Loose weight with Arlene Normand

June 26, 2009

I Can’t stop eating!!!

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 6:41 am


I cannot stop eating!  I am having problems at home and find that I just comfort eat all the time.  I am not even enjoying the food I am eating.  What can I do to stop?


You need to address the problems you are experiencing at home with a counsellor or your doctor – either you have to resolve them or learn strategies to cope with them.  Eating does not help, it exacerbates you feeling awful!  Never eat when you are tired or stressed as these lead to uncontrolled eating.  You must put everything on a plate and sit down in a relaxed manner to enjoy your food.  Use other methods to cope with stress – exercise is the ideal.  A good workout (gym, walk, swim) will release the endorphins which help your body relax and clear your head to see the problems more objectively.

June 18, 2009


Filed under: Messages — Arlene @ 5:13 am

Fast food is becoming an everyday quick meal fix it is not only making fat profits for the outlets, it is also making you fat. The foods are generally loaded with calories, saturated and trans fats, and very low on nutritional vitamins and minerals. They fool you into overeating with large portions and specials which appear so attractive.  You have to take control of both your appetite and food intake!

Our ancestors had to expend an enormous amount of energy and effort obtaining food, hunting and preparing were extremely physical and time consuming.  Food was often scarce and had to be found.  Today food is available all the time everywhere.  It is so easy to eat too much and do very little activity.  Studies in the USA have shown in a study over a 15 year period that people who ate at fast food restaurants frequently gained approximately 4 ½ kg in weight more than those who ate meals prepared at home.  In addition, the fast food consumers were twice as likely to develop insulin resistance, which generally leads to diabetes.

Most fast food is high in fat (chips, burgers, tacos, wedges) or high in sugar (smoothies, milkshakes, juices) and consequently energy dense.  A small volume of food has an enormous number of calories with very little impact on our feeling of “fullness” (satiety), consequently we easily overeat.  In addition, these foods are low in fibre and nutrients.  The bulkier foods such as vegetables, salads, and fruit which are low in calories and less energy dense are more filling, and require more effort to eat as they require chewing due their fibre content.  A study in adolescents showed that those who were obese ate more calories on days they ate fast food than on days they did not.  This suggests that the fast food calories were not recognised by the body and did not trigger the same sense of fullness as the other foods they ate.  Their lean friends, however, ate a similar number of calories each day.

Australians are getting fatter because they have increased their intake of kilojoules while reducing their exercise levels. Many of the excess kilojoules come from soft drinks (which have no fat but are loaded with sugar), lollies, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, deep-fried food, high-carbohydrate muffins, bagels, pretzels and reduced-fat chips. Additionally, portion sizes have grown remarkably and are now accepted as normal, so not only are we eating more high-fat foods, our serves are huge.  When we are faced with larger portions we are tempted to eat more.  It appears that we ignore our feelings of fullness whether we choose the regular or large size.  We also seem to forget what we have eaten in prior meals.  An enormous breakfast of crumpets with syrup does not mean a smaller lunch or dinner. We seem unaware of the body’s natural cues of hunger and fullness – we just eat!  Make a habit of choosing the small size – as this will probably be all your body needs.

You really only taste and enjoy the first few mouthfuls, so eat slowly as it takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize what your stomach has eaten.    Often the variety causes you to eat more – a taste of everything in a Chinese or Indian buffet meal.  Recognise what you should be eating, plan ahead and do not succumb to meal deals offering more food for a bargain price.  You most definitely do not need the extra calories, be strong and don’t give in to temptation.

Numerous fast food outlets have increased the availability of healthier options, with nutritional information available. Take time to compare your options and never be shy to ask the ingredients in the food.  Managing your weight involves careful choices so never rush into ordering and don’t let your peers pressurize you into overeating.   There are now numerous healthy fast food options – sushi’ sandwiches on a variety of breads with different fillings, stir fries, salads with low joule dressing, fruit salad and yoghurt and noodle bars.  Supermarkets have made it easier to prepare tasty, easy meals at home – you can buy prepared washed salad, cut up stir fries, soup mixes, and seasoned meats.  Making an effort to prepare a yummy meal at home is a healthier option as you are controlling what you are eating.

Your body will react to what you put into it – you will feel better on healthier fuel in the correct quantity!

Fast Food Facts                  Calories       Fat (grams)
Veal Schnitzel                        460                      38
Chicken Nuggets (6)            300                      18
Chiko roll                                 370                      17
Pizza ( ½ medium)              600                      26
Sausage roll (large)             375                      28
Spring roll                               400                      17
Meat pie (average)               475                     25
Big Mac                                     470                     25
French fries (large)              470                     24
Chocolate milkshake           375                     10
Subway chicken fillet (6”) 450                     20
Nandos chicken burger      430                     15
Oportos burger                      540                     22

June 17, 2009

Menu for the next week

Filed under: Diet Menu — Arlene @ 5:24 am

Daily Allowance:
2 cups low fat milk
2 teaspoons fat (butter, oil, margarine, peanut butter, avocado pear)

Exercise requirement: 45 minutes of aerobic exercise per day (walk/swim/gym) Work out a plan to add a little more exercise to your life every day.  The exercise should be strenuous enough to make you a little breathless and to work up a sweat.  If you have any pain or are gasping for breath, you are overdoing it.

All foods must be tasty
– add herbs and spices. Make use of condiments (sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, chutney, pickles, pepper, Tabasco, curry)

Drinks:  Diet cordial, diet soft drinks, unflavoured mineral water, tea, coffee, herbal teas, cocoa, Bonox/Bovril.

Day 1
1 slice toast with banana sliced and a teaspoon honey drizzled over it
Morning tea:
1 plum
Greek salad with 60 grams feta cheese, five olives, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, capsicum, Spanish onions, beetroot and balsamic vinegar dressing (2 cups salad)
Afternoon tea:
1 small orange
PORK AND LEEK CASSEROLE served with 2 cups salad with balsamic vinegar or low joule dressing
1 Jarrah hot chocolate/ Swiss Miss/ Cadbury lite/ Ovaltine Lite/ COCONUT CHOC BISCUITS/ 1 cup watermelon cubed

Day 2
1/ cup cooked porridge
Morning tea:
1 small apple
Sandwich: 2 slices bread, teaspoon low fat mayonaise, 100-gram tuna and salad
Afternoon tea:
2 rice cakes with tomato and black pepper
Low joule jelly

Day 3
2/3 cup high fibre cereal
Morning tea:
1 small pear
Wrap with 30 grams cheese, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, capsicum and beetroot.  Toast if desired.
Afternoon tea:
1 small lamington (approx 30g) or 2 COCONUT CHOC BISCUITS
100 gram fruche-lite

Day 4
1 poached pear (put pear in microwave-proof dish, sprinkle with teaspoon cinnamon and sugar, microwave for 4 minutes) served with 2 flat tablespoons low fat yoghurt
Morning tea:
Small mandarin
Turkey (60 grams) sandwich on two slices rye bread flavoured with cranberry jelly, and salad
Afternoon tea:
1 cup 98% fat free soup (continental/country cup, etc)
1 Jarrah hot chocolate/ Swiss Miss/ Cadbury lite/ Ovaltine Lite/ 1cup strawberries

Day 5
1 scrambled egg on toast with grilled tomato and mushroom
Morning tea:
125 grams tinned fruit
Chicken (60 grams) and salad sandwich flavoured with mustard/chutney
Afternoon tea:
1 corn on the cob (in microwave for 4 minutes)
SPICY CHICKEN WITH YOGHURT served with 2 cups vegetables/salad
30 grams chocolate / 3 fresh dates

Day 6
1 slice toast with 1 teaspoon peanut butter
Morning tea:
2 dried figs
1 plate soup (chicken soup, vegetable bean soup, minestrone, pea, pumpkin, bean, lentil)
Afternoon tea:
1 small orange
Chilli steamed fish and 2 cups vegetables/salad
100ml ice cream / 25 nuts and raisins / 2 COCONUT CHOC BISCUITS

Day 7
2/3 cup high fibre cereal
Morning tea:
1 small apple
Miso soup, 2 sushi rolls
Afternoon tea:
2 COCONUT CHOC BISCUITS / 10 pretzels / 200g low fat yoghurt
STEAK WITH BACON MUSHROOM SAUCE and 3 serves vegetables
125g tinned fruit

500g diced pork
1 teaspoon oil
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 large apple, peeled, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup reduced-fat cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1. Add pork to a non-stick frying pan, in batches, cook until lightly browned all over. Remove from pan.
2. Heat oil in same pan; add leek and garlic, cook until soft. Stir in flour. Return pork to pan with stock and oregano. Bring to boil; stirring.
3. Transfer mixture to an ovenproof dish. Cover; cook in a moderate oven, 180oC, for about 30 minutes . Add apple; cook for about a further 30 minutes, or until pork is tender. Stir in cream and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Serves 4

4 large tomatoes, quartered
2 large carrots, peeled, halved
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1. Place tomatoes and carrots in a small baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook in a moderate oven, 180oC, for about 1 hour or until tomatoes are wrinkled. Cool.
3. Heat oil in a large pan, add onion and garlic, cook over low heat until onion is soft and lightly browned. Add tomatoes, carrots and stock. Bring to boil; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
4. Blend soup, in batches, until smooth. Return to pan; stir in juice. Reheat gently for 2 minutes.
Serves 4

400g diced lamb
1 tablespoon bottled pesto
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine lamb, pesto and juice in a bowl; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
2. Thread lamb onto eight skewers; cook on a heated non-stick grill pan, until browned all over and cooked to your liking.
3. Tomato Basil Sauce. Cook onion and garlic in a non-stick pan until soft. Add tomatoes and paste; simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper
4. Serve skewers with Tomato Basil Sauce.
Serves 4

Cooking oil spray
4 x 150g fish fillets
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 bunch baby bok choy
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1. Spray a heated pan with cooking oil. Add fish, cook, on both sides, until lightly browned and cooked through. Sprinkle fish sauce over fish in pan; remove pan from heat.
2. Heat a non-stick wok; add oil, spring onions and ginger. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add bok choy; stir for 2 minutes. Add soy sauce; stir-fry for a further 30 seconds.
3. Serve bok choy topped with fish; spoon over pan juices.
Serves 4


4 x 125g chicken breast fillets
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon lime juice
½  teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 clove garlic, crushed
cooking oil spray
1/2 cup plain low-fat yoghurt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place chicken in a bowl. Combine pepper, cumin, rind, juice, chilli, paprika and garlic in a jug; mix well. Pour over chicken, turn chicken to coat evenly. Stand for 15 minutes.
2. Spray a heated non-stick pan with cooking oil. Add chicken, cook on both sides until browned and cooked through.
3. Serve chicken with yoghurt blended with mint, salt and pepper.
Serves 4.

2 lean bacon rashers, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
60g button mushrooms finely sliced
½ cup bottled tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil spray
4 x 125g fillet steaks
½ cup beef stock
1. Cook bacon, shallots and mushrooms in a medium non-stick pan until browned. Stir in puree then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Heat a non-stick pan; spray with cooking oil. Add steaks; cook on both sides, until browned and cooked to your liking. Remove steak; cover to keep warm.
3. Add stock to same pan; stir until boiling and reduced by half. Stir in bacon mixture; cook for 1 minute.
4. Serve steaks topped with bacon mushroom sauce.
Serves 4

125g butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg
¾ cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup plain four
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon custard powder
¼ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup milk choc bits
1. Beat butter and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer until combined. Add egg; beat until combined. Stir in dry ingredients and choc bits; mix well. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Roll 2 teaspoons of mixture into balls. Place on a baking paper-lined oven trays; flatten slightly with the back of a spoon.
3. Cook in a moderately hot oven, 190oC for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Stand biscuits on trays for 5 minutes; cool on wire racks.
Makes 60

4 x 150g white fish fillets
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Place each fillet on a large sheet of foil. Combine ginger, sauces and spring onions in a jug; drizzle over fillets.
2. Seal foil lightly to enclose fish. Place parcels, side-by-side in a large baking dish.
3. Cook in a moderately hot oven, 190oC, for about 25 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
4. Serve fish drizzled with some of the juices; sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4

2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
500g beef eye fillet, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small red capsicum, sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
50g snow peas, trimmed
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 bunch baby bok choy
1. Combine honey, sauces and garlic in a bowl. Add beef; mix well. Stand 10 minutes. Drain beef; reserve marinade.
2. Heat oil in a wok; add beef, in baches, stir-fry until browned.
Remove from wok. Add capsicum, ginger, snow peas, carrot and bok choy; stir-fry for 1 minute.
3. Return beef to wok with reserved marinade. Stir-fry over high heat until beef is heated through.
Serves 4


Asparagus (10 stalks)        Capsicum (1 medium)
String Beans (3/4 cup)        Radishes (10 Medium)
Beetroot (1/2 cup)            Sauerkraut (1 Cup)
Cabbage (1 cup)            Eggplant (1 Cup)
Spinach (1 cup)            Onion (1 medium)
Tomatoes (1 large)            Chicory (10 small leaves)
Broccoli (3/4 cup)            Brussel Sprout (10)
Zucchini (1/2 cup)            Cauliflower (2/3 cup)
Mushrooms (1 cup)        Celery (4 stalk)
Pickled Cucumber (1 large)    Cucumber (1 cup)
Lettuce (2 cups)            Turnips (1/2 cup)
Carrots (1 cup)            Bamboo Shoots (1 cup)
Bean Sprouts (1 cup)        Chokos (1 cup)
Garlic  (free)            Pumpkin (1/2 cup)
Corn (1/4 cup)            Broad beans (1/4 cup)
Potatoes (1/4 cup)            Parsnips (1/4 cup)

1 small Orange            1 small apple        1 small pear
1 small banana            1 mandarin            2 plums
2 dried apricots            3 passionfruit        2 dried figs
1 slice pineapple            ½ grapefruit            2 fresh dates rockmelon 1 cup cubed        honeydew melon 1 cup cubed
2 prunes                Grapes 12 medium
nectarine 1 small            papaya ½ medium
strawberries 1 cup            watermelon 1 cup cubed
Sultanas 1 tablespoon        10 cherries
Rhubarb 1 cup            1 small mango
7 lychees

Cereal Group
1 slice bread (approximately 30grams) –     white, pumpernickel, rye, wholemeal, multigrain
2 vita wheat crackers                2 Sao
2 Rice cakes                        4 Corn thins
½ cup cereal                        1 slice raisin toast
½ bagel                        1 slice cinnamon toast
1 sachet instant porridge

Protein Group
1 egg
100gram meat (mince, steak, hamburger patty, Veal, corned beef, roast beef, 1 lean lamb chop)
120-gram chicken – ideally the breast (no skin)
150 grams fish (fresh) – salmon, tuna, mackerel, John Dory, Barramundi, etc
100g tin salmon/tuna (in brine or spring water)
90 grams low fat cottage cheese
30 grams yellow cheese
60 grams ricotta
200gram low fat yoghurt
100g fruche lite
100 grams tofu
2 Tablespoons hummous/tehina
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
100 grams baked beans
25g nuts

1 shortbread biscuit
2 morning coffee biscuits
2 ginger nut biscuits
2 Marie biscuits
2 wafer kitkat
2 lindor balls
1 tim tam
1 ice block
1 Jarrah/Swiss Miss/Cadbury Lite hot chocolate
½ cup ice cream
30 grams chocolate
120 ml glass wine once a day may replace a snack
1 biscotti
10 pretzels

June 12, 2009

Coffee and Anxiety

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 3:00 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.

Love me for me

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 2:58 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 love Pizza!

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 2:57 am


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


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!

Help with Heartburn

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 2:56 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.

Raw Food Diet?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 2:54 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!

June 10, 2009


Filed under: Messages — Arlene @ 7:03 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!

June 5, 2009

I can’t reach my goal

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 6:21 am


I am 29 years old and I am 168cm tall.  Ten years ago I weighed 90kg, and I lost considerable weight through exercise.  I am getting married in 6 months time and want to weigh 60-62kg for my wedding, but my weight is stuck at 70kg.  I do 30 minutes of cardio exercise and 30 minutes of weight training three to four times a week.  What can I do differently to reach my goal?


You have done exceptionally well in losing 20kg and maintaining that loss.  You have a Body Mass Index of 24.8, which is within the normal range (normal 20-25).  Your gaol weight may be unrealistic for your body type.  The fact that you have maintained your 20kg weight loss for so long suggests that you have found a comfortable weight, and your body may resist attempts to lose more.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so pay more attention to your dress size than to your weight.  Try and forget about the numbers on the scale and take your measurements instead.  You can gradually increase your cardio exercise so that you are doing 45 minutes five days a week.  You may want to reduce your calorie intake by 200 calories per day – eat smaller dinners, but do not go on a crash diet, as many brides-to-be do.  Planning a wedding can be stressful; you want to have the energy to enjoy the whole function.

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