How to make YOU the Valentine’s gift

Forget chocolates and flowers for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day - instead, YOU be the gift. Show how much you care by turning yourself into a sexy package with a bit of male grooming.

Valentine’s Day can be a source of intense pressure – when it should mean, pleasure? We tend to get overwhelmed with questions about what to do. Should I buy an expensive gift? Should I book a different restaurant? However, as with most things, keeping it simple is most definitely the way to go. So, skip over the clichéd red roses and box of heart-shaped chocolates and instead invest some money on a gift that will really make your favoured one smile…you!

So, follow my easy pre-date 10 point checklist, avoid bad grooming pitfalls and learn how to curb your errant ways and get in there stylishly my son. More...

Belly Fats: What You Need to Know and Do

How much flab you have in your abdomen has a big impact on your health. Losing fats in your midsection does not only improve your overall appearance – it also improves your quality of health and lowers your risk of certain diseases.

Health experts all agree – abdominal fat is the worst type of fat you can get. But what makes it so harmful? To understand its impact on your health, you should know first that abdominal fat comes in two different forms: the subcutaneous fat and the visceral fat. The first type of abdominal fat is like the fat elsewhere in your body. It may not pose danger to your health but it doesn’t do you good either. The second type of fat, called visceral fat, is one that surrounds your internal organs. Visceral obesity is linked to the risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and heart disease.

Unlike the subcutaneous fats, the visceral fats cells release their metabolic wastes directly to the portal circulation, which carries blood straight to the liver. As a result, visceral fat cells are enlarged and stuffed by excess triglycerides, which deliver free fatty acids to the liver. These fatty acids also accumulate in the pancreas, heart, and other organs. This results to organ dysfunction, affecting your insulin levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Visceral fat has also been linked to dementia, and certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer and colon cancer.


What causes belly fats?

Consuming too many calories can lead to an increase in your waistline. Any kind of calories – whether from fatty foods, alcohol, or oversized portions of food, can lead to belly fats. Abdominal fat is often called ‘beer belly fats’ because alcohol calories are so easy to overdo. A glass of beer for example has about 150 calories. And if you down several glasses in one sitting, you can get calorie overload. Not to mention the calorie-dense foods you eat along with your beer.More...

12 Practical, Easy Food Portion Control Tips to Eat Less

Observing portion control is a very important, yet often overlooked aspect of a healthy diet. Many people who think about losing weight tend to focus on what to eat, and forget about how much to eat. But here’s the thing – calories are calories. Even if you’re choosing the right foods, eating more than the recommended serving portions can result to weight gain. Don’t worry. With these simple strategies, you can eat a little less, without measuring, even thinking!


It all starts on your plate. Here’s a very easy trick when observing proper portion control – divide your plate in half. Automatically fill one side of your plate with fruits or vegetables (fresh produce is much better). Spare the other side with equal parts of protein (beans, lean meat, legumes, etc.) and starch (complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole-wheat bread and wholegrains).

Make use of your hand when measuring food portions. Here’s another way to smartly measure portion sizes: your fruit and vegetable serving should be about the size of your hand opened, whilst fish, meat or beans altogether should not exceed the size of your palm. Then, whole grains should be a size of your fist.

Make use of smaller food containers. When storing leftovers, store foods in small individual containers instead of in a huge one.Also, consider packing leftovers before you sit down for a meal. This way, you won’t be tempted to get an ‘extra’ serving once you started eating.

Limit your food choices. More...

10 Foods Loaded with Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid fat that is produced by the liver. Contrary to popular view, cholesterol is vital for normal body function, particularly in producing hormones and regulating cell membranes. But because our body is capable of producing cholesterol, deficiency in this nutrient is rare. Eating foods, especially animal-based products, which are high in cholesterol, is associated with a number of health problems, including heart disease.

Here is the list of ten foods highest in cholesterol. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to avoid them completely as they may also contain other essential nutrients. Just as the old saying goes – moderation is the key.


Egg Yolk

Topping our list is egg yolk, which happens to contain the highest amount of cholesterol. A 100-gram serving of egg yolks contain 1234mg of cholesterol, which is almost four times the recommended daily intake (300mg). But eggs are relatively healthy. They are high in protein and choline which all promote weight loss. So you don’t really want to totally ban it from your diet. If you just want protein, just eat the egg whites. Or, if you eat the entire egg for breakfast, avoid eating any other high-cholesterol foods later in the day.



Butter can make almost any dish perfect in taste but beware – it isn’t just high in cholesterol but also in saturated fats. 100-gram butter contains 215mg of cholesterol. One stick has more – 243mg. More...

Eat to Lose Weight: 12 Foods that Curb Hunger, Speed Metabolism & More

Can you eat a little more but still shed some pounds? Yes it’s possible! So long as you know which foods to favour and which ones to avoid. In the past blogs, we have talked about foods that don’t just damage your health but also cause you to gain weight. Now, it’s time that we talk about the good stuff – the fat-burning foods.


Greek Yoghurt

This is the favourite snack of many dieters! It helps you burn fats because it is loaded with protein (than any other types of yoghurt). Protein stays in your stomach longer than carbs so you have to spend more calories to digest them. Not only that. It keeps you feeling full for extended periods. Add fresh mango slices or strawberries in your plain Greek yoghurt for added flavour.



Eat it with peel for extra fibre and added nutrients. For a change, spread humus on your apple wedges. You can also have pears if you don’t feel like eating apple for a day.


Green Tea

Green tea has long been popular in the weight loss niche. This healthful beverage contains catechins – pytochemicals that has a positive effect on metabolism. It is recommended that you drink 3-4 cups of green tea a day to get the most benefits.More...

10 Nasty Facts about Belly Fats


If you’ve got too much fat on your abdomen, you need to know that you’re facing a real health hazard that shouldn’t be ignored. More and more research points to the dangers of ‘belly fats’, providing reasons why we should start working out to eliminate them.


Belly fat is the most dangerous body fat.


Excess fats present around the stomach or abdominal area is far more dangerous than any part of the body. Belly fat is clinically called ‘central obesity’ which has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even Alzheimer’s disease. There are plenty of reasons why many people tend to have too much fats accumulation around their stomach and genetics is one of them. More...

10 Habits that Might Be Keeping You from Losing Weight

Have you ever tried losing weight only to find yourself frustrated because your efforts were not getting you anywhere? There’s no miracle solution to getting fit. It’s all about eating right, exercising, and getting quality rest and sleep. Nonetheless, we often engage in some habits that keep on sabotaging all our hard work. If you find yourself going back at one in your weight loss attempt, maybe it’s because you exhibit some of the following habits.


1. You work out only when you want.

It’s Monday and you’ve done so much at work. You feel tired, hungry and sleepy. When you reach home, all you want to do is rest, sit in the couch, turn on the TV and eat a large packet of crisp. Exercising would be the last thing on your mind.

If you think exercising when you are tired will only make you more tired, think again. According to a study published in the Psychology Bulletin, 90 per cent of people who exercise suffered less fatigue and developed more energy and focus. In fact, the effect of exercising on your sense of focus is comparable with that of a drug used for ADHD patients. It’s all about managing your time and picking the best schedule for your workout. If you’re already dead tired for an afternoon workout, schedule it first hour in the morning.


2. You’re skipping breakfast.

If you think skipping breakfast will save you some calories, think again. In most cases, not eating a regular meal in the morning will make you crave for high-calorie foods and snacks later in the day. Another thing, having a solid breakfast meal promotes metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. With the right mix of foods (complex carbohydrates and protein), you will have enough energy and less food craving.


3. You’re not drinking enough water.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, dieters who drink 16 ounces of water before meal whilst keeping their calorie intake healthy (between 1,200 and 1,500) lost 44 per cent more fats than those who consumed the same number of calories but had reduced water consumption. Did you know that dehydration is the most common cause of weight gain? Often, your body mistaken thirst with hunger. So here’s a tip. Whenever you crave for food, drink a glass of cold water first. If the hunger goes away, it only means you aren’t hungry, only thirsty.More...

10 Healthful Snacks for 100 Calories or Less

Do you feel guilty every time you snack? You shouldn’t be. Snacking isn’t bad. As a matter of fact, nutrition experts and dieticians recommend eating between meals to help manage hunger and prevent the possibility of overeating.

But to stay lean and healthy, you should snack wisely. Choose foods that can ease your hunger and at the same time, give something beneficial to your body. Reach for snacks that are high in fibre and water content, and as much as possible, only contain 100 calories or less. Here are some snack options that can satisfy your hunger without too much calorie.

1. Six Cups Air-Popped Corn (100 calories)

Sounds a lot but all these only contain 100 calories. A good way to prepare popcorn is to air-pop them. Ditch the salt and cheese. This low-calorie snack is high in fibre, which can help you stay full for long.

2. Cottage Cheese and Cantaloupe (100 calories)

½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 14 g of protein which satiates hunger. Add a small wedge of cantaloupe (which is also very low in calorie) and is very high in vitamin A.

3. Fourteen Almonds (98 calories)More...

10 Steps to Speed Weight Loss

If you're struggling with weight loss, then you already know it's the little things that add up — the "little bit more" at the dinner buffet, the "little bit too tight" feeling of your clothes. But what if you also knew about the little things you could do every day to increase your weight- loss success? Here they are.

1. Switch up your snacks. First of all, watch mindless snacking. Those calories really add up. Instead of grazing on the baked goodies, have a plan for healthy snacks that combines a little bit of fat, protein, and crunch, such as apple slices smeared with peanut butter. If you are counting calories, doing the maths may help: a pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories, so if you can cut 100 calories out of your day, you will lose a pound in just over a month. More...

Weight Management Tips - for inside and out of the house

Here are is my first set of tips, covering buying food, cooking food, eating food, eating out, exercise, enjoyment, support and motivation, and then how to measure your success in each of these components to successful healthy weight managment.

1. Buying food

Here are some top tips!!- Low GI foods, such as bananas, apples and baked beans should help keep you fuller for longer. Buy some of my recommended books on GI diets and Healthy Eating from my Amazon webshop -
- Look at MY Cambridge online on calorific values of foods. E.g 1x Clementine/satsuma = 22 Cals, 1x Apple = 47 Cals, 1x plain wholegrain toast = 58 Cals, 1x small banana = 76 Cals, 1x300ml lager = 87 Cals, 1x chocolate digestive biscuit = 89 Cals, 25g packet of crisps = 132 Cals, 440ml bitter = 141 Cals, 25g salted roasted peanuts = 150 Cals, 1x 250ml glass white or red wine = 170 Cals. A large glass of wine is more calorific than a Cambridge soup or shake (approx 145 Cals)!
- Buy food online to avoid temptations in store. More...

About the author

Steve from AlcovoBorn in Worcestershire, and educated to second (Masters) degree in Geography, I worked in a corporate company before being inspired more fully into well-being from travels to the Eastern and Tropical countries of the Philippines, India, Kenya, the Maldives, Mauritius and Mozambique.

I gained an understanding of spas, treatments and clients along my way, and have developed this into my own practice, al Covo, to which I welcome you warmly. I pride myself on al Covo's warmth, peaceful aura, hygiene and thoroughness.

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