Loose weight with Arlene Normand

April 30, 2009

Should I cut out coffee completely?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:56 am


I am always feeling anxious and suffer from anxiety – should I cut out coffee completely?


There is nothing wrong with jump-starting your morning with caffeine hit – unless you cannot wind down later on. A British study found that after consuming 200mg of caffeine (equivalent to 2 cups of coffee), people tended to appraise situations as more stressful and had reduced confidence in the ability to cope. Other studies have shown that caffeine can cause temporary rise in blood pressure and intensify feelings of anxiety. This is especially true for people suffering with social anxiety disorders and those taking adrenaline-regulating drugs called beta-blockers, which are used to treat heart conditions and anxiety. Caffeine cancels out the effects of these medications. Caffeine can stay active in your system for up to seven hours, which may cause sleep disorders in sensitive individuals – which you may be one. If you regularly have trouble falling asleep at night, take a close look at how much caffeine you are consuming a day. I suggest you cut out caffeine completely and try the variety of herbal teas on the market – Camomile tea is particularly good to promote relaxation and sleep.

Don’t you think he should love me for who I am not for what I look like?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:55 am


My husband is really getting to me about my weight. I was very slim when I got married, but since having children I have ballooned. Don’t you think he should love me for who I am not for what I look like?


I think you have a duty to yourself and your family to be a healthy weight. I am not referring to your “looks”, but to your well-being. If your husband put on a massive amount of weight you would probably be encouraging him to reduce. It is essential to your marriage to maintain a physical attraction to each other. I am sure he still loves you, but when you are overweight your desire for sex can fade as your self-esteem, feelings of attractiveness and sex appeal can weaken. If you don’t feel good about the way you look, you don’t feel sexy. Then there is the question of how desirable you are to your partner. Women get angry every time I say that. We are looking for guys who will love us no matter what. You want him to be with you through sickness and health, but it is not realistic to expect him to be sexually inspired by you no matter how enormous you get. We expect our partners to make an effort for us, and they expect the same thing. Those are signs of love and attraction and investment in the relationship. Start a program of regular exercise, select your foods more carefully, and eat smaller portions – you will be surprised how quickly the weight will fall off, you will feel better, and you will make your husband smile!

I just love pizza, but am trying to lose weight. Can I still have it?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:55 am


Italian researchers have found evidence that people who regularly eat pizza have healthier hearts than those who don’t. In a study of nearly 1000 people, those who ate pizza regularly ate the equivalent of 3 slices a week were 56% less likely to have a heart attack than people who never ate pizza. Pizzas do contain heart healthy ingredients which have nutrients similar to the Mediterranean diet – tomato, olive oil, colourful vegetables. The trick if you are a pizza lover is to omit the fatty extras – sausage, extra cheese, salami, bacon and cabanossi. When you order a pizza ask for a veggie topping, and tell them to go light on cheese or ask for a cheesless pizza or ricotta instead. Two slices with a salad should be your limit for a meal!

My doctor said I have to lose weight?

Filed under: Messages — Arlene @ 5:54 am


I tend to suffer from heartburn, what can I do about my food to help this? My doctor said I have to lose weight?


Your doctor is correct – you should aim for a healthy weight with a Body Mass Index of approximately 23. The Body Mass Index is obtained by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. Excess weight aggravates reflux which can cause heartburn due to reflux. Limit or avoid the triggers of heartburn: chocolate, peppermint, caffeine, fizzy drinks, high fat foods, and citrus fruit. Only eat small meals – never till you are full only comfortable. Do not eat for two hours before going to bed. In a recent study, people who ate high fibre foods, such as whole grain bread, fruit, vegetables, and beans, were 20% less likely to suffer heartburn symptoms. Consuming 25-30g fibre a day is associated with a lowered risk of heartburn. You can reach that target range by having high fibre cereal for breakfast, a sandwich with whole grain bread for lunch, an apple and as a snack, and salad with mixed vegetables for dinner. If your heartburn persists you must go and see your doctor as if it is left untreated it can do damage to your digestive tract.

Do you think cooking destroys the vitamins and minerals?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:54 am


I am trying to start eating more healthily as I want to lead a healthier lifestyle. A friend suggested that I go on a raw food diet. I have started doing this, but am finding it quite difficult. I miss the flavours that cooking adds to food, I also miss the different textures. Do you think cooking destroys the vitamins and minerals?


Talking a raw food diet does not mean sushi, sashimi with soy sauce or wasabi – it translates into raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds that are uncooked to supposedly preserve the nutrients and enzymes. It does sound healthy but it is not a lifestyle a non-fanatic can easily adapt to. You do need a mix of cooked and uncooked foods. Heating foods does damage certain nutrients, but it also makes other nutrients more available (eg. Lycopene in tomatoes). Raw fruit, vegetables and nuts are a great source of fibre, they are sometimes difficult to digest – often cooking aids easier digestion and prevents excessive wind. A creative diet which mixes cooked and uncooked ingredients makes a good balance for a healthy body and delicious meals. I do not believe in being excessive with anything, no-one makes a lifestyle or habits of things that are too severe and difficult to adhere to. Stir fries, curries, soups, casseroles, are all healthy and the human body is capable of digesting and utilising the nutrients in these dishes. Variety is the spice of life!


Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:53 am

It is lunchtime at a food hall in a shopping centre in Sydney and I am looking around at teenagers, parents, kids, standing in line to order cheeseburgers piled high with chips, pizzas overloaded with cheese, buckets of soft drink and oversize juices and ice-creams. Many of these people are bursting at the seams – plump, chubby, or grossly fat!

Look at the portion sizes!

The typical Australian is overloaded with calories, but falls short of essential vitamins and minerals. Australians are fat (and getting fatter) not just because they are eating too much, but because they are eating too little of nutrients dense foods. How does the brain know when we have had enough to eat? Calories and exercise (energy expenditure) play a role – but there is more to it than that. The body requires at least 40 vitamins and minerals which the body can only get by us consuming them. If you eat a meal that does not give your body the nutrients it needs, does your brain signal to go on eating until you get them? The question of satiety (being satisfied) is a problematic question. Many people eat just because the food is available and do not listen to the natural cues the body tells us – we often stuff ourselves until we feel bloated and over fed.

A study was done where 15000 people were asked about there diets, supplement use, and weight changes between 45 and 55. The interest was whether herbal supplements sold as weight loss formulas actually helped people lose weight. Herbs did not help.

Chromium has often been given as a supplement to remove sugar cravings. Chromium is involved in controlling blood sugar levels, which in turn affect feelings of hunger and satiety. However, no evidence demonstrates taking Chromium as a supplement helps weight loss or stops sugar cravings.

Iron deficiency makes it more difficult to lose weight. Perhaps this is because you do not have the energy to exercise as normal, or the resultant depression can cause overeating? The same is true of zinc. A zinc deficiency is known to suppress appetite… People who are short of zinc lose muscle tissue which in itself can slow metabolism. So theoretically if people deficient in zinc raise their intake with the correct foods, they could increase their muscle mass – and start burning calories faster.

Calcium plays a direct role in whether the body burns fat or stores it. Michael Zemel, a professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Tennessee, stumbled on the connection by accident. He found volunteers who followed an eating plan that included two servings of yoghurt a day lost 5 kg of body fat over the course of a year-long trial, even though they did not cut back on calories. In a 2004 study, Zemel showed that obese subjects on a reduced-calorie diet lost 5.4% of their body weight over 24 weeks. Numerous studies have shown that people who report eating plenty of dairy-rich products are more likely to maintain a healthy weight than people who don’t.

Calcium seems to promote weight loss in several ways:

· It burns fat by producing heat – thermogenesis.

· Helps shift energy stored in fat cells to working muscles.

· Calcium helps get rid of old fat cells which is particularly important for people who lose weight.

Diets short on calcium make it extremely difficult to lose weight. It is necessary to have 2-3 serves of calcium a day, and sufficient Vitamin D to assist the absorption.

Do not depend on pills alone to get your vitamins and minerals – food is still the best source. Zemel has found that people who get the calcium from food in the form of dairy products lose more weight and shed more body fat than those who rely on calcium supplements. It is almost impossible to overdose when it comes to food. Overdosing (particularly iron, fat soluble vitamins and zinc) can be a concern.

The best source of vitamins and minerals are vegetables, salads, fruit, legumes, whole grains – most of which are rich in fibre making your meals more filling and therefore playing a role in helping you eat less and lose weight.

Evidence shows that choosing foods that pack most nutrition per calorie could help many people slim down. A study at Pennsylvania State University found that people who favoured nutrient-dense foods (whole-grain cereals, dark green and yellow vegetables, fruit, milk, fish, lean meat, and legumes) consumed fewer calories and were half as likely to be overweight or obese as people filling up on less nourishing foods.

Dining in the food malls in Australia we are fortunate to have a variety of nutritious foods to choose from – sandwiches packed with salad, stir fries, sushi, grilled chicken, fruit salad and yoghurt to name a few. However, you do have to be concerned with portion sizes. Make one meal last for two meals – or better still, share the meal with a friend!

April 29, 2009

I love popcorn; does it have any nutritional value?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 1:49 am


I love popcorn; does it have any nutritional value? I have to have something to snack on – everything else is loaded in fat and calories.


The conventional wisdom is that popcorn is just a junky snack food – you are no better off than if you ate chips. A serving of popcorn counts as a serving of whole grain, right up there with the brown rice and whole wheat bread. Of course, to count as a healthy serving, it must be air popped or light microwave popcorn. Movie popcorn generally contains oodles of fat and calories because it is popped in oil before any butter is even added. Beware of pre-packaged popcorn. Some packaged brands that claim to be “air popped” may actually be so but are slathered with high calorie oil or cheese coatings. So be sure to check the fat content on the nutrition label. You must remember that popcorn does contain calories, so cannot be consumed liberally without it impacting on your weight.

Do you think I should take a vitamin supplement?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 1:48 am


I have gone on a low carb diet, do you think I should take a vitamin supplement as I am not eating any fruit?


A low-carb diet restricts or eliminates many nutritious foods which provide many vitamins and minerals. I do not promote any eating regime long term which results in you omitting fruit and vegetables from your daily intake. Just to mention a few – you lose out on B vitamins and magnesium from grains, calcium and vitamin D from milk products, potassium from fruit and potatoes, and beta carotene from vegetables. No pill can replace the thousands of health-enhancing phytochemicals found in intensely coloured fruit and vegetables. You might need to take a moderate dose multivitamin and mineral supplement daily. However, I do advocate you consuming a more balanced diet which includes foods from all the food groups.

I would like to do liposuction – what do you think?

Filed under: Messages — Arlene @ 1:47 am


I have been overweight for years and struggled to get it down. I have tried every diet on earth. I would now like to do liposuction – what do you think?


Liposuction alone is not a solution to long term “slimness”. You have to alter you eating and exercise habits to maintain weight loss. After liposuction you will gain back the weight if you eat a lot and stop exercising. Liposuction does not produce the “perfect” body. In a survey of 200 patients who underwent liposuction six to 24 months earlier, about 40% gained weight after liposuction, and most did not exercise or change their eating habits. The majority, who maintained or lost weight, exercised more and ate healthier food than before the surgery. People who exercise and improve their diet after liposuction are 15 times more likely to drop clothing sizes and twice as inclined to like their appearance says plastic surgeon, Rod Rohrich at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas. Liposuction is only recommended if you are going to make permanent changes to your lifestyle – otherwise you are wasting your time dreaming and your money!

What is cellulite and how can I get rid of it?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 1:46 am


Cellulite occurs when fibrous bands of connective tissue, which give the skin support and elasticity, pull down the fat causing it to bulge up unevenly under the skin – giving it that dimply effect. The less fat you have, the less noticeable the cellulite. Diet and exercise are essential to minimise cellulite. Improve your eating habits – get the proper nutrients from a balanced diet. Exercise regularly to improve circulation. Be cautious about the claims made by some of the spa treatments, the results disappear once you discontinue treatment.

· Endermologie uses gentle suction massage to temporarily loosen the connective tissue that gives fat and skin its bumpy look and to increase circulation in the area – both helping the skin appear smoother.

· Tri-Active LaserDermology combines mechanical massage (to loosen connective tissue) with a laser that heats the skin and the layers of fat beneath it in an attempt to break down the fat pockets and increase circulation. A cooling mechanism also lowers the skin’s temperature to prevent discomfort and swelling from the laser’s heat.

· Velasmooth treatments consist of radiofrequency waves (to break up fat pockets), followed by infrared heat (which warms the area to increase circulation) and massage, which help loosen connective tissue.

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