Thursday, December 24, 2009

How to Save Gas in the Kitchen

In my previous articles, I have discussed many ways to save fuel for your vehicle. I have mentioned steps like adopting good driving habits, maintaining your car in peak condition, planning your trips, carpooling, avoiding traffic jams, driving smaller vehicles, choosing more efficient cars, adding energy saving devices and many others.

By following some of the items listed above, you should be able to get a very good performance from the fuel you fill up into your tank and save on your vehicle fuel costs.

Today, we are going to discuss more ways of saving fuel, but this time in our kitchens. Saving cooking gas requires a different approach from saving vehicle fuel. This is because the gas stove uses external burning of fuel, unlike engines that uses internal combustion of fuel.

Gas fuel like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas (Methane) is commonly used for cooking at home because it is clean and easily available. If we are able to control the usage, we could possibly save considerable amounts of money too.

With the world's oil and gas prices at such a high level, many of us are hard-pressed to try to squeeze the maximum work out of the fuel we use. One of the best strategies to use is to avoid wastage that can lead to loss of energy.

Below are some of the ways you can save gas in the kitchen:

1. Light up your stove only when you are ready to cook and the ingredients are within reach. This requires good coordination and planning by the cook. This means that heat is not wasted during the waiting period. The flame is only used for doing useful work - heating the food.

2. Use pressure cookers because they require less fuel for heating and thus reduce cooking time. There is a scientific explanation for this. Water boils at 100 degree Celsius at normal atmospheric pressures. When the cooking pot is pressurized above atmospheric, the water boils at a higher temperature. At that higher temperature, whatever meat or other ingredients inside the pot get cooked faster.

3. Avoid using too much water when cooking as it wastes fuel and it takes a longer time to evaporate. Water boils at 100 degree Celsius in a normal pot. It remains at this temperature no matter how much more you heat it further. It just evaporates, and the heat is lost through the evaporation of the steam. The temperature will not rise further in the water. The more water there is, the more the fuel required to bring it to boil.

4. Reduce the flame when boiling starts to save fuel. This relates to item 3 above. A small flame is sufficient to maintain the boiling of the water at 100 degree Celsius. A big flame will not bring the water to a higher temperature.

5. Cover cooking pots and pans with a lid to prevent heat from evaporating. This again relates to item 3 above. By covering the pot with a lid, the energy supplied to the water is prevented from being lost through evaporation of the steam. In fact, the useful energy contained in the steam is utilized and transferred to cook the food.

6. Use a small burner as it consumes 6% to 10% less gas than a big burner. To be efficient, as much of the heat from a flame must be transmitted to the pot. With a big flame below a relatively small pot, the hot gases flowing along the sides of the pot has less chance of being extracted. Only hot gases in contact with the pot have any chance of being extracted. Any hot gases not in contact with the pot are lost to the atmosphere.

7. Clean the burner if you see an orange, yellow or non-uniform flame. This means there is incomplete combustion of the fuel. Usually this is due to some obstruction in the air or gas passages in the gas stove. Incomplete combustion means that some of the fuel is not burnt but is deposited as carbon. That's a waste of the total heating capacity of the fuel.

You do not have to understand thermodynamics in order to save fuel in your cooking stove. However, many of the strategies outlined above is derived from the understanding of the properties of water and steam, principles of heat transfer like conduction, convection, radiation, combustion of fuel, venturi and gas burner design.

For the cook in the kitchen, just remember - reduce wastage and maintain efficiency.

About The Author
Thomas Yoon
Many years of working experience in Marine, Facilities, Construction has given the author material for writing e-books and articles related to engineering, and management. Subscribe to facworld ezine by sending an email to More information at and

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Home Equity Loan: What You Should Know

Many people are talking about a home equity loan, at work, weekends and even at the dinner table. Why is it the flavor of the month and what should you know about a home equity loan to ensure you stay out of strife if you decide to enter this realm.

Owning your home is a valuable asset for anyone in a lifetime. If you agree to a home equity loan, you are in fact putting this great asset at risk. Home equity loans are appealing due to the low interest rates and (in some cases) the tax deductibility of interest, but they also represent a risky business.

It sometimes has to be faced, if things don't work out. Consider a significant expense and not to having the necessary cash to cover it. Examples of such expenses are medical bills, major house repairs or a child's college education. A home equity loan could be the solution to your financial problems, at least for a short term. By using the equity you've built in your home over time you can borrow a significant amount of money. You have to repay the amount borrowed plus a (usually) low interest over a fixed period of time. If you fail to do this, you may lose your house.

Usually, in order to pay off the entire loan until the fixed time, you are required to make equal monthly payments. The lenders are obliged to disclose all important facts of their home equity plan, all terms and costs, such as the APR, different charges, and payment terms. After you have received this information, lenders do not normally charge any other fee that has not been specified in the plan. When you take on a home equity loan, you have normally had a few days from the day the account was opened to cancel it.

There are some basic although important things you should consider when you're considering a home equity loan, in order to avoid a life changing mistake sometimes.

Firstly, if you have money problems, you must consider other options too, before using the equity in your home. Talk to your creditors or contact a budget counseling organization. A plan that would consolidate or reduce your payments might be enough to get you out-of-trouble. Also ask the opinion of someone other than the lender offering the home equity loan. someone you trust and who is reasonably knowledgeable.

If you decide a home equity loan is what you want, you should research the offers of several lenders, including banks or a credit union.

There are many lenders who make use of abusive lending practices and you must be aware of these practices if you want to minimize your risks. Here are some scenarios of such practices.

• Equity stripping. You have built up equity in your home but you don't have much income coming each month and you need money. A lender encourages you to make a home equity loan, even if you explain that your income is not enough to keep up with it. Of course, the lender doesn't care if you are not able to pay, he has nothing to lose, on the contrary, he wins a lot. If you are not cerebral enough to get a realistic view of things and let yourself be easily persuaded you will probably lose your home.

• The balloon payment. You've already made a home equity loan and, fail to pay the mortgages and you're very close to losing your home. Another lender offers to save you by refinancing and lowering your monthly payment. You have to be very attentive regarding the loan terms. The reason why the payments are lower may be that he asks you to repay only the interest rate each month. At the end of the term, you may find you still have to pay the entire amount that you borrowed. This sum is called a balloon payment.

• The home improvement loan. A contractor offers to remodel your kitchen, or install a new roof at a low price. You explain you can't afford this, but he offers to arrange finance through a lender he knows. You agree and he begins work. At some point, you are being asked to sign a lot of papers without having enough time to read them and you sign them. Later, you realize you've signed a home equity loan, and even one with aberrant terms and interest rates.

By using the equity in your home, you can benefit by receiving a significant fixed amount of money, repayable over a fixed period, available for any kind of use and at a low interest rate. You may also be allowed to deduct the interest, under the tax law. At a first glance, the home equity loan sounds appealing. But, on the other hand, if you fail to repay, for one reason or another, you may lose your home. Bottom line is that a home equity loan is a good thing if managed and used carefully. If you are considering a home equity loan, you should carefully balance costs vs. benefits, before charging ahead.

About The Author
Bill Darken - There's a good student loan area along with more relevant general loans assistance such as home, car, and consolidation loans. There are highly informative eye opening articles and up-to-date loans news as well, see it here at home equity loan or if the previous link is not working, you can paste this link in your browser -

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The Cure For The Boring Family Vacation

The words every parent dreads at home, are even worse when they are heard on a family vacation: "I'm bored."

It's no wonder so many parents give up on the idea of an educational, off the beaten path vacation, full of exciting memories and experiences, and opt instead to head toward Disney World.

But fear not. You can still plan a family vacation that can include things like checking out the Grand Canyon, climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty or getting goose bumps in the Tower of London without turning your kids into catatonic vegetables.

The secret is easy: involve your offspring in the travel plans before you go.

Like all shameless psychological ploys, the trick here is to make them think the educational elements of the trip were their ideas. So gather all the information on your travel destination ahead of time. Print web pages, collect brochures, clip out newspaper articles etc. Make all of these choices look as exciting and colorful as possible - hopefully with photographs of families laughing and having great time - and then lay them all out in front of your planning committee, I mean family.

Ask your kids to help plan what to do in Germany or London or West Virginia. Let them select a few of the choices while you select some of the others. The beauty is that they just might select some of the options you had in mind in the first place. Moreover, they will also begin to look forward to the very things you had previously feared would bore them into a stupor.

If some of your kids are older teens, you might even assign them part of the original research. Just say, "Jeff, I want you to come up with some ideas to do in Tuscany and Jennifer, I want you to find some things we should do in Sicily."

Another important tactic is to keep you kids busy once your vacation begins. Even if you need an afternoon nap, find things they can do in a safe, supervised environment while you catch up on your rest.

And let them handle some of the money. Convert some of their allowance into the local currency (choose an amount appropriate to their ages). Let them learn to calculate the exchange rates on their own so they can purchase their own gifts and souvenirs.

Dealing with kids is simply a matter of outwitting them. Yes they have youth, energy and street savy going for them, but you have life experience and ruthless cunning on your side. Use them to your advantage.

About The Author
Charles Brown is a former attorney who now spends his time indulging his passion for travel and shares the unique travel destinations and adventure travel bargains he uncovers on his blog, Guerrilla Traveler - Adventure on a Budget,
Think budget travel equals boring travel? Think again! Learn the Guerrilla Traveler's insider secrets to budget adventure travel to the world's most exciting places and experience the coolest travel adventures without spending a bundle.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stairways: Working with Your Contractor

Your home beautiful is just around the corner. You've selected your architect and your general contractor, and soon tradespeople will be appearing at your doorstep to put in those much-needed renovations. Now, it's about speaking their language so you can answer questions intelligently and get the results you want.

One key area that takes special crafting is your stairway. You can keep an eye on how things are progressing if you know the basics of stairway construction.

Learning the Lingo

Like any craft, building stairways has its own jargon. Learn the most common terms here.

Tread: The part of the step that is stepped on.

Riser: The vertical portion of the step between steps.

Balustrade: Refers to the collection of newels, balusters and handrail on a staircase.

Handrail: The horizontal member of a balustrade system that sits on top of the balusters and is supported by newel posts.

Balusters: Vertical posts which help support the handrail and comprise an integral design element in the formation of the balustrade.

Newel Posts: Located at the bottom and top of a staircase, and positioned at turns and support positions for the balcony rail, these posts form the major support of the balustrade system.

Nosing: The portion of a tread or landing tread which protrudes beyond the face of the riser.

Bullnose: The wider, rounded portion of a first step of a stairway that is open on one or both sides.

Run: The horizontal distance measured by the entire stairway.

Stringers: A supporting structure which runs the length of the stairway and supports the treads, risers, and balustrade system.

Staying in Step with the Workers

Now that you know what the workers are talking about, you can also know what they're doing with the tips below.

1. Make sure the contractor has checked the local building codes. Building code requirements for stairs vary from town to town, and you want to be sure you're in compliance.

2. Confirm correct stairwell dimensions. You may see measurements on a blueprint, but it wouldn't hurt to check the numbers again when the workers aren't around. You don't have to say anything if they're right; if they need correcting, you've just saved yourself some money.

3. Follow standard rules of thumb: Check the charts as well for stair parameters. Stair rise should be no higher than 7-5/8 inches, and the stair tread no more narrow than 10 inches. You'll ensure there's no stumbling when guests are over.

4. Choosing the material: Use specially crafted parts, especially for the weight bearing parts such as stair treads. If any wood will be exposed, you'll want to find a grain that harmonizes with your taste and décor.

5. Fasteners and adhesives: Ask your contractor if they intend to "glue and screw," and not just provide one or the other. This extra connecting power will help keep the stairway from creaking.

6. Strength and noise: Once the stairway is built, take a few moments to run up and down it before any carpeting or staining takes place. Be sensitive to bounciness or squeaks. This is the one and only time they can be dealt with affordably.

It's your house, and your involvement helps ensure things are done right. And, you'll enjoy your new stairway all the more knowing what's gone into it.

About The Author
Shawn Capell is the cofounder of Stair Warehouse. Stair Warehouse specializes in beautiful American Cherry stair parts, ornamental contemporary and iron balusters and Newel Posts. Visit them today at to find Stair Treads at warehouse pricing!

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Getting An Air Purifier For The First Time

Even a few years back if someone had asked us if we ever think about what we are breathing in, we would have doubted his sanity. But things have changed rapidly. And the figures which are coming out through several nationally recognized agencies are quite shocking in a way. Here are a few facts:

- The air indoor is 2 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air
- There are about 15 million Americans suffering from asthma and the number is on the rise
- Almost 50% of all diseases are aggravated due to the polluted air we breathe

All this has certainly led many of us to get an air purifier to be installed in our house. The air purifying industry has also grown by leaps and bounds and there are a whole range of products available these days. As always, more the choices the harder it is to choose.

So before you buy your home air purifier you should actually do some homework. The very first thing you need to do is to assess your needs. Is there someone in your family who suffers from severe respiratory disorders. Then you need to install a HEPA air purifier. However, if you are installing the air purifier just as a precautionary measure and want your family to breathe in decently clean air then an ionic air purifier will serve the purpose.

Another thing you need to decide upon is the capacity of the purifier. The bigger your room is the higher capacity purifier you will require. The capacity also depends on the kind of traffic the room has and whether you keep pets or not. It is always better to have more than required capacity of air purifier installed at your place. This would not only keep the air cleaner, but also for HEPA purifiers the noise level will also be down.

The other thing you need to consider is the availability of filters. If it is not one of the reputed brands, then replacing the filter can be a big issue. You certainly would not like to travel miles just to get one filter for your air purifier. Make sure there are outlets near your home or the filter is available over the internet.

You should also clarify what are the special features of the individual purifiers and which one suits your needs more on that count. You should also make a note of the warranty being offered.

About The Author
Jason Uvios writes about on Getting an Air Purifier for the First Time to visit :-, and

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Budget travel to Beautiful Paris:

My first draft of this article began something like, "here are the top ten things to do and see when you travel to Paris." My plan was to show how to plan a cheap travel excursion to Europe in general and France in particular. But three drafts later, I finally realized that the entire City of Paris is a stunning and unforgettable attraction.

Sure, there are a few places you have to see when you go there, or else one of your coworkers will make you feel like a dope because you traveled to Paris and didn't see the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower.

But the point is, the entire City of Paris is one of the most beautiful travel destinations on the planet. You can travel to Paris on a budget without sacrificing any of its romance and excitement. Even if you wander off of the well-worn tourist paths, the charm and elegance of the city just seems to seep into your very pores. (Think of it as something like the anti-Detroit.)

Parisians, of course, have a reputation for being just a teensy bit boastful about their city, ("how dare you even speak of [insert your hometown here] in the same breath as Paris, you swine! I will spit on your toes.") But it is hard to argue that their pride is not justified.

But if you insist on knowing my list of top things to do or see in Paris (particularly for travel on a budget), here it is:

· --The Louvre was first opened to the public in 1793 after the French Revolution and now houses the most enormous art collection in the world. If you are dead set upon seeing every exhibit, be sure to set aside the most convenient decade of your trip in order to do so.

· --The Palace of Versailles, is a fine example of what one man (King Louis XIV) can do with a Home Depot credit and the ability to impose crushing taxes on the French peasants.

· --The Eiffel Tower was originally built as an attraction for the 1889 Universal Exhibition. The tower was considered by many Parisians to be an eyesore, but they have since come to terms with it and merely hang sheets over it when visitors come to town. It was the tallest structure in the world until the Empire State Building was completed in 1931. But at least it can claim it has never had a giant ape climb to its top.

· --The Seine River. Here is where you can see and do it all without spending a bundle. Spend as much time as you can either walking along its banks or taking boat tours up and down the waterway itself. It is probably the most beguiling river in the world, and you will find almost every building of interest in Paris is on or near the Seine.

· --The Parisian cafes. Here again you can take in the sights and experience the essence of romantic Paris without great expense. Particularly visit the cafes in the St. Germain-des-pres district, so you can follow in the steps of Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald. You may or may not develop the ability to write as well as these artists, but you be able to brag to your friends when you return home. Assuming of course that your kind of friends know that Hemmingway, Hugo, Pound and Fitgerald were writers and not a law firm.

OK I failed. I have touched only a very few of the highlights of travel to Paris. But when you go, be sure to take your time and stroll through the streets with the eye of a wanderer. Be sure to taste the foods and sample the wines. This is one city that organized walking tours are often worth your time, but you can also take your own walking tour with a guidebook in hand and a heart to behold its beauty.

COPYRIGHT © 2005-06, Charles Brown. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Charles Brown is a former attorney who now spends his time indulging his passion for travel and shares the unique travel destinations and adventure travel bargains he uncovers on his blog, Guerrilla Traveler - Adventure on a Budget,
Think budget travel equals boring travel? Think again! Learn the Guerrilla Traveler's insider secrets to budget adventure travel to the world's most exciting places and experience the coolest travel adventures without spending a bundle.

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The Esteemed Bookcase

Many homes and living rooms are made complete by the addition of a bookcase – its passive presence both creates a lived-in feeling and lets homeowners put pieces of their own character on its shelves. The installation of a bookcase is often the crowning moment of interior decoration; one of the last things to be set up after moving into a new house. Consequently, choosing the right piece of furniture can take a lot of deliberation and trips to the department store.

The wide and diverse selection can make it difficult to pick a good bookcase, if only for the bombardment of good design ideas. These days, bookshelves are as small and as big as you can imagine, and they are made in so many shapes, colours and materials that there is bound to be a good candidate for your own living room or bedroom – or even every room of your house!

A well suited bookcase should adequately reflect the mood of a room, so it is important to decide before you go shopping just what you want the place to feel like. For a rustic atmosphere, a wooden shelf could do the trick. Are you more modern in taste? Try out a sleek and slim aluminum case, and it might satisfy that simplistic, functional urge.

What many people don't consider when choosing a bookcase is to consult a furniture builder. There are a great deal of builders out there, who use a range of different materials and unique designs. If the store products aren't impressing you, or you have a particular idea in mind for your shelves, it might be wise to speak with a builder. This way, your shelf can suit your home, your style and you aren't likely to bump into the same one at a friend's dinner party!

About The Author
Christine Loxley writes for a website packed with bookcase articles and bookcase headboard resources.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Castle-like B&B on Oregon Coast Changes Name

The stunning, castle-like bed and breakfast formerly called St. Bernard's Bed & Breakfast now has a new name. St. Bernard's has added another business partner, changed its name to Arch Cape House, and is in the middle of other shifts in direction.

This fall, owner Barbara Dau joined forces with a new business partner, on-and-off Arch Cape resident Robert Shaw. The result was St. Bernard's B&B becoming Arch Cape House and an array of other interesting plans.

The upscale lodging - just south of Cannon Beach, in Arch Cape - has a distinctive architecture, built to resemble something between a castle and northwest ski lodge. It boasts gourmet, home-cooked breakfasts, a wine social hour, and unique rooms filled with antiques.

The new name is designed to make it easier to remember and identify the lodging's location, said Shaw. The new name also works better with their revamped website,, allowing web surfers to more quickly notice the location.

"There's a new partner, a new website, and we just thought it was a good time to change everything," said Shaw. "We're just trying to really let people know where we are and that here they can get great food, hospitality and that unique architecture - all overlooking the beaches of Arch Cape."

Dau and Shaw are planning other changes and additions, including wine tasting dinners, featuring local artists, cross promotions with other businesses and events in Cannon Beach, and a garden that will grow food for Dau's legendary breakfasts.

Shaw is taking master gardener classes in preparation. "I want to grow herbs for our own food," Shaw said. "So we'll have organic foods for Barbara's cooking. Hopefully we'll get to grow more, like tomatoes and other vegetables too."

New bungalows on the property are also in the planning stages, which would serve as vacation rentals.

Shaw comes from the fishing industry and the tech industry, most recently having worked with AT&T and IBM, installing telecommunications equipment and software. Shaw ran his own fishing boat business for 15 years, sailing between the coasts of Oregon and Alaska. In the 90's, he entered the tech world. His experience includes marketing on the Internet and various kinds of business management, as well as telecommunications technology.

His family has been in the Arch Cape since the 30's. His parents also run a small lodging there.

Shaw is bringing much of his tech and marketing knowledge to revamping the approach of many aspects of Arch Cape House. Shaw and Dau are looking at adding wireless Internet access. Shaw has already done much with their website, including a much larger presence on the Net and online booking for the lodging - which he says is currently responsible for a growing chunk of business at Arch Cape House.

The intertwining of promotions with other businesses has already begun. Arch Cape House has linked some lodging specials and packages with EVOO Cooking School in Cannon Beach and with Seaside's Oregon Dixieland Jubilee on February 24 - 26.

Arch Cape House is on East Ocean Rd., just north of the Arch Cape Tunnel. 800-436-2848.

For more on the Oregon Coast, the Cannon Beach area, or spring break on the coast, see

About The Author
Andre' Hagestedt is editor of Beach Connection - found - a tourism publication that covers the upper half of Oregon's coast, some 180 miles.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Update Your Home With Slipcovers

Using a slipcover is definitely a great way to give your old furniture a new look. In fact, slipcovers are often referred to as clothing for your furniture. And when you think about it, just like clothing, a slipcover protects and decorates. For its protective features, the slipcover is a wise choice for those with active lifestyles and homes with children. From a decorating standpoint, adding a slipcover can be much more cost effective than purchasing new furniture.

Assuming your furniture is in good condition but doesn't blend well with the home's current color scheme, a slipcover may be the solution to try. Because slipcovers come in a wide variety of colors and fabrics it is easy to find just the right fit for any décor and budget. Just as with clothing, care instructions vary. Many slipcovers are machine washable and dryable while others must be dry cleaned. Be sure to read the care instructions carefully so that there are no surprises down the road. In general, a slipcover will be easy to remove from your furniture for periodic cleaning.

Fabric selection for a slipcover is extremely important. In general, the heavier the fabric, the more expensive the slipcover will be. While medium-weight fabrics tend to work nicely for slipcovers, there are many options available. Fabrics available include waffle textures, elegant silk and chenille just to name a few. A popular option is to use fabric that matches draperies or some other home furnishing and have a slipcover custom made from that exact fabric. A wide variety of home decorating fabrics can be found in the market-place. If you decide to purchase fabric and have a slipcover custom made, be sure to wash a fabric swatch first to test for durability and shrinkage. A well-made sofa can have its life extended for many years with some new fabric.

As discussed previously, slipcovers come in many varieties and can be loose fitting, ready-made, semi-custom fitted or completely custom fitted. Understandably, fitted slipcovers are more expensive because they are customized exactly for your furniture. Ready-made slipcovers can be more cost effective and are available from a number of sources. One company, Sure Fit, is America's largest supplier of ready-made slipcovers. They have hundreds of upholstery quality styles, patterns and colors to choose from. By doing a bit of research online, you will find many options available.

One of the most common pieces of furniture to display a slipcover is the sofa. A sofa slipcover is perfect for a comfortable but not-so-attractive sofa. If you still have a sofa from your college days, or have passed down an old sofa to the kids, a sofa slipcover is an easy way to change the look and get a few more years out of an older but trusty piece of furniture. Remember, when you want to change the look without spending the money for a new sofa, a new slipcover is both attractive and economical. And, if you have purchased an expensive sofa and have kids or messy adults in the house, a sofa slipcover is a good precaution to protect your investment.

The benefits of slipcovers are many. Slipcovers are a budget friendly way to update your home's look, they can be replaced easily when it comes time to redecorate, they are easy to clean and they give your valuable furniture protection from spills and general wear and tear. Before throwing out that old sofa, consider your options with slipcovers.

About The Author
C. Lynn Beebe writes articles on a variety of topics and is the founder of
For more information about slipcovers, visit

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Lose Weight In A Way That's Right For You

You look at yourself in the mirror, there's no doubt about it, you need to lose weight. It's time for a change in mental attitude. You can fiddle about with your diet but ultimately it will be your mental attitude that carries you through.

Lose weight for yourself. Others may encourage you but ultimately it's down to you. Formulate your own 'brain plan' and write it all down. Map out the next few months, mark out target weights, days off from your diet, and rewards for progress. Try to find a goal for your weight loss programme, such as a summer holiday, wedding or similar event to aim for, with a treat such as a new outfit to look forward to.

We all know what we have to do, cut down the calories and exercise more but a few tips won't hurt. Read labels carefully. Don't forget that reduced fat isn't always low fat. A reduced-fat product may only have 25 per cent less fat than a full-fat one, but a truly low-fat food will contain less than three per cent fat. Always compare a 'lose weight' product with a similar non-diet one. In some cases the calorie saving isn't actually that great because there's more of another ingredient, for example sugar, to compensate for reduced fat. Don't let diet foods replace those that are naturally healthy and low in fat, such as fruits, vegetables, high-fibre bread and cereals, lean, unprocessed meats and fish and skimmed milk.

You want sustained weight loss. Don't be tempted by crash or fad diets, you'll never be able to maintain the momentum. Weigh yourself each week. Do not be worried about small daily changes in your weight. You should not lose more than 1 to 2 pounds a week. There may be weeks when you do not lose weight. This is normal. But, stay on your diet and you will again start to lose weight. When eating out, consider the calories in each food. Avoid deep fried and battered foods including chips, rich creamy sauces and fat-laden pastry dishes. Instead go for high carbohydrate options such as rice and pasta dishes that fill you up faster. Remember you don't have to eat all three courses - give the starter or dessert a miss. Alternatively stick to two starters. Beware the little extras that can have a big effect on your waistline. Say no to butter on bread or vegetables, cream on puddings and in coffee. And give the after-dinner chocolates a miss. On set menus avoid the cheese board and go for fruit instead. Choose grilled, poached, steamed, braised or baked dishes rather than fried. Pile your plate with vegetables and salad. When you want to lose weight, watch what you drink. Fruit juice sounds healthy but it's full of calories. Try to cut down on alcohol. Most drinks are high in calories. Instead, drink 6 or 7 glasses of water each day.

What you should be aiming for is a subtle change to your lifestyle that banishes the fatty foods and replaces them by equally appetizing healthy foods - take your time over dieting, with a bit more exercise and a few less calories, you'll see the weight beginning to come off, and more importantly, stay off.

About The Author
Copyright Mike Thompson 2006
Mike Thompson writes on a variety of subjects. He runs, a directory and information site for those on the road to a slimmer self.

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