Who I am

My name is Vadim, and I’m dedicated to improving people’s lives through better nutrition and healthier life style.

What I do

Over the years I have learned a lot from nutritionists and healthy life style advocates. And I decide to share with you what I have learnt and am learning.

Why I do it

I believe that you can be truly happy only if you look after yourself and take good care of yourself through better nutrition and healthy habits. Helping other people makes me happy too, and also I learn a lot from other people who are interested in that. Also, good nutrition (in particular plant-based nutrition) can prevent and even reverse such diseases as heart conditions, including angina and arteries blockages, diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Low-calorie diets may help to increase your longevity – and they do seem to increase the life expectancy of many lab animals. But what exactly is low-calorie nutrition? Since the average person eats more than 2000 calories per day, a low calorie diet is about 1800 calories for men and 1500 calories for women. It’s difficult to go lower than 1200 calories and still get all the nutrients you need.

A low-calorie nutrition plan is not something that you should do just because you feel like doing it. Those who routinely eat much less than their standard calorie requirements are unlikely to need it. The same goes for people with an existing medical condition. They should probably use other ways of losing weight.

People who have severe obesity or are very overweight (a Body mass index of over 30) can go on such a plan after getting approval from their doctor. Teenagers, pregnant or breast-feeding women and children, because they need all the maximum nutrition from food they consume, should not go on a low-calorie plan.

Those who follow a low-calorie plan can usually expect at most 1.5 kg of weight loss a week, or 15-18 kg a quarter. It would be best to get a customised low-calorie nutrition plan from a nutritionist rather than just follow one from a book or the internet as each person who requires this type of nutrition would need to meet their specific individual needs.

As a result of such a plan, your behaviour might undergo some minor changes, and your mood too. You might get irritable or moody, in which case we suggest you contact your doctor or counsellor. They will help you, if it happens to you, to ease such behavioural changes.

The negative consequences of going on a low-calorie nutrition plan might include nausea, fatigue or changes in bowel movement. These side effects disappear with time and weight loss.

And be assured: you can lose weight, shed unwanted kilos in an easy and fast way! It doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Eating healthy low-calories foods and meals is exciting and rewarding!

Duration: daily commitment (for at least three months)

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Do the following 11 steps:

1. See your doctor. Get a medical examination or advice before you start any nutrition programme. It is particularly important if you have a medical condition or risk factors such as high or low blood pressure or diabetes. You should also measure your Body mass index (BMI).

2. Determine your daily calorie intake. Consult a nutritionist, but if you still want to proceed on your own, use a calorie calculator or book to determine how many calories you require daily to maintain your current weight. Reduce that number by 100-500 calories. You can start slowly with just a small reduction – on the understanding that this is a life style change, and not a crash diet. If you’re too ambitious at the beginning, you might find the restriction too difficult and might quit.

3. Acquire the right kitchen equipment. In order to count calories you’ll need to know how much food you’re consuming every time you eat. Start with a kitchen scale and measuring cups and measure out all your servings until you know that you are able to estimate your portions by sight. Remember that your beverages may contain calories too, so you need to measure what you drink as well.

4. Start a food diary. Your chances of success will increase if you record all the foods you eat. You can keep your food diary in a notebook or use an online calorie count service (please enquire if you’re interested).

5. Eat healthy foods. Since you’re reducing your calorie intake, you need to understand that every calorie counts – there’s not too much room for junk food, so eat foods that are nutrient rich. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients, high in fibre and low in calories. Choose alkaline foods and drinks over acidic foods and drinks. Acidic foods and drinks include fruit juice (sweetened), alcohol, dairy, pork. Alkaline foods include cabbage, carrots, green beans, pumpkin, avocado, lemon, wheatgrass, brown rice.

6. Leave some room for flexibility. Although you should avoid junk food, you might still crave them, particularly if it’s your first low-calorie nutrition plan. So you may allow yourself 100-150 fun calories from time to time. But watch your portion sizes so you don’t accidentally eat too much of these treats. And of course you can also choose healthier treats, such as dark chocolate or a small glass of red wine – both are rich in antioxidants.

7. Review your nutrition. If your weight decreases, your calorie requirements will decrease too and you’ll need to adjust your calorie intake until you reach a healthy weight. Remember that the goal of a low-calorie nutrition plan is good health and high levels of energy, so don’t let your weight get too low (below a BMI of less than 18.5). If your BMI gets too low, you will need to increase your caloric intake a little bit.

8. Don’t forget to exercise. If you don’t exercise already, consider joining a gym, or having a home fitness centre. You can also walk, jog or run outside when the weather is good. Gardening, cycling or swimming would benefit you too.

9. Join a support group. It would be a good idea to join a bush-walking, cycling or similar group or club, and spend more time with people who share your ideas of healthy nutrition and lifestyle.

10. Find a personal trainer or coach. Time and budget permitting, use coaching and mentoring in the area of nutrition and fitness.

11. Read fresh information on nutrition. Read books, articles and blogs to find ideas, fresh approaches and tips in the area of nutrition and wellness.

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Further advice – 9 tips:

1. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. You can make meal plans for a week or a few days in advance and use your meal plan to prepare your shopping list.

2. Eat slowly and chew your foods thoroughly. There’s no need to rush through your meals – enjoy every mouthful.

3. Use meditation or visualization to focus on the right foods and healthy lifestyle, and their benefits for your wellbeing and energy levels.

4. Read some supporting literature: books or magazines.

5. Listen to music, surround yourself by beautiful sounds.

6. Be positive, and surround yourself by positive people.

7. Drink plenty of water. Your body needs fluids and water contains no calories. You can add lemon or lime slices for a bit of flavour.

8. You may use artificial sweeteners (if your doctor has no objections) to reduce your calorie intake, but you need to focus on choosing healthy foods and not ‘sugar-free’ junk foods.

9. Choose low-calorie recipes, preferably plant-based. Many of your favourite foods can be prepared with fewer calories by cutting back on the fats and sugars. Don’t worry, they’ll still be delicious.

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Your immediate action plan in brief:

? A doctor’s appointment.
? Kitchen scale and measuring equipment (cups, spoons, etc.).
? A food diary or a membership of a health club or at a nutrition site.
? A positive attitude – it will take some time to change your eating habits.
? Never give up. If others did it, you can do it too!
? Find soul mates. They could be your health-conscious friends or relatives, members of a bush-walking group or a gym.

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Your mindset

And now a few words about a very important topic: how to change your mindset. The main secret is that you need to make good, healthy choices all the time, not just occasionally. Short-term diets do not work. Soon after finishing a diet you’re back to where you were before: overweight, tired, with low levels of energy. And frustration!

Actually, after a diet, you tend to compensate and gain more than you lost, according to some nutrition experts. What is recommended is small, gradually introduced, modifications to the diet that can be readily accepted and sustained over time. Also, it is preferable to use waist diameter rather than weight as a measure of success, because weight is influenced by fluid and muscle mass, which are not necessarily bad for you, and if you enrol in a gym, your muscle mass may increase, leading to a weight increase which is not detrimental and indeed to be expected!

It might seem hard to learn how to make good choices all the time, but your brain is a fascinating structure which shows you how to duplicate and make copies: and the easiest way to do that is to make something a habit.

Many things we do are a habit, including eating: what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat. Consequently, it is hardly surprising to know that an exception to that, and that’s what a short-term diet is, is unhelpful. People go back to their old practices, or old habits, and their body goes back to an unhealthy way of functioning. And you will have the same body shape as before, with which you were so unhappy.

The body often perceives diets as “famine”* and goes into “economy mode” storing rather than burning in response to this, so, the harder you try to reduce your intake, the harder it is to convert it into weight loss. In fact, many experts say that starting the day with a decent breakfast results in the body switching to “feast mode” and liberally using up energy.

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Instead, the best approach is to stop dieting constantly, acquire new habits and develop a new mindset which will allow your brain to work in your favour, without much effort on your part. The explanation is that it will become automatic and easy, similar to existing strong habits: brushing your teeth every morning – you do it without thinking! It would be unimaginable for you not to do it! You just do it, and it feels good, natural and proper.

It takes about three months for the new, healthy choices to become habits. Also, three months is what it takes us to replace our taste receptors and, consequently,
acquire new taste preferences, so this is as much a case of changing habits as adapting one’s taste. In the process you will develop a number of crucial habits: how to make healthy food choices, how to think positively, how to love yourself, and how not to give up on yourself.

Congratulations! You’re on your way to following a good and effective low-calorie nutrition plan which could become your pathway to new healthy habits. I wish you heaps of fun and hope you’ll love the experience.
*There is a balanced system of fasting, which could be very beneficial to you. However, it will have to be the topic of a separate guide. I am not going to discuss it here. You could find links on my Facebook and Twitter pages. You could also read books by Paul Bragg.

I also wish to add that if the low-calorie nutrition plan turns out to be too challenging for you, do not despair. Switch to plant-based foods (no oil or fat) for 30 days, without restricting your food consumption volumes, and see if it works better for you. It should! Look forward to hearing from you. Please write to vvd9303@yahoo.com and share your thoughts and experience.

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