8 Best Postpartum Exercises for New Moms

Gestation brings drastic changes to a woman’s body, her emotions, and her life. One of the common changes that many new moms have to deal with is weight gain. In fact, most are looking for ways to regain their pre-pregnancy body. The answer lies in postpartum exercise. No matter how fit you were before and even during pregnancy, postpartum exercise is good for your overall health as it helps you to get your body back after having a baby and also help reduce the risk of postpartum depression (PPD). Even, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that new moms incorporate exercise in their daily routine. According to the ACOG,resuming exercise activities or incorporating new exercise routines after delivery is important for supporting lifelong healthy habits. Of course, it’s important that you talk to your doctor before beginning your workouts.

Best Postpartum Exercises for New Moms

Besides helping you get your pre-pregnancy body back, postpartum exercises can boost energy, restore physical strength, and promote better sleep. ACOG recommends aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – anything that bumps up your heart rate and makes you break a sweat, like brisk walking or bike riding – every week, along with two days of strength training (which includes yoga, Pilates and lifting weights).

Before you starting working out again, it’s important to have realistic expectations as your body is different now and you won’t immediately be as strong as you once were. Start with simple, functional exercises you can later build on. Here are 8 best postnatal exercises that experts say new moms can easily carry off:

  1. Walking: This is one of the simplest and most beneficial of exercises. Walking can be done anywhere.Walking not only gets your heart rate up and builds a stronger heart, but also enhances your endurance, allowing you to work your way back to a regular exercise routine.
  2. Diaphragmatic Breathing: A core exercise that promotes relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing is a gente postpartum ab workout. Begin in a supine position (on your back) with your legs extended straight out and your arms relaxed by your side. Inhale and fill your belly up. Then exhale all the air out as you press your lower back into the ground.
  3. Swimming: Swimming is a great option to boost overall strength. This low impact workout would be gentle on the joints. A great full-body workout, swimming helps you lose excess weight and also improves muscle tone.
  4. Yoga: This is a relaxing but effective workout that helps stretch and strengthen your muscles. The benefits of yoga postpartum include loosening stiff muscles, reducing stress, combating fatigue and strengthening the abdominal and pelvic region. Performing yoga under expert guidance is crucial to maintain correct posture and prevent injuries.
  5. Kegels: Kegel exercises involve contracting and releasing the pelvic muscles and can be done almost immediately following child birth (www.babycenter.com). They improve circulation to the pelvic area and helps prevent incontinence. As the pelvic muscles tire easily, it’s best to do several contractions repeatedly throughout the day rather than in one session.
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
    • Tighten the pelvic floor muscles.
    • Hold for a count of ten, then release. Repeat ten times. Try to work up to three or four sets about three times a day.
    • Don’t tighten leg or abdominal muscles.
  6. Lying March: This workout mainly targets the abs.
    • Lie face up with knees bent 90 degrees and aligned over hips, arms extended at sides and palms on the ground.
    • Pull abs in, then slowly lower right foot, stopping just before it touches the ground.
    • Raise right leg to starting position and repeat on left side to complete 1 rep.
    • Twice a week, do 1 set of 12 to 15 reps, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
  7. Cycling: Another great low impact workout, cycling will get your heart rate up. Start slowly and don’t worry about picking up the pace too quickly, as this will gradually happen over time.
  8. Pilates: One of the best workouts you can do after delivery, Pilates encourage proper, slow, yet precise, strengthening of your abdominal muscles, hips and back, which helps relieve lower back and pelvic floor discomfort from pregnancy.

However, postpartum exercise presents a unique set of challenges as your body is still healing from delivery, and with a newborn in the house, you might be feeling very tired. As every pregnancy and delivery is different, you would also need to get clearance from your doctor before you start any exercise program.

6 Top Weight-Loss Diets for 2020

Weight-Loss DietsIt’s estimated that nearly half of American adults attempt to lose weight each year. Diet and exercise are necessary to improve health and lose weight. There are many types of diets available now and each one has its supporters, who post all over social media about how their particular choice helped them achieve their goals. Experts say that the key to success is to find which diet will help you lose weight and more importantly, help maintain outcomes long-term. Here are six ideal diets for weight-loss diets in 2020:

  1. Mediterranean diet: This is one of the most healthy eating plans recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to promote health and prevent chronic disease. This diet plan also helps weight loss if you limit your calorie intake to 1,500 a day or less. A PREDIMED study that aimed to assess the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases showed that people lost slightly more weight when following a Mediterranean diet, compared to a low-fat diet.

A Mediterranean-style diet includes healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish at least twice a week, plenty of beans, fruit, leafy greens, and whole grains, and even a daily glass of red wine. You can also eat cheese in moderation, but red meat needs to be limited to once or twice a week.

  1. Volumetrics diet: Ranked second in Best Weight-Loss Diets by U.S. News& World Report, the Volumetrics diet focuses on the energy density of foods which is the key to achieving healthy, long-term weight loss. This diet plan aims to help you quit on-and-off dieting by living a healthy lifestyle based on nutritious food and regular exercise. Created by Barbara Rolls, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University, foods are divided into four categories in the Volumetrics diet:
  • Category 1 (very low-density): Nonstarchy fruits and vegetables, nonfat milk and broth-based soup
  • Category 2 (low-density): Starchy fruits and veggies, grains, breakfast cereal, low-fat meat, legumes and low-fat mixed dishes like chili and spaghetti.
  • Category 3 (medium-density): Meat, cheese, pizza, French fries, salad dressing, bread, pretzels, ice cream and cake
  • Category 4 (high-density): Crackers, chips, chocolate candies, cookies, nuts, butter and oil.

In general, diets rich in low-energy-dense foods have been shown to promote fullness on fewer calories and deliver weight loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A U.S. News & World report notes that “you will very likely lose weight following the Volumetrics plan.

  1. Moderate protein plan: Also referred to as a moderate carbohydrate plan, this diet emphasizes whole grains, produce and animal proteins (for meat eaters). A high-protein diet decreases hunger, making it easier to stick to the plan. Intake of processed foods and added sugar should be limited. The diet aims to provide 30% of your daily calories from protein, 30% from fat, and 40% from carbohydrates.
  2. Dash Diet: Short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the low-sodium DASH diet was designed as a way to curb high blood pressure without using drugs. The DASH plan breaks out the number of servings you should eat from each food group. This style of eating helps with weight loss and lowering cholesterol.

The DASH diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy and limits saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. A personalized, calorie-limited plan can provide anti-inflammatory, high fiber, heart-healthy benefits and help you lose weight too.

  1. Ornish Diet: Created in 1977 by Dr. Dean Ornish – a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in nearby Sausalito, the Ornish diet helps people feel better, live longer, lose weight and gain health. Ranked sixth in Best Weight-Loss Diets by U.S. News& World Report, the Ornish diet is low in fat, refined carbohydrates and animal protein.
  2. Vegan Diet: Vegans shun all animal products, including dairy, eggs, and honey for ethical and environmental reasons. Vegan diets can also support weight loss. However, you cannot lose weight by simply cutting intake of animal products. Instead, you need to eat healthy-quality vegan food like leafy greens and plant-based proteins. Studies confirm that those on a plant-based diet have a lower average BMI than those who eat animal products (prevention.com).

Other widely popular weight loss diet plans include the Flexitarian Diet, Intermittent Fasting, and the Mayo Clinic Diet.

There’s no one diet that will fit everybody’s needs, personalities, lifestyles or food preferences, says registered dietitian Andrea Dunn, RD (www.health.clevelandclinic.org). She recommends choosing a scientifically proven eating plan. Dunn notes, “It’s about matching your lifestyle with the foods you enjoy and what will work best for you long-term, without feeling deprived or ripped off.”

Different Methods of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

Different Methods of Intermittent Fasting for Weight LossIntermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends, and considered the silver bullet to fat loss and muscle gains. This diet program involves alternate cycles of fasting with either no food or significant calorie reduction, and periods of unrestricted eating. It can promote weight loss, improve metabolism, protect against disease, and even help longevity. Researchers found that intermittent fasting or periodic fasting, without a reduction in calorie intake, can be a preventative and therapeutic approach against obesity and metabolic disorders (www.medicalnewstoday.com).

Intermittent fasting – cycling in and out periods of fasting and eating – can provide many benefits for your body and brain. It’s not a diet, but a timed approach to eating. Unlike a dietary plan, this fasting technique doesn’t specify what foods a person should eat or avoid. The principle behind intermittent fasting is simple – when our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough, as they do during a fasting period, we’re able to burn off fat.

There are seven different ways to do intermittent fasting:

    • Fast 12 hours a day: This rules of this method are simple – the person (can also a beginner) needs to decide on and stick on to a 12-hour fasting window every day. You can follow this simple diet plan by including your sleeping hours in it. As the fasting window is relatively small, much of the fasting occurs during sleep, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day. According to the study that Medical News Today reported on, fasting for 10-16 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream, which should encourage weight loss.


    • Fasting for 16 hours – the Leangains diet: This diet plan involves fasting for 16 hours a day and leaving an eating window of 8 hours (it is also called the 16:8 method). Men and women follow different hours in this diet plan – men fast for 16 hours each day and women fast for 14 hours. This type of intermittent fast may be helpful for someone who has already tried the 12-hour fast but did not see any benefits. With this method, people usually finish their dinner by 8 p.m. and then skip breakfast the next day, not eating again until noon.


    • Fasting for 2 days a week – the Fast diet (5:2 diet): This fasting plan involves people eating standard amounts of healthful food for 5 days and reducing their calorie intake on the other 2 days. During the 2 fasting days, men generally consume 600 calories and women 500 calories. There should be at least 1 non-fasting day between fasting days. However, there is limited research on the 5:2 diet, which is also known as the Fast diet. A study involving 107 overweight or obese women found that both restricting calories twice weekly and continuous calorie restriction led to similar weight loss. It also found that this diet reduced insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity among participants (www.medicalnewstoday.com).


    • Alternate day fasting: An extreme form of intermittent fasting, this method involves fasting every other day. Some people completely avoid solid foods on fasting days, while other people allow up to 500 calories. This method generally leads to indulging in more food on feeding days, which might be difficult to maintain the fast in the long term. One study reported that alternate day fasting is effective for weight loss and heart health in both healthy and overweight adults. The researchers found that the 32 participants lost an average of 5.2 kilograms (kg), or just over 11 pounds (lb), over a 12-week period.


    • Eat-Stop-Eat diet – the weekly 24-hour fast: This method involves eating no food for 24 hours at a time or fasting completely for 1 or 2 days a week. Many people fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. Those on this diet can have water, tea, and other calorie-free drinks during the fasting period. People should return to normal eating patterns on the non-fasting days.
      This fast can be challenging and may cause fatigue, headaches, or irritability. However, many people find that these effects become less intense over time as the body adjusts to this new pattern of eating.


    • Meal skipping: This approach involves occasionally skipping meals and may be good for beginners. According to one’s level of hunger or time restraints, the person can decide which meals to skip. Skipping 1 or 2 meals when you feel so inclined is basically a spontaneous intermittent fast.
      Make sure to eat healthy foods at the other meals. This approach is likely to be most successful when individuals track and respond to their body’s hunger signals. People who follow this type of intermittent fasting will eat when they are hungry and skip meals when they are not. This may feel more natural than the other fasting methods.


    • The Warrior Diet: This diet is relatively extreme form of intermittent fasting. It entails eating a whole day’s worth of food in short time. The Warrior Diet involves eating very little, usually just a few servings of raw fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthful fats, and some carbohydrates during a 20-hour fasting window, then eating one large meal at night. The eating window is usually only around 4 hours.


Consult your physician before you try intermittent fasting or any other kind of weight loss method.

Walking Tips for Losing Weight Faster

Walking Tips for Losing Weight FasterInactivity is a potential cause for many preventable conditions, such as heart disease and obesity. So, to not be an inactive person and to lose weight, start with a walking program. Walking regularly can help improve fitness levels. Along with many potential health benefits, walking is also one of the easiest and most effective ways for weight loss. It’s low-impact, easy to fit into a busy schedule and accessible for almost any age or fitness level.

Generally, calorie-burning cardio exercises help in losing weight and many health experts recommend brisk walking as a calorie-burning cardio exercise for those who are looking to lose weight. A Medical News Today article mentions a Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry study that showed the positive effects that walking could have on burning fat and reducing waist circumference in obese females. The women walked between 50-70 minutes 3 days per week for a total of 12 weeks. After the study, they found that the participants lost an average of 1.5% body fat and 1.1 inches around their waists.

Though walking provides benefits, there are certain things a person can do to increase these benefits while walking. So before you lace up your walking shoes and hit the road, follow the below mentioned tips:

  • Always warm up before starting walking: Warming up and cooling down before and after walking can prevent muscular stiffness and injury. The best warm-up before walking is to walk slowly, gently stretch your leg muscles and then gradually increase speed. Likewise, a gradual cool down is also recommended after a brisk walk.
  • Increase your pace: To burn more calories, it’s better to walk briskly instead of slowly. Increasing your pace is one way to get the heart pumping and burn more calories. In addition to picking up pace, researchers at Ohio State University also found that varying the walking speed during your workouts can help you burn up to 20% more calories than maintaining a steady pace(blog.myfitnesspal.com). So, aim for a brisk walk of 30 to 90 minutes most days of the week. You can walk more on some days and less on others, but the total time for the week should be at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours).
  • Walking uphill: Regular uphill walking increases calorie burn and also helps you build muscle in the lower body, which can speed up your metabolism. If you cannot find outdoor uphill areas nearby, and are completely relying on treadmill walking, then you can increase your treadmill gradient and walk. Aim to walk up hills, stairs, or inclines two to three times a week for better weight loss results.
  • Choose the Right Gear: Pay attention to the fit and quality of shoes you wear. Invest in good shoes that support your heel when walking and prevent wobbling.
  • Aiming for more steps each day: According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information study, taking 10, 000 steps, (which is roughly 5 miles of walking) per day are ideal. If a person can take more steps beyond their normal daily step count, then it would help them lose weight. Avoid elevators and instead take the stairs to encourage walking. You can also walk more by parking further away from the door at shops, work, or school.Also, consider taking walking breaks at work instead of sitting in a break room.
  • Maintain form and posture: It is very important to maintain form and posture while walking. A good walking posture allows you to take full breaths, engage your core muscles, and use your leg and buttock muscles for a natural walking stride. It can help you build strength and keep you injury free so that you can continue your walking program.
  • Include strength and resistance training: As said before, you don’t have to take a long walk; you can take a break in between and include strength and resistance training in your program. This way, you can make the walking routine more interesting. Body weight exercises helps in strengthening your muscles and burn more calories. Similarly, you can try adding in resistance training during walking to help burn more calories and increase the growth of new muscle. Some exercises to try include: squats, pushups, burpees, or squat thrusts, triceps dips and lunges.
  • Swing your arms: Swing your arms faster to increase your pace and your legs will automatically follow it. This will also work your upper body and burn up to 10% more calories when compared to a normal arm swing.
  • Make your walking enjoyable: Walk with a friend or a group of friends, walk at a brisk and steady speed while enjoying their company. Walking with a companion or taking a new route now and then can make the activity more enjoyable.
  • Doing three shorter walks a day:Even though longer walks have more benefits, shorter and more frequent walks are also beneficial. It is suggested to take three 20-minute-walks instead of a long-stretch walk. In fact, you can take a walk after each meal, as it helps in controlling blood sugar levels and is better than taking a long 45-minute walk once in a day.

Walking can be included in your routine exercise schedule to relax after a busy day or to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

8 Summer Fruits That Can Help You Lose Weight

8 Summer Fruits That Can Help You Lose WeightIt’s easy to gain weight in summer with all those barbeques, delicious foods from fairs, carnivals and truck festivals, and even ice-cold lemonade that packs nearly 100 calories. If you are on a weight loss plan, you may need to avoid these high calorie items that add on fat. If you are really looking to shed a few pounds, the best way is to maintain a balanced diet and exercise regularly. A balanced diet includes eating fresh fruit and vegetables and avoiding junk food. There are many fruits that are not just flavorful and healthy but also low in calories. Here is a list of fruits that can help you lose weight in summer:

  1. Apples: Apples are high in fiber and help you feel full. They increase the metabolic rate to help burn the fat. Being high in pectin, they help stop the cells of the body from absorbing fat and water. You can have apples either cooked or raw.
  2. Avocados: This calorie-dense fruit is grown contains fatty acids that speed up the process of converting fat into energy and boost the rate of metabolism. Some studies have found that eating avocados can increase feelings of fullness, decrease appetite, and improve cholesterol levels (www.healthline.com). Avocados can be used as a substitute for butter or margarine on bread and toast and also added to salads, smoothies, or dips.
  3. Bananas: This summer fruit is more calorie-dense than many other fruits. It is also nutrient-dense and rich in potassium, magnesium, manganese, fiber, numerous antioxidants, and vitamins A, B6, and C. It curbs your appetite, helps burn fat and boosts muscle development. Bananas can be enjoyed as a on-the-go snack or added to variety of dishes, either raw or cooked.
  4. Lemons: This fruit is great for the liver, the organ that helps burn fat. It makes the liver function more effectively. Spraying lemon or lime juice onto a salad can make it easier to cut back on sodium- or fat-loaded dressings.
  5. Plums: This summer seasonal fruit have a low glycemic index and is rich in nutrients like vitamins C and A, which make them a great option if you’re trying to lose weight.
  6. Peaches: This is one of the healthiest fruits to add to your weight loss low-calorie diet. Peaches have phenolic compounds that are known to have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties.
  7. Strawberries: Filled with anti-oxidants and high on fibres, strawberries contain only 33 calories. They contain ellagic acid, which helps fight inflammation and restores normal functioning of weight reducing hormones which may be blocked due to chronic inflammation. It not only helps weight loss, but also boosts skin health and immunity.
  8. Watermelon: This fiber-rich summer fruit has very low carbohydrate content – just 55g per 100 g of fruit. Moreover, it has a very high water content (94%) and is a rich source of amino acids called arginine which helps burn fat. This fruit keeps you satiated for a long time.

Packed with vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients, fruits are nature’s ready-made snack and an essential part of a healthy diet. Including these seasonal fruits in your diet will go a long way in helping weight loss.  Include regular exercise for quicker results.


Adopt a Safe and Healthy Approach to Weight Loss

Weight LossLosing weight is a major challenge. A sensible approach to lose those extra fat pockets is through making small healthy changes in your eating and exercise habits. Making these small changes can help you stay in good shape and improve your health. To reach your healthy weight and maintain that weight in the long term, make sure you lose your weight safely and at a realistic pace.

Losing weight in a healthy manner is important because even though weight loss is a major challenge, it is an even greater challenge is to keep off the weight that you lost. Keeping the weight off is not easy and most people who lose weight eventually gain at least some, if not all of it back. In a study published in the journal Obesity in 2016, researchers studied contestants in a TV reality show who were competing to shed the most weight. They found that 13 of 14 contestants regained the weight they lost and that four contestants were heavier compared to before they went on the show. This could be because such competitions may drive people to adopt shortcuts to weight loss, leading the body to try to reset or maintain its initial set point. To make positive, lasting changes, people should adopt healthy ways to achieve their weight loss goals. Make these small, simple lifestyle changes to lose weight:

Develop a healthy approach to food:

  • Don’t skip meals – if you do, you may find you are eat more when you do eat and this may lead to a larger stomach capacity. This can increase the amount of food you need at each meal before you feel ‘full’.
  • Avoid yoyo dieting (continual cycles of dieting, weight loss and weight gain) as it will slow your metabolism. Such diets are only a short-term solution that will increase your body fat levels in the long term.
  • Avoid practices that can lead to weight gain such as night eating, social eating and emotional eating.
  • Avoid unplanned or habitual eating and keep to regular meals and snacks.
  • Keep a record of what you eat, when you eat, and your hunger levels prior to eating. This can help you identify why you consume certain foods at certain times of the day.
  • Eat a wide variety of food from all food groups every day such as wholegrain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, milk and dairy, and meat, fish or legumes and where possible, choose low-fat varieties.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake, as most are low in calories and contain fiber, which helps you feel full.
  • Reduce your intake of foods that are high in added fat, sugar and salt and replace sugary drinks with water.
  • If you had extra food, try to balance it with extra exercise. The more energy you burn, the more food you can afford to have.
  • Stay hydrated. Water helps you to burn calories by keeping your metabolism going as water doesn’t have carbohydrates, calories or fat. Avoid juices and aerated drinks, as they may contain high sugar content.
  • Cut down on saturated fats and alcohol.
  • Avoid eating for comfort, such as when you are upset, angry or stressed. Instead, find other healthy ways to cope with these feelings.

Adopt a healthier approach to exercise:

Being within your ideal body weight contributes a lot to your overall health. Working out on a daily basis is essential. Exercise is very important when you are trying to lose weight because it prevents muscle loss.

  • Try to work out in the early morning than in the evening as it will improve your energy throughout the day.
  • Working out will rev up your metabolism and keep burning calories throughout the day.
  • Start slowly and then increase your activity levels by simply increasing movement throughout the day.
  • Moderate intensity exercise such as walking, gardening, cycling, and even mowing the lawn – has been shown to help reduce body fat.

Other suggestions for a more active lifestyle include: playing a sport that you enjoy, walking instead of taking the car on short distances, playing more outdoor games, and taking stairs instead of lifts.

9 Best Foods for Effective Weight Loss

Weight LossGaining weight is much easier than losing it. There’s no one tip that’s going to help shed those extra pounds. Exercising is important, but what you eat matters a lot. Diet could be an effective weight loss measure, but before choosing your diet, make sure you have a good calorie balance scale, which is important if you are looking to shed a few pounds. Studies have reported that a healthy diet is the best option for weight loss.

A healthy diet generally means avoiding processed foods and including more natural options such as fruits and vegetables. However, not all fruits and vegetables can help you achieve your weight loss goals. There are certain foods that can specifically help with this as they can have vastly different effects on your hunger, hormones, and the number of calories you burn. Most included as part of a weight-loss diet have a few things in common: they’re high in fiber (which helps keep you feeling fuller longer) and have a low energy density-meaning that you can eat a decent-sized portion without overdoing calorie consumption (http://www.eatingwell.com). Here are 9 best foods to promote effective weight loss:

  1. Avocados: Avocados add creaminess and flavor to salads and sandwiches. This unique fruit is rich in dietary fiber, potassium and phytochemicals. Avocado contains monounsaturated fatty acids that speed up the process of converting fat into energy and boosts metabolism rate. An increase in metabolic rate means you burn more calories throughout the day which promotes weight loss. A report from Eating Well cites a study which found that people who eat avocados tend to have lower BMI, body weight and waist circumference than people who don’t eat this green superfood.
  2. Whole Eggs: Eggs are one of the most misunderstood foods and once feared for being high in cholesterol. But now, whole eggs have been making a comeback. Whole eggs can help you get all the nutrients you need on a calorie-restricted diet. A www.healthline.com article notes that protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to losing weight. Eggs are rich in high-quality protein, fats and essential nutrients like vitamin D and choline. Including this protein-rich food in your breakfast can promotes weight loss as protein increases satiety while controlling appetite hormones, helping fend off hunger until lunchtime. One study found that overweight women who ate eggs for breakfast (instead of bagels) experienced increased feelings of fullness which made them eat less for the next 36 hours.
  3. Beans and Legumes: All beans and legumes (lentils, black beans, kidney beans, etc.) are high in fiber which can be beneficial for weight loss as they help you feel fuller longer and control hunger. Eating beans and legumes has also been linked with various other health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol, and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease (www.eatingwell.com).
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar: An incredible food that is popular in the natural health community, apple cider vinegar supports weight loss. It contains acetic acid which is known to reduce belly fat and restrain body fat build up. Adding apple cider vinegar to your vegetable salad could help curb your appetite, potentially leading to greater weight loss.
  5. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are a low-carb-friendly food and one of the best sources of fiber in the world. With its high fiber content, chia seeds can absorb up to 11-12 times their weight in water, expanding in your stomach, filling you up, and reducing your appetite. Add chia seeds to salads and smoothies.
  6. Yogurt: Protein-packed and full of probiotics, yogurt is good for gut health and may help your weight-loss efforts. Probiotics help to boost immunity, regulate belly function and burn the bloat. Avoid flavored yogurt with added sugar as it would add on calories. Instead, sweeten plain yogurt with fresh fruit.
  7. Salmon: Salmon is a super anti-inflammatory food that contains high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are good for burning belly fat. Salmon helps control the hormone levels that cause excess fat to accumulate, boosts heart health, lowers your risk of dementia and improves your mood. One study found that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helped people feel more satisfied when they were watching their calories.
  8. Popcorn: It’s an excellent weight-loss snack – if it’s not drenched in butter. Popcorn is filled with air and considered a low-calorie snack. Stick to low-fat, low-sodium microwave popcorn.
  9. Almonds: Almonds are an excellent source of fiber and protein, and can help you feel fuller longer.

While all of these foods are good for weight loss, make sure you eat it in moderation. And remember that regular exercise is also important for weight loss.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Feb 25 – March 3, 2019

Eating DisorderEating disorders are illnesses characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape. These behaviors can significantly impact the body’s ability to get appropriate nutrition, which in turn can harm its vital systems and lead to disease. However, there is a general lack awareness about the condition, with many people not seeking treatment and others, even oblivious to the fact that this is a serious health problem. Hosted by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), NEDA Awareness Week is observed every year in the final week of February to raise awareness about eating disorders and increase prevention support. This year, NEDA Awareness Week runs from 25 February to 3 March. With the theme “Come as You Are”, NEDA’s movement aims to get people talking about eating disorders, fight associated myths and misunderstandings, get people screened, and promote body acceptance.

Held annually during NEDA Awareness Week, the National Eating Disorder Screening Program educates and screens individuals for eating disorders and connects those who may be at-risk with local treatment resources (www.mentalhealthscreening.org). The 2019 theme, “Come as You Are”, sends a message to individuals at all stages of body acceptance and eating disorders recovery that their stories are valid.

Eating disorders such as bulimia, binge eating, and anorexia affect millions of Americans and people worldwide. These serious conditions are related to persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact your health, your emotions and your ability to function in important areas of life. Some of the symptoms shown by many men and women indicating an eating disorder include:

  • Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
  • Chronic dieting despite being hazardously underweight
  • Adopting an overly restrictive vegetarian diet
  • Excessive focus on healthy eating that is obsession with calories and fat contents of food
  • Avoidance of social functions, family, and friends
  • Withdrawing from normal social activities
  • Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight
  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
  • Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods
  • Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
  • Excessive exercise
  • Problems with loss of tooth enamel that may be a sign of repeated vomiting
  • Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
  • Expressing depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits
  • Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food

If not treated or tackled at right time, the symptoms can have disastrous and even deadly consequences. Proper treatment can be highly effective for many of the specific types of eating disorders. Physicians, nutritionists, and therapists are involved in the treatment of eating disorders which usually involves interventions such as medical care and monitoring; nutritional guidance on weight restoration and stabilization and normal eating, and the integration of an individualized meal plan; therapy to address and heal from the traumatic life events and train in coping skills and methods for expressing emotions, communicating and maintaining healthy relationships, and medications.

If you notice a family member or friend who seems to have symptoms of an eating disorder, consider opening a discussion with that person about your concern for his or her well-being. Reaching out with compassion and listening with empathy may encourage the person to seek therapy.

Plan Well and Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals These Holidays

Weight Loss GoalsWinters can be fun as a season of parties, feasts and festivities. But at the same time this season can be a tough time, especially for those of you who are embarked on a weight management journey. With all the feasting, shopping and parties going around, you might find it hard to stick to your weight loss journey. However, in such situations, the first question that arises in your mind is “Is it possible to celebrate the season without packing on pounds?” And the answer is “yes.” Without restricting yourself from all the enjoyments, and with proper planning and researching you can keep your weight loss goals on track for the holidays.

Here are some simple tips that could help you in this regard.

  • Set solid goals: The most important thing is to have a clear understanding why you need be fit and healthy. It’s easy for things to slip when you don’t have a strong goal to accomplish, which can also make you lazy and less motivated. So while setting a goal, make sure that it’s specific in order to be successful. According to an article from health.usnews.com, “Be aware of your excuses, even if they are legitimate. That is if you make the choice to not accept those excuses, it’s incredible what you can accomplish”.
  • Plan according to your vacations: As holidays come with extra social gatherings, family get-togethers, office parties and festivities, plan accordingly. One of the main things to keep in mind during this time is learn to say “No” to yourself. According to an article in Green Bay Press Gazette, “Make room for a few extra calories during your event by getting a little more movement in, being more mindful of what you are eating earlier in the day, and decide what is a treat you don’t want to forego and which you are perfectly fine saying “no” to”.
  • Get extra movement in: To get a long 1- to 2-hour workout might be difficult while you are on a vacation, but it doesn’t mean you cannot have extra movement. You can take a 10 minute walk a couple of times a day, or instead of using elevators and lifts you can take the stairs. These extra movements can be a reset for your brain and get energy flow going through your body.
  • Observe your diet: Parties or gatherings would have variety of foods on the table, stay away from extra calories, but it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t enjoy the abundance of treats available over the holidays. Just keep the calories on check and be mindful of what you are eating. Healthy eating can be made simpler and easier through planning and preparation. Get twice as many veggies as fruits each day as this will help you fill up with high-fiber, low-calorie foods that keep the palate craving the good things and not craving all the sugary bad things.
  • Always stay hydrated: Water is essential for survival, so drink as much water as you can. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, and throughout the day we lose it due to sweating, breathing and, well, going to the bathroom. That’s why it’s so important to drink plenty of water and replace the fluids that you lose during the day.
  • Don’t compromise on sleep: Lack of sleep can lead to difficulty in resisting cravings and control impulses, which in turn can affect your weight loss goals. Poor sleeping habits slow down weight loss and can even lead to weight gain. So, try to get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be better able to deal with stress and stick to your healthy habits.
  • Recruit an Exercise Buddy: Getting support is important in helping you achieve any weight-loss goal, especially in hectic times. Take time to inform your friend or family member regarding your weight loss goals and request them to track you so that managing all of the stress is not just an internal job.
  • Don’t let stress get to you: Holidays can be a magical time and at the same time it can be stressful. Try to find some moments and healthy ways to relax and release tension. You can read a book, take a soothing bath or shower, take a walk in the snow and build a snowman.

Maintaining weight or losing weight during a holiday season is a great accomplishment. So, to complete this task successfully, implement the above-mentioned simple things in your life, and stay focused to keep track of your weight loss goals during this season.

Lose Belly Fat Naturally with 7 Fool-Proof Tips

Lose Belly FatExtra fat around the waist or belly fat is not merely an aesthetic concern, it can also be dangerous to your health. Extra fat in the abdominal area is strongly linked to health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Many people want to lose this belly fat, that too, naturally. According to an articleinmsn.com, “Crash diets, starving and making drastic changes to your lifestyle may seem like luring options to lose some quick kilos, but they are not sustainable in the longer run.” To lose belly fat naturally all you have to do is follow a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise routine.

When planning a healthy lifestyle, you must keep in mind that the changes you make in your lifestyle should reduce your appetite significantly, make you lose weight quickly, without hunger and should improve your metabolic health at the same time. Below are some expert tips and tricks to shed belly fat naturally:

  • Drink lukewarm water: Start your day by drinking lukewarm water as it helps kick-off your metabolism, which is key to weight loss. You can add a little bit of lemon juice or infuse the water with grated ginger if you get bored with plain water, as lemon and ginger are known for their metabolism boosting and fat-burning properties.
  • Eat a high-protein diet: According to an article in healthline.com, protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to losing weight. Include more eggs, oats, beans and lentils in your breakfast, as they are packed with protein. High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which reduces appetite and promotes fullness. So, a protein-packed breakfast makes you feel full, crave less and facilitates weight loss.
  • Have meals at shorter intervals: Try to have 5-6 short meals every day, so that you can avoid long gaps between meals. Observing long gaps between meals can cause your blood sugar to drop, which could also slow down the metabolism.
  • Eat foods rich in fiber: Just as protein, fiber takes the longest time to digest, which creates the feeling of fullness and prevents you from binging later. So, add fiber-rich foods to your diet such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Check the type of fat and carbs you are consuming: Know what type of fat and carbs you are consuming every day because fat is of three types: saturated fat, trans fat, and unsaturated fat. According to healthline.com, “some studies have linked a high intake of trans fat with increased belly fat gain. Whether or not you are trying to lose weight, limiting your intake of trans fat is a good idea.” Ditch trans-fats which are commonly seen in junk foods, instant noodles and store-bought pastas and cookies, instead choose healthy fats such as cheese, nuts, and avocados. These foods generate empty calories and do no good to your body in terms of nutrition.
    Similarly, choose healthy carbs in your diet such as sweet potatoes, whole grains and whole dals. Always make healthy choices while deciding a diet plan especially for weight loss.
  • Avoid added sugar: Always opt for natural sugar alternatives such as jaggery, maple syrup or coconut sugar because refined sugar generates empty calories and too much of sugar go on to store as fat cells.
  • Regular exercising: Being physically active is key to staying healthy and losing belly fat. The tummy is the most difficult part of your body to get rid of fat when you are trying to get into shape. Besides your looks, belly fat is bad for your health. This visceral fat accumulates between organs like the stomach and intestines and produces toxins that affect the functioning of your organs, putting you at a high risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and more. A good exercise regimen combined with a healthy diet can address this visceral fat. Do some simple exercises such as crunches, planks, leg drop and so on.