Forging Abs Of Steel

Everyone strives for that elusive six pack; it is the first thing most clients ask their trainers for, who in return oblige by having their clients do endless amounts of sit-ups and crunches.

Unfortunately if it were that easy every person on earth looking for a six pack would have been sporting a set of chiselled abs.

A professor of mine always had this to say about a chiselled midsection; “Every skinny has a 6 pack, if you want to develop your own, shut your cake hole!”

It may sound harsh, but it is not far from the truth. You may not realize this, but every human was born with abdominal muscles, be it a 4, 6 or eight pack for those who are genetically gifted, or eating habits and poor lifestyle choices hide them from visibility.

The best place to start the abdominal forging is in the kitchen.

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Your six-pack solution is finally here.

 

  1. Small & Regular – Despite diet experts and new research constantly telling you otherwise, many people still consume the bulk of their calories in two or three large meals each day, often—in an attempt to slim down—going for hours at a time eating nothing in between. Sure, you can lose weight on a reduced-calorie three-meal plan, but you can’t make your body burn fat  more efficiently, which is key to long-term weight loss. A nutritious meal or snack about every three hours keeps blood-sugar levels stable, feeds your body a steady stream of necessary nutrients and helps control hunger-induced cravings for less-than-slimming snacks like sweets and fats. It also leads to more effective glycogen storage in the liver and muscle tissues, ensuring your body won’t cannibalize muscle as an energy source during your workouts. So make your meals mini and spread them out. If you have trouble fitting in extra eating times at work, prepare food ahead of time that you can zap in the microwave or eat cold. And stock your kitchen right!

 

  1. Don’t Let Your Stomach Call The Shots – The human body is a bit confusing: By the time it tells you it needs nutrients, it’s already deficient. In fact, those hunger pangs are your body’s last-ditch efforts to convince you to eat. Stay ahead of the curve by eating before your stomach starts growling. If you’re pressed for time, consider the following: A meal can consist of a four-ounce chicken breast, a small baked potato and a salad, all of which can be made the night before and require minimal preparation time. Dining can also be as simple as a low-sugar nutrition bar—make sure to look for one substantial enough to replace a meal—or small protein shakesand bananas.

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  1. Calculate Your Protein Needs – How much protein is enough? If you’re working a 9 to 5 desk job that you commute to by car, protein isn’t an issue. But for someone who’s active in sports and trains regularly, adequate protein is essential for losing fat and building lean muscle. Your safest bet is to get between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per 500g of lean mass. When calculating that amount, use the weight you think you would look good at, especially if you’re 8kg or more overweight, a quick method to determine an ideal weight it to subtract 100 from your height in centimetres (Height Conversion Calculator). For example, if an ideal weight for you would be 78kg, multiply that number by 0.8 grams and then multiply again by 2 (to convert into per kilogram lean mass) : Your daily protein requirement turns out to be 136 grams, which translates to 27 grams of protein per meal (at five meals per day). That’s what you’ll get from about one small can of water-packed tuna or four slices of turkey breast deli meat. Height Converter ft to cm and cm to in

 

  1. Protein Boost Every Meal – While eating anything raises your metabolic rate, protein boosts it the most. Chicken, turkey, beef, egg whites and cottage cheese are just a few of the choices you have for high-rev foods. Protein is also essential to building muscle, and the more muscle you carry, the more efficiently your body will burn the fat you’re trying to fry. And don’t forget about breakfast! Muscle burns calories even at rest. Fat, on the other hand, just sits there. So the last thing you want from your weight-loss program is loss of muscle tissue. You can minimize this loss by getting enough protein delivered in relatively precise doses throughout each day. And for your body to put that protein to work for muscle building, you’ve got to log weight lifting time regularly.

 

  1. Track & Adjust – Keep track of your intake for a month or so and then make adjustments since the protein calculations we have here are just guidelines. If your fat loss has hit a plateau and you aren’t suffering from overtraining syndrome—ironically, too much time at the gym will slow your fat furnace—bump up your protein a little. If you’re gaining a little fat, cut back slightly. There should be little need to go beyond one gram of protein per 500g of lean mass.

 

  1. Diversity Is The Spice – When planning meals, you may be tempted to stick to a few familiar sources of carbs. But your system works better when you keep it guessing, so don’t let yourself get caught in a rut. Eating a variety of carbs, even some simple sugars, is desirable for athletes, according to the Journal Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Keep in mind, that’s not an invitation to gorge on cakes, sweets or chocolate bars. Foods like potatoes, brown rice, pasta and vegetables should make up the bulk of your carbs. As a rule, you shouldn’t eat more than two or three grams of carbs per pound of body weight. Many people overdose on carbs, thinking them “safe” simply because they’re low in fat. But your system doesn’t discriminate: It stores any excess calories—whether from protein, fat or carbs—as fat.

 

  1. ZigZag – Once you’ve figured out your daily carb requirement, the tendency is to eat equal amounts of carbs at every meal. This approach works quite well in the early phase of a weight-loss plan because it trains your body to expect a certain amount of essential nutrients on a regular schedule. But over time, your body will achieve homeostasis, meaning it will adapt to the pattern and work just enough to maintain its current balance of lean mass to fat stores. To continue getting leaner, you must continue adapting.

 

  1. Guess & Shock – Assuming you’re not diabetic or prone to hypoglycaemic episodes, another way to keep your body guessing is to restrict carb intake (about 125 grams per day) for 48 hours every two or three weeks. Your body will search for alternate energy sources, breaking its rhythm and revving the metabolism. Because it has been glycogen-depleted, your body will quickly use sugar carbs for energy when you return to taking in normal levels. Do not go low-carb for more than a couple of days or take in fewer than 125 grams per day. Critical heart and brain functions rely on carbs. Depleting sugar stores can make you lethargic, foggy-headed and, yes, even angry, so try this phase on weekends when you don’t have to deal with workweek stressors like deadlines and demanding co-workers. (In a future article I will write about our carb cycling diet we use for our elite athletes)tape-403590__340
  1. Hydrate – Your body cannot efficiently change carbs into energy without ample water. And, according to the Journal Physiology of Sport and Exercise, you can’t deliver essential amino acids to muscle tissue without adequate water, either. Not only will your workout sessions suffer, but insufficient liquids in your body will also hinder fat breakdown. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty-thirst signals the first stage of dehydration, which means you’re already too late. You must stay hydrated. Drink often throughout the day, and especially before and during a training session. If plain water bores you, try mixing up an easy batch of detox water, loaded with cleansing citrus. Try to get at least 10 cups of water per day, although up to a gallon is okay.
  1. The Right Start – Your first meal when you wake up and after working out should contain your largest carb intakes of the day. Your body’s glycogen stores are depleted when you wake up; replenishing them quickly is crucial to physical and mental functioning. A serious weight-training session depletes glycogen stores. Consume a mix of simple and complex carbs along with a protein within 60 minutes after a workout to restore your energy and ensure long-term muscle recovery.

 

  1. Finish Light – Your last meal (or two, if you’re eating more frequently) of the day should emphasize protein rather than typical slow-burning carbs like pasta. The carbs you do ingest should be the “wet” kind contained in high-water, medium-fibre foods such as cucumbers, leafy green salads, tomatoes and steamed asparagus. High-fibre, low-water foods leaching water out of your system; wet carbs, on the other hand, allow you to maintain relatively adequate levels of water during the night since you can’t drink while you sleep.

 

Here’s a bonus tip: Get in the habit of eating fish as part of your last meal of the day. Fish makes for a lighter meal, and it’s a good way to replenish amino’s while getting essential fatty acids. Fish is healthy as well: The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna) per week.

 

 Also Read:

20 Effective Ways To Lose Belly Fat

10 Simple Weight Loss Tips

10 Foods For Weight Loss

The Flat Tummy Myth

13 Water Weight Loss Tips

6 Food That Make You Look Fat

6 Pack Summer

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The Myth Of The Flat Tummy

Deception

How your stomach appears when you look down, in the mirror, or from the side is based on many more factors than your body fat or body type.

Your tummy’s appearance can be affected by things like: anterior pelvic tilt, certain foods, fluid retention, and the way your body responds to exercise.

That being the case, it can be very beneficial and empowering to learn how to make the most of these factors in order to achieve your goal physique.

Spot Reduction Myth:

Unfortunately, spot reduction is not real, it is all a myth perpetuated by ‘Fitness Gurus’ and marketing companies wanting to sell the ‘Real Ab Thing”.

While the idea sounds legitimate enough, you will not get a flat stomach by performing thousands of crunches. You would definitely have worked hard and you would probably built some strength, but you won’t wake up with 6 pack abs.

Much of it comes down to nutrition. Abs are made in the kitchen.  You may never have a perfectly flat stomach, but if you avoid foods that induce bloating or fluid retention, decide to keep your calorie count at or below maintenance for your body type, and consistently stay hydrated throughout the day, you are well on your way to your goal physique.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt:

Anterior pelvic tilt is when your pelvis is tilted forward towards your toes, rather than straight up and down.

This causes both your butt and stomach to stick out, enlarging the appearance of each. This often occurs because of tightness in the hip flexors, quadriceps, and spinal erectors.

That being the case, your goal should then be to stretch your hip flexors, quadriceps, and spinal erectors.

Another factor contributing to this phenomenon is weak glutes and hamstrings. Because of this, you should also work to strengthen these muscles.

 

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Correction Routine

Perform this routine when your body is already warmed up in order to keep from getting injured.

 

Foods That Add To The Bulge:

Ever finished a meal and feel pregnant afterwards? (Ignore this question if you are, indeed, pregnant.) This happens because of the way your body reacts to certain foods. Certain foods can cause bloating and water retention, which makes your stomach appear larger than it actually is.

In order to remedy this, avoid the following groups of food when you’re heading out for a day at the beach or planning on being in a situation where you want to look your best.

  • Gluten: This includes wheat, rye, barley, and anything else that contains these grains. Some examples are: flour, pasta, bread, tortillas, beer, cereal, cookies, muffins, etc. Foods containing gluten can cause bloating in individuals who are either allergic or sensitive to it.
  • Dairy: Many individuals are lactose-intolerant without fully realizing it. The lactose in milk can cause your stomach to bloat, making it appear larger than it is.
  • Soda: The gases from the carbonation in these drinks can build up in your stomach, leading to bloating.
  • Sugar-free foods: These foods often contain sugar alcohols, which can lead to bloating.
  • High-sodium foods: Sodium enables your body to hold onto water. This fluid retention can make your muscles look less defined and cause your stomach to appear bigger than it really is.

Exercise Bulge:

Having your stomach bigger from exercise seems counterintuitive doesn’t it? Most people exercise to be free of a bloated-looking stomach. However, exercise can sometimes be the culprit of a bulging tummy.

When you first begin exercising, this is somewhat inevitable. Exercise breaks down muscle fibers through hypertrophy and then builds them back up to be stronger, and often, bigger.

Get a personal trainer to help you with your form in the beginning, as more often than not, your core control during training is incorrect and this may cause your tummy to bulge.  You can also benefit from keeping your calories at or below maintenance level, and beyond the initial burst of growth; your abs will not swell up any larger.

If you are still eating more calories than you burn once you begin exercising, you may have trouble losing fat. Generally, fat can sit on top of the abdominal muscles. Pair this with the fact that the size of your abs is increasing and you are likely going to have a larger-looking stomach than you initially expected.

The remedy for this is simple. Consider dropping your calories slightly below maintenance level, eat the right foods and that fat will begin to disappear.

13 Easy Ways to Lose Water Weight (Fast and Safely)

The human body contains around 60% water, which plays a key role in all aspects of life (1).

However, excess water retention (edema) is a common side effect of chronic inflammation (2).

Also known as fluid retention, edema can be caused by food intolerances, poor diet, toxin exposure and diseases like kidney failure.

Women may also experience water retention during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.

For most people, excess water weight is not a serious health issue. However, it can still negatively impact your appearance and quality of life.

Here are 13 ways to reduce water weight fast and safely.

  1. Exercise on a Regular Basis

Exercise may be one of the best ways to reduce water weight in the short-term. Any form of it increases sweat, which means you will lose water.

The average fluid loss during 1 hour of exercise is anywhere between 16–64 oz (0.5–2 liters) per hour, depending on factors such as heat and clothing (345).

During exercise, your body also shifts a lot of water into your muscles.

This can help reduce water outside of the cell and decrease the “soft” look people report from excessive water retention (6).

However, you still need to drink plenty of water during your training session.

Another good option to increase sweat and water loss is the sauna, which you could add in after your gym session.

MAIN POINT: Regular exercise can help you maintain a natural balance of body fluids and sweat out excess stored water.

 

  1. Sleep More

Research on sleep highlights that it’s just as important as diet and exercise (789).

Sleep may also affect the sympathetic renal nerves in the kidneys, which regulate sodium and water balance (10).

One study found that when you sleep, your body acts like a plumbing system and flushes “toxins” out of the brain (11).

Adequate sleep may also help your body control hydration levels and minimize water retention.

Aim to get a healthy amount of sleep per night, which for most individuals will be around 7–9 hours.

MAIN POINT: A good night’s sleep may help your body manage its fluid and sodium balance and lead to reduced water weight in the long-term.

  1. Stress Less

Long-term stress can increase the hormone cortisol, which directly influences fluid retention and water weight (12).

This may occur because stress and cortisol increase a hormone that controls water balance in the body, known as the antidiuretic hormone or ADH (13).

ADH works by sending signals to the kidneys, telling them how much water to pump back into the body (12).

If you control your stress levels, you will maintain a normal level of ADH and cortisol, which is important for fluid balance and long-term health and disease risk (513).

MAIN POINT: Stress increases cortisol and antidiuretic hormone, which directly affect your body’s water balance.

 

  1. Take Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals with an electric charge, such as magnesium and potassium. They play important roles in your body, including regulating water balance (14).

When electrolyte levels become too low or too high, they can cause shifts in fluid balance. This may lead to increased water weight (14).

You should tailor your electrolyte intake to your water intake. If you drink large amounts of water, you may need more electrolytes (15).

If you exercise daily or live in a humid or hot environment, you may need additional electrolytes to replace those lost with sweat (16).

In contrast, large amounts of electrolytes from supplements or salty foods, coupled with a low water intake, can have the opposite effect and increase water weight.

MAIN POINT: Electrolytes control water balance and cell hydration. Electrolyte supplements can be beneficial if you drink a lot of water, exercise a lot, live in a hot climate or do not eat salty foods.

 

  1. Manage Salt Intake

Sodium, which you obtain daily from salt, is one of the most common electrolytes in the human body.

It plays a major role in hydration levels. If levels are too low or too high, it will lead to imbalances within the body and therefore fluid retention.

A high salt intake, usually due to a diet with lots of processed foods, may increase water retention. This is particularly true if coupled with low water intake and no exercise (17181920).

However, this does seem to depend on the individual’s current daily sodium intake and blood levels.

One study tested this and found that you may only store excess water if you drastically increase or change your habitual daily intake (21).

MAIN POINT: Salt or sodium plays a key role in fluid balance. Try to avoid extreme changes, such as excessive salt intake or the elimination of salt.

 

  1. Take a Magnesium Supplement

Magnesium is another key electrolyte and mineral. It has recently become a very popular supplement for health and sports performance.

Research regarding magnesium has been extensive and shows that it has over 600 roles within the human body (22).

A lot of the evidence is in females, showing that magnesium can reduce water weight and premenstrual symptoms (PMS) (2324).

These changes may occur because magnesium plays an integrative role with other electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium.

Together, they help control your body’s water balance.

MAIN POINT: Magnesium intake should be optimized, as it plays a key role in hydration levels and body water content.

 

  1. Take a Dandelion Supplement

The dandelion herb, Taraxacum officinale, is used in alternative medicine to treat water retention (25).

In recent years, it has also become popular among bodybuilders and athletes who need to drop water for aesthetic purposes or to meet a weight category.

Dandelion supplements may help you lose water weight by signaling the kidneys to expel more urine and additional salt or sodium.

In human studies, dandelion intake increases the frequency of urination over a 5-hour period (26).

However, even though it’s already in popular use, more research is definitely required on dandelion supplements.

MAIN POINT: Dandelion is a popular herb often used by bodybuilders and athletes who need to lose water weight.

 

  1. Drink More Water

Interestingly, being well-hydrated can actually reduce water retention (27).

Your body is always trying to achieve a healthy balance, so if you are constantly dehydrated your body tends to retain more water in an attempt to prevent water levels from becoming too low.

Achieving an optimal daily water intake can also be important for liver and kidney health, which may reduce water retention in the long-term (2829).

The benefits of drinking more water don’t stop there. Other research shows that it’s also important for health, fat loss, brain function and more (3031323334).

As always, achieving a balance is optimal. If you drink excessive amounts of fluid you may actually increase your water weight.

Simply drink when you’re thirsty and stop when you feel well-hydrated. You should also drink slightly more in hot environments or when exercising.

You can also monitor your urine color to assess hydration. It should be light yellow or fairly clear, which is a good indicator that you are well-hydrated.

MAIN POINT: Dehydration or over-hydration can lead to water retention. Make sure to drink balanced amounts of water each day.

 

  1. Focus on These Foods

There are several foods that you may wish to include in your diet to combat water retention.

Potassium-rich foods are often recommended, as potassium can help balance sodium levels and increase urine production, helping you drop excess water (35).

Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, bananas, avocados, tomatoes and yogurt or other dairy products are all healthy and potassium-rich.

Magnesium supplements or magnesium-rich foods are also recommended. These include dark chocolate, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and whole grains.

The following foods and herbs are often recommended to drop water weight in alternative medicine, with some clinical evidence supporting their use:

  • Corn silk (36).
  • Horsetail (37).
  • Parsley (38).
  • Hibiscus (39).
  • Garlic(4041).
  • Fennel (42).
  • Nettle (43).

Along with trying these foods, you may also wish to limit or temporarily remove foods that cause bloating or any intolerance’s.

These include highly processed foods, foods with lots of fiber and sometimes beans and dairy.

MAIN POINT: Certain foods and herbs can act as diuretics and reduce water retention. Combine them with easily digestible foods that don’t cause bloating or intolerance.

 

  1. Cut Carbs

Cutting carbs is a common strategy to quickly drop excess water. Carbs are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, but glycogen also pulls water inside along with it.

For every gram of glycogen you store, 3–4 grams (0.11–0.14 oz) of water may be stored with it. This explains why people experience immediate weight loss when switching to a low-carb diet, which reduces glycogen stores.

Carbs also lead to a rise in the hormone insulin, which can cause an increase in sodium retention and re-absorption of water in the kidneys (4445).

Low-carb diets lead to a drop in insulin levels, which then leads to a loss of sodium and water from the kidneys.

In contrast, if you are on a low-carb diet or dieting in general, then a high-carb meal may pull excess body fluid into your muscles and increase water weight.

It may also provide a visual difference, increasing water in the muscles but helping you drop excess water under the skin (46).

Try altering your carb intake and see what works best for you.

MAIN POINT: A low-carb diet can cause a rapid decrease in water weight because of reduced glycogen stores and lower insulin levels.

 

  1. Take Caffeine Supplements or Drink Tea and Coffee

Tea and coffee are well-known diuretics that are primarily effective due to their high caffeine content.

Caffeine has been shown to increase short-term urine output and decrease water weight slightly (4748).

In one study, a glass of water with or without caffeine was provided to participants in doses of 4.5 mg/kg of body weight.

When combining caffeine with water, participants’ urine volume significantly increased (49).

That being said, even though caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, it does not lead to dehydration in habitual consumers.

MAIN POINT: Moderate amounts of caffeine from coffee, tea or caffeine supplements may help you drop excess water.

  1. Change Your Habits

One of the best changes you can make is to reduce your intake of processed foods and excessive salt consumption.

Also, avoid sitting all day or for long periods, which can reduce your blood circulation. Physical activity can improve circulation and help you sweat out excess water (50).

Certain medications may also cause water retention, so check with your doctor or medical practitioner if you take medication daily and hold onto too much water (50).

Paying attention to the foods you eat, and making sure they’re not causing you digestive issues or inflammation, is also advised (50).

Finally, over or under consumption of water, alcohol, minerals, caffeine and salt can all cause water retention. Find a healthy, normal balance.

MAIN POINT: Check your diet for excessive processed foods, salt, caffeine and alcohol consumption.

 

  1. Consider Prescription Water Pills

Prescription diuretics and water pills are sometimes prescribed to treat excess water retention (51).

They work by activating your kidneys to flush out excess water and salt through urine.

These diuretic pills are often prescribed to those with heart or lung issues and to help with blood pressure, prevent fluid buildup and reduce swelling.

It’s important to note the difference between prescription diuretics and over-the-counter or online water pills.

Prescription pills have been clinically tested for long-term safety, whereas over-the-counter pills may lack clinical research and have not always been tested for safety.

Either type may help combat medically diagnosed edema or excess water weight.

Speak to your doctor before trying these.

MAIN POINT: When looking into diuretic medication or pills, consult with a medical practitioner and take prescribed drugs under supervision.

 

In Summary

If the problem persists, seems severe or increases suddenly, then it is always best to seek medical attention.

In some cases, excess water retention can be caused by a serious medical condition.

At the end of the day, the best way to combat excess water weight is to identify and treat the cause.

This may be excess salt intake, lack of electrolytes, inactivity, excess stress or the regular consumption of processed and inflammatory foods.

Some of these are also among the main things associated with poor health and disease, which may be even bigger reasons to avoid them.

 

The Scale Of Things

How much do you weigh, and why?

For too many people, scale weight means so much more. Our emotions get involved. Certain numbers make us happy, others make us feel awful.

The scale is so misunderstood that the device itself becomes another source for our emotional and psychological struggles with our transformation goals. The numbers the scale reports turn into another reason why we have a hard time sticking to a plan. Why? Because we trust in the scale so much that it blinds us from success and can lead us down a trail of endless frustration.

It shouldn’t be this way—and not just because it’s unhealthy and counterproductive. Obsessing over weight is foolish because we are being fooled by the number itself.When people attempt to change their physique and don’t see kilograms dropping on the scale each week, they tend to get discouraged, even if they get positive feedback from friends, colleagues, or see progress during workouts, a drop in clothing size or a leaner image in the mirror.

This discouragement is based on the flaw of thinking that they must be losing weight in order to change their body composition.

Most people starting out on a body transformation are often not aware of, or  forget about the fact that muscle, fat, bone, and water all play an important part in that number they see on the scale each week.

The weight you see on the scale is so much more than just fat.

What Is Body Composition?

Based on your fitness level, your weight comes from:

  • Muscle: 30-55% of body weight
  • Fat: 10-30% of body weight
  • Water (not in muscle or fat): 10-25%
  • Bone: 15% of body weight
  • Organs, other tissues: 10-15%

 

The more you know about different variables (for example, how much water you’re retaining, and how big your muscles are), the more accurately you can determine the amount of excess fat you have hanging around.

Having your body fat % assessed is a more reliable way of determining your progress – especially since you can do it without a scale

 

Muscle weighs more than fat.

Although the above statement is not an accurate way of putting it, muscle is denser than fat in volume.

A lean person with more muscle might weight more than somebody who’s not so lean, because muscle is denser than fat (like iron is denser than water).

Your muscle accounts for about 30-55% of your body weight and a kilogram of muscle will be about 4 times smaller than a kilogram of fat.

Make sure never to confuse “weight loss” with “fat loss” if you’re building muscle at the same time. This is “re-composition,” and requires slightly more complicated measurements to accurately assess your fitness (like body fat %).

Water Weight

“Water weight” is a buzz phrase thrown around any time body weight is mentioned. Your body is made of about 50-65% water, so water certainly does account for a large portion of your weight. Certain food allergens can cause water retention that would affect your weigh and the way you look and feel.

You can drop a few kilograms quickly by losing water weight. In order to make a lasting impact on the water weight your body is retaining unnecessarily, reduce the amount of salt in your diet and increase your water intake so that your body is more likely to release its excess fluid.

 Also Read: Foods That Cause Inflammation & 13 Ways To Lose Water Weight

 How fat affects Your Overall Weight

The amount of body fat on an individual can vary drastically from person to person. One individual may have a body fat percentage of 8%, while another may find themselves over 50%.

Body fat has less density than muscle and bone. It also burns fewer calories at rest than muscle does. A kilograms of muscle burns around 12 calories per day, whereas a kilo grams of fat only burns about 4 calories per day.

Muscle burns fat while you’re doing nothing, think about that!

If you want to lose weight quickly, by all means focus on a fat burning program.

If you want to set your body up to have a higher resting metabolism and burn passively on a regular basis, condition your body for strength training, and exercise regularly.

There are many ways to build muscle without weights, but at some point, if you really want to focus on building muscle, you will need to add extra resistance or get creative.

One of the best ways to get in shape is to join a gym and hire a personal trainer; they have the knowledge and experience to help you attain your fitness and body transformation goals.

Does Bone Play A Role In Body Weight?

Your bones account for about 15% of your total body weight. If you carry a lot of weight on your frame, odds are that your bones are bigger and stronger than someone with less weight and a smaller frame.

Strong bones are a good thing. They help prevent osteoporosis and enable you to move through your daily activities without difficulties. They are also great tools to help pack on muscle and keep off excess fat!

Also Read: Other Factors That Influence Scale Weight

The Fallacy of Measuring Body Weight Only

As you can see, body weight is affected by many factors. If you eat too much salt one day, your body weight the next day could be off; if you gain muscle and lose fat over the course of a month, you may see your body weight rise, even though you look better in the mirror.

Tracking body weight is a useful measure only if someone knows how their weight is being affected.

For example, measure your body fat percentage and weight each week over the course of a month. You might notice that, although your body fat percentage has stayed the same, your weight has gone up. If you aren’t bloated with water weight, this is a good general indicator that you are building muscle.

If you aren’t able to consistently monitor things like your body fat percentage, it may be helpful to pay attention to specifically measurable aspects of your workouts. Record the amount of time it takes you to run a certain distance or do a certain amount of repetitions of an exercise. The next time you do that workout, attempt to beat your previous bests. If you can do this, you have concrete evidence of fitness progress regardless of the number on the scale.

Focus on consistently making progress, whether it’s with your body fat percentage, workout time, or quantity of reps of an exercise. As long as you maintain a regular practice and have accurate tracking, you’ll have clarity about how much you’ve achieved, and exactly what you’ll need to do to reach your goals.

6 Foods That Cause Inflammation

Inflammation can be good or bad, depending on the situation. On one hand, it’s your body’s natural way of protecting itself when you are injured or sick. It can help your body defend itself from foreign invaders, and can stimulate healing.

On the other hand, chronic, sustained inflammation in the body can be harmful. It is linked to an increased risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many others (123).

Interestingly, the foods you eat can have a major effect on inflammation in your body.

Here are 6 foods that can cause inflammation.

1. Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are the two main types of added sugar in the diet.

Sugar (sucrose) is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose and 45% glucose.

One of the reasons that added sugars are harmful is increased inflammation that can lead to disease (45678).

In one study, when mice were fed high-sucrose diets, they developed breast cancer that spread to their lungs, in part due to the inflammatory response to sugar (6).

In another, the anti-inflammatory action of omega-3 fatty acids was impaired in mice that were fed a high-sugar diet (7).

And in a randomized clinical trial where people were assigned to drink regular soda, diet soda, milk or water, only those in the regular soda group had increased levels of uric acid, which drives inflammation and insulin resistance (8).

Sugars can also cause harm because they supply excess amounts of fructose. While the small amounts of fructose in fruits and vegetables are fine, getting large amounts from added sugars is a bad idea.

Eating a lot of fructose has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer and chronic kidney disease (9101112131415).

Researchers have also found that fructose causes inflammation within the endothelial cells that line your blood vessels (16).

High fructose intake has also been shown to increase several inflammatory markers in mice and humans (101718131920).

MAIN POINT: Consuming a diet high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup drives inflammation that can lead to disease. It may also counteract the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Artificial Trans Fats

Just about everyone agrees that artificial trans-fats are the unhealthiest fats you can eat.

They’re created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, which are liquid, in order to give them the stability of a more solid fat.

Trans-fats are often listed as “partially hydrogenated” oils on the ingredients lists on food labels.

Most margarine contains trans-fats, and they are often added to processed foods in order to extend shelf life.

Unlike the naturally occurring trans fats found in dairy and meat, artificial trans fats have been shown to cause inflammation and increase disease risk (212223242526272829).

In addition to lowering beneficial HDL cholesterol, trans-fats have been shown to impair the function of the endothelial cells lining the arteries (26).

Ingestion of artificial trans-fats has been linked with high levels of inflammatory markers such as interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor (TNF), and C-reactive protein (CRP).

In fact, CRP levels were 78% higher in women who reported the highest trans-fat intake in the Nurses’ Health Study (26).

In a randomized controlled trial of overweight older women, hydrogenated soybean oil increased inflammation significantly more than palm and sunflower oil (27).

Studies on healthy men and men with elevated cholesterol have shown similar increases in inflammatory markers in response to trans-fats (2829).

MAIN POINT: Consuming artificial trans-fats may increase inflammation and raise the risk of several diseases, including heart disease.

3. Vegetable and Seed Oils

Despite what we’ve heard for years, consuming vegetable oils isn’t healthy.

Unlike virgin olive oil and coconut oil, vegetable and seed oils are often extracted from foods using solvents like hexane, a component of gasoline.

The vegetable oils made this way include corn, safflower, sunflower, canola (also known as rapeseed), peanut, sesame and soybean oils.

During the 20th century, the consumption of vegetable oils increased by 130% in the US.

Due to the structure of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in these oils, they are very prone to damage by oxidation.

In addition to being highly processed, these oils promote inflammation as a result of their very high omega-6 fatty acid content (30313233).

Although some dietary omega-6 fats are necessary, the typical Western diet provides may more than people need.

In fact, we should be eating more omega-3-rich foods, such as fatty fish, in order to improve our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s.

In one study, rats who consumed an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 20:1 responded with much higher levels of inflammatory markers than those who consumed a ratio of 1:1 or 5:1 (33).

MAIN POINT: Because of their high omega-6 fatty acid content, vegetable and seed oils may promote inflammation when consumed in high amounts.

4. Refined Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap.

However, the truth is that not all carbs are problematic.

Our ancestors consumed high-fibre, unprocessed carbohydrates for millions of years in the form of grasses, roots and fruits (34).

However, eating refined carbohydrates can drive inflammation, which in turn may lead to disease (3435363738).

Refined carbohydrates have had most of their fibre removed. Fibre promotes fullness, improves blood sugar control and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Researchers report that the refined carbohydrates in our modern diet may encourage the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria that can increase risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease (3436).

Refined carbohydrates have a higher glycaemic index (GI) than unprocessed carbohydrates. High-GI foods raise blood sugar more rapidly than low-GI foods do.

In one study, older adults who reported consuming the highest amount of high-GI foods were 2.9 times more likely to die of an inflammatory disease like COPD (37).

In a controlled study, young, healthy men that were fed 50 grams of refined carbohydrate in the form of white bread responded with higher blood sugar levels and an increase in the inflammatory marker Nf-kB (38).

MAIN POINT: High-fibre, unprocessed carbohydrates are healthy, but refined carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels and promote inflammatory changes that may lead to disease.

5. Excessive Alcohol

Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to provide some health benefits.

However, higher amounts can lead to severe problems.

In one study, the inflammatory marker CRP increased in people who consumed alcohol. The more alcohol they consumed, the more their CRP increased (39).

People who drink heavily often develop problems with bacteria moving out of the colon and into the body. This condition, often called “leaky gut,” can drive widespread inflammation that leads to organ damage (4041).

To avoid alcohol-related health problems, intake should be limited to two standard drinks a day for men and one standard drink a day for women.

Here is an image showing what is considered a “standard drink” for several types of alcoholic beverages:

Alcohol

Photo Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

MAIN POINT: Heavy alcohol consumption can increase inflammation and potentially lead to a “leaky gut” that drives inflammation throughout the body.

6. Processed Meat

Consuming processed meat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach cancer and colon cancer (424344).

Common types of processed meat include sausage, bacon, ham, smoked meat and beef jerky.

Processed meat contains more advanced glycation end products (AGEs) than most other meats.

AGEs are formed by cooking meats and some other foods at high temperatures. They are known to cause inflammatory changes that can lead to disease (4546).

Of all the diseases linked to processed meat consumption, colon cancer’s association is the strongest.

Although many factors contribute to colon cancer development, one mechanism is believed to be an inflammatory response to processed meat by colon cells (47).

MAIN POINT: Processed meat is high in inflammatory compounds like advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and its strong association with colon cancer may be due in part to an inflammatory response.

 In Summary

Inflammation can occur in response to many triggers.

Some of these you can’t do much about, such as pollution, injury or sickness.

However, you have much more control over the foods and beverages you choose to eat and drink.

To stay as healthy as possible, keep inflammation down by minimizing your consumption of foods that trigger it.

 

Also Read: Ways to Drop Water Fast & Safely

Other Factors That Influence Scale Weight

Understanding that the weight you get from a scale is influenced by various factors can help you better comprehend why the scale can be your biggest foe in the “Battle Of The Bulge”.

 

Scale weight changes constantly throughout the day. Any figure that the scale reports to you is merely a snapshot, a moment in time. The number doesn’t take a whole lot of time to change, and it doesn’t need a reason to shift. Dietician Alexandra Caspero showed you can gain almost two pounds in an hour without any apparent cause at all.

Scale weight is subject to the whims of water. Your intake of H20, or output of sweat, can cause your total body weight to shift up or down by nearly half a percentage point within any given day, according to John Castellani, a researcher at the U.S. Army’s Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.

Your water/salt balance can cause seasonal shifts in your weight, too. When the mercury climbs in the spring and summer, your body uses a hormone called aldosterone to retain more fluid. So what looks like summertime backslide in progress might just be your body’s natural reaction to the warmer weather.

Lastly, if you’re not taking in enough fluids, then your body will hold on to more of them for you. “Mild dehydration may cause fluid retention, which can increase scale weight, “ explains Dr. Melina Jampolis.

 

Scale weight makes your stress an even bigger deal. Numerous studies show a relationship between elevated stress levels and higher weights. This 5-year long study of more than 5,000 people in Australia found that those who felt the most stress also gained the most weight during that time span.

Stress is also one of the main triggers of binge eating. Combine that with negative reinforcement from the scale and you have a damned unfortunate vicious cycle: Stress makes you eat. Eating increases your weight. Your weight makes you stress.

Making matters even worse, stress increases cortisol production, which has been linked to higher levels of abdominal fat in both women and men.

 

Scale weight measures gut content. Motility—the polite way of saying “how frequently you poop”—matters when you measure your scale weight. This rate varies from person to person. Your regularity can change based on what, and how often, you eat. (People with an extremely slow rate are said to have gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying.) How much you chew your food, whether or not you drink water with meals, and how much you are up and about walking can also influence it.

 

Scale weight is as subject to change as your flight schedule. Air travel can impact your weight by disrupting not only your circadian rhythm but also the rhythm of the bacteria in your gut microbiome.

A study published in Cell found when mice were subjected to jet-lag-like conditions, the bacteria in their digestive systems changed and the animals gained weight. The researchers found that similar changes took place in the microbiomes of two people who traveled by air from the U.S. to Israel.

In non-scientific terms, you might notice bloating when you travel, which regulates within 24 hours. Are you actually gaining weight while you’re in the air? Of course, not. But the scale might have you believe otherwise.

 

Scale weight rewards cheaters. You could hack your way down to a target number through crash dieting and stimulants. But you definitely won’t be healthier for having done it.

“You can technically lose weight by cutting your calories by half and eating minimally nutritious, highly processed junk food. But that misses the point,” says Las Vegas-based dietitian Andy Bellatti. “Sure, the number on the scale will be lower, but you probably won’t feel good and you won’t have much energy to engage in physical activity.”

 

Scale weight does not show the bigger picture. Your weight can fluctuate significantly due to a single meal, making you stress unnecessarily.

Say you’re on a weight loss plan and making progress. So you treat yourself to a heartier meal while you’re out with some friends. That’s a totally normal and healthy thing to do—reward should be part of a weight loss plan. But the next time you step onto the scale, the number you see could try to convince you otherwise.

“The scale plays a huge role in what we call ‘what the hell?’ weeks,” explains Born Fitness Head Coach B.J. Ward.  “People will retain water after an ‘off-plan’ meal, which tips the scale higher. Then they’ll have an emotional reaction.”

People wind up thinking that they aren’t making progress when really they’re just a little bloated. A similar effect can happen among people doing any type of carb cycling, Ward explains. You are going to weigh more after a high-carb day than a low-carb day. In either case, Ward says individual measurements aren’t what matters. The overall trend line is.

“Daily weigh-ins tends to produce mental static,” Bellati says. “Most people don’t know that a high sodium meal the night before can result in retention of 3 or 4 pounds (up to 2kg) of water the next morning, which most people mistake for true weight gain. They then enter an unhelpful and unnecessary spiral of frustration, guilt and self-blame.”

 

Scale weight is blind to what really matters. The final—and biggest—nail in the “should I sweat over what the scale says?” coffin is this: The scale can’t tell you what you’re really made of.

Plenty of people can step on a scale and hit a low number but be far from healthy. There’s even a term for it: “skinny fat.” On the flip side, the scale—and its derivative BMI—is prejudiced against people who carry more muscle. Which is why BMI will tell you that every player on the Denver Broncos is overweight or obese, even though our own eyes can tell us that Von Miller is friggin’ jacked.

Muscle and bone are denser than fat. Stronger people may weigh the exact same—or more than—fatter, weaker people. The stronger people aren’t worse off because they’re heavier. In fact, strength is connected to longevity. The raw number on the doesn’t tell you the body fat percentage of the person standing on top of it.

Two people might both weigh 180 pounds. One is 10% body fat. The other is 20%. The first will be lean and muscular. The second will be soft and more prone to a variety of health problems (because of the higher body fat percentage). But the scale doesn’t know or tell you the difference.

All of these reasons are why no good dietician or coach would ever suggest that you focus on scale weight alone. “I think of health as a 20-piece puzzle,” Bellatti says. “Scale weight is just one piece.”

Jessica Robertson, RD at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, agrees. “Weight is one tool, but never something that I focus on or set specific goals around.”

Winning the Battle of the Scale

When you want to make a positive transformation with your body, start by letting go of the temptation to allow a single number to determine your success or failure. Then get a clear picture of your starting point.

The four-part assessment above will tell you a lot about your body. But you’ll also want to examine your habits: how well you are eating, sleeping and hydrating, and how much activity you get in a typical week.

For example, one of our new coaching clients will keep a food journal for a few days when they are first starting out. The journal itself is simple—you just write down everything you eat in a day—but admittedly time-intensive. Which is why we don’t require or even recommend that people continue to do it over the long-term (although some find that they like journaling, and do keep doing it).

The goal with these few days of journaling is just to learn what you are really taking in during a typical day. Sometimes you’ll be able to spot hidden sources of calories in unexpected places.

“I recall a situation where it turned out that a client was adding about 600 calories to a salad via a ‘healthy’ vinaigrette dressing,” Bellatti says. “Once we addressed that, the number on the scale started to move.”

You’ll want to learn about your sleep habits, too, because numerous studies have shown that people who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night are more likely to be obese.

When we cut our sleep duration short, our bodies produce more ghrelin—a.k.a. the “hunger hormone.” This happens after just one night of sleep deprivation. Making matters worse, when we’re tired, we’re more likely to crave high-calorie foods. So the more we can do to improve our sleep duration and quality, the better we’ll be able to reach our weight loss goals.

Just like it has with sleep, science shows that your hydration level strongly influences your overall body weight—and not just water weight. An examination of nearly 10,000 Americans spanning three years found a clear association between inadequate hydration and obesity. So yes, the old “8 glasses a day” rule isn’t a bad goal. But if you’re the type who doesn’t love the non-taste of H20, take heart: you can also increase your hydration levels by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

We’ve talked a lot about your body and what influences it. But there’s one other critical aspect of sustainable weight loss we haven’t discussed: Your mind. Mindset is a key determinant of weight loss success. Bellatti says that one way to get your mind right is to start appreciating your body, no matter what state it’s in currently.

“When you appreciate something, you want to take care of it,” Bellatti says. “Something as simple as changing the thought process from ‘I hate my body’ to ‘I want my body to operate at its best’ provides an important shift.”

25 Evidence-Based Weight Loss Tips

The weight loss “industry” is full of myths.

Over the years, however, scientists have found a number of strategies that seem to be effective.

 

Here are 25 weight loss tips that are actually evidence-based.

  1. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals

It is often claimed that drinking water can help with weight loss, and this is true.

Drinking water can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours, helping you burn off a few more calories (12).

One study showed that drinking a 500ml of water about a half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight (3).

  1. Eat Eggs For Breakfast

Eating whole eggs can have all sorts of benefits, including helping you lose weight.

Studies show that replacing a grain-based breakfast with eggs can help you eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours, and lose more weight and more body fat (45).

If you can’t eat eggs for some reason, then that’s fine. Any source of quality protein for breakfast should do the trick.

  1. Drink Coffee (Preferably Black)

Coffee has been unfairly demonized. Quality coffee is loaded with antioxidants, and can have numerous health benefits.

Studies show that the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3-11%, and increase fat burning by up to 10-29% (678).

Just make sure NOT to add a bunch of sugar or other high-calorie ingredients to it. That will completely negate any benefit you get from the coffee.

  1. Drink Green Tea

Like coffee, green tea also has many benefits, one of them being weight loss.

Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine, but it is also loaded with powerful antioxidants called catechins, which are also believed to work synergistically with the caffeine to enhance fat burning (910).

Although the evidence is mixed, there are many studies showing that green tea (either as a beverage or a green tea extract supplement) can help you lose weight (1112).

measuring visceral fat

  1. Cook With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is very healthy. It is high in special fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than other fats.

These fats have been shown to boost metabolism by 120 calories per day, and also reduce your appetite so that you eat up to 256 fewer calories per day (1314).

Keep in mind that this is not about adding coconut oil on top of what you’re already eating, it is about replacing some of your current cooking fats with coconut oil.

  1. Take a Glucomannan Supplement

A fibre called glucomannan has been shown to cause weight loss in several studies.

This is a type of fibre that absorbs water and “sits” in your gut for a while, making you feel more full and helping you eat fewer calories (15).

Studies have shown that people who supplement with glucomannan lose a bit more weight than those who don’t (16).

  1. Cut Back on Added Sugar

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet, and most people are eating way too much of it.

Studies show that sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) consumption is strongly associated with the risk of obesity, as well as diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and others ( 171819).

If you want to lose weight, you should be cutting back on added sugars. Just make sure to read labels, because even so-called health foods can be loaded with sugar.

  1. Eat Less Refined Carbs

Refined carbohydrates are usually sugar, or grains that have been stripped of their fibrous, nutritious parts (includes white bread and pasta).

Studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar rapidly, leading to hunger, cravings and increased food intake a few hours later. Eating refined carbs is strongly linked to obesity (202122).

If you’re going to eat carbs, make sure to eat them with their natural fibre.

  1. Go on a Low Carb Diet

If you want to get all the benefits of carb restriction, then consider taking this all the way and going on a low carb diet.

Numerous studies show that such a diet (or “way of eating”) can help you lose 2-3 times as much weight as a standard low-fat diet, while improving your health at the same time (232425).

  1. Use Smaller Plates

Using smaller plates has been shown to help people automatically eat fewer calories in some studies. Weird trick, but it seems to work (26).

  1. Exercise Portion Control or Count Calories

Portion control (eating less) or counting calories can be very useful, for obvious reasons (27).

There are also studies showing that keeping a food diary and writing down what you eat, or taking pictures of all your meals, can help you lose weight (2829).

Anything that increases your awareness of what you are eating is likely to be useful.

  1. Keep Healthy Food Around in Case You Get Hungry

Keeping healthy food close by can help prevent you from eating something unhealthy if you become excessively hungry.

A few snacks that are easily portable and simple to prepare include whole fruits, a handful of nuts, baby carrots, yogurt and a hardboiled egg (or two).

  1. Eat Spicy Foods

Spicy foods like Cayenne pepper contain Capsaicin, a compound that can boost metabolism and reduce your appetite slightly (3031).

  1. Do Aerobic Exercise

Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health.

It appears to be particularly effective to lose belly fat, the unhealthy fat that tends to build up around your organs and cause metabolic disease (3233).

  1. Lift Weights

One of the worst side effects of dieting, is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as starvation mode (3435).

The best way to prevent this from happening is to do some sort of resistance exercise, like lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high, and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass (3637).

Of course, it’s not just important to lose fat. You also want to make sure that what is beneath looks good. Doing some sort of resistance exercise is critical for that.

  1. Eat More Fibre

Fibre is often recommended for the purpose of weight loss. Although the evidence is mixed, some studies show that fibre (especially viscous fibre) can increase satiety and help you control your weight over the long term (3839).

  1. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits have several properties that make them effective for weight loss.

They contain few calories, but a lot of fibre. They are also rich in water, which gives them a low energy density. They also take a while to chew, and are very filling.

Studies show that people who eat vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less (40). These foods are also super healthy and nutritious, so eating them is important for all sorts of reasons.

  1. Chew More Slowly

It can take a while for the brain to “register” that you’ve had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss (4142).

  1. Get Good Sleep

Sleep is highly underrated, but it may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising.

Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults (43).

  1. Beat Your Food Addiction

A recent 2014 study of 196,211 individuals found that 19.9% of people fulfil the criteria for food addiction (44).

If you suffer from overpowering cravings and can’t seem to get your eating under control no matter how hard you try, then you may be a food addict.

In this case, get help. Trying to lose weight without dealing with this problem first is next to impossible.

  1. Eat More Protein

Protein is the single most important nutrient when it comes to losing weight.

Eating a high protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, while helping you feel so satiated that you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day (454647).

One study also showed that protein at 25% of calories reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, while cutting the desire for late night snacking in half (48).

This is the single most important tip in the article.

Simply adding protein to your diet (without restricting anything) is one of the easiest, most effective and most delicious ways to lose weight.

  1. Supplement With Whey Protein

If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, taking a supplement can help.

One study showed that replacing part of your calories with whey protein can cause weight loss of about 4kg, while increasing lean muscle mass (49).

  1. Don’t Drink Calories, Including Sugary Soda and Fruit Juices

Sugar is bad, but sugar in liquid form is even worse (50). Studies show that liquid sugar calories may be the single most fattening aspect of the modern diet.

For example, one study showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving (51).

Keep in mind that this applies to fruit juice as well, which contains a similar amount of sugar as a soft drink like coke (52).

Eat whole fruit, but use fruit juice with caution (or avoid it altogether).

  1. Eat Whole, Single Ingredient Foods (Real Food)

If you want to be a leaner, healthier person, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat whole, single ingredient foods.

These foods are naturally filling, and it’s very difficult to gain weight if the majority of your diet is based around them.

Keep in mind that real food doesn’t need a long list of ingredients, because real food IS the ingredient.

  1. Don’t “Diet,” Eat Healthy Instead

One of the biggest problems with “diets,” is that they almost never work in the long term.

If anything, people who “diet” tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain (53).

Instead of going on a diet, make it your goal to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it.

 

If you follow these tips weight loss should follow as a natural side effect.

OatSo Magic

About the magic of oats (Avena sativa L)

Most foods that are healthy work from the inside of us after we eat them. Oats work wonders for our bodies both from the inside and the outside.

From the inside

  1. Oats are low fat somewhere between 130 and 170 calories per serving. Of course, the calories go up if you’re like me who loves them with butter, milk, and brown sugar on them, but I can’t blame the oats for my bad habits.
  2. One serving of oats gives you about 4 or 5 grams of fiber or about the same as 1 large apple. Studies have shown that the fiber, beta glutan, found in oats helps keep HDL, the good cholesterol, up and LDL, the bad cholesterol, down. Studies also show that the beta glutan in oats enhances your immune system.
  3. The protein in oat grain is nearly equal to that of meat, milk, and eggs. Just in case you’re interested, the protein in oats is called is avenalin and the oat is the only grain that contains this protein source.
  4. According to the American Diabetes Association, both steel cut oats and whole grain rolled oats have a low glycemic index (they are slow to raise blood glucose levels). Quick oats have a medium glycemic index.
  5. Oats contain no gluten. According to the Quaker oat company, there may be some cross-contamination when transporting oats or when the mill used to process them also processes wheat and other grains containing gluten. You might be interested in one study conducted on children with celiac disease (gluten is intolerable to folks with celiac disease) and the tiny amounts of gluten in rolled oats were well tolerated.
  6. Oats and other grains contain plant lignans. These are noted for their antioxidant and phytoestrogenic (estrogen derived from plants) qualities. Studies indicate they may help prevent breast, prostate and other hormone-related cancers as well as heart disease.
  7. Oats are high in antioxidants which help protect you from that fast food diet high in artificially produced trans fats. Trans fats damage our arteries, increase our LDL(the bad cholesterol), make us fat and cause heart attacks.

From the outside

  1. You can use oats on your skin as a cleansing and softening scrub. Check out the post “Homemade Sugar Scrub.”
  2. Have a rash, eczema, psoriasis or itchy skin? Numerous studies indicate oatmeal (particularly colloidal oatmeal) helps to heal and soothe the skin. We can particularly thank the polyphenol, avenanthramide for this. Avenanthramide is found “exclusively in oats” according to a 2011 article which appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.  Check out the post “Colloidal Oatmeal – A Really Really Simple Bath for Dry Itchy Skin.”
  3. Have a few wrinkles or maybe a lot of wrinkles? Use colloidal oatmeal to make your skin healthier and diminish the wrinkles. Colloidal oatmeal helps to repair damaged skin. Check out the post “Colloidal Oatmeal Cream Recipe.”
  4. Have problems with your hair and or scalp? Use colloidal oatmeal to help solve the problem. Check out the post “Homemade Conditioner – Colloidal Oatmeal.”
  5. Does your skin feel rough? Take a colloidal oatmeal bath and watch it become smooth and moisturized. Check out the post “Colloidal Oatmeal – A Really Really Simple Bath for Dry Itchy Skin.”
  6. All this plus you get a sunscreen. (Further explanation follows below.)

Oats contain the following:

  • Protein 15 – 17%
  • Starches and sugars 59 – 70% These sugars include beta glucan (beta glucan concentrations range from 2 – 6%) – The sugars and starches are the protective and water holding function of oats with beta glucan being of primary interest as its function in lowering cholesterol.
  • Fat 4 – 9%
  • Dietary fiber 5 – 13%
  • Saponins – The saponins in oats are mostly what give them their cleansing properties.
  • Polyphenols – Some of the phenols in oats protect against UVA in the range of 320 – 370nm. (The total UVA spectrum ranges from 320 to 400 nm and is associated with cell damage, skin cancers, and aging). Of particular interest are the avenanthramides for their role as anti-histamines and antioxidants.
  • Various vitamins 3 – 11%
  • Minerals in whole grain oat – Very small percentages of copper, manganese, zinc and iron. Higher percentages of Calcium (95mg/100g), magnesium (140mg/100g), sulfur, phosphorus (340mg/100g) and potassium (460mg/100g).

Steel Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats

The steel cut oats will take longer to cook (10 minutes or more depending on how soft you like them), but they have a delicious nutty flavor and any leftovers can be fried. The rolled oats are quicker to cook, but you have to take care that you are purchasing a rolled oat that is made from whole grainoats. Some rolled oats have a portion of the bran (the outside part of the grain) removed. Also, because rolled oats have gone through the toasting process, they are slightly less nutritious than steel cut oats.  Steel cut oats also have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats because they take longer to digest. That makes steel cut oats preferred for personal care products and cooking.

How to make colloidal oatmeal

You can buy either uncut oats or steel cut oats, but steel cut oats are easier to find than uncut oats. Whatever you use, grind the oats in a coffee grinder to fine flour. To determine if the oats are fine enough, add a small amount to warm water. If fine enough, the oats will suspend in the water. If they sink to the bottom, you will need to grind them a little more and retest.

There, now you have it. The truth is that oats to eat or prepared as colloidal oatmeal for your hair and skin formulations are a wonderful gift to us from Mother Nature. They are truly magical when you consider just how many benefits they offer. Plus, they are not only delicious, they’re very affordable.

Tip: I suggest you buy organic grains they don’t cost that much more and you’re supporting the organic growers while avoiding possible pesticide and or herbicide contamination.

 

Colloidal Oatmeal Cream Recipe

Colloidal Oatmeal Cream Recipe – ingredient benefits:

Colloidal oatmeal benefits (skin):

  • Helps heal skin
  • Protects and moisturizes skin
  • Soothes and relieves minor skin irritations
  • Reduces redness and itching
  • Improves skin elasticity
Aloe vera gel benefits (skin):
  • Reduces scarring
  • Protects the skin by creating a natural barrier
  • Relieves sunburns
  • Destroys bacteria
  • Relieves inflammation and soreness
  • Helps heal burns, cuts and wounds
  • Sooths itchy skin
  • Helps sooth and heal psoriasis, eczema and acne
  • Moisturizes

Grapeseed oil benefits (skin):

  • Good for all skin types
  • Repairs skin damage from the sun
  • Helps slow the process of aging
  • Has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
  • Helps prevent clogging pores and breakouts
  • Nourishes skin, helping keep it smooth and subtle
  • Easily absorbed into the skin
  • Helps to tighten and tone the skin
  • Helps to heal skin
  • Regenerates skin cells

Coconut oil benefits (skin):

  • Good for all skin types
  • Moisturizes skin
  • Helps heal skin
  • Protects the skin from free radical damage
  • Easily absorbed into the skin
  • Provides nutrients to the skin
  • Benefits to the skin’s connective tissue

Colloidal Oatmeal Cream Recipe:

Supplies:

4 x 112ml or 2 x224ml glass jars

Blender, food processor or stick blender

Ingredients

½ cup of aloe vera gel

½ cup colloidal oatmeal tea*

1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin

⅓ cup of coconut oil

14g of beeswax

¼ cup of almond oil

½ cup grapeseed oil

Up to 1 ½ teaspoons essential oils or natural fragrance oils (optional). I used 1 tsp Sandalwood and ½ tsp Tea Tree essential oil for extra skin conditioning.

Soap safe colorant (Optional).

 

Place aloe vera gel, colloidal oatmeal tea* and glycerin in 2+ cup bowl. Place almond oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil and beeswax in a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high for 30 second and stir. Repeat in 20 second intervals until fully melted.

Run stick blender in aloe vera, colloidal oatmeal, glycerin mixture (a food processor may be used). Slowly pour in melted oils. As the oils are blended in, the cream will turn white. As soon as you have a mayonnaise-like consistency, stop motor, add essential oils and colorant, and then pulse blend. Do not over blend.

Transfer cream to glass jars while still warm because it thickens quickly. I use 4 oz decorative jelly jars. They are perfect as gifts, or as an addition to a spa gift basket.

*To make colloidal oatmeal tea; place 2 tablespoons steel-cut oatmeal in a coffee grinder. Grind oatmeal until it is the texture of very fine powder (this is colloidal oatmeal). Mix the colloidal oatmeal in 1 cup boiling water. Mix with a wire whisk until dissolved. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Pour your colloidal oatmeal/water mixture through a coffee filter into a cup. You want to end up with ½ cup colloidal oatmeal tea.

NOTE: Lasts a week or so if stored in a refrigerator.

Homemade Sugar Scrub

The purpose of a body or face scrub is to remove dead skin cells. This is called exfoliation. When dead cells are removed, your skin becomes more vibrant. 

You do have to be careful of scrubs if your skin is sensitive or thin (the plight of aging skin). The recipe that follows is a gentle scrub and should be safe for most of you, but proceed with caution if you are older or have sensitive skin.

This recipe is for a brown sugar rub. We chose this one because the grains are finer in brown sugar than white sugar. Molasses, part of what makes brown sugar brown, is good for your skin because it is replete with glycolic. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid famed for making aging skin look more youthful.

The ingredients in this recipe are designed not just for exfoliation, but also the skin’s health. Colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera gel protect, nourish and heal the skin leaving it soft and smooth.

Homemade Sugar Scrub Recipe

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons colloidal oatmeal (Colloidal oatmeal may be purchased or made at home. See below for instructions.)

2 tablespoons aloe vera gel

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (omit if you have very dry skin)

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon molasses

To make colloidal oatmeal at home:

  • Put raw uncooked oats into a grinder or blender. A coffee grinder works well for this.
  • Grind the oats until they have the consistency of flour.

To make sure that the oats have been ground to the correct fineness, add a teaspoon of the ground oats to a glass of water and mix. The oats should absorb the water quickly giving it a milky look. If the particles sink readily to bottom of the glass, grind them a bit longer and retest.

To make the homemade sugar scrub:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it forms a paste.

How to use the homemade sugar scrub:

  • Apply to moist skin as moist skin loses dead cells faster. The best time is after a shower or bath.
  • Dampen the skin with warm water
  • Apply the scrub evenly with finger tips in a circular motion to your face and neck (this improves circulation)
  • Massage gently for 30 – 60 seconds avoiding your eyes
  • Spend a bit more time on the forehead and chin region where dead skin tend to collect more frequently.
  • Gently rinse away the scrub and follow with a light moisturizer.
  • For best results use twice a week