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Holiday Weight Loss: The Garter Belt Hypothesis
by PattyJames

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By using the words "garter belt" in my title, I wanted to grab your attention. However, over the years, I developed a theory that if I wore a garter belt, silk nylons and heels I would feel sexier and eat less.

Eventually it just took up too much time, but on occasion it still works for me. In my opinion, pantyhose are terrifically uncomfortable anyway, so why not give it a try?

It doesn't have to be the garter-belt scenario, but find something that makes you feel like you do not want to overeat.

I believe it was Sophia Loren who said she never wears anything with an elastic waist, as it's too easy to eat too much and gradually gain weight until you put on your clothes that have waistbands and find that you can't zip them. I have found this to be a good tip.

Standing up really straight also helps me to eat less, silly as that may sound.

The holiday season is renowned for being the packing-on-the-pounds season; so between the garter belt and the following tips maybe this year you can maintain or even lose weight during the season:

Chocolates in boxes are everywhere...
Don't have them on your desk or in your house. Don't put them in your freezer as that will not slow you down; they can be eaten frozen and we all know it. Give them away or if you have great self-control, limit yourself to one a day at most for up to five days per season.

When you have your one chocolate, you need to eat it after you eat a salad and do savor it. Remember, food should not be a reward. Being healthy is its own reward. Also, deprivation rarely works long term, so a few chocolates are OK!

The Buf-fat Table
Walk around the buffet table at least once to size up the selections. Are there fresh veggies and fruit? Watch out for all the cheese platters, breads, crackers and high-calorie choices. Your plate should be at least half vegetables with a small dollop of dip -- dips are usually high fat (and it's the wrong kind of fat) and high in sodium. Don't forget to select a protein source whether that is a piece of chicken or fish or a bean dish.

Calories and Sugar in a Glass
That would be alcohol. Four ounces of champagne or wine is about 100 calories. Many people have wine goblets, not glasses and it's very easy to drink much more than four ounces. And this unthinking drinking easily contributes to holiday weight gain.

Drink plenty of water, sip wine only with meals and limit your consumption. Remember in the nutrition world "support your liver" is the mantra; your liver really doesn't like alcohol.

The Bottom Line: Eat more vegetables, limit your alcohol and desserts, up your water intake and, of course, continue regular exercise.


In good health,
Patty

Patty James. M.S. is a Vital Health Educator and Nutrition Coach who founded the first certified organic cooking school and nutrition center in America.

December 21, 2009

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7-Day Menu: Quick 'n Yummy Family Dinners
by SallyKetchum

Rate: TerribleRate: OkayRate: AverageRate: Pretty goodRate: Excellent    (88 votes)

Autumn is mainly a back to school time for me, even though I’m not in a classroom, learning or teaching. When my three kids were young it seemed that, like many moms now, I was in and out of school nearly daily, busy with PTA projects, sports boosters, or helping room mothers. I loved it!

Autumn also means hectic days with different schedules for different kids. We are so busy nowadays, and also, it seems more kids are determined “to do it all,” and kids doing all is mighty hard on the parents, especially working mothers. Fatigue after a hard day can leave even the most creative, brainiest of cooks left with that question, “What can I fix for dinner?”

Since fall is also a harvest time, some kitchens are running the canning and freezing marathon now. While putting food by for winter, it’s easy to raid the bounty for a few meals for the immediate future.

It’s easy to make partial meals for convenience when there is little time to cook. This means family-sized packets of vegetables in various forms, tomato sauces with herbs or spices that will sauce pasta or be the basis of chili, packets of soup starters to freeze, ready to thaw-heat-and eat soups, and even some casseroles to freeze. (Before baking, sprinkle with crumbs and dot with butter.)

A family might even get the kids involved, and make “prep packages” on a weekend night with everyone working in assembly line fashion. It’s fun and also a reason to get the family together.

Years ago, we tried to bring everyone together once a week for “family meetings” to discuss individual concerns. (Our kids dreaded family meetings because they thought we parents always bullied them. Probably true... until the kids took high school debate.)

At one of these meetings, we decided that we would make a loose plan for a week’s dinners, nothing set in cement or spaghetti sauce, of course, but a plan with a general entrée category for each day in the week. This time, the kids’ input was important, and their input made the plan successful.

The results went something like this:

Monday: Pasta Night
A pasta, a vegetable, a tossed salad, and bread (usually hard rolls). Pasta with red sauce, or Alfredo, or white clam or perhaps a creamy seafood sauce.

Tuesday: Kids’ Choice
But they had to declare their choice on Sunday, giving the cook shopping time. This was often hot potato salad because each child could pick out his favorite part, the sweet-sour potatoes, bell peppers, onions, or sausage, etc.

Wednesday: Ethnic cuisine
Usually easy Mexican, but sometimes Eastern European (goulash), British (fish and chips), Italian (meatballs in red sauce), Russian (stroganoff), etc. A slaw, fruit or salad completed the meal.

Thursday: One Pot/One Item Dinners
Stew, chicken or beef pies, pasties, clam and corn chowder, or corned beef. (Why do some folks only have corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day? Tip: For the few extra cents, choose flat cut over point cut. Flat cut means savings in the end in use and ease for leftovers.)

Friday: Health food and Diet Night
This usually turned out to be balanced, but low-calorie meals for us, the dieting parents, and large portions of healthy food for our in-shape, athletic kids (along with some basic education about the foods on the tables, hopefully with a joke or two.) Groaners: Why did the tomato turn red? It saw the salad dressing. What is green and goes to summer camp? A Brussels Scout. How do you fix a cracked pumpkin? With a pumpkin patch?

Saturday: Surprise Day
Anything goes! Even eating together, but with modern Saturdays, it usually means fast food or filled-at-home sack lunches or picnic hampers, food to be eaten after hockey or soccer practice or on the way to friends. The best surprise: the family cooking together when the day’s events are over.

Sunday: What's cookin'
Usually do-it-yourself breakfast with foods laid out
A mid-day Sunday dinner, a pot roast, stuffed pork chops, or steak on the grill, but a meal with a starch, vegetables (maybe two), relishes, and dessert (might be just cookies). Snacks or sandwiches in the evening.

As I cooked those busy back to school days and through the long school year, our family routine gradually altered the original plan. Plans for certain nights faded.

Monday wasn’t always pasta because we often had leftovers from Sunday, a day I like to cook. But Easy Night Friday stuck: Diet and health food sets the tone, a great way to start a fall weekend.

Still, I have our old entree-for-the-day plan perking along in the back of my mind. I’m lucky; I never have to ask, “What can I fix for dinner?”

October 5, 2009

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Vitamin-Enhanced Waters: Help or Hype?
by BrandDoctorKerry

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There used to be three things you could count on: death, taxes and, and chemical-free water in a bottle. Now there are two. Yes, the Grim Reaper still looms, and no politician we know is calling for an end to their beloved taxes. But do take note – someone is screwing with our screw-topped waters!

By now you’ve probably noticed the new kids on the bottled water block of your local grocery store. Next to your spring and glacier waters there’s an oasis of “vitamin-enhanced” waters.

Vitamin-enhanced water… hmmm, on the surface it sure sounds like a super idea, right? Well, no. These products are all wet. They take this week’s prize for the most blatent Healthy Food Imposters.

Case in point:

Dasani Plus, Vitamin-Enhanced Flavored Water Beverage

Take a look at the front label. It seems to imply the product is extremely healthy. You can’t help but imagine this water is enhanced with super vitamins that will defend and protect your health!

But read the fine print and it becomes clear that the only thing this water will defend and protect against is being healthy. See for yourself.

(8 fl. oz., 0 calories, 0g fat, 25mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 10% Vit E, 10% zinc)

Ingredients (chemical additives are in bold) Filtered water; Natural Flavors; Citric Acid; Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Benzoate and EDTA (to protect taste); Phosphoric Acid, Acesulfame Potassium, Ginseng Extract, Zinc Gluconate; Sucralose; Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E); Yellow 5; Red 40

Decoding the Fine Print

We dislike being manipulated by sneaky marketing types. But it’s obvious to our food sleuths that this manufacturer designed the front label with the average unsuspecting shopper in mind. It’s chock-full of trickery.

For starters, each serving only provides 10% of the RDA for Vitamin E and Zinc. We hate to douse good intentions but that’s just not a very substantial amount. Sadly, what is substantial are the chemical additives pumped into this once-healthy beverage. We found:

• Three chemical preservatives – potassium sorbate, potassium benzoate, and EDTA.
• Two artificial chemical sweeteners – acesulfame potassium and sucralose.
• Phosphoric acid, a chemical additive found in most soft drinks.
• Two artificial color additives – yellow #5 and red #40.
Just to be clear, they took an unadulterated bottle of water and mixed in a bunch of chemical additives, insignificant amounts of vitamins, artificial coloring and a splash of fizz for good measure. Oh, then they upped the price and slapped a colorful yet misleading label on the bottle.

It’s a brilliant idea… in a marketing and sales kind of way. But for the uninformed consumer, it’s just plain wrong.

Reality Check

The bottled water aisle is one place where it a pays to be a super-savvy shopper who’s soaked up a little BrandAid know-how.

Don’t be fooled by the health hype on ANY brand of vitamin-enhanced water. Bypass the front labels, and go directly to ingredients list. Regardless of the brand, you’ll find all the clues you need to drink in the facts not the fluff.

Remember, when you’re armed with a little BrandAid know-how,
you’re in control at the grocery store.

And when you're linked up with a proven diet based on your unique personality, you will lose weight. Click here to start losing weight today.

Kerry McLeod is eBrandAid.com's chief Brand Doctor and a regular blogger here at Diet.com. Kerry's mission in life is to teach food shoppers how to cut through the clutter at the grocery store in order to find the truly healthy brand-name foods. If smart food shopping appeals to you, go to eBrandAid.com and sign up for free newsletters.

September 7, 2009

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