These are healthy, enjoyable changes that are meant to last a lifetime - and over time, you will lose weight. What's more, your weight loss will be gradual and safe, and you'll keep the weight off permanently.