6-month weight loss plan

It's time to make new year's resolutions, and at the top of most people's list will be to lose weight and start an exercise program.

For the new year, try setting monthly goals to improve your health. Make a resolution to check in at the beginning of each month to assess progress. Here's a plan for the first six months to make you feel great in 2008.

January: Begin the new year by assessing your weight and understanding what your weight means for your health. Calculate your body mass index using your height and weight. See the Web site www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi.

BMI tells you if your weight puts you at risk for future health problems, so aim for a BMI of less than 25. If your BMI is more than 30 and losing a lot of weight seems like a daunting task, don't worry. Aim to lose 10 to 12 pounds over the course of a year. Even a small weight loss can improve blood pressure, blood sugar and blood lipids.

In addition to height and weight, measure your waist circumference with a cloth tape measure. If it's over 40 inches for men and 35 inches in women, set a goal to reduce your apple shape. Your last assessment is to keep a three-day food record and analyze it at www.mypyramidtracker.gov. Set up a profile and use the tracking tool every month to assess your goals.

February. Keep a food diary the first three days of every month and use MyPyramid tracker to assess your intake. This month we turn to affairs of the heart, so focus on saturated fat and cholesterol when you analyze your diet. Easy changes include switching from whole milk to skim milk to save 4 grams of saturated fat and using ground sirloin in place of ground round to save 4.5 grams of saturated fat. For more tips to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol, check out www.americanheart.org.

March. This is National Nutrition Month, so go to www.eatright.org and use the Find a Nutrition Professional tool to locate a registered dietitian in your area to help you fine-tune your goals. Continue with a three-day record and compare it with the food record you kept in January. As the warmer weather approaches, set your exercise goals. Walking is the easiest exercise, so dust off the walking shoes and hit the pavement. Use a pedometer to measure your steps and aim for 10,000 steps each day. If walking outdoors isn't an option, buy a DVD. I like Leslie Sansone's "Walk Away the Pounds." It sounds dorky to walk in place, but trust me, her four-mile super challenge is a great workout in the comfort of your living room.

April. In addition to analyzing your diet, use the MyPyramid activity tracker to monitor your exercise goals. If you've lost weight and have reached a plateau, don't let that deter you. Your smaller body needs fewer calories, so you may have to tweak your diet to burn a few more calories each day. Save 100 calories by dipping chips in salsa instead of cheese dip; switch to light butter; use soft tacos instead of fried crispy tacos; don't ask for extra butter on popcorn at the movies; use chicken broth in mashed potatoes instead of whole milk and butter.

May. Focus on nutrients for bone health, especially calcium and vitamin D. Review your diet analysis for these two important nutrients and visit the Web site of the National Osteoporosis Foundation at www.nof.org to learn more about bone health. Exercise also strengthens bones, so keep up your activity.

June. Check in with your food and activity intake at MyPyramid tracker and use the information to reassess your goals for the next six months. Did you lose weight and improve your body mass index? Did you reduce your waist circumference? Did you stick to your exercise goals? If you've slipped, don't give up. Rededicate yourself for the last half the year to meet the goals you established in January.

Source: http://www.ajc.com/health/content/health/stories/2007/12/21/fit_1227fd.html

Why You're Not Losing Weight

1. You're Following Bad Advice

Sometimes the government goofs. In late 1970s, the United States began advocating a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. In the early 1970s, the average daily energy intake was 2,450 calories. By the year 2000, that number had risen to 2,618. Almost all of those extra calories came from carbohydrates, according to the Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

Do this: Eat fewer carbs. People are overeating carbohydrates, not protein and fat. So if you want to lose fat, start by cutting back on carbs. Ask nutritionists what the main purpose of carbohydrates is and they'll say, "Energy." Trouble is, most people are consuming more energy than they can burn.

2. You Eat Fat-Free Foods

Warning: Low-fat foods may make you fat. Cornell University researchers reported that when overweight men and women were told they were eating low-fat M&Ms, they consumed 47 percent more calories than those who were given regular M&Ms (the M&Ms were actually all the same). On average, low-fat foods contain 59 percent less fat, but only 15 percent fewer calories than full-fat products.

Do this: Go ahead and eat full-fat foods — for instance, cheese, sour cream, and a nice, marbled steak. They have slightly more calories than their lower-fat counterparts, but they'll help you feel full longer after you eat. And that'll reduce the number of calories you eat at your meal. In our lab at the University of Connecticut, we've found that people who eat 60 percent of their calories from fat lose weight faster than those who eat just 20 percent of their calories from fat.

Moreover, many of your concerns about saturated fat may be overstated.

3. You (Still) Don't Eat Breakfast

Sure, you've heard this one before. But it's important: Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that people who don't eat breakfast are nearly five times more likely to be obese than those who make it an everyday habit. That's because if you sleep for 6 to 8 hours, and then skip breakfast, your body is running on fumes by the time you get to work. And that sends you desperately seeking sugar, which happens to be easy to find.

Do this: Eat your first meal within 90 minutes of waking. The UMass scientists determined that people who waited longer increased the likelihood that they'd become heavyweights by 147 percent; those that didn't eat breakfast within 3 hours of waking elevated their risk by 173 percent.

4. You're Eating Too Much Sugar

You've stopped drinking regular soda? Great, but your diet is probably still filled with the sweet stuff. Check the label of your breakfast cereal. Some products marketed as healthy are packed with sugar. Case in point: Kellogg's Smart Start Health Heart cereal contains more sugar per serving — 17 grams — than a serving of Froot Loops. The problem: Sugar raises your blood levels of insulin, a hormone that signals your body to stop burning — and start storing fat.

Do this: Carefully read labels — especially when it comes to cereal. Or even better, trade your morning bowl for an omelet. Saint Louis University scientists found that people who have eggs as part of their breakfast eat fewer calories the rest of the day than those who ate bagels instead. Even though both breakfasts contained the same number of calories, the egg eaters consumed 264 fewer calories for the entire day.

5. You Don't Lift Weights

In a study at the University of Connecticut, we put overweight men on a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet, and divided them into three groups — one that didn't exercise, another that performed aerobic exercise 3 days a week, and a third that did both aerobic exercise and weight training. Each group lost almost the same amount of weight — about 21 pounds. But the lifters shed 5 more pounds of fat than those who didn't pump iron. Why? Their weight loss was almost pure fat, while the other two groups lost just 15 pounds of lard, along with several pounds of muscle.

Do this: Make three total-body weight training sessions a week a non-negotiable part of your weight loss plan. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that lost muscle is replaced by fat over time. This not only makes you look flabby, but it also increases your pants size — even if you somehow manage to keep your scale-weight the same. The reason: Each pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space on your body than each pound of muscle.

Source: MSN Health

Nutrition & Insomnia

The food we eat has a very important impact on all the body structures, influencing nervous and physical activities alike; therefore, don't be surprised to discover that insomnia and nutrition are interrelated. Food digestion requires a certain amount of effort from the muscles around the stomach, and this very area is rich in nervous ramifications; hence, heavy meals in the evening are not recommended since they can easily trigger sleep disorders. The last meal of the day should be taken at least two hours before going to bed, to allow enough time to the stomach to process food. Insomnia and nutrition affect people of all ages alike, not to mention that there is also a psychological dimension of the problem as well.

Food difficult to process lies behind insomnia and nutrition problems; this is why nutritionists recommend only light meals after six o'clock in the evening. Fruit and salads, dairy products, cereals, soup or broth are easier to digest in the evening, whereas meat, sweets and fat dishes are the require the most intense of efforts on the part of the digestive system. Therapists advise people who suffer from both insomnia and nutrition problems to try to drink a glass of warm milk sweetened with honey before going to bed; it is said to have a soothing effect and to induce natural sleep without the slightest of efforts on your part.

Insomnia and nutrition problems are common among overweight people who experience the syndrome of “emotional hunger”. Due to depression, or emotional instability, one could get up in the middle of the night with food cravings, and she or he may not be able to sleep until the craving is satisfied. Such disorders involve both sleep and eating habits, being deeply rooted in psychological issues that demand a quick solution. The measure to be taken seems simple: therapy and professional help should be undergone by anyone with insomnia and nutrition problems.

Some food items are more likely to cause insomnia and nutrition problems than others. A good example here is chocolate; due to the large amount of cocoa it contains – particularly in dark varieties – chocolate can cause agitation and sleeplessness in children and sensitive adults alike. The explanation behind such insomnia and nutrition imbalances triggered by chocolate consists in the amount of lecithin that it contains. Lecithin is a brain stimulator, activating the nervous impulses at the level of the central nervous system; this is why it is advisable not to allow children to eat chocolate in excess.

Source: American Chronicle

Athlete & energy

An athlete’s daily energy intake provides for immediate energy needs necessary for body functions, physical activity and growth.

It also helps in influencing body energy stores. Energy stores play a number of important roles related to sports and exercise performance. They include:

1. Improved Size and physique (somatotype)

2. Improved muscle mass

3. Provision of fuel for sports and exercise.

More here.

Campaign Aimed at Improving Nutrition Among HIV-Positive People

The World Health Organization soon will launch a campaign in South and Southeast Asia aimed at making nutrition programs a central part of HIV/AIDS treatment in the region, Randa Saadeh, a scientist in WHO's Nutrition for Health and Development Department, said recently, Inter Press Service reports. Saadeh was speaking at the end of a weeklong meeting in Bangkok aimed at increasing support for the campaign and ensuring that governments in the region have measures to implement program in place by 2009.

According to Saadeh, this is the first time the region has been targeted to improve nutrition as part of its effort to fight HIV/AIDS. "We want governments to adopt strong positions on this link" between HIV/AIDS and nutrition "as a solution," she said. The campaign follows a similar WHO initiative in sub-Saharan Africa that was launched after the approval of a resolution that formally recognized the link between nutrition and HIV/AIDS at the 2006 World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, Inter Press Service reports. The resolution called on governments to "make nutrition an integral part of their response to HIV/AIDS."

Rest of the news here.

Carb quiz

Carbs tend to go in and out of favor from a nutrition standpoint. What's the latest? Here's a quiz based on information from the Harvard School of Public Health to find out how savvy you are about carbohydrates in your.

Check out the quiz here.

Supplement and children

In examining the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Survey of more than 10,000 children, researchers found that dietary supplements, usually multi-vitamins or multi-minerals, are a regular part of many children's diets.

The study found that nearly 50 percent of children 4-to-8 years old take dietary supplements, but only about 25 percent of children 14 to 18 years old take supplements. The researchers also found that children in higher-income families; children who spent less time watching television, playing video games, or on the computer; and children in smoke-free households were more likely to use supplements.

More on supplements and children here.

Ideal Body Weight

Here is a simple way to find your ideal body weight. This is an approximate method which means it will not be accurate but it will give a rough idea of how much you should be weighing.

Suppose your height (in cms) is 162cms,
You can calculate your ideal body weight by using the formula below,

[App] Ideal Body Weight(in kgs) = Height (in cms) - 100

By using this formula, your ideal body weight = 162 - 100 = 62 kgs (app)

This will work only for adults. After getting a rough idea, you can start working out towards your ideal body weight.

Quiz: TG

A blood test that shows a high level of triglycerides is not good, according to the American Heart Association. How much do you know about this fatty acid radical? Here's a quiz to find out.

Fasting and nutrition well-being

In practice, fasting means decreasing one's caloric intake by 30 to 40 percent. In some countries, fasting is used as a way of rebuilding the immune system to help fight off degenerative diseases.

Good fasting has both spiritual and health benefits. When breaking the fast in the evening, it is important not to overindulge in food, which not only goes against the whole point of fasting but also makes it harder to resume fasting.

A beneficial article on fasting and nutrition, especially right now during fasting season.

Dietary Tips For the Expectant Mothers

Below are some important dietary tips for expectant mothers in really simple terms.

1. The meals should be frequent small meals rather than 3 big meals.
2. Include 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables - it will help to avoid constipation.
3. Avoid more of sweets - in case of increased blood sugar which has arised because of pregnancy.
4. More dietary fibre should be included.
5. Calcium rich diet is recommended - can have calcium supplements also.
6. Fatty rich foods, fried foods, excessive seasoning etc can be avoided in case of gastric distress and nausea.
7. Take 3 cups of milk or its equivalent daily.
8. Have green leafy vegetables liberally which are rich in iron along with citrus fruits.
9. Have at least two fruits a day.. e.g., pomegranate and orange; apple and guava etc..
10. Egg, fish, meat or pulses - 2 servings per day.
11. Dry fruits can be added in minimum amounts
12. Chikkis like groundnut chikki can also be included.
13. In case of oedema and hypertension restrict sodium (salt).
14. Have plenty of water; not along with meals but after and in between meals.
15. For fruit juices do not add sugar.
16. You can have fluids like coconut water also.

[These are generalized dietary guidelines. Please consult your physician and/or dietitian for more specific guidelines.]

Quiz on fiber

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, fiber is an important nutrient in our diets, and we need to pay attention to the benefits. Here's a quiz to find out what you know about fiber's benefits.

Calorie needs

Many of today’s nutrition recommendations – whether for weight control or for how much fat, vegetables or other foods fit in a healthy diet – are based on calorie needs. Calorie needs depend on weight, age, gender and activity level, as well as individual metabolic rate.

So, you may want to stop eating the same 'diet food' your colleague is consuming, and stop feeding the same amount of calorie to your growing child!

Read more on calorie needs HERE.


One thing I found many are confused about - who are nutritionist and who ARE dietitians. I find that even medical doctors are unable to distinguish both professions! *sigghhh...

May be one can start by reading some info on dietitians, and few days later I will post something on nutritionist.

Read more on the differences HERE

Good fats?

“Compared to the Western diet, the Indian diet is often blamed for not being consistent in nutrition and calories. Unhealthy snack culture is on the rise with saturated and trans-fat contents going unchecked in ‘vanaspati’-cooked food products. Excessive body fats increase chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other illness”

More here.

Of course there is such thing called good fat. I don't get it why most people still awed at this fact. Probably due to the bad 'publicity' on fats. Need we start a new campaign "Save the good fats"?? :P

Intensive care for healthier babies

Give a low-income pregnant woman intensive care and support and make sure she gets proper nutrition - and her baby will be healthier at birth with a lower probability of developmental problems. That's the aim of Healthy Start, a federally funded program with 100 projects across the country, including one in Baltimore.

Read more about the interesting program HERE

Heart disease in women

Contrary to popular belief, heart disease occurs equally among men and women, albeit at an older age in women.

In 2005, statistics from the Health Ministry indicated that 22.5% of women died of cardiovascular disease, and this is an increase of 135% compared with 1990.

An average of more than 16 women per minute die of cardiovascular disease worldwide

“Most men and women still think that it is a man’s disease,” states Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin, Malaysian Medical Association president and Yayasan Jantung Malaysia director.

Read the rest

Food chemical 'may boost memory'

Epicatechin is found in grapes

A chemical found in chocolate, tea, grapes and blueberries can improve the memory of mice, research suggests.

The Salk Institute study could lead to further tests to see if epicatechin also works on humans.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests it improves blood flow in the brain - especially in combination with extra exercise.

However, nutritionists warn chocolate is high in fat and sugar, which may undo any potential benefits.

This is not the first study to find a link between 'flavanol' chemicals in certain foods and health benefits - other studies claim that cardiovascular health can be improved by including them in the diet.

Read further here...

Treat For Diet Concious People!

Yea, it is treat like news for diet conscious people around the world.
Now you can have concentrated and tasty / yummy foods like ice creams without affecting your sleek waistline.
clipped from www.msnbc.msn.com

New light desserts allow you to indulge while watching your waistline

Image: Ice cream sundae
Yes, you can have your ice cream and eat it, too. Gelato, water ice, sour frozen yogurt and "fro-yo" are among the popular health-conscious frozen desserts.
 blog it

Glad Milk News

Hello fellas,

Here is a great news from the science point of view. A new invention or can be said as a great discovery rather.
clipped from www.independent.ie

Skimmed milk direct from the 'magic' cow Marge

IT may soon be possible to produce skimmed milk straight from the cow - a development that could revolutionise the dairy industry.

Scientists in New Zealand have discovered some cows have genes which give them a natural ability to deliver skimmed milk.

The company identified a cow, Marge, with the required genes. As an added bonus, the milk contains omega-three oils.

"The eureka moment was when we found her daughters produced milk just like their mother," said a company spokesman. The development of a commercial herd is now likely, reports the magazine 'Chemistry & Industry'.

blog it

Sweet disaster

Been a while since I updated NT. Looks pretty dull here. Let me share an interesting article I just read in an online newspaper:

HEART disease and diabetes are indeed a deadly duo, and people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) than those without diabetes.

This is because those with diabetes usually have associated CVD risk factors: High blood glucose, high blood pressure, abnormal blood fat levels and central obesity.

High blood glucose and high blood pressure levels can damage the inner lining of your blood vessels (arteries), making it easier for cholesterol and other fat substances to accumulate inside the artery walls.

This causes plaques (fatty deposits) to form. These plaques narrow your arteries, restrict blood supply and may also rupture, leading to the formation of blood clots.
If the blood clots travel to other parts of your body and partially or totally block blood flow to an organ, say for example, your heart, you may end up with a heart attack. If a plaque ruptures in the brain, you will suffer a stroke.

You may want to read it further here.

Chocolate & blood pressure

Especially dedicated to all chocolate lovers:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Some may see a cup of tea as soothing but chocolate is more likely to lower one's blood pressure, German researchers reported on Monday.

Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking green and black tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the Archives of Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association.

The drop in blood pressure among participants who consumed cocoa products for at least two weeks was in the same range as achieved by someone taking drugs commonly prescribed to control high blood pressure.

The fall in blood pressure credited to cocoa could be expected to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks by 10-20 percent, the report said.

Both cocoa and tea contain polyphenols, a class of chemicals known to help prevent cardiovascular disease that are present in most fruits and vegetables. But cocoa has a different type than tea -- procyanids -- that appear to be more active.

Read more HERE.

Curvy hips!

Indian models flaunted their flesh at the country’s top fashion event, ditching the skinny look for healthy curves and joining the global backlash against “size zero”. With deeper cleavages and ampler derrieres, Indian models are generally better endowed than their Western counterparts, but that has not stopped them winning top global beauty pageants. India followed Madrid last year by banning underweight models from the catwalk, saying it wanted to project an image of beauty and health, not starvation.

The diktat has forced organisers of India’s Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai to watch out for excessively skinny models.

“We don’t want to project a wrong image and promote unhealthy habits,” said Ravi Krishnan, the event’s consultant. At the five-day show, skirts accentuated curvy hips and sensuous tops revealed plump bust lines, as the focus of designers and local fashionistas seemed to shift to fitness and health rather than the stick-thin look.

The show’s organisers said they ran a check on models to find out if any of them suffered from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. The health code applied to male models as well.


Its a dream or what??? Finally the real women with curves are being acknowledged! Hopefully more countries will follow the suit (although France might not).

Food Pyramid

Many of you must have heard about 'THE FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID'.
Food pyramid is something which helps in understanding how much
to have and in what amounts. They say it as a 'FIVE FOOD GROUP PLAN'.

1. Cereals and Cereal Products - eat liberally.
2. Pulses and Legumes - eat moderately.
3. Milk and Meat Products - eat moderately.
4. Fruits and Vegetables - eat generously.
5. Fats, Oils and Sugars - eat sparingly.

Though the food guide pyramid is generalized, it may vary from
one individual to another according to their body requirements.
To get your personalized food guide pyramid check this website:

myDiet Plan

Looks like I am losing the shape - thanks to my ever increasing appetite. So now its time for a weight-loss diet plan. Now don't get me wrong. I am not going to follow any of the ridiculous FAD diets in the market. Its going to be a personalized-well-balanced diet plan. What is the point of being a nutritionist when you can't take care of your own diet huh? :P

Sample of a typical diet plan for a day:

Breakfast (7.00am):
1 cup of milo (you need soothing drink in the morning, avoid coffee)
2 pieces of idlee (low calorie - only 70kcal per piece)
3 tabsp of dhall curry (lentils are good for you ;))

Morning snack (10.00am):
1 cup milo (may be can add tiny amount of coffee in it - no harm)
Handful of sunflower seeds

Lunch (1.00pm):
2 wholemeal bread (God knows how I'm going to swallow this)
1 tabsp tuna spread
1/2 bowl lettuce
1/2 tomato
1 apple

Tea-time (5.30pm):
Tea with milk (I'll die without it)
4 pieces of cream crackers

Dinner (8.30pm):
2 pieces of idlee
3 tabsp of dhall curry
2 bananas

Okie now I know what you guys will think...where is the DIET???
hahahaha.. well, a nutritionist would know what I'm talking about here. This is what we call a healthy diet. No fried food (or should I say.. no excessive consumption of fried food?). No snacks (or chips) in between. About 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. No or less caffeine. No alcohol of course. And I have to take few small meals in a day because of my hypoglycemic background. Now, can you think of anything healthier than this?

Fast food issue: a compromise

Looks like its a win-win situation here. While MOH could not push for a total ban of fast food ads, they came up with rather compromising solution.

concurred with the ministry that such advertisements should not be aired during children shows........fast food outlets will carry announcements on the calorie count of each food item besides stating the average number of calories a person should take a day.......the ministry has total control over fast food advertisements as the companies concerned cannot advertise their fast food without our approval,

Read MORE.

There you go! Hopefully the 'rule' will be around for a long time. We certainly don't want the next Minister to change the whole set of rule.

sick hospital

I am having busy days going through Malaysian newspapers lately! Something is not right about our health / healthcare system? Or is it just me? A report about a 'sick' hospital would definitely catch my eyes. Although its not exactly about nutrition, its patients' health and welfare at stake.

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s barely a year into operations but already Ampang Hospital seems to be falling apart.

The Star checked out the complaints received from the hospital’s staff and patients and found that parts of the ceiling in the paediatric and general wards had collapsed and were not replaced.

The ceiling in the paediatric ward was fungus ridden, while in the ward’s pantry, water was seen dripping from the ceiling.

Read MORE.

Lose the weight babe!!

TANGKAK: Proper exercise and good eating habits are the key to losing weight.

“There is no point wrapping bandages around the waist or thigh if a person does not exercise or eat nutritious food,” Health Minister Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek said.

He explained that if simply by taking slimming tea or pills or wrapping bandages would help people lose weight, then developed countries such as the United States would not be having half its population overweight.

Read MORE.

I think for years, nutritionist been advocating balanced diet and increased physical activity for successful and long term weight loss.However, FAD diets and so called magic-bands seems to take precedence over our advice. Will such statements from the Minister change it all? I am rather sceptical about it. His suggestion on banning of fast food ads did not go well with people, many feel its ridiculous. Probably because everyone will feel guilty over their eating habits. And now slimming tea/pills and bandages? I'm very sure most of mass have resort into these 'solution' for their weight problem. Again, they going to feel offended and start 'kutuking' the Ministry. Ridiculous isn't it?

Ban over fast food

Is this a first step towards an revolution??? I wonder...

The Health Ministry is “seriously considering” a ban on fast food advertisements.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the move would also cover endorsements of events linked to fast food.

This was because such meals are considered “silent killers,” he told reporters here.

Read more HERE