Sunday, March 18, 2018
 Article written by Allison Burr-Miller

# Diet and Exercise Tips

The formula for weight loss is unique to the individual, but the path may begin with something as simple as a tasty low-calorie recipe and a 15-minute ab routine. The below mini-guide explains body mass index, popular diets and offers simple recipe modifications.

Working the Abs

The most popular area of the body people want to improve upon is their abs. If you feel trapped in the world of the mundane ‘sit-up’, there are many different ways to work your abs without killing yourself or needing to buy convoluted machinery.

Try doing scissor crunches:

· First, lay down flat on your back with your legs straight.

· Start off doing 3 sets of 25 or so repetitions.

If you have an exercise partner, or desire an exercise you can do with a partner, try doing sit-ups with a ball.

· Get in a sit up position and on your way up, have a friend throw you an exercise ball (5-12 pounds ideally).

· Go back down with the ball, and on your way up, toss your friend the ball back.

· Continue this process until your friend tells you to stop. Just kidding! Try 3 sets of 25 reps again.

Body Mass Index explained

Your weight isn’t always indicative of your health and fitness level. In fact, it can be a very arbitrary number. Many experts suggest your body mass index (BMI) is a much more telling statistic because it considers your weight, height, and body type to calculate your body fat. In so doing, your BMI calculation gauges when extra pounds begin to be a health risk.

The BMI Formula: weight X (height X height) X 704.55

To calculate your body index, you divide your weight by the product of your height squared. Then you multiply by 704.55. According to BMI medical guidelines, if the number you come up with is 25 or less, you are of normal weight (if it is 18 or less, you are underweight). Body Mass Index calculators, such as the one found at http://www.arcamax.com/cgi-bin/news/page/1042/bmi can perform these calculations for you. The only information you need to enter is your sex, height, weight, and waist size.

There have been many diets introduced in recent years preaching that they can help you lose tons of weight in minimal time. There is weight loss success for some while others struggle to stay committed long term. The premise behind almost all of these diets (i.e. the Atkins diet, the grapefruit diet, vegan diets, etc.) is that an entire food group is being scantily used, if not, altogether cut out from a dieters list of allotted foods. Such drastic alterations in your diet could give you the short-term results you’re looking for, but actually may hurt your health in the long run. For this reason, it is important to know the ins and outs of a potential diet before you decide to jump on the bandwagon.

· The Atkins diet pioneered the idea of the ‘evil’ carbohydrate

· Vegan and vegetarian diets are often scorned for lacking protein (despite steps taken to incorporate non-carnal proteins into such diets)

· Low-fat diets are faulted with providing too little fat, and consequently the body has nothing to absorb nutrients with

· Weight Watchers and other such diets often require too much portion control for the casual dieter, and as a result seem destined for failure

· The grapefruit diet – a rather extreme example of abandoning core food groups and nutrients

Food Label Meanings

Knowing what certain words on your food label actually mean is important. Common ingredients such as ‘flour’ and ‘high fructose corn syrup’ actually mean refined, sugar-filled carbohydrates, or ‘bad’ carbohydrates. According to health author Lee Dobbins, carbohydrates that come from fruit, vegetable, and whole grain sources often get a bad rap. However, if these foods are actually ‘put under the microscope,’ there is no reason to scrutinize their nutritional value – they fuel and cleanse your body.

Good-for-you Recipes

Dieting does not require cutting all of your favorite foods. If you make a few lifestyle decisions – substitute low-fat or low-calorie ingredients for those ingredients that contain higher levels – you can consistently eat well and not even notice. Recipe connoisseurs Kim Beardsmore and Jeff Rosales have a number of good-tasting as well as good-for-you recipes.

· Spicy chicken cacciatore can be prepared and contain less than 250 calories with a recipe that naturally calls for lean chicken breast and a tomato based sauce as opposed to fatty cream sauces.

· If you’re looking for a breakfast suggestion, try banana toast. If you alter the traditional French toast recipe by substituting whole eggs with egg whites and by using skim milk, you have a much healthier meal.

*About the Source: The complete ArcaMax Publishing Diet and Exercise guide can be found at http://www.arcamax.com/cgi-bin/news/channel/1042. Other news and special sections available at www.arcamax.com include vacation planning, gardening, parenting tips for the new school year, and much more.
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