November 25, 2004

Look!: Fit for Life: You Can Fit into That Party Outfit

IT IS that time of year when we all start to wish we had not skipped that gym session and if only we had not over indulged on the chocolate.

The party season has now arrived and it's the moment when we all try to squeeze into our favourite skimpy outfits.

But don't start a crash diet because, to put it bluntly, it won't work. These diets make your body reduce the speed at which it burns calories and slows down the weight loss process -- and what is worse, they can even encourage binge eating.

One of the most efficient ways of shedding those pounds, is food swaps. This involves replacing something which you eat regularly with a high calorie content with a low calorie alternative.

So if you are just craving that Danish pastry first thing in the morning, have an apple instead. The apple contains around 53 calories, compared to 287 in the pastry.

Instead of a fizzy can of cola, have a refreshing glass of cold filtered water. Cola contains 150 calories while the water has no calories. Swap two tablespoons of cream cheese -- 100 caloies -- for low fat cottage cheese -- 20 calories, swap two tablespoons of mayonnaise -- 220 calories -- for fat free mayonnaise -- around 10 calories and swap a cup of fresh milk -- 150 calories, for a cup of semi skimmed -- 85 calories.

Always opt for fish and poultry, rather than red meat and always ensure you trim the fat from meat and skin from poultry prior to cooking.

And finally, try to bake, poach or grill foods, rather than fry. FOR all of those people already preparing for the London Marathon in April next year or Liverpool's half marathon in March, ensure you eat plenty of berries, including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. These help to slow the wear and tear on joints because of their high vitamin C content.

A study from Boston University Medical Centre shows that arthritis sufferers who had the highest vitamin C intake were three times less likely to strain or injure their joints than those whose intake was lowest.

Vitamin C also plays an essential role in the formation of collagen -- a key component of cartilage and bone. n FIT for Life is pleased to announce the winner of our personal training competition.

She is Michelle Greer, from Netherley. She will receive six weeks of free personal training with consultant Matt Ibbs. The training will take place at the Marriott Hotel in the city centre. n WE have another give-away this week -- three copies of Paula Radcliffe's autobiography.

To be in with a chance of winning send your name, address and daytime telephone number on a post card to: Jane Woodhead, ECHO Features, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB.

The first names to be pulled out of the post bag on November 29 will each receive a copy.

Food of the Week

WILD rice -- energy boosting -- lowers cholesterol

Healthy Hint

THE best wine for killing bacteria in the stomach is heavy wine, such as port.