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Festive season dieting

It is that time of the year again. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year! All over the world people are getting together with their family and friends around tables laden with the most wonderful food and snacks… tempting even the most dedicated dieters amongst us.

The first and most important dieting tip for you this festive season is to appreciate your family and friends and to make sure you fully enjoy this special time of the year. The old motto “everything in moderation” should always be kept in mind, and that goes for your diet too!

The worst thing you can do during this period is to become obsessive about your weight and your diet. Many a dieter failed because they didn’t build enough flexibility into their eating plan, and set unrealistic expectations for themselves. The first time they eat something they shouldn’t have they abandon ship, go on a binge session and declare the diet a failed attempt. Not only do they end up having a rotten time, but they are also doing their bodies more harm than good. Try and stick to your plan as far as possible, but during a festive season like this you are bound to make a little mistake here and there. Forgive yourself and move on.


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Review of the South Beach Diet

The South Beach diet was developed by a practicing cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston. Dr Agatston did not initially set out to develop a weight-loss plan. He simply got frustrated when his patients, when following the standard, low-fat American Heart Association diet, failed to lose weight or improve their blood chemistry. He then developed a new diet specifically for his patients, which later became the basis for The South Beach Diet, an international best seller. The South Beach Diet was first published in April 2003 and has been on the New York Times best seller list for more than 96 consecutive weeks, with more than 8.5 million copies in print. It was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for 38 weeks.

The diet is formulated on the premise that many of us are addicted to carbohydrate foods. Many experts commented that the South Beach diet is really just a revised version of the Atkins Diet. Both of these diets kick off with a first stage designed to get rid of addiction to high levels of carbohydrate consumption. The South Beach diet varies from Atkins in that it consists of three instead of four phases. While the first and last phases of both diets are very similar, the middle two phases of the Atkins Diet has been replaced by a single stage in the South Beach Diet. As result of this difference the typical rate at which South Beach followers lose weight is lower than that of Atkins followers, but fans claim that the South Beach diet is easier to stick to since it offers greater variety at an earlier stage in the diet.

The South Beach Diet is introduced as a balanced weight-loss and maintenance plan that encourages people to eat a variety of foods, such as lean sources of protein, reduced fat cheeses and dairy products, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and good fats like olive and canola oil.  Snacking is encouraged along with approved sweet treats and desserts on a daily basis. The glycemic index (is a ranking system for carbohydrates based on their effect on blood sugar) plays a critical role in the diet, as it forms the basis for Agatston’s advice on how to choose the best carbohydrates to accompany a meal. The concept of the glycemic index (considered with the actual glycemic load) is generally accepted as a crucial component of healthy diets nowadays.
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General tips on nutrition

1. Drink plenty of water. It is very important to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day, whether you are trying to lose weight or not. Water is required by all of the systems in your body to function correctly. If you are dehydrated, your body will try to protect you in all sorts of ways, including retaining as much water as it can. Without water, therefore, your body can also not get rid of the excess fat and toxins while you are trying to lose weight. There are many more reasons for developing a love for water, which we will discuss as a topic all by itself. For know, also keep in mind that your body often confuses hunger with thirst. By making sure that you are properly hydrated, you will be in a better position to control your food portions!

2. Try new types of water. Most people don’t like the idea of drinking 8-10 glasses of plain water each day. Try different types. Maybe you like sparkling waters better. Maybe club soda or even different flavoured waters to add some variety. Just be careful to check the energy contents of the drinks.

3. Be careful of white foods. In general, white foods are best avoided when you want to lose weight. This includes white bread, white rice, white pasta, white sugar and even white fruits. Rather find healthier substitutions that contain whole grains and lots of extra vitamins and minerals. Not only will it look more appetizing, but it will also taste better.
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Top 10 Weight Loss Tips

1. Be realistic. Not meeting your own expectations is the fastest way to fail at weight loss. You should plan to lose no more than and average of 1-2 pounds or half a kilo to 1 kilo per week. Reaching realistic targets will give you a sense of achievement.

2. Never give up. The target weight loss per week you have set yourself is an average. in real life you may lose nothing for two weeks and the 2 or 3 pounds the next week! Present your weight loss to yourself in a graph, and just keep going. Do not be discouraged by periods where your body appears to not be reacting. It is just gearing itself up for the next big loss.

3. Get support. It is much easier to lose weight when you have a good support structure. Surround yourself with friends and family who will encourage you through the process. Be careful about telling those people who might be discouraging, either by not believing in you or by reminding you about your diet every time they see you eat.
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