Weight Loss Tips

Losing weight can be a real challenge.  By taking baby steps and making a sequence of small changes, you can gradually train your mind and body and any changes won’t be such a shock to your system.  In no time, you’ll lose the weight and gain the healthful body and lifestyle that you desire!

Rather than overwhelming yourself with too many goals, we suggest that you start immediately and for the next month follow the few tips below.  With every upcoming issue we will give a few more weight loss suggestions to add to the existing ones.

GOAL #1: CHANGING YOUR HABITS AND LIFESTYLE. ( more tips in our next issue)
Diets are temporary quick fixes that often do not work. Changing your everyday eating habits will help maintain your weight or meet your weight loss goals.

1/ Avoid using the word “diet” or telling people you are on a “diet.”  A better suggestion is to say that you are improving your health and fitness status while working on a healthy lifestyle or any other positive statement without the word “diet”.
2/ Before and after photos will help you stay focused.  It sucks to see yourself in a body that you are not pleased with, but this will help motivate you to change and it’s the best way to see your progress.  The “after” photos are way more fun to capture and share. Make sure to post pictures of the new healthy you!
3/ Reading labels is more important than we think. Although it seems like a waste of time, you have to do it – there’s no way around this.  If you don’t know what you’re putting in your mouth, you’re eating blindly.  Don’t assume that what you are buying is ok because it says it’s healthy. Check the ingredient list and serving sizes, calorie and sugar count.

GOAL #2: CHANGING THE WAY YOU EAT AND DRINK ( more tips in our next issue)
Bad nutrition is one of the major factors for putting on weight.  Years of bad eating and abuse cause massive depletions in Enzymes, Vitamins and Minerals that support a healthy metabolism.  Once your body is depleted from the needed metabolic resources, its ability for burning fat and metabolizing carbohydrates simply shuts down because it is unable to get the job done.  Then, every time you put something in your mouth, you gain weight. Without the right nutrition, you might lose some weight by reducing your calories and exercising, but you’ll certainly gain it all back when you return to your normal lifestyle.

1/ Eliminate soda and carbonated beverages. Soda is one of the worst, if not the worst, drink when it comes to reducing calories. What you can do for your body is to  replace the soda you are drinking with water. Water is essential to a healthy nutrition program. It helps you feel full and has zero calories, no matter how much you drink!  The fact is that when you are hydrated the way you should be, your body can burn fat much better.
2/ Watch the size of each meal. You may or may not pay attention to your meal portions and realize that they are way too enormous for you. For each dish find out what the per pound calorie count is and readjust accordingly.
3/ Your fork is not a shovel. Avoid eating fast and shoving in a meal in record time.  The problem is that the brain doesn’t know that the stomach is full until many minutes after it actually is.  Eat slow and once you’ve consumed half of your plate try to pause for at least 15 minutes, then if you are still hungry continue to eat.  It is advised not to feel stuffed.


1/ A regular schedule is key. Once you’ve found a workout that you enjoy, do your best to stick with it. Exercise no less than three times a week for 40 – 95 minutes each time.  It is as important to have a regular work-out schedule that you stick to as it is to have a schedule for your everyday life.
2/ African-based dance classes with live drumming. (http://www.djoniba.com/schedule.html). African, Brazilian, Haitian, Afro-carribean, and belly dance are now known as the new holistic fitness alternative.  Taking these dance classes puts you totally in balance physically, mentally and spiritually. As a balance to the physical part of the workout, the ancient live drum rhythms merge with the rhythm of your spirit, making you move and work out with a freedom that you’ve never experienced before. “The hypnotic power of the live drum rhythms excite, prod, lull, captivate, pull, envelop, and inspire you to continue on and get fit without realizing it. People no longer have to “survive” working out; class is so fun and addictive that they hate to miss it. Students vibrate not just on the physical but also the spiritual level. Classes are available at Djoniba Dance Centre; http://www.djoniba.com/schedule.html ).

Learn Haitian Dance with Peniel #1

Learn right here, right now a Haitian dance with Peniel Guerrier. Come to Djoniba Centre to take his class and learn many more steps and have a great time! Friday 6-7:30pm

The Haitian dance from the video:  The dance shared with you that you can now learn and practice at home is a step from the dance named “Koyi”.  It represents the mermaid Queen of the ocean named “Lasire”.  She is beautiful, strong, and proud.

Haitian Dance
Haitian dance is a blend of African, Indian and French traditions. When Africans were brought to Haiti to work as slaves, they also carried with them their music, dance, religion, rituals, and customs. Over time, the African cultural traditions evolved and melded with the indigenous Indian and French cultures. Voodoo is at the root of Haitian dance. According to Haitian religion and folklore, the gods and goddess, called Loa or L’wa, created dance movements. Such movements encompass a broad range of dynamics from subtle to aggressive.

Peniel Guerrier
Peniel Guerrier began his formal dance training in 1987. Herve Maxi, the most prestigious teacher in Haiti, was impressed with his dancing and invited Peniel to study in his school. Subsequently Peniel danced with the National Dance Theatre for 8 years and toured all over the world: Venezuela, Paris, Hungary, Japan, Montreal, Germany, Santo Domingo, and the United States. During this time he also toured with the Baccoulou Dance Company.

Jamaican and African Ginger Beverage

Ginger beer is a very popular beverage in Jamaica and Africa. This zingy drink is very refreshing and has many health benefits. This recipe is a non-alcoholic version.

– Gingerroot, chopped — 3/4 to 1 pound
– Water — 2 quarts
– Sugar — 2/3 to 3/4 cup
– Lemons or limes, juice only — 2 to 3

1. Place the chopped ginger, 3 cups of the water and 2/3 cup sugar in a blender and puree well. Let set for at least 30 minutes or overnight to extract all the flavor.
2. Strain the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve and pour into a pitcher. Add enough water to make 2 quarts and stir in the the lemon or lime juice and additional sugar to taste. Chill well before serving.



– known to boost bone health and relieve joint pains.
– Has been used since ancient times to cure diarrhea.
– Helps facilitate the digestive process.
– Is a known aphrodisiac, and has been used for years in arousing desire and enhancing sexual activity.
– Helps reduce the levels of prostaglandins in the body, hence relieving cramps and fighting inflammation.
– Other health benefits of ginger currently under research are: reducing heart diseases, arthritis, migraine, depression, and curing stress-related anxiety disorders.

Note: Ginger may, at times, have side effects for those suffering from gallstones since the herb incites the release of bile from the gallbladder. Therefore, it is advised if such a condition is suspected to consult a doctor before consuming ginger.

Ouch! my knees..

The following information is intended as a resource and should not be used to self-diagnose or treat. 

” The front of my knee hurts when I jump.”At the base of the kneecap (patella) is a thick patellar tendon, connecting the patella to the tibia bone below. This tendon is part of the ‘extensor mechanism’ of the knee, and together with the quadriceps muscle and the quadriceps tendon, these structures allow your knee to straighten out, and provide strength for this motion.  Patellar tendonitis is the condition that arises when the tendon and the tissues that surround it, become inflamed and irritated. This is usually due to overuse, especially from jumping activities. This is the reason patellar tendonitis is often called “jumper’s knee.” Patellar tendonitis usually causes pain directly over the patellar tendon. A physician or clinician may be able to recreate your symptoms by placing pressure directly on the tendon. The tendon will often become visibly swollen as well.

Treatment: The most important first step in treatment is to avoid activities that aggravate the problem. With patellar tendonitis this typically includes stair climbing and jumping activities. Dancers may need to restrict their class and rehearsals to limit these activities until symptoms improve. During the acute injury stage ice and anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful for pain relief. Stretching of the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles prior to activity is very important to relieve stress on the patella tendon. A consult with a physician or physical therapist can be very helpful to evaluate strength, flexibility, or technique deficits that may be contributory factors in patellar tendonitis.

Avoid Knee injury using proper landing techniques:Most sports involve some degree of jumping, and during landing, the athlete is at a high risk for injury – especially at the knee. During landing, high amounts of force are absorbed through the lower extremities, and incorrect performance can cause severe derangement, or disruption of the normal functioning of the ligament or cartilages, of the knee structure. According to research, 70% of all anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur when landing from a jump.

During the landing phase, forces of nearly five times your body weight may be experienced. A proper landing technique allows for the anterior thigh muscles (quadriceps) and the calf muscles (gastrocnemius) to cushion the body from shock.  Severe knee injury occurs when the body does not absorb theses forces.

Another risk factor for knee injury is asymmetrical muscular use between the right and left legs. An athlete that tends to land more on one leg will accept an increased load through that particular knee.

Landing technique is extremely important, as researchers have observed the height of the jump is less important than knee angle in predicting the magnitude of force through the lower extremity. Training should emphasize landing with the knees bent and aligned forward to allow the quadriceps and calf musculature to absorb the landing. Both legs should accept weight equally. A forefoot landing technique should be used versus a heel to toe landing.

– Keith Weinhold, PT / FAMC Sports Medicine Clinical Coordinator / famc.org
– Harkness Center for dance Injuries / Hospital for joint diseases / hjd.med.nyu.edu