Fad Diets Can Make You Fat

Thinking of trying a fad diet to get into a bikini? Think again!

Bikini in action

We’ve seen the headlines: Kourtney Kardashian, Miranda Kerr and other celebs miraculously drop their baby weight and look (possibly) even smaller then before they were pregnant. They pose in the tiniest bikinis—how apt because swimsuit season’s here and they tout the latest fad diet.

Don’t listen! Fad diets like Dukan, Master Cleanse, Party Girl, KEN and others may help you drop almost five pounds quickly, but once you’re off them, you can not only gain back the weight you lost, you can add on more pounds. In the end, fad dieting becomes a vicious cycle.

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British Dietician Association consultant Sian Porter told the Daily Mail, “…People often look for a quick fix. They see air-brushed celebrities and aspire to look like that. But if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. We see new health fads and diets every year, but there is no substitute or exercising and a balanced diet.”

Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and Huffington Post blogger, stated when asked about fad diets, “If it’s not something a parent can share with a child, it is apt to be a very questionable approach.”

So ask yourself this, would you let your child or a friend’s child eat what you’re eating? No, I didn’t think so. We all have a friend who tried a fad diet. She was miserable on it, and made everyone around her miserable too. She lost weight, looked amazeballs for a month, and then the pounds piled on. She ended up heavier than before.

There really isn’t a secret weight loss plan.  You’ve got to eat a balanced diet and eat less calories than you burn. Don’t know where to find tasty but good for you recipes? Then click on over to our Food + Drink Section. There, you’ll find recipes and great healthy suggestions on what to eat.

You also need to exercise to burn off calories. Try parking your car at the farthest point in the mall parking lot. Get off one or two stops before your bus or subway stop and walk. Use the elevator instead of stairs. When you get off work, take a walk. It’ll not only decompress you from work-related stress, it’ll also burn calories.

Another suggestion would be to try spas that offer exercise classes.  Here are two examples of spas that offer exercise classes in addition to traditional spa treatments:

1. The Exhale Spa in Midtown Manhattan offers yoga and core fusion classes.

2. Thinking about trying Pilates, the Spa at the Standard Hotel in Miami has a variety of fitness classes, including Pilates, Yoga and Boot Camp.

3. The VH Spa at Hotel Valley Ho includes the use of their fitness center if you use one of their services. This month you can get their 60 minute Spa Sampler package for $99 (including tip!).

To find more spas in your nabe, check out Spa Week’s Spa Directory.

Don’t forget to reward yourself for your good behavior. You could give yourself a goal. Something like for every 5 pounds you lose, you treat yourself to a massage, facial or body wrap.

It’s really important to acknowledge and celebrate each milestone you make when you lose weight. What better way to honor yourself and your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle than by treating yourself to a healing and luxurious spa treatment.

PJ Gach is Managing Editor Spa Week Daily, and Social Media Manager of SpaWeek.com

Photo Credits 1. 2

Bringing Your Sexy Back: How I Shed 58 Lbs

To be inducted into our Hot Mom Spa Squad, every mom must swear by the Oath of momME Time; a promise to reserve moments spent catering ONLY to herself – reading, sleeping and spa-ing included. Not only is momME time essential to saying sane, today’s Hot Mom proves it’s also essential to keeping your body and health. If you loved Rachael Pontillo’s 8 Mom Rules to Live By: How I Lost 70 lbs with Kids, you’ll love the advice behind this next Hot Mom’s success story, too. I introduce to you Deanna Verbouwens, who used her momME time to make 58 pounds disappear.

Deanna Verbouwens is a writer, runner, blogger, working mom of two unbelievably active and very funny boys ages 4 and 7. Deanna is currently training for her 6th half marathon, of course that all between working full time, and managing spaghetti on the ceiling, a dumped out fish bowl, a house and a family. To catch up on how Deanna tries to get it all done without completely failing visit her at The Unnatural Mother. Deanna also writes for ModernMom.com and ThisMotherCanRun.com

By Deanna Verbouwens

A quick glance at the clock tells you it’s 5:00, the kids are running around the house, you’re racking your brain about what to make for dinner, and just as the tornado is about to touch down tears well up in your eyes because you realize that once again your plan to go to work out went out the window with your sanity.

Step away from the chips, that cake and the monster helping of leftover chicken parm – take a moment and breath, because stuffing your emotions with food will only act as a temporary high… believe me, been there and still conquering that.

It’s not a secret that moms need their momME time; how do I know this? Because I have successfully lost 58 pounds (and still going) by simply making momME time a top priority. Three years ago I weighed in over 225 pounds wearing a size 18/20.  I thought I was eating healthy until I realized that my portions were out of control, the salads I was chomping down on were clocking in over 1200 calories (for one meal!) and I couldn’t even run a half a block.

Now, my favorite momME time activity is training for endurance races and getting a manicure/pedicure – these help me unwind, and keep me honest. With five half marathons, two triathlons, and countless 5 and 10k’s under my belt, I’m wearing a size 12 – proof that following these simple steps will help you bring sexy back as well as your sanity! I’ll continue to use these too, as I shed the last 20 pounds.

So… let’s get started!

Healthy Eating Exercise
  • Plan…Plan…Plan. You have to plan your meals for your family, so don’t forget about yourself!
  • Don’t skip breakfast* – yes, it’s an oldie but goodie. Think of your body as a car, you wouldn’t run your car on empty, would you? Same theory.
  • Have 3 meals and one-two snacks a day.* Meals should be between 300-400 calories, snacks never over 200. (1200-1400 calories a day)
  • Have 2 fruits and 3 veggies a day* – add a ½ banana to breakfast, a cup of shredded carrots to your sandwich, a handful of baby spinach to your pasta. Make it simple!
  • 5 or less – Eat only processed foods that have five ingredients or less. Don’t want to fill up on empty calories.
  • Pay attention to portion sizes: read the labels, 15 almonds count as 1 serving – that’s 170 calories – imagine how many you downed at a cocktail party?
  • Plan 3 treats a week. Craving a donut? Want that Café Latte Mochachino? Want a glass or two of wine? Have it!
  • Plan…Plan…Plan. Determine when you can fit in exercise, are you a morning, afternoon or night person? Each week map out the time and days you can get a work out in and stick to your plan!
  • Start with 10 minutes a day; 3 days a week. Even if it’s walking up and down your stairs. Do it!
  • Do something you enjoy – whether it’s playing Just Dance on the Wii, tennis, an at home aerobic DVD, walking, body pump class at the gym, running, going for a bike ride. Anything!
  • Each week increase the time spent exercising in 5 minute increments – at your comfort zone until you reach thirty minutes a day.
  • Try anything once! You may fall in love with Zumba or you might have two left feet, but if you don’t try you’ll never know.
  • Find a work out buddy, in real life, or online. Having support will keep you motivated and accountable.
  • Don’t give up, you owe it to yourself to be healthy.

*Quick ideas are below!

Simplicity works. Don’t overwhelm yourself. It takes 66 days to form a good habit. Just by taking two tips a week and incorporating them into your life, you’ll be well on your way to healthy lifestyle in less than 66 days!


Keep it simple, realistic, and manageable.  Don’t over think anything, a handful of lettuce, and two slices of tomato to your sandwich at lunch bulks it up and counts as a vegetable.


Measuring out your portions. Let’s be real. It’s time consuming and can be annoying, however you’ll understand how much you’re eating, know what a portion is, over time it will get easier, and it’s a great strategy for a long healthy life.


Exercising will help you sleep better, you’ll have more patience with everyone and its quality time with yourself that’s much needed!

And above all, if you have one too many slices of pizza, or too many cookies, don’t beat yourself up, make the next decision a better one.

If you don’t make time for yourself you won’t be able to accomplish anything, leave the dishes, the laundry and even your children for a moment, get that momME time believe me it all can wait, your sanity can’t!

As the saying goes, “If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone.”

Now, get going, and schedule that momME to accomplish your goals!


Breakfast Ideas:

  • Hardboiled egg, ½ banana, 1 slice of whole wheat toast, 1 teaspoon of butter, coffee
  • Smoothie: 1 cup of frozen fruit (medley: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), 1 cup baby spinach , 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 cup of OJ (get Tropicana’s Trop50, it’s only 50 calories!), pop in a blender, blend and drink!
  • 1 cup greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey, ½ banana (or 1 serving mixed nuts).
  • 1 mini bagel, 2 scrambled egg whites with onions and peppers, ½ grapefruit.

Snack Ideas:

  • 1 servings of any nuts
  • Any  Fruit, 1 string cheese
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter, apple
  • Hardboiled egg (don’t exceed three eggs a week), 10 pretzels
  • Cut up bell pepper and 2 tablespoons hummus

Lunch Ideas:

  • 2 Wasa crackers (light), 2 slices of turkey breast (low sodium), 1 laughing cow triangle, 8 olives, 1 cup of sliced bell peppers, 2 tablespoons of hummus.
  • 1 cup of butter nut squash soup, 1 apple, tomato and onion salad (little olive oil salt/pepper)
  • 1 piece of grilled chicken over baby spinach, olive oil, 1 cut

Dinner Ideas:

  • 1 cup pasta, 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup baby spinach, small salad with tomatoes, onions carrots.
  • 1 ½ slices of Pizza, small salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, carrots
  • 1 piece grilled chicken breast, 1 cup string beans (made on stovetop with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt/pepper)
  • 4 ounce hamburger, 1 cup of brussel sprouts, 1 cup of roasted potatoes

Spa Week Daily Challenge: Ditch Artificial Sweeteners with Keri Glassman

Welcome to Spa Week Daily Challenge #4! During Spa Week we gave you a little break. We let you sit back and relax and let the health flow to you via massages and holistic healing, but now we’re back with a challenge to kick your health into shape… in the sweetest way possible. Our Panel of Experts (at right) is growing, and this week we’re proud to partner with certified nutrition expert, author and TV personality everywhere from Good Morning America to Dr. Oz, a vanguard of the whole living lifestyle through her brand Nutritious Life, Keri Glassman.

Are you ready for CHALLENGE #4?

[Read more…]

10 Foods Every Dieter Should Eat

Bikini season may be gracefully bowing out after this weekend, but you’re smart enough to know that even jackets and sweaters aren’t a ticket to give up your healthy living motives. But try this: when watching your figure, instead of thinking about what you need to remove from your diet, focus on what to ADD to it. In this week’s post by Healing Lifestyles & Spas, take a tour of 10 fantastic foods that studies have found to curb cravings, fight certain food addictions, boost metabolism and burn fat. Chew and savor these slimming sensations… when it comes to your lose-weight mission, these foods (not structured jackets!) are your greatest allies.

1. Eggs
Averaging 6 grams of protein per egg and only 4-5 grams of fat and 30 calories, eggs have been superstars in many dieting studies. One study found that obese women who ate 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast accompanied by toast ate less in the next 36 hours than those who ate a bagel of the same calories. 36 hours is a LONG time to control your cravings—wouldn’t it be nice to have your food do it for you?
2. Beans
Keeping food in your stomach longer is the key here. I know, that sounds like bloat waiting to happen, but actually slower-digesting foods will lead to a tighter tummy in the long run. Beans contain a digestive hormone called cholecystokinin, which is known as an appetite suppressant. One study found that men who ate beans had cholecystokinin levels twice as high as those who ate a low-fiber meal. Beans can also stabilize your blood sugar, minimizing those sneaky snack attacks
3. Salad
Everyone enjoys the process of eating. Cutting up your food, creating that perfect bite and savoring the flavor is most of the fun. That could be why one study found that women who ate a large salad before a meal consumed 12% less pasta than the women who just dived into the carb-heavy plate. Just the sheer volume and effort of eating the salad made the women feel full.
4. Apples
I believe the saying is “an apple a day” but change that to 3 apples a day if you’re trying to lose weight. With 3 grams of fiber per medium-sized apples, and the blood-sugar stabilizer pectin, apples can greatly curb inter-meal cravings. In one study, women who ate just 3 small pears or apples a day lost more weight than women on the same diet who did not.
5. Lean Beef
Muscle loss is a big problem for dieters. Fight this unwanted side effect with 9 to 10 ounces of beef a day. The amino acid leucine—found in lean meats and fish—helps you lose more weight and fat without losing muscle.
6. Green Tea
This could be why the Japanese don’t struggle with obesity nearly as much as Americans—they consume the stuff with almost every meal. The antioxidant called catechins helps speed up metabolism and burn fat.
7. Olive Oil… for Breakfast?
Mixed with cereal, it sounds a little funky, I know. But one study found that women who ate muesli cereal with oil-laced skim milk benefited with a boosted metabolism. Not to worry, the stuff is just as great on salads and grilled vegetables, too.
8. Grapefruit
Drop 3 pounds in 12 weeks! No, this isn’t an infomercial. This is what 91 obese people did in a study observing the benefits of eating half a grapefruit before each meal. Three glasses of the juice per day will result in the same weight loss.
9. Vinegar
Not just for salad dressings, this tangy stuff contains natural acids and enzymes that act as an appetite suppressant and boost your metabolism. Research has also found a link between vinegar and insulin response, showing vinegar’s power to slow down blood sugar rise after a meal, keeping you full longer.
10. Cinnamon
You may associate it with unhealthy foods like holiday cookies, but cinnamon has actually been found to help fight diabetes by increasing your body’s insulin response. One study observed the affect of two teaspoons a day of cinnamon on the blood sugar of type 2 diabetics. Participants experienced lower blood sugar and increased insulin production.

First photo courtesy of Womens Health Magazine, all others via Healing Lifestyles & Spas

Lose Weight By Accident: Get the Low Fat Low Down


Guest contributor: Kavita Jhaveri-Patel

I was getting lunch the other day and I ordered a salad, and the lady behind the counter, making my salad, asked me if I’d like low fat or regular dressing. I sat there for a moment, knowing what low-fat meant, and replied “I will have the real stuff, give me the regular.”

It dawned on me in that moment when I saw 4 other women order the low fat dressing that I had to reveal the truth to you about low fat, low calorie, and non-fat crap.

Have you ever wondered how they make it low fat, low calorie, and non-fat? I mean the reality is, real food has calories and certain fats. The definition of calorie straight from wikipedia (the ultimate source, obviously) is a metric of energy. I left out some of the complicated math stuff. But basically it is a unit of energy.

Of course it is energy—that is why we eat food in the first place!

What companies do to market low calorie and low fat products, to you, is they substitute the fat for corn syrup or sugar and they substitute real sugar with artificial sweeteners to make it low or no calorie. Hence, they add chemicals or sugar, so you feel like you won’t gain weight. But the reality is that it can have the opposite effect because you are now eating something not from nature but man made, so who knows how your body is going to react.

Let’s take ranch dressing as an example, they took out vegetable oil and replaced it with corn syrup and other chemicalized sugars to make the Fat Free version.

So, now your body will experience a blood sugar spike, which by the way is the biggest contributor to weight gain. When your blood sugar levels go up and down, your body thinks it is in emergency mode and stores fat.

Another example is Quaker Oatmeal, which you would think is good for you. However look at the ingredients, what they did to make it Lower Sugar is added sucralose, an artificial sweetener which naturally has no calories because it is totally fake.

I will dedicate an entire post to artificial sweetener, but I have to tell you right now if you eat Equal, Sweet n Low, Splenda, or NutraSweet, stop now! This is not from nature to say the least, and additives like this have proven in studies to cause weight gain.

Also look out for these ingredients in packaged foods, such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium.

Okay to sum things up, avoid Fat Free, Low Fat and Low Cal crap. Eat the regular stuff; your weight will thank you for it. You will be more satisfied, and your body will know what to do with the real ingredients that you are consuming.

NOTE: Indicated only the first 10 ingredients.

Regular Ranch Dressing:

Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil and/or Soybean Oil), Egg Yolk, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Natural Flavor, Spices, less than 1% of Garlic (Dried), Onion, Vinegar

Fat Free Ranch Dressing:

Water, Corn Syrup, Maltoexrin Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Buttermilk (Adds A Trivial Amount of Cholesterol), Salt, less than 2% of Vinegar, Garlic Puree, Onion, Garlic (Dried), Green Onion (Dried)

Quaker Instant Oatmeal Lower Sugar Maple & Brown Sugar:

Whole Grain Rolled Oats (With Oat Bran), Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Caramel Color, Sucralose (Splenda Brand)

Body confidence expert and health and lifestyle speaker Kavita Jhaveri-Patel. She has been featured in Time Out New York, Healthy Style NY, and has been mentioned on FoxLive News. Receive her free report 7 Mistakes Most Women Make When Trying to Lose Weight and How to Avoid Them by clicking here.