Loose weight with Arlene Normand

December 5, 2017

Drop the Fatitude and get a Better Attitude

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 4:37 am

Drop the Fatitude and Get a Winning Attitude!

Change Your Thoughts to Win the Weight-Loss Game


If permanent weight loss were as simple as eating less and moving more, you wouldn’t be reading this article—you’d be off somewhere enjoying your fit, trim self without a thought in your head about the difficulties of weight loss. But here we are—because things just aren’t that simple. Despite all our scientific knowledge about how people gain and lose weight, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees your success if you just follow the rules. The fact is that no one else is exactly like you, biologically or psychologically, and there is no pre-existing map for your individual weight-loss journey. You are an “experiment of one” when it comes to figuring out what will work for you, and you’re the one running the experiment. A big part of this experiment involves learning more about what makes you tick. For most people, just figuring out how much we need to eat and exercise to lose weight doesn’t necessarily make it easy for us to do it. Chances are, you’re going to have to work pretty hard at changing some long-standing habits, assumptions, feelings, and attitudes that influence your relationship with food and shape your lifestyle. So, where do you start? How do you figure out what will work for you? How do you know what’s standing in your way and which habits you need to work on changing? One good way to find out is to look at the characteristics shared by people who succeed at long-term weight loss. You probably already know about many of the characteristics that long-term, successful “losers” have in common. They are:


Optimistic enough to put in an honest effort and see what happens. They don’t fill their heads with self-defeating thoughts and negative prophecies that keep them from doing their best.


Stay focused on what they can do instead of fretting about what they can’t do.


Patient enough to take things one decision (and one day) at a time, instead of expecting instant results and losing motivation when those results don’t come.


See mistakes and problems as learning opportunities instead of being demoralized by them.


For some people, these basic characteristics seem to come naturally. They go into every challenge with the idea that they can succeed if they try hard enough—and they often turn out to be right. Not because they’re smarter, stronger, or better than anyone else is, but exactly because they actually do try hard enough. That winning attitude allows them to get through the particular problems and obstacles they face without being defeated by them. Many of us, however, have to really work at getting and keeping ourselves in that positive, forward-moving frame of mind. In fact, transforming our “fatitudes” into winning attitudes may be the single most important thing we need to do to successfully lose weight and keep it off. How do you know if you have a fatitude problem? Here are three very common patterns that may indicate you have a fatitude problem that needs help ! Symptom #1 of a Fatitude Problem: The Drama Queen/King Syndrome Do you tend to panic every time you have a “bad eating” day? Does going over your calorie goal or missing an exercise session make you feel guilty, as if you’ve done something morally wrong? Does eating something on your forbidden list trigger that negative voice in your head that says you’re too stupid, weak, or messed up to resist a temptation? When you see a number you don’t like on your scale, do you feel like nothing you do is ever going to make a difference, so you might as well give up now and start stuffing yourself with your favourite comfort food? This, my friend, is all Fatitude! You don’t have to get upset about every little thing that goes wrong. There will always be problems to contend with, but you can choose how you react to them. When you start feeling upset, ask yourself what good it’s going to do to get upset about this particular problem. When you realize that all that drama saps your motivation and prevents you from using your mistakes as learning experiences and opportunities to make constructive changes, you can choose to stop the drama and adopt a more productive attitude. The Winning Attitude: If you never have problems, you’ll never have any successes. You’re in the business of changing your lifestyle, and finding solutions that work for you will take a lot of trial and error. Your problem areas and setbacks can become valuable opportunities—if you let them. So ditch the drama and the negative self-talk, and replace it with a little open-minded curiosity. What was going on when this problem happened (in your environment and in your mind)? How is that different from what goes on when you don’t have the problem? What about your environment (or your thinking) can you change to make it easier to avoid this problem next time?  Helpful Tool: Journaling can be a key to your success! Symptom #2 of a Fatitude Problem: The All-or-Nothing Game Do you frequently find yourself thinking that, since you’ve already “blown your diet” for today, you might as well keep on eating and start over tomorrow (or next week or next month)? Is it hard to get yourself to exercise because it takes so much time and effort to burn such a relatively few calories? Do you find yourself going overboard with severe calorie reductions and excessive exercise just to speed things up? Do you feel unmotivated when you think about how far you have to go to get to your goal weight and how long it’s going to take you? Sounds like a Fatitude problem to me! There are many ways that all-or-nothing thinking can sabotage your chances for weight-loss success. But the fact is that perfectionism and the desire for instant gratification are very likely two of the problems that helped you become overweight in the first place, and they definitely aren’t going to help you change your lifestyle now. No one gets it right all the time; you’re not going to achieve success without paying your dues. Expecting things to be different for you is a one-way ticket to frustration, loss of motivation, and failure. The Winning Attitude: You create success by doing the best you can with the individual decision or task that’s right in front of you at this moment. Nothing else really matters. All you can ever do is the best you can with what’s in front of you right now—everything else is history or fantasy. You’ll get where you want to go as long as you take more steps in the right direction than the wrong one.  Helpful Tool: Learn to master the mysteries of your motivation. Symptom #3 of a Fatitude Problem: The Helpless Victim Story Do you often feel like something beyond your control dictates your eating and exercise choices? Do you think that you’re unable to resist certain foods or that  other people are sabotaging your efforts by constantly putting temptations in your path? Do you find it hard to find time for healthy cooking and exercise because of all the demands on your time and energy from work, family responsibilities, and other priorities? Fatitude, again! There’s no doubt that eating well and exercising regularly takes time and effort. But there’s also no doubt that everyone gets the same 24 hours in the day, and that everyone has many other responsibilities to contend with, too. Many of these same people manage to be successful at weight loss and healthy living anyway. The difference between success and failure is often in your expectations and the language you use to think and talk about the practical problems you face. The more you view your own behaviour or decisions as being dictated by other people or circumstances, the more you give up the power to make your own decisions. The longer you wait for other people to change their ways to make things easier for you, the longer it will take you to reach your goals. The Winning Attitude: You always have a choice. No food has the power to make you eat it, and no one else determines your values or priorities. Sure, the situation may be difficult; sometimes you may have to choose between less than ideal options, or even pick the lesser of two evils. But the choice is always yours, and the only way to fail in the long run is to fail to choose. So, ditch all those stories you tell yourself about why you have to do this or that! Make the best decision you can at the time, then move on to the next one.  Helpful Tool: Put ‘I’ into your vocabulary. While these three signs of a fatitude problem are the most common, they aren’t the only ones out there. There are also many other ways that your attitude, expectations, and thinking can help or hinder your success. The foundation of your success will be your belief that you can do what is necessary to reach your goals. Armed with this basic belief, there isn’t any problem you won’t be able to find a way around!



August 13, 2017


Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 6:51 pm


5 Signs It’s Time to Get Serious about The Time to Commit to Losing Weight is Now


It’s easy to say that you want to lose weight. It’s also easy to find the motivation to hit the gym regularly and choose the right foods in the beginning. After a few weeks, our motivation seems to wane and those old, unhealthy habits of yours start to creep back in. What seemed so easy at first is now difficult. You have cravings. You’re tired. You miss those social dinners with your friends and biscuits and chocolates. That 6 a.m. aerobics class doesn’t seem as fun, and getting up without hitting the snooze button seems impossible. Sound familiar? So many of us have fallen into this yo-yo diet and exercise trap over the years. You decide you want to lose weight, start a program, and even start to see some results and then…life gets in the way. Before you know it, you’re off your healthy living plan again. I am giving you the tools and resources that make weight loss permanent and uplifting—a true lifestyle change—you still need to commit to using them. You have to commit now and, well, forever. You have to choose to change your life, both when life is breezy and when things aren’t going your way. Whether you have 2 kilos or 70 kilos to lose, you have to get serious if you’re ever going to reach your goals.


So how do you know if it’s time to get real? How do you know if you’re committed to your weight-loss efforts this time around? If any of the five signs below sound like you, then you aren’t 100% committed to getting healthy. (Don’t worry; we’ll help you get there!) 5 Signs It’s Time to Get Real about Weight Loss Sign #1: You keep waiting to start. If you really want or need to lose weight but keep putting it off until tomorrow, next week, or even later in the future, you’re not serious about weight loss. There is no perfect time to lose weight; you’ll always have to deal with stress and work and LIFE, and there’s no better way to get started than to jump right in today. Don’t put off getting healthy for another day. Get healthy now. Why waste another day? Right this second you can start improving your health by doing something as simple as going for a short walk, choosing the stairs over the elevator or even looking up the online menu of the restaurant you’re going to tonight and ordering a healthy dish. There’s no time like the present. Your life starts now! Stop putting it off: Make up your mind that you’re committed to changing your life and losing weight the right way. Then write down three simple things that you can do TODAY to be healthier, such as drinking a glass of water, walking around the block once or eating two fewer bites than you normally would. By sharing your goals, you’ll stay accountable and by starting small, you’ll build momentum to make more changes.


Sign #2: You can’t do the things you want to do. Did you once love to travel, but now have problems fitting in the airplane seat? Can you no longer play tag or run around with your kids? Does dancing with your friends or walking up a flight of stairs leave you winded? If you can no longer do what you need to do (walk without discomfort, take the stairs) or want to do (visit an amusement park, buy new clothes off the rack), it’s time to get serious. With regular exercise and some simple food swaps, you can be back to your usual self and live your dreams. Focus on functionality: For motivation, make a list of the things you want to do but can’t do comfortably (or at all) right now. Weight loss isn’t just about wearing smaller pants size; it will help you live the life you want. Your motivation can come from the list you made—all of your goals and dreams, both big and small. Then, with your doctor’s blessing, begin a functional fitness program today. Go for regular walks to improve your cardiovascular fitness, and try  exercises to help make your everyday activities easier to do. Before you know it, the kilos will drop, but more importantly, you’ll be able to do all the things you love to do.


Sign #3: You’re facing chronic health issues. Being overweight or obese puts a huge strain on your body and increases your risk for many chronic health problems, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, metabolic syndrome, certain types of cancers, sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, fatty liver disease, pregnancy complications and premature death. Many of these conditions don’t exhibit any symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t started developing them just because a doctor hasn’t made a diagnosis yet. If any of these conditions run in your family or you know that you’re at risk due to your weight or lifestyle, see a doctor right away. You can no longer treat weight-loss as an option. It’s a necessity for you to save your own life. Live longer and healthier: If you haven’t had a physical in the last year, schedule one with your doctor today. If you do have any health issues, seek treatment and ask the doctor what types of physical activity you can do and if there are any dietary restrictions. Once your doctor has given the OK, get started and start making healthier food choices to get on the road to a healthier you.


Sign #4: You give up easily. Do you throw in the weight-loss towel after you eat a biscuit or miss a single workout? Then you need to get real and learn to forgive yourself. Health and weight issues don’t result from one small mistake during a 24-hour period; it’s what you do day after day, time after time that really counts. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistent. So stop beating yourself up for every mistake. We all make them! It’s what you do next that matters. Commit to making healthy choices most of the time, and you will reach your goals! Get back on track: Promise that you’ll be kind to yourself when you do slip up, and create a get-back-on-track plan.


Sign #5: You’re envious of others who have lost weight. If you feel self-conscious about your body and size around others or feel extremely jealous of other people who have lost weight, then it’s time for you to focus your energies on your own self-improvement. These feelings may signal something deeper that needs your attention. As you might guess, weight-loss isn’t just about choosing to eat right and exercise. Many times, it’s also about having the self-worth to make a change and believing that you deserve to do something positive for yourself!


Make yourself a priority: Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone’s journey and circumstances are different. So instead of wondering why you weren’t blessed with a faster metabolism like your friend was, focus on what you love about yourself. The next time you become envious or self-conscious, remind yourself that you deserve good things in life, too, so commit to make healthy choices. Weight loss isn’t a weakness, a desire to conform, or a sign that you’re not awesome just the way you are. Every person is worthy of love, respect and self-care—and maintaining a healthy weight is part of that. Losing weight is hard work, but the change begins with you and it starts right now. It’s time to stop talking about weight loss and commit to it. Make one simple step at a time.


June 6, 2017

5 Emotional Roadblocks That Are Keeping You Fat

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 5:24 am

5 Emotional Roadblocks That Are Keeping You Fat

Are Your Weight-Loss Efforts Being Derailed by Years of Baggage?



Eat less, move more is the advice touted to the overweight ad nauseam, as if it were really that simple.   I have been in the business of helping individuals take off unwanted kilos for more than 30 years. Although success usually does include cutting back on unnecessary calories and moving more, there are a myriad of other factors that are part of the equation. Sleep, stress, metabolic factors, genetics and body type can all affect how quickly or easily you lose weight. And, without a doubt, emotional factors have a huge impact as well.   I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and I would never attempt to analyse or prescribe solutions to a person who might have an emotional roadblock interfering with his or her weight loss goals. However, I can share with you some of the patterns and hindrances I’ve come across over many years of training and coaching my overweight clients. Perhaps a glimpse into these themes will help open your eyes to some hidden obstacles that have been holding you back.     Case #1: Whom would I be if I weren’t the fat, funny one? As long as John could remember, he was overweight. However, it never stood in the way of him having loads of friends and being happy. He could remember his primary school teachers telling his parents how enjoyable it was to have him in the classroom; he knew how to be funny without being disruptive. His parents would beam with pride as they shared the feedback with friends and family. In high school anduniversity, he had loads of friends. The girls adored him and thought of him as their trusted buddy and confidant. When broken-hearted by some other boy, they relied on John to cheer them up using his sense of humour.   Now, happily married with two kids, he loves overhearing their friends say, “Your dad is so funny!” When John’s doctor told him he needed to lose weight to control his rising blood pressure and elevated blood glucose levels, he hired me to help him. Having made several failed weight-loss attempts in the past, he seriously doubted his ability to succeed. Each week he would set goals around sensible eating and making time for evening walks after dinner. The week would start off great, but by Wednesday, he was slipping back into old unhealthy eating habits and making excuses not to take his walks.   Frustrated, he couldn’t seem to understand why he struggled to stick to his goals for more than a few days at a time even though he wanted to lose the weight so badly. One day I asked John, “If you were able to stick to your plan throughout the week, and you began to experience weight loss, what would that look like and feel like to you?”   I don’t know who was more shocked by his response, John or me, when he stated, “If I was to actually stick to my plan, I know I would lose the excess weight. I wouldn’t be fat anymore. That idea feels so strange. Whom would I be if I weren’t the fat, funny one?”   Case #2: Who am I to be perfect? Margaret had the kind of life that others envy. She was a brilliant economist, had a devoted and loving husband, two great kids who were excelling at school—even her dog was well-behaved and a joyful companion. Margaret and her husband travelled to exotic locations when on vacation and entertained friends often in their beautiful home. Being a compassionate, smart and insightful individual, family and friends came to her for advice all the time.   The only area of Margaret’s life that she did not seem to have under control was her weight. She carried 15 extra kilos on her body that she had been trying to shed for many years. When we worked together, she tearfully said, “I’ve got everything I could possibly want, except a body I am comfortable in. I know what I need to do, and often do exactly that. But after a while, I fall off track and begin to self-sabotage. I find myself eating junk when no one is watching, and telling myself I just don’t care. But I do care! This extra weight is making me miserable!”   I asked Margaret to spend some time visualizing herself as successful, to close her eyes and imagine a future where the self-sabotaging behaviour was no longer a problem, and she was living her life in the body she desired. I told her to think about and even journal about the thoughts and feelings that come up when doing her visualizations. A few weeks later Margaret reported, “At first it felt fabulous. I imagined being in form-fitting clothing that was beautiful, looking in the mirror and feeling proud, being lighter and more energetic. But when I imagined my friends seeing me, I began to think they would be put off by the ‘new’ me or feel intimidated. After all, who am I to be perfect?”   Case #3: What if I find out I’m just not that interesting? Bob was in his mid 40s when we began working together. He had an excellent job and was highly successful and respected, yet he still felt like a failure. Bob was unmarried and experiencing many moments of loneliness. He had always been overweight and extremely shy. Wanting desperately to find a woman with whom he could have a relationship, he attempted some online dating sites. Bob went on several first dates, but they never seemed to go any further than that. He was convinced women were turned off by his size. Bob thought that if he could lose the excess weight, it would increase his possibilities of women going out with him more than once, thus getting to know him better.   Despite being a highly motivated and creative goal-setter, he continued to fill lonely evenings with fattening junk foods. The kilos weren’t budging. When we explored the pros and cons of losing weight versus keeping things as is, Bob stated that “the advantage to not losing the weight is I can continue to use it as an excuse for striking out with women. If I were thin, and they still rejected me, I would find out that I’m really just not that interesting. That would feel much worse than them not liking me because I am fat!”   Case #4: I’m keeping my family safe. When Sue came to me for weight-loss coaching, she was concerned that she and her husband had steadily been gaining weight during their 15-year marriage. Particularly alarming was seeing two of her four children also show signs of rapid weight gain. Her own doctor and their paediatrician expressed concerns. She bought the groceries and cooked the meals, so Sue recognized the need to change her habits at home.   We worked together on planning healthier meals and snacks for her family. Although she made a few minor changes, there seemed to be a celebratory meal, holiday or guests visiting every week. At those times, Sue couldn’t get herself to cut back on the lavish meals and treats her family was accustomed to. Although  losing weight felt like an important goal, she couldn’t stand the thought of her family or guests feeling deprived.   I asked Sue to chat with me about the role food played in her family when she was growing up. Sue was the only daughter of two parents who grew up during the great depression. As a child, she was told stories about the years her parents had little to eat, and how her grandparents used food stamps and rations to put meals on the table. Far surpassing their parents’ lifestyle, her dad was a highly successful businessman and her mom a stay-at-home wife. Food and money were never issues. Holidays in her home were a gathering of grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins with tons of delicious food and treats, a tradition that Sue continued in her own home. Sue could remember her grandparents saying how lucky she was to live during a time when she could feel safe and secure that there would always be enough to eat. “Wow,” she exclaimed, “I guess I am just trying to keep my family safe with food!”   Case #5: Food is love. Lois was a chubby kid and grew to be an overweight adult. A bright, fun loving young woman with a promising career, she was concerned that her weight might stand in the way of advancement. She knew that to continue climbing the ladder, it would be necessary to get in front of management and customers more often. Feeling self-conscious because of her size, she noticed that she would stay quiet during meetings rather than speak up and share her great ideas. She decided that losing weight would increase her confidence and therefore advance her career.   When I asked her what she believed was her greatest obstacle to losing weight, Lois stated, “I feel happy when I indulge and miserable when I try to restrict myself. But of course, I feel more miserable after the fact. I tell myself I will abstain from the treats, but put them in front of me and I can’t resist them. I have no willpower!” When I asked her what she thought about when she was indulging, she realized most of the time she was reminiscing about her childhood. Lois’s dad left when she was only eight, so her Mom raised her alone. She remembered feeling sad and abandoned by her dad, and would cry often. Trying to cheer her up, her mom often took Lois out for ice cream or to the local store or bakery for treats. Those were her favourite times. Her mom unburdened by work or housekeeping, gave Lois her undivided attention, and was relaxed and fun to be with. Even if her Dad wasn’t around, Mom took care of her and she was loved through food!           Case #6: You can’t control me. Terry could not remember a time since university when she was not trying to lose weight. She had tried every diet imaginable. Despite having some success, she would always put back whatever kilos she had lost and then extra. When we started working together, she said this would be her last attempt. If she was not successful this time, she swore to give up trying.   We began with small lifestyle changes, building upon one another. It was slow and, at times, frustrating for Terry, but she began to consistently lose about half to one kilo a week. Terry incorporated walking into her daily routine, learned to recognise when she was no longer hungry and stop eating, and modified her favourite recipes to healthier versions. When we celebrated a year of working together and a 20 kg weight loss, I asked Terry why she thought this time she had succeeded.   “You never told me what I could or couldn’t eat. You helped me create a food plan that was flexible, and I could make decisions based on how I felt and what I thought I would enjoy,” she said. Terry began telling me about her parents, a topic we had never talked about before. They were well-meaning and quite loving but incredibly controlling. She grew up with strict curfews, rules around how much TV she was allowed to watch, how many hours a day she had to study, and when she was allowed to visit or talk on the phone with friends.   Being “health nuts,” her parents also had rigid restrictions regarding food. There was absolutely no junk food in the house, groceries were purchased at the health food store only and fried food and sugar were thought of as “poison.” When Terry went to friends’ homes, she would raid their fridges and pantries, indulging in all of the treats that were forbidden in her home. When she went off to the university, Terry purchased greasy foods in the cafeteria and always had dessert. At those times, always feeling that she was sneaking from her parents, she would think, “you can’t control me!”   From these stories, I hope you are able to see how often we have the best of intentions, yet struggle to reach our goals. Without an understanding of the reasons why we hold on to the very behaviours that keep us from getting where we so desperately want to go, sustained change will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. A recent study showed that when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don’t change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully. Desire and motivation aren’t enough: even when it’s literally a matter of life or death, the ability to change remains maddeningly elusive.   Awareness is the first step toward breaking down the barriers. Once we are aware of why or what we are doing, and how it is in a sense protecting us and keeping us safe, we can begin taking small steps, or doing experiments to see what happens. For many, this is the road to success.   However, others will still struggle, and could benefit enormously from working with a professional. As an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, I recognize a few signs that will tell me my client needs some additional assistance in order to move forward. When clients come to their sessions week after week having made goals but not following through, feel as if their sabotaging behaviours are uncontrollable, or are constantly blaming their situation on the past, others or circumstances, it’s time to suggest working out what reasons are behind this behaviour.   So if your weight-loss journey seems more like an uphill battle that will never end, despite being highly motivated, do some thinking around what competing commitments you might be holding on to that can help you shed some light on your situation. In the meantime, call upon your own self-compassion and recognize that you are doing the best you can, and weight loss is indeed way more complicated than just eating less and moving more.


January 8, 2017


Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 2:54 am



How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Still wanting to get fit and lose that Christmas over-indulgence weight? You don’t need a specific diet plan telling you what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rather you’ll lose weight if you follow simple tried-and-true principles that your grandmother would have told you. Think of these as ‘guiding lights’ that can take you through the whole year. Here are my 8 best principles for weight loss to get you on the right track for 2017:


  1. Cut out the alcohol Give your liver a rest and say No to alcohol during January. I’m serious! Coupled to a new eating and fitness regime, staying away from alcohol is the best form of ‘detox’ you can give your body – without having to embark on a real detox (aka a semi-fast).Count the benefits. No more fuzzy heads the morning after, no more restless sleeps. More energy, more time to get things done, more kilos off without giving up the foods you love. Just look at the kilojoules you can save! Cut out two bottles full-strength beer and you cut 1120kJ (270 calories). Cut out two generous glasses red wine and you knock off 840kJ (200 calories). Easy.
  2. Cut out the ‘junk’ You know the stuff I mean – the chips, doughnuts, chocolate bars, lollies, ice creams and fast food that’s too easy to overeat and full of bad fats, salt and sugar. For most of us, these are the real undoing of our eating and the reason behind weight gain. Stick to the old-fashioned food basics – vegetables, proteins, whole grains, dairy, fruit and nuts – and you’ll be eating a healthy AND a lower-kilojoule diet.  Having said that, when you start eating healthy, it’s OK to have ONE favourite treat a day so you don’t end up bingeing from deprivation. One, eaten slowly, with every mouthful savoured, without guilt. One SMALL treat like a 20g snack bar of chocolate.
  3. Makeover your kitchen You can’t eat healthily if the fridge is full of caramel fudge ice cream and the pantry’s crammed with biscuits and crisps. Too hard! Clear out all that junk especially the stuff you know you can’t resist. No, don’t polish it off in a huge food fest – give it away or just ditch in the bin. Buy dried apricots or sultanas for when you crave something sweet; diet soft drink or sparkling mineral water for those time when you simply MUST have something cold and fizzy; carrots and celery sticks for the munchies.  Go shopping for healthy food for quick meals like canned salmon or tuna, cracker biscuits, eggs, steak, lean mince or sliced chicken, baked beans, fruit loaf, light cheese, low-fat yoghurt and bananas.
  4. Downscale those portions Everything – from wine to movie popcorn – has been so upsized in the last 10 years that none of us even realise that we’re eating twice as much as we used to. Talk about eating by stealth!  Even healthy fare like juice now comes in jumbo-sized 600ml buckets, not the standard tiny half glass (125ml) that the food guides all refer to. Whatever diet plan you opt for, keep the portions modest. Serve up an ‘average’ meal. Don’t go back for seconds. Pack leftovers away for another meal. As a rule of thumb, including vegetables and salad, eat small – remember the size of your stomach!
  5. 5. Get grain-wise Forget white, refined grains and over-sweetened cereals. Swap these for chewy wholemeal or low GI grain breads and wholegrain breakfast cereals with less added sugar. You get fibre, more vitamins and you’ll feel fuller so you’re less likely to pick between meals.
  6. 6. Start with water Get a new habit. Drink a glass of water before you start to eat. It fills up you so you don’t consume as much (true, this has been proven in research) and ensures you take in enough fluid, especially when it’s hot.
  7. Bulk up on salad or soup Make lunch or dinner a salad meal or add a side salad to dinner. Salads have few kilojoules (calories) and are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. They’re like a multi-vitamin in food form. Too cold for a salad? Go for a bowl of vegetable soup instead – works the same way as a hunger-buster. Think about it – why are there so many soup diets?
  8.  Be active as often as you can You gotta do it! There’s no escape – exercise is as important as what you eat. Get up 30 minutes earlier and go for a brisk walk or swim. Join a gym and book yourself a few sessions with a personal trainer if you need the motivation to establish a new training routine. Walk wherever you can.  Activity after work is the best tranquilizer, while speeding up your metabolism after a sedentary day.  Exercise is a stress release and makes you feel great!


December 10, 2016

The No Weight Gain During The Festive Season

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 8:50 pm



Holidays can trigger imbalance and excess. Come the festive season, some of us indulge in a six-week feeding frenzy; others go the other way and act like Grinch. Here are some useful tips for keeping the party season in perspective:


  1. Take the ‘80/80’ approach. Instead of aiming for 100 percent, give yourself some leeway at this time of year. Shooting for ‘everything healthy all of the time’ is a sure-fire route to failure. Allow yourself some leeway instead, and you will have more fun and feel better at the start of the New Year. If you slip and violate your own rules occasionally, take it in your stride.
  2. Choose your indulgences. Don’t waste kilojoules on treats you can get any time of the year. Make every calorie count! Have the once-a-year pleasures.
  3. Schedule time to stave off stress. Pencil in some “me” time and exercise. Get stressed out, and you’ll be too exhausted to make good food choices.
  4. Replace your evening trip to the kitchen with a relaxation ritual. During the holidays it is especially important to cultivate calm. Putting the key in the door and going straight to the fridge is a habit worth changing. Instead, dim the lights; sit in your cushiest chair; and just be for a few minutes.
  5. Practise saying “no thanks”. You may have to massage the truth to get out of parties or other events you don’t want to attend, but it is worth the calories and stress you’ll save? Can’t skip an event altogether? Just drop by – then scoot out! As for the endless invitations to eat, recognise that what you put in your mouth is your business and nobody else’s.
  6. Sit down – and enjoy. Use a plate and sit down to eat. Give everything you eat your complete attention. Practice mindful eating. If you eat something distractedly, it does not register.
  7. Avoid temptation traps. Toss left-overs and quickly re-gift food presents or pass them along to friends or co-workers. It is OK to get rid of all festive-food temptations.
  8. Remember that exercise is not a license to eat. Feeling virtuous because you worked out before the party? Good for you. But if you think that gives you leeway to down one of everything, you are fooling yourself.

Happy holidays!

August 14, 2016


Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 12:08 am

TIP:  Try leaving a little food on your plate at each meal and moving a little more every day.


Fight Fat, 100 calories a time.

Instead of making drastic changes to your diet, you could avoid putting on excess weight simply by eating 100 fewer calories a day. Based on evidence that Australians are gaining approximately 1/2kg per year, such a small change could offset weight gain in roughly 90% of people.  For every 100 excess calories consumed, about 50 are stored as fat.  Thus, subtracting 100 calories a day, either by exercising more or eating less, would close the gap between calories consumed and calories burned.  Scrape off 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, drink one less soft drink or leave three bites of hamburger on your plate.  Or add a 15-20 minute walk to burn 100 extra calories.  Though it can be hard to be sure if you are consuming 100 fewer calories than you are burning every day, giving this a try could not hurt.




  1. Never say diet.  Your new way of eating is “undiet” because it has no restrictions on what you eat – and your weight loss will be forever.
  2. Imagine yourself dazzling.  Make a mental videotape of yourself at your best; strong, healthy and making good choices in every area of your life.  When you want to skip the gym or super size your chips, play the mental tape.
  3. Stay informed/try new things. Read fitness magazines, recipe books, buy fresh music workouts – anything to stay motivated.
  4. Don’t eliminate, moderate.  Drastic changes are hard to maintain.  Enjoy favourite rich foods in small amounts. “No human being should have to live without a fresh-baked chocolate chip biscuit” If you are craving them, bake a few and freeze the dough.
  5. Be a calorie sleuth.  Fat and calories are sneaky.  Just switching to low fat milk makes a difference!  Rather enjoy the extra calories in a snack.
  6. Get cookin’! When you are the cook you control the calories, fat, portion size and most important, the taste.  Plenty of books around or get an insight from cooking shows and food Web sites.
  7. Eat fruit and veggies. Have at least five servings of them a day so there is less room for less-nutritious calories.  Eat them raw, grilled, roasted, stir-fried or blanched.  Toss them with fresh herbs and a little olive oil for a low fat for pasta, pizza or fish.
  8. Try exotic flavours. Tantalize your palate with variety.  Buy Asian condiments, raspberry vinegar or papaya.  While pricier than ordinary low-fat processed foods, they’ll put a kick in your meals.
  9. De-clutter your kitchen.  Rather than deal with a mess, you’ll more likely go out for greasy fast food or eat leftover pizza.  Clean up, then stock up on low fat cookbooks and cooking tools.
  10. Prepare veggies in advance.  Chop onions, peel garlic, cut broccoli into florets as you watch TV, then bag them separately and refrigerate.  You will have less to do at dinnertime.
  11. Savour the moment and the morsel.  Slow down, savour food.  Take time to enjoy every morsel and you will give your stomach and brain a chance to feel satisfied with a reasonable about of food.
  12. Snack to rein a runaway appetite.  To prevent bingeing, work in healthful snacks.  Keep grapes in the freezer, low fat yoghurt in the office, fresh fruit on hand.
  13. Get your butt into gear.  You must increase your activity level.  Start with baby steps and work your way up to walking, hiking, running or biking daily.
  14. Accentuate the positive.  Write down all the positive things you have done today, from getting to work on time to taking a 10-minute walk or trying a new vegetable.
  15. Reward yourself.   Thank yourself now and then with a new dress, a massage, or a session with a personal trainer.


February 12, 2016


Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 7:18 pm

Dealing with Hunger and Food Cravings

Eat Better and Manage Your Weight without Deprivation


There’s more to healthy eating and weight loss than simply tracking. How you think about food and respond to hunger, eating cues, and cravings also affect your diet and overall health.As babies, we ate intuitively: We fussed when we were hungry and stopped eating when we were full. As we grew older, the world around us began influencing what, when and how much we chose to eat. After years of advertising, imposed meal times, cafeteria offerings, holiday meals, grandma’s comfort foods, and yo-yo diets, many of us have completely lost touch with our real hunger and satiety signals. We confuse cravings with hunger and end up overeating—or emotionally eating—as a result.

But hunger and cravings are very different, and by learning to distinguish the two, you can be more satisfied with your meals and reduce your calories without feeling the urge to continue eating. Here’s what you need to know to get back to your intuitive eating roots and manage your weight.

Hunger: Your Need for Food
By definition, hunger is “the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food.” Simply put, hunger is a signal from your body that it needs food for energy. When you’re truly hungry, your stomach, brain, or both will give you cues to tell you to eat. Signals from your stomach may be growling, an empty, hollow feeling, or hunger pangs. Your brain may send signals such as a headache, trouble concentrating, irritability or fogginess. Some people even experience physical fatigue when they are hungry. Hunger does not go away over time—it only gets worse. And any food will satisfy your hunger and take the hunger signals away.

If you’ve fallen into the habit of ignoring hunger cues (eating when the clock says it’s “lunch time” or eating when you are not even hungry), tune back in to your body. Keep a journal to track your hunger and satiety before and after eating. When assessing your hunger level, use the following scale to rank how your body feels in terms of hunger or fullness (also called satiety).

Hunger Level Sensations and Symptoms
1 Starving, weak, dizzy
2 Very hungry, cranky, low energy, a lot of stomach growling
3 Pretty hungry, stomach is growling a little
4 Starting to feel a little hungry
5 Satisfied, neither hungry nor full
6 A little full, pleasantly full
7 A little uncomfortable
8 Feeling stuffed
9 Very uncomfortable, stomach hurts
10 So full you feel sick

Once you begin paying attention to how you’re feeling before and after you eat, you can start to make changes in what and how much you eat according to your hunger. It’s best to eat when your hunger level is at a 3 or 4. Once you wait until you’re at a 1 or 2 and are feeling very, very hungry, you are more likely to overeat or choose less healthful foods. (Remember: Any food will quell hunger, so we often reach for whatever is easy and convenient when we’re feeling desperate to eat.) At a level 3 or 4, when you’re just starting to feel some hunger signals, you can make a conscious decision to eat the right amount of healthful and tasty foods. It’s important, too, to be aware of how much you eat. It’s best to stop eating at level 6 before you feel uncomfortably full (7-10). Your brain registers the signals that you’re full slowly, and learning to eat to satisfaction without overeating will take some attention and practice.

Another important strategy, as you become aware of your hunger signals, is to eliminate all distractions and make food the main attraction of your meal. Watching TV, reading, using the computer or paying bills while eating can reduce your ability to recognize satiety.

Appetite: Your Interest in Food
We talk a lot about appetite: “My son has a huge appetite!” or “I worked up an appetite at the gym.” Appetite is not the same thing as hunger; it actually refers to an interest in food. It’s often said that someone’s appetite can override their hunger and fullness. When some people feel stressed, they could lose their appetite and choose to ignore feelings of hunger. (Others respond the opposite way, eating in response to stress or negative emotions despite a lack of hunger or strong feelings of fullness.) And how many times have you sat down to a delicious meal and continued eating even though you were experiencing sensations of fullness? That, too, is an example of appetite overriding the signals from your body. As you start becoming more aware of hunger signals, do not confuse appetite with physical signs of hunger.

Cravings: Your Desire for Specific Foods
Cravings are very different from hunger, yet somewhat similar to appetite. Look up “crave” in the dictionary and you will see “to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly.” Usually, the foods you crave are not a necessity, nor do they serve a life-sustaining need. Cravings, unlike hunger signals, will change over time, even over a period of 10 minutes. They are usually triggered by emotions (stress, boredom, sadness, etc.), an attachment or fondness for a certain food, or proximity to appetizing food. Unlike hunger, where any food will quell the sensation, only one specific food will satisfy a craving.

Keep in mind that when you have a craving but are not physically hungry, you must look deeper into why that craving is there. Are you bored? Did you have a stressful day at home or work? Did you see doughnuts and now all you can think about is eating one (a thought that previously hadn’t even crossed your mind)? Dig into the reason behind your longing for a certain food. If it’s an emotional need, deal with the emotion. If it’s a proximity craving (you see appetizing food and therefore want it), try a distraction technique..

Certainly, it’s important to take pleasure from food and get satisfaction from the foods you eat. Cravings are normal and have a place in a healthy balanced diet. But learning to satisfy them in a controlled manner will keep your relationship with food in balance. Constantly giving in to your cravings—or confusing them with hunger—can lead to overeating and an unbalanced diet, especially since many of the foods we crave are high in fat, salt, sugar, or a combination of the three.

This makes it even more important to stop and examine why you want to eat something. Many healthy eaters have come up with delicious and crave-worthy recipes that can satisfy their longings for a particular food without going overboard. Other times, you may simply choose to eat the food you’re craving. Both situations are OK as long as you are making conscious decisions and practicing moderation.

When you stop to think about your hunger and fullness levels, your appetite and cravings (both the triggers and your response), the more in-control you’ll be around food, which can help you return to an intuitive way of eating that helps you manage your weight without ever going hungry or feeling deprived. Now that’s a recipe for good health and weight-management!


November 23, 2015

10 Tips to Help Your Weight Survive the Holiday Celebrations

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 4:04 am

10 Tips to Help Your Weight Survive the Holiday Celebrations


Holidays bring family and friends together to celebrate traditions and spread good cheer. They also bring lots of opportunities for socializing, eating, and drinking. Even the most disciplined people struggle with temptation during the holiday season. This time of the year should be enjoyable. However, you need to keep physically active, maybe now more than ever. Physical activity reduces stress and gives us more energy and changes our mindset to make better food choices. Try fitting in a workout before the party because, more likely than not, you will be tired from all the celebrating afterwards.


If you have been working very hard at healthy eating, losing weight, or maintaining your weight all year, this may be a difficult time for you. The last thing you want to do is over-indulge in all the delicious food that surrounds us during the holiday season. What are some things you can do to avoid over-eating and sabotaging all your hard work?


To navigate the party landmines with your healthy diet intact, you need a strategy. Having a plan in place will help you handle night after night of eating and drinking.


Think of your appetite as an expense account, and figure out how much you want to spend on drinks, appetizers, entrees, and dessert. Give yourself permission to enjoy your favourite foods — in sensible portions.


To help you survive the seasonal parties without packing on the kilos here are 10 recommendations:


Continue reading below…

Trim back the trimmings. Go all out and deck the halls with boughs of holly, glitter, and lights, but when it comes to holiday food, accessorize with care. To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream – additions that don’t add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline. Trim calories wherever you can so you leave the party feeling satisfied, but not stuffed. If you are hosting the party, you have control of the ingredients that are added to the favourite holiday recipes – but as a guest, it is not as easy. However, just because you are a guest does not mean you cannot offer to bring a healthy, low-fat dish to add to the selection. Most hosts will welcome an additional dish, and the other guests may enjoy having a healthier option to choose. Consider a simple dish like a fresh salad, or if you offer to bring dessert, consider baked apples or poached pears..

 Wear snug clothes and keep one hand busy. When you wear snug-fitting attire, chances are you’ll be too busy holding in your stomach to overeat. While you stand around looking posh in your holiday finery, hold a drink in your dominant hand so it won’t be so easy to grab food.


Chew gum. When you don’t want to eat, pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth. This works well when you’re cooking or when you’re trying not to dive into the buffet.


Be a food snob. If you don’t love it, don’t eat it.  Scan the buffet for foods you truly treasure and skip the everyday dishes that are available all year long. And don’t think it’s your responsibility to sample everything on the buffet. Go ahead and indulge in your personal holiday favourites, keep portions small, then find a seat and, slowly and mindfully, savour every mouthful. Be Mindful! You should remember what the celebration is about. Your mind should be focused on enjoying the time with your family and friends.


No skipping meals. Always eat normally on the day of a party. People who skip meals to save up calories tend to overeat everything in sight once they get there. Eating sensibly throughout the day will take the edge off the appetite and empower a bit of restraint. Start with a nourishing breakfast, have a light lunch. Prepare Yourself Before the Party! One of the biggest mistakes you can make before heading to a party is to skip a meal or arrive hungry. By eating a light, healthy snack before leaving your own house, you can set yourself up to make better choices. Try a low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, or a small bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk.


Check it out. First things first. When you arrive at the party, grab a sparkling water with a twist, and wait at least 30 minutes before eating. This will give you time to relax, get comfortable in your surroundings, and survey your food choices on the buffet before diving in. A buffet is an invitation to eat all you can, and unless you carefully scrutinize it and make wise choices, you’re likely to overeat.


 Add fun and games. Take the focus off food and get family and friends more active during holiday parties. Think ball games, swimming, skipping or going for a walk.  Indoors, try a spirited game of charades, or rent an instructional dance video followed by a dance-off. The best parties include dancing, so why not make dancing after eating a new holiday tradition for a great form of fun and recreation.


Alternate alcohol with nonalcoholic beverages. Alcohol adds extra unwanted calories and, if too much is consumed, it lowers inhibitions, which can lead to overeating. Try consuming water with a lemon or lime, skim milk, or diet / sugar-free beverages. Cut your alcohol calories in half by alternating water or seltzer between alcoholic beverages.


Skip the appetizers. Eschew the appetizers rather than chewing on them. If you need a little nibble before the meal, go for the veggies, fruit, salsa, or a small handful of nuts.


Limit the variety. Variety stimulates appetite, and if you limit your choices to just a few items and stick with these, it will be easier to control than eating a little bit of 20 different dishes.


Holiday parties are much more than food and drinks. They are a time to delight in the traditions of the season, and enjoy the company of family and friends. If you keep the focus on the spirit of the season — and heed this advice — you’ll most likely get through the holidays without gaining a kilo. If you do splurge, don’t beat yourself up. Just get right back to normal eating and exercising, and try to do a better job at the next party.
Remember: If you must splurge one, two, or even three days during the holiday season, then that really is not going to ruin all of your hard work. It takes an extra 500 calories each day, or 3,500 calories a week, to gain ½ kilo.  A few very careful days will negate the splurges so you will end the holiday season feeling fit, healthy and relaxed!!!

September 23, 2015


Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 6:06 am

SPRING into shape – the healthy way!

Weight loss and fad diets

A fad weight loss diet is any diet that promises fast weight loss without any scientific basis. These diets often eliminate entire food groups and as a result do not provide a wide range of important nutrients.


Fad Diets

Many people decide to go on fad diets as they are anxious to attain a low weight for the Summer months.  Diets that encourage fast weight loss usually have little effect on levels of body fat. The initial weight lost on a fad diet is a combination of fluid, muscle and a little fat. When speaking about losing weight, we should probably talk about fat loss rather than weight loss as fluid and muscle are important components of body weight and it is generally not desirable to reduce their levels.

When very little food is eaten, the body begins to break down muscle to meet energy (kilojoule) needs. Unfortunately, this occurs much more readily than the breakdown of fat stores. Breaking down muscle leads to a loss of water, creating the illusion of rapid weight loss. Additionally, breaking down muscle leads to a lowered metabolic rate meaning that when the diet is stopped, it is much easier for the body to gain fat than it was prior to going on the diet. As a result, over time, people can diet themselves fatter.

Weight loss diets often encourage a short-term change in eating behaviour, rather than encouraging changes that can be sustained in the long-term.

We are continually bombarded with a range of misleading wonder-cures for weight loss. Australians spend millions of dollars each year in their attempts to lose weight. It is estimated that at least 40% Australian women and 20% Australian men are “on a diet” at any one time.

It is important that efforts to lose weight incorporate healthy lifestyle changes that can be sustained for the long-term. It is also essential that any diet meets nutritional needs, is practical and suitable for each person’s individual lifestyle. Regular physical activity is also important for those wanting to lose weight.


If you are determined to lose weight and make permanent changes to your lifestyle – eating and exercise – your brain has to make a commitment and assist in being positive and enjoy the benefits if these changes.

  1. If you think you can you will. The most important step in losing weight is believing in yourself. You can conquer a weight problem. Give yourself time, and realise that your new attitudes and behaviours will take practice and continued attention. ‘Rome was not built in a day’ – there will be slips along the way, but your resolve has to be strong to overcome these and move forwards.
  2. Never eat just to eat. You must feel hungry in your stomach. Analyse your hunger cues so that you are in tune with your body. Once you begin paying attention to how you are feeling before and after you eat, you can make changes in what and how much you eat according to your hunger.
  3. Be conscious of what you are eating. Mindful eating – being aware of what and how much you are eating.  Give yourself permission to sit down, focus on your food (or drink), eat slowly, chew your food, enjoy each mouthful and register when you are satisfied and stop eating.
  4. Focus on the positive outcomes rather than just what the scales are telling you. You may be feeling happier with your food choices, your reduced alcohol intake, reduced portions, feeling better in your clothes, starting to exercise – all deserve recognition as these create continued motivation. Making permanent sustainable change is essential. Getting healthy is not an end goal. Life is not like that. It is about your mind helping you navigate the good times and the bad times. The goal is to be more knowledgeable about food, make healthy choices and enjoy food in the correct amount. A ‘bad’ day is just part of the journey – nothing more.
  5. Identify your triggers. Everyone who is trying to lose weight has obstacles in their lives that can make achieving success difficult. Once you identify these personal challenges, you can develop a plan to overcome them. For instance, confrontation, relationships and family issues are common triggers. Using your anger or frustration as an excuse to eat is just a form of self-punishment – and what did you do to deserve that? Think of another outlet – exercising, bathing or telling people how you feel instead of stuffing your emotions down with food are better strategies.
  6. Wake up every day and feel great – naturally! Exercise allows your brain (mind) to think more clearly, and the brain underpins your success. The more exercise you do the faster you will see results, and the better you will feel both emotionally and physically. 

    “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ”
    Walt Disney Company


August 23, 2015

Weight Loss Rules You Will Love to Follow

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 7:53 am

13 Weight-Loss Rules You’ll Love to Follow
How to Make ‘Dieting’ Fun!

Stop Dieting and Start Living!
Seeing the words “diet” and “fun” in the same sentence might seem like an oxymoron. When we decide to lose weight, ideas of deprivation, boredom, sacrifice and even misery usually come to mind. But they don’t have to. Weight loss CAN be fun and enjoyable—if you have the right attitude and set out on your journey with the right tools—and rules—for long-term success.

Research shows that what we tell ourselves is a predictor of results. A positive mindset greatly increases one’s chances of success, and when we make the journey towards any goal enjoyable, we achieve it with greater speed and stick with it for the long haul.

So throw out the “dieting” rules that make you feel deprived and bored. To start, follow these rules of weight loss that not only work—but actually make the process more fun! And whatever you do, focus on enjoying the journey, not just reaching your destination.

Weight-Loss Rules You’ll Love to Follow

1. Eat more often. Out-of-control hunger is a common predictor of overeating—and giving up on any diet. When you go too long without food, your blood sugar drops, your mood and focus plummet, and you often grab the easiest thing you can, which usually isn’t healthy. Instead of skipping meals and starving yourself, don’t go more than 3-4 hours without eating. This will keep your hunger monster at bay and keep you happy and satisfied on your program.

2. Treat yourself. When you decide that a particular food (or even an entire food group), is off limits for your diet, research shows that we focus on that one food even more than if we simply allowed ourselves permission to eat it from time to time. If you told me I could never eat chocolates again, I probably wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about how much I like chocolates and would feel miserable that I couldn’t have them. Since willpower is in such short supply in humans, there’s a really good chance that anyone would cave in eventually—and likely go overboard. So give yourself permission—and make a plan—to make room in your diet for your favourite treats.

3. Stop searching for the best workout. What’s the ideal workout for weight loss? The workout you’ll actually do—not the one that worked for your friend, or that you heard burned the most calories. Research shows that if you can match the exercise plan to your preference and personality, you’ll be more consistent. If you pick what works for others or what you perceive is best despite not enjoying it, you’re setting yourself up for failure. When you find something that is fun, who cares how many calories it burns. In the end you’ll burn the most calories when you stop making excuses to avoid a workout and actually want to do an activity!
4. Love what you eat. When you eat or drink anything, do so slowly, mindfully and without distraction. By doing so, you’ll increase your enjoyment and slow down your eating which will allow you the time to notice when you’ve had enough. And if it’s a treat you’re having, you’ll feel so much more satisfied even if eating less because you’ll have relished every bite, guilt free.

5. Lie around and do nothing. If you’ve ever stayed awake burning the midnight oil, here’s your excuse to shut off the lights: Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night is essential for weight loss. Individuals who are sleep deprived have higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and lower levels of the fullness hormone leptin, which causes them to eat more calories. Perhaps we should rename beauty sleep to slimming sleep!

6. Don’t skip breakfast. Think you’ll be saving calories by skipping your morning meal? Think again. After an all-night fast, the best way to jump-start your metabolism is to eat within the first hour of waking. Studies have shown individuals who skip breakfast tend to over-consume at lunchtime or later in the day, offsetting all the calories they saved by skipping breakfast. Even if it’s something small, try a quick and healthy morning meal to help set you up for success later in the day.

7. Dig into carbohydrates! Lately, carbs have gotten a bad rap. But not all carbs are created equal. We’d all be better off skimping on the sweets, processed foods and refined flours that make up so many snack foods. Leave those on the grocery shelf! But there’s no reason to give up all carbs, especially the whole sources you’ll get in healthful fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains are dairy products.

8. Go out to eat. One of the first things people are told when losing weight is to cook more at home and stop eating out. This is good advice in general—but you don’t have to give up on a fast takeout meal or your favourite restaurant in order to slim down—especially these days when restaurants are creating healthier, lighter fare than ever before, and sharing those nutrition facts on menu boards and their websites. There are loads of ways to enjoy eating out without blowing your diet. Many menus offer lighter options, and good chefs are more than willing to accommodate special requests. Because restaurant portions do tend to be larger than normal, bring a friend. Split an entree to save calories and money. Or, order an appetizer as your main course.

9. Indulge in gourmet delights. If you eat foods you don’t enjoy, you’ll feel dissatisfied and find yourself searching for more food, even if you aren’t hungry. While budgetary constraints are real and you shouldn’t spend above your means, you might find that occasionally splurging on high-quality foods (even if the portions are smaller) can really make your food fun and enjoyable. My favourite low-calorie luxury is grilled salmon or Barrumundi. Or sometimes I opt for the small 100g prime cut of beef because it tastes so much better than 240g of a tougher, inexpensive cut. A few more budget-friendly luxuries might be gourmet coffee and tea or a small bar of rich, dark chocolate. Seek pleasure from your foods as much as your budget allows.

10. Keep your workouts short. If time or boredom are a problem and you find yourself skipping exercise because you just don’t have an hour to spare, no worries! Short bouts, as little as 10 minutes at a time, done several times over the course of the day, have similar calorie burning and health benefits as long, sustained sessions. The most motivated and successful people found that those who exercised 30 minutes – 60 minutes a day got better weight loss results.

11. Hang with your friends. Having support and camaraderie is a huge help while working on healthy lifestyle changes. Make weight loss a team effort by asking friends with similar goals to work out with you. Rather than go out for meals, cook healthy potluck dinners together. You can swap healthy recipes, share success stories and disappointments, and have friends to whom you are accountable and who are also there to cheer you on. I have numerous delicious recipes on my website

12. Go shopping! If you love to shop or hunt for bargains, then you’ll have fun scoring deals on all the gadgets and gear you need to change your lifestyle. If part of your plan is to cook at home more, shop for the kitchen tools you’ll need (think slow cooker, griddle pan or blender), fun storage containers, plus an insulated bag for your snacks and lunch. To make your workouts more enjoyable and effective, you can buy some low-cost equipment to help you reach your goals. As you lose weight, you’ll notice your clothing getting a bit baggy. Ignite your workout by dressing in great fitting exercise apparel, and show off your toned body in smaller sized clothing. Weight loss isn’t a big industry for nothing. If you love to shop, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to shop for a good reason.

13. Don’t diet. This may be the most important rule of all. “Going on a diet” implies a start and a stop, but that’s not how sustainable weight loss is achieved. Diets often slow down your metabolism due to the drastic cut back in calories your body is used to, and many diets that are advertised today are just plain unhealthy. Following rigid plans requires constant willpower, something we know humans have only a short supply of! Change and adjust your lifestyle habits a little at a time and you will lose excess kilos and achieve and maintain the healthy body weight that is right for you. From now on, define the word “diet” as the food plan you use to maintain a healthy body weight, supply you the energy to support your busy lifestyle and keep you well.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right HENRY FORD

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