Knowing how your body clock works may help you sleep better at night

Knowing how your body clock works may help you sleep better at night.

Have you noticed how you want to nap the same time each afternoon or how your eyes start to feel heavy in the evening around the same time? Maybe you wake up at the same time each morning, with or without an alarm. Perhaps you’ve experienced jet lag after flying across country and your body takes a few days to adjust. Or when your alarm goes off, it feels like the middle of the night. All these events are related to your body clock.

You know there’s not a ticking clock hiding in your body, so what exactly is your body clock and how does it work?

Circadian Rhythms

Each day, your body functions on a schedule. If it doesn’t, it wishes it did. Most living things (plants and animals included) have circadian rhythms controlled by their individual body clocks. Throughout the day you may notice mental, behavioral, or physical changes in your body. You feel sleepy, awake, or hungry at similar times each day. Running on a 24-hour cycle, your sleep-wake pattern, eating schedule, body temperature, hormone production, and digestion all function on a circadian rhythm.

Body Clock

This daily cycle is controlled by your body clock. Timing devices are special proteins that interact with cells found in every body tissue and organ. The master clock is located in the hypothalamus of the brain. Called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), this bundle of nerve cells receives information from the eyes and surrounding environment and sends signals to the timing devices throughout the body.

Daylight is the greatest influence on circadian rhythms, though your body will continue to function on a similar schedule if kept in darkness. Changes in the amount of light or darkness you’re exposed to and you’ll slow down, speed up, or reset your biological clock.

Sleep

Knowing how your body clock works can help improve your quality of sleep. As the SCN receives information about light and darkness, it produces melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. The less light, the more melatonin is released. Want a good night’s rest? Turn down the lights and turn off all screens an hour before bedtime. Have trouble waking up in the morning? Turn on the lights, open the blinds, and sit in the sunlight to signal your body to stop making melatonin and to wake up instead.

Routine Is Good

As you age, your body clock changes. Infants require up to 17 hours of sleep a day, young children need 9 to 11 hours, teenagers 8 to 10, and adults 7 to 9. Elderly folks, as is sometimes joked about, often begin waking up and needing to go to bed earlier. Teenagers often feel more awake later in the evening and want to sleep in. While this is normal, school schedules interfere, making many teens sleep deprived.

No matter how much sleep you need, your body craves routine. A consistent nap schedule for children helps them sleep better at night. If late nights have you begging to sleep in on Saturday, limit the extra sleep to an hour or two. Need a nap? Rest for less than 30 minutes if you want to wake up refreshed.
Going to bed and waking up the same time every day—weekends included—keeps your body clock ticking on time. A clock that’s thrown off not only affects your sleep but your hormones, immune system, and digestion as well. Studies reveal a link between out of sync body clocks and your risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and mental health conditions.

So get your clock on time and your body will be ready when you need it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

How To Learn to Like New Foods

How To Learn to Like New Foods

It’s common for kids to be picky eaters and when it happens, every one of their meals can wind up consisting of macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. They may refuse to eat certain vegetables, fruits, or types of dishes, while parents must bribe and beg for one green bean to be eaten. Some parents give up and others keep trying day after day.

The good news is that most kids outgrow their picky eating habits. By the time they’re adults they’ve grown to like new foods and will try different dishes without complaint. However, some kids remain picky eaters well into adulthood. Perhaps you’re one of those people. There are foods you refuse to eat and your meals are planned around avoiding those foods. As a result, dinner parties can be awkward and sometimes you wonder if you’re missing out. Well, you are.

Is there any way for you to overcome your picky eating habits? Keep reading to find out.

Repeated Exposure

You may say, “I’ve tried onions and hate them so why try them again?” One of the best ways to train yourself or your kids to like new foods is to try them over and over again. Keep the pressure low. Try it at home without other people around.

Eating just one bite on a regular basis can help your taste buds realize the food isn’t all that bad. Plan to eat the dreaded food at least once a week. Over time you may come to appreciate the new flavor and texture.

One at a Time

You may hate the taste of broccoli, peas, olives, and tomatoes. Don’t plan to overcome all your aversions at once or you may become overwhelmed and give up. Choose a food you wish you liked the most and regularly add a little to your meals. Once you enjoy that food, move to the next on your list.

Serve with Other Food

If you dislike chicken liver, don’t make a meal with liver as the main dish. Otherwise you may go hungry, fail at your attempt, and hate liver even more. Prepare a meal you enjoy and add some liver on the side.

Try New Recipes

Maybe you have an aversion to salmon because you’ve only ever eaten salmon patties. It’s time to try new ways of preparing the foods you don’t like. Experiment with new recipes, ask friends for suggestions, or take a cooking class. Keep a journal and record what food you ate, how it was prepared, and whether or not you liked it. There are multiple ways to eat the same foods depending on the way they’re prepared. You may surprise yourself and actually like the once-dreaded food when it’s dressed up a little differently.

Think Positive

Liking or disliking food isn’t just about how it tastes in your mouth. Your mind plays a role, too. You may have bad memories or negative associations with a type of food, but you can replace those thoughts with positive thoughts. Be optimistic that you’ll learn to like the food and you’ll be more successful at it.
When you’ve given your all and still don’t care for asparagus, it’s okay. Don’t get down on yourself. At least you’ve tried. And while enjoying a variety of foods is beneficial in many ways, you don’t have to like every food out there.

Seek Help

There are mental health disorders that involve food and eating. If eating causes great distress, your mind is preoccupied with food, or you’re extremely picky, talk with your doctor. People with selective eating disorder (SED) have an altered perception of food. Because of the smell, appearance, or negative associations with food, people with SED will avoid certain foods at all cost.

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
Powered by FitPro Magazine™Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

 

 

 

 

Could your smart phone be responsible for these health problems?

Could your smart phone be responsible for these health problems?

Around the world, an estimated 9 out of 10 people own a cell phone. Revolutionizing the way people communicate, cell phones have quickly become a must-have tool for people of all walks of life. Besides making phone calls, smart phones are used for texting, Internet access, GPS, calendars, email, banking, music, videos, and apps for just about anything you can imagine. As a result, most people are rarely separated from their phones, and if they are, they may feel uneasy and disconnected.

Great as cell phones are, several health concerns have been blamed on cell phone usage. Some claims are valid, others have proven false, and others are yet to be decided. The extent of risk associated with cell phone usage depends on the amount of time you spend on the phone each day, the distance the phone is from your body, and the distance you are from a cell phone tower. While numerous studies have discredited the theory that the radio frequency emitted by cell phones increase your risk of brain cancer, it’s still recommended that you hold the phone away from your ear and not sleep with the phone under your pillow.

Here are a few ways smart phones can negatively impact your health.

Thumbs
As you use your phone, it’s your thumbs that do most of the work. Tapping out texts, typing up correspondence, and scrolling through information can take its toll on your thumbs. Some people develop blisters or sores on their thumbs, while others develop overuse injuries. Repetitive movements of the thumb joint can lead to pain, discomfort, and numbness at the base of the thumb.

Medication, physical therapy, splints, or surgery may be necessary for treatment.

Ears
How often do you use headphones to listen to music stored on your phone? No one else can hear, so it’s easy to increase the volume to unsafe levels. Millions of people have done permanent damage to their hearing due to excessive loud noise. Researchers state that any sounds louder than 85 decibels can harm your hearing, and MP3 devices can reach 100 decibels. Want to be able to hear your grandkids talk to you? Then you may want to turn down the volume on your headphones.

Eyes
Reading tiny text and watching graphics on a small, bright screen at close range for hours each day can strain your eyes. Symptoms of eyestrain include irritation, redness, dryness, blurred vision, or headaches. Increase the size of the text, take frequent breaks from looking at a screen to look at something in the distance, and hold the device away from your eyes.

Immune System
Your cell phone is likely covered in germs. Studies show E. coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), two bacteria that cause serious illness, are often found on people’s phones. Keep your hands clean and regularly wash your phone with a soft cloth to reduce the amount of bacteria hanging out on your handset.

Road Hazards
Talking or texting on the phone while driving isn’t just dangerous because you’re distracted. Just listening to a conversation reduces the amount of brainpower devoted to driving by more than 30 percent. Even hands-free phone usage increases the risk of accidents. Young drivers are more likely to be distracted by cell phones and have the greatest risk of fatal crashes, but the risk runs true for all ages.

It’s not just distracted drivers that pose road hazards but distracted pedestrians as well. Walking near busy roads or crossing intersections while on the phone leads to preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths.

Emotional Health
Interrupted conversations, a lack of face-to-face interaction, and the mere presence of cell phones can negatively affect relationships. You feel less valued when cell phones seem more important.

The constant alerts and reminders from your phone can contribute to stress and sleep disturbances. Social media is linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety. So put the phone away sometimes, look people in the eye, and make an intentional effort to care about the people around you. It’ll do your own emotional health good.

 

 

 

 

Could soda be sabotaging your weight loss efforts? Use these tips to end your soda addiction

Could soda be sabotaging your weight loss efforts? Use these tips to end your soda addiction.

It’s easy to overlook liquid calories when you’re trying to lose weight. You can understand avoiding cookies, cakes, and ice cream, but what about the sodas you drink during the day? A single 12-ounce can of regular soda contains an average of 150 calories. Drink two or three of them and that’s nearly a quarter of your day’s calorie allotment. As a result, people who regularly drink soda are more likely to be obese. Interestingly, drink diet soda and your risk of weight gain is even greater.

It’s not just the calories you need to be wary of. A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of added sugars that rot your teeth and cause a spike in blood sugar, putting you at risk for diabetes. On top of this, the high phosphoric content is horrible for your bones. There’s no nutritional value in soda, just empty calories.

And many sodas contain brominated vegetable oil, an ingredient banned by the World Health Organization and 100 different countries. In addition to health costs, drinking soda comes with financial and environmental costs as well. Still thirsty?

You know soda’s not good for you, but how can you end your habit when the cravings for the sweet, fizzy refreshment are so strong?

Commit to Change

Major lifestyle changes aren’t easy. Soda addiction can be broken, but it may take time and hard work. A decision to cut back on soda or end your habit completely will require commitment and dedication. As with other big life changes, ask your family, friends, and coworkers to help keep you accountable.

Make Gradual Changes

As you start out, set small, achievable goals to slowly wean yourself off soda. This could be reducing your consumption by one serving a day. After two weeks, cut out two servings. Gradually reduce the amount you drink to give your body time to adjust.

Water It Down

Another method to wean yourself off soda is to mix your soda with increasing amounts of water. If it’s the sweetness you’re addicted to, adding water will slowly help your taste buds adapt. This is particularly helpful if you struggle to stop cold turkey.

Choose Caffeine-Free

The caffeine in soda is another reason why it’s addictive and so hard to give up. As you cut back on the amount of soda you drink, gradually swap caffeinated pop for caffeine-free. It’ll take a few weeks for your body to stop craving the caffeine, so give it time.

Avoid Triggers

There are likely situations, places, or people you associate with soda. This could be particular restaurants, types of food, stress, parties, or ball games. While working toward breaking your soda habit, try to avoid these triggers. Choose different restaurants, learn to manage stress in healthy ways, and replace soda with other fun beverages.

Keep Alternatives on Hand

Ending your soda habit doesn’t have to mean deprivation. Plenty of other drinks are available to enjoy. Stock your refrigerator or pantry with healthier beverage alternatives for when your soda cravings hit. Water should be your go-to thirst quencher. Add in a slice of lemon, berries, cucumber slices, or a few mint leaves for a twist. To get flavor with carbonation, try flavored seltzer water. Other healthy beverage options include coffee (with little added sweeteners), unsweetened black or green tea, skim milk, kombucha, or water kefir.

Once you find freedom from soda, you’ll be able to enjoy an occasional can. Just be careful you don’t fall back into bad habits!

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
Powered by FitPro Magazine™Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Cutting calories doesn’t have to hurt. Here’s how to make it simple.

Cutting calories doesn’t have to hurt. Here’s how to make it simple.

A common misconception is that dieting has to be hard and painful. All your favorite foods are off limits and you’ll never enjoy sweets and treats again. Don’t believe the lies. There are ways to cut calories and still like the foods you eat. Of course, losing weight does mean making changes. And while some of those changes aren’t easy, cutting calories can be done with a few simple substitutions.

Successful dieting is about making lasting lifestyle and diet changes. Try using these suggestions to reduce your calorie intake at breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner today, tomorrow, and forever.

Better Breakfast

Start the day off with a healthy breakfast and studies show you’ll eat fewer calories throughout the day. Cut calories by using skim milk on your cereal or in your coffee. Instead of eating sugary cereals, a white bagel, or muffin filled with empty calories, fill up on eggs, oatmeal, or a high-fiber cereal. Stuck on breakfast meats? Choose bacon over sausage. It’s actually lower in calories. Make your smoothies with low-fat Greek yogurt or skim milk and skip the breakfast pastries or donuts.

Lighter Lunch

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with lunch foods. Your go-to meals may need some tweaking. Sauces for sandwiches or dips are often high in calories. Swap out honey mustard for barbeque sauce. Go easy on the ketchup. When making tuna or egg salad, swap out mayonnaise for avocado. Use an oil and vinegar based salad dressing rather than cream-based.

Also, you’ll want to say “No” to cheese on your sandwich, hamburger, salad, or soup and pile on extra vegetables instead. When making a sandwich with deli meat, turkey is lower in calories than ham, roast beef, or tuna fish, so choose accordingly.

Slimmer Snacks

Snacking is a major downfall for many dieters. It’s easy to overdo it on the calories when you’re tired and hungry between meals. Fortunately, there are plenty of yummy and filling snacks that are low in calories. Skip the chips, cookies, and crackers and choose fruit, veggies, popcorn, or Greek yogurt.

Dainty Dinner

Portion control is a big part of cutting calories. Use a smaller plate at dinner and you’ll eat 20 percent fewer calories. Dinner is often the highest calorie meal of the day. To reduce calories at dinner but still feel satisfied, try one of these suggestions.

1. Choose thin crust pizza over deep dish and load the pizza with veggies instead of processed meats. 2. Swap out full-fat butter with light margarine. 3. Bake or grill your meat rather than frying. 4. Enjoy your fajita or taco fillings without a tortilla and your barbeque or hamburger without a bun. 5. Eat your vegetables without added cheese or sauces. 6. Choose regular rice instead of fried rice and black beans rather than refried beans.

Reduced Refreshment

It’s easy to forget that drinks have calories, too. But some drinks have a lot. A great way to cut calories in your diet is to watch what you drink. Sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas, sweet tea, sports drinks, juices, and energy drinks add on calories fast. Alcohol is also high in calories, with a 12-ounce can of soda or beer containing an average of 150 calories. Cut back on high-calorie drinks and plan to drink water or unsweetened tea. Instead of regular beer, drink lite varieties, low-calorie cocktails, or 6 ounces of wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Simple ways to include more greens in your diet

 8 Simple ways to include more greens in your diet.

If you’re like most people, you probably remember your mother telling you to eat your vegetables. As a child you may have dreaded the thought of eating your spinach or mustard greens, but hopefully you now realize the importance of eating a wide variety of leafy green vegetables. There aren’t many foods more chock full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients than greens.

Filled with fiber and extremely low in calories, leafy greens should be a regular part of everyone’s daily diet. In fact, it’s recommended you eat at least half a cup of leafy greens each day for good health. Just remember that the darker green the leaf, the better it is for you, so skip the iceberg lettuce.

There are many types of leafy greens and a variety of ways to eat them. Green salads are the most obvious, but maybe you’re tired of the salad bar or your kids refuse to eat raw green veggies. If this is the case, here are a few creative ideas of how to prepare leafy greens in ways both you and your family can enjoy.

Green Smoothies

Instead of adding fruit to your smoothie, why not add some greens? If done the right way, it won’t taste bitter or bland. Kale or spinach leaves make great smoothie additions. Other ingredients may include coconut water, avocado, celery, honey, mango, apple juice, milk, bananas, and more. Look online for easy green smoothie recipes you can sip on while you’re on the go.

Pastas

Leafy greens make a great addition to pastas. Toss cooked pasta with spinach leaves, fish or chicken, cherry tomatoes, and chopped basil. Mix with a low-fat salad dressing and enjoy. Add cooked collard greens or spinach to your pasta tomato sauces. You can even make vegetarian lasagna with greens instead of meat.

Chips

Craving a crunchy, salty snack? Try making some kale or Swiss chard chips. They’re easy and so good for you. Toss together leaves with olive oil, garlic, and salt. Place the leaves on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. It’s that easy!

Brownies

Looking for a dessert that’s semi-healthy? Bake some brownies with pureed cooked spinach leaves and see if your family can guess the secret ingredient. They’ll likely eat the whole pan without complaining about eating green vegetables and what they don’t know can’t hurt them, right? It may even help them!

Wraps

Like to eat wraps for lunch but trying to cut back on carbs? Try using lettuce leaves in place of bread or tortillas. Fill the leaves with cheese and deli meat, tuna salad, egg salad, grilled chicken, or Caesar salad.

Pizza

Everybody loves pizza. Why not make your family pizza night a tad bit healthier? Puree some spinach leaves and spread them on the pizza dough before adding the sauce and toppings. Your kids might not notice or they may even like the new addition.

Quinoa

Quinoa makes a great base for adding healthy ingredients. Boil collard greens until tender and add them to cooked quinoa, diced grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, chopped parsley, and olive oil for a yummy main dish that’s sure to please.

Eggs

Who said you can’t eat vegetables for breakfast? They may not be your traditional breakfast food, but why not add leafy greens to your eggs? Just about any variety of greens can be added to your egg dish. Whether you make scrambled eggs, omelets, or frittatas, experiment by adding greens and other vegetables for a healthy twist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Metabolism 101

Your Metabolism 101 by Coach Colby Awalt

Our bodies are constantly undergoing metabolic processes throughout the day in order to burn energy (aka calories). Even as you are reading this article your body is burning energy to allow your eyes to scan the screen and hopefully sit with great posture. There are four general categories that make up our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) including basal metabolic rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of food (TEF), exercise activity (EA), and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Now, let’s learn about each one and ways to maximize their efficiency.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR)
RMR provides the energy necessary for the functioning of your most integral organ systems including the liver, brain, and muscles. Outside of physical activity our bodies are burning calories in order to keep us alive and functioning properly. The body undergoes so many intricate and involuntary physiological processes every day. If you have ever taken an anatomy class before you will know the depth. This category comprises about 70% of your total daily energy expenditure. Interestingly enough, the brain is responsible for using up about one-fifth of RMR’s fuel (McCall, 2017). This is why you might feel some mental fogginess coming on whenever you have not eaten anything in a while.

Thermic effect of food (TEF)
Surely enough, your body burns energy in order to break down food within the digestive system. The energy burned from the thermic effect of food is around 10% of TDEE, but it is still important. Depending on which type of macronutrient is eaten (carbs, fats, proteins), the resulting energy burned from its digestion will differ. Protein has the highest thermic effect of food while fats have the lowest. This is why if you have eaten a lot of meat in one sitting it might have caused you to have the infamous “meat sweats.” The digestive system has to work a lot harder to break down meat or protein sources within your digestive tract. All the more reason to get your daily protein in folks. Not only will you be feeding your muscles but you will be burning additional calories through the digestive process as well.

Exercise Activity (EA)
Exercise activity is any purposeful exercise that requires the muscles to be used in a strenuous manner. Whenever I was first learning about these categories I was surprised by the staggering difference between exercise activity’s overall contribution towards TDEE compared to RMR. As revealed above, the bulk of your calories are burned from your RMR and not during a single workout. This category will differ depending on how physically active an individual is. A sedentary person’s metabolic contribution towards this component may only be 10-15% while a highly physically active person’s may be 30% (Berardi et al., 2018).

Workouts should be structured in a challenging manner in order to produce the “afterburn” effect. The afterburn effect basically enables your body to continue burning calories well beyond activity. This occurs due to your muscles being out of homeostasis and needing adequate replenishment of oxygen and nutrients. A fancy phrase called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is what creates this whole process. Whenever exercise reaches a certain point of high intensity our muscles cannot continually be supplied with sufficient amounts of oxygen. This can create an “oxygen debt,” which must be paid back after exercise. This oxygen debt can be paid back within a few minutes, hours, or even days depending on how intense the physical activity was (Berardi et al., 2018).  

This is why it is important to keep your workouts short and intense in order to create an increased calorie burn during the rest of your day (RMR). Additionally, building up your muscles by progressively overloading them during weightlifting will resultantly increase your RMR as well. Since muscle is a highly metabolic tissue, having more of it will never hurt if you are seeking to lose weight or maintain a lean or toned look. Thankfully, our workouts here at BCS Fitness do a really great job of providing the right stimulus for awesome EPOC and muscle building effects. So, keep getting your workouts in to see some awesome improvements in your muscle mass, health, fat loss, athleticism, balance, flexibility, etc.    

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)

This category is by far my favorite (and not just because it has a cool acronym). The benefits it provides are widespread. You can think of NEAT as anything you do during your day that does not include planned exercise activities. This could include anything from gardening and taking out the trash to increased fidgeting due to that extra cup of coffee. While intentional exercise activity is what gets all the acclaim, I am here to highlight how NEAT can have a massive impact on your health and weight loss goals.

There is an important enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) that aids in converting fats into energy. Whenever someone is sedentary for a long period of time this enzyme will grow dormant. However, if NEAT is maintained consistently throughout your day then LPL will retain its functionality (McCall, 2017).

Many people think that exercising within the gym is the only form of physical activity they need during the day. Their thought process might go something like this: “Well, I already worked out this morning so it is okay if I take it easy and lounge the rest of the day.” I am here to tell you…don’t fall into this trap. What you accomplished in the gym may have helped you burn a few hundred calories (and that is great; be proud of yourself for putting in the work), but the rest of your day matters too. The more activity you can acquire throughout the day the better.

A critical and easy way to increase your NEAT is getting your daily steps in. Whether you have a daily step goal of 10,000 or not, acquiring more steps will not only provide additional health benefits but will aid in the calorie burning process. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “My job doesn’t allow me to have a high NEAT.” If you are someone who does not have a physically active job, then take frequent breaks. Get up from your desk and take a lap around the building or go fill up your water bottle at the dispenser across the room a couple of times. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been shown through a growing number of studies to be detrimental to health (McCall, 2017). The less time you can spend sitting down will ultimately help your health and maybe your waistline too.

Also, look for random opportunities throughout your day where you can go out of your way to burn more calories. This might look like parking farther away from the grocery store entrance so you have to walk an additional few steps or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you are able to burn an extra 200 calories per day by increasing your NEAT and reducing your caloric deficit by 200-300 calories, then those lingering few pounds might slowly start diminishing.

I hope this blog was a helpful insight into how your body goes about utilizing energy through all of its metabolic processes. Get your workouts in, eat right, and move often. If you do these things consistently, then your metabolism will thank you.

References:
Berardi, J. et al. (2018).  The essentials of sport and exercise nutrition. Precision Nutrition.

McCall, P. (2017). 6 things to know about non-exercise activity thermogenesis. American Council on Exercise. Retrieved from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6852/6-things-to-know-about-non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis

Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Weight Loss

Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Weight Loss by AJ Buck

 

We all know that weight loss has its ups and downs because let’s face it, weight loss is challenging. It is important to keep in mind that weight loss is different for every person, what might work for one person may not work for another. Here are a some tips that can help with the process of losing weight and help you have a positive experience.

 

  1. Accept and know that difficult situations will happen. Be prepared for the upcoming weeks. I would assume that most of us face unhealthy temptations on a weekly basis, whether it be birthday parties, busy work days, or meetings during your lunch. It’s important to be proactive rather than reactive. Plan ahead and accordingly for your upcoming events.

2. Know your strengths. Know what has worked in the past or what is currently working. Write down the things that work for you and when things get hard try to revert back to what you were doing to make sure that you stay on track.

3. Do NOT get down on yourself. Tell yourself that setbacks are temporary. If you had one bad meal or missed your workout for the day, that doesn’t mean that you ruined your WHOLE day. Move on and look forward to what your next good meal is going to be or schedule an alternate time to workout!

4. Talk to yourself, POSITIVELY. Sounds weird right? Think about it though, how often have you had a bad day or week and told yourself that you are a failure or can’t lose the weight? It only means that you had a bad week and just know that you have the upcoming week to get back on track and put last week in the past. We all have days or weeks like this. Just try to stay positive!

5. Learn from your mistakes. Think of your mistakes or slip-ups as learning opportunities. If you have a mess up, let it go! Learn from it and move on. Realize what you did and try to avoid similar situations in the future.

6. Find a supporter! When it comes to weight loss, having just one supportive, significant person in your life is essential. It can be anyone, a coach, friend, or in most of our cases your whole fitness GROUP! Having someone who believes in you and who is cheering you on the whole way will help you achieve your goals.

 

Three ways to fight the “inevitable” effects of aging

Three ways to fight the “inevitable” effects of aging.

What determines how you age? Is it how you look, how you act, or how you feel? Most people would likely say it’s a combination of all three.

Normal aging causes changes in your appearance, your behavior, and your overall mental and physical health. Hundreds of lotions, potions, treatments, and therapies are out there promising to fight the affects of aging, but what can you trust?

Instead of guessing at how you can fight the effects of aging, listen to what the experts have to say. Keep reading to find out the proven ways to fight aging in the way you look, act, and feel, so you can prove your age wrong today and years into the future.

We can’t avoid age. However, we can avoid some aging. Continue to do things. Be active. Life is fantastic in the way it adjusts to demands. If you use your muscles and mind, they stay there much longer. – Charles H. Townes

Look Years Younger

Fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin are all clear signs of an aging appearance. You’re never too young or too old to begin taking care of your skin. What you eat and drink have a big impact on your appearance. Load up on fruits and vegetables high in vitamins B and E. Include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats in your diet.

To keep your skin from premature aging, one of the best things you can do is stop smoking or never start. Smoking not only increases your risk of all types of cancers and heart disease, but it also makes you look years older. Wrinkles, yellow teeth, and thinning hair are a few of the effects.

The sun’s UV rays also wreck havoc on your skin. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen any time you’re in the sun longer than a few minutes. If you wear makeup, opt for those that contain SPF for daily protection. If there’s one ingredient you should look for in an anti-aging product, it’s retinoid. A derivative of vitamin A, retinoids renew cells and increase collagen production to help keep skin looking young and radiant.

Don’t Act Your Age

Someone who is 50 years old can be mistaken for 90 based on the way they act. Stay young at heart by remaining active and social. Spend time with children, pass on your values to the next generation, and teach young people life skills.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you get to sit around all day.

Volunteer, babysit the grandkids, exercise, travel, or find a hobby. Plan to spend regular time with family and friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, go shopping, or take a walk in the park together. Stay social by joining a club or religious organization. Hang out with people who make you laugh. All of these may seem inconsequential, but they keep you from turning into an old curmudgeon!

Feel 10 Years Younger

Your mental and physical health play a big part in how well you age, and disease can take its toll on your mind and body. While you can’t prevent every disease, there are ways to reduce your risk of illness.

Regular physical exercise is one of the best ways to fight aging. As your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to your body, your cells receive valuable nutrients to stay healthy. At the same time, exercise keeps your heart and circulatory system in working order and helps you maintain a healthy weight to prevent obesity-related diseases. Joint problems, high blood sugar, age-related cognitive decline, weak bones, inflammation, a slowed metabolism, high blood pressure, slow reflexes, depression, and many other health conditions can all be treated or prevented to some degree through exercise.

Your diet is another big player in the fight against disease. Your daily diet should consist of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid highly processed foods and foods high in sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats.

The final way to stay young at heart is by managing stress in healthy ways. Exercise, relaxation, and seven to nine hours of sleep each night are all important ways to keep stress and anxiety from damaging your health and to feel years younger than you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get off the couch if you want a better back

You may not feel like doing exercises when you have back pain, but working out is one of the best things you can do.

Whether caused by heavy lifting, a pulled muscle, disc problems, or a sports injury, back pain can be debilitating. The only thing you may feel like doing is curling up on the couch and taking it easy. Resting your back will relieve the pain, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In fact, 9 out of 10 times what you really need are gentle exercises and stretches to bring relief.

You may wonder what good exercise does for back pain. It works to strengthen the muscles that support your spine, and strong muscles help relieve pressure on the discs and joints. Exercise also increases circulation to the trouble spot, reduces stiffness, improves mobility, and releases pain-relieving endorphins.

So if you’re struggling with back pain, you should consider adding the following exercises to your daily routine. Just be sure to talk with your doctor before doing exercise if you’re experiencing severe back pain or it comes on suddenly.

Wall Sits

Stand about a foot in front of a wall with your back flat against the wall, and then slide your back down the wall until your knees are bent. Bend your knees no more than 90-degrees. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then slide back up the wall. Repeat and gradually increase the amount of time you hold the position.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Sit on the floor, extend one leg, and bend your other knee. Bend at the hips and reach your hands toward the foot of your extended leg. You’ll feel a stretch in your hamstring and glutes. Hold the position, then relax and switch legs. Repeat.

Cat Stretch

The common yoga pose known as the cat stretch is good for stretching the spine. Get on your hands and knees. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. From a neutral position, round your back toward the sky while tucking in your tailbone and head. Draw in your belly and continue breathing as you hold this position. Relax and repeat.

Knee to Chest

Lie on your back and bend your knees with your feet placed flat on the floor. Raise one knee up toward your chest while keeping your other leg in place and your back pressed against the floor. Hold for 15 seconds, lower your foot, and bring your other knee up toward your chest. Repeat several times with each leg.

Bird Dog

Get back on your hands and knees. Tighten your core and lift and straighten your left leg behind you until it is parallel to the floor. At the same time, lift and straighten your right arm above you until it is also parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and then lift your right leg and your left arm. This exercise takes balance but works to strengthen your core and back muscles.

Bridging

Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your heels on the floor. Now press your heels on the floor, tighten your glutes, and raise your hips up, keeping your back straight and your shoulders on the floor. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then lower your hips back to the floor. Rest and repeat.

Child’s Pose

Another yoga pose helpful for relieving back pain is the child’s pose. Get on your hands and knees. Reach your hands in front of you on the floor. Now lower your hips back until your bottom rests on your heels and your head and chest lower to the floor. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.