Special K Challenge is not Diet Food

Special K Challenge and Dieting I must say I was nearly seduced by those adverts.  You know the ones, a woman dressed in red, looking good. And it tastes gooood.  Surely this is the answer to all my diet prayers!


Special K is not a diet food.

I suppose the clues are there. Its tastes good, its sweet, its popular. But still those adverts keep saying how great special K is.

I mean - its a processed carbohydrate. Its low in fibre. Its packed with sugar.

But surely the adverts must be true! It must at least be better that simple, dull Corn Flakes.

Then I looked at the calorie content.

A 45g bowl of Special K with a "splash" of milk is 166 calories. What's that equivalent to? Erm, Corn Flakes - which are - wait for it - 167 calories for a 45g bowl. 1 calorie more!

And its not just Corn Flakes that are the same as Special K. Rice Crispies - 171 calories. Crunch Nut 176. Quakers Porridge Oats - 166.  What's going on?

So if I avoid cereals, what else should I have?  Surely not Bacon and Eggs.

How about two delicious poached eggs -  just 148 calories - are rammed with protein. Want some bacon - one slice will set you back just 76 calories. Or a Banana - just 95 calories.

Or maybe just a packet of crisps. Walkers Quavers come in at just 87 calories!

I will concede that there a plenty of breakfasts with more calories than Special K. A Full English cooked breakfast springs to mind.  But, beware before thinking that Special K is the best way to lose those holiday pounds.

Source: http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/calories/calorie_counter/breakfast_cereal.htm

Myths About Dieting - Debunking Time

So Time Magazine listed the top 10 myths about dieting - and "debunked" them.  I'm going to attempt to go up against the big boys and debunk their debunking. Or at least double check their logic.

Wish me luck!

So here's the list of claims they've made. But are they really true, hmmm.

TIME claims - There Are No Negative-Calorie Foods

Doug says FALSE

Ok. So I agree there are no foods with literally minus calories, obviously. But, there are foods that have so few calories that you burn as much energy whilst eating them as they provide (or less if you eat whilst on a running machine.)  The foods - Celery, Cucumber, Spinach, Cauliflower - to name but a few.

The magazine assumes the only energy burned when eating these super-diet foods is the incremental energy needed to move you jaw and digest in your stomach. Ironically, Time Magazine ignores Time.   It takes Time to eat your food, and in that Time you burn calories. Around 1 calorie per minute. So with a leisurely meal you can easily achieve negative calories. Find out more about negative calories and lazy diets here.

TIME claims - Calorie-Free Soft Drinks May Make You Fat

Doug says FALSE

Calorie free drinks are zero calorie. At the very least the juries out on this, but the research so far has simply indicated that people drinking calorie free drinks don't lose weight. That doesn't mean the drink isn't effective, it means that people who aren't monitoring calories supplement the calories they don't get from their Diet Coke by eating a Mars bar.

Simple equation - don't eat the Mars bar. In other words, watch your calorie intake and don't replace one set of calories with another.

I suspect this comes from the same place as people who do 30 minutes on the treadmill and then "reward" themselves with a big dinner.  If you want to lose weight, go on the treadmill or drink a diet drink (much easier), but don't have the extra replacement calories.

TIME claims You Can Lose More in Cold Weather

Doug says FALSEish

More than what? The article claims that the rumours that people add weight because of cold weather are false.

Luckily, this claim refutes itself.  It blames weight being added over winter on lower activity levels because its cold, dark, wet and miserable.  Duh! That is what happens during cold weather.

The cold weather directly causes lower activity for the average person. This is causal, not correlated. Its cold, so I'll stay indoors for example.

So, whilst its true that you "can" lose more in cold weather, you will have to work harder than you normal lifecycle would allow

TIME says You Can Eat After 8 P.M.

Doug says FALSE

When your body is looking to fuel itself, it looks to your digestive system first. If it finds sugars, carbs, fat, it burns them over time. If it doesn't find this energy, it starts to burn body fat.

In the evening and over night, you body is burning calories at its lowest rate. If you eat a big meal after 8pm, its highly likely that by the time you wake up for breakfast, your body is still happily getting its energy from your meal the night before.

If you last ate a small amount of carbs/sugar/fat at lunch time, it is significantly less likely that your body still has access to this easy energy over night.  And so, fat burn begins.

Its easy to test this. Weigh yourself in the morning after a big meal the night before, and the next day avoid the big meal and weigh yourself. If you are lighter, there's less food in that belly.

So again, you "can" eat, but you've got a better chance to burn fat if you don't.

TIME says Moderately Overweight Kids Shouldn't Be Put on Restrictive Diets

Doug says MAYBE

Kids need activity, healthy food and control of calories. So this one all depends on what you classify as a restrictive diet.

If your kids are eating high fat, high carb meals, and they are more than 10 lbs overweight, putting in some ground rules will help. No takeaways, No Sweets/Crisps/Chips and LowWhite Carbs, and more trips to the park. Is that a restrictive diet - well it has restrictions. Is it likely to drop the weight of your chubby child - yes. Is it unhealthy? Hell no.

So that's five out of 10 well and truly batted away.  The other five are listed below.  I'll have a go at sticking the knife into these tomorrow!

Beware Feeders - Dieters Enemy? - Watch Out!

Flickr friends

Beware the Feeder. There could be one lurking right beside you as you read this. They're everywhere when you are in the midst of a diet.

The Feeder is that friend, loved one or work colleague who just has has that knack of knocking you off the diet-lorry.

Signs that you might be near a feeder

  • Coming home from a great day of dieting, you find a crusty white loaf sitting atop the bread bin.
  • You open the fridge to look for some healthy celery and see a new box of chocolates sitting on the shelf.
  • The TV always seems to be running a Dominos advert when you enter the room.
  • You tell them about your great new diet, and they respond by saying its not possible,  you'll never do, its not worth trying.
  • Reading through the morning newspaper, a pile of local curry house adverts fall out.
  • Your other half praises you for a hard days weight loss, and suggests with all your efforts you've earned a quick trip to KFC.
  • At work, your boss decides that its Donut Day!
Remember, the Feeder will always deny their motives. They will say its not about you, that you are spoiling their fun. They will even accuse you of putting them on a diet. Anything to hide their unconscious motive. To keep you sweaty!

Our loved ones are not always our greatest supporters whilst dieting - even when they have the best will in the world.

What to do if you suspect you have a Feeder in your midst.

  • Involve them in what you are trying to achieve in weight loss - its sometimes tempting to diet in secret. You have more success if those around you know what you are trying to and become supporters.
  • Lay down some ground rules. If you know you can't resist peanuts, agree that your house becomes a peanut free zone. Its better for temptation to be out of harms way. If they're a proper friend, they will rise to your rules. If they must keep Oreo cookies
  • Compete with them. If they could lose a pound or two, why not have a friendly competition. Most weight lost in a week. Most visits to the gym. Everyone loves a bit of competition.
  • Don't listen to their nay-saying. Its amazing how many people will choose to do down your ambitions to lose weight. Laugh when they doubt you. You will show them!
  • Give in - with conditions. Once in a while, agree to the trip to McDonalds or down the pub. When you get there, order the salad, or the chicken or the fish. Do a bit of research in advance of what's good and low calorie. If you really can't control yourself, make a deal with the Feeder, one night at the pub, then one night at the gym.
In a nutshell, Beware the Feeder!

Lazy Foods To Help Lose Weight

There are foods and drinks with no calories. We all know that there are some foods that are kryptonite to a dieter. Whether they be snowball foods like nuts and crisps, or white carb villains like white crusty bread.

The great news is that there are foods that work with you In your fight against fat - think of them as robin to your batman. 

Low / no calorie food and drink

  • Celery - crunchy delights. They say that these burn more calories to eat than they give back. And whilst thats not quite true, its only around 6 calories per stick and we burn around 5 calories every 5 minutes sitting still. So as long as you savour every bite, its calorie neutral. And there are even a fee vitamins tucked in there too.
  • Water - the daddy of diet drinks! Water fills you up, hydrates you which takes away some cravings and seems to act to accelerate fat burning. Make the drinks ice-cold and you burn calories just to warm the drink up. Super lazy.
  • Cauliflower - like celery, its calorie neutral.
  • Spinach - crammed with iron, filling, but calorie neutral!
  • Cucumber - another calorie neutral treat provided its not in a raitha.
  • Diet soda. You will in some places that these drinks are devils in disguise. I dont believe it. If the choice is a sugar stuffed full fat coke or a Diet Coke break, go for the low cal version every time. The experiments to date indicate that people who drink diet drinks compensate by finding more calories elsewhere. My answer to this is, watch out for it and dont do it.
There are other foods too, that aren't calorie neutral that can work wonders. Find out more about these super foods at the excellent http://www.divinecaroline.com

Losing Weight Without Exercise - Reality or Myth?

Resting calorie burn
In the USA and the UK the government recommend that the average man eat an average of 2500 calories per day (2000 if you are a lady).

What does 2500 calories represent? Its the number of calories that a man of average height and weight would burn by sleeping , watching tv and pottering around the house. In other words, doing no excercise!

Of course, if you are shorter than average you need less. This neat gizmo calculates your resting calory needs.  Mine is 2500 but then I'm Mr average.

So, once you know your lazy calory burn, you have a 

Losing Weight Without Exercise - Lazy Calorie Burn

Resting calorie burn
In the USA and the UK the government recommend that the average man eat an average of 2500 calories per day (2000 if you are a lady).

What does 2500 calories represent? Its the number of calories that a man of average height and weight would burn by sleeping , watching tv and pottering around the house. In other words, doing no excercise!

Of course, if you are shorter than average you need less. This neat gizmo calculates your resting calory needs.  Mine is 2500 but then I'm Mr average.

So, once you know your lazy calorie burn, you have the key to losing weight without exercise. By definition, if you consume less calories than your lazy calorie burn, you will lose weight. 

Of course, you could add to that by doing a little bit of exercise, be it walking, stair climbing, gardening or sports. But for those of us who are time poor and chained to our desks, lazy calorie burn is what its all about.

In a nutshell : Find out your lazy calorie burn, and eat less!