Loose weight with Arlene Normand

August 28, 2009

Low Carb Diet

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 8:26 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.

August 27, 2009

What do you think of Liposuction?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:24 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!

August 25, 2009

How do I get rid of cellulite?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 7:30 am


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


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.

August 24, 2009

Low Carb High Protein

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 12:28 am


I have been on a low carb high protein diet, but am feeling weak and anxious all the time.  I am eating about 1200 calories a day, exercising for an hour – and feel awful.  I am losing weight but not feeling very good.  What should I do?


Carbohydrates give you energy, and you are obviously not consuming sufficient to keep your blood sugar level from dropping.  Consequently you are tired and jittery.  Diets will help you lose weight, but you will not be able to stick to such a regime long term – they are too restrictive and are often do not supply the nutrients your body requires.  Stop dieting and normalise your eating to a pattern you can live with.  You can eat everything but keep your portions small.  Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper, with a small snack between meals.  Include both carbohydrate and protein at breakfast eg. Poached egg on toast, cottage cheese on toast, yoghurt with fruit chopped into it; a sandwich or sushi for lunch; and soup or protein and a salad or vegetables for dinner.  Your exercise regime sounds excellent, so continue doing an hour each day.  Your weight will drop more slowly, but it is a regime you can maintain, and your weight loss will be “forever”.

August 20, 2009

Kickstart Your Healthy Eating Plan with this Menu Planner

Filed under: Diet Menu — Arlene @ 6:44 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 scrambled egg on 1 slice toast
Morning tea:
1 kiwi fruit
Chicken and salad sandwich on two slices bread with pickles or mustard for flavour
Afternoon tea:
100g fruch-lite /2 CHOC BUTTONS
LAMB WITH MINT RAITA served with 2 cups salad with low joule dressing/ balsamic vinegar/ lemon juice
1 Jarrah hot chocolate/ Swiss Miss/ Cadbury lite/ Ovaltine Lite/2 dried figs

Day 2

1 slice toast topped with 30g cheddar cheese and tomato then put under the griller
Morning tea:
1 small banana
Tuna sandwich (100 grams tinned tuna, lettuce, tomato, pickled cucumber, grated carrot, beetroot, 2 slices bread)
Afternoon tea:
2 CHOC BUTTONS / 1 cup berries
BEEF WITH PLUM SAUCE served with 2 cups steamed vegetables
Poached pear with 2 tablespoons low fat custard

Day 3

½ cup cooked porridge
Morning tea:
2 fresh figs
Wrap with chicken and salad
Afternoon tea:
1 mandarin
PORK KOFTAS served with 2 cups stir fry vegetables
2 wafer kitkat/1 small pear

Day 4

1-cup high fibre cereal
Morning tea:
1 small orange
Chicken Salad:  2 cups mixed greens, red onions and tomato wedges topped with 90g sliced grilled chicken breast, ½ cup mandarin orange segments, 30g cashews and 1 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar.
Afternoon tea:
2 CHOC BUTTONS/ 1 small apple
1 banana

Day 5

100grams baked beans on toast
Morning tea:
2 dried figs
Pizza with grilled vegetables – 1 small pizza crust spread with tomato paste, yellow and red capsicum, 30g mozzarella, put under grill till golden brown.
Afternoon tea:
30 grams chocolate/ 1 cup melon cubed
Jarrah hot chocolate/ Swiss Miss/ Cadbury lite/ Ovaltine Lite

Day 6

1 slice toast with poached egg, grilled tomato and mushrooms.
Morning tea:
2 dried apricots
1 cup tomato/vegetable/minestrone soup with 1 slice toast
Afternoon tea:
1 scone and jam
FISH WITH FENNEL served with 2 cups of salad or vegetables
Low-joule jelly

Day 7

½ cup high fibre cereal with a cup strawberries
Morning tea:
1 small apple
Miso soup, 2 sushi rolls
Afternoon tea:
2 crackers with tomato and black pepper
Easy beef casserole
1 scoop low-joule ice cream (100ml)

8 lamb cutlets
2 tablespoons tikka masala curry paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium tomato, seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 x 200g tub no-fat plain yoghurt
Salt and pepper to taste
1. TOMATO MINT RAITA. Combine tomato, mint and yoghurt in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Combine cutlets, curry paste and garlic in a bowl; mix well. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Cook cutlets on a heated grill pan, on both sides, until browned and tender.
4. Serve cutlets with Tomato Mint Raita.
Serves 4
4 x 125g beef fillet steaks
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Cooking oil spray
1/4 cup bottled Chinese plum sauce
1/3 cup water
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1. Place beef in a bowl with chilli flakes, sherry, sauces and sugar; mix well. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes. Drain beef; reserve marinade.
2. Heat a non-stick pan; spray with cooking oil. Add beef, cook on both sides, until browned and cooked through.
3. Pour reserved marinade, plum sauce, water and spring onions in a pan. Bring to boil, stirring; simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Serve steaks with plum sauce.
Serves 4

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
1 (400g) orange sweet potato, peeled, chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 litre chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1. Heat oil in a large pan; add onion and garlic, cook, stirring, until onion is soft.
2. Add carrots, sweet potato, turmeric and cumin; stir for 1 minute.
3. Add stock; bring to boil, simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Cool slightly before blending, in batches, until smooth.
4. Return soup to pan; stir over heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper, stir in chives.
Serves 4

500g pork mince
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ cup stale breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Cooking oil spray
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Combine mince, spring onions, garlic, crumin, garam masala, salt, pepper, rind, breadcrumbs, egg and parsley in a large bowl. 2. Using your hand; mix well. Shape level tablespoons of mixture into balls.
3. Thread 3 kofta onto 12 small wooden skewers.
4. Heat a large non-stick pan; spray with cooking oil. Add koftas, cook, turning until browned all over and cooked through. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Serves 4

Cooking oil spray
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
600g chicken thigh fillets
2 springs chopped fresh rosemary
2 medium carrots, chopped
100g green beans, halved
1 cup chicken stock
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sliced black olives
1. Heat a large flameproof casserole dish; spray with cooking oil. Add onion and garlic, cook, stirring until soft. Add chicken, cook, turning chicken over until lightly browned. Add rosemary, carrots, beans, stock and tomatoes; season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook, covered, in a hot oven, 200oC, for about 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Stir in olives.
Serves 4
Per Serve: 945 kilojoules; 4g fat

1 baby fennel bulb
4 x 150g fish fillets
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
40g baby spinach leaves
1. Trim top from fennel; cut into wafer thin slices.  Place each fish fillet on separate sheets of foil. Drizzle with combined lime juice, ginger and garlic. Arrange fennel over top; season with salt and pepper.
2. Place parcels on an oven tray. Cook in a moderately hot oven, 190oC, for about 25 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
3. To serve, divide spinach among plates; top with fish and fennel. Drizzle with juices in foil.
Serves 4

100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup self-raising flour
¼ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup caster sugar
50g butter, melted
2 teaspoons milk
1. Place chocolate in a bowl; remove ¼ cup of chocolate and set aside. Reserve remaining chocolate.
2. Place flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in cooled butter, milk and the ¼ cup of chocolate; mix until well combined.
3. Roll level teaspoons of mixture into small balls; place on baking paper-lined oven trays. Press down using a fork. Sprinkle remaining chocolate over top of buttons, pressing in slightly.
4. Cook in a moderate oven, 180oC, for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool biscuits on trays.
Makes about 40.
Per Button: 131 kilojoules; 2g fat

cooking oil spray
600g lean chopped casserole steak
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 425g can sliced mushrooms in butter sauce
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 small red capsicum, chopped
1 x 440g can baby carrots, drained
1 x 440g cans baby whole potatoes, drained, halved
1 cup frozen beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Spray oil over base of a heated flameproof casserole dish (10-cup) capacity). Add steak, in batches, cook, stirring until browned. Remove from dish.
3. Add onion and garlic to dish; cook, stirring until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, stock and paste. Return steak to dish; mix well. Bring to boil; cover.
4. Cook in a moderate oven, 180oC, for about 1 hour or until steak is tender. Stir in capsicum, carrots, potatoes and beans. Cover; return to oven. Cook for a further 15 minutes; stir in parsley.


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

August 19, 2009


Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 12:52 am

Why do some people lose weight and maintain their new “svelte” figure, while others fail and live to regret it? Research has found that maintainers have the following in common:

1. They eat high carbohydate low fat diet. The low carbohydrate craze has not influenced the successful maintainers. On average they get 55-60% of their energy from carbohydrates, 24% from fat, and the rest from protein. They eat mainly “good” carbohydrates – fruit, vegetables, bread, cereal, and other high fibre foods. They keep their portions of high-sugar carbohydrates small and treat them as “occasional” food rather than “every day food”.

2. They are conscious of calories. Successful maintainers are continually aware of the number of calories they are eating no matter what regime they follow. They are aware that a calorie is a calorie no matter whether the source is protein, carbohydrate, fat or alcohol.

3. They eat breakfast. Eight out of ten maintainers eat breakfast every day. This gets their metabolism revved up for the day. On average they consume five small meals or snacks through the day rather than any large meals. Many have reduced their intake at night.

4. They self monitor. Successful maintainers weigh themselves at least once a week, some more frequently. It is ideal to weigh yourself on a Friday before the weekend, and on a Monday after the weekend.

5. They engage in a lot of physical activity , 60 – 90 minutes each day. Successful maintainers look at their diaries and carve out time every day for planned exercise. They also look at ways to make their days more active. Walking is the most popular form of exercise.

6. Successful maintainers live in the “real” world. They are not “good” all the time, but balance their diet and exercise. If they have a bad day they ensure they cut back on their eating the next day. The majority gain a small amount of weight on the weekends and during holidays, but they make certain they lose it straight away before one kilo becomes two kilos, etc. Many maintainers seek a professional to monitor their weight monthly as they have been on the rollercoaster before of gaining and losing weight. Many know that they never got it right the first time, but do not want to give up this time.

7. Successful maintainers realise that they cannot be motivated their whole lives to lose weight, they now have to accept their eating and exercise regime as a normal lifestyle. They feel better- energy, mood, and confidence. The fear of the consequence of returning to their past weight and the penalties both to their health, personality and lifestyle prevent them from over indulgence and giving up their exercise regime.

8. Successful maintainers tend to eat most meals at home. They do eat out nearly three times a week on average, and even visit a fast food outlet at least once a week. Their choices are made more carefully, and they find that high fat food effects how they feel.

9. They balance their lives socially, family and work. They ensure they get enough sleep as they realise that fatigue is a dreadful stimulus for overeating and lack of resolve.

10. Plan ahead. Organise exercise and make sure that the correct food is available. When no food is prepared it is easy to stray!

To be successful with maintaining weight loss, it is obvious from the above that you have to make a commitment for life to continue being more active and eating carefully. Your new lifestyle has to become a habit – which involves you being aware forever, and that can be hard work. Slipping back to old habits will be your downfall. Maintaining your weight is not just for a week or a month – but a lifetime, which means exercise and “normal” eating is for keeps!

August 18, 2009

INCIDENTAL EATING (My subconscious made me do it)

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 12:44 am

Oops how did that get into my mouth? Why do we eat subconsciously, and how we can unlearn this habit?

Have you ever found yourself at the bottom of a bag of chips with no recollection of how it happened? The same feeling as when you have driven home from work without the slightest idea of how you got there.

We live a surprising amount of our lives on auto-pilot. We don’t have to think about breathing and walking, and many of us can type, drive, ride a bike and apply lip gloss without calling on our conscious mind for guidance. This type of auto-pilot comes about when we become highly practised at something by doing it repeatedly.

Mostly our subconscious patterns serve us well. However, our subconscious habits make excellent slaves but very poor masters. Take eating, for example. Like any other habit, it can be done without thinking and can be either self-serving or self-sabotaging. Incidental eating is something we do on auto-pilot, when our conscious mind and all its comments on what we should be doing turns off, and our subconscious – with all its easy-going, hedonistic tendencies – turns on.

In the days when we had to think about food, select and prepare it, we were very conscious of what we ate. Now, with lifestyle changes and access to foods that do all the thinking and preparation for us, we think and know a lot less about what we eat. With bars and bite-sized foods at our fingertips, we barely even need to chew! Much of our eating is now incidental to actual meals. You may recognise these two forms of incidental eating:

1. Picking and grazing all day without actually planning, preparing or sitting to eat a meal. You may find yourself saying “I have hardly eaten all day”, but in fact you will have incidentally eaten a number of times. (Mothers take note!)

2. Mindlessly Eating foods even if you are not aware of whether or not you are enjoying them or finding them satisfying. (People who like crackers, nuts and confectionary beware!

So how do we know when our subconscious eating patterns are serving us poorly? Most of us, when we are in subconscious mode tend to go from the enjoyment of the first mouthful to “oh my god, I need to lie flat” and the ensuing guilty aftermath. Some of the more enlightened people I know have a “one-mouthful” rule when it comes to treats and food we are eating purely for enjoyment. Most of these people have a healthy BMI and seldom agonise about what they eat. So I believe they might be on to something.

The rules come down to self-awareness, portion control and planning:

  1. Eat what you enjoy and do not deprive yourself when you know you are going to love it. Be hones about how much you will love it and don’t temp yourself with sub-standard treats.
  2. Never buy things you don’t actually want to end up eating. If it is in arm’s reach it is ripe for the incidental picking.
  3. Never upsize anything and always opt for the smaller versions of everything. Say goodbye to the jumbo pack and the mega bar. Family packs are for huge families, not for individuals. Don’t kid yourself; you will not save some for later. Do not say, once it is gone, it’s gone. Once it’s gone, it’s gone to your hips.
  4. If the portion is too big then cut it down to size before you begin, and push the excess away on another plate. Do not under any circumstances stand near a buffet table at a party.
  5. If you have a treat, have one mouthful – this allows you to taste and enjoy it without any guilt. It might be a good idea to ask yourself occasionally whether you really feel like that cheesecake or the handful of chips. The body – for all its other marvels – is unsophisticated in this respect. It treats all calories the same and gives us no special temporary-insanity exclusion clause when eating.

It is just like our mums used to say: It pays to engage your brain before you put your mouth into gear!

August 16, 2009

The normal portion size?

Filed under: Messages — Arlene @ 11:53 pm

A sense of “normal” is important when you are altering your lifestyle to eat and exercise properly.

Learning a sense of portion is essential. If you are working on losing weight you may be familiar with the suggestion that you try serving up your meals on smaller plates or bowls to trick yourself into thinking you are actually eating a more substantial portion.  University of Pennsylvania researchers have confirmed the psychological basis for that tip in a series of experiments including one in which they varied the size of the scoop with which unwitting subjects helped themselves to M&Ms. The bigger the scoop, the more chocolate was taken, an example of what the researchers termed ‘unit bias’, or the tendency for us to eat what is culturally accepted as the right portion size.  Australians eat too much, so be wary of the quantity you put on your plate, or you eat at restaurants.  Too much has become normal.

Exercise to feel good and relax!  Such great weather, make the most of it!

August 14, 2009

Sneaky Little Slim Down Tricks

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 6:26 am

1. Start Smart Begin lunch and dinner with a veggie-rich salad or broth-based soup. This lets you fill up first on a big volume of low calorie food and ends up displacing some of the foods you will eat next – the choices are usually higher in calories.

2. Try the 3-hour rule The secret to losing weight comes down to keeping your metabolism alive and active. How do you do that? By eating every 3 hours, give or take 10-20 minutes, which translates to 3 moderate meals with 3 snacks between meals. Though other experts say there is nothing magic about 3-hour intervals, eating small, frequent, portion-controlled meals and snacks can keep your blood sugar level steady, your energy up, and keep you from overindulging.

3. Have liquid assets If you are going to drink anything with calories (fruit juice, alcohol, sweetened tea or coffee, cold drinks) you need to consciously adjust your diet to accommodate those extra calories. Research shows that people consciously make adjustments to eat fewer calories over the course of a day after eating a solid food like jelly beans, but not after drinking the same amount of calories in a glass of juice. The best thirst quencher is still plain water.

4. Reduce processed food Skip the munchies made with white flour and sugar like biscuits, cakes, breakfast bars. They have no fibre, very little nutrients, and signal the body to produce more insulin and set the stage for turning calories to fat, fat, and more fat.

5. Choose your pals and what you do with them Studies show that most of us base how much we eat on what others around us eat. So steer clear of big eaters in your social circle, at least when food is around. Don’t hover around the buffet table. Remember to march to your own calorie drummer which requires some independent thought and discipline. Learn to watch other people eat – you talk or listen!

6. Pare portions Everything from beverages to bagels is two to five times bigger today than in the 1970’s. So if you grab a sandwich or eat out, chances are you will be served double what you need. Start leaving food on your plate. Use your hand and fist as a portion size.

7. Be an early bird Eat the most food earlier in the day. Many “dieters” try to trim calories from their breakfast and lunch and then get hungry. Research shows the calories you eat earlier in the day help you eat less at night – a good idea since you probably won’t be active after an evening meal.

8. Step it up Get a pedometer and start walking. To keep the weight off forever, the goal is to take 11000 to 12000 steps (around 90 minutes) a day. You don’t need to do it all at once.

9. Think thin Seeing is believing. You have to picture yourself slim. Start wearing clothes you like and want to wear. Throw out your old clothes.

10. Fill up on fibre Crowd out calorie dense foods (chocolates, cakes, biscuits) by ratcheting up on fruits and veggies. Hitting that mid afternoon slump, reach for carrots or a fruit, the carbohydrate will give you a lift. Not only does munching on natures bounty become a habit, but it will help you tap into dozens of disease fighting phytochemicals and vitamins.

11. Brush your teeth To stop being a compulsive snacker in the evening, brush your teeth. No-one likes messing up freshly brushed teeth.

August 13, 2009

NY Times Dec 2, 2008 Health Halo Can Hide the Calories By JOHN TIERNEY

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 12:47 am

If you’re a well-informed, health-conscious New Yorker who has put on
some unwanted pounds in the past year, it might not be entirely your
fault. Here’s a possible alibi: The health halo made you do it.

I offer this alibi after an experiment on New Yorkers that I conducted
with Pierre Chandon, a Frenchman who has been studying what researchers
call the American obesity paradox. Why, as Americans have paid more and
more attention to eating healthily, have we kept getting fatter and

Dr. Chandon’s answer, derived from laboratory experiments as well as
field work at Subway and McDonald’s restaurants, is that Americans have
been seduced into overeating by the so-called health halo associated
with certain foods and restaurants. His research made me wonder if New
Yorkers were particularly vulnerable to this problem, and I asked him to
help me investigate.

Our collaboration began in a nutritionally correct neighbourhood,
Brooklyn’s Park Slope, whose celebrated food co-op has a mission
statement to sell “organic, minimally processed and healthful foods.” I
hit the streets with two questionnaires designed by Dr. Chandon, a
professor of marketing at the Insead business school in Fontainebleau,
France, and Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at Northwestern
University. Half of the 40 people surveyed were shown pictures of a meal
consisting of an Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad and a 20-ounce cup of
regular Pepsi. (You can see it for yourself at TierneyLab.) On average,
they estimated that the meal contained 1,011 calories, which was a
little high. The meal actually contained 934 calories – 714 from the
salad and 220 from the drink.

The other half of the Park Slopers were shown the same salad and drink
plus two Fortt’s crackers prominently labeled “Trans Fat Free.” The
crackers added 100 calories to the meal, bringing it to 1,034 calories,
but their presence skewed people’s estimates in the opposite direction.
The average estimate for the whole meal was only 835 calories – 199
calories less than the actual calorie count, and 176 calories less than
the average estimate by the other group for the same meal without

Just as Dr. Chandon had predicted, the trans-fat-free label on the
crackers seemed to imbue them with a health halo that magically
subtracted calories from the rest of the meal. And we got an idea of the
source of this halo after I tried the same experiment with tourists in
Times Square.

These tourists, many of them foreigners (they kept apologizing for not
knowing what Applebee’s was), correctly estimated that the meal with
crackers had more calories than the meal without crackers. They didn’t
see the crackers’ health halo, Dr. Chandon said, presumably because they
hadn’t been exposed to the public debate that accompanied New York
City’s decision last year to ban trans fat from restaurants.

“It makes sense that New Yorkers would be more biased because of all the
fuss in the city about trans fat,” Dr. Chandon told me. “It hasn’t been
a big issue in most other places. Here in Europe there’s been virtually
no discussion of banning trans fats.”

So might New York’s pioneering ban on trans fats have done more harm
than good? Did it encourage people to eat more calories (and other fats
that some scientists argue are no less harmful)? Did people start eating
French fries – hey, they’re trans-fat free now! – and reward themselves
with dessert? I can’t pretend to know the answers after our little
experiment, which hardly constitutes peer-reviewed research. But the
results were statistically significant and certainly jibe with other
findings by Dr. Chandon and his frequent collaborator, Brian Wansink,
the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

They’ve found that all of us, even professional dieticians, make
systematic mistakes when estimating how many calories are on a plate.
Experiments showed that putting a “low fat” label on food caused
everyone, especially overweight people, to underestimate its calories,
to eat bigger helpings and to indulge in other foods.

The researchers found that customers at McDonald’s were more accurate at
estimating the calories in their meal than were customers at Subway,
apparently because of the health halo created by advertisements like one
showing that a Subway sandwich had a third the fat of a Big Mac. The
health halo from Subway also affected what else people chose to eat, Dr.
Chandon and Dr. Wansink reported last year after giving people a chance
to order either a Big Mac or a 12-inch Italian sandwich from Subway.
Even though the Subway sandwich had more calories than the Big Mac, the
people ordering it were more likely to add a large nondiet soda and
cookies to the order. So while they may have felt virtuous, they ended
up with meals averaging 56 percent more calories than the meals ordered
from McDonald’s.

“People who eat at McDonald’s know their sins,” Dr. Chandon said, “but
people at Subway think that a 1,000-calorie sandwich has only 500
calories.” His advice is not for people to avoid Subway or low-fat
snacks, but to take health halos into account.

“People need to look up calorie information, and this information needs
to be clearly available on the menu or on the front of packages,” Dr.
Chandon said. “If no information is available, people should say to
themselves: ‘This restaurant or this brand claims to be healthy in
general. Let’s see if I can come up with two reasons why this claim
would not apply to this particular food.’ When we asked people to follow
this ‘consider the opposite’ strategy, it completely eliminated health

More generally, Dr. Chandon advises American consumers, food companies
and public officials to spend less time obsessing about “good” versus
“bad” food.

“Being French, I don’t have any problem with people enjoying lots of
foods,” he said. “Europeans obsess less about nutrition but know what a
reasonable portion size is and when they have had too much food, so
they’re not as biased by food and diet fads and are healthier. Too many
Americans believe that to lose weight, what you eat matters more than
how much you eat. It’s the country where people are the best informed
about food and enjoy it the least.”

Roasted tomato & parmesan salad

Cut 6 ripe tomatoes into quarters. Place on a wire rack over a tray lined with baking paper. Cook in an oven preheated to 150°C for 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours or until halved in size and shrivelled around the edges. Set aside to cool.

Place 100g baby rocket leaves (or mixed salad leaves) in a serving bowl. Top with roasted tomatoes, 50g shaved parmesan and 1/3 cup shredded fresh basil.

Drizzle salad with 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.

Moroccan lamb salad

Ingredients (serves 6) 1 serve = 1 protein, 1 tsp oil

750g butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces Olive oil, to drizzle

300g natural yoghurt 1 garlic clove, crushed

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 1 Lebanese cucumber, chopped

1 small fresh red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped 2 tbs water

55g (1/3 cup) pine nuts 2 tsp olive oil

2 tbs Moroccan seasoning 400g lamb eye of loin backstraps

100g baby spinach leaves 2 Lebanese cucumbers thinly sliced

180g feta, crumbled


Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray. Drizzle over a little oil and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. (Alternatively, place pumpkin in a microwave-safe dish. Cook, covered, on High for 4-5 minutes or until tender).

Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt, garlic, mint, cucumber, chilli and water in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until toasted. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.

Heat the oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle seasoning over the lamb. Add to the pan and cook for 4 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 3 minutes to rest. Thickly slice across the grain.

Place the pumpkin, lamb, spinach, cucumber and pine nuts in a large bowl and gently toss until just combined. Divide among serving plates. Top with feta. Serve with the yoghurt mixture.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress