FAQ Diet

Q: How many calories should I eat every day in order to lose weight fast?

A:  This is the most frequently asked weight loss question ever and the truth is that total calories consumed each day is NOT the the most important factor but rather the amount of food eaten at any one sitting is what determines whether you will gain weight or lose weight.
 Indeed, too much emphasis has been placed on "calories per day" according to a person's height and weight and this is now known to be false because it is "calories per meal" that determines whether your body will burn those calories or store them as fat tissue.
  For example, you could eat 2,500 calories spread out evenly all day and lose more weight than if you starved yourself all day and then ate a 2,000 calorie dinner, it's not about "calories per day" but instead begin focusing on what you eat at each individual sitting.


Q: Isn't starving myself the fastest way to lose weight?

A:  Many people do believe that since overeating is responsible for weight gain then "starving" must be the quickest way to lose weight. Sounds logical at first, after all, since 3,500 calories equals one pound the quickest way to get rid of 3,500 calories is to starve... Right?
 Actually, that is wrong. 

This is wrong because the more you starve yourself the fewer calories your body begins burning each day, so if your body was formerly burning 3,000 calories per day and you begin starving yourself then your body will soon begin burning only 2.000 calories per day, then perhaps 1,500 calories per day, and if you starve yourself enough it will burn even less calories than that until you will be starving yourself and burning very little calories.

Q: How much water should I drink each day in order to lose weight?

A: This question is a popular and misunderstood question about weight loss. So many people have been told to drink as much water as they can stand each day and that somehow this will magically speed up the weight loss process.

The truth is that it is important to drink water each day as water helps your body in many ways, but you will not gain some magical advantage to losing weight by drinking 12 or 15 glasses of water per day, it just won't happen..

Water is important in any diet but if you are drinking so much water that the thought of another glass makes you feel "sick" then you have already consumed enough and you won't be getting any advantage by forcing another glass of water on yourself.


Q: If I eat all "low fat" and "fat free" foods will I lose weight for sure?

A: In short, no. It is now a widely known fact that the consumption of excess carbohydrates is one of the quickest ways to gain weight and the atkins diet (and zone diet) are proof of that fact.

 In fact, many low fat and fat free foods have so many excess carbohydrates (to replace the missing fat) that they can make you gain extraordinary amounts of weight by eating them too often or in too great of a quantity.

  Eating low fat is always a good idea compared to stuffing yourself with high fatty foods, but relying on nothing but low fat foods will not solve your problems to weight loss because it takes a careful balance between fat and carbohydrates (and exercise) to begin losing weight at the fastest rate.

Q: I've been reading about the importance of both antioxidants and fiber in my diet and know that broccoli is a good source of both. How can I find good ways to fix it without reading a lot of cookbooks?

A:  Our program includes a search index so that you can easily find all the delicious and healthy Women Fitness recipes using a particular food or ingredient along with the corresponding nutrition information.

 Q: Is it true that you should not eat less than 3 hours prior to bedtime? Also, what if you're hungry but you choose not to eat because of this rule? Will your metabolism ultimately slow down over time? Annette Lopez

A: Hi Annette,
  Recently researches on eating habits of overweight individuals it was observed that a number of women gain weight by eating late at dinner. As very few people indulge in a walk or light activity after dinner and go straight to bed ,the BMR of the body drops considerably. The burning capacity of food by the body is best at breakfast and lunch as we are involved in some or the other form of exercise or movement. But by the dinner time there is a drop in body movement, thus slowing down the burning of food for energy. The food is left to stand in the stomach for a longer time leading to fat deposits.

 To prevent this from occurring, recent studies have begun to suggest that it is better to stop eating after 7-8 PM, more so in case of individuals who are on a weight loss program.

  If you feel hungry then go in for a low fat option in a smaller portion size. Besides there are many other aspects like women tend to lose 1% of muscle every year after 30 yrs of age, this again is responsible for the drop in BMR. So, you see it is not one aspect but a combination of factors which need to be understood to manage body weight. All WF members are well equipped with this knowledge from the five on-line books on complete fitness. I personally recommend that you try to understand the various determinants contributing to managing a healthy weight for life, so as to avoid mistakes and achieve greater success.

In fitness


Q: Hello Namita!

I was wondering - is it good to eat breakfast even when you're not hungry? And if so, why is it good? And how much should you eat even when you're not hungry?

Thank you

A: Hi Annette,
 Welcome again to www.womenfitness.net. Breakfast is an essential fuel to begin the day and should never be omitted. From the time you had dinner till breakfast time, it has already been over 7-9 hrs that your body has received its fuel to get charged back into daily routine. Body needs its fuel for the day's routine and if you do not eat your breakfast, it will begin to derive its energy from the muscle breakdown initiated in your body to derive nutrition.

 Besides after a few hours you will feel drained out and VERY hungry .Now it has been observed that many women during this time end up having the wrong foods.

 You do not necessarily need to stuff yourself. Have a light breakfast and then complement it with a mid day meal at 12 P.M .You can choose from any of the breakfast options like porridge, cornflakes, fruits, yoghurt, fruit juices, sandwiches etc. As a WF member you will gain access to all low fat options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do not leave your body to starve for more than 4-5 hrs at a stretch. Growing research now indicates that eating the right foods - especially in the morning - can help to increase the number of neural connections.

WF members receive suggestions like these in the nutritional online book on healthy eating .

If you wish to receive more information, take up WF Fitness Program to learn the art of healthy cooking and eating for lifelong fitness. We guarantee, that by the time your membership ends, you will be completely confident, healthy and fit woman to take on the world.

In fitness



Q: Do any foods actually assist you to burn fat? How much of that type of food is it healthy for you to eat and how often should you eat it?
Helen Burnett


Hi, Helen

 There is no specific food to burn fat, but a healthy balanced diet accompanied with an exercise program is the only time tested way to lose fat safely and permanently

The following is a comprehensive shopping list of healthy foods essential for low-fat, well-balanced meals. However, these foods are just recommendations. You should choose foods that are not only low in fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar; but also those that satisfy your physical and psychological hunger -- those that you will enjoy.

 If you don't care for any of the following foods, simply replace them with other healthy foods that will be realistic in your low-fat lifestyle. When planning a menu, ask yourself these important questions: Are the ingredients easy to use? If it is very complex and time-consuming, it is likely that your plan is unrealistic, and your low-fat meal will be unsuccessful. Is it versatile?

 You might not want to purchase ingredients that are only used in one recipe -- they may end up spoiling in the back of the refrigerator. These are suggestions only and not intended as a complete list:

carrots, corn, broccoli, green beans, onions, cucumbers, peas, mushrooms, frozen mixed vegetables, cauliflower, potatoes, leafy greens (spinach, etc.), yams, lettuce, pickles, green peppers, cabbage, celery, sprouts, water chestnuts, and garlic.


bananas, berries, dates, oranges, melons, peaches, mango, tomatoes, kiwi, apples, dried fruits (pineapple, apple, mango, papaya), pineapple, canned-fruits (peaches, pineapple), raisins, grapes, and grapefruit.

mustard, Worcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce (reduced-sodium), sweet and sour sauce, salsa, non/lowfat mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, low/nonfat margarine, ketchup, low/nonfat dressing, tomato/pasta sauce, and relish.

Meats and Meat Substitutes:
boneless/skinless chicken breast, boneless/skinless turkey breast, fish (halibut, cod, shark, etc.), extra lean ground turkey, extra lean ground beef, lunch meat (low/nonfat chicken or turkey breast), soy and tofu meat substitutes, and veggie burgers.

Dairy Products:
low/nonfat milk, low/nonfat cheeses, fat-free egg substitutes, low/nonfat yogurt, low/nonfat cream cheese, and egg whites.

whole wheat bread, pancake mix (whole wheat), millet, pasta (made w/out eggs), cornmeal, cereals, whole grain flour, low/nonfat muffins, oatmeal, white or brown rice, oat bran, oat flour, kashi, whole grain wheat barley, barley flour, tortillas, and buckwheat.

Canned Foods:
fruits, chili (turkey or vegetarian), baked beans (vegetarian), black beans, kidney beans, vegetables, soups (reduced-salt), tomato paste, and refried beans (low/nonfat).

 Herbs and Spices:
basil, allspice, onion powder, ginger, sage, chili pepper, paprika, dill, cinnamon, thyme, garlic powder, curry powder, oregano, rosemary, red pepper, marjoram, tarragon, dry mustard, cumin, saffron, and nutmeg.

Snacks and Desserts:
fig and fruit bars, low/nonfat frozen yogurt, low/nonfat cakes, low/nonfat cookies, popsicles, low/nonfat granola, Jell-O(r), gingersnaps, graham crackers, and fruits and vegetables.

I hope this is helpful. Be sure to also go to Women Fitness recipes, You'll find hundreds of easy-to-follow, healthy and delicious recipes.


 Q: I am interested in any information or resources on weight gain/management associated with peri-menopause and hormone replacement therapy.



 Hello and welcome to www.womenfitness.net a complete online guide for women to achieve healthy weight and optimum fitness . Regarding HRT ,check out a complete article on the same at http://www.womenfitness.net/wfmember/programs/articles/hrt.htm. Follow the link and you will find information regarding treatment, management ,role of diet and exercise etc .If you need any more reference Contact Us



Q. I have been working out for around a year now and I cannot get my lower abs into any type of shape. Despite doing 900 various crunches, ab roller, and 100 sit-ups four days a week, along with running and my regular workout on the weights, I still have a tire around my waist. What else can I do?

A: "What should I do to get abs?" I am still asked this question more often than any other. Although the question is often phrased differently, the answer is always the same: Seeing your abs - or any other muscle group for that matter - is strictly the result of having low body fat levels. You get low body fat from proper diet and cardio, not from doing hundreds of ab exercises every day.

It may seem like your lower ab muscles are hard to develop, but it's not really an issue of muscle development at all - you simply store your fat in the lower abdominal region more readily than other parts of your body.

Most people don't have their fat distributed evenly throughout their bodies. Each of us inherits a genetically determined pattern of fat storage just as we inherit our eye or hair color. In other words, the fat seems to "stick" to certain areas more than others. Men often tend to store fat more readily in the lower abdominal region (the "pot belly"). In women, the "stubborn" areas are usually the hips, thighs ("saddlebags") and the triceps ("grandmother arms"). These are the first places the fat goes to, and the last places the fat comes off.

You could focus on more "lower ab" exercises like hanging leg raises, reverse crunches and hip lifts, but even these won't help as long as you still have body fat covering the muscles. You can't "spot reduce." I would suggest cutting back the volume on your ab training and spending the time on more cardio work instead. Personally, I do about 15-20 minutes of ab work two times per week. (About 8-12 sets of 10-25 reps). Here is a typical ab routine that I use:

1.Hanging leg raises 3 sets, 15-25 reps Superset to:
2.Hanging knee ups (bent-knee leg raises) 3 sets, 15-25 reps
3.Incline Revere Crunches 3 sets, 15-25 reps
4.Weighted Cable Crunches 3 sets, 10-25 reps For maximum fat loss, you should do cardio 5-7 days per week for 30-60 minutes. You could continue running or mix up the type of cardio you do (stationary cycling, stairclimbing, elliptical machines, and other continuous aerobic activities are all excellent fat burners). Once you are satisfied with your level of body fat and your abdominal definition, you can cut back to 3-4 days per week for 20-30 minutes for maintenance.

As far as diet goes, here are a few fat-burning nutrition guidelines in a nutshell:

1.Eat about 15-20% below your calorie maintenance level
2.Spread your calories into 5-6 small meals instead of 2-3 big ones.
3.Eat a source of complete, high quality protein with each meal.
4.Choose natural, complex carbs such as vegetables, oatmeal, yams, potatoes, brown rice and whole grains. Start with at least 50% of your calories from complex carbs and reduce carbs slightly (esp. late in the day) if you are not losing fat.
5.Avoid refined, simple carbs that contain white flour or white sugar
6.Keep total fats low and saturated fats low. Aim for only 15-20% of your total calories from fat. A little bit of "good fat" like flax oil is better than a no fat diet.
7.Drink plenty of water - a gallon is a good goal to shoot for if you are physically active.

1000+ reps of ab work four days a week is an amazing feat of endurance, but that's not how you get abs! You probably have outstanding development in your abdominal muscles. Unfortunately, if your abs are covered up with a layer of fat, you won't be able to see them no matter how many crunches or sit ups you do. You "get abs" from reducing your body fat and you reduce body fat mostly through diet and cardio.

Q. What exactly is 'dietary fiber' and why is it supposed to be so good for you ?


A: The term dietary fiber does not refer to any single substance but rather to all the edible but largely indigestible parts of plant foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and pulses, Technically, these substances are known as non-starch polysaccharides, or NSPs, and you may see this on some packaging. Fiber is broken down in the gut but has negligible nutritive value - that is, it does not provide useful amounts of calories, protein, fat, vitamins or minerals. Even so, it is an essential part of a healthy diet. It keeps the digestive tract functioning properly and has been shown to play a part in preventing some serious diseases. And since fiber provides bulk and a feeling of fullness without excess calories, it can also help to control weight. Eating too little may result in constipation - which is turn can lead to piles - and other intestinal disorders. A low-fiber diet also tends to be high in refined carbohydrates and fats, promoting weight gain and, depending on the type of fat, heart disease. Fiber is measured ion grammes(g) (loz=30g) and nutritionists recommend an average daily intake of 18g, obtained from bread, cereals, fruit, vegetables and pulses. This is equivalent to about 12 slices of whole meal bread or, more realistically, a bowl of muesli (3g), two slices of whole meal bread (3gt), two apples (5g), two helpings of vegetables (4g) and a medium jacket potato with skin (3g). Most people currently eat only about two-thirds the fiber they need.


Q. Thank you for your prompt reply. Since I didn't give you my aerobic workout and cardiovascular regime in my last e-mail (which is below your e-mail), I would like to do that now. I run for 30 minutes (about 3-3.5 miles) every other day. I also use stairmaster machines for 20 minutes every other day. Then, I lift weights that concentrate on my arms, such as my triceps, biceps, and shoulders. Consequently, I think that my exercise habits are strong, but I am still unsure why my stomach is getting bigger. Does one's stomach usually get bigger when it gets more muscle? And could it possibly be that I need to improve my diet? I'm not the most healthy eater. I love cereal, and so I eat 1-2 bowls for breakfast and then maybe 1 or 2 for lunch or dinner along with my meal. Also, I eat a salad for dinner about once a week, and I haven't had any sweets/desserts for about 3 weeks. I was also thinking that it could be my body type. I notice that I tend to develop fat around my stomach rather than my thighs.

Sorry that this is e-mail is so long. I hope it covers everything that you need to know in order to help me try to lose some of the fat around my stomach and love handles.

Thank you and have a great day!

A. Annette,
You need to get your basics clear that, by following a fitness program based on the five components of complete fitness namely, cardiovascular strength training, flexibility training, nutrition and weight management only you can achieve lifelong healthy and fit body. Not following any one of these components will interrupt in achievement of your health and fitness goals.

Body fat and muscle are two different layers, fat being the uppermost followed by muscle layer. In your instance the muscle layer has seemed to develop with less effect on the layer of fat. Another aspect, which you need to understand, is that the fat cells once created cannot be eliminated from the body (only by surgery) completely. What happens is that these fat cells are squeezed down, as long as you follow a healthy diet and exercise pattern. But these cells will swell up as and when you get down from the track and adopt unhealthy eating habits .

Now, To lose weight a calorie deficit needs to be created to facilitate breaking down of fat as a source of energy .Similarly if appropriate amount of exercise is not rendered to the body ,and proper dietary pattern is not followed ,there will be breakdown of muscle content of the body instead of fat .The Body tends to derive its energy first from the muscles if you go on a diet or do not consume needed calories bringing about a drop in the body's metabolic rate.
Therefore to conserve the muscles and achieve optimum fat loss it is essential that you follow a fitness program essentially composed of cardiovascular exercise and strength training along with a balanced diet composed of cereals, fruits and vegetables .

The other aspect is plateau .In the fitness arena, a plateau happens when the improvements you've grown to expect start leveling off, or stop happening altogether. Actually, it's a problem that can occur in any area of your life: You're going to the gym every day, but your muscles aren't responding, and your body is looking any better. You're eating right, but your waistline isn't getting smaller.

Here are few suggestions for you :

.Keep a food journal. Better, keep track of your nutrition with a computer program that gives you a nutritional readout on everything you eat. This will let you know if you're eating more calories than you thought you were, and how balanced your meals are.

.Spend 20-40 minutes on every aerobic exercise session. Just remember, the shorter the aerobic workout, the more intense it needs to be to burn maximum calories. If your workout is longer, intensity is lower.

.If you've been eating an ultra-low fat diet, add back some healthy fat, such as fish, olive oil, nuts, and avocado. Cut out a serving or two of starchy carbohydrates to make up for the extra calories. Adding a small amount of fat helps you feel satisfied sooner, and longer.

.Quit starving yourself. This is what causes your body to hold on to fat for dear life. Eat enough healthful food throughout the day to keep your blood sugar steady, your metabolism up, and your energy high.

.MOVE YOUR BODY in the weight room - do circuit training, allowing as little time as possible (or NO time) between sets. This is an excellent way to rev up your metabolism. No more "shooting the breeze" with others. Get in, work hard, get done. THEN socialize.

.If you've been working out mostly on weight machines, try out free weights or bands. Get a trainer to show you proper technique and use a spotter for heavier weights.

Q. What are the home made food to be taken to keep the body fit and fine?

A Dear Monika,
All foods (refer, food guide pyramid) cooked in low fat especially carbohydrates and proteins accompanied with fruits and vegetables serve the body well. Lay less significance to fried foods; look for alternate cooking methods to enjoy your meals, Eat sweets in moderation etc. Whenever you feel hungry in between meals, snack on popcorn, fruits, few dry fruits (carry healthy fat), yoghurt etc  Click here, to read more on A Healthy Diet for Life.

Good Health,
U. Malthotra

Q. What happens when you eat a lot of dietary fiber and not enough water?   what causes water retention?   why don't i lose weight when i exercise and eat the same amount?

A :Dear Maggie

Fiber generally refereed to as 'roughage' is essential for the healthy functioning of your body. It plays a very important role in nutrition and is very beneficial to many aspect of health. The first is weight management. A diet rich in fiber can help to promote fat loss if fiber food replaces fats and sweets. This is possible because fibrous foods offer fewer calories per gram (4 calories/gram) than fats (9 calories/gram) they are not easily converted to fat and also have the ability to expand to up to 10 times their weight and size in the stomach. Fiber gives you an edge on weight management, not only by satisfying your appetite but also by slowing down calorie absorption and keeping energy levels up.

It's important to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fiber you eat to prevent constipation and facilitate better absorption of nutrients by the body. If you don't already drink over 6 glasses of liquid a day, drink at least 2 more glasses of water a day when you increase your fiber intake.

After 30 women begin to loose 1% of muscle mass every year which brings about drop in the level of metabolic rate, hence lesser food is required for survival. This is not the case with women who follow a strength training routine.

Good Health