Tips to help you live a nutritious lifestyle

Considering a Crash Diet for Christmas?

Crash Diet - Imrana NowCrash Diet - Imrana Then

It was the summer of 2003 and I was getting married. Both my sisters, having gained weight – one after having her kids and the other wanting to drop a few of her university pounds – decided they were going to go on the South Beach Diet so they could slim down for the wedding – something they thought I’d be better off not knowing about since they knew how much I was against crash diets…

So for 3 days they tried to follow the plan – a true CRASH DIET, which required them to ONLY drink pre-packaged South Beach Diet Juices 3 times a day and promised to help them lose 10 lb. in this time. And in their own words they were “MISERABLE”.

Crash Diet - Ayesha Then

like my hijaab handiwork in photoshop? ;)

Crash Diets - Ayesha Now
They were “STARVING” and their “breathe stank” and when they were finally done they each lost a paltry… well… 0 lb.  :(

SORRY – I really wish I could have told you they lost 15 lb. and felt fabulous but in my 15+ years of experience in the field (trust me I have met a LOT of people who have been trying to lose weight for a lifetime) I have yet to come across a single successful crash diet story.

Oh the Allure of Crash Diets

But I TOTALLY understand, especially when special occasions roll around – the urgent need to get to those weight goals ASAP. Yes I know that little voice in your head says “just this one time – and once we lose the weight we are going to eat healthy – PROMISE!” The money that you spend on the pills and the shakes and the bars – well even if it’s in the 100’s it seems worth it just to see those PROMISED numbers on the scale just in time for that special event you’ve been trying all year to prepare for by losing weight.

The problem is, not only do you NOT even get to your weight goal because well you “didn’t follow the impossible crash diet EXACTLY so you didn’t get those PROMISED results” – i.e. it’s your fault and not the false advertising’s, and on top of it you have just crushed your will power and self-confidence in the process.

The sad thing is no matter how many times I say this, I always here the same thing “Isn’t there something I can do short-term to get QUICK weight loss?”

Do Crash Diets Work?

So here’s the thing – you CAN lose weight fast short-term BUT:

  1. this way of eating IS NOT sustainable – and if you do continue eating this way for any length of time you’ll run into nutritional deficiencies
  2. You will feel hungrier than normal because you WILL be cutting MORE calories than is recommended

That being said, following a crash diet type plan SHORT TERM can help you slim down in time for whatever it is you want to slim down for. So Ayesha – my dietitian sister (YES she did that South Beach Diet)/business partner and I put our heads together and decided this year to give you what you’ve been asking for!

Introducing the Super Fast Slim Down

So we designed a Low Calorie Diet (LCD) Plan keeping balanced nutrition in mind frankly because we are sick and tired of feeding good people like you to the Crash Diet SHARKS or allowing you to feed yourselves to them anyways… 

And since this plan has our philosophy of eating healthy for a lifetime riding on it – we wanted to make sure that it at least meets as many  of the nutrient requirements – like making sure you get at least 60g of protein – as possible. So we, plus Imrana – my twin (who also is a South Beach Diet alumni) – all became our own guinea pigs and tried it out on ourselves for a week to make sure it was doable and TASTEY (since as our 2 crash diet experts’ biggest criticism of these plans is they are BLAH) before we put it out there for you to try.

Our crash diet results?

  • Ayesha start weight: 142.3; end weight 140.6 TOTAL LOST = 1.7 lb. (she continued for another week and was 138 so her GRAND TOTAL LOST in 2 weeks = 4.3 lb.)
  • Imrana start weight 132.0; end weight 129.4 TOTAL LOST = 2.6 lb. *she just finished weaning her son off breast feeding (she also continued to follow it for another week and was 127 so her GRAND TOTAL LOST in 2 weeks = 5 lb.)
  • Me start weight 120.3; end weight 118.2 TOTAL LOST = 2.1 lb.

Now considering none of us had much weight to lose I think it worked well. But the even better part is – and I’ll be honest and say we did feel a bit hungry by the end of the night but nothing a pot of green tea couldn’t cure, mind you – we were definitely not ravenous and the meals and snacks themselves were quite satisfying.

Enter to Win – It’s FREE

And here’s the best part – WE ARE GIVING A FREE SUPER SLIM DOWN AWAY!! Just in time for you to feel spectacular for the holidays – all you have to do is register on the right :)

REMEMBER: this is a temporary plan so it’s NOT meant to be done long term! And I would HIGHLY advise you to move on to healthy eating following this diet so you don’t gain the weight back and continue towards achieving your longterm goals.


P.S. – both Ayesha and Imrana as you can see by their weights (and in the picture) have lost the weight and kept it off for good :)


Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftover IdeasNow that it’s over, having Thanksgiving dinner over and over until it’s all gone just isn’t all that appealing is it?

So what can one do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers? Good question! And thank God for the internet because we now have access to millions of great ways to redo Thanksgiving leftovers – something we wouldn’t have been able to do before and from some really talented culinary artists at that. Now while I’ll readily admit that cooking isn’t my thing, the fact that I am a dietitian who loves eating makes me just the right person to share some healthy ways to give your Thanksgiving leftovers a much needed make over.

Here are 4 of my favourite Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas

Turkey Dinner Soup: Sauté onions and garlic in a pan and then add your leftover turkey, roasted vegetables or other vegetable sides (like corn or green beans) in a pan until warmed through. Transfer to a soup pot and add preferably organic chicken broth and uncooked whole wheat pasta and let simmer until pasta is cooked. Season to taste with salt and herbs.

Turkey Dinner Paninis: Lightly butter whole-grain or dark rye bread and fill with warmed turkey and vegetable leftovers. Grill in a sandwich maker or panini press. Serve with a salad.

Turkey Dinner Salad: Check out these 7 great Thanksgiving Leftover Salad ideas by Culture Cheat Sheet

Turkey Dinner Casserole: Layer leftover stuffing then turkey and roasted vegetables and then mashed potatoes mixed with low fat shredded cheddar cheese in a casserole dish. Bake at 375 for 30-40 min or until heated through.

And if you haven’t finished your leftovers by the time you’ve tried all of these ideas then you can simply start from the beginning and freeze your favourites for a quick dinner on a NO TIME TO COOK day which I’m sure you’re going to have some time very soon.

Bon Appetite!

3 Anti-Weight Gain Thanksgiving Day Tips

thanksgiving day tipsI hope you followed my Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Plan and are not afraid to enjoy your delicious meal today! If you missed out or if you want some additional ideas to stay on track then these Thanksgiving Day tips should help :)

Here are My 3 Thanksgiving Day Tips to Ward Off Wait Gain:

1. Don’t Skip Your Meals Today

I know it’s tempting as heck to save all your calories for Thanksgiving dinner but PLEASE DON’T DO IT – I repeat DO NOT skip your breakfast, lunch and snacks so you can pile just that little bit more onto your plate at Thanksgiving Dinner. I must admit that this is the one thing that irks me the most about Weight Watchers type point systems – they don’t account for the fact that the greater your hunger is the more you’ll eat before realizing that you are over stuffed – not to mention the sugar low to high is guaranteed to make you feel terrible!

So instead, eat how you normally eat or better yet eat what’s on my plan for one more day and then enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner without giving yourself into maddeningly ravenous hunger.

2. Make sure to stay hydrated

Water is a great way to help you feel full through out the day as well as help you digest all that additional salty and sugary fair that would normally pack on some additional water weight. So make sure to spread out your 64 oz. minimum throughout the day and then add a couple more cups to help rid your system of any excess water retention you may have in the following days after Thanksgiving.

3. Give yourself permission to Enjoy your dinner!

OK so here’s the thing – as I’ve said before, what you do in one day doesn’t really impact your weight as much as what you do every day so there’s really no reason to sweat over the fact that you just had a very HIGH CALORIE meal today. Remember it’s one meal in about the 1,094 meals you’re going to enjoy until next Thanksgiving. Not only that research shows that having a regular treat meal actually helps keep your metabolism revved so it really is a win-win :)

HAPPY TURKEY DAY EVERYONE – don’t forget to be thankful for the bird that gave up it’s life so we could enjoy a beautiful meal with our loved ones and make sure to use up all the leftovers through the week! I’ll be posting some great redos for leftover Turkey Dinner in my next post so stay tuned!

Enjoy a Guilt Free Thanksgiving Dinner – Follow this 5 Day Pre-TGD Plan

As a Skinny Foodaholic one of my favourite meals of the year is definitely Thanksgiving Dinner! But I know most of us have a love/hate relationship with this holiday mainly because of the fact that we know we are about to pack in more calories in one day than we do in an entire week – OK maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you get what I mean…

Now as many of you know I’m not big on counting calories but to be fair I will acknowledge the fact that calories do play a key part of the equation when it comes to losing weight. However this is where I do my mantra of “it’s not what you do once in a while that matters as much as what you do every day” that determines whether or not you will pack on the pounds. And there’s something else – something I think you’re going to really like – science actually suggests that going off your strict regimen once in a while can actually help keep your metabolism revved.

So since the one thing I really don’t want is for your mind to be silently screaming, “DON’T DO IT – YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO REGRET THIS LATER!”,  while your filling your plate with delicious Thanksgiving dinner goodies in a few days, I want to make sure you can enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving Dinner this year.


That’s why I’ve put together a 5 Day Pre – Thanksgiving Dinner (that’s TGD for short) Plan for you!

You can download the plan here:
The Skinny Foodaholic’s 5 Day Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner Plan

But that’s not all, I’ll be sharing my favourite tips on how to really enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving Dinner soon so stay tuned.

And as always I love to get your feedback so leave me a comment or drop me a message and feel free to share this with your friends if you find it helpful!

3 Things I Learned about being Muslim from Muhammad Ali

ali-newsToday was Muhammad Ali’s Jenazah. It was held in Louisville, Kentucky only a 5 hour drive from where I live. A lot of people I know – including my brother – drove down to join the congregational prayer for his final departure from this world.

I contemplated going myself – after all not only was Muhammad Ali an inspiration for the world, but he was also a man who was unabashed about his love for his faith.

In fact Muhammad Ali was brazenly vocal about his beliefs throughout his life regardless of the climate of the world around him. At his core – what he did was simply speak the truth no matter what. But he did this in so many ways…

This is what I learned about being Muslim from Muhammad Ali:

  1.  Know who you are – everyone knows Muhammad Ali knew he was GREAT and he had no qualms about letting the world know this. But he was also humble in front of God, “whose proper name” as Ali put it, “is Allah”. “All my success, all my fearlessness, all my victories, all my courage, everything come from Allah”- Muhammad Ali. And it was his respect for the Prophet Muhammad’s (S) name, that got his Hollywood Star placed on a wall on the Walk of Fame. Plain and simply Muhammad Ali was not ashamed of who he was – a proud Black American Muslim man and the heavy weight champion of the world.
  2. Stand up against oppression – Throughout his career, Muhammad Ali was known for standing up for equal rights during the Civil Rights Movement in the US. And he also took a stand against fighting in the Vietnam War because he felt that it was an unjust war even when it meant that he would be stripped of his titles and put in jail for his beliefs.
  3. Do more than just talk – The legacy of Muhammad Ali after he left boxing is one of social activism. “What am I going to do [when I retire?] Get ready to meet God. Owning real estate, owning a business, teaching boxing – that won’t get me to heaven…When I get out of boxing what I’m going to do – I’m going to do all I can to help people… God is watching me. God don’t praise me because I beat Joe Frazier… He wants to know how do we treat each other, how do we help each other. So I’m going to dedicate my life to using my name in public to helping charities, helping people, uniting people – people are bombing each other because of religious beliefs. We need somebody in the world to help make peace.” – Muhammad Ali. And that’s exactly what he did.

So while I wasn’t able to go down and be part of Muhammad Ali’s Jenazah – I pray for him, knowing that he has impacted so many lives in a positive way. And I hope that we, as Muslims – and as people in general –  will carry on his legacy of spreading peace in the world.

You know there are so many great moments of Muhammad Ali’s life that have been caught on tape – and posted to youtube – and I think it’s fitting to share at least a snippet of his life and who he was in closing:


Healthy Eating in Ramadan for Detox

Ramadan DetoxAs salaam alaikum peeps – it’s almost Ramadan again! Is it just me or is this like one of the best times of the year?

So I know we all start getting ready to have our spiritual game on – but somehow we tend to overlook the physical benefits that fasting has on our system… Like boosting our metabolism, clearing toxins, improving our sensitivity to insulin and decreasing our blood pressure and so much more

The problem is not a lot of us actually get our body into detoxification. You see just because we are fasting doesn’t automatically mean that we are detoxing … 

In fact, if you gain weight during Ramadan – as most of us tend to do – then you’re body isn’t really detoxing like it should be. So what are you doing wrong you might be wondering…

While I’d love to answer this for you in this post, I think it would take me many many pages to really give you the info you’re looking for – and more importantly you might just fall asleep while you’re trying to read it all.

So instead Ayesha (my sister and business partner – also a nutritionist) and I have put together a FREE webinar on:

Healthy Eating in Ramadan

And you’re invited to attend at your own convenience!

If you’re interested all you have to do is sign up (on the right) and I’ll send you the link for the session! Oh and in case you’re wondering, this one-hour Seminar covers healthy eating during Ramadan including how to make healthy choices for suhur and iftaar that will help you start detoxing your system!

Ayesha and I really hope you enjoy the session – do let us know what you think and leave us a comment below with any questions you might have.


Birthdays, Weight Loss Sisters & Other Important Things

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Imrana Happy Birthday Imrana! I love you and feel blessed that we get to celebrate another B-Day together :) I’m sure I’m not alone when I say the world would be a different place  if there were no sisters – thank God it isn’t one we have to live in!

And since we are talking about birthdays, weight loss sisters and other important things like nephews – did you ever notice that no matter where you live or what ethnic background you come from special occasions – like birthdays – all have 2 things in common:

  1. FOOD and
  2. Family/friends aka loved ones

Now food is one of those things that we can’t live without and I think we – as a community – have become very aware of the impact that making good eating choices has on our health. But many of us don’t really realize just how important our social connections are to our overall well-being too. In fact I’d even venture to say they may be the equivalent of food for our souls.

So what does any of this have to do with weight loss?

Well, while some of us may be more social than others,  as Maslow recognized, human beings are meant to be connected to each other in a way that nourishes our being. And while building strong healthy connections with family – like sisters and nephews – has been long known to have a positive impact on our mental health, we are now learning it also effects our overall well being too. In fact a recent study found that the more people interacted in an online group weight loss program the more weight they lost.

But it’s not just about having people to support and encourage you to meet your goals that makes a difference – as a holistic nutritionist I’ve learned that our mind has a very powerful influence on our body. In fact more and more research is supporting this idea that was once thought of as an old wive’s tale. For example, did you know that having positive social connections has the power to significantly decrease your blood pressure and your body’s overall inflammation? It may even increase your life expectancy by 14%!

You know, as a dietitian whose helped people improve their health over the years, I have seen just how much a person’s emotional/mental state is tied to their ability to achieve their goals.

So here’s my advice:


  1. Enjoy special occasions – they’re not what’s sabotaging your weight loss
  2. Take a look at your relationships and how they are affecting you – change the ones you can and decide to let the ones you can’t not take up so much of your emotional time.
  3. If you are a worrier – like most moms tend to be – learn to let some things go, trust me the stress and what it’s doing to you is just not worth it… Everything will work out just the way it’s meant to be
  4. And if you are a hard working bread winner make sure to take time to enjoy the things you are working so hard for

In closing, I’d like to mention that the best birthday gift I ever received is my nephew Amaan who was also born today – Happy Birthday Maanu!! We have to have our hug marathon when I get back 😉 That’s definitely going to help build my emotional well-being! Remember life may not be what you planned it to be but the universe is making sure the best things for you are happening – I see this in my life everyday and I am grateful for the many unplanned events that have brought me to where I am today.

P.S. I also want to CONGRATULATE our Boot Camp group for losing a phenomenal 114 lb. (that’s one whole me!) and 60″ in just 12 weeks – you guys are amazing!! Thank you for letting us be part of your social support group and welcome to our ever growing Nutriacs family :)

My #1 Weight Loss Tip for Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone :) I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted – 2016 had me hitting the ground running and it’s been an adrenaline rush so far – I hope your year has started out on a really good note as well!

So here we are – month 2 of the new year, a time when those New Year’s resolutions are either coming along really well or you may be looking at climbing back on the wagon… Either way I hope the advice I’m sharing today will help you get/stay motivated…

Don’t worry – I’m not going to ruin your chocolate/gourmet dessert eating day – like many of my weight loss tips, this one has more to do with your head/heart than some quick fix extreme dieting solution that will get you in your pre-wedding attire for one night and one night only – something I’m not a big advocate of in general 😉

This one – quite appropriately – is about love, and it’s simply to:

Valentines Day - Remember-to-love-yourself

Too many of us are so busy loving all the important people in our lives that we forget to love us. That and our society tends to make us believe that loving oneself is a vain and narcissistic thing to do and thinking about what you want is the same as being selfish.

NOT TRUE! In fact it can be quite the opposite – simply because if you don’t make time to love yourself enough to know who you are and what you want – nobody else can either. Worst case scenario – you’ll end up trying to be someone that you don’t want to be. And I say this from experience – I’ve done a lot of self-reflecting and growing in the past 6 years, something I was forced to do because I went through a divorce. Mind you this isn’t something I usually talk about – especially on a day that celebrates couples – but I did want to share my insight today, because it’s not about relationships  as much as it is about being able to take a long hard look at yourself and accepting the person who’s peering back at you.

Part of the reason I dropped the ball in my marriage (it wasn’t all my fault of course ;)) is because I lost track of me and what I wanted from me.

So what I have learned from hindsight is that self-love is essential for success! The good part is being able to understand why I failed gives me the opportunity to pick myself up, brush myself off and try again.

To be honest I don’t think I’d be where I am today – putting my dreams in motion – had I not had the experiences I’ve had…

Positive Self-Affirmations are good for you

OK so what I’d like you to do today is to say the following to yourself:

“I accept me for me – I am not perfect, there’s good and bad things about me but I embrace the good and am willing to acknowledge and change the things I can”

It’s a self-affirmation – one you can follow with a “because I am…” (and then fill in the blank or several blanks for that matter) with a positive statement that speaks to you about who you are

I know it may feel weird, but once you acknowledge that it’s OK to be kind to yourself, you will be able to believe that you DESERVE everything you are trying to achieve… like the weight loss you committed to at the beginning of the year for example.

Now go enjoy Valentine’s Day and all the goodies it brings and then get back into gear by following your self-affirmation with  some goals and how you plan to achieve them in the upcoming days, weeks and months!

P.S. You can learn more about self-affirmations here:

Do Self-Affirmations Work?

3 Weight Loss Tips for the Holidays

weight loss tips for the holidaysEveryone who knows me well, knows that I really LOVE this time of the year because of the good cheer it brings with it – I mean it feels like from now until New Year’s most people shift into their happy-holiday-moods which tends to be contagious :)

And I totally get that there is this longing to indulge in all the seasonal treats too.. after all they’re only available around this time of year, and then there’s that nippiness in the air that seems to really stoke the appetite fire as well!

But it’s also at this time of year, when we start thinking of being with family and friends and more importantly dressing up, that the little voice in our head starts us fretting at the idea of fitting into that perfect outfit we’ve picked out for the occasion.

Now I know there’s only a few more weeks before Christmas, so I thought I’d share my most effective top 3 weight loss tips for the holidays with you, which should help you slim down just in time to avoid those dreaded spanx:

My 3 Most Effective Weight Loss Tips for the Holidays


1. Drink up

water that is… in the form of broth-based soups, teas, or straight up as is. You see as the weather cools down, we tend to forget to keep hydrated and often don’t feel as thirsty as we should. But the worst thing about it is, a lot of the times we end up confusing hunger for thirst which means we’re eating more even though we don’t need to! Solution: keep a measured bottle with you and make sure to get at least your 2L in every day from now until X-Mas. You’ll be happily surprised with the results, I promise.


2. Step away from the whipped cream

I know all those gorgeous hot drinks are calling your name at Starbucks, and I say go ahead and treat yourself… A BIT, that is. What I mean by that is, some of those concoctions have more calories than you should eat in a day! Solution: think about skipping the whipped cream and sprinkles and consider asking for just one pump of the flavour syrup when you place your next order. I’m not one to really advocate counting calories, but in this case – when we are looking at foods that aren’t all that nourishing – I’d say aim to keep your additional treats in the 200 kcal/day zone from now on, whether that’s an indulgent hot beverage, cake or other seasonal delight


3. Up your feel good endorphins

I know it’s the end of the year and it’s crunch time… not to mention the cold may stop you from being as active as you usually are… but this is the time when you really need to up your game in the exercise department – and the only way to do that is to COMMIT to doing at least 30 min of something (yoga, dancing, walking, treadmill-ing…) EVERY DAY! Coz you really don’t want the end-of-the-year-stress to = binging (the other way to up those feel goo hormones). And YES you really DO HAVE a 30 MIN window you can devote to yourself in a 24 hr timeframe. Solution: check out some of these super quick workouts you can do in the comfort of your office/living room or where ever you like really:


To give you a little background, this 10-30 min workout is by one of my favorite youtubers when it comes to exercise – Cassey Ho. What I love about her workouts are they are moderately intense and can really be done anywhere… and this SnowBunny Blast video is NO exception:



Adriene Mishler is another youtuber that I adore when it comes to workouts. What I love about yoga is it feels much less intense but it is a real workout, not just for the body but for the mind – and Yoga with Adriene certainly captures that essence. If you’re having the winter blues don’t reach for the sugar just yet, try this practice instead:



And for those of you who are looking for high intensity, this is the workout that’s calling your name, it’s 15 min so you can handle the burn:


Is Halloween making my kids fat?

Is halloween making my kids fat?Should trick or treating be banned? Or is one night – OK maybe one month – of having a sugar high really all that bad for the kids?

Whether you love the costumes or think this is a ploy for candy companies to cash in, Halloween is probably one of the most debated holidays in North America – well at least it is for dietitians… especially us Muslim ones (since we have a philosophical disagreement with the concept of it – but that’s a whole ‘nother ball game isn’t it)!

So if you’re that parent, aunt, uncle, neighbour (or fill in the blank) whose sitting on the fence spinning the roulette wheel and waiting to see which side to join this year, I hope this will help you make a more informed decision… on the CANDY part of things anyways…

To treat or not to treat

If we look at the simplest version of the facts, then it is safe to assume that:

more candy = more calories
and more calories = more fat

and if a=b and b=c then a=c

which means theoretically

more candy = more fat …

unless of course we look at calories in vs. calories out, in which case:

more candy + more running around from a sugar high may not necessarily = more fat, right?

OK – on a more serious note, I think it is safe to say that we all know that OD’ing on candy really isn’t such a hot idea. At the same time, if you live in any neighbourhood in the US or Canada at least than you are sure to be faced with a battle between the kids – who just want to dress up and come home with loot – and your common sense.

So is Halloween really responsible for making our kids fat?

What if I told you that Halloween may just be more of an opportunity than you think…

Here’s the thing, when all is said and done, CANDY IS SIMPLY CANDY at the end of the day – and it only has as much power over you and your kids as you allow it to. At the same time showing your kids how to manage treats is one of the most important skills you can teach them in this easy access, processed food world that we live in.

So if you ask me, Halloween, like everything else, should really be less about candy and more about finding balance. Whether you decide that means you’ll be the house on the street that gives out tooth brushes or not, if when all is said and done you know you’re kids know that candy is not part of the food guide then I wouldn’t sweat it all that much.

Halloween Yin & Yang

Here are 3 tips I think  will help you find your Halloween Zen:

  • Make Halloween more about socializing and less about candy – go trick or treating with friends/neighbours or have a little party with some pals
  • Set Limits – Make sure your child knows that they have a quota of candy they can have for the day and that there is a difference between full-size and mini candy bars
  • Feast before you treat – It’s always a good idea to remind kids that candy can be had after meals just like dessert and make sure your kids are full with a healthy wholesome dinner before they go trick-or-treating

If you want to find more ways to make Halloween a little bit healthier, you can check out these great ideas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Enjoy a Healthy and Happy Halloween

Tips for a Healthy Halloween Party

and don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Celebrate Board

Hope you all have a Happy Halloween!