10 Weight Loss Tips To Get You Into Your Bikini

weight loss exersizes

 

I recently came across this fantastic article on yahoo where the author speaks to easy to follow exercises . With summer  here, its time to think about slimming down and getting ready for the beach. We all know there is no magic bullet or cure-all diet that works overnight, but there are some things you can do right now to make real changes.

They are effective, safe, and you don’t need tons of equipment. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps at least 3 to 4 times a week and you’ll see a difference in as little as 2 weeks!

1. Side Lunges

Works your glutes, lower back and core. I always like to go down slow and under control (not letting gravity control the tempo) and then from a static position explode up. For beginners, go as low as you feel comfortable; if you’ve already been working out, make it more difficult by bringing your knee up to your chest into a standing crunch after the lunge. Increase the burn — never set that foot on the floor until after you have completed all of your reps.

2. One leg bicep curl

Works your biceps and glutes; increases focus and core stability. Lift one knee up, squeeze your abs, and hold it while you do your set of curls. Beginners can put a heel down and toe up instead of lifting the knee up. If you want to challenge yourself take your shoes off and stand on one leg on a Bosu ball. Switch legs after each set.

3. Dips

Great for the triceps and can be done anywhere. We all talk about the jiggle on the back of our arms. Well, here you go. Put your hands on a bench or chair, lower your body by bending your arms and then push back up. Beginners can go as low as they feel like they can support, and if you are advanced, add a bridge at the top of the move. Bridge by pushing your hips into the air, squeezing your glutes and push on the floor through your feet. Performing dips everyday does keep the jiggle at bay. Remember triceps make up 2/3 of your upper arm.

4. Swimmers

Great for shoulders and posture. Use an incline bench or just bend at the waist in a standing position and reach left arm up while pulling right arm back. Then reverse so that right arm is up and left is back. Don’t forget to engage your abs. It’s critical to use VERY LIGHT WEIGHT. This move is meant to be all about technique and not trying to fling around a bunch of heavy dumbbells.

5. Exercise ball lift (or Eball lift)

Works the hamstrings, core, and shoulders. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and an exercise ball between your feet. Squat down and pick up the ball; as you stand back up lift the ball overhead. At the top of this move really stretch through your core while reaching to the ceiling. If you want to make it tougher, do this with a smaller weighted ball and go up on to your toes at the top of the move. Squeeze those legs and glutes. This is a great warm up move.

weight loss tips

6. Lat burn

I love this move! It’s good for shoulders, triceps, lats, and most importantly, your posture. Stand with feet together and hold a resistance band at waist level with your elbows right by your sides. Pull hands away from each other while keeping your elbows snug against your waist. That’s one rep. Remember to keep your shoulders up and back and feel the move in your upper back. Everything we do pulls our shoulders forward (driving a car, sitting in chairs on the computer). This is a very simple, friendly and effective way to get those aligned! If we are getting all swimsuit sexy then there is nothing more attractive than good posture.

7. Hip up squeeze

Want a tight tush? This is a safe way to work those glutes. It’s important to concentrate on squeezing glutes at the top of the move but not jamming your neck. To make it more challenging simply add reps (try 50 for the mega burn) or just do it on one leg with the other one straight up in the air. Make sure to tighten your tummy to support your lower back during the move.

8. Tricep kickback

We’re hitting the back of the arms again. The key to this move is to keep elbows in one spot and squeeze those arms. You don’t need heavy weight, just proper form. Sit back in your glutes to work your core and back side, too. They have to work while holding your body during this move, so you’re toning upper and lower body at the same time.

9. Front lunges

Works the hamstrings, quads, and glutes most effectively, all you need is your own body weight. I like to do all of my reps on one leg first and then switch to the other side. Hold dumbbells or add reps to increase the difficulty. I love doing moves like this that challenge your balance. It’s critical to move in ways that will not only make you look great, but will help you be more coordinated in everyday life.

10. Superman (or woman)

Works glutes, core, shoulders, and body balance. This move is often used in rehab and therapy to help a patient develop or create muscle balance. If you get to the level where you want to make it harder and your FORM IS PERFECT (be mindful of hips and feet opening up or your posture collapsing), hold a dumbbell in one hand, and wear ankle weights on the opposing leg. I love these moves because you are working multiple muscles at one time.

(For  photos demonstrating these moves, click here.)

If you want to really get bikini crazy then add 3 days of cardio activity (biking, spinning, walking, running, swimming, cardio classes, boot camp) for a minimum of 30 minutes. Don’t worry about finding time: If you turn off the TV, or spend a little less time online, you will have the time. You don’t need to drive anywhere!

On the nutrition front, commit to giving up some of the white devils that end up on our hips and bellies (bread, white rice, pasta, too much dairy, and delicious foods made with white flour). Give sugary drinks a break, and yes, that means diet soda as well! Love the red meat, but if you are eating it often try to cut back. Reach for turkey, chicken, or fish. Stay out of the drive-thru.

Try to eat good fats and carbs, too. Don’t be afraid of these two foods – your brain and your body need them — just pick the healthier one’s like nuts, veggies, avocado, brown rice and beans, or a splash of olive oil. If you don’t eat enough fat, you will never feel full. This can really lead to overeating.

Get some good sleep for the next few weeks and drink tons of water. Hook up with some friends for this bikini challenge, and find ways to take some deep breaths and let the stress out. It doesn’t matter if you do everything perfect; if you are walking around stressed out and unhappy this information won’t be effective in the end.
Weight Loss

Healthy Ways To Lose 2 Pounds Weekly

healthy weight loss

 

I came across this article on Yahoo which gives great simple advice on healthy ways to lose 2 pounds each week.  You can shed some weight without the headache of calorie counting, measuring portions or giving up your fun foods and, for regular readers of this blog, you’ll note that we focus on bringing you easy, cheap n cheerful ways to lose weight and stay healthy while you’re doing it.  The key is to get your heart pounding so you lose the poundage.

Here’s the deal: Decide whether you want to lose 2 pounds a week or less (that may sound slow, but you can drop a size in a month this way and keep it off). Follow our free, easy eating plan and try to burn 500 calories per day for a total of 3,500 a week. Those shooting to lose a pound a week should aim to sizzle 250 calories per day (and 1,750 a week). To maintain your weight, focus on daily sweat sessions that burn 100 calories a day (or 700 calories off per week).

Whatever your goal, choose from the following workouts. (Pay attention to the effort level, using a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is watching TV and 10 is installing a 100-pound plasma screen on the wall.) The smartest, most effective route to lasting weight loss is through exercise, so no matter which mix of workouts you choose, expect to see results within two weeks.

biking toronto

Activities to burn 500 calories:

• Walk 40 minutes at a level 8 on a hilly course (or crank up the incline on the treadmill).
• Do 36 minutes of running intervals: Jog for 1 minute at a level 5, sprint 1 minute at a level 9. Repeat 18 times.
• Take a 45-minute Spinning class.
• Dance to a good beat for 72 minutes at a level 7.
• Hit the elliptical machine for 60 minutes, doing intervals. Do 2 minutes at a level 8, then 1 minute at a level 5. Repeat 20 times.
• Swim freestyle for 50 minutes at a level 8.
• Use the rowing machine for 40 minutes, doing intervals: Go 8 minutes at a level 8, then 2 minutes at a level 4. Repeat 4 times.

weight loss toronto

Activities to burn 250 calories:

• Walk for 35 minutes at a level 7.
• Run for 20 minutes at a level 7.
• Bike for 30 minutes at a level 5.
• Dance for 50 minutes at a level 4.
• Hit the elliptical machine for 30 minutes at a level 8.
• Swim freestyle for 25 minutes at a level 8.
• Use the rowing machine for 28 minutes at a level 8.

swimming weight loss toronto

Activities to burn 100 calories:

• Walk for 25 minutes at a level 4.
• Run for 12 minutes at a level 4.
• Bike for 17 minutes at a level 4.
• Dance for 20 minutes at a level 4.
• Hit the elliptical machine for 15 minutes at a level 5.
• Swim freestyle for 15 minutes at a level 5.
• Use the rowing machine for 25 minutes at a level 5.

With any diet, it starts with the first step. I hope this list inspires you to take yours!  Good Luck!

Toronto Weight Loss

100 Weight Loss Tips

 diet tips

Just came across this fantastic article on yahoo where they asked a variety of diet related questions to some of the top dietitians in North America.

Below is what they told them in simple to follow tips, they’ve learned from successful experience with thousands of clients. Some tips are new. Some you’ve heard before, but they’re repeated because they work.

 

I Can Only Handle One Diet Change Right Now. What Should I Do?

 

diet weight loss tips

1. Add just one fruit or veggie serving daily. Get comfortable with that, then add an extra serving until you reach 8 to 10 a day.

2. Eat at least two servings of a fruit or veggie at every meal.

3. Resolve never to supersize your food portions—unless you want to supersize your clothes.

4. Make eating purposeful, not mindless. Whenever you put food in your mouth, peel it, unwrap it, plate it, and sit. Engage all of the senses in the pleasure of nourishing your body.

5. Start eating a big breakfast. It helps you eat fewer total calories throughout the day.

6. Make sure your plate is half veggies and/or fruit at both lunch and dinner.

Are there Any Easy Tricks to Help Me Cut Calories?

 

cut calories diet weight loss

7. Eating out? Halve it, and bag the rest. A typical restaurant entree has 1,000 to 2,000 calories, not even counting the bread, appetizer, beverage, and dessert.

8. When dining out, make it automatic: Order one dessert to share.

9. Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.

10. See what you eat. Plate your food instead of eating out of the jar or bag.

11. Eat the low-cal items on your plate first, then graduate. Start with salads, veggies, and broth soups, and eat meats and starches last. By the time you get to them, you’ll be full enough to be content with smaller portions of the high-calorie choices.

12.
Instead of whole milk, switch to 1 percent. If you drink one 8-oz glass a day, you’ll lose 5 lb in a year.

13. Juice has as many calories, ounce for ounce, as soda. Set a limit of one 8-oz glass of fruit juice a day.

14. Get calories from foods you chew, not beverages. Have fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.

15. Keep a food journal. It really works wonders.

16. Follow the Chinese saying: “Eat until you are eight-tenths full.”

17. Use mustard instead of mayo.

18. Eat more soup. The noncreamy ones are filling but low-cal.

19. Cut back on or cut out caloric drinks such as soda, sweet tea, lemonade, etc. People have lost weight by making just this one change. If you have a 20-oz bottle of Coca-Cola every day, switch to Diet Coke. You should lose 25 lb in a year.

20. Take your lunch to work.

21. Sit when you eat.

22. Dilute juice with water.

23. Have mostly veggies for lunch.

24. Eat at home.

25. Limit alcohol to weekends.

How Can I Eat More Veggies?

 

fruits weight loss diets

26. Have a V8 or tomato juice instead of a Diet Coke at 3 pm.

27. Doctor your veggies to make them delicious: Dribble maple syrup over carrots, and sprinkle chopped nuts on green beans.

28. Mix three different cans of beans and some diet Italian dressing. Eat this three-bean salad all week.

29. Don’t forget that vegetable soup counts as a vegetable.

30. Rediscover the sweet potato.

31. Use prebagged baby spinach everywhere: as “lettuce” in sandwiches, heated in soups, wilted in hot pasta, and added to salads.

32. Spend the extra few dollars to buy vegetables that are already washed and cut up.

33. Really hate veggies? Relax. If you love fruits, eat plenty of them; they are just as healthy (especially colorful ones such as oranges, mangoes, and melons).

34. Keep seven bags of your favorite frozen vegetables on hand. Mix any combination, microwave, and top with your favorite low-fat dressing. Enjoy 3 to 4 cups a day. Makes a great quick dinner.

Can You Give Me a Mantra that will Help Me Stick to My Diet?

 

 help stick to my diet

35. “The best portion of high-calorie foods is the smallest one. The best portion of vegetables is the largest one. Period.”

36. “I’ll ride the wave. My cravings will disappear after 10 minutes if I turn my attention elsewhere.”

37. “I want to be around to see my grandchildren, so I can forgo a cookie now.”

38. “I am a work in progress.”

39. “It’s more stressful to continue being fat than to stop overeating.”

I Eat Healthy, but I’m Overweight. What Mistakes Could I Be Making without Realizing It?

 

diet mistakes

40. Skipping meals. Many healthy eaters “diet by day and binge by night.”

41. Don’t “graze” yourself fat. You can easily munch 600 calories of pretzels or cereal without realizing it.

42. Eating pasta like crazy. A serving of pasta is 1 cup, but some people routinely eat 4 cups.43. Eating supersize bagels of 400 to 500 calories for snacks.

44. Ignoring “Serving Size” on the Nutrition Facts panel.

45. Snacking on bowls of nuts. Nuts are healthy but dense with calories. Put those bowls away, and use nuts as a garnish instead of a snack.

46. Thinking all energy bars and fruit smoothies are low-cal.

What Can I Eat for a Healthy Low-Cal Dinner if I Don’t Want to Cook?

 

low calorie drinks meals tips

47. A smoothie made with fat-free milk, frozen fruit, and wheat germ.

48. The smallest fast-food burger (with mustard and ketchup, not mayo) and a no-cal beverage. Then at home, have an apple or baby carrots.

49. A peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread with a glass of 1 percent milk and an apple.

50. Precooked chicken strips and microwaved frozen broccoli topped with Parmesan cheese.

51. A healthy frozen entree with a salad and a glass of 1 percent milk.

52. Scramble eggs in a nonstick skillet. Pop some asparagus in the microwave, and add whole wheat toast. If your cholesterol levels are normal, you can have seven eggs a week!

53. A bag of frozen vegetables heated in the microwave, topped with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts.

54. Prebagged salad topped with canned tuna, grape tomatoes, shredded reduced-fat cheese, and low-cal Italian dressing.

55. Keep lean sandwich fixings on hand: whole wheat bread, sliced turkey, reduced-fat cheese, tomatoes, mustard with horseradish.

56. Heat up a can of good soup.

57. Cereal, fruit, and fat-free milk makes a good meal anytime.

58. Try a veggie sandwich from Subway.

59. Precut fruit for a salad and add yogurt.

What’s Your Best Advice for Avoiding those Extra Holiday Pounds?

 

 holiday weight gain

60. Don’t tell yourself, “It’s okay, it’s the holidays.” That opens the door to 6 weeks of splurging.

61. Remember, EAT before you meet. Have this small meal before you go to any parties: a hardboiled Egg, Apple, and a Thirst quencher (water, seltzer, diet soda, tea).

62. As obvious as it sounds, don’t stand near the food at parties. Make the effort, and you’ll find you eat less.

63. At a buffet? Eating a little of everything guarantees high calories. Decide on three or four things, only one of which is high in calories. Save that for last so there’s less chance of overeating.

64.
For the duration of the holidays, wear your snuggest clothes that don’t allow much room for expansion. Wearing sweats is out until January.

65. Give it away! After company leaves, give away leftover food to neighbors, doormen, or delivery people, or take it to work the next day.

66. Walk around the mall three times before you start shopping.

67. Make exercise a nonnegotiable priority.

68. Dance to music with your family in your home. One dietitian reported that when she asks her patients to do this, initially they just smile, but once they’ve done it, they say it is one of the easiest ways to involve the whole family in exercise.

How Can I Control a Raging Sweet Tooth?

 

sweet tooth

69. Once in a while, have a lean, mean salad for lunch or dinner, and save the meal’s calories for a full dessert.

70. Are you the kind of person who does better if you make up your mind to do without sweets and just not have them around? Or are you going to do better if you have a limited amount of sweets every day? One RD reported that most of her clients pick the latter and find they can avoid bingeing after a few days.

71. If your family thinks they need a very sweet treat every night, try to strike a balance between offering healthy choices but allowing them some “free will.” Compromise with low-fat ice cream and fruit, or sometimes just fruit with a dollop of whipped cream.

72. Try 2 weeks without sweets. It’s amazing how your cravings vanish.

73. Eat more fruit. A person who gets enough fruit in his diet doesn’t have a raging sweet tooth.

74. Eat your sweets, just eat them smart! Carve out about 150 calories per day for your favorite sweet. That amounts to about an ounce of chocolate, half a modest slice of cake, or 1/2 cup of regular ice cream.

75. Try these smart little sweets: sugar-free hot cocoa, frozen red grapes, fudgsicles, sugar-free gum, Nutri-Grain chocolate fudge twists, Tootsie Rolls, and hard candy.

How Can I Conquer My Downfall: Bingeing at Night?

 

eating late at night

76. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The large majority of people who struggle with night eating are those who skip meals or don’t eat balanced meals during the day. This is a major setup for overeating at night.

77. Eat your evening meal in the kitchen or dining room, sitting down at the table.

78. Drink cold unsweetened raspberry tea. It tastes great and keeps your mouth busy.

79. Change your nighttime schedule. It will take effort, but it will pay off. You need something that will occupy your mind and hands.

80. If you’re eating at night due to emotions, you need to focus on getting in touch with what’s going on and taking care of yourself in a way that really works. Find a nonfood method of coping with your stress.

81. Put a sign on the kitchen and refrigerator doors: “Closed after Dinner.”

82. Brush your teeth right after dinner to remind you: No more food.

83. Eat without engaging in any other simultaneous activity. No reading, watching TV, or sitting at the computer.

84. Eating late at night won’t itself cause weight gain. It’s how many calories—not when you eat them—that counts.

How Can I Reap Added Health Benefits from My Dieting?

 

health benefits

85. Fat-free isn’t always your best bet. Research has found that none of the lycopene or alpha- or beta-carotene that fight cancer and heart disease is absorbed from salads with fat-free dressing. Only slightly more is absorbed with reduced-fat dressing; the most is absorbed with full-fat dressing. But remember, use your dressing in moderate amounts.

86. Skipping breakfast will leave you tired and craving naughty foods by midmorning. To fill up healthfully and tastefully, try this sweet, fruity breakfast full of antioxidants. In a blender, process 1 c nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt, 1 1/3 c frozen strawberries (no added sugar), 1 peeled kiwi, and 1 peeled banana. Pulse until mixture is milkshake consistency. Makes one 2-cup serving; 348 calories and 1.5 fat grams.

87. If you’re famished by 4 p.m. and have no alternative but an office vending machine, reach for the nuts—. The same goes if your only choices are what’s available in the hotel minibar.

88. Next time you’re feeling wiped out in late afternoon, forgo that cup of coffee and reach for a cup of yogurt instead. The combination of protein, carbohydrate, and fat in an 8-ounce serving of low-fat yogurt will give you a sense of fullness and well-being that coffee can’t match, as well as some vital nutrients. If you haven’t eaten in 3 to 4 hours, your blood glucose levels are probably dropping, so eating a small amount of nutrient-rich food will give your brain and your body a boost.

89. Making just a few changes to your pantry shelves can get you a lot closer to your weight loss goals. Here’s what to do: If you use corn and peanut oil, replace it with olive oil. Same goes for breads—go for whole wheat. Trade in those fatty cold cuts like salami and bologna and replace them canned tuna, sliced turkey breast, and lean roast beef. Change from drinking whole milk to fat-free milk or low-fat soy milk. This is hard for a lot of people so try transitioning down to 2 percent and then 1 percent before you go fat-free.

90. Nothing’s less appetizing than a crisper drawer full of mushy vegetables. Frozen vegetables store much better, plus they may have greater nutritional value than fresh. Food suppliers typically freeze veggies just a few hours after harvest, locking in the nutrients. Fresh veggies, on the other hand, often spend days in the back of a truck before they reach your supermarket.

91. Worried about the trans-fat content in your peanut butter? Good news: In a test done on Skippy, JIF, Peter Pan, and a supermarket brand, the levels of trans fats per 2-tablespoon serving were far lower than 0.5 gram—low enough that under proposed laws, the brands can legally claim zero trans fats on the label. They also contained only 1 gram more sugar than natural brands—not a significant difference.

Eating Less Isn’t Enough—What Exercising Tips Will Help Me Shed Pounds?

 

Exercising Tips

92. Overeating is not the result of exercise. Vigorous exercise won’t stimulate you to overeat. It’s just the opposite. Exercise at any level helps curb your appetite immediately following the workout.

93. When you’re exercising, you shouldn’t wait for thirst to strike before you take a drink. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Try this: Drink at least 16 ounces of water, sports drinks, or juices two hours before you exercise. Then drink 8 ounces an hour before and another 4 to 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. Finish with at least 16 ounces after you’re done exercising.

94. Tune in to an audio book while you walk. It’ll keep you going longer and looking forward to the next walk—and the next chapter! Check your local library for a great selection. Look for a whodunit; you might walk so far you’ll need to take a cab home!

95. Think yoga’s too serene to burn calories? Think again. You can burn 250 to 350 calories during an hour-long class (that’s as much as you’d burn from an hour of walking)! Plus, you’ll improve muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance.

96. Drinking too few can hamper your weight loss efforts. That’s because dehydration can slow your metabolism by 3 percent, or about 45 fewer calories burned a day, which in a year could mean weighing 5 pounds more. The key to water isn’t how much you drink, it’s how frequently you drink it. Small amounts sipped often work better than 8 ounces gulped down at once.

How Can I Manage My Emotional Eating and Get the Support I Need?

 

weight loss support

97. A registered dietitian (RD) can help you find healthy ways to manage your weight with food. To find one in your area who consults with private clients check out the ads at the top of  the page, ask your friends or consult your yellow pages

98. The best place to drop pounds may be your own house of worship. Researchers set up healthy eating and exercise programs in 16 Baltimore churches. More than 500 women participated and after a year the most successful lost an average of 20 lb. Weight loss programs based on faith are so successful because there’s a built-in community component that people can feel comfortable with.

99. Here’s another reason to keep level-headed all the time: Pennsylvania State University research has found that women less able to cope with stress—shown by blood pressure and heart rate elevations—ate twice as many fatty snacks as stress-resistant women did, even after the stress stopped (in this case, 25 minutes of periodic jackhammer-level noise and an unsolvable maze).

100. Sitting at a computer may help you slim down. When researchers at Brown University School of Medicine put 92 people on online weight loss programs for a year, those who received weekly e-mail counseling shed 5 1/2 more pounds than those who got none. Counselors provided weekly feedback on diet and exercise logs, answered questions, and cheered them on. Most major online diet programs offer many of these features.

 

Toronto Weight Loss

Weight Loss Clinics Should Be Regulated

 weight loss clinics

Governments should be regulating the commercial weight-loss industry to prevent Canadians desperate to shed pounds from being taken in by products and programs promoting scientifically unproven therapies, obesity doctors say.

In an editorial in this week’s Canadian Medical Association Journal, Drs. Yoni Freedhoff and Arya Sharma say there is no quick fix or magic pill for losing excess weight – or for maintaining weight loss over time.

“Although experts agree that obesity management requires long-term behavioural, medical or surgical intervention, the majority of commercial weight-loss providers manipulate vulnerable consumers with impunity, cultivating unrealistic expectations and false beliefs,” they write.

Some weight-loss programs promote the use of vitamin injections or herbal supplements, claiming they help the body burn off fat. But Freedhoff and Sharma say there is no scientific evidence based on clinical research to support those contentions.

And it’s not just clinics, but over-the-counter products, noted Freedhoff, medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa.

“Certainly if you walk into any drug store … (you) will find that there are products that purport themselves to be weight-loss products that don’t necessarily have any shred of evidence to suggest that they are efficacious in treating weight management,” he said from Ottawa.

“So really we see a lot of people preying on Canadians who are concerned about their weight. And given the large percentage of Canadians who, in fact, have weight to lose, I think we need to offer them approaches that are potentially beneficial and don’t simply bilk them out of their pocket change.”

Sharma, chair of obesity research and management at the University of Alberta, said successful weight loss and maintenance depend on a number of factors, including calorie reduction, healthy food choices, regular exercise and addressing psychosocial or physiological factors that lead to overeating.

It also includes realistic goals, he said from Edmonton, noting that some off-the-shelf products and clinics promote and promise extremely rapid weight reduction.

“Obesity treatment is not about weight loss. Losing weight is easy. Treatment is keeping it off.”

Sharma said he is not against commercial weight-loss or obesity-treatment centres, many of which offer valuable help to people trying to slim down.

“We have a lot of community partners that have been accredited because the services that they are offering are in compliance with the clinical practice guidelines,” he said of the university’s obesity program, noting that those partners in Edmonton include Weight Watchers and the YMCA.

healthy weight loss

“We’re not saying just because you charge money for it, it’s a useless program. It’s not about commercial or non-commercial. It’s about the people who are making false claims and peddling things that have no scientific validity.”

“And nobody regulates these things.”

He and Freedhoff want the federal or provincial-territorial governments to require weight-loss providers to be formally accredited, so consumers can identify those providing scientifically sound services. As well, they say weight-reduction products should require regulatory approval before they can be sold, based on proper clinical testing that substantiates their effectiveness.

At his centre in Ottawa, Freedhoff said staff are all licensed to provide integrated programs that allow patients to lose no more than one to three pounds per week, with the higher limit set for those who tip the scales at a higher weight.

Shedding pounds at a more rapid clip can be medically dangerous, he said, leading to a risk of gallstones, a disproportionate loss of muscle and a greater propensity over time to regain lost weight.

“The problem is we’re really good – physicians and public health agencies and our government and the media – we’re really good at telling people they’re supposed to lose weight,” Freedhoff said. “But yet nobody is telling people where to go.”

He advises that anyone wanting to trim their waistline should speak to their doctor before embarking on a weight-management program, including asking their physicians to check out a prospective clinic or off-the-shelf product.

Diane Finegood, an obesity expert and researcher at Simon Fraser University, said the editorial raises an important issue and one that needs more discussion.

While she agreed that regulation would make it easier for consumers to choose reputable weight-loss providers, the challenge would be knowing where to draw the line on “what is sufficient evidence to allow advertising of a particular claim.”

“That’s a scary edge for this area because there aren’t a lot of proven effective weight-loss remedies,” Finegood said Monday from Burnaby, B.C.

“And when we haven’t done enough data collection to understand what works for whom and under what conditions, then do we run the risk of preventing something useful from being advertised?”

How Ernesto Lost 430 Pounds!

Ernesto Suncar holds a pair jeans he used to wear before losing over 400 pounds.

Ernesto Suncar holds a pair jeans he used to wear before losing over 400 pounds.

Ernesto Suncar back when he weighed more than 600 pounds.

Ernesto Suncar back when he weighed more than 600 pounds.

I came across this inspirational story of  Ernesto Suncar’s incredible battle with weight loss in the New York Daily News.

Weighing 640 pounds, wearing 10X shirts and with a 70-inch waist, the 33-year-old New Yorker was told by doctors he would likely be dead within 12 months.

Realizing it was a choice between losing weight and dying, the proud father of three, who had tried every diet imaginable, underwent gastric bypass surgery – and has shed more than two-thirds of his former self.

“I want people to feel inspired when they look at me,” says the Hell’s Kitchen resident, who’s down to 210 pounds. “Hopefully, if they have a weight issue, they will finally do something about it, starting right now.

“Losing this weight saved my life. Without the operation, I doubt I would be here to celebrate New Year’s.

“It’s scary to think what might have happened.”

The business management student says his body ballooned after he came to the U.S. from his native Dominican Republic at the age 7.

“I was a normal, active kid who used to run and play outdoors in the tropical climate,” he recalls. “When we moved into a small apartment where it was cold, I stayed inside and didn’t get any exercise.

“The only games I played were video games.”

gastric bypass toronto

His love of chow didn’t help. He would gorge himself on Spanish-style fried pork chops, rice and plantains, McDonald’s, pizza and pasta.

“My mom would tell the guys at the corner deli not to serve me, so I’d just walk to another block,” Suncar admits.

He once lost 64 pounds on a 1,800-calorie-a-day diet, but then gained 120 pounds. At his heaviest, the 6-foot-2 food junkie tipped the scales at 640 pounds.

“My little son had to tie my shoelaces,” he says. “I poked fun at myself, but inside I was hurting.”

The turning point came when chronic breathing difficulties and the immense strain on his heart threatened to kill him.

“The doctor said, if I carried on as I was, I would be dead in a year,” Suncar says.

Dr. Elliot Goodman, chief of bariatric surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center, performed the gastric bypass.

There were minor complications, but this winter, after following a nutritious eating plan and increasing his fitness at the gym, Suncar has reached – and maintained – a healthy weight.

His waistline has shrunk to 34 inches and, instead of having to buy expensive outsize clothes on the Internet, he shops for stylish gear at The Gap.

“I feel reborn,” he says. “These days I can cycle along the Hudson River, play with my kids and this summer, I’m planning on taking a flight. Before, I couldn’t have fit in an airline seat.

“I keep some of my old things in my closet to remind me of how I used to look. But there’s no going back.”

Best 20 Superfoods For Weight Loss

Best 20 Superfoods For Weight Loss

After reading a fantastic article over at Self Magazine, I believe it’s time for a new slim-down mantra for everyone! ‘Eat more to weigh less’. This isn’t some late night infomercial pitch we should all run from! It’s all about the basics, the right foods help you drop pounds by revving your calorie burn and curbing cravings. The magazine consulted top experts for the best picks and asked leading chefs for easy, tasty ways to prepare them. Add these eats to your plate today and you’ll be slimmer and healthier in no time!

Steak

steak

Beef has a rep as a diet buster, but eating it may help you peel off pounds. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women on a diet that included red meat lost more weight than those eating equal calories but little beef. “The protein in steak helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss,” says study author Manny Noakes, Ph.D. Try to consume local organic beef; it’s healthier for you and the environment.

Eat more Grill or broil a 4-ounce serving of top round or sirloin; slice thinly to top a salad, or mix with veggies for fajitas.

Eggs

eggs

Dig in to eggs, yolks and all: They won’t harm your heart, but they can help you trim inches. Women on a low-calorie diet who ate an egg with toast and jelly each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories but no eggs, a study from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge reports. “Egg protein is filling, so you eat less later in the day,” says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam).

Eat more Omelets and scrambles are obvious choices, but if you can’t cook before work, bake a frittata on Sunday; chill it and nuke slices for up to a week. An easy recipe: Vegetable Frittata.

Kale

kale

Long sidelined as a lowly garnish, this green belongs center stage on your plate. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium. But kale’s earthy flavor might take some getting used to. Spinach, another nutrient powerhouse, is a milder-tasting option.

Eat more Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans, says Jennifer Iserloh, founder of Skinny Chef Culinary Ventures, in New York City. Or slice kale into thin strips, sauté it with vegetable broth and top with orange slices. Make it a meal by tossing the mix with quinoa.

Oats

oats

“Oatmeal has the highest satiety ranking of any food,” Grotto says. “Unlike many other carbohydrates, oats—even the instant kind—digest slowly, so they have little impact on your blood sugar.” All oats are healthful, but the steel-cut and rolled varieties (which are minimally processed) have up to 5 grams of fiber per serving, making them the most filling choice. Instant oats contain 3 to 4 grams per serving.

Eat more “Instead of using breadcrumbs, add oats to meat loaf—about 1 cup for a recipe that serves eight,” Iserloh recommends. Or try her recipe for turkey and oatmeal meatballs.

Lentils

lentils

Lentils are a bona fide belly flattener. “They’re high in protein and soluble fiber, two nutrients that stabilize blood sugar levels,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., author of The F-Factor Diet (Putnam Adult). “Eating them helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.”

Eat more There are many varieties of lentils, but red and yellow cook fastest (in about 15 to 20 minutes). Add cooked lentils to pasta sauce for a heartier dish, Zuckerbrot suggests. “Their mild flavor blends right in, and because they’re high in protein, you can skip meat altogether.”

Goji berries

goji berries

These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein, says chef Sarah Krieger, R.D., spokeswoman in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the American Dietetic Association. (They also have more beta-carotene than carrots.) Snack on them midafternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon.

Eat more Mix 1/4 cup of the dried berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix. Or for dessert, pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a bowl with 2 tbsp dried berries; let sit 10 minutes. Drain, then spoon over 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt.

Wild salmon

wild salmon

Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. “Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity—which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat,” Grotto explains. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Opt for wild salmon; it may contain fewer pollutants.

Eat more You don’t need to do much to enhance salmon’s taste, says Sidra Forman, a chef and writer in Washington, D.C. “Simple is best. Season a fillet with salt and pepper, then cook it in a hot pan with 2 tsp oil for 1 to 3 minutes on each side.”

Apples

apples

An apple a day can keep weight gain at bay, finds a study from Penn State University at University Park. People who chomped an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. “Apples are high in fiber—4 to 5 grams each—which makes them filling,” says Susan Kraus, R.D., a clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an “apple shape.”

Eat more Apples are the ideal on-the-go low-calorie snack. For a pielike treat, chop up a medium apple and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pop in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Buckwheat pasta

buckwheat pasta

Swap plain noodles for this hearty variety; you’ll slip into your skinny jeans in no time. “Buckwheat is high in fiber and, unlike most carbs, contains protein,” Zuckerbrot says. “Those two nutrients make it very satiating, so it’s harder to overeat buckwheat pasta than the regular stuff.”

Eat more Cook this pasta as you do rice: Simmer it, covered, over low heat. For a light meal, toss cooked buckwheat pasta with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions. Or make buckwheat crepes using our tasty recipe.

Blueberries

blueberries

All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. They have the highest antioxidant level of all commonly consumed fruit, according to research from the USDA Agriculture Research Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. They also deliver 3.6 grams of fiber per cup. “Fiber may actually prevent some of the fat you eat from being absorbed because fiber pulls fat through the digestive tract,” Zuckerbrot says.

Eat more Instead of topping your cereal with fruit, fill your bowl with blueberries, then sprinkle cereal on top and add milk or yogurt, Iserloh recommends.

Almond butter

Almond Butter

Adding this spread may lower bread’s glycemic index (a measure of a food’s effect on blood sugar). A study from the University of Toronto found that people who ate almonds with white bread didn’t experience the same blood sugar surges as those who ate only the slice. “The higher blood sugar levels rise, the lower they fall; that dip leads to hunger, causing people to overeat,” says study author Cyril Kendall, Ph.D. “Furthermore, blood sugar changes cause the body to make insulin, which can increase abdominal fat.”

Eat more Try it for a change from peanut butter in sandwiches, or make a veggie dip: Mix 1 tbsp almond butter with 2 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt, Iserloh suggests. Or add a dollop to oatmeal for flavor and protein.

Pomegranates

pomegranate

The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they’re low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet, Krieger says.

Eat more Pop the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them preshucked) as a snack at your desk. “Use them in salads instead of nuts,” Iserloh says. “They’re especially delicious on raw baby spinach with lemon–poppy seed dressing.” For another take on the seeds, use our easy recipe for sweet and spicy pomegranate salsa.

Chiles

chilies

One reason to spice up your meals: You’ll crank up your metabolism. “A compound in chiles called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chiles,” Zuckerbrot explains. Plus, “you can’t gulp down spicy food,” she adds. “Eating slowly gives your brain time to register that your stomach is full, so you won’t overeat.”

Eat more Stuff chiles with cooked quinoa and marinara sauce, then roast them. To mellow a chile’s heat, grill it until it’s almost black, peel off charred skin and puree the flesh, Krieger says. Add the puree to pasta sauces for a one-alarm kick. Or stir red pepper flakes into any dish you enjoy.

Yogurt

yogurt

Dietitians often refer to plain yogurt as the perfect food, and for good reason: With its trifecta of carbs, protein and fat, it can stave off hunger by keeping blood sugar levels steady. In a study from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, people on a low-calorie diet that included yogurt lost 61 percent more fat overall and 81 percent more belly fat than those on a similar plan but without yogurt.

Eat more “Use lowfat plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise in chicken or potato salad, or top a baked potato with a bit of yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice,” Krieger says. You’ll save 4.7 grams of fat per tablespoon. Look for Greek yogurt, which has more protein than other versions.

Quinoa

 quinoa

Curbing hunger is as easy as piling your plate with this whole grain. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours, Krieger says.

Eat more Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fries, or try Krieger’s take on a scrumptious hot breakfast: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tbsp each of raisins and chopped walnuts.

Sardines

sardines

These tiny fish are the unsung stars of the sea. They are high in protein and loaded with omega-3s, which also help the body maintain muscle. And they’re low in mercury and high in calcium, making them a smart fish pick for pregnant women. If the flavor doesn’t appeal to you, “soak them in milk for an hour; it will remove any trace of fishiness,” Iserloh says.

Eat more “Use sardines in recipes you like that call for anchovies, including Caesar salad and stuffing,” Iserloh says. Or make a sardine melt: Toss whole sardines with chopped onions, fresh herbs and diced bell peppers. Put the mixture on top of a slice of pumpernickel or rye bread, cover with a slice of cheddar and broil.

Tarragon

tarragon

You can use this herb, a staple in French cooking, in place of salt in marinades and salad dressings. Excess sodium causes your body to retain water, so using less salt can keep bloating at bay. Plus, tarragon lends a sweet, licoricelike flavor to bland foods. (Use the French version of the herb when possible; it’s sweeter than other varieties.)

Eat more Rub 2 tbsp dried tarragon on chicken before baking or grilling. Or make a tasty dip by mixing 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon into 4 oz lowfat plain yogurt and 1 tsp Dijon mustard, recommends Jacquelyn Buchanan, director of culinary development at Laura Chenel’s Chèvre, a fromagerie in Sonoma, California.

Parmesan

parmesan cheese

Drop that rubbery lowfat cheese and pick up the real stuff. Women who had one serving of whole milk or cheese daily were less likely to gain weight over time, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds. Lowfat-dairy fans didn’t experience the same benefit. Whole dairy may have more conjugated linoleic acid, which might help your body burn fat. “Parmesan is so flavorful, it’s easy to stick to one serving,” Buchanan says.

Eat more “Grate Parmesan over roasted vegetables,” Buchanan offers. Or snack on a 1-ounce portion with an apple or a pear.

Avocado

avocado

Don’t let the fat content of an avocado (29 grams) scare you—that’s what makes it a top weight loss food, Kraus says. “The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety,” she says. And it’s terrific summer party food.

Eat more Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, so it’s best to watch your portions. One easy way to do it: Try Wholly Guacamole’s 100-calorie fresh guacamole packs ($3; grocery stores or WhollyGuac.com). They’re easy to pack in your lunch and pair with chopped vegetables.

Olive oil

olive oil

Like avocados, olive oil has healthy fat that increases satiety, taming your appetite. But that’s hardly its only slimming feature. “Research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties,” Kraus says. Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to metabolic syndrome.

Eat more Drizzle your salad with olive oil and you’ll increase the antioxidant power of your veggies, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition notes. Or toss pasta with a few teaspoons of olive oil, fresh basil and sautéed garlic, Kraus suggests. Add this oil to your summer menus for a flatter tummy by fall.

Superfoods For Weight Loss

Best 9 Fat-Burning Eating Tips

 

weight-loss-program-fat-burning

Now don’t get all excited. We don’t have any magic wand solutions that will take the place of exercise and eating right. But we do have a few foods that could help you on your journey to rid yourself of excess flab. Hungry Girl‘s here with the scoop…

LEAN PROTEIN
To put it simply, protein takes a lot of effort for the body to break down and digest. A lot more than, say, fat. So while your body is working hard to process that protein, you’re burning calories. HG tip — eat fish! Chances are you’re not getting enough of it. Not only is fish a fabulous source of lean protein, BUT many types are full of those Omega-3 fatty acids you’re always hearing about. Beans are also a wonderful source of protein. And it’s no secret how we feel about our friend the soybean. (Let’s have a cheer for veggie patties and soy-meats!)

WHOLE GRAINS
Belly fat is not particularly cute on anyone (except maybe babies), so it’s exciting news that whole grains can do a number on that stubborn flab around your midsection. One of the easiest ways to get whole grains into your diet? Oatmeal in the morning. Quaker’s Simple Harvest Multigrain Hot Cereal is really good and just full of grains. Also, Kashi GoLean’s Hot Cereal packs in 7 whole grains and a big 5 – 7g fiber! Mmmmm…


GRAPEFRUIT
Ever since you were a kid popping Flintstones Chewables, you’ve known that Vitamin C is good for you — and that certainly hasn’t changed. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant AND has been shown in studies to help burn fat. So, if you’re looking for a snack, how’s about a nice, juicy grapefruit? The theory is that grapefruit helps to lower insulin levels, which keeps you from being hungry all the time! We know it smacks of classic diet food, but those Ruby Reds are MIGHTY delicious! If it’s too sour for you straight, sprinkle it with some no-calorie sweetener like Splenda or stevia.

GREEN TEA
Green tea is EVERYWHERE. It’s been classified as a “superfood” as it’s been linked to reduced rates of heart disease and cancer. And now it helps us lose weight too? Green tea has been shown to raise our metabolism, which is key in our battle with the bad stuff. Researchers also suspect that substances called polyphenols combined with caffeine are responsible for its fat-burning properties. If the hot murky stuff doesn’t do it for you, try HG’s Green Tea Crème Swappuccino! Only 75 calories and SO GOOD!

SPICY FOODS
You know how when you eat spicy foods, you sometimes start to sweat a little (ew)? That’s because it’s given a little kick to your heart rate. These little kicks will result in a temporary increase in your metabolism, which will help you burn fat a little easier for a bit. A quick hit with cayenne, red pepper flakes, or whatever hot sauce you fancy should do the trick and get your blood pumping. And these spices are practically calorie-free. Yes!

LIGHT DAIRY
Hey, dairy queens! Good news! It turns out that people who eat low-fat or fat-free dairy lose MORE weight than people who don’t. Sure we mentioned protein before, but it bears bringing up again since the magical combo of calcium and protein seems to work wonders. We’re WAY into yogurt, so we suggest picking up some Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt and mixing in your favorite fruits, sugar-free preserves… or whatever! Also, light string cheese is a GREAT little snack, with only around 50-60 calories and 2.5g fat a pop. Not bad for hard cheese, people.


WATER
Experts say it’s important to drink lots of water if you’re trying to burn fat Your body can’t work effectively if it’s dehydrated — not only will you FEEL like you don’t have any energy, but also your body really won’t have what it needs to function and burn off fat. Keep that machine humming — drink around 8 glasses of water a day!

CINNAMON
Sure this stuff tastes good — that’s why it’s found in SO many things. But those chefs might not know that their sprinkling of cinnamon is helping the body process sugar more effectively and lower blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can lead to the body storing more fat, so maybe put together a little shaker of cinnamon and Splenda to sprinkle on your favorite foods! Then whip up some fat-burning cinnamon toast by using your new concoction on whole-wheat bread!

APPLES
An apple a day isn’t going to keep the gym away, but it’ll probably make your diet plan more effective. Word on the street is that the pectin contained in apples limits how much fat your cells can absorb. (SWEET!) Plus it’s a naturally soluble fiber, which is always good. So next time you feel all snacky, grab whichever apple looks best to you (we love Fujis!).

Weight Loss Toronto

Why losing weight is so hard and gaining weight is so easy

 weight-loss-program

You just went away for the weekend and you came back to find that you gained 5 pounds over the course of 3 days. In your disbelief, you quickly curse the Weight Gods for being so cruel. Sound familiar? This was me last weekend. A little jaunt to Montreal, eating at decadent cafes, packed it on quick. This inspired me to discuss the seemingly unbalanced equation of weight gain vs. weight loss, the facts that surround the issue and how losing the 5 pounds feels so much harder than gaining them:

FACT 1 – It is Simple Math: To maintain your ideal weight, you need to eat as many calories as you burn in one day. The balanced equation looks like this:

Calories Eaten = Basal Metabolic Rate + Physical Activity

If what you eat equals more than what your body uses, you will gain weight. In the situation of a vacation, it is likely that you eat more unhealthy food than normal and possibly get less exercise, resulting in an imbalanced equation, with a higher number of calories on the eaten side than on the burned side. That imbalance over the course of a few days can easily represent a few pounds.

FACT 2 – A Pound is a Pound is a Pound: One pound of body mass represents 3,500 calories. Regardless, if you are trying to lose a pound or gain a pound, the pound will always represent 3,500 calories. So, if you eat 3,500 calories more than your body requires, you will gain 1 pound. Similarly, if you eat 3,500 calories less than your body requires, you will lose 1 pound.

FACT 3 – Exercise is Weight Discriminating: Whether you are 120 pounds or 175 pounds, you will gain one pound from eating 3,500 calories more than you need. Unfortunately, this doesn’t hold true for burning calories. How much you weigh actually dictates how many calories you burn per hour. The more you weigh, the more you burn, and as a result, the easier it is to lose the pound…sound crazy? It is true. Check out the Calories Burned Chart .

FACT 4 – Aging Contributes to Weight Gain: As if aging doesn’t contribute enough to unfavorable things, it also contributes to weight gain. As we get older, our metabolism slows down, requiring us to need less food and calories. If you don’t modify your caloric intake as you get older to reflect this change in metabolism, you will start to see weight gain.

The Bad News: Unfortunately, eating an extra couple of unhealthy snacks or drinking a few extra glasses of wine can happen in a blink of an eye. However, the time and energy required to burn off those calories takes a lot more effort. We have provided a chart on what 1,000 calories looks like on both sides in the chart below (remember, it is 3,500 calories that make up a pound).

 

 

Calorie Chart

The Good News: Whether it is rapid or slow weight gain that you have experienced, losing the extra weight can be tackled through two avenues (and should be): calorie reduction and exercise . Choosing to lose weight through both calorie reduction and exercise will accelerate the process. If for seven days you burn 200 extra calories through exercise and reduce your food intake by 300 calories each day, you will lose that extra pound. Further, it is a lot easier than trying to either reduce your caloric intake by 3,500 calories (which is physically impossible) or burning an extra 3,500 calories during exercise (which takes a ridiculous amount of time and energy).

What you Can Do: Assess whether your weight gain was a rapid gain due to atypical behavior (E.g., vacationing) or a longer-term gain. If it was a rapid gain, there is a good chance you will lose the weight by returning to your normal habits. You might have to be a little strict for a day or two, but you shouldn’t feel like a major overhaul is in order. If, however, you have gained the weight over a period of time, assess your habits and think about what has changed in your life. Have you stopped exercising? Have you let your eating habits go? Have you hit a milestone birthday? Once you can assess the reality of your situation, remember the equation: to maintain balance, burn the calories you eat.

Weight Loss Toronto

Restaurant Reviews – Healthy And Not So Healthy Restaurants

 Healthiest And Not So Healthiest Restaurants in America

Eating out invariably raises a number of tricky questions: sit-down or drive-thru? Burgers or pizza? Thin or stuffed crust? And if you’re dining with your family, add the biggest question of all: Will the food we eat today bring a fatter tomorrow for our kids? And fewer tomorrows for the rest of us?

So the choice between McDonald’s and Burger King shouldn’t be based solely on whether you’re more terrified by the scary clown Ronald McDonald or that creepy masked Burger King. Choosing one over the other could be the difference of hundreds of calories in a meal, more than 10 unnecessary pounds over the course of a year, and countless health woes over the course of a lifetime.

During more than a year of research, my coauthor and I discovered vast dietary discrepancies between many of the places Americans love to eat most. So to help you separate the commendable from the deplorable, we put 43 major chain restaurants under the nutritional microscope — both for your benefit, and that of your family.

How did we judge the restaurants? We started by calculating the average number of calories per kid entrée, then rewarded restaurants for having healthy adult options that would appeal to the young palette, and for providing healthy vegetable sides and non-soda drink options. Finally, we docked points for those restaurants still harboring nasty trans fats.

The result is a Restaurant Report Card that holds each eating establishment fully accountable for the fare they’re serving up to all of us — moms, dads, kids, teens, and twentysomethings — along with a survival strategy for making it through any meal unscathed.

Did your favorite restaurant make the grade?

A – Chick-fil-A

chick-fil-A meal combo

Chick-fil-A excels in every category we tested for. With a slew of low-calorie sandwiches, the country’s “healthiest” chicken nugget, a variety of solid sides like fresh fruit and soup that can be substituted into any meal, and nutritional brochures readily available for perusing at each location, Chick-fil-A earns the award for America’s Healthiest Chain Restaurant (for kids, for the adults who drive them there, plus anybody else wise enough to make it their fast food choice).

Your Survival Strategy: Even the smartest kid in the class can still fail a test, so be on your toes at all times, even at Chik-fil-A. Skip salads with ranch or Caesar dressings, any sandwich with bacon, and avoid milkshakes at all costs.

A- Subway

subway sandwich

A menu based on lean protein and vegetables is always going to score well in our book. With more than half a dozen sandwiches under 300 calories, plus a slew of soups and healthy sides to boot, Subway can satisfy even the pickiest eater without breaking the caloric bank.

But, despite what Jared may want you to believe, Subway is not nutritionally infallible: Those rosy calorie counts posted on the menu boards include neither cheese nor mayo (add 160 calories per 6-inch sub) and some of the toasted subs, like the Meatball Marinara, contain hefty doses of calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

Your Survival Strategy: Cornell researchers have discovered a “health halo” at Subway, which refers to the tendency to reward yourself or your kid with chips, cookies, and large soft drinks because the entrée is healthy. Avoid the halo, and all will be well.

B+ Boston Market

boston market

With more than a dozen healthy vegetable sides and lean meats like turkey and roast sirloin on the menu, the low-cal, high-nutrient possibilities at Boston Market are endless. But with nearly a dozen calorie-packed sides and fatty meats like dark meat chicken and meat loaf, it’s almost as easy to construct a lousy meal.

Your Survival Strategy: There are three simple steps to nutritional salvation: 1) Start with turkey, sirloin, or rotisserie chicken. 2) Add two noncreamy, nonstarchy vegetable sides. 3) Ignore all special items, such as pot pie and nearly all of the sandwiches.

B-  -  McDonald’s

McDonalds kids meal combo

Though not blessed with an abundance of healthy options, Mickey D’s isn’t burdened with any major calorie bombs, either. Kid standards like McNuggets and cheeseburgers are both in the acceptable 300-calorie range.

Your Survival Strategy: Apple Dippers and 2% milk with a small entrée makes for a pretty decent meal-on-the-go. McDonald’s quintessential Happy Meal® makes this possible — just beware the usual French fries and soda pitfalls. Adults should go for a Quarter Pounder without cheese.

C+ – Domino’s

dominos pizza

Domino’s suffers the same pitfalls of any other pizza purveyor: too much cheese, bread, and greasy toppings. If you don’t order carefully, you might bag your child a pizza with more than 350 calories per slice. To its credit, Domino’s does keep the trans fat off the pizza, and it also offers the lowest-calorie thin crust option out there.

Your Survival Strategy: Stick with the Crunchy Thin Crust pizzas sans sausage and pepperoni. If your must order meat, make sure it’s ham. And whenever possible, try to sneak on a vegetable or two per pie.

C  -  Burger King

Burger King - Whopper Jr. Sandwich & salad

BK has only four legitimate kids’ entrées on the menu, and none of them — French Toast Sticks, hamburger, mac and cheese, chicken tenders — are particularly healthy. And while the recent addition of Apple Fries provides a much-needed healthy side alternative for kids, the menu is still sullied with trans fats.

BK pledged to follow in the wake of nearly every other chain restaurant and remove trans fats from the menu by the end of 2008, but so far, we’ve seen little action.

Your Survival Strategy: Adults can sign on for the Whopper Junior and a Garden Salad, and escape with only 365 calories. The best kids’ meal? A 4-piece Chicken Tenders®, applesauce or Apple Fries, and water or milk. Beyond that, there is little hope of escaping unscathed.

D  – Chipotle

chipotle crispy tacos

We applaud Chipotle’s commitment to high-quality produce and fresh meats, but even the most pristine ingredients can’t dampen the damage wrought by the massive portion sizes served up here. The lack of options for kids means young eaters are forced to tussle with one of Chipotle’s massive burritos or taco platters, which can easily top 1,000 calories.

Your Survival Strategy: Stick to the crispy tacos or burrito bowls, or saw a burrito in half.

F  –

ihop breakfast

 

These titans of the restaurant industry are among the last national chains to not provide nutritional information on their dishes. Even after years of communication with their representatives, we still here the same old excuses: it’s too pricey, it’s too time-consuming, it’s impossible to do accurately because their food is so fresh. Our response is simple: If every other chain restaurant in the country can do it, then why can’t they?

Your Survival Strategy: Write letters, make phone calls, beg, scream, and plead for these restaurants to provide nutritional information on all of their products. Here are the phone numbers for each of the restaurants that refuse to tell us the truth!

Have your own best and worst restaurant experiences? Please share them with the rest of us!

weight loss Toronto

Low-carb diet best for weight and cholesterol

 Low-carb diet best for weight, cholesterol

The Atkins diet may have proved itself after all: A low-carb diet and a Mediterranean-style regimen helped people lose more weight than a traditional low-fat diet in one of the longest and largest studies to compare the dueling weight-loss techniques.

A bigger surprise: The low-carb diet improved cholesterol more than the other two. Some critics had predicted the opposite.

“It is a vindication,” said Abby Bloch of the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation, a philanthropy group that honors the Atkins’ diet’s creator and was the study’s main funder.

However, all three approaches — the low-carb diet, a low-fat diet and a so-called Mediterranean diet — achieved weight loss and improved cholesterol.

The study is remarkable not only because it lasted two years, much longer than most, but also because of the huge proportion of people who stuck with the diets — 85 percent.

Researchers approached the Atkins Foundation with the idea for the study. But the foundation played no role in the study’s design or reporting of the results, said the lead author, Iris Shai of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Other experts said the study — being published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine — was highly credible.

“This is a very good group of researchers,” said Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

The research was done in a controlled environment — an isolated nuclear research facility in Israel. The 322 participants got their main meal of the day, lunch, at a central cafeteria.

“The workers can’t easily just go out to lunch at a nearby Subway or McDonald’s,” said Dr. Meir Stampfer, the study’s senior author and a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

In the cafeteria, the appropriate foods for each diet were identified with colored dots, using red for low-fat, green for Mediterranean and blue for low-carb.

As for breakfast and dinner, the dieters were counseled on how to stick to their eating plans and were asked to fill out questionnaires on what they ate, Stampfer said.

The low-fat diet — no more than 30 percent of calories from fat — restricted calories and cholesterol and focused on low-fat grains, vegetables and fruits as options. The Mediterranean diet had similar calorie, fat and cholesterol restrictions, emphasizing poultry, fish, olive oil and nuts.

The low-carb diet set limits for carbohydrates, but none for calories or fat. It urged dieters to choose vegetarian sources of fat and protein.

vegetarian diet toronto

“So not a lot of butter and eggs and cream,” said Madelyn Fernstrom, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center weight management expert who reviewed the study but was not involved in it.

Most of the participants were men; all men and women in the study got roughly equal amounts of exercise, the study’s authors said.

Average weight loss for those in the low-carb group was 10.3 pounds after two years. Those in the Mediterranean diet lost 10 pounds, and those on the low-fat regimen dropped 6.5.

More surprising were the measures of cholesterol. Critics have long acknowledged that an Atkins-style diet could help people lose weight but feared that over the long term, it may drive up cholesterol because it allows more fat.

But the low-carb approach seemed to trigger the most improvement in several cholesterol measures, including the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL, the “good” cholesterol. For example, someone with total cholesterol of 200 and an HDL of 50 would have a ratio of 4 to 1. The optimum ratio is 3.5 to 1, according to the American Heart Association.

Doctors see that ratio as a sign of a patient’s risk for hardening of the arteries. “You want that low,” Stampfer said.

The ratio declined by 20 percent in people on the low-carb diet, compared to 16 percent in those on the Mediterranean and 12 percent in low-fat dieters.

The study is not the first to offer a favorable comparison of an Atkins-like diet. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year found overweight women on the Atkins plan had slightly better blood pressure and cholesterol readings than those on the low-carb Zone diet, the low-fat Ornish diet and a low-fat diet that followed U.S. government guidelines.

The heart association has long recommended low-fat diets to reduce heart risks, but some of its leaders have noted the Mediterranean diet has also proven safe and effective.

The heart association recommends a low-fat diet even more restrictive than the one in the study, said Dr. Robert Eckel, the association’s past president who is a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado-Denver.

It does not recommend the Atkins diet. However, a low-carb approach is consistent with heart association guidelines so long as there are limitations on the kinds of saturated fats often consumed by people on the Atkins diet, Eckel said.

The new study’s results favored the Atkins-like approach less when subgroups such as diabetics and women were examined.

Among the 36 diabetics, only those on the Mediterranean diet lowered blood sugar levels. Among the 45 women, those on the Mediterranean diet lost the most weight.

“I think these data suggest that men may be much more responsive to a diet in which there are clear limits on what foods can be consumed,” such as an Atkins-like diet, said Dr. William Dietz, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It suggests that because women have had more experience dieting or losing weight, they’re more capable of implementing a more complicated diet,” said Dietz, who heads CDC’s nutrition unit.

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New England Journal: http://nejm.org

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