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Weight Control

What foods should you eat when you diet?
The most important part of a weight-reducing diet is caloric restriction. The number of calories that you eat must be less than what your body uses. The deficit in calories causes your body to burn your stored fat. The second requirement of a weight-reducing diet is adequate nutrition. Since you will be eating fewer calories, it is necessary to select foods that have all the essential nutrients needed for optimal health. The third requirement is to balance the proportions of macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) to stimulate weight loss while achieving optimum nutrition.

The most successful diets producing permanent weight loss limit carbohydrate intake to less than 60 grams per day (240 Calories) by eliminating starchy and sugary foods. This amount of carbohydrate is approximately 13% of a daily 1800-Calorie diet. The remaining Calories need to come from protein and fat, for example, 600 Calories (33%) from 150 g of protein, and 960 Calories (53%) from 107 g of fat. When counting grams of carbohydrate, subtract the grams of dietary fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate to obtain the grams of carbohydrate actually digested. Reduce from your diet the carbohydrates that can be converted to fat and excess dietary fats that contribute many calories with minimal nutrition. Some diets do not require counting calories, but emphasize eating high-protein foods with an adequate amount of fats, brightly colored, high-fiber, non-starchy vegetables or fruits, small amounts of whole grain products with a low glycemic index, and avoiding foods and drinks with refined sugars and starches.

A Healthy High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet
Healthy Diet


Eat fish, lean meats, skinless poultry, eggs, tofu, nuts, yogurt, and low-fat cheeses. Include plenty of leafy green vegetables, colorful vegetables, and berries to meet the carbohydrate allowance. There is a wide selection of non-starchy vegetables that you can use in your menus, such as: asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, green beans, green peas, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, olives, onions, parsley, spinach, and tomato.

Avoid starchy and sugary foods such as pasta, white bread, potatoes, white rice, and sugar-rich foods like candies, sodas and cakes. Avoid greasy or high-fat foods, specially deep fried foods or breaded fried foods such as fried chicken with biscuits, nachos, Alfredo sauce, oily salad dressings, and pizza. Remember that every tablespoon of fat has 125 Calories. Avoid alcoholic beverages because they are high in calories and non-nutritive. Above all, when you shop for food, read the list of ingredients in the labels and don't buy any products that contain hydrogenated fats. Eliminate any foods that contain hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated fats from your diet. These artificial fats can only bring you an early death. Your body needs protein to build muscles and hormones, good natural fats and essential fatty acids to maintain your brain and cell membranes, and fresh fruits and vegetables with essential micronutrients and enough fiber to keep your digestive system regular. Any extra energy that your body needs should come from the fat that you have stored. This is how you want to lose weight -- by using up your stored fat while toning up your muscles.

Exercise before breakfast. Your morning exercise before breakfast is the most important. Carbohydrates are consumed while you sleep. In the morning, your carbohydrate reserve is low. Experiments show that exercising in the fasted state burns twice the amount of lipids than exercising after a meal.[12]  A 15-minute exercise session before eating will cause your body to adjust by using more fat for energy. Following your workout, wait until you are hungry and then eat a high-protein breakfast that is low in carbohydrates (e.g., eggs, lean ham, and a bowl of berries with a tablespoon of plain yogurt) to start restoring your muscle tissue while your body continues using your stored fat. If you are trying to cut down on dietary cholesterol, you can use only the egg whites instead of whole eggs as a source of protein. Keep in mind that exercise does not burn enough calories to make up for overeating. You still need to reduce what you eat. Exercise is important during a weight loss program to keep the muscles toned and to prevent bone loss.[17]

Mental Attitude. You may be thinking, "I will be hungry all the time if I cut out 300 Calories from my diet". The psychological aspects of dieting are as important as the diet itself. Yes, you are going to feel hungry when you diet. But the most important part is knowing that you are not going to starve to death or lose muscle tissue when your diet exceeds the minimum requirements of protein per day. You can only starve to death if you do not eat any food for about 30 days. Dieting involves sacrifice, whether you do it for health reasons or to improve your looks. Dieting is a struggle to do what you know is right instead of indulging in culinary temptations. You are not going to lose weight if you snack on doughnuts, eat a whole pizza for supper, or sit with a bag of greasy chips and eat them until they are all gone. Dieting is self-denial as a test of your personal determination and spiritual discipline. Dieting requires breaking bad eating habits, reading labels when you shop for food, and eating small portions of nutrient-rich, balanced meals.

You have to develop a new attitude toward food and realize that you eat to live rather than you live to eat. Eating one big meal will not make you fat, but habitually eating big meals will make you fat. Similarly, dieting for one month will not make you thin and healthy, but permanently eating small, nutritious meals will be much better for your health in the long run. Remember that the fat-burning hormone glucagon is inhibited by high blood sugar and insulin, which means that your body cannot burn fat unless you are hungry at least several hours per day. Achieving and maintaining a normal Body Mass Index will increase your self-esteem and give you confidence in your ability to accomplish any goals that you set for yourself.

Loose skin after weight loss
Loose skin after
losing 100 pounds.

What to expect when you lose weight. Losing your excess pounds does not guarantee that you will have a buffed body. Certainly, you will be much healthier and have a lower risk of obesity-related diseases, but a buffed body is cultivated over many years by eating properly and exercising. Loose skin is a common problem after a substantial loss of weight. Your skin grows when you gain weight, but it may not shrink very much when you lose weight. Persons who lose a lot of weight may end up with droopy breasts, stretch marks, or very flabby skin that may require cosmetic surgery such as abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck liposuction. Loose skin is most common after bariatric weight-loss surgery or other cosmetic surgeries like liposuction, which may require subsequent body contouring by removing the excess skin. Uneven loss of fat is another common problem. Fat is lost proportionately throughout the body as you lose weight, but depot fat around the waist and thighs is the last to go. Even after you have achieved a normal BMI, some portions of your waist and thighs may have a lumpy distribution of fat called cellulite. This will smooth out after many months (or years) of proper diet and exercise. Uneven loss of fat is a bigger problem for people who gained weight by eating products with partially hydrogenated fats (puff pastry, French fries, doughnuts, fried foods, "butter flavored" popcorn, cake frostings). Our bodies cannot metabolize the trans fats in these products properly[16], and when they accumulate in our body, it takes many years of good diet to flush out the trans fats. Health benefits. There are many documented cases of overweight people with Type 2 diabetes or cholesterol problems, whose blood levels became normal after they lost weight. For this reason, it is important for people who take medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol reduction or high blood sugar to have frequent medical exams to adjust the medicines as they lose weight. In many cases, it is possible to stop the medications completely. Reducing the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet helps to control blood glucose in type 2 diabetes even if no weight is lost.[15]  You can statistically reduce your chances of many diseases by keeping your BMI in the lower half of the normal range (from 18.5 to 21.9).[14]  New Wardrobe. For every 6 pounds of weight that you lose, you lose approximately one inch at the waist. If you lose more than 12 pounds, be prepared to buy new clothing or to use the old clothing that is stored in the back of the closet because it had become too small for you.

Did you know that exercise suppresses the appetite? It is a fact. A short, 15-minute exercise session will not only burn 100 Calories, but also makes you feel less hungry! As long as your diet provides a sufficient amount of protein (meats, seafood, beans, eggs, milk), contains essential fatty acids (nuts, seeds), and reduces the amount of carbohydrates, spreading their consumption throughout the day (colorful fresh vegetables or fruits, and whole grain products) you will not have the severe hunger pangs, cravings, trembling, dizziness, and lightheadedness that occurs when you are hungry with high carbohydrate diets.

Bathroom Scale
Choose a scale
that gives accurate
and reproducible results

Weight Maintenance. When your weight has finally dropped and you have a normal BMI, what do you do next?  Basically, you continue to eat the same nutritious diet with which you lost weight, but you add enough calories to maintain your weight constant. If you lost weight by reducing your daily intake by 300 calories below the minimum required for your height, now you can add those calories back. You can increase the amount of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, but you should still avoid sweets, baked goods made with refined flour, and oily fried foods. The calories of a maintenance diet should be approximately 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates. Exercise regularly and check your weight at least once per week to make sure that your weight does not creep back up. It is easier to eat moderately to keep from gaining weight than it is to lose weight after you have gained it. Always make time to exercise and eat a moderate, nutritious diet. If you take good care of yourself, you will be healthier, you will look better and, hopefully, you will live happily ever after.

Start your physical fitness program by cutting out the junk food, eating a balanced diet with the right nutrients, and exercising moderately for 30 minutes a day. Your mental attitude is the most important part of staying fit.

Diet Calculator →   Calculator    Calorie and protein requirements customized for you.


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When evaluating diet advertisements, keep in mind that the Federal Trade Commission has determined that any product claims are false if they state that you can lose more than two pounds per week for more than four weeks without diet and exercise.


  1. Harvard School of Public Health - Nutrition Source. Provides information on diet and nutrition
  2. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. Provides clinical information about many topics of internal medicine.
  3. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients) (2002). A 900-page, comprehensive assessment of nutritional needs from the Food and Nutrition Board and the Institute of Medicine.
  4. Mary G. Enig, Trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply: A Comprehensive Report Covering 60 Years of Research, 2nd Edition, 1995, Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
  5. Michael R. Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D., "Protein Power", Bantam Books, 1996. Describes a low carbohydrate diet that has had great clinical success in reducing obesity and normalizing insulin levels. The book explains the biochemistry and metabolic pathways that are the basis for the diet.
  6. Robert C. Atkins, "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution", Avon, Revised edition 2001. This book describes experimental results of diets with different ratios of macronutrients, their effects on fat metabolism, and the application of this knowledge for weight control.
  7. Roy Walford, M.D., "Beyond the 120 Year Diet", 2000. Describes Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition (CRON) as a way of losing weight, retarding aging, and increasing life span. Numerous scientific studies are referenced to support the claims.
  8. Barry Sears, Bill Lawren, "The Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently", ReganBook, 1995. Advocates a diet with 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates.
  9. A. Scott Connelly, M.D., Carol Colman, "Body Rx", The Berkley Publishing Group, New York, 2001. Describes a high-protein, high-fiber diet that combined with strength training stimulates muscle building and fat burning.
  10. Dean Ornish, "Eat More, Weigh Less: Dr. Dean Ornish's Life Choice Program for Losing Weight Safely While Eating Abundantly", Quill, 2000. Describes a mostly vegetarian diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, soy products, supplemented by skim milk, egg whites, and fish oil with only 10 percent of the total daily calories from fat.
  11. S.D. Hsieh, H. Yoshinaga, T. Muto, Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord., 2003 May;27(5):610-6. Waist-to-height ratio, a simple and practical index for assessing central fat distribution and metabolic risk in Japanese men and women.
  12. Enevoldsen LH, Simonsen L, Macdonald IA, Bulow J, "The combined effects of exercise and food intake on adipose tissue and splanchnic metabolism", J Physiol. 2004 Oct 21. It is concluded that exercise performed in the fasted state shortly before a meal leads to a more favorable lipid metabolism during and after exercise than exercise performed shortly after a meal.
  13. Fernando GR, Martha RM, Evangelina R., "Consumption of soft drinks with phosphoric acid as a risk factor for the development of hypocalcemia in postmenopausal women", J. Clin Epidemiol., 1999 Oct;52(10):1007-10. Consumption of one or more bottles per day of cola soft drinks showed association with hypocalcemia.
  14. Alison E. Field, et al., "Impact of Overweight on the Risk of Developing Common Chronic Diseases During a 10-Year Period", Arch Intern Med. 2001;161:1581-1586. PMID: 11434789. During 10 years of follow-up, the incidence of diabetes, gallstones, hypertension, heart disease, colon cancer, and stroke (men only) increased with degree of overweight in both men and women. The risk of developing chronic diseases was evident even among adults in the upper half of the healthy weight range (ie, BMI of 22.0-24.9), suggesting that adults should try to maintain a BMI between 18.5 and 21.9 to minimize their risk of disease.
  15. Gannon MC, Nuttall FQ, "Control of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes without weight loss by modification of diet composition", Nutr Metab (Lond). 2006 Mar 23;3(1):16. PMID: 16556307. A 30:20:50 (protein:carbohydrate:fat) ratio diet resulted in a 38% decrease in 24-hour glucose area, a reduction in fasting glucose to near normal and a decrease in % total glycohemoglobin (%tGHb) from 9.8% to 7.6%.  The response to a 30:30:40 ratio diet was similar.
  16. K. Kavanagh, 66th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, June 9-13, 2006, Washington; abstract 328-OR. News release, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Diets rich in trans fat cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen and lead to a higher body weight even when the total dietary calories are controlled."
  17. Villareal DT, Fontana L, Weiss EP, Racette SB, Steger-May K, Schechtman KB, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Bone mineral density response to caloric restriction-induced weight loss or exercise-induced weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Dec 11-25;166(22):2502-10. PMID: 17159017
    CONCLUSIONS: caloric restriction-induced weight loss, but not exercise-induced weight loss, is associated with reductions in bone mineral density at clinically important sites of fracture. These data suggest that exercise should be an important component of a weight loss program to offset adverse effects of calorie restriction on bone.

© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora