Monday, March 31, 2008

Weight Loss: How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

It's an age-old question: How do you lose weight and keep it off? weight loss
With all the Diets, Special Foods and Weight Loss Systems out there, it's no wonder that most overweight people are so confused about weight loss. Losing those extra inches and pounds can be a frustrating experience, and since it requires a long term commitment and offers delayed results, most people give up easily, feeling like it's a lost cause. Well, I'm here -living proof- to tell you that losing weight and keeping it off can be done!
I am not a phisician, or an expert in the matter, however I lived through it; this article is a recommendation based on my weight loss success (and also my husband's, some family members' and friends'), and is also founded on the advice I received from a doctor.
Warning: please, contact your doctor -especially if suffering from any medical problem- before following any weight loss Diet or weight loss Exercise advice.

After a careless sweets-filled diet during pregnancy, I found myself 60 pounds overweight (a lot for a small frame), and not being able to breastfeed, I had a hard time getting back in shape. I wasn't willing to settle for the new heavy-set body, so I started a hard core search for the best weight loss program to shed the fat and keep it off, and researched many diet books and on-line weight loss sources. Being hard-headed finally worked for me, as I finally found answers from a doctor (friend of mine), who directed me to a 3 step program for weight loss: A Healthy Balanced Diet, Exercise and CLA.

DIET: It is important for our health to keep our body lean and fit, in the words of Arnold H. Glasgow:

"Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip"

So have a healthy diet. I cringe at that word, only because I've tried almost every "diet" under the sun! So you can imagine the 'excitement' as the doctor started talking. The best things about his weight loss diet: it's for every healthy member of the family, it is a long term habit and it doesn't require cooking tasteless foods or buying expensive special-cooked meals/foods.
The Doc told me: "the secret of a healthy balanced diet is in your hand! We have 5 fingers, that's the number of meals to eat during the day: 3 main ones and 2 snacks. Look at the palm of your hand, that is the size of 'protein' serving (beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish)"; I know some of you are staring at your palm saying: "what? I will starve!" trust me on this one, you won't!
He continued: "Make a fist now, that is the size of Carbohydrates or Starch (pasta, bread, potatoes, rice...etc.) beside the 'meat', and accompany that by 2 fists of Vegetables (keep them colorful and dark greens)... and NO, fried french fries don't qualify! A great Snack is a handful of nuts".
The trick in a weight loss diet is finding a healthy balance between Carbohydrates and Proteins. The best ratio is 2:1, so for every 2 grams of Carbohydrates in a meal, have 1 gram of Protein. The doctor explained: "when the ratio is balanced, Insuline is not produced in the body and fat storage doesn't take place". So pair the morning toast (cereal, pancakes, cookies..any carbs) with a tall glass of milk, peanut butter or an egg (protein).

Learn to read the labels on the products we buy. Most products, have a "Nutrition Fact" label on the box; Calories are important, as the recommended amount of daily intake is limited:
Healthy women of average height/built have a limit of about 1500/day, and the average healthy male has a limit of 2200 calories/day (if smaller in size decrease the number of calories by about 200/300, if bigger increase the allowance).

Important: A woman should never eat less than 1200 and a man never less than 2000 calories to remain healthy: healthy weight loss= healthy eating.
During a pregnancy a healthy woman should add 300 extra calories and during lactating an extra 500 calories to her regular daily intake.

Figure out the RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate), the amount of calories the body burns without exercise:
In pounds and inches:

Men: RMR = (4.54 x Weight in pounds) + (2.44 x Height in inches) – (4.92 x Age) + 5
Women: RMR = (4.54 x Weight in pounds) + (2.44 x Height in inches) – (4.92 x Age) - 161

In kilograms and centimeters:

Men: RMR = (9.99 x Weight in kg) + (6.25 x Height in cm) + (4.92 x Age) + 5
Women: RMR = (9.99 x Weight in kg) + (6.25 x Height in cm) + (4.92 x Age) - 161

Next, multiply the RMR by an Activity Coefficient (AC). Here are the average ACs for men and women.
Sedentary Men: AC = 1.55 -Moderately Active Men: AC = 1.78 -Very Active Men: AC = 2.10
Sedentary Women: AC = 1.56 -Moderately Active Women: AC = 1.64 -Very Active Women: AC = 1.82
That's the number of calories the body burns per day -without extra exercise.

Next on the Nutrition Fact Label is the FAT, this figure should't exceed 6 grams, to be considered "healthy"; anything more will settle in, contributing to the 'extra' inches and resulting in time in an overweight body and fatty organs.
Be careful: not all fat is equal! Some fats are good, like Fish oils (Omega 3, Omega 6) and very healthy, while others (Trans-fats) are artery cloggers!
Keep the Sodium at or below 350 grams and the Salt at less than 2000 mg.
Helpful tip: For flavour without the added fat, marinate the meat, poultry and fish: Garlic, Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Lemon juice and a bit of olive oil before putting it on the Barbeque; the marinade will add flavour and counteract the formation of Carcinogens during the roasting (which can cause breast and colon cancer).
The best thing when dieting is to avoid most sugary/high calories drinks, like sodas, juices and beers, they are not a necessity in a daily meal and just contribute to chew up the calorie and sugar allowance for the day; but don't deprive yourself all the time. ONE glass of red wine, even though it contains sugars, is healthy for the heart and circulatory system. Drink a lot of water during the day, it will cleanse and purify the body from harmful toxins, resulting in clearer skin and well functioning organs.
Helpful tip: to remember to drink -especially during my weight loss program- I carried a small (hard plastic) water bottle with me all day.

Stay away from fancy sauces and fatty condiments like: mayonaise, heavy salad dressings, butters..etc. A healthy substitute is mustard. Avoid all fried foods; use the oven as a substitute to the frying pan (for fries, nuggets, cutlets, etc.), and the Grill/BBQ is a great friend to any diet. Grill the fish, meats, poultry and vegetables. After you grill (or steam the vegetables) keep them tasty the Mediterranean way: olive oil, herbs, herbs, more herbs, garlic and citrus! Try this: mix in a small bowl a bit of extra-vergin olive oil (quantity depends on the amount of food), add a few teaspoons of lemon juice, oregano, fresh parsley and basil, a clove of garlic (cut in very small dices), and a pinch of salt, then mix it up; drizzle the mix onto the grilled/steamed vegetables and fish/meat. It's so delicious, that it doesn' t feel like "diet" food! I love it on my salmon, shrimp, mushroom, eggplant, zucchini, etc.
Dessert is ok too, but in moderation though, and if it doesn't throw the whole daily calories and fat allowance out of balance.

Weight loss exercisesEXERCISE: like the diet in a weight loss program, a crucial part to lose weight is based on consistent exercise and getting the blood flowing. Just reducing the amount of calories intake won't decrease the weight already accumulated, so get moving! The gym is not the only place to lose weight...why spend the money and waste the trip if you don't have to! Just set aside about 30 minutes a day to get moving -make it a priority, the time slot will "magically" appear! The daytime is the best time to get moving, don't leave exercising for the evening or it might disrupt the sleeping pattern.
Exercise will burn the calories, and in time it will help speed up the metabolism, which in turn will accelerate the weight loss.
If not an exercise expert (who is?), don't worry; just get moving: running on the spot (before getting into the shower), or going up and down the stairs a few times in a row (can be done at work). The best aerobic exercise for burning calories is alternating fast motions with slower ones, so running on the spot and walking, or rushing up the stairs and then slowing down.
To work the whole body, grab small weights for the arms (to just tone up, two small bottles of water will do). A personal favourite, on the weekend, is aerobic exercises to music: Spanish tunes always get the hips moving and the blood pumping.
It's important to stretch before and after the exercise regimen; try to get moving the day after too, especially if sore (moving again will make the sore-spots disappear).
Caution: When starting to exercise, weight loss might take place on any part of the body (like the hands or face...etc), that's why it takes time to see significant results -same with dieting- losing weight just takes time.

CLA: It was suggested by the Doc, in addition to the diet and exercise to add 2 capsules of 500mg of CLA to a daily routine, and I believe is that it is the best supplement for weight loss while exercising. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (from Safflower Oil) is a fatty acid that also occurs naturally, and in small quantities, in foods like meats and dairy products. CLA works by reducing body fat, supporting lean body muscle retention and making the most out of the workout. Pick one brand that carries at least 500mg of the CLA/capsule and is 100% Pure Safflower Oil; there are many brands out there (at every cost) but chose one with very little or no fillers. Botanic Choice offers a great quality CLA, a 1000mg/capsule -follow the link below and get the codes for a discount.
Attention: CLA works from the inside out, by first cleaning the fat around the organs and then melting the inches away, so it might not "show" results early on, will feel more energy however (since the organs work more efficiently).
NOTE: even skinny people could suffer from fatty organs!
Warning: Remember, even though CLA is natural and has no side effects, consult the Doctor before taking any diet Weight losssupplements; CLA isn't recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The most important part of the journey in weight loss, and keeping the pounds off, is knowing that a healthy diet and exercise should be part of a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Don't be obsessed with the scale and weighing yourself everyday, losing weight takes time! Learn how to dress your current body type to look great -it helps emotionally too. Celebrate every little progress, stay consistent and keep the spirit works, I am living proof. I'm in my thirties now, and my body has never looked more trim and fit.
I wish you all the best, and please let me know about the Weight Loss progress...I will encourage you along the journey especially through the struggles and celebrations!

P.S. Thanks Doctor Wing Lim for the teaching, advice and support. It changed my life!

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Be Fabulous,


Personal beauty, fashion trends, style, glamour like celebrities

Monday, March 17, 2008

How to Apply False Eyelashes

This article was inspired by the incredible amount of requests (e-mails) from you readers on the topic, keep the questions coming by asking on the Forum.

False Eyelashes
One of the best kept secret (no longer so) of the Hollywood Movie Stars and glamorous sexy glares is false eyelashes. From syntetic, to real, to mink hair, and single strands to a full set, there are many kinds to choose from, and many movie stars (some of them men) swear by them and won't do without. Believe it or not, false eyelashes were invented by movie director D.W.Griffith to add drama to actress Seena Owen's eyes, in 1916!
I personally, have been blessed with long dark eyelashes from birth (good genes), but still can't help to apply my favourite set of "fake" eyelashes to give my eyes some more drama.

The first thing to do is decide what look you prefer; to get a glamorous stare choose a full set of eyelashes (not too long, stick with your regular lashes length or just a tad longer), to give just a bit of dept, opt instead for the small clasps or individual lashes. Choose the color, black lashes Shu Uemura false eyelashesadd more drama, while brown is more of a day time look and are more natural looking on people with lighter complexions and hair.

Buy the glue specifically designed for false eyelashes, no substitutes here, as you can damage the eyes with harsh chemicals or even pull the real eyelashes! Buy the dark glue (looks grey but dries black) for a more natural look and to avoid eyeliners.

The application of these beauty enhancers can, however, be a bit tricky and needs a bit of practice: have a set of wide tweezers to help and a flat-end toothpick to apply the glue.

Beyonce false eyelashesLay the dry false eyelashes against the real lash line to determine the perfect lenght. Clip a few strands at both end to make them look more natural and to avoid them pulling at the eyes.
Apply a thin line on glue on the base of the false lashes, let it sit for a few seconds, then in front of a mirror, lay the lashes on slowly, setting the middle part first then the sides, as close to the lash line as possible. This application is the tricky part and needs a bit of practice before mastering the technique. If you choose the cluster eyelashes, about 7 or 8 strands (1 to 2 millimiters apart) will give a full natural look.

After laying the false eyelashes, wait a few seconds, then push them up towards the eyelid, so that they will dry above the regular lashes; this trick will actually replace the use of eyelash curlers. Once they are dry (upwards), apply the mascara by wiggling the wand at the roots of the lashes ans pulling the wand up; Mascara will attach the real lashes to the false ones and will give it extra hold, do two coats of mascara if you prefer. Make sure to bring the little tube of eyelash glue and a flat-end toothpick out with you in case the (individual) eyelashes fall off or the strand comes off at the corners (natural skin oils might loosen the glue after a few hours), just dab a bit of eyelash glue with the toothpickEva longoria-Parker and Jennifer Lopez in false eyelashes on the false lashes and set them back by holding on to the ends for a few seconds. It has happened to me, where my individual lash was sitting on my cheek for most of the night (I opted for no mascara that night)...I noticed when I got home...sigh! So check from time to time!
To take them off at the end of the day, just pull on one end of the false eyelash gently, it should come off without struggles. Remove all excess glue from the false eyelashes, to keep them looking good, and remove the mascara as well by dabbing them with a cotton ball and eye makeup remover. Eye makeup remover should also get rid of any small bits of glue left on the real lashes gently (don't try to pull the glue off with fingers or tweezers, might pull real lashes as well). The life-span of your false eyelashes depends on the quality and care of the lashes...usually syntetic and real hair lashes will last about 2 weeks of use (looking newer), after a while they might loose their shape or have some built up glue and makeup. Replace when necessary to have the best results. My favourite false eyelashes that last the longest and resemble the very beautiful and expensive mink kind (which are the only choice for most celebrities) are the Shu Uemura which can be found at StrawberryNet (follow the link to access the site for incredible discounts).

Be Fabulous,


Personal beauty, fashion trends, style, glamour like celebrities

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Swimsuits for every Body Type

Empire waist swimsuit Shopping for a Swimsuit is dreaded by most women and can be a frustrating experience if not done properly. In Erma Bombeck's words: "People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same: Look for something you'll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow."
Just the thought of having to parade around a beach, exposing most of the body's flaws is nerve-racking especially when we log around a few extra pounds, and leaves the swimsuit shopping trip at the bottom of the list of things to do.

"I simply can't understand
Why swimsuits are in such demand
They're soggy and damp,
Bind like a clamp,
And hold about three pounds of sand!"
~D.R. Benson

The right swimsuit, however, just like clothing, with proper fit, pattern, color and detailing can do wanders!
Here are a few guidelines to the best swimsuit fit for each body type, don't forget though to experiment and try different styles on, in different colors and patterns.
Remember a few basics: Darker colors and matte fabrics swimsuit are great on areas you want to slim down. A bright color swimsuit with dark piping or side insets can have a slimming effect.
Carefully sized and placed prints on a dark background swimsuit can be slimming as well.

For Curvy body types: A full body bathing suit is most flattering; try wrap styles and all over pattern. To bring attention to a small waist, wear a swimsuit with a belt, chevron patterns, mesh insetsHalter top swimsuit or diagonal lines. For the best shape try halter neck line bathing suit and make sure there is enough support in the bust. High cut leg holes enlongate the legs and are slimming.

For Top Heavy body types: it is important to look for a swimsuit with support to the bust; try a two piece bathing suit, and choose a top with built in cups or underwire support and wider straps. Fabrics in high Lycra content are excellent for hold, look for densely woven fabrics. A halter neckline is the most flattering; avoid it however, if you have broad shoulders, opt instead for V-necks or scoop necklines. Buy a swimsuit that draws attention downwards, do details like ruffles and shirring. Dark solid colors on top and brighter on the bottom bring attention down and balance out the figure.

For Bottom Heavy body types: Bring attention upwards to the bust with a lighter color, a V-neck and detail on the top half. Keep the bottom half in dark matte colors to minimize. Strapless and empire waist bathing suits also work in balancing out the figure. Side shirring and darker side pannels sculpt by taking inches off and minimizing the bottom half. The skirted swimsuit is not a good option for this body type, as it adds bulk, brings attention down and (contrary to popular belief) doesn't cover problem areas. A higher cut leg hole bathing suit is a better choice as it gives the illusion of a longer leg and Wrap style swimsuitleaner bottom.

For Small Busts: String bikinis work best for this body type; push-up and small padding enhance the bust (avoid big obvoius padding). Look for lower necklines, bright colors and detailing to give the illusion of a bigger bust.

For Tummy control: Swimsuits with vertical lines, like piping, seaming and V-necks to bring the attention away from the tummy area and enlongate the figure. Keep the bright lighter color at the top and the darker matte color at the bottom. In a two piece bathing suit, look for a higher waistband bottom, and a high content of Lycra for added support. Avoid all horizontal prints and cuts on the swimsuit.

Get all the gorgeous swimsuits (in the pictures) at Swimsuitsforall, just follow the link below.

rotating swim banner

Check out pictures of celebrities in swimsuits in the Fashion Community's Gallery

Be Fabulous,


Personal beauty, fashion trends, style, glamour like celebrities- Best swimsuit for all body types. Most flattering bathing suits for each body shape.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Viggo Mortensen Style

Viggo Mortensen There a few actors in the Hollywood scene, who choose to remain true to themselves; they let their talent shine on the screen and do not rely exclusively on their -so admired- good looks.

I am extremely fashinated by such actors because they carry their sense of self in their daily fashion style and to the Red Carpet: these movie stars play with the glamour concept, showing a keen sense of humor.
There are way too many actors who take their role as a "Hot Babe" and "Sex Symbol" too seriously and, even choose movie roles based solely on their good looks; this is not the case with extremely talented actors such as Johnny Depp and Viggo Mortensen.

Who can forget the oversized 40's inspired suits that Johnny Depp sported on the Red Carpet?!

The new name on everyone mouth for his Red Carpet extravagances is Viggo Mortensen. There Viggo Mortensen styleis no denying his good looks and charm, however he does not play many romantic Prince Charming roles!

Who can forget him as the incredibly dreamy Aragorn from Lord of the Rings!? Who kept the audience going back to the theater for the sequels.

The man is as talented as he is goodlooking, his latest movie earned him an Oscar nomination, even though I believe that many fashion "gurus" just wait to see what he will wear next. The Dane actor/poet has so much fun with his fashion that in the latest appearance at the Oscar's he even helped design his outfit.

Viggo Mortensen styleCriticized by many, Viggo is misunderstood! It would be so easy to dress his lean and fit body in any designer tuxedo and get in any "Red Carpet Glamorous" lists, but I admire his courage to step outside the "black tuxedo" mold, and express his poetic/romantic side through his clothes. Unfortunately not many can see the humor in "not taking yourself too seriously"; only few people decide to step outside the "obvious-glamour-box", by expressing their emotions, literally, on their sleeves, and should be applauded for it. It's a puzzle to me how people might appreciate the wacky creations of some fashion designers, at an "over-the-top" haute couture fashion show and at the same time, the same critics, are ready to "crucify" a Movie Star for taking the same chances.

Viggo Mortensen Oscar style

I often wonder if there are others -like me-who can see the romantic expressions behind some fashion creations, which sets these stars aside from the fashion disasters? Why is it so hard to see the clear difference between a "wanna-be-star" fashion mess-up and a stylish fashion statement? I see Viggo Mortensen as a "Statement Maker"- a funny guy who doesn't take himself too seriously- and the talented handsome person/movie star he is!

Be Fabulous,


Personal beauty, fashion trends, style, glamour like celebrities