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Weight loss story: "I lost 20 kgs with PCOS by going dairy and gluten-free" – Times of India

Aug 28th, 2021
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I primarily followed a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. Going gluten-free may not be required for everyone but because I had a leaky gut as well I did this. But going dairy-free is something I highly recommend for everyone.

- I began my day with a green vegetable smoothie topped with chia seeds. This was to control insulin levels in the body, as PCOS is a precursor for diabetes.

- My lunch would be a bajra bhakri or brown rice with a bowl of vegetables or salad + daal.

- Evening snack is ideally the most important Id have a bowl of sprouts chaat, makhana bhel or fruits topped with mixed nuts and seeds.

- I would eat my dinner by 7:30 pm and it would be grilled fish or chicken with a bowl of soup or salad. On days I was hungrier Id eat my meal with some rice.

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Weight loss story: "I lost 20 kgs with PCOS by going dairy and gluten-free" - Times of India



6 Habits That Can Help You Lose Lockdown Weight (and 5 That Won’t) – Everyday Health

Aug 28th, 2021
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As people emerge from isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking a fresh look at the eating habits theyve maintained during the past year and a half. Some people actually improved their diet during this time while others gained the now-notorious quarantine 15.

Whatever your current situation, its not too late to adopt some of the good lockdown habits that can help you lose weight. Other eating patterns born of the pandemic the ones that led to weight gain can derail your healthy eating habits long-term if you dont deal with them now. Monica Reinagel, LDN, a clinical nurse specialist, licensed nutritionist, and host of the Change Academy podcast, offers expert advice on the dietary habits you want to take into the future and which ones are better off left behind.

Many office workers transitioned to work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic, freeing them from morning commutes. And if youve ever had a schedule that requires you to race through school drop-off and fight traffic in order to get to your desk on time, you know that breakfast is often the first thing that gets cut from a morning routine. People often give ran out of time as an excuse for not eating breakfast, says Reinagel.

Without that hectic morning commute, some people spent that time improving their self-care with simple steps like eating breakfast. And that can help with weight loss. A study published inJune 2021 in the journal the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society found that those who didnt eat a morning meal were more likely to eat more added sugars, carbohydrates, and total fat over the course of the day. There are certain things you want in a healthy diet, such as fiber, that are often front-loaded for the day at breakfast, says Reinagel.

When offices closed because of the pandemic, many were suddenly forced to go without takeout lunch specials a survey by market research firm Acosta found that 31 percent of people were eating lunch at home every day, compared with just 18 percent pre-COVID and that may have been a blessing in disguise. When researchers assessed the nutritional quality of meals eaten at full-service or fast food restaurants using data from 35,000 Americans between 2003 ands 2016, they found that less than 0.1 percent were of ideal quality, based on the American Heart Association 2020 diet score, according to a study published in April 2020 in the Journal of Nutrition. As people are increasingly called back to their workplaces, packing those lunches for the office can help keep weight in check.

RELATED: 69 Top Self-Care Tips for Taking Care of You During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Between full-on closures and capacity restrictions at restaurants, many people have found themselves eating out far less frequently than they used to. From a weight perspective, this is an unambiguously positive thing. A study published in January 2016 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that 92 percent of restaurants deliver way more calories than you need on any single eating occasion.

A tight waistband can signal that youre gaining weight if youre wearing fitted clothes to work every day. But what about when you live in sweats, as many people did during the pandemic? Thats when you need to check in with the bathroom scale. According to research published in February 2015 in Obesity, weighing yourself more often has been consistently associated with better weight outcomes. Its a good idea to keep it up even when you go back to pants with zippers.

RELATED: How to Avoid Weight Gain When Youre Cooped Up Inside

Early in the pandemic, people stocked up on shelf-stable ingredients that could help minimize trips to the grocery store, like dried beans and whole grains. These also just happen to be some of the healthiest foods out there. Eating these foods more often has gut health benefits. People who eat a lot of these are more likely to have a healthy weight, says Reinagel.

A studypublished in July 2021 in The Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat three servings of whole grains a day had smaller increases in waist size than people who eat little or no whole grains. Now that you may be shopping more often, its still smart to keep these staples on your list.

If you spent any time on social media during the pandemic, you probably saw many more home-cooked dishes in your feed than ever. People were forced to rediscover their capacity to prepare meals day after day and many rediscovered their enthusiasm for it, says Reinagel. With few options for outside-the-home entertainment and restaurants often off-limits, families turned to their home kitchens for fun and as well as for food.

Home cooking is the king of positive health habits research has shown that people who usually cook for themselves eat fewer calories and enjoy a higher quality diet.

For many of the people I work with, working in or next to the kitchen was hard, says Reinagel. For those suddenly working from home, normal meal time sometimes devolved into an all-day buffet. Its easy to grab a handful of this or a bite of that every time you enter your home kitchen. Reinagel also notes that in the absence of social constraints (not wanting to eat a family-size bag of chips for lunch in front of a coworker, for example). People were unselfconscious about their snacking habits.

The pandemic brought an unprecedented amount of stress and uncertainty into peoples lives. If you coped by eating your feelings, you are not alone. Food was a constant stress relief valve for boredom and screen burnout, says Reinagel.

And research suggests that emotional eaters are 13.38 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than people who dont use food as a coping tool. Learning different ways to manage stress and process strong emotions can help you leave an emotional eating pattern behind.

RELATED: The 10 Best Foods To Help Fight Stress

In the early weeks of lockdown, panicked shoppers cleaned out supermarket shelves. If you played your cards right, you didnt set yourself up to fail by buying big tubs of flavored popcorns and the giant barrel of cheese balls, says Reinagel. The reality is, many people did exactly that. If youre still stockpiling Oreos by the thousands at a buying club, it might be time to reassess your shopping habits.

During 2020, there was a major increase in food delivery app use. The top four companies experienced a collective $3 billion increase in revenue, reported MarketWatch. A study published in February 2020 in Frontiers in Nutrition shed some light on just what people are eating when they get dinner delivered via these apps. Most frequently ordered dishes include cheeseburgers, pizzas, nachos, cheesecake, and baby back ribs classic calorie bombs very likely to derail any weight loss efforts.

RELATED: 5 Things Drinking Too Much Alcohol May Be Doing to Your Body

A study published in December 2020 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Publish Health found that 60.1 percent of people 21 and older who were surveyed said they were drinking more alcohol than they were before the pandemic. People tend to undercount the number of calories that alcohol contributes to your diet, says Reinagel. You can easily be increasing your daily calorie intake by 30 to 40 percent. Another problem according to Reinagel? These calories contribute no satiety, the feeling of fullness and satisfaction you get from food.

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6 Habits That Can Help You Lose Lockdown Weight (and 5 That Won't) - Everyday Health



Weight loss story: "I had a plate full of salad before my main meal | The Times of India – Times of India

Aug 28th, 2021
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My breakfast: I would start my day by having coconut water. After that, 3-4 types of mixed fruits before 12 noon. I also avoided morning tea.

My lunch: So, my lunch meals were a little different and I would have two plates- plate 1 and 2.

Plate 1 should be only Salad, like cucumber and tomatoes without salt.

Plate 2 was normal Roti Sabzi Dal Rice. After eating food one should be aware of not drinking water for around 1 Hour

My dinner: My dinner meals were usually the same as my lunch, but I made sure to have them before 8 pm. One thing to note is that I avoided drinking water for almost an hour after finishing my dinner.

Pre-workout meal: I didn't have specific pre-workout meals because I was already having fruits for my breakfast.

Post-workout meal: After the workout, I always used to take Dry fruits which were almonds and figs.

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Weight loss story: "I had a plate full of salad before my main meal | The Times of India - Times of India



Is Cinnamon tea the ultimate weight loss drink you were looking for? – Times of India

Aug 28th, 2021
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To make this quick tea, heat a vessel and add 2 cups of water along with 1 inch Cinnamon stick and 1 inch Ginger. Cover the lid and let the tea absorb the flavour and goodness of this spice.

Next, add teaspoon of Green tea and turn off the flame. Keep the tea for 3 minutes. Strain the tea and add 1 teaspoon Honey and two Lemon slices.

Another way of preparing a simple Cinnamon tea with just 1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder and boil it with 2 cups of water. Strain the tea and add Lime juice and honey.

Your detox and sleep inducing tea is ready to relish. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help in relaxing the nerves and induce sleep.

For scrumptious recipes, videos, and exciting food news, subscribe to our free Daily and Weekly Newsletters.

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Is Cinnamon tea the ultimate weight loss drink you were looking for? - Times of India



New Study: Time Restricted Eating Has Health Benefits Beyond Weight Loss – The Beet

Aug 28th, 2021
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A new studyfrom the famed Salk Institute shows that Time-Restricted Eating (TRE),popular as a weight-loss strategy, also hassignificant health benefits from disease prevention to helping people survive infections such as COVID-19.While some of the benefits depend on gender and age, the shocking findings indicate that TRE could be used as an inexpensive treatmentforsome of the most common conditions afflicting Americans, since it improves glucose metabolism, boosts immune response, and lowers inflammation.

We know that using intermittent fasting another way of thinking about time-restricted eating where you eat all your calories during a limitedwindow of time and then fast for the rest of the day or night can help peoplelose weight. But this new study has found that it also has health benefits that are varied and significant. The use of TRE as a strategy may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and even liver cancer, and there is some evidence that it can help treat infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Time-restricted eating (TRE) is defined as a dietary regimen that restricts eating to specific hours of the day, and then fasting the rest of the time. TRE hasbecome extremely popular for weight loss since it reduces blood sugar levels during the fasting hours, and forces the body to pull fat from storage to be used as fuel once the body's available energy (such as glycogen stored in the liver, muscles, and other cells) is used up.

In the study, researchers fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet to male and female micethat were theequivalent in age to 20- and 42-year-old humans, restricting their food intake to nine hours. Checking how TRE impacted fatty liver disease, glucose regulation, muscle mass, performance, and endurance, as well as the survival of sepsis, they were curious to see if there was a difference in the benefits to the male versus female mice. The study also alignedto the animals' circadian clocks since mice generally sleep during the day andare active and eat at night (which is why you rarely see them in your kitchen).

Here were the surprising findings: TRE offered significant protection against fatty liver disease, regardless of the age or gender of the animals tested. This is significant because fatty liver disease affects more than 80 million Americans alone, according to the CDC.

"We were surprised to find that, although the females on TRE were not protected from weight gain, they still showed metabolic benefits, including less-fatty livers and better-controlled blood sugar," according to one of the study's authors, Amandine Chaix, who worked at the Salk lab that conducted the research, and is now Assistant Professor, Nutrition & Integrative Physiology Department, University of Utah. She was quoted in the journal Cell Reports.

TRE (the study called in TRF for Time-Restricted Feeding) was associated with better blood glucose tolerance than the micein the control group, which makes this strategy an effective, drug-free way of treating pre-diabetes or diabetes, as well as metabolic syndrome, which the CDC says has reached epidemic proportions in the US.

The mice on the restricted feeding schedule also ended up having better motor performance,body composition, metabolic health, and overall fitness, although the male mice showed more improvements in these areas than the female mice. The study author concluded: "In males, TRF improved all metabolic and performance parameters tested, regardless of age, suggesting that TRF could improve healthspan and lifespan even with a Western diet feeding."

The conclusion in Cell Response explained: "Future studies of lifelong TRF will test this hypothesis. Finally, we show that being on TRF can increase survival to a septic challenge in middle-aged male mice, with a trend in females. This is especially relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic during which this paper was written since poor metabolic health is the major risk factor for severe COVID-19."

Studies have shown that not eating for long stretches can activate the body's natural immune response, according to Dr. Jason Fung, author of Life in the Fasting Lane and The Cancer Code. Dr. Fung has written extensively on the subject of fasting and immunity, as well as how fasting can benefit the body's response to knocking out cancer cells, viruses and other lurking dangers that the immune system needs to respond to daily.

Intermittent fasting has been shown in the past tohelp the body heal by triggering what's known as "autophagy," or the self-cleaning mechanism that allows the immune cells to span out around the body and search for possible invaders, including damaged or dead cells, broken-off bits that are in need of disposal, and some of those can be from viruses and bacterial infections.

"Autophagy plays a key role in helping the body fight viruses," Dr. Fung told The Beet. "It's like a cleaning crew that comes in and scrubs the entire place, while you're sleeping. When the immune system sees signs of invading viruses or infection itsends the alarm bells of the immune system ringing and begins to create antibodies that will "recognize" this invader and be able to fight it off.

By fasting, orrestricting your eating time to a small specific window, all the usual distractions that come with ingesting food get turned off, allowing the immune system to perform its necessary house cleaning and surveillance work, Dr. Fung explains, so the immune systemdoesn't have to deal with any potentiallytoxic elements or harmful bacteria that might be coming in with your food and can focusonthe actualdangers such as cancer growth or viral infections that may beharboring in place.

The study from the Salk Institute also showed that the mice in the TRF group were able tosurvivethe dangers of sepsis, a potentially fatal condition related to infection, where the body's inflammation response can trigger a runaway chain of events, which is especially relevant in the fight against severe cases of COVID-19.

To improve blood glucose tolerance, reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and even lower inflammation, and possibly help treat symptoms of COVID-19, using time-restricted eating may be worth trying, according to a new study that looked at the effects on male and female mice given a Western diet. The results showed different benefits for males and females, however, so more study is needed.

For more great content like this, check out The Beet's Health & Nutrition articles.

New Study: Time Restricted Eating Has Health Benefits Beyond Weight Loss - The Beet



Weight watchers can enjoy white rice guilt-free: Tips to lose weight with the source of carbs – Times Now

Aug 28th, 2021
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Updated Aug 27, 2021 | 14:39IST

Nutritionists and dieticians rarely say yes to rice when it comes to weight loss. However, by simply striking a balance, one can enjoy rice guilt-free.

Portion control is key when it comes to healthy eating, especially with respect to white rice | Photo credit: Pixabay 

New Delhi: People on a weight loss spree rarely turn to carbohydrates for support, and white rice is the biggest no-no for this group owing to its famed link to lethargy, water retention and eventually weight gain. Sacrificing this gullible grain that goes well with all curries is a tough call for those that cant get enough of it. However, what if we told you that there a way to enjoy this gluten-free source of carbs while torching excess body fat? Trust us for its no bluff that one can obtain the nutritional value of white rice while losing additional body weight by simply striking a balance.

How healthy is a bowl of white rice?

Fitness enthusiasts often switch from white to brown rice owing to nutritional value. However, steamed / boiled white rice also find a prestigious place on the health chart. Although high in calories, white rice is a low-fat staple rich in B-vitamins, can be digested easily and boosts metabolism as well.

How to lose weight with a bowl of white rice?

Nutritionists and dieticians rarely say yes to rice when it comes to weight loss. However, by simply striking a balance, one can enjoy rice guilt-free.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

Get the Latest health news, healthy diet, weight loss, Yoga, and fitness tips, more updates on Times Now

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Weight watchers can enjoy white rice guilt-free: Tips to lose weight with the source of carbs - Times Now



Weight Loss: This Jaggery And Lemon Water May Help You To Shed Extra Kilos – NDTV Food

Aug 28th, 2021
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We all see weight loss transformations of many on social media, but we only realise the hard work behind it when we try to lose weight ourselves. From daily exercise, calorie control to dieting, all these things can be overwhelming, to begin with. Although following these things comes as a ritual during weight loss - did you know that detox waters too can be helpful? Detox water helps cleanse our body from toxins and may help to manage or lose weight as well. These drinks can be easily made at home with everyday ingredients. While you must have heard about the jeera water or saunf water for weight loss, you should definitely try this jaggery and lemon water as well!

We all know that lemon water is common in weight loss, but adding jaggery might be a new thing to it. So, let us see the benefits of both the ingredients that can aid you.

Jaggery (gur) is loaded with minerals and antioxidants that boost immune health

Lemon is a known source of Vitamin C with that, this ingredient can help to improve hydration, skin quality, digestion, lowers stroke risk, improves heart health and most importantly it aids in weight loss and management. Whereas jaggery, which is more commonly used to make sweets, also has its share of benefits that can help you. Jaggery can help improve digestion, cleanse the body, improve immunity and aids in weight loss as well. So, with these benefits, it's a must to try the jaggery and lemon water for weight loss.

First, take a small piece of jaggery and bring it to a boil. Once done, strain the water and let it cool till normal temperature. Now add one tablespoon of lemon in the water, mix and drink! You can have this drink every morning.

Make this and let us know how this drink aided in your health?!

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Weight Loss: This Jaggery And Lemon Water May Help You To Shed Extra Kilos - NDTV Food



10 Common Questions Men Over 40 Have About Running to Lose Weight –

Aug 28th, 2021
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So youre a guy over 40 who wants to use running to lose weight and get back in shape? Youre certainly not alone. The great thing about running is that it has a slew of benefits calorie burn included. Not only has picking up the pace been shown to boost aerobic fitness and cognitive flexibility, it can also lower your risk for diabetes among other perks.

The tough part? Well, youve gotta get moving to make this work. Not only that, but you need to be a little strategic about how you do so. Since shedding pounds is your ultimate goal, youre going to have to keep some things in mind when it comes to implementing running into your regular routine. Thats where our top experts come in to give you the helpful tips you need to stave off injury while watching the number on the scale go down. Heres everything you need to know about running and weight loss over 40.

As one would imagine, this answer can vary based on a lot of different aspects, including weight, injury history, and geographic location (especially in mid-summer or winter, when temperature can be a limiting factor for safe exercise). Make sure to consult with a physician before taking on any new exercise program.

Somebody could run seven days a week if they wanted to, says Leslie Bonci, R.D., a sports dietician for the Kansas City Chiefs. Although, running is hardly a strengthening exercise, so Id probably be more prone to recommend four days per week, combined with two or three of strength work.

There are plenty of different types of running that a person can add into their weekly schedule. A great way for someone to get into running for weight loss is with intervals, says John Honerkamp, a New York-based run coach. Interval training will help you build strong muscles and can even be more enjoyable, according to a 2014 study in the journal PLoS One.

This will help you avoid getting bored, and its a helpful way to avoid injury if youre just getting into the swing of things, he says. Honerkamp says that a great example workout to get your heart rate up is a set of 400-meter repeats (for running newbies, thats equivalent to one lap around the track). Push for one 400, rest up and leisurely walk for 60 to 90 seconds, then repeat six to 10 times. You want to avoid mindlessly going out there, and making sure that there is an intention behind what youre doing.

To actually drop weight, youre going to have to think holistically, says Bonci. If youve been sedentary and then you start to become more physically active, youll get hungrier, she adds. If you lean into the mentality I'm running and I burned a lot of calories so therefore I can eat whatever I want, then youre going to run into some issues on your weight loss journey.

While post-sweat donuts may be mega tempting, Bonci recommends a good mix of carbohydrates and proteins that will give your muscles the post-workout nutrition and replenishment they really need.

Bonci also stresses the importance of hydration. If somebody is going to be running more, theyre going to be sweating more. So, theyll need to be doing an optimal job with hydrationthat is critically important.

Naturally the question arises: What is optimal hydration for me? A solid tactic: Weigh yourself pre- and post-exercise on a day that youre working out. For every pound of weight you lose, youll need to drink 20 to 24 ounces (2 1/2 to 3 cups) of fluid to restore balance.

If you were an athlete in your high school or college glory days, its important to accept that its very unlikely youll be performing like you did back in your peak. For Honerkamp, a father over 40 himself, he now reframes his goals to meet himself where hes at. I think OK, I want to run my fastest mile as a 40-year-old, or This is my fastest 5K as a dad. Its important to remove the judgement so that you can truly appreciate your accomplishments for what they are.

Also to keep in mind: Typically, strength and muscle mass declines with age. According to a report from the American College of Sports Medicine, muscle mass diminishes roughly 10 percent by 50 and then 15 percent per decade through your 60s and 70s. This decrease can contribute to everything from a decrease in VO2 max to changes in overall running form.

One 2016 study published in the journal Medical & Science in Sports & Exercise found that older runners take shorter strides than their younger counterparts, largely because of weaker push-off from the calf and ankle muscles.

Strength training for runners is critical, as it can help better your overall running economy, neuromuscular function, and prevent injury. Honerkamp recommends incorporating strength work at least two days per week. This can be as simple as 10 to 15 minutes at the end of a run, he says. You dont need an hour powerlifting session or loads of equipment to get big benefits.

Focus on the muscle groups that support your stride, including your posterior chain (the backside of your body) as well as your core.

Plateausor when you seem to hit a stopping point on your weight loss journey and the scale isnt budgingare a frequent-but-hated part of the process, says Bonci. When they happen, she recommends doing a check-in with yourself. Sometimes, we dont even realize that were sabotaging ourselves. So, go ahead and check in. Ask yourself: what are my portions like? Am I drinking more now than I was before? Am I fueling smart? Things like that can be easy to slip up on.

If you do this pulse check and find that things still dont have an explanation, dont freak out. Honerkamp recommends making time for intervals during your weekly workouts. Its easy to get into the groove of just doing the same thing all the time, but if youre constantly training too hard or too easy, your routine will become stagnant and plateaus could happen. So, try mixing things up.

There are a lot of helpful items to have in your runners toolbox, but both of our experts agree that the most useful thing for a new runner is the right pair of sneakers. The right pick can help you run for longer and injury-free. The wrong one? Say hello to cramping and pain. Make sure that youre choosing a pair of shoes that are meant for running, rather than something like CrossFit or bootcamp shoes.

Go to a running specialty shop where you can get fit for the right shoe, suggests Bonci. Preferably, theyll put you up on a treadmill, check out your gait, and see you in different styles. The goal: Find a shoe that is going to helpnot hinderyour progress.

Start with actually diversifying your running routine. If you happen to live near a trail or track, incorporate efforts in these spaces for a sweet change of scenery. If youre looking for something more extrinsic, Honerkamp recommends linking up with a running group. One 2017 study from the American Osteopathic Association found that having a training partner can reduce stress while enhancing overall well-being and improving physical fitness.

Its fun to share the experience with others, and its also a great way to meet people and make it more of a thing you want to do instead of something you feel like you have to do.

When youre working on establishing a habit like running for weight loss, Honerkamp recommends sticking to your plan for at least three or four weeks without judgement. At this point, things may start to feel a little easier for you. It takes a minute to get here. Of course, everyone is different, but the more you run, the more you may surprise yourself with those moments where things feel shockingly easier than they used to.

You don't need to spend an arm and a leg to get gear that can help you run smarter. Bonci recommends having a foam roller around that you can use before and after your workouts (along with a mid-weekend Netflix binge). Also, fill up water bottles to keep in your fridge, and use them to roll out after a tough effort.

While options like percussive therapy guns (see Hypervolt, Theragun) and Normatec boots have been shown to help with inflammation and recovery, however, they arent necessarily a must-have item for beginners.

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Weight loss story: "I lost 40 kilos without going to the gym or any diet and here’s my secret" – Times of India

Aug 28th, 2021
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I was extremely overweight for my age, and because of the same, I had to undergo a lot of humiliation and bullying in my school. As a 'fat' child, I used to feel extremely laxy and dull going out, be it school or college. Over time, it got very difficult and I took it as a self-challenge, to not just lose weight, but also manage to do so without having to go to the gym!

After a lot of procrastination, on the 26th Of November 2020, I went for a 3-hour walk and to my surprise, in the first week I lost 2 kgs. Straightforward to this year, I ended up losing a shocking 30 kilos and everyone around me, from friends to family was shocked!

It boosted my confidence and self-esteem and I ended up being mentally tough, after walking for 1.5 hours my entire body used to get exhausted yet I didn't notice the pain in my legs and shoulders and used to continue with my walk. I used to walk for 2 to 3 hours consistently with no break, whether it is rain or hot daylight.

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Weight loss story: "I lost 40 kilos without going to the gym or any diet and here's my secret" - Times of India



The 7 Biggest Myths About Calories – Everyday Health

Aug 28th, 2021
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You may think you know all about calories. Many people have been counting them, cutting them, and adding them up for most of their lives. But when it comes to weight loss, theres actually still a lot of confusion out there about calorie counting. It turns out that many of the most common beliefs on the subject are really just myths. Here are seven of the most persistent calorie counting myths plus the facts, straight from experts.

Plenty of people believe that as long as they stick to a certain number of calories per day, theyre eating healthy. This myth can get in the way of eating a balanced, nutritious diet. You cannot compare 100 calories of salmon to 100 calories of soda, says Samantha Cassetty, RD, former nutrition director of Good Housekeeping, who is based in New York City.

She points out that salmon is loaded with beneficial nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and protein one reason the American Heart Association recommends eating it twice a week that work really hard to nourish your body. With soda, its the opposite those calories are working against you, she says. Not only are they lacking in nutrition, but they are also full of sugar, and drinking them has been associated with an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, past research shows. Its a total mistake to think all calories are the same, Cassetty says.

With only about 9 calories a stalk, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), its obvious how this myth got started. Its easy to imagine that the act of chewing celery erases enough of those calories to take the food into negative calorie territory. Its an idea leftover from another era, says Cassetty.

Cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, and other water-rich vegetables are also sometimes said to be negative-calorie foods, but just like with celery, its nothing more than a myth. There are no negative calorie foods, says Cassetty.

Related: What Is the CICO Diet and Can It Really Help You Lose Weight?

What you see is not necessarily what you get when it comes to calorie information on nutrition labels. There is leeway for manufacturers, says Cassetty. In fact, by law, food manufacturers can be up to 20 percent off the mark with this number, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means a product youre eating that you believe has 200 calories might actually have up to 240 calories. A study published in the journal Obesity investigated the accuracy of nutrition labels andfound that prepackaged convenience meals had 8 percent more calories on average than their labels claimed. That can add up.

This is a gross oversimplification of the science of calories, and hardly the way weight loss works in real life, according to Cassetty. Overall body size, genetics, sleep, and stress can all complicate this general rule, she says. As a body loses weight, the amount of calories it needs to maintain that weight goes down.

The 3,500 calories-equals-one-pound math simply doesnt account for this. Nor does it take into consideration other factors including gender, changing diet and exercise habits, and poor compliance, according to an article in Todays Dietitian. Carson C. Chow, PhD, a senior investigator in the mathematical biology section of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is quoted in the article explaining: Every 10 calories per day decrease in calorie intake leads to an eventual one-pound loss, but it can take three years to get there." (You can check out the National Institutes of Healths Body Weight Planner tool to try this new math out for yourself.) This rule of thumb isnt quite as appealing to dieters as the 3,500 calorie rule, but its more accurate.

Related: The 16 Best Apps for Weight Loss: Diet Plan Tools, Fitness Trackers, and More

Theres a difference between the number of calories a given food contains and how many calories your specific body absorbs from that food. The number of calories you may assimilate can vary based on the makeup of your gut microbiome, according to research, among other things. In anotherprevious study, researchers from Harvard even discovered that calorie counts can vary between raw and cooked foods. And then theres the fiber effect. Because your body doesnt absorb fiber (its the indigestible part of plants), the amount a food contains can also affect the calories you actually get. One small study of 18 people, which was published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that almonds contain more calories than they contribute to a persons diet. Almonds, in particular, are a source of prebiotic fiber, which we do not absorb, according to previous research.

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Many calorie counters live and die by the calories burned readouts on their exercise equipment and fitness trackers. Its very common for people to decide to eat an extra snack or have dessert based on a number supplied by their device, says Cassetty. But a study from Stanford Universitypublished in May 2017 in the Journal of Personalized Medicinefound that wearable fitness trackers are generally off by 27 percent. Thats a substantial amount. If youre overestimating your calories burned by that much, it can not only make it impossible to lose weight, it can result in weight gain, she says.

People dont realize when they exercise, theyll unconsciously decrease other energy spent throughout the day, says Cassetty. Previous research supports the notion that after exercise people may fidget less, stand less, or take the stairs less often. The body is always compensating, making small adjustments to maintain energy balance below the level of your awareness. Its not necessarily something you can control, says Cassetty.

People do a really bad job of estimating the number of calories they eat, then they get an inflated idea about how many calories they burned thanks to these devices, says Cassetty. You can really end up on the wrong side of that equation.

Can calorie counting be a helpful guide for weight loss? Sure. But theres no need to feel like youll never shed excess pounds if you cant commit to tracking every calorie especially when research suggests otherwise. A study published in September 2017 in Perspectives on Psychological Science concluded that reducing calorie intake may not be the golden ticket to weight loss that people assume it will be.

And a study published in February 2018 in JAMA found that other dietary changes, for instance eliminating processed foods, can be just as effective for weight loss. Notably, the study was designed to determine whether a low-carb or low-fat diet was better for weight loss. Neither group counted calories, but they were given nutrition advice. Both groups lost around the same amount of weight, and what they had in common was a diet of natural whole foods, not processed food. So count, or dont count, but know that the best approach is the one that works for you.

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The 7 Biggest Myths About Calories - Everyday Health


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