Feb 28, 2009

Why Restrictive and Unbalanced Diets Don't Work!

“There is no quick-fix for fat loss, optimal health, and longevity. If there were, I would have figured it out by now! But, the good news is that there is a way, and MY DIVA DIET can help you down that path.”

MY DIVA DIET is not interested in attacking any particular product or program by name. However, we do want to expose the truth about the $58 billion “health & fitness” industry (and rising). Many of the programs marketed today are basically gimmicks full of false promises, magic potions, and misleading propaganda. Most of these counter-productive systems result in yo-yo dieting and can be quite dangerous.

“No sensible diet will ever
compromise your physical or
mental health for the sake of
looking good.”

Our hope is that the next time another quick-fix diet system surfaces, you will know better than to believe the hype, or at least that you’ll think twice before you waste your time, money, and health.

Commonly used formulas for fat-loss diets:
Liquid Diets
• Most are low-calorie diets
• Less than 1000 daily calories translates to starvation
• Do you plan on living only on liquids for the rest of your life?

Low-Calorie Diets
• Any diet of less than 1000 daily calories will slow your metabolism and put you at a nutritional risk that could lead to health problems
• Reduced energy levels
• Decrease in water weight, not necessarily fat

High-protein, Low-carbohydrate, High-fat Diets
• Too much protein can put undue stress on your kidneys and other internal organs which could lead to health problems
• High amounts of calories from protein, if not used for their intended purpose, can convert to body fat
• Fat burns in the flame of a carbohydrate–thus you need carbs to help metabolize fat
• Carbohydrates are needed for energy and exercise
• Carbohydrates are necessary for brain function–without them you will inhibit your ability to concentrate, calculate, and coordinate, and your memory and moods will be affected
• High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets can put you into a state of ketosis, which is not healthy and can lead to loss of lean body mass
• Carbohydrates provide fiber, whereas fats and animal protein contain no fiber
• Low-carbohydrate diets often result in water loss, not fat loss
• High-fat intake converts easily to body fat and is unhealthy

Low-Protein, High-Carbohydrate, No-Fat Diets
• Protein is necessary for every cell in the body so a lack of protein can cause deficiencies and health problems
• Protein is needed for muscle growth, maintenance, and repair
• Excess carbohydrates can convert to body fat
• High carbohydrates can cause bloat and puffiness
• It is impossible to avoid dietary fats–fat is found in many foods naturally
• Some fat is necessary for health and vitality–too little fat can cause a deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids

“For a given nutrient, how much is too
much, just right, or too little each day?”

This question is where the real debate begins amongst fitness professionals and diet gurus. MY DIVA DIET has designed a simple chart of highs and lows for the average female. This chart is not intended for those with special circumstances, athletes, growing children, or pregnant or menopausal women.

Paw Safe and Healthy
Dieting Ranges For Women *

High: > 3,000 per day
Low: < 1,000 per day
High > 150 grams per day
Low: < 60 grams per day
High: < 300 grams per day
Low : < 100 grams per day
High: > 50 grams per day
Low: < 20 grams per day

One Meal per Day Diet
• Eating smaller meals throughout the day is important for utilizing calories more efficiently and creating a constant energy level; both are important in the overall fat-loss and better health equation • Eating one meal (or two) per day does not generate a steady blood glucose level • Eating one meal per day promotes over-eating especially if that one meal is eaten at night—starving all day causes you to eat everything in sight • Eating one meal per day promotes bad food choices because excessive hunger will cause you to be less selective with your food choices

One Type of Food Diet

• Too much of one type of food causes nutritional imbalances and deficiencies which can lead to health issues both short- and long-term
• All-fruit diets result in water-weight loss, not fat loss
• This type of diet can eventually lead to muscle loss, which is directly linked to your metabolism. Since more lean-body mass means a more active metabolic rate, you will lose fat more quickly by maintaining and/or increasing your LBM.

Processed, Packaged, and Man-Made Food Diet
• Nutritional value is reduced or eliminated when foods are altered from their natural state
• When you cut calories, you lose weight. However, if you only eat packaged, processed, and man-made foods, your weight-loss potential will be limited by food quality, and your health may be compromised
• Our bodies cannot properly metabolize most additives and preservatives
• Our goal is to lose fat, gain health, function and feel better, and live longer. Consuming unnatural foods is detrimental to this goal.

One Part of the Equation Diet
• Diet programs that tell you to JUST eat less, or eat better, or eat low glycemic foods, or eat only raw foods, or eat six meals per day, or just cut the sugar, or just exercise, etc. may be good ideas and very helpful to your goals of fat loss and better health– but they don’t give you the complete dieting picture.
• Providing only part of the diet equation is like presenting a puzzle with some of the pieces missing–will you ever complete the entire picture? NO!

“This is the bottom line on restrictive and unbalanced dieting, a.k.a quick-fix diets.”

#1 – Poor Health
Since most quick-fix diets restrict calories or do not allocate the proper nutrient ratio (protein,
carbohydrates, and fat), and even completely eliminate important vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they put you at a nutritional risk. This sets the stage for a number of health problems during your diet, in the immediate future, and further down the line.

#2 – Dehydration
Some quick-fix diets promote low-carbohydrate intake. However, most of the weight lost in this manner consists only of glycogen and water. Since the human body is over 60% water, this kind of diet may lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause fatigue, crankiness, stiff joints, headaches, nausea, aches, electrolyte imbalances, and much more. Severe dehydration can cause seizures, coma, or even death. The other problem with water-weight loss is that women are deceived into believing that they’re losing fat. In reality, once carbohydrate intake resumes (even the good carbs) and the water weight is restored, women mistakenly believe they’ve regained all the “fat” they had lost on their diet programs.

#3 – LBM Reduction
Reduction in muscle mass is a common result of any type of low-calorie, low- carbohydrate, or starvation program. In fact, as muscle mass is lost, metabolism slows. A daily intake of less than 1000 calories is considered starvation, and the human body will automatically try to salvage body fat just for survival.

#4 – Decrease in Energy

When calories are restricted, especially carbohydrates, the body’s main source of energy is limited. This energy is needed for the body and the brain to function properly. Otherwise, you’ll begin to feel tired, cranky, and mentally slow. You also will not have the energy you need to be active and exercise. Calories do so much for your body–they provide energy, life, vitality, and so much more–why would you give that up?

#5 – Body Fat increases
• Any type of restrictive or unbalanced diet is a recipe for failure. The hype behind quick-fix diets is often unsubstantiated–they are based on gimmicks and full of false promises.
• Since most quick-fix diet programs offer ways to lose weight fast with no regard for health and safety, the results will always be questionable.
• After trying a quick-fix diet program, any attempt to resume normal, proper eating patterns often causes us to regain more weight than we lost.
• Regaining weight creates desperation, which often causes us to seek another quick-fix. This process eventually leads to chronic yo-yo dieting, which is a vicious, unhealthy, frustrating, expensive, and dangerous cycle.

The keys to fat loss, vibrant health, and longevity is a lifestyle of the PROPER DIET and exercise!
Check out MY DIVA DIET's newest blog "notes from Super Diva". This gives up-to-date info on MY DIVA DIET; media, reviews, what others are saying, and more. Also more about the "diet villains" and occassional Diva Recipes–'FIT MEALS IN MINUTES"!

Feb 21, 2009

MY DIVA DIET Grocery Shopping Guide – What should I eat to lose weight and gain health?

MY DIVA DIET: A Woman’s Last Diet Book (Pages 220 to 225 COPYRIGHT 2007)

The most common question I get asked as a fitness expert is: “What should I eat?” My answer is – “Good question! Cleaning up your calories is more important than decreasing them. It is the most important step you should take if you truly want to lose weight and gain health.” As the saying goes, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT and DRINK! This article will address foods only–liquids will require an entire section! Whether you are male or female, the food choices are the same (in quality we eat the same but quantity is where we differ)! And if you are a vegan or vegetarian, just use the tips that apply to you!


Paw Food Guide
• Clean and pure foods—natural, fresh, organic, and kosher
• Lean, healthy, fibrous, and alive foods
• Foods made by God (nature) for human consumption
• Carefully chosen man-made or man-manipulated foods

To be a little more specific, it would be a list like this–condensed version.

Paw “Good Food Choices” Quick Guide
• Fresh-water fish (with fins and scales)
• Organic free-range and grass-fed animal meats (beef, poultry, turkey)
• Kosher meats (only to be eaten once per month)
• Eggs from organic, free-range, vegetarian-fed hens
• Organic low- to no-fat dairy
• Fresh legumes
• Raw and unsalted nuts and seeds
• Plant protein products—clean and pure
• Organic whole grains
• Grain products—sprouted, stone ground (baked, never fried)
• Organic fresh fruits and vegetables
• Fresh and untainted herbs and spices
• Extra-virgin olive oil and other unrefined vegetable oils
• All-natural spreads, sauces, sweeteners, salad dressings, and dips.
• All-natural gluten-free smart diet cheats

MY DIVA DIET has a complete section (over 35 pages) devoted to “Good Food Choices” (with nutritional values).

NOW lets get practical–“MY DIVA DIET Grocery Shopping Guide”!

#1. If possible, try shopping at a natural or health food store. This helps you pick healthy, natural foods. These stores also give you a bigger selection of organic and kosher meats, fresh water fish, eggs from free-range vegetarian fed hens, organic dairy products, fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Great places to shop are Trader Joes (www.traderjoes.com) and Whole Food Markets (www.wholefoodsmarket.com).

#2. Know where your own local health-conscious grocery store is.

“Support your local organic farmer.”

#3. Find your local organic farmer and/or farmers’ market to get your fresh produce.

#4. Shop from the outside aisles in. The outside aisles have all the fresh produce, herbs, meats and fish, as well as dairy and other products that require refrigeration. These are where most of your “good foods” are.

#5. Do not go to the grocery store when you are hungry. This might cause you to break down and buy everything.

“Don’t be fooled by all the products at a health food store. Some are not as safe to eat as real, wholesome, fresh foods are. And you can gain weight from eating too much—even from good foods!”

#6. Make grocery shopping easier by making a list. This enables you to pick what you need instead of items you don’t. It is also more efficient to make a list, thus saving time and money!

#7. Use the MY DIVA DIET grocery shopping tools.
Paw Grocery Shopping Tools
• Diva Reduction Meal Options and Recipes
• Diva Smart Diet Cheat Sheet
• Paw Grocery Cart Check Guide
• Diva Reduction Good Food Choices At-a-Glance
• Diva Reduction Safe Cereal List
• Diva Food Test and Paw Label Guide

#8. Take your own meal and recipe ideas with you.

#9. Plan your meal ideas in advance so that you don’t waste time or food.

#10. Resist the junk-food items!

#11. Make sure you buy your planned cheat items so you won’t cheat on something you shouldn’t.

#12. Skip the deli section unless it is a health food store and you know what is in the pre-made dishes. Exceptions are rotisserie chickens, fresh turkey breast, high-quality deli meats, and some salads.

#13. Always read labels when you are buying any food in a package.

#14. When you check out, do a quick glance at your basket.

#15. Final Tip: For more help on what foods to buy, see our name-brand list in MY DIVA DIET Resources and Recommendations at the end of this book.

If you shouldn’t eat it, don’t buy it!

Paw Grocery Cart Check Guide
 Your grocery cart should be filled with fresh fruit and vegetables.
 While you were in the produce aisle, did you also remember your herbs and spices?
 Did you pick up some water and tea (or coffee)?
 Check for a few lean meats (like skinless chicken breasts and ground turkey).
 If it is a beef night, add some filet mignon to your cart.
 If it is a fish night, select some fresh wild salmon, halibut, or snapper.
 Add a few deli items (like baked chicken and fresh cuts of deli meat).
 Be sure your dairy products are low- or no-fat.
 Include a variety of legumes, nuts, seeds, and some almond or nut butter.
 Choose a few healthy plant protein products (like soy milk and hummus).
 Add a variety of whole grains (like quinoa, rice, buckwheat, and oats).
 Check for a few grain products (like mochi, rice cakes, sprouted corn tortillas, and safe cereals).
 Don’t forget the olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.
 If you buy salad dressing, make sure it’s low- fat, low-sodium, and sugar-free.
 Do you have some Parmesan cheese and other good foods for flavor (like salsa and marinara)?
 You should have very few sauces—but you can add mustard and horseradish.
 Add some honey or agave nectar, a small container of fruit spread, and some applesauce.
 Add a few selections of dried fruit.
 Be sure you have very few canned or frozen foods—maybe some peas, chickpeas, and kidney beans. Or some tuna, corn, olives, and berries.
 Did you grab some smart diet cheats?
 Did you check the dates on packaged foods?
 Did you read the labels on your packaged foods before you dropped them into your cart?

“Always choose natural, fresh, organic, and kosher foods. It may mean you spend a little more money and make more trips to the grocery store, but it also means fewer visits to the doctor’s office.”

AFTER YOU CLEAN UP YOUR CALORIES: You will then need to calculate the amount of calories you should consume each day, your daily nutrient ratio, number of meals per day, meal size (portion control), and meal timing. This is all part of the Five Factors Affecting Body Fat and Health–where MY DIVA DIET addresses the root causes of why we get fat and unhealthy in the first place!

The Five Factors affecting Body Fat and Health
Factor #1: Liquid Consumption
Factor #2: Quantity and Distribution of Calories
Factor #3: Quality and Purity of Calories
Factor #4: Restrictive and Unbalanced Dieting
Factor #5: Exercise

MY DIVA DIET WAY -- The Five Factors Fixed
Factor #1: Monitor liquid consumption.
Consume plenty of water each day and proper amounts of other liquids
Factor #2: Calculate the quantity and distribution of calories.
Eat according to your metabolism, goals, and activity level.
Factor #3: Determine the quality and purity of calories.
Eat pure and wholesome foods.
Factor #4: Eliminate restrictive and unbalanced dieting forever.
Factor #5: Introduce a balanced exercise regimen.

Thanks for listening!


MY DIVA DIET Restaurant Eating Guide: 52 Tips

MY DIVA DIET: A Woman's Last Diet Book (pages 268-275) Copyright 2007

Diva Reduction and Diva Maintenance
This guide can be used by MEN TOO!
NOTE to my vegan and vegetarian types: These tips are still useful–just omit the parts that do not apply to your dietary preferences.

Keep in mind, MY DIVA DIET is a fat-loss, get healthy diet plan that is stricter than these tips, but we want to offer a guide to help the reader eat out at restaurants the healthy and fit way. We also provide a guide called “Fast Food Five”. We offer many tools like this to make sure our readers succeed with their goals!

Restaurant Dining Meal Problems
• Too much fat, sodium, and sugar
• Too much white flour
• Too much alcohol
• Too many unfamiliar foods
• Too many people handling your food
• Overeating and late-night eating
Remember—you are the customer, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and make requests. Before ordering, always ask how a dish is prepared and what ingredients it contains. Then think of how you can substitute or eliminate something in your order.

#1 Water is best to drink. Try adding a slice of lemon or lime if you need flavor.
• Stay away from sodas and other sugary types of drinks, including juices, unless they are freshly squeezed.
• Coffee and tea are fine - no cream or sugar!

#2 Limit alcohol.
• Choose wine over exotic drinks like margaritas, piña coladas, and mai tais.
• Beer is not recommended.

#3 Choose your appetizers wisely, if at all.
• Appetizers are usually high in fat and calories and often contain “forbidden” foods.
• Don’t forget that you have a meal coming—maybe you don’t really need that appetizer.

#4 At some restaurants you can order a good appetizer that can actually be your main course. That way you won’t overeat and it will save you money. Just tell the server to bring it out when the other entrées come.

#5 Go light on all types of dips. Salsa is good but watch the chips and guacamole.

First Course
#6 Stay away from the bread. It is not only a poor choice but it will make you too full to eat the healthier part of your meal, like protein and veggies. Some bread every so often is okay, but eat it sparingly.

#7 Stay with broth-type instead of cream-type soups (a good choice would be vegetable soup or tomato soup).
• Cream soups are full of fat, sodium, white flour, and other unknown ingredients.
• Broth soups can be high in sodium but they have fewer calories, and it’s easier to figure out their ingredients.

#8 Salads and salad dishes are great, just order dressing on the side so you can control the amount you use.

#9 Be adventurous when choosing a salad: try a beet salad instead of a house or mixed-green salad. You will get more variety in raw vegetables and thus more nutrients.

#10 Be careful of crumbled cheese toppings added to salads.
• Blue cheese, feta, goat, fontina, and other cheeses may taste good but they are very high in calories and fat grams.
• Ask for crumbled cheese on the side so you can control the amount.

#11 Always choose low or non-fat dressings for all salads and veggies.
• Vinegar and lemon are good non-fat choices.
• Balsamic vinegar and olive oil are high in nutrients—just control the amount of oil.

Main Course
#12 Fish is an excellent entrée.
• Choose halibut, salmon, trout, tuna, whitefish, red snapper, and sea bass.
• Avoid swordfish, shark, and catfish.
• Avoid shellfish like crab, lobster, and shrimp.
• Avoid clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops.

#13 Poultry is always a safe and lean choice.
• Try to choose white meat over dark meat.
• Remove the skin (it’s full of fat). It’s easy to take off.

#14 Beef is all right—just choose lean cuts, and trim off the visible fat. Try to restrict beef to once or twice a month.
• Good choices are filet, New York, top sirloin, porterhouse, and T-bone.
• Lamb and veal are also fine, occasionally.

#15 Limit duck and avoid pork. Pigs are cute but they do not have the same digestive system as cows. And they not only eat the food they are given, but also anything else they can find.

#16 Watch out for foods that are not just plain fish, poultry, or beef (i.e. chicken chow mein, lobster ravioli, seafood pasta, etc.). These kinds of dishes have many ingredients like oil, butter, cream, white flour, and salt and are very high in calories. You can’t really calculate what you are eating and it is safe to say that you are getting more ingredients than the protein you need. Better to choose your main course as a single item.

#17 Bean dishes are great, just watch what is used in preparing them like lard, oil, and too much cheese.

#18 Corn tortillas are better than flour. Make sure they are not fried.

#19 Potatoes are great only if they are plain and either baked or boiled. Watch the toppings—butter, sour cream, chives, and bacon. Order your potato plain with the toppings on the side, be selective with topping choices, and use your toppings sparingly.

#20 Rice is good, but most restaurants cook rice with added oil and salt. The exceptions are Chinese and Japanese restaurants, where you can order plain rice. Skip the rice at other restaurants unless you know what is in it and how it was prepared. Find a health conscious restaurant that serves plain brown rice.

#21 Pasta and pasta dishes are okay occasionally. It is better to choose ones with marinara instead of cream sauce (like fettuccini Alfredo) due to the high fat content. A good idea is to use pasta as a side dish rather than a main dish (unless it is a special “cheat” night).

#22 All fresh (raw is best) vegetables are great.
• Watch for veggies that are prepared with oil, butter, sauce, and salt.
• Eat vegetables al dente, (or raw) which ensures the highest nutritional value.

#23 Make sure the food you order is fresh—not processed, canned, or frozen. Eat organic foods if possible. And try to seek out restaurants that serve kosher!

#24 Stay away from all fried foods.

#25 Stay away from all breaded foods.

#26 Make sure the food you order is baked, broiled, grilled, poached, or steamed.
• Stir-fry is acceptable.
• Stay clear of microwave cooking if at all possible.

#27 Have the chef go light on oil when preparing all foods. If oil is being used, ask if it is olive oil or an oil low in saturated fats and with no trans fats. Find out—it is your body and your money.

#28 Do not salt your food. There is plenty of sodium in your food when you are dining out, even when you are careful with ordering.

#29 All spices, herbs, and vegetables are great for enhancing the flavor of foods. Look for garlic, onions, leeks, basil, pepper, oregano, sage, and cinnamon, just to name a few. Hopefully, you have chosen a restaurant with a chef who is an expert at seasoning his dishes the healthy way.

#30 Go light on all sauces or gravies (or avoid them completely).
• Sauces are full of fat, sodium, white flour, and other ingredients you don’t need.
• If you do use them, ask for sauces and gravies on the side so you can control the amounts.

#31 Go light on condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup.
• Mustard and horseradish are good choices.
• Teriyaki, barbecue, and tomato sauce are okay on occasion.
• If you must use soy sauce, use the light kind.

#32 Go light on all oils and nuts, or any dish with these products.

#33 Go light on butter, cheese, sour cream, and other dairy products. A little Parmesan,
Romano, and feta cheese goes along way in flavor!

#34 Cheesecake, fruit cobblers, pies, crème brûlée, and other desserts taste yummy but are very high in calories and are mainly white flour, sugar, and fat.
• Try fruit desserts like mixed berries, which are full of fiber and antioxidants.
If you need the extra sweets, add a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.
• Sorbet is another option, even with the sugar content. There are a variety of flavors and they taste great!
• A little spumoni or green tea ice cream is okay.

Note on desserts:
It is dessert, after all, so go for it—just don’t go for it every time. If you need to splurge and fruit or sorbet is not sufficient, then try ordering one big dessert and sharing it with your party or date.

#35 Ask that your eggs and omelets be made with whites only, with minimal butter or oil. That way, you cut the fat in half.
• Omelets are great if you add a variety of vegetables.
• For extra flavor, try adding some salsa and other herbs to your eggs.
• Egg Beaters are okay.

#36 Try to stay away from pancakes, waffles, crepes, etc. They are mainly white flour and sugar!

#37 Avoid bacon, ham, and sausages. These foods are high in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and include many additives and preservatives—and you never know the quality of a restaurant product. Turkey sausage is okay occasionally.

#38 Skip bread and baked goods like donuts, pastries, and muffins—you’ll regret eating them later.
• A piece of rye or sourdough toast or a bagel is fine once in a while.
• You can add a small amount of natural fruit spread if you need that sweet flavor.

#39 Avoid hash browns, breakfast potatoes, and French fries. Potatoes are a great food but these are all fried in oil, so they are very high in fat even if they are cooked with a good fat. Some restaurants use frozen potatoes. If you are going to eat these it should only be once in a while, and you should find out if the potatoes are fresh or frozen, as wells as what kind of oil is used to cook them in.

#40 Go light on sugar, molasses, syrup, jams, and jellies. A little honey, agave nectar, or real-fruit “fruit spread” are better options.

#41 Sandwiches and wraps are more healthful if they are ordered on whole-wheat or multigrain breads, pita bread, flat bread, or tortilla wraps (like rice or corn tortillas) with low-fat meats, poultry, and fish.
• Be aware that deli meats are not fresh meats—they are processed, with many preservatives and additives. If you do select a deli sandwich occasionally, choose only lean chicken and turkey deli meats low in sugar, sodium and gluten-free.
• Add flavor and nutrients with veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, and olives.
• Ask your sandwich-maker to skip calorie pitfalls like cheese and avocado.
• Go light on the mayo—mustard is much better.

#42 Salad for lunch is a good idea and a great way to get your vegetables and protein.
• You can usually find a tasty chicken Caesar salad—just watch the dressing and ski the croutons (white flour).
• Chinese chicken salad is good too—just watch the amount of dressing and skip the chow-mein noodles (white flour).
• A mixed-green or beet salad with a side of chicken breast is a great idea.
• A good tuna salad also makes for a nice healthy lunch.

#43 Soup for lunch is great if you can find one that is full of fresh vegetables. A good chicken soup with lots of vegetables would work well here—just watch for ingredients like noodles (which are made with white flour and too much sodium).

#44 It’s okay to have a hamburger for lunch once in a while. Try to find burgers made with lean beef or ground turkey (kosher is best), or a vegetarian type. To boost nutritional value and reduce unneeded calories, skip the bread and add a side salad.

Other Tips and Notes
#45 To avoid overindulgence or overeating at a restaurant, try eating an apple an hour before dining out. This will help cut your appetite and control your food choices.

#46 If you know you will be dining out for dinner, plan on eating below your calorie
goal from your other meals that day. Avoid skipping meals, which may make you overeat at the restaurant.

#47 If you are trying to avoid alcohol but would still like to feel included with others who are drinking, ask that your water or beverage also be served in a wine glass.

#48 Restaurants tend to serve large portions. Try splitting a meal with a dining partner to control portion size.

#49 Order from the a la carte menu. Separate food items will not come with
extra sides like rice, potatoes, fries, or beans. This will help with portion control.

#50 If you are eating at a buffet (which is not a good idea), use a salad plate. Smaller portions equal fewer calories (and fewer poor food choices).

#51 Eat your food at a nice slow pace.
• When you eat slowly, your body will tell you when you are full and need to stop.
• Use chopsticks often, as this will force you to eat more slowly.
• Try to stop eating a few bites before you feel full.

#52 Finally, remember that you are dining out—splurging once in a while is good for you, so relax and enjoy yourself.

Bon appétit!

Understanding Body Composition is Critical When You Go on a Weight-loss Program!

When you’re serious about LOSING FAT, the most important thing to consider is not your total body weight but rather what makes up that weight. This is referred to as your “body composition”.

Your body composition is a combination of your lean body mass (LBM) (skin, bones, hair, organs, muscle, and water) and your body fat (BF). Your own ideal weight is the weight at which your lean mass and fat mass are combined in the correct proportion for health, wellness, and aesthetics. When you are in shape, you have a proportionally higher amount of lean body weight and a lower amount of body fat, regardless of what you weigh.

Body composition analysis is an important consideration when evaluating health and risk factors, and is essential when you follow a weight-reduction program. Too much fat not only alters your appearance, but it also puts additional strain on your joints and increases your risk for other health problems. Too little fat isn’t good either; it may mean your body isn’t functioning at its full potential.

Traditional weight scales can’t differentiate between how many pounds of lean mass or fat are on your body (percent fat). The best way to identify your percent fat and your personal correct weight is to measure your body composition. Also, if you have a specific “dream” weight, taking your body composition measurements will determine whether that goal is attainable, or whether it’s an unrealistic fantasy.


What is cellulite anyway?
We all seem to know what body fat is, and we’re well aware of its presence on our own bodies, but there are some misconceptions about that “ugly” cottage cheese-like stuff that lies just under our skin, constantly embarrassing us. We seem to think it’s a “special” fat; however, a little education on the subject can clear up some of the mystery behind what cellulite is and what it is not. Basically cellulite is a collection of fat that is pushed against the connective tissue beneath our skin. The uneven distribution is what causes the surface of the skin to dimple. There are many reasons why some women have more visible cellulite than others: genetics, gender, age, skin thickness, and the amount of fat you carry on your body (as well as where you carry it) are all factors. But there is nothing special about cellulite and there are no secret lotions that will get rid of it. By reducing your overall level of body fat, your cellulite will either melt away or fade to a tolerable level. The lower your body-fat level, the less cellulite you will have.

What about the location of my fat?
Generally, women tend to carry fat on the hips, thighs, buttocks, and even around the abdominal area, while men store fat in the torso, often around the stomach. Genetics, gender, age, and ethnicity all play a role in where your body stores its fat.

What is a good body fat percentage for a woman?
The range of body fat considered healthy & fit for women is 12-22%. Research has proven that a body-fat level higher than this increases risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Your attainable goal, or correct weight, should fall in that range, close to 20%. Unfortunately, the average American woman has a body fat percentage of over 33%, which is not healthy and is considered obese.

How is my age related to my body fat level?
Body composition is an age-dependent variable because as we age, there is a natural loss of muscle mass and water, with a corresponding increase in body fat. This change greatly depends on an individual’s lifestyle and nutritional habits. The more physically active you are, the greater the percentage of lean body mass you will maintain, and the less fat you will develop compared to a more sedentary person—no matter what your age is!

What about water weight?
Body composition is a study of water, fat, and lean body mass. All of these factors must be considered when conducting a proper body composition analysis. A woman’s body is made up of approximately 60% water. Since adipose (fat) tissue essentially contains no water, the percentage of water for an obese individual is significantly lower than that of a non-obese individual. Altering the ratio of lean tissue to fat tissue is as simple as engaging in exercise and proper nutritional habits.

What about losing weight fast?
Diets that promise incredible weight loss in a matter of days or even weeks may sound good when you’re thinking about stepping on the scale, but the claims are misleading. In fact, initial weight loss is mostly water. This is because these types of diets are usually low in calories and carbohydrates, resulting in rapid water and glycogen loss. These type of diets will eventually lead to loss in muscle mass rather than fat loss, which will result in a slower metabolism.

How does exercise contribute to body fat loss? It is well-known that exercise burns calories, but it also keeps your metabolic rate at an increased level for hours afterward. Strength training makes you look firmer and results in an increase of lean body mass, which increases your metabolic rate. Cardiovascular conditioning is great for your heart and lungs, and it burns calories and fat, though it’s not as effective as strength training is in the development of lean body mass. The key to getting leaner is to incorporate both cardio and strength training into your exercise routine.

In fact, in order to reap all of the best benefits exercise has to offer—
you should incorporate all of the following components to your routine:

Can I spot-reduce fat?

"NO NO NO–you can’t spot-reduce fat!”
This is a common misconception. Exercise will firm the muscles under a layer of fat but it will not lead to fat reduction in a particular area. Fat storage is systematic, and its introduction to or reduction from the body is different for each person, as is the area in which each individual stores fat on her body. Because of this, two women may both have 20% body fat, but the shapes of their bodies may be completely different based on where the majority of each woman’s fat is stored. This is all due to the degree of variability between individuals—it’s what makes us unique.

"We can’t control where body fat is stored or how it will come off of our bodies, but we can control how much body fat we have!”

If your goal is to see your abdominal muscles, reduce cellulite, decrease your waist or hip size, or reduce the “jiggle” on your triceps, you will need to reduce your overall body fat percentage to a level low enough that your body will respond. Doing extra crunches, leg exercises, or tricep kickbacks does NOT reduce body fat in those specific areas—it only tones the muscle under your subcutaneous fat. Your goal of fat loss can only be reached by a complete fat-loss system of proper diet and exercise that will reduce your overall body fat level.

Why do I need to test my body fat periodically?
Knowing your percentage of body fat – and reassessing it periodically – is very useful in gauging progress during an exercise and weight-loss program. It will help guarantee that you are losing fat and gaining muscle. Even if the number on the weight scale doesn’t budge, body fat levels will increase over the years when people remain sedentary. So as you age, keeping track of body fat can inspire you to exercise to maintain a healthy ratio of muscle to fat.

How do I get an accurate body fat reading?
There are quite a few methods for measuring body composition, each with its own margin of error, advantages, and disadvantages, as well as special devices, attire, restrictions, and costs.
#1 Underwater Weighing (or Hydrostatic Weighing)
#2 Skin Fold Measurements
#3 Bioelectrical Impedance
#4 Bod Pod (Air Displacement)
#5 Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)

How does your body fat compare?
Check your numbers against the standards:
American Council on Exercise
Classification Women (% fat)
Essential 10-12%
Athletes 14-20%
Fitness 21-24%
Acceptable 25-31%
Obese 32% +

"GET YOUR BODY FAT TESTED–knowing where you are will help you set realistic goals on where you want to go and how long it will take!"

Feb 11, 2009

Read Food Labels–Your Health & Fitness Levels Depend on It!

When it comes to grocery shopping, wholesome foods in their natural state are the best choices. But in today's society we are bombarded with man-made and man-manipulated foods and food products! MOST of them are unhealthy, fattening and can be harmful. Keep in mind that many of our foods (even wholesome foods) come in a package and we should take every measure to educate ourselves in what we are about to buy and eat (or drink). READ LABELS! Here are some facts to consider about packaged foods that will shed some light on this topic. Then I will give a great tool (designed by MY DIVA DIET) you can use when you are about to buy or consume packaged, processed and man-made food products.

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for assuring that foods sold in the United States are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. This applies to foods produced domestically, as wells as foods from foreign countries.”

“The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), which amended the Food, Drug & Cosmetic (FD&C) Act requires most foods to bear nutrition labeling and requires food labels that bear nutrient claims and certain health messages to comply with specific requirements. (Regulations are frequently changed).” *
* Food Label Resources:
• FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration
• Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
• CFSAN/Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements, April 2008 www.cfsan.fda.gov/guidance.html

Food Labels include the following:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans
This is found on the nutrition panel. It was designed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1980 and is updated every five years.

Nutrient Descriptors and Claims
This is found on the front of the package and is designed to get your attention–to encourage you to buy the product. Commonly used words are, “light”, “low fat”, “no trans fats”, and many more.

Health Claims
Health claims are common practice when foods that are packaged and/or man-made food products are marketed. Food companies use health problems (often caused by poor diet), certain nutrient deficiencies, the importance of certain nutrients, and the dangers of certain additives and preservatives to convince you to buy their products.

Note: Products that make health claims are subject to certain regulations set by the FDA. However, we really don’t know how strict they are and the degree of enforcement is unclear.

Don’t believe
everything you read!

Organic Labeling
On food labels, products using the term “organic” must meet the following guidelines:
• “100% Organic” means it must contain only organically produced ingredients.
• “Organic” means it must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients.
• Processed products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients can use the phrase
“Made With Organic Ingredients”.

The Nutrition Facts
The nutritional panel is on the back of most packaged and man- made food products. This includes both mandatory and voluntary information.

List of Ingredients
Ingredients for all foods (including standardized foods) must be listed on the food label. The label must also list the FDA-certified color additives by name. Ingredients are listed by weight, in descending order.

Food Allergies
Since January 2006, food manufacturers must also disclose whether products contain any of the top eight food allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy). However, the label does not specifically address gluten. “Gluten Free” labeling is currently voluntary, but many food companies add it to their labels. This is due to the new trend of gluten-free foods becoming more popular.

What about Food Additives? "That would require an entire book to explain! So I will just say, when it comes to food additives, we really don't know the long-term safety of most of them. So ask yourself this question: do you really want to leave your future health to chance?"
Here is a link List of Food Additives

DIVA ADVICE -- “To really know what you are getting when you buy a packaged and/or man-made food products–DO YOUR HOMEWORK–your health and fitness levels depend on it.”

Diva Food Test & Paw Label Guide
Here is a quick six-question test you can perform when deciding what to eat (and drink). This is where the quality and purity of calories are determined. When choosing a food and/or a food product, you must be able to answer “yes” to three or more of the six questions listed below. Using this food test will ensure that your food choices fit into the MY DIVA DIET program for fat loss and better health.
Diva 6-Question Food Test
#1 – is it LEAN?
• Low in all fats (especially low in “bad fat”)

#2 – is it HEALTHY?
• Low in sugar
• Low in sodium
• Low in saturated fat and cholesterol
• Free of empty and unnecessary calories
• Free of trans fats
• Full of nutritional value

#3 – Where’s the FIBER? (exceptions are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy)

#4 – is it CLEAN? (what are the ingredients?)
• Low or no preservatives and additives
• Free of flavoring agents, coloring agents, etc.
• Free of chemicals and other fake foods
• Free of hidden fats, sugars, sodium, and flour
• If packaged, does it have less than 6 ingredients?

#5 – Is it PURE?
• Natural vs. processed
• Fresh vs. man-manipulated
• Organic vs. non-organic
• Kosher vs. non-Kosher
• Real vs. genetically modified
• If it is a packaged food, what are the ingredients listed?

#6 – Is it ALIVE? (with the exception of animal protein)
• Sprouted grains and legumes
• Raw nuts and seeds
• Raw fruits and vegetables

Packaged Food Analysis
There are seven main questions you should ask when you are considering packaged foods that are manipulated or man-made.
1. Who made it?
2. How was it made?
3. How many ingredients are in it?
4. What is in it (what are the ingredients)?
You should also wonder:
5. Where was the product made?
6. What kind of factories and equipment were used?
7. What are the conditions and practices of the company that made, processed or packaged the product?

When you examine labels of man-made food products or any packaged food here are some other things to know and do:
• Read the nutrition facts and know that it only gives part of the picture.
• Know that some products have zero nutrition.
• Read the list of ingredients and know that:
• The order of the ingredient tells you a lot about a particular product.
• The ingredients are listed in descending order–from most to least.
• It does not tell you exactly how much of each ingredient is used.
• Choosing packaged foods and man-made food products is NOT always “black and white”.
• There will always be Best – Moderate – Marginal – Worst.
• Use the Paw Ingredients Label Guide to help you deal with the number of ingredients and determine how many are appropriate.
• If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t purchase that product.
• Don’t buy into the health claims–pure and wholesome foods offer the best health benefits and are safe!

Paw Ingredients Label Guide
Number of ingredients Signals
1 Ideal
3 Excellent
5 Probably OK
6-9 May need further analysis
10-19 Could be a problem
20-29 Caution
30 + Stay away!

There are a few exceptions to this guide (mainly protein shake mix, health drinks, and food bars that have added vitamins and minerals–but only those that meet the high quality food and liquid criteria)!

This information can be found in its entirety in MY DIVA DIET: A Woman's Last Diet Book Reading Labels section (pages 256 to 267; copyright 2007). www.MyDivaDiet.com
See detailed guide on grocery shopping on twit2fit–MY DIVA DIET "Grocery Shopping Guide".
Check out my Forum on the Fitness Star Network

Feb 3, 2009

The "I don't have time to workout" Workout!

EXCERPT from MY DIVA DIET: A Woman's Last Diet Book (copyright 2007)

Americans’ attitudes toward exercise reflect other values in our culture today: we have grown lazy and passive, expecting rewards to come to us without effort and hoping that others will do for us what we can and should do for ourselves. In terms of physical activity, the result is that our health & fitness levels have fallen dramatically.

* Notes
  • The wide-ranging health benefits of regular exercise include:
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity
  • Helping keep joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible
  • Helping increase metabolism, energy, and endurance
  • Reducing some of the effects of aging
  • Contributing to mental well-being (including alleviating depression, stress, and anxiety) and ensuring better sleep.
  • A properly designed and executed exercise program can improve or protect posture, help keep bones and muscles stronger, and maintain joints, tendons, and ligaments injury-free.
  • Exercise can help improve your skin and enable your internal organs to function better.
  • Exercise helps you lose body fat by:
  • Burning calories when you are exercising and increasing your metabolism for many hours afterward
  • Increasing your lean body mass, which:
  1. Equals a higher sustained metabolic rate
  2. Leads to a firmer, more sculptured physique
  3. Exercise makes you healthier, feel better, look younger and more alive—it’s sexy!

* Exercise Rules
  • There is only one main exercise rule when your goal is to lose fat and gain health: exercise is mandatory. So find something active you enjoy doing and make it part of your life right now.
  • Exercise is crucial for fat loss and good health. It is also essential for maintaining low body fat and a fit physique. However, the frequency, duration, and intensity of your exercise will vary depending on your goals and other circumstances.
  • Don’t be extreme with your exercise program.
  • An exercise program should consist of the six components shown in the following chart. Each workout should fit your age, current fitness level, and any medical or physical limitations you may have. Your goals, lifestyle, exercise interests, and commitment level should also be taken into consideration when your exercise program is designed.

is the "fountain of youth"!

“An effective exercise program will assure
that you function properly in everyday
activities. You may even become a black
belt at age 45, run a marathon at age 50,
or join a softball team at age 60!”

One of the most common "excuses" I get as a fitness expert, and one that I have used myself, is "I don't have time to workout". That may be a legitimate excuse from time to time, but shouldn't be one that keeps you from your best! Let's make sure you take it out of your negative thinking altogether! Exercise doesn't have to be expensive, complicated, or so time consuming that you avoid it all together! In fact, you may be overwhelmed with these 6 components, but I can assure you that you CAN fit these into a 60 minute workout program that is very efficient and effective. Time to Train!

“Here is some inexpensive gear to get you started
on a home exercise program: a Swiss ball,
a foam roller, dumbbells, and exercise bands.”
Now that you have your gear and you are healthy enough for an exercise program (or you know your limitations), you can do a very efficient and effective workout in less than one hour! All you have to do is start with a 20 minute power walk. Now that you are warmed up, do a 25 minute strength training workout with your Swiss ball, dumbbells and bands. Make sure you incorporate all body parts, and include functional training, core and balance training, and corrective exercises to ensure your body stays in balance. Lastly add your 15 minutes of flexibility training covering all body parts, while paying special attention to your weak areas. Make sure you use your foam roller–this is great for spine mobilization!

You can even get on your home treadmill or lifecycle and do a circuit training type workout–saves you more time!
You can switch your power walk to a bike ride, swim, or jog!

I am sure you know how to power walk, so the only thing you may need to do is learn exercises using this gear and the proper form in executing the exercises. You may consider hiring a fitness professional and they can help personalize your workout to meet goals, and will make sure it is adequate to include your medical and fitness limitations.

"I don't think there is anything I cannot do in athletics if someone showed me how."-- Jacki Joyner-Kersee