Monthly Archives: January 2019

Marketing Through Service – How to Get Customer Referrals and Sales Leads in Any Business

“Without customers you have no business, you have absolutely nothing”. The best way to get customers is from referrals and sales leads. A sales lead or prospect is a business opportunity to gain a customer and make a sale. The best sales leads are from referrals. The best referrals in the world are word of mouth recommendations from friends and associates. Other referrals come in the form of personal endorsements from well known people. These well known recognizable people are often in the movie and sports industries.

“Example isn’t another way to teach, it’s the only way to teach”… Albert Einstein.

Let’s look at the customer loyalty programs that can produce word of mouth referrals. There are many successful programs presently being used. Here are some examples.

Customer appreciation programs:

• Some coffee shops offer a free cup of coffee after a certain number of cups have been purchased. The customer is issued a card that is stamped every time a coffee is purchased. This is an easy way for the customer to keep track of purchases, and is an incentive for them to keep coming back. The customer is very likely to tell their friends. With regular customers come other perks, such as a free donut or other discounted food item.

• Most restaurants have daily specials on their food and beverage menus, but some give out coupons that offer a discount on their next meal. Often restaurants will do some direct advertising in the form of flyers with discount coupons to attract new customers. It is the quality of the food and service that will keep their customers coming back and referring them to others.

• Some large grocery stores offer a customer appreciation day. On a certain day each month, the customer will receive a 10% off all purchases (usually with a minimum purchase of $35.00). Other shops have senior day discounts, often one day per week (usually the slowest day, Tuesday) and the discount is 5% off everything with no minimum purchase.

• Other stores often have scratch cards where the customer scratches off an immediate discount ranging anywhere fro 5 – 75% off all purchases. While some will offer, buy one item and get the next one at 25% off.

• Most of the major gas stations offer loyalty programs offering points that can be redeemed for free gas or other items the station sells.

• Financial and retail stores usually offer points that can be redeemed for just about anything from travelers cheques, air travel, hotel accommodation and or a catalog of items.

• Service industries often outsource to marketing companies to acquire leads. Have you ever been phoned by a carpet cleaning company offering you a special deal?

It seems today, that most customers collect points, coupons, and other incentives, as a normal or expected way of doing business. Marketing through service is always the best way to get referrals and sales leads.

The hospitality industry is huge and extremely competitive and will come up with many innovative and creative ways of getting customers from sales leads, advertising and referrals. Most companies have affiliate programs and can put together vacation packages that include everything. Including transportation to and from residence to departure terminal (train, bus, ship or airport) carrier, destination hotel (all inclusive, food, drinks, and entertainment) all taxes, gratuities, transfers for one payment on a credit card. Each component of the package is important to the overall success, as everyone who goes on vacation will tell their friends all about it. For example, if the local taxi rides to or from your residence was enjoyable, you would more than likely use that service again and also recommend them to others. The same is true for all of the other components.

Every facet of the vacation/tourism business offers incentives to their customers. However it is the service they receive from the vendor that will determine whether your company gets any referrals or bad press.

Other business, besides advertising for customers, can purchase sales leads from marketing companies. Marketing companies often use telemarketing centers and direct mail and door to door campaigns to acquire these sales leads. Companies that outsource this function to professionals often get the best results.

As you can see, there are many programs being used to attract customers, keep them coming back, spending more and “Referring” your business to others. Some programs that worked well in the past, but are now forgotten, should be revived. At the end of the day if you want referrals, make sure your customers are completely satisfied. “Offer them great service, and make what you want to sell easy for them to buy”.

Vegetable Juice Recipes for People Who Don’t Like Vegetables

You may think you don’t like vegetables, but finding the right vegetable juice recipes just might change your mind! Juicing vegetables might just open up a whole new world for you.

We all know that vegetables are healthy for us. Most doctors and government health departments tell us we should be consuming several servings a day. They are full of vitamins, minerals and important cancer-fighting compounds.

Unfortunately, to some people, vegetables just don’t taste good. Maybe the texture of boiled or steamed vegetables is disagreeable to you, or the sulfuric odor or flavor of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) turns you off. With any electric juicer you can transform you relationship to these nutrient-loaded plants through vegetable recipes aimed at vegetable-ambivalent taste buds.

Most people enjoy fruit juices, but the term “vegetable juice” conjures up images of V8 or other canned tomato drinks. Believe it or not, there is a whole world of juice-able vegetables that taste nothing like what you’d imagine. Whether alone or mixed with fruit extracts, even an avowed vegetable hater can partake.

Vegetable juices that are easy to enjoy even for the vegetable-averse include cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, fresh tomato (which is very different than canned tomato!), celery, jicama and zucchini. Then there are a variety of options for masking the flavor of other examples.

The first option for making vegetable juice recipes tastier is to mix them with fruit extracts. Spinach juice or kale juice mixed with apple juice is sweet and delicious. Orange juice can overpower the flavor of a little bit of green juice. Carrot and apple are a great combination for vegetable haters. Cherry or pomegranate juice are flavorful enough that a little bit of carrot or celery juice will be barely noticeable. Melon juice mixes well with cucumber or celery. Jicama juice or zucchini juice can be combined with mango or pineapple juices.

If you are making a smoothie, avocado can be added to any fruits or fruit juices without changing the flavor significantly. This will add fiber and healthy fats to your beverage. Spinach or other leafy greens can be pureed with fruit and yogurt to create a nutritious green smoothie without a strong vegetable flavor.

Another option is to add lime or lemon juices to brighten up the flavor of a vegetable juice, heightening its appeal to your taste buds. Adding fresh ginger or garlic can give it an entirely different twist. Herbs can also be juiced to change the flavor profile of a juice. Try basil, parsley, cilantro or dill.

Vegetable juices can be incorporated into other recipes if you so desire. Use fresh vegetable juice as a base for lentil soup or vegetable soup, or in a vinaigrette or marinade. Bell pepper, tomato and cucumber juices can be combined with spices to make a delicious gazpacho.

Vegetable juice can even be used in place of water to cook rice or other grains in. It can also become part of cocktails, or used in place of water in nearly any savory recipe.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to finding ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet. Through juicing, you can enjoy vegetables’ critical nutrients without unwanted vegetable flavors or textures.

How Technology Has Changed Our Kitchen Appliances

Modern day technology has changed the way that we cook and eat in our kitchens. We can easily see this with the many gadgets and kitchen appliances found in kitchens all over the world. As kitchen technology has evolved, our dependence for such innovative products has also increased. With busy daily schedules, the technology used in kitchen appliances shapes our lives because of how easily they make it to prepare and cook healthier meals.

The kitchen is the busiest place in our house because this is where our everyday food is being prepared and consumed. Besides appliances such as food processors, which have made preparing foods so easy, perhaps the most revolutionary technologies are the appliances that have made clean up a breeze when using a dishwasher. Since the invention of the computer, there are very few kitchen appliances today that are not powered by computer programs and memory chips. From our can opener to our ovens, every electrical appliance that we use is operated using technology. The good thing about these changes is that this breakthrough has contributed so much in easing up our daily activities especially with cooking healthy meals.

Kitchen appliances have evolved so much since the discovery of gas ovens that now new modern appliances are not just manufactured to be more efficient but designed to suite the taste of our decorative styles. The most modern day appliances we typically see now are indicators of what was lacking in the past when women needed to put extra effort on their cooking needs. Some of these modern kitchen appliances include the freezer with no frost, automatic toast makers, dishwashers, microwave ovens, sandwich makers and juice extractors. Not only do these appliances do terrific jobs of cooking and cleaning, you can buy them in complete packages to match the style of your kitchen. Now the person who is in charge of the kitchen does not have to worry about doing all of the cooking, baking, grilling, grinding and washing the dishes at the same time. With the push of a button, everything is literally taken care of.

As a result, technology has not only increased the values of our kitchens, it has made cooking once again enjoyable. You can now easily watch or listen to your favorite show while you enjoy preparing a wonderful meal for your family. As kitchen appliances improve, so will our time increase that we get to spend with loved ones.

A Must-Have To Add Years To Your Life And Life To Your Years

The 7Fs are essential parts of living a longer, better life. One of those Fs is Friendships (the others are Food, Fitness, Future, Fun, Finances, and Faith), considered to be the highest and finest of all human relationships.

Different people provide the friendship we need at different times of our lives (some friends, of course, remain for the long haul). This shift is not surprising, given that most of us change with time and experience, and all parties to a friendship are changing simultaneously. When couples divorce, for example, people might take sides with one of the divorcing pair or lose touch with both of them when they go their separate ways.

Generating and retaining modern-day friendships can be tough going. Exploring the past doesn’t seem to be of much use for us when we’re searching for models or examples. Most of the famous friendships recorded in history and legend are between men and most of those appear as a bit more than friendships (Achilles and Patroclus, for example). Contemporary models offered by film and television and the effect of social media add to the confusion. All we’re able to conclude from these models is that friendship is far more emotional than rational. While it could be argued that qualities such as shared interests, attitudes, views, tastes, style, appearance, and sense of humour are reasons for engaging, friendships tend to be natural, spontaneous, freely given, and entered into more on subliminal cues than other qualities.

Despite the confusion, we do know that we have to work at retaining friendship. Back in Aristotle’s day (350 BCE), he reckoned that one and a half bushels of salt needed to be consumed together before a friendship became solid.

My 3 Favourite Recipes From Kenya

With 52 tribes in Kenya, extending from the coast to the Rift Valley lakes to the central highlands to the northern desert, the cuisines found in this country are many and varied. There is also a strong Indian influence as the spice traders started coming to Africa centuries ago and have remained to trade in various other goods since. Here I present three dishes commonly found around Nairobi. Two – the matoke and mukimo – are traditional Kikuyu dishes from the central highlands, and the chapatti is from the coast.

Chapatti

Ingredients (makes 15-20 chapattis):

½ litre cold water

1 kg flour

Salt

Sugar

Oil

Method:

Mix water with flour, add a handful of salt, a bit of sugar and a bit of oil (the oil makes the chapatti turn golden when it cooks). Divide the mixture into balls the size of a child’s fist. Roll out each ball to a flat circle about the size of a dinner plate. Fry on a very hot, oiled chapatti pan (flat fry pan) for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Matoke

Ingredients:

Plantains (these are green bananas that are starchy and not sweet)

Tomatoes

Cooking oil

Potatoes

Water

Onions

Parsley

Capsicum

Salt

Method:

Peel the plantains and potatoes and soak for about half an hour. Meanwhile fry onions, tomatoes, parsley, capsicum and salt. Add potatoes and plantains to the fried tomato mix. Cover with water and add salt to taste (the salt also helps soften the plantains quickly). Stew over medium heat until the plantains and potatoes are cooked through.

To cook minji (peas), maharagwe (beans, usually red kidney) and njahi (black beans) follow a similar recipe. Boil the peas or beans for several hours until soft. Fry up the tomato mix described above, add potatoes and water. Finally add the peas or beans and mix together over low heat.

Mukimo

Ingredients:

Beans (red kidney beans usually)

Maize kernels

Onions

Tomatoes

Potatoes

Method:

Boil beans and maize (generally equal amounts of beans and maize) until soft, this usually takes a couple of hours. In another pot, cook onions, tomatoes and potatoes until soft. Then add the beans and maize. Now you have githeri another popular Kikuyu dish (my favourite!). However, to get to mukimo, cook the stew for another 30 minutes before mashing it all together. The maize is tough to mash so don’t worry about the kernels staying whole. The beans and potatoes will mash easily though.

Some versions of mukimo do not use beans; instead use a leafy green vegetable such as kale or spinach which mashes with the potato to make the mukimo green.

The quantities depend on your taste and how many you are cooking for. Generally for mukimo you want equal quantities of beans, maize and potatoes with the onion and tomato simply adding some taste. For matoke the plantains should be more than the potatoes, about a 2:3 ratio. Again the tomato fry mix is simply to add taste so you don’t need too much. For the chapattis the flour should be twice the amount of water with sugar and salt to taste.

I would love to hear about your experiences with Kenyan food – whether you have cooked it yourself or been cooked for. Please leave your comments below.

Swasthavritta – The Preventive Therapy in Ayurveda and Its Relevance in the Present Era

The word swastha means calm or unperturbed by diseases or emotions. Vrtha means observation of rules. So swastavrtha is observation of the rules for a healthy life.

Each scientific discipline has its one basic aim and ways. The science of ayurveda is one that is intended to give instructions for protecting and preserving ayu or life. But is cannot be taken simply as one that give instructions for treatment alone.

Generally speaking, ayurveda has two sections – swasthavrtha (regimen for a healthy life) and athuravrtha (on the studying of diseases and treatment). That is ayurveda give more stress on the importance of prevention of diseases – on prophylaxis. Swasthavrtha is the section which expounds on the necessary observance for preserving a healthy life. Athuravrtha is a section which presents remedial measures when diseases attach us.

Since we are today facing with the problem of meeting with so many new diseases, the necessity of awakening the people to be conscious of their own way of life, is more. Hence the guideline of ayurveda as presented in the form of instructions on swasthavrtha is very useful and hence more relevant to the times.

Now, we have before us the Alma-ata declarations of the World Health Organization (WHO); the essence of which is the insistence on the cooperative activity of various medical systems so as to bring to utilization of the facilities of all of them as per the suitability regarding the time and place. Since the health problems of the present times is so varied and complex, which cannot be tackled by the efforts of any one single systems alone, however advanced it may be.

If we have to work out this plan for such utilization, we must have a clear knowledge of the fundamental approach of each of these systems, their aims and meaning and methods of their treatment techniques. We have also to endeavor to improve them by modernizing them but without giving a chance to shed away any of their basic qualities in the light of new knowledge promoted by advanced systems. Now it is to be noted that the up to date researches now going on in the advanced fields of modern science has proved to be a justification of the approaches of the old medical systems and aimed at developing new perceptions and new techniques for investigation, research and treatment methods.

Generally the term sastra in sanskrit is translated as science in western vocabulary. But the aim of the approach to the old sasthra towards men and universe, and the motivation of the new sciences that took shape and flourished along with the developments of the industrial era are directed towards two aspects. Of course they are not opposed to each other. The sastra stand for presenting precise instructions on what we have to do and not to do for the promotion for our progress in material and spiritual fields as to have freedom from diseases and a secure life of happiness. The word sastra means that which is commanded. Here the topic of discussion is concerned with the relationship of man and universe. How the acts of men and the changes of nature are interrelated and what are to be done to correct the aims and ways (methods) of our actions to make them orderly.

Here in this approach the knowledge of the basic structure and changes of the universe is essential. But that study has to depend primarily on the nature of the reactions to actions. The science that advanced in the industrial period had tried to study and promote science with the interest and outlook of a consumer. Study of nature by analysis was done with the intention of examining them structurally. So the material particulars taken from them can be used for producing commodities that can increase material amenities and pleasures and for luxurious life. So the term Exploration of nature had come in do vogue.

But the outlooks of the old medical systems as the hypocatic medicine of Europe (Grease) the traditional medical systems of Egypt, India, China etc are all based and developed with the former out look. While the Europine medicine that advanced later has progressed with the later outlook (industrial out look) of course. By adopting such an outlook they could make a major advance also. Because this science provided immense help to improve the number and quality of medicine for treatment and also the instruments the location and their environment. The successes gained in controlling and conquering the epimimics of infectious diseases is no doubt a great boon for the world. The advancement gained in the field of surgery is also impressive. But some serious omission and weaknesses also were noticed.

It is true that the developments of the branches of sciences as physics, chemistry and others (inert sciences) helped to produce articles and conveniences for the luxurious pleasure seeking life of people. But the study of man who has to make use of these articles of enjoyment was not promoted. The main reasons for the unprecedented spread of serious, even lethal diseases, as degenerative diseases, diseases due to mental stress and other stresses, is realized as due to the failure of science in helping citizens on the necessity of carrying life without alienating themselves from nature and society.

Realizing this, today modern, western, scientists also are now on the way of rethreading; understanding the importance of the old out look of the sasthras which give weight on the importance of the relationship of man with the universe. So they also are know proceeding with research activities, giving prominent to such old out look.

According to Ayurveda body and mind are an inseparable integral whole, related and responding to the environment mental diseases affects the body also and physical diseases the mind too. Mind and body are therefore taken only as two seats of disease as the purity of the body makes the mind also pure. So man with a pure mind only is healthy is equally true.

Since ayurvedic concepts are based n functions it insistences is that maintenance of health of mind and body is possible only is we realize that it is primarily dependable on our way of life. It is that which is not properly responsive to the environment that becomes the cause of disease. When we speak of environment we mean two types of environment nature is ever changing as daytime can be distinguished as of three periods so night also. Day has dawn noon time and evening as three periods. Night also has dusk, mid night, and termination period of night. These diurnal changes influenced our body and mind. Our physical activities and mental moods also.

Similarly the stages of age as childhood, youth, and old age, also create differences in the nature of our responses. When take food the reactions inside the body, at the beginning stage of digestion at its middle stage and end stage are different, when the season change. There are corresponding changes in the body responses also. Our internal conditions and function also undergo changes when we are affected with emotions of happiness, sorrow, anger etc. It is known that the food taken in, when accepts by passions does not digests easily and properly. So if we do not adopt our ways of life our life also to accord with the changing natural environment.

The irreconcilable conditions upset the internal balance of the body also. Then the natural activities of the body intended for nutrition, elimination of unwanted wastes, and similar once of a self-protective nature are upset. In these condition of increased wastes and impurities in the body impairing the internal functions create diseases. So in order to avoid the occurrence of diseases the main attention is to be paid for critical examination of the study of our environment and our waste of life for correcting the anomalies ourselves. All ayurvedic texts start with advices for following a course of life which is in harmony with nature, set up with due understanding of nature and the society in which we life. What are the protective steps or duties to be performed on all days and as per the changes in different climates in the alternatives to be made in the menu and other routine the precautionary duty to be performed to avert diseases and similar topics are given preference in these texts. But here what is worthy of special attention is the insistence given on performing the moral duties, which is deemed absolutely essential for a reconciled harmonious life with the society in which we live. These are instructions for a disciplined life governed by rules of self control. For the affliction of diseases can be avoided only if we proceed with self control. Being aware of the changing conditions of times and guided by rules to harmonize the activities of our sensory and motor organs and mind with self control and understandings.

Here insistence is on the importance of prevention of diseases. It is racer wiser than treating a diseases after allowing it to occur. The cause for all disease is the violation of these rules of conducts.

How we have to manage life properly as per the changing times is the theme more orderly discussed by ayurvedic preceptors what is presented in Ashtangahrdaya of Vaghbata is one that deserves our main attention.

Diseases never affect any one who is careful in dietetics matters and behaviours and carried a nature controlled and thoughtful action, owns a mind which does not become slavish to passion one who cherishes a selfless noble generous nature, truthfulness, patience and firm wisdom. Such a person is not affected with any disease.

Weight Loss – How I Went From 340 to 199 Pounds, Part 1

I spent two years losing over 140 pounds the old fashioned way: proper diet and exercise. No fads. No pills. No surgery. No crazy machines. I was 30 years old and 340 pounds. With a history of heart disease and obesity in my family, I decided it was time to shed the pounds.

Almost every day I get people I haven’t seen in years coming up to me saying “Wow! You look great!” and then the next question… “What have you been doing?” That’s why I wrote this article.

Disclaimer

Now, of course, as a general disclaimer, I have to say that the tips I’m sharing with you here are just from my own personal experience. I’m not a professional health expert – although over the past couple of years I’ve read dozens of books, and hundreds of articles on nutrition, exercise, and weight lifting. I’m not a doctor. You should, of course, seek your own doctor’s advice before starting any kind of a weight-loss or exercise plan. I firmly believe that with the right diet and proper exercise, almost anyone should be able to lose weight and get fit safely.

Tip 1. It’s All About Calories

First, the bad news. Weight gain and loss is directly tied to the amount of calories you eat versus the calories you expend through exercise. What’s a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of heat energy. Specifically, it’s the amount of heat energy required to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. How this relates to your body is that when you eat food, the food molecules are broken down chemically and that energy is either used by your body to perform work (like building muscle, or constructing new cells) or is stored (as fat). If you take in more calories than you burn, you will start to get fat.

Now, in the world of calories, it takes 3500 calories to equal one pound of body weight. So, if you take in an extra 3500 calories in your diet this week without exercising, congratulations… you’ve just gained one pound (probably all body fat). The good news is that you can lose one pound of fat by either removing 3500 calories from your diet, or adding 3500 calories of exercise to your weekly schedule, or a combination of the two.

What’s 3500 calories? It’s actually not much if you’re eating the wrong kinds of food. You can consume 3500 calories in one meal if you eat two Double Whoppers (1010 calories each), a King Size order of french fries (590), a King Size onion rings (600), and a chocolate shake (440). Don’t laugh… this is what I used to eat for dinner if my family went to Burger King… or something similarly outrageous.

So the bottom line here is that if you want to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. That means you have to burn off more calories than you eat. You had to eat more calories than you burned to get fat… now you have to reduce the calories to get lean. It’s that simple. In order to know how many calories you’re taking in and burning off, you need to write them down.

Tip 2. Eat Frequently Throughout the Day

Think of your body as a furnace. You want your furnace to burn fuel as efficiently as possible. In order for that to happen, you need to let it burn hot and steady throughout the day.

You need to stoke your fire often to keep it burning. Keep your metabolism running all day long by eating every 3 to 4 hours. My personal tip: I eat on hours evenly divisible by 3. That means breakfast at 9am (if I’m up that early), lunch at noon, a snack at 3pm, dinner at 6pm, a snack at 9pm, and if I’m still up another snack at midnight.

Now, I personally work late (I usually get most of my “real work” done between the hours of 10pm and 2am) but if you need to eat at different hours, that’s fine… Just take the total number of calories you’re going to eat throughout the day and divvy them up into 3-hour intervals. Keep that fire stoked! If you can’t take a break at work to eat every 3 hours, bring a protein bar with you.

If you skip breakfast, then you’re extremely hungry by the time lunch comes around. Skip lunch, and you’re more likely to gorge yourself at dinner. Why? Your body is saying, “Hey! I need food badly!” If you feed yourself often, throughout the day, your body doesn’t go into shock, and you won’t get those wild cravings and hunger pangs when it’s time to eat.

Tip 3. Start a Food & Exercise Journal

Don’t just dismiss this section. I did! The first couple of times I read about doing this in fitness and weight-loss books, I said to myself, “I don’t have the time to do this.” But you know what – it really works!

I cannot stress how important it is to write everything down that you eat. All you need is a little notebook. Make four columns: what you ate, how much of it you ate, how many calories were in it, and what time of the day you ate it. It’s that simple. Also write down any exercise or other activities that are more strenuous than just sitting around.

Taking the time to recognize what you’re eating is the first step to losing weight. A lot of people truly don’t realize how much crap they’re eating. When I first started doing this – and writing down everything I was eating – it really opened my eyes to the volumes of junk food I was eating before. I was a slave to cookies, chocolate, chicken wings, and pizza. When I first took the time to look up the fact that a chicken wing has 150 calories in it (yes, one wing), I was astounded. I used to eat 20 wings and 2 or 3 slices of pizza for dinner.

Now you can get yourself one of those little calorie counter booklets from your favorite book store. Sometimes you’ll even see them in the grocery store. They’re invaluable. Once you get to know the foods you eat on a regular basis, keeping track of what you eat is really quite simple. You will gain a better appreciation for what you’re putting in your body.

So please, please, please, take my advice and journal everything you eat. You do NOT have to do this for the rest of your life… just until you hit your goal weight. By that time, you’ll be able to keep a good mental track of what you’re eating, and you’ll be more aware of what you should eat, and how much exercise you should be getting every week.

Also, you do not have to obsess over every little calorie! Counting your calories can be as detailed as you like. If you want to track every last celery stick, by all means do so. However, you can just round your calories off to the nearest 10, or 20. Don’t worry whether or not something contains 24 or 26 calories. In the end, it doesn’t make that much of a difference… but whether something has 100 or 200 calories does.

The important thing… and I cannot stress this enough… is write everything down!

Tip 4. Eat The Right Amount of Calories

We’re not going to starve ourselves! In fact, proper weight loss is best accomplished by eating more frequently than you’re probably used to! Let me say that again: you’re going to eat more food than you are right now. You’re going to eat better food, more often, but at a lower calorie intake. If you’re like I used to be, you’re probably skipping breakfast. This means that when lunchtime comes around, you’re starving, so you probably overeat the wrong kinds of food (like pizza, wings, Chinese, etc.) for lunch – and I’ll bet it’s fast food or takeout. Then, you don’t eat anything again for six to eight hours, and pack in a monster dinner.

Now here’s what happens: your body isn’t getting any food first thing in the morning, so your metabolism isn’t getting started. Your “calorie-burning fire” doesn’t get started in the morning, so you’re not really burning as many calories as you should be. Also, your body is saying, “uh, oh – I’m not getting any food. I better hold on to whatever body fat I can because we’re starving!” This is bad. If you don’t eat enough food, often enough, your body will basically go into starvation mode and hang on to whatever body fat it can.

The key to unlocking your stored fat is to feed yourself enough good food so that your body doesn’t need to store any additional fat, while at the same time getting plenty of exercise and strength training to burn whatever fat you currently have and build muscle.

There are a bunch of factors that go into calculating metabolic rates and all that jazz, but you can use this chart as a basic measurement of how many calories you should be eating as part of your weight-loss diet. Notice it’s based on your current weight and your gender. Women need fewer calories then do men. Also, if you’re a smaller person, you need less energy than a larger person. Use this chart to determine how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis.

WOMEN

Under 130: 1000 Calories

130-150: 1200 Calories

151-200: 1400 Calories

201-250: 1600 Calories

251-300: 1800 Calories

301-350: 2000 Calories

351-400: 2200 Calories

MEN

Under 130: 1200 Calories

130-150: 1400 Calories

151-200: 1600 Calories

201-250: 1800 Calories

251-300: 2000 Calories

301-350: 2200 Calories

351-400: 2400 Calories

Now here’s something that’s vitally important… you want to make sure you get enough calories every day, otherwise your body will go into “starvation” mode. You want to make sure that you eat your meals at least four times a day to keep your metabolism running. If you don’t eat, your body will go into starvation mode. It will realize that it’s not getting enough food, and will hold on to body fat. It’s important to get enough calories spaced throughout the day to keep your fire stoked. Don’t think that by starving yourself you’re going to lose weight. It will be the wrong kind of weight. Remember, your body will eat it’s own muscle tissue first before burning fat if it doesn’t have enough protein.

Tip 5. Send Yourself to Boot Camp

Now, if you want to jump start your body on its way to fast weight loss, here’s what you’re going to do. Ignore the charts above, and drop yourself right down to a 1000-calorie-per-day diet immediately. In addition, make sure you get at least 15 minutes of walking (or some other easy, basic, extra exercise) in every day as well.

You will do this for exactly two weeks… no more… no less. Then, you will go back to eating the normal amount of calories as indicated on the chart above.

It’s not going to be easy. You won’t be able to eat any junk food for these first two weeks. You can, however, eat plenty of good foods – chicken, salads, whole grain breads, etc. It won’t be easy, but once you get through it, you’ll be able to add lots of calories back in to your diet, and feel more normal again… in fact, after eating only 1000 calories for two weeks, you’ll probably have a hard time bringing yourself back up to 2000 calories (or whatever you should be at).

Here’s why this works: dropping your calorie intake down to 1000 calories will shock your body into new eating habits. You will cleanse your body of toxins (like those monster grease burgers you’ve been eating) and get some good, healthy food in you. You will notice weight loss after the first couple of days, but you’ll be keeping your energy up by eating good foods at regular intervals. You can stop any cravings you’re having with water, or add some extra veggies in there – you can eat just about as much green vegetables as you want.

Tip 6. Don’t Think “Fat Free” Means “Calorie Free”

Everywhere you look, it seems that “low fat” foods abound. While there are certain low-fat or no-fat foods that we are going to eat, you don’t want to restrict yourself to a totally no-fat diet. There are certain fats that are good fats, and other that are bad fats. We’re going to want to eat good fats because they are necessary for proper health. Bad fats, however, will make you fat.

There are tons of fad “no-fat” diets out there that have promoted the whole “low-fat” mentality. What’s happened? People are still continuing to get fat eating “fat-free” foods. They eat fat-free cookies, fat-free chips, and fat-free dairy products, yet they keep getting fatter. Why? Many fat-free foods have nearly as many calories as their full-fat versions.

Now, you start eating “fat free” potato chips thinking to yourself that you can splurge… hey, why not? They’re “fat free.” Well, you still load on the calories with fat-free potato chips. It’s the calories that make you fat. In fact, when food manufacturers remove fat from their products, often times they replace the fat with sugar to improve the taste. Guess what… by adding sugar, they’re bringing the calorie count almost back up to where the full-fat product was.

We need fat. Fat forms lining of the cell membranes in almost every cell of our bodies. Your brain is composed primarily of fat. If you don’t eat enough of the right kinds of fat, your brain will not get the proper nutrition to function. Eating too little fat can also reduce your testosterone levels (equally important for women as for men).

Tip 7. Know Your Fats

Saturated Fats are bad for you. They are found mostly in beef, milk, cheese, deli meats, butter, and some tropical oils. Saturated fats increase your risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, and obesity. Avoid or minimize saturated fat intake. Try to eat low-fat meats like chicken and turkey without the skin, and reduced-fat dairy products. If you’re eating red mean, get the lowest-fat, leanest meat you can.

Trans Fats are saturated fats that are extremely bad for you. You should completely eliminate all foods with trans fats in them from your diet. These types of unnatural fats are created during food manufacturing processes such as the hydrogenation of vegetable oil. They are usually found in pastries, buns, chips, doughnuts, shortening, and other such foods. If the label says “trans fat” put that product back on the shelf. If the ingredients of any product say “partially hydrogenated” anywhere on it – put it back. One example: margarine! It’s evil. It’s loaded with trans-fatty acids. Avoid it at all costs. Also avoid vegetable shortening, commercial pasties, deep-fried food, and most prepared snacks, mixes, and convenience foods.

Studies have shown that saturated and trans fats are actually addictive and make you want to eat more. They have also been linked to all kinds of health problems from cancer and heart disease to diabetes.

Unsaturated Fats, on the other hand, are generally good for you. These types of fats are usually found in nuts, seeds, fish, and grains. Mono-unsaturated fats, such as the types found in olive and canola oil, will actually protect your cardiovascular system from disease. These are the types of fats we’re going to load into our diet.

– Good fats: almonds, avocado, cashews, flax oil, olive oil, olives, peanut butter, peanuts, fresh fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna)

– Bad fats: butter, coconut, corn oil, cream cheese, half-and-half, lard, mayonnaise, shortening, sour cream

Keep in mind that you need fats in your diet, but even the good fats listed above have a good amount of calories in them – so take it easy! A tablespoon of olive oil, for example, as 100 calories. Almonds (which I love to snack on) have 6 calories a piece. Nuts are a great, healthy-fat snack – but just make sure to take a small handful not the whole bag!

Tip 8. Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet

Omega fats are unsaturated fats that are not only good for you, but they’re essential for your health. Your body cannot create these fats, so you must get them totally from your diet. Omega fats are helpful for many reasons, plus they are necessary for normal cell growth and development.

First, Omega fats are an excellent appetite suppressant. Part of the reason why people binge on “fat-free” foods is because fat is what makes your stomach “feel full.” If you aren’t eating any fat in your meal, your stomach never tells your brain that you’re full. Add a little good fat to your meal, and you’ll feel full with less food.

Eating Omega fats helps your body to unlock stored fat so that you can use it for energy. Omega fat balances your body’s ratio of insulin to glucagon. When you eat sugary foods, your body releases insulin to remove the excess sugar from your system. If you do this too often, the insulin will block the hormone glucagon – which is another hormone that functions to help your body burn fat. Too much sugar = too much insulin = not enough glucagon = little fat burning. Plus, you are at risk for diabetes. Omega fats help to balance this ratio.

Omega fats help to boost your body’s metabolic rate. This also helps you to burn more calories. Omega fats are the building blocks of your cells. Your cell membranes consist of Omega fats. Since they cannot be created by the body, you must get them from your diet.

A specific fat, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, is obtained from flax seeds or flax seed oil. This will be the primary fat that we’ll add to our meals. You can use it on salads and in breads, add it to soups and yogurt. Don’t cook with it, however, as the heat will change it’s chemical properties. You will also find good doses of Omega 3 in most seafood, green leavy vegetables, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel), walnuts, olive, and canola oil.

Have fish for dinner at least twice a week – and I don’t mean your beer-battered, fried haddock that the local pub serves on Fridays. Pick a fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. Bake or grill them – don’t fry them. They have very high concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids in them. Add flax oil to your salads instead of fatty dressings. Snack on walnuts or almonds instead of cookies and chocolate. You will feel full sooner, and you’ll be adding essential fatty acids to your diet to help burn calories!

Tip 9. Get Plenty of Protein

Proteins are the building blocks for your body. You need to eat lots of protein for your body to build, repair, and maintain your muscle and other lean tissues. If you don’t eat enough protein, your body will break down muscle tissue, which is bad, to maintain itself. As a result, your metabolism will slow, and you won’t burn body fat. Unlike fat or glucose, there’s nowhere in our bodies to store protein (aside from building muscle tissue) so you have to get a lot from your diet.

How much protein should you eat? Most people should eat about 0.4 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Therefore, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be eating between 80 and 160 grams of protein per day. This isn’t hard to do. Eat two eggs for breakfast, and an 8-ounce serving of chicken for dinner, and you’re at 60 grams of protein right there.

What kinds of protein should you eat? I like fish, chicken (white meat), turkey (white meat), soy products, beans, legumes, and eggs (whites only – yokes have a lot of fat). Soy products are a great source of protein… once you get used to the taste. I have totally switched from regular milk to soy milk. It has all the calcium, much less of the saturated fat, and none of the cholesterol of normal milk (even skim milk!)

Eat fish twice a week, chicken twice a week, turkey once a week, a vegetarian meal once a week, and then on that seventh day, go ahead and splurge with the pork or beef… just take it easy. Just make sure you choose lean sirloin cuts. Trim off any fat. Beef has a lot of saturated fat in it (it’s marbled throughout the meat so you can’t just cut it off). Beef is the worst meat for you – as compared to the other popular meats.

– Good protein: beans (any kind), eggs (preferably whites – yolks have a lot of fat), chicken (white meat, no skin), turkey (white meat, no skin), salmon (preferably not farmed), tuna (packed in water, not oil), mahi mahi, any shellfish, any soy products.

– Bad protein: bacon, ham, hot dogs, beef, pork, lamb, veal.

In part 2 of this article, you’ll read about nine more tips to lose weight.