Dancing is a Fun and Exciting Way to Lose Weight

Lose weight dancing!

Lose weight dancing! Doesn’t it sound fun? Dancing is beneficial for many more reasons than one. It’s not only a fast way to lose weight, but it’s fun and allows you to learn a new skill that will simply catapult your social quotient. Dancing as a form of exercise is also much less monotonous than boring gym routines.

Dance is not just a seductive movement of the body aimed to charm a room full of people, or merely an art form designed to express oneself. Dance is so much more; it’s a way of life, and a way of attaining perfection in the body and the soul.

 

Benefits of Dancing for Weight Loss

There are many ways in which dancing promotes weight loss. Here are a few of them:

  • A lot of people stop exercising because it becomes monotonous and boring. With dancing, that does not really happen and many people are able to stay on track and achieve their weight loss goals.
  • While we lose weight dancing, we also acquire a new skill that helps us to gain greater self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Some people may find traditional workouts like sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups strenuous and hard on the muscles. Dancing, on the other hand, is relaxing and helps burn a lot of calories.
  • Apart from losing weight, dancing also helps develop concentration, patience and relieves stress.

Types of Dance Workouts

These popular dance workouts can be done at home with videos or taken with a group of friends at a fitness class.

  • Fusion dance is for those who are not biased to any particular form of dance. This dance form takes the good parts of many other dance forms, along with their own innovative steps and makes your workout time worthwhile. Highly recommended for people who get bored quickly.
  • Piloxing is a blend of Pilates, boxing and dance. Ideal for those looking to burn calories fast, as well as build and tone muscles. Recommended for the sporty individual.
  • Ballet is an art and fitness routine fused together. Apart from sculpting a svelte figure, it increases flexibility like no other forms of exercise. It also helps in personality development by promoting gracefulness.
  • Zumba is a high energetic Latin inspired dance routine that includes cardio workouts in its routine.

The benefits of dancing for weight loss are endless. Most gyms nowadays offer variety of packages to help you lose weight dancing. Research the form of dance that you like and select a package accordingly, or you can simply tune into the home dance videos and dance your calories away.

 

3 Morning Rituals That Give Your Metabolism a Boost

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The path to health is filled with all sorts of detours. This is particularly true when weight and energy are concerned. A lot of people want to do things like be able to play tennis, go for a hike, and so forth, but many don’t have the energy to do so. Much of this is due to having a poorly functioning or inefficient metabolism, but what can a person do about their metabolism? This article will be sharing a few methods to help improve your metabolism.

Eat Some Breakfast

There used to be a saying that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It turns out that this is partially true, because eating in the morning kickstarts your metabolism. Studies have shown that just eating a bit of breakfast can help to improve your metabolic function by about 10%. This, of course, also means that it should be something healthy. When you do this, your body knows it’s time to start the day and it begins the process of preparing to remove waste from the previous day. Something simple with carbs and protein can wake up your mind and make you ready to face the day’s challenges.

Morning Exercise

One of the best things that a person can do for themselves is to take on some kind of exercise routine in the morning. This doesn’t mean that it has to be an intense, pulse pounding exercise, just that you do a small amount of movement enough to get your heart rate up. Morning stretches can be a great example of that. If you stretch your limbs and engage the muscles in your core each morning, you’re far less likely to sustain injury from minor twists, turns, and reaches that you do during your work day. Or, maybe you would prefer a quick morning walk around your neighborhood. The activity you choose should be enjoyable and help you to get fired up and ready to tackle your day.

B Vitamins

When your body has the right nutrients, it will function on a more efficient level. B vitamins can help to stimulate your metabolism. They do this by giving your body the ability to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy that you will need throughout the day. This is why it’s great to have some eggs with whole grain toast in the morning. Taking just a little bit extra can help you to convert that food into energy, so you can be productive and burn calories from morning until night.

Give these simple rituals a try to see if it makes a difference with your metabolism and weight loss efforts.

Reasons to Eat Fat to Lose Fat

Coconut oil is a healthy fat.

For decades, all forms of dietary fat were demonized like there was no tomorrow. Fat was blamed for causing numerous chronic health problems and diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer. As time marched on, researchers discovered more interesting findings. While past recommendations encouraged us to avoid fat at all costs if we wanted to achieve healthy weight loss, experts are now saying that some forms of dietary fat not only help you to burn fat, but also improve your health and well-being in the process. You see, not all fats are created equal; there are good fats, and there are bad fats. Bad fats are synthetic saturated fats and trans-fats found in processed junk foods, whereas good fats are polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and natural saturated fats like those found in animal products and organic, unrefined coconut oil. So, let’s take a closer look at a few reasons why we need to eat fat to lose fat.

Healthy fats turn your body into a fat burning machineIn the past, people were urged to follow extremely low-calorie, virtually fat-free, diets to lose weight; nowadays, the exact opposite is true. Low-calorie diets are not practical for healthy weight loss, and they are actually not that effective either. Rather than encouraging your body to burn fat for energy, the body ends up becoming more effective at using carbohydrates for fuel. What’s more, cutting out fat also reduces the activity and effectiveness of fat-burning hormones known as Adipokines. One such hormone is known as Adiponectin, which boosts the metabolism of fats in the body. This basically means that it turns the body into a fat burning machine, as you will burn stored body fat as a primary source of energy.

Healthy fats replace carbohydrate intakes – Complex carbohydrates are important macronutrients, but if we consume too many carbs, either simple or complex, we will find it harder to burn fat, and easier to store it. When we consume carbohydrates, insulin is secreted by the pancreas to regulate blood glucose levels, and to shuttle nutrients into your cells for energy. If you follow a higher healthy fat diet, your carbohydrate intakes will be lower because you need an equal macronutrient ratio. Less carbohydrates will mean less insulin being secreted. By reducing insulin secretion however, your body can access stored body fat for energy more effectively, meaning that it will use more fat for fuel, as opposed to glucose from carbohydrates.

Here are some examples of healthy fat foods to include in your diet: avocados, nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds), olives, wild-caught salmon (not farm-raised), flaxseeds, whole eggs (yes, eat the yolk!), chia seeds, coconut and organic virgin coconut oil (cold pressed, unrefined).

Healthy fats increase satiety levels – Finally, the last reason we should try to eat more good fats if we wish to achieve healthy weight loss, is because fats can increase your satiety levels. This means that you will feel full for longer, so you’ll want to eat less. Per gram of fat, you receive 9 calories of energy, as opposed to 4, which would come from proteins and carbohydrates. Satiating fats, however, will provide more energy and keep you feeling full for longer, so you will be less likely to overeat.

 

Vegetable Soup As An Appetizer – An Easy Way to Eat Fewer Calories and Get Your Veggies In!

Vegetable Soup.

If you are like most people in the US, you aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. The recommended daily serving is at least five! With the hustle and bustle of busy lives and access to so much fast food and convenience foods, it’s no wonder people aren’t eating enough of them. But that’s no excuse. You should still make a conscious decision to do what you can to ensure that you’re eating more fruits and vegetables.

Another reason so many people don’t eat more vegetables is because they don’t like eating them plain. Whether it’s the texture or the taste, plain vegetables just aren’t an option for some so instead they skip them altogether. That’s the great thing about vegetable soup, though – it makes eating vegetables easier because they’re combined with a broth and plenty of seasonings.

Not only is starting your meal with vegetable soup a good way to eat more vegetables, it also prevents you from over indulging on higher calorie foods when the main meal is served because the liquid (broth) and fiber-rich vegetables make you feel full quicker. Research has even shown that those who start a meal by eating soup first, actually consume 20% less calories than those who don’t!

Below is a quick and easy, very basic vegetable soup that is packed full of flavor and only takes about 30 minutes to cook.

Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

1 cup whole kernel corn
14 ounces veggie broth or chicken broth
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
1 cup green beans
11.5 ounces tomato vegetable juice
1 cup water
1 diced potato
2 diced celery stalks
2 sliced carrots
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

In a large pot, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

The great thing about vegetable soup is you can add as many or as few vegetables as you like. Of course if the idea is to eat more vegetables, then you’ll obviously want to go with adding more instead of less.

If you want an easy way to not only add more vegetables to your diet, but to also help prevent overindulging on higher calorie foods, try starting your meal off with a bowl of hearty vegetable soup. You might just find you come to enjoy the added dose of goodness!

 

7 Ways to Help Your Overweight Child Lose Weight Safely

Photo credit: Public Domain

If you’re trying to help your overweight child lose weight safely, begin by making gradual lifestyle changes and avoid the popular fad diets. Changes to diet and lifestyle will take time and patience, so take it one step at a time and get the whole family involved in making healthier choices.  Also, you should first talk to your child’s physician or see a nutritionist to obtain guidance or goals on a target weight.

Here is a quick list of 7 healthy suggestions to help your family conquer obesity:

  1. Be a healthy role model. Children will generally pay closer attention to your actions rather than your words, so the very best thing you can do is set a good example by practicing healthy lifestyle habits yourself. Your health and weight directly affect your child’s health and weight. In fact, according to Stanford News, if both parents are overweight the risk of becoming an overweight adult jumps to nearly 50 percent. You can set your kids up for success by lining your refrigerator and pantry with plenty of quick and easy healthy snacks, such as whole wheat crackers with low-fat cheese; apple wedges with yogurt; high-fiber granola bars with oats, nuts & seeds; carrots and celery with peanut butter and raisins.
  1. Keep it positive. No one enjoys receiving negative feedback. Talk to your child with compassion and encouragement. Avoid saying negative phrases like ‘you need to lose weight’. Instead, say ‘Let’s be healthy and start taking care of our bodies’. Focus on the foods you can eat, not the foods you should be limiting or cutting out. Avoid saying, ‘don’t eat that.’ Instead, use positive language by saying something like ‘Let’s go pick out fruits and make a fruit salad, and then we can go for a family bike ride.’ This way you are making healthy eating and exercise something that is fun to do.
  1. Make healthy eating a family affair. Try to schedule at least one meal a day that is unhurried and involves the whole family. Don’t make a special ‘diet’ meal for the person who is overweight. Everyone in the family can benefit from eating healthy meals, regardless of weight, and a family that eats together, eats better, according to a recent study in the journal Archives of Family Medicine. Children who report having regular family dinners have healthier diets than their peers who don’t, the study showed.
  1. Eat a well-balanced breakfast. A healthy breakfast should include a carbohydrate, a protein and a little fat, which will keep your children more alert during school. Carbs provide immediate energy, whereas protein and fat help you feel fuller, longer. So, instead of choosing sugary cereals and pastries, have a bowl of high-fiber oatmeal with blueberries & almonds (or almond milk), or whip up some scrambled eggs with a slice of whole-wheat toast. If you’re really running late, grab a yogurt or a bagel with peanut butter or low fat cream cheese. Do not skip breakfast. Studies have shown that weight loss is much more difficult in people who skip breakfast.
  1. Make time for physical activity. Make physical activity a family event. Every night after dinner in the summer, go for a half-hour walk or bike ride, and make it an activity that kids look forward to. If you can afford it, enroll your kids in their favorite dancing or sporting activity. Make exercise fun, not a chore or something they HAVE to do. If your kids are young, they may enjoy hide-and-seek or hopscotch. Kick a soccer ball or play some football with older children.
  1. Watch your portions.  When serving the food, try to portion out meals on dishes and avoid buffet-type or family-style eating. Resist the first temptation to have seconds, then check in with yourself to see if you are really hungry. ChooseMyPlate.gov is a great resource for learning more about portion control for kids.
  1. Don’t say diet. If you put your child on any diet, you might be setting them up for an eating disorder – whether binge eating or closet eating or another type of disorder. Instead, focus on forming healthy lifestyle habits that will eventually result in long-term weight loss and better overall health.

 

 

 

Best Foods for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss

Photo credit: Public Domain

Trying to figure out which foods are best for losing weight can be a bit overwhelming. To keep it simple, try to select nutrient-dense foods whenever possible to help you feel more satiated, so you don’t get those unhealthy cravings throughout the day. Making healthy lifestyle changes takes time and patience, so don’t give up. Stay focused on your goals, and the reasons why you are making these changes in the first place. The best foods for weight loss listed below will give you a clearer picture as to the kinds of foods you should be eating on a regular basis to help you achieve lasting weight loss and better overall health.

Vegetables

Eating plenty of vegetables is absolutely essential for long-term weight loss. They are low in calories and fat, abundant in disease-fighting antioxidants, high in fiber, and contain many other essential vitamins and minerals that your body craves. Choose from a colorful array of veggies every day, such as spinach, cauliflower, kale, carrots and broccoli. Vegetables make a great snack, too. Before the hunger pangs strike, put together a variety of fresh cut veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, celery, red peppers and a homemade ranch dip. This way you’ll have a healthy and filling snack readily available. Another delicious, low-calorie veggie snack are baked kale chips. They are salty, crispy and make a great pre-dinner snack for the whole family. And baked zucchini chips are yummy too! Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons and try something new. You can find many vegetable recipes on the Internet, such as allrecipes.com, eatingwell.com, foodnetwork.com, myrecipes.com, and cookinglight.com.

Eggs

Eggs provide a rich source of protein, containing all of the essential amino acids, which offers satiety and keeps you feeling full. Another big plus is that eggs are low in calories. For instance, one hard-boiled egg contains only 78 calories and about 6g of protein, but keep in mind that frying or scrambling eggs increases the calorie content because of the extra butter or oil used for cooking. For additional appetite control, add your favorite high-fiber fruit or whole-wheat toast.

Fruit

Fruits are tasty and chock-full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and they don’t require preparation. Include a colorful variety of fruits so you get the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, but don’t overdo it. Even though fruit is very good for you, portion size and calories still count. The amount of fruit you need to eat depends on age, sex, and the amount of exercise you get on a daily basis. Fruits that are abundant in soluble fiber, such as berries, apricots and apples, make an ideal choice for appetite control. Soluble fiber helps to attract water and slow digestion, so not only does it make you feel full, but also has a cleansing effect on the body and keeps blood-sugar levels in check by delaying the absorption of sugar.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an excellent weight loss food, because it’s low-fat, low-calorie and loaded with soluble fiber to help control your appetite by making you feel full longer. One serving of oatmeal contains only 150 calories, so as long as you don’t add things like cinnamon sugar or butter, it’s the perfect low-calorie breakfast. For a nutritional boost, add a chopped apple and pinch of ground cinnamon that tastes like apple crisp on a chilly morning, or add a handful of blueberries for extra fiber, antioxidants and brain power.

Nuts and Seeds

Even though nuts and seeds are energy dense and rich in fats, eating nuts is associated with lower body weight, improved insulin sensitivity and better health. Both of these foods are high in protein and fiber, making them a nutritious and filling snack option. For weight loss purposes, it’s best to choose raw, unsalted nuts. Almonds, cashews and pistachios are the lowest in calories, roughly 160 calories per ounce. Sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds contain about 150 to 180 calories per ounce. Some of the healthiest nuts and seeds include cashews, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds. All of these contain healthy fats, including anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and other important vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. Just remember that nuts are high in calories and can easily wreck a weight loss plan if you don’t stick to the proper portion size, which is a small handful per day for most people.

 

Health Benefits of Breakfast: 3 Reasons Not To Skip Your Morning Meal

Photo credit: Matt @ PEK from Taipei, Taiwan [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

How many times have you woke up in a hurry, got ready, and rushed out the door without a second thought to eating breakfast? We’ve all been there and have suffered the consequences when mid-morning hits and we are starving and ready to eat the first unhealthy thing we come across. Avoiding this trap and making breakfast a part of your daily routine can not only add to the success and productivity of your day, but also begin your path to a healthier lifestyle. Here are just a few benefits of this important daily meal.

Increased energy level – You will find that by eating a healthy breakfast your energy level is much higher throughout the day. You will be more productive and less inclined to eat that unhealthy bag of chips calling your name. Breakfast provides the right kind of nutrients our body needs to get through the day and be the best version of ourselves. We will be much more likely to focus on productivity when we routinely give our bodies the fuel it needs to carry on.

Weight Control – It’s been said that those who tend to eat breakfast in the mornings are more likely to lose weight or simply not weigh as much. That being said, it makes sense because we don’t find ourselves bogged down with those nasty cravings that come with not eating anything in the morning. We tend to make healthier choices throughout the day when we aren’t starving and looking for anything to satisfy us. You need breakfast to get give your metabolism a boost so you can burn more calories throughout the day.

Happier and Healthier – Eating breakfast routinely every morning will not only start you on the path to a healthier life but also cause you to have a better, happier attitude. We are mentally and physically able to focus on things that matter when we give our bodies the right kind of nutrition. This means staying away from sugar and caffeine and consuming more whole grains, dairy, and fruit. Studies have shown that people who skip breakfast tend to be grouchier throughout the day. When you deprive your body of the fuel it needs, it affects all aspects of your life.

There are huge benefits to getting into a routine each morning and eating a healthy breakfast. This one meal sets the tone for the entire day and our mood and physical well-being is affected by it. You will not only be more productive but your overall health will improve by just making a few changes to your daily routine. Rather than rushing through those early morning hours give yourself a little more time in the morning to plan a healthy meal. The success of your day depends on how you start it out.