What are Empty Calories?

Every food that we eat is filled with calories. It is calories that accumulate and equal weight gain or weight loss. How many of your calories are not doing anything for you?

Empty calories are just what they sound like. They give you all of the negatives and none of the positives when you eat them. There are foods that are high in calories but low in fat. We often look at the lower level of fat and feel that it is okay for us to eat that food. But, that high caloric content may be hiding an even more sinister effect on your body.

Foods that contain these kinds of calories have no nutritional value. We eat food in order to bring nutrients into our bodies. The body can produce some essentially-needed components, but not all. The bulk of them need to be introduced to the body through our food choices. Foods that can be broken down into components that the body can then absorb and use for maintenance, repair and function, are full of necessary nutrients.

With no nutritional value, the food is either eliminated or stored for later use. When it is stored it is stored as fat. The body doesn’t know what else to do with it. More fat is what you don’t want on your body.

These empty calories are often in the fat group of the food pyramid. If you’ve ever seen a food pyramid, the smallest portion is occupied by fats and oils. Go to www.mypyramid.gov to see an updated version for children and adults. Fats are essential but we mostly eat the wrong kind, and that is not helping our body.

Junk food falls into this category too. They come under sweets and fats. Think of foods fried in oil. French fries, fried chicken and chips are all high in fats. They may be made of potatoes and poultry, but the fat content is higher due to the oils. If they are fried in trans fats, then you are also increasing your cholesterol levels and that could spell trouble.

Sodas are culprits for empty calories as well. They are filled with sugars that get stored as fat. Think about a soda. It has 130 calories per cup. That same 130 calories when used to eat a turkey sandwich, a salad and water is more filling and will last longer. Excess sugars and fats can lead to high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.

Eliminate those empty calories by eating natural foods for sweetness and also whole grains to increase the beneficial nutrients in your body. Go for fiber rich foods, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meat. Try to even go meatless sometime and opt for plant protein.

Staying Passionate and Focused

The New Year is right around the corner. It’s a great time to set both personal and professional resolutions. It’s a time when you can essentially wipe the slate clean and start over. If you’ve struggled to stay passionate and focused this year, then this is a great New Year’s Resolution. Let’s take a look at how you can achieve this resolution and stay passionate and focused in the coming year.

#1 Analyze why you’ve struggled to stay passionate and focused

Are you working too hard? Are your goals not being met? Are you struggling? Any or all of these things can affect your ability to stay passionate and focused.

Before you can make a change it’s important to assess what has gone wrong in the past. Spend some time contemplating why you’ve struggled to stay passionate in your business. It’s entirely possible that you’ve chosen the wrong business for your personality and interests. That’s okay. The New Year is the perfect time to make things right.

#2 Identify habits you’d like to adopt to support your resolution

A steady system of positive and supportive habits will help you make a change for the better. For example, one of the reasons you may have trouble staying focused could be because you don’t have a quiet workspace.

You can create a workspace and then create the habit of spending time there each day. If you’re trying to be productive from the kitchen table or living room couch, it may be difficult. Create habits that support your success.

If you’re struggling to stay passionate about your business because you’re overloaded with tasks you dislike, outsource the tasks you can unload. Then create a habit of managing the uninteresting tasks and then rewarding yourself with some fun. By adding a positive reward to the task, you can approach it with a better attitude.

#3 Slow and steady wins the race

One of the reasons most New Year’s Resolutions don’t stick is because people expect too much right away. The secret to achieving your goals is to manage them in smaller, bite-sized chunks. Break your goal down into smaller and more manageable steps. Determine why you’re not passionate about your business. Identify why you’re unfocused. Create smaller goals to help you change your habits.

Embracing positive habits and making lifestyle changes will help ensure you achieve your New Year’s goal. Your business will be much more successful when you can embrace it passionately. It’ll be more fun too!

Truth or Myth – Does Low Fat Equal Low Calorie?

Maybe you have tried low fat foods or diets and low calorie diets. Which worked for you? What if neither has worked? Here are some facts to dispel any myths pertaining to a correlation between low fat and low calorie.

What does low fat mean?

Foods that are low in fat have a reduction in total overall fat. Usually they are labeled “reduced fat.” This can be your processed foods like chips, cookies, cakes and even cheeses, cream and other dairy products. Some of the fat has been removed.

Low fat does not mean that it is low in sugars. Increased sugars can lead to cravings and weight gain. Often when the fat is removed, more sugars or carbohydrates are added for flavor so you will buy the product. Even though you are not getting more fat, you could be getting more sugar.

What does low calorie mean?

Low calorie means that per serving, there are fewer calories in one version of a food than another. It could be that there is less per serving or something has been removed from the food to lower the caloric load. You will have to look at the nutrition label and read the information to find out which.

But, does low fat mean low calorie?

To find out the answer to that, you will have to compare food labels. Look at a reduced fat variety and a regular variety. Usually the amount of fat in the former will be lower by about ten percent. Also look at the serving size. Are you getting more, less or the same for the amount of fat inside?

Processed foods have added sugar and salt to preserve the product. you may not see sugar listed on the label but if there are any ingredients that contain the endings “-ose,” “-ase,” or “-ol” that means there is added sugar. In many low calorie foods, these sugars are present. When you look at carbohydrates on the nutrition label, it may or may not be listed out as to what types of carbohydrates are included. Sugars are simple carbs and can lead to empty calories in your body.

Fat is metabolized in the body as fuel. When it is not used, it is stored in fat cells. Sugars are carbohydrates but they are also stored as fat when they are not used. So, those fat cells can be filling up even if you eat a low fat food.

The conclusion would be that the low fat label doesn’t mean low calorie. There could be hidden ways that those calories are being returned to the foods you are choosing for low fat status.

Do your homework. When dealing with processed foods, know what is inside before you deem it okay to add to your diet.

Top Tips to Prevent Knee Pain

Are your knees giving you trouble? There are ways that you can prevent knee pain from becoming a part of your life.

Did you know that your knees shoulder three times your weight? With each step the pressure is triple. Over time, this can lead to problems with the cartilage, bursa sacs and bones of your knee joint.

Here’s a little background on the knee and other joints. The bones of the joints have cartilage on the ends. This prevents the bone from being worn down. There are also fluid filled sacs that help the joint to move without pain. The fluid cushions the joints. When that fluid is gone or the cartilage is worn down, then the bones can rub against bone and you have knee pain.

So what can you do to avoid this pain? Here are a few suggestions to keep your knees healthy.

* Weight loss – Carrying as few as ten extra pounds can affect the use of your knees. Proper diet and exercise can help you to shed pounds and limit the pressure on this joint.

* Exercise – The knee is a joint that supports a lot of weight. To keep it working, strengthen it with weight-bearing exercises. Using a program targeted at improving joint health can help you strengthen the muscles and ligaments that support the knee so that the patella (knee cap) doesn’t shift or move during normal activities.

* Stretching – Stretching isn’t just good for a warm-up before exercise. Making a habit of performing some sort of stretching each day can increase the pliability of your muscles. When muscles move better they can help support joints better. There is less chance of injury.

* Practice ergonomics – Part of joint pain could be attributed to poor body mechanics. When we fail to stand or sit properly, joints are pushed out of alignment. Tendons and ligaments can be stretched over time and this can add to pain on the knee. Pressure is evenly distributed across your hip, knee and ankle when you use proper posture. Any changes can affect the knee. So, your knee pain may be the result of a weakness in another part of the body.

* Protect the knee – Avoid exercises that put a lot of pressure on the knee. This can be a team sport like hockey or soccer. It can also happen in the workplace. Improper technique when bending or lifting can affect the health of the knee. Bending from the knee protects the back, but putting the balance in your glutes protects the knee.

* Know your limits – When you feel pain in your knee, stop what you are doing. Contrary to popular opinion, pain is not a sign of any type of physical gain. Choose a less strenuous exercise, especially if you are getting back to exercising after a sedentary life. See a doctor to learn how to deal with your particular pain.

Knee pain is not pleasant. It may be a result of misalignment in other parts of the body. Learn to take care of yourself to prevent it.

Why Facebook Advertisement Works

About four years ago (November 6, 2006), Facebook launched their advertising program. It’s essentially a PPC, Pay Per Click, program. However, it offers a number of features and benefits that other PPC programs don’t. Here’s why Facebook advertisement works:

#1 Facebook is in millions of homes around the world. In fact, it has more than 500 million active users. When you create a Facebook ad, you have direct access to those 500 million users.

#2 Facebook allows you to narrow your ads to be seen by more specific demographic. For example, you can specify your prospects’ age, sex, location and interest.

#3 Facebook ads are delivered directly to your target audience. The advertisements show up on their profile pages. This is a much more focused method of advertising. Other ad programs don’t guarantee this degree of attention from prospects.

#4 There’s less competition on Facebook than other PPC services. This means you pay less per click than you might with another program – Google AdSense for example.

#5 You can advertise your website, blog or your Facebook fan page with a Facebook ad.

#6 People can “Like” your advertisements. This helps you generate attention for your advertisement. The more people who like your ad, the more attention – and clicks – it receives.

#7 Facebook provides a wealth of data. Like many other PPC programs, Facebook provides you with the ability to test and track your ad’s success. This gives you the power to get the most return on investment from your advertisements.

Facebook advertisements offer the most targeted options found anywhere. Business owners can create user-specific campaigns to drive traffic to their landing page, sales page, opt-in form, blog or even their Facebook fan page.

For example, with Facebook you can create one separate ad for single men, married men, and divorced men. You can then further segment them by age. For example, single men aged 30-40. Each advertisement you create can be designed to speak to this person specifically. Your choice of keywords, your headline and your call to action can all be written to target your audience.

Facebook advertising offers one of the lowest cost PPC options on the market. Combined with the ability to target a specific demographic, you can really maximize your ad’s effectiveness. If you use PPC in your marketing strategy, consider trying Facebook’s advertising program.