While swimsuit shopping this month, I was alarmed to see cottage cheese thighs staring back at me from the dressing room mirror. The horror! Bikini buying stopped there. Ditto wearing a bathing suit on the beach. Can exercise help get rid of my unsightly lumps? Are there any cellulite-beating workouts you recommend?
Cellulite is caused by clusters of fat cells. Unfortunately, you are born with these cells and will have them forever, but how big or small they get is up to you.
Fat cells are tiny compartments housed in between your muscles and your skin, within a network of fibrous connective cords. As fat cells grow with weight gain they push up against your skin, pulling down the fibrous connective cords, and creating the lumpy appearance known as cellulite. This generally happens in the hip and thigh area of females. (It's not so common in males. Not fair. I know.) There are a number of factors that contribute to the formation of cellulite, including hormones, stress, a diet high in saturated fats and sugars, and an inactive lifestyle.
According to Wayne Westocott, PhD and co-author of No More Cellulite, the best way to combat unwanted lumps is through reducing stress and regulating your hormones with a healthy, whole foods-based diet (no white sugar, flour or saturated fat) and exercise.
Cardio + strength training = no more cellulite. While cardiovascular exercise works the heart, lungs and burns calories, strength training builds muscles that help you burn calories even after you stop exercising.
The So Long Cellulite Workout
Warm-up: Two minutes on a treadmill, bicycle, stair climber or elliptical trainer.
Cardio: 15 -20 minutes at 70-80 per cent of your maximum heart rate (220 - age X percentage).This should feel hard to very hard.
Strength: Perform three sets of 10-12 repetitions on your major muscle groups. Keep this simple with moves such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and dips, or, you can use the weight lifting machines or free weights at the gym. No matter where you exercise, be sure to perform squats to work your legs and butt and stretch each muscle group after you use it.
It's important to remember that your cellulite may not disappear completely no matter how much you exercise or change your diet. That said, changing your lifestyle can significantly reduce its appearance. I cannot stress enough the importance of water for fighting cellulite; a hydrated body will help make your skin smooth by reducing lumps. Start fighting your cellulite with a change in attitude: you've got a problem, you know the solution, put in the effort and reap the rewards of unveiling your smoother looking thighs on the beach.
If you ask me, there's one main reason you can't lose weight -- impatience. Overweight people want to be in shape yesterday. Whether they're slimming down for an upcoming reunion, a trip to the beach, a vacation, one thing is clear: They don't want to wait several months for results.
But those extra pounds you're carrying didn't magically appear in a couple of weeks -- it took months, years, even decades. So, it's a bit unrealistic to expect to undo all that work in a short amount of time, no?
Guess what happens when I Google "lose weight fast?" I get 2.12 million pages and a whole bunch of ads. What about "lose weight slow?" There are only 4,200 pages and just one local ad for physician-assisted weight loss programs.
Which approach actually works? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is a race that the tortoise wins and the hare doesn't even finish. Research confirms that whether you're after a small individual goal such as losing weight or a large one like building a railway, people consistently underestimate the time, energy and resources it takes to accomplish goals.
You can't smear on a cream to melt fat. You can't lose five pounds a week doing yoga. You can't get in shape by working out for only eight minutes a day. And guess what? Those fitness models in the Bowflex commercials probably didn't get their bodies using a Bowflex.
The old rule stands: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Weight loss marketing companies know you don't want to hear that sustained weight loss equals tremendous effort, restraint, hunger and pain. They're not looking out for your best interests, because their main focus is simply selling a product.
Forget them. It's time you faced the cold, hard reality:
Getting in shape may be one of the most difficult things you ever do.
Accept it -- this is the first step in ensuring you are actually successful.
I want you to forget about losing weight for now. When you focus solely on the numbers on the scale, you're setting yourself up for failure because it removes your concentration from matters most for success: permanent lifestyle change. This is your number one goal. Achieve it and the flab will come off. It won't come off tomorrow or next week or even next month, but it will come off.
If you're looking to lose weight quickly and it doesn't happen fast, you'll get frustrated and you'll give up. However, when you focus on achievable goals that you have control over, you'll receive the positive reinforcement necessary to succeed long term. Losing 30 pounds is a fine goal, but it's a long-term one that shouldn't be forefront in your mind.
Want to get started? Repeat after me:
• I will put together a strategic plan for how to fit exercise into my life.
• I will find activities that I enjoy doing and learn how to do them well.
• I will start exercising slowly and gradually increase the amount of time and effort.
• I will learn about how to focus on healthy, calorie-restricted eating.
• I will not starve myself, but gradually start integrating modest caloric deficits that will lead to weight loss over an extended period of time.
People hate change -- that's why it needs to be gradual. A couch potato can't become a fitness fanatic who eats a balanced diet overnight. That kind of instant lifestyle transformation is so soul-crushingly difficult that the vast majority of people simply can't do it -- that's why so many New Year's resolutions fail. Baby steps are what will get you there. The good news is that this all gets easier over time, and it will eventually become second nature.
Do a little. Do a little and get used to it. Then do a little more and get used to that. Repeat until you achieve your ultimate goals. Then keep it up until you die.
And most importantly, have fun doing it.
I pulled out my summer clothes last week and they just don't fit the way they used to, especially in the 'booty' area. I'm not overweight or anything -- but there's a definite 'sag' factor that wasn't there before. Is there a way to get my butt in shape -- literally? Deirdre
Keeping your butt in shape requires one very simple exercise: squats. There is no quick fix as building muscle tone takes time; however, motivation is the key to success.
The truth is, your bones stop growing by the time you reach your 20s, and your body also starts to lose muscle then unless you take action.
In fact, The American Council on Exercise states that "muscle mass declines with age, resulting in decreased muscular strength and endurance ... For each decade after the age of 25, three to five percent of muscle mass is lost." This is due mostly to lifestyle changes and a decreased use of the neuromuscular system. Depressed yet?
The good news is that you can change this -- your body has the ability to increase muscle mass any time you provide the correct stimulus. And building muscle is the best way to keep your metabolic furnace (the rate at which you burn calories) going, which will help you stay a lean machine over time.
Squats are quite simply the best way to tone your buttocks, as well as your quadriceps and hamstrings. Performing squats not only effectively works your muscles, it raises your heart rate, which makes it a great workout that can be done virtually anywhere. There are endless variations that can be done in just minutes a day. Here's my suggestion:
The 100 Booty Squat Workout
Goal: to perform 100 squats every other day
The basic move:
• Stand with your feet hip-width apart -- Imaging you're standing on a clock with 12 right ahead, stand with your toes pointed out to 11 and one.
• Bend your knees and lower your body as though you were sitting down into a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground
• Press into your heel squeeze your buttocks and return to the top
• First 20 squats -- go at an easy pace to warm up
• Next 20 squats -- down for a count of two and up for a count of two
• Next 20 squats -- down for a count of three and up for a count of one
• Next 20 squats -- down for one count hold and push up for a count of three
• Next 10 squats -- drop to the bottom of your squat and pulse for a count of four before returning to standing -- then repeat nine times.
• Last 10 squats -- down for one count and up for one count with as much power as you can muster
Do a quad stretch -- bend your right knee and catch your foot in your hand behind you to stretch out your quads; hold for 30 seconds and repeat with left knee.
To stretch your back, stand hip width apart, soften your knees and fold forward hold for 1 minute.
To stretch your buttocks, lie down on your back with your knees bent so that both feet are on the floor. Place your right ankle onto your left knee, and pulling your toes back towards your right knee, take hold of your left hamstring with your hands and lift your left foot off the floor while drawing your legs towards your chest. Keep your head, back and shoulders flat on the floor. Then, repeat on the left side.
After approximately 6 weeks, your body adapts to the exercises you are performing; therefore, you must increase the challenge in order to continue to see results.
• Increase each group of squats from 20 to 22 or even 25 (10s to 12 or 15)
• Increase resistance -- hold dumbbells in your hands or a bar on the fleshy part of your shoulders.
• Instead of squats, perform the 100 squat workout using lunges.
My doctor has told me that I have high cholesterol. I am slightly overweight, and I realize that I need to change my eating habits, and I'm wondering if you think that exercise would also help lower my cholesterol? I currently lead a very inactive lifestyle, the last time I saw a gym was in high school.
Just as you cannot directly burn off belly fat by exercise, you cannot directly burn off cholesterol by exercising. What exercise can do is lower LDL cholesterol, meaning the bad cholesterol that comes from consuming animals products and increase your HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol that helps produce hormones and make repairs in the body.
Exercise stimulates your body. There are externally visible signs that exercise has stimulated your body such as increased heart rate and heavy breathing during exercise and improved muscle tone and decrease in body fat as a result of exercise. Then there are the not so visible effects of exercise which occur internally such as the stimulation of your digestion and elimination systems, increased detoxification and function of your organs (as a result of increased blood flow and skeletal movement).
One organ that is particularly stimulated by exercise is your liver and its enzymes (material used to break, make or convert materials inside your body). Your liver's enzymes can convert the LDL (bad cholesterol) into less harmful materials, which is why exercise can help to lower that bad cholesterol.
Just how much exercise does it take to do this? According to Ralph La Forge the Managing Director of the Lipid Clinic and Disease Management Preceptorship at Duke University Medical Center, exercise that burns 1,200-1,000 calories per week can lower your total cholesterol levels by 10-20 percent in about three to four months time.
Before starting any exercise program it is very important to consult your health care provider.
Exercise for lowering your cholesterol: From sedentary to active in 12 weeks
Start with 15-20 minutes of continuous walking 3-4 days of the week
Increase your walking to 25-30 minutes 3-4 days of the week (if this easy for you skip to week 7)
Increase your walking to 30-45 minutes 3-4 days of the week
Choose an activity you enjoy that will increase the intensity that you are working at be it a fast-paced walk or jog, cycling, rowing, rollerblading or swimming. Do this activity for 30 minutes 3-4 days of the week.
With your chosen activity increase your intensity to a level that you feel is hard to very hard for you. Do this activity 4-5 days of the week for 45 minutes
With your chosen activity continue to adjust your intensity to a level that feels hard to very hard for you, do this 5 days or the week for 45- minutes to 1 hour.
Week 13 - go get your cholesterol checked.
In addition to lowering you bad cholesterol, exercise improves your overall health. Other benefits include: reducing your blood pressure, aiding in weight loss, increasing bone density and lean muscle mass and giving you an increased sense of well-being.
OK, this article is going to make some people mad.
Tell you what; if you're a single parent who is broke, works two jobs to make ends meet, and looks after some special needs kids then I'll give you a pass. This article does not apply to you.
If, however, you have one job and can find time to watch even a little TV, mindlessly surf the Internet, spend extra time that you really don't need to at a life-sucking job, or refuse to look for those little holes in your schedule that you know you could find if you really tried, then what's your excuse?
Seriously, I want to hear it. I could use a good laugh.
When I got in shape 17 years ago I was doing a master's degree and my wife was in her first year of residency for family medicine. If you've ever watched a medical drama on TV then you know that being a resident is some of the most punishing work on the planet. Looking after my wife during this time was like having my own special needs child, yet I still managed to get fit through the slow and steady approach.
I hope my wife doesn't read this.
Enough about me and my wife. Let's talk about you and your lame excuses.
Six lame excuses not to exercise after the jump.
1. I'm too tired
If your job and your kids and your whatever else you do is running you down, then getting out and exercising is going to suck even more energy out of you. BUT, realize that expending that extra energy now pays off later. If you're out of shape, then you get tired easily. If you're in shape, you have more energy to do more things, like more exercise.
If you start off with just ten minutes a week of exercise, and then add a mere five minutes to this every week, by the time a year passes you will be exercising 3.5 hours each week, and have a lot more energy for all aspects of life.
2. I'm injured/disabled
You're getting negative sympathy from me on this. I've done a lot of volunteer work with disabled people in fitness programs, and I've worked with wheelchair-bound people with MS who can barely move their arms and who exercise what they've got as hard as they can.
In the vast majority of cases of injured people, exercise is not the thing to avoid, but the cure. It may require some specific instruction, like in the case of my low back, but you won't improve sitting on the couch.
If you don't conquer your injuries, you allow them to conquer you.
3. I can't afford it
You don't have to buy an expensive bicycle, attend pricey fitness classes, or get a high-end gym membership to get in shape. One thing there is plenty of out there is used exercise equipment that is gathering dust in someone's basement. Look online or even place a free ad saying you'll come and trade some beer for exercise equipment. That will likely get responses. Instead of going to expensive classes, buy some cheap exercise videos or borrow them from the library and do it at home. If you can't even afford this stuff then Google "bodyweight exercises" and perhaps fill up some milk jugs with water and lift those around. Use your imagination and move your ass.
On the financial management side, do you smoke, drink, chug lattes, dine out or have cable? Punting any or all of these habits on hold will make you healthier and provide extra cash to dedicate towards a fitness program. Also, remember that exercise is supposed to be fun, so whatever meager entertainment budget you have should be dedicated towards it. Find an exercise you like doing and make sweating your new entertainment.
And take good care of the exercise equipment you do have. Complain about my $15 running socks if you must, but know that if one goes missing I kick the dryer's ass until it spits it out.
4. I don't have time
You've got the same 24 hours in each day that everyone else does. What you decide to do with those hours are up to you. There is an old adage that goes: "If everything is a priority, then nothing is."
To fit in fitness, it must become a priority to you. It must become something you want to do. If you learn to love it, you will find the time.
5. But I don't love it, I hate it
Guess what? Most people who went from couch potatoes to active people hated it at first too. You've got to pick some type of activity that doesn't make you want to stick your head in the oven. Find an exercise that, for you, doesn't completely suck and get good at it. Build up your willpower at that activity and then you'll have the motivation to try other, more challenging activities.
6. I can't lose weight because my genes suck
Listen, I'm not expecting you to turn yourself into a fitness model here. We're all distributed along the bell curve and not everyone gets to be an Olympian when they grow up. This is about achieving your genetic potential through planning, patience and persistence. You won't find out what you're capable of sitting on the couch.
There are other excuses, but most of them are equally lame
Dear Sarah, I have tried many sports enhancing 'remedies' that claim to help me lose more fat when I'm working out. Recently I heard that taking calcium can help you lose weight. Is it true?
Dear Helen, Yes, but don't run out and buy a bottle until you read the rest of this article.
Calcium is an essential mineral as it cannot be made in the body and therefore must be obtained through diet. Calcium is one the most abundant minerals in your body accounting for 1.5 percent of your total body weight. When there isn't enough calcium in the body, the body responds by releasing hormones to help conserve as much calcium as possible for critical bodily functions.
Calcium is needed for nerve conduction, blood clotting, regulating enzyme activity, cell membrane function and muscle contraction (not just just your biceps, but also your heart beat), and hormones. When the body is lacking the proper amount of calcium it assumes that food is scarce. When the body thinks food is scarce, a message is sent to start storing food (into your fat cells) and to slow down the process of fat breakdown.
A recent study by Michael Zemel, PhD, professor of nutrition at the University of Tennessee, found that dieters who included yogurt daily as part of their weight loss plan lost 22 percent more weight and 61 percent more body fat during a 12-week study compared to the non-yogurt eaters. The recommended dosage of calcium for the average male or female 30-50 year old is 1,000 mg per day. This can easily be obtained through a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes our best sources of dietary calcium.
Best sources include:
Dark green vegetables: collards, swiss chard, mustard greens, broccoli, green pepper (leafy greens should be blanched quickly to remove the oxalate which inhibits absorption)
Legumes: lentils, navy beans, soy beans and split peas
Dairy: yogurt, goat's milk
For more sources and charts on calcium visit the Worlds Healthiest Foods.
Adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary for your body to properly absorb calcium. The recommended vitamin D level for the average 30-50 year old is 200 IU and can easily be obtained from sunshine, eggs, shrimp, cod and sardines.
Don't go crazy on the calcium, it is possible to consume too much. Elevated calcium blood levels can lead to calcification of the soft tissues. It is important to remember that there are many factors at play when it comes to weight loss including exercise, hormone levels, stress levels and sleep. When it comes to diet you need to eat a well- balanced whole foods based diet to ensure that your macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, fat), vitamins and minerals are all in balance.
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Last Saturday night, to my absolute delight, my friend's fiancé -- who isn't a health nutter like me, but is definitely a real food advocate -- brought the appetizers to a dinner party we were both attending. He shops locally at farmers' markets when he can and prepares really simple dishes and I'm always curious to see what recipe he'll come up with next.
On this occasion, he pulled four big, green artichokes out of his reusable bag. I raised one eyebrow wondering what the heck he was going to do with them. Now, while I'm sure you've eaten an artichoke at some point in your life, either from the antipasto bar at the grocery store or from a glass jar, but how often to you actually buy them fresh and prepare them yourself? If you are like most people, probably not very often.
Artichokes have long been considered a delicacy by those who delight in peeling back the layers until they reach the heart, the most delectable part of this vegetable. The bright green outer leaves that surround the heart like scales are inedible at the tip, but sweet and tender at the base. As you peel them back the anticipation of reaching the heart is all part of the fun, as is dipping each leaf into garlic lemon butter.
It's not surprising that artichokes are a food staple of the Mediterranean Diet, given their health benefits. They're an excellent source of dietary fibre, magnesium, chromium, vitamin C, and B complex vitamins. Artichokes are high in nutrients, but low in calories - a winning combination!
Find out why your liver and heart love artichokes and learn how to prepare them after the jump
Good for diabetics.
Artichokes are low in calories as most of the carbohydrate is in the form of inulin, a polysaccharide that is handled differently than other sugars. In fact, inulin is not used for energy (like other sugars). This makes artichokes particularly beneficial to diabetics as inulin has been shown to improve blood sugar control. However, it's important to ensure the artichoke is as fresh as possible because the inulin is broken down into other sugars when stored for any length of time – so deli artichokes or bottled won't do!
The artichoke has a long history in treating liver disease and scientific evidence supports this fact. Caffeioylquinic acids are the active ingredients found in the highest concentration in the leaves and they have liver protecting and regenerating effects. They promote the flow of bile and fat to and from the liver. Bile is extremely important to help eliminate toxins from the body and emulsify fat.
Artichoke leaf extracts have been shown to improve the functioning of the cells that line your arteries. Any dysfunction to this lining is the first sign of atherosclerosis. In a study where participants were given frozen artichoke everyday, their cholesterol levels lowered.
Regardless of its shape, a good artichoke should be compact and heavy for its size. The outer leaves should be thick, firm and tightly closed. Despite their sturdy appearance, they are quite perishable. Only store them for 4-5 days in your fridge at the most.
1/2 cup organic butter
1/2 fresh lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Wash the artichokes well under cold running water. Remove the stem with a sharp knife and rub lemon on the cut part to prevent browning. Cut off the artichoke's top most inch to remove the uppermost inedible leaf tips. Bring a large pot of 1.5 inch water to a boil. Place the artichokes in the water and steam with the lid on for 20 minutes. They don't require much attention throughout the 20 minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the butter and combine with the minced garlic.
How to enjoy: Remove the leaves one-by-one as you eat them and dip them in the garlic butter. For a vegan option, use olive oil. All the work of tearing the leaves off one-by-one is rewarded by the time you reach the mouth-watering artichoke heart. Serves 4.
As I'm a nutritionist, women often ask me for suggestions of high-iron foods. Now, this is a question that doesn't have as simple an answer as you might think. Yes, I could just give a list of foods ranked by their iron content and be done with it, but this is one of those situations where you have to look behind the question to see what's really being asked. Often what women really want to know is, "What can I do to correct my iron deficiency?"
At first this may not seem like that radically different a question, but it is. Much like the question of what to do about weak bones is more complicated than just adding in calcium supplements, low iron levels often can't be solved by simply eating more foods with iron. Sometimes it can, but often the picture is more complex.
In fact, if you eat animal protein, you're probably not iron deficient due to a lack of iron in the diet. Much more likely is that you're failing to absorb iron for any number of reasons. Supplementing iron when it's not needed can lead to problems, so taking iron supplements without figuring out why you're low in iron in the first place can actually make the problem worse. Excess iron is not easily excreted from the body and has been associated with cardiovascular disease, arthritis and even cancer.
There are two different types of iron in foods - heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is much better absorbed and utilized than non-heme iron, which makes it a superior source. Heme iron is found in animal foods like meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish. Non-heme iron is found in vegetarian sources like molasses, leafy green vegetables, cocoa, and dried fruits. Vegetarians can easily get enough iron in their diets, but they may need to be a little more careful about it and get their levels checked more regularly by their doctors. Pregnant women, menstruating women (particularly teens), people with certain digestive disorders and kidney dialysis patients can also be susceptible to low iron.
One thing that can interfere with iron absorption is an inefficient output of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach. Iron needs to be converted to an absorbable form in an acidic medium, so if you're not producing enough HCl in your stomach, you're going to have trouble with absorption. Things that interfere with stomach acid production include antacid medications (over-the-counter, as well as prescription), processed foods in the diet, a diet lacking zinc or food sensitivities. If you suspect you're not producing enough stomach acid, which is often accompanied by heartburn and indigestion after meals, see a health care practitioner for solutions.
Ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C helps with the absorption of non-heme iron so it's wise to eat vitamin C-rich foods in the same meal as your iron-rich foods. That means eating your leafy greens, legumes, nettles and dried apricots (high-iron foods) with lemon, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, collard greens, grapefruit, guava, orange, papaya, parsley or strawberries (vitamin C-rich foods).
It's often advised that one should avoid oxalic acid containing foods, as this compound interferes with iron's absorption. This is an open to debate, however, as some studies have found the substance has very little effect on iron absorption. Foods that include oxalic acid are almonds, cashews, chocolate, cocoa, kale, rhubarb, sorrel, spinach, Swiss chard and most nuts and beans; ironically many of the foods that also include large amounts of iron. I think avoiding all of these foods seems a bit drastic, especially since studies find the whole suggestion may be overblown.
While calcium supplements have been found to interfere with iron absorption and it's often stated that high calcium foods do the same, a French study stated the contrary: dairy products did not interfere much at all. So, while there are other reasons to avoid dairy consumption, interfering with iron absorption does not appear to be one of them.
Foods that definitely interfere with iron absorption are coffee, black tea, sugar, wheat bran and egg yolk; so if you have iron problems you may want to either avoid these foods altogether or eat them away from your iron-rich foods. It's also a good idea to avoid beer, candy bars, ice cream and soft drinks as the additives in these foods interfere with iron absorption by playing havoc with digestion.
Phytates, another anti-nutrient found in some plant foods, also have been found to interfere with iron absorption. They're not entirely bad, having been found to have some protective effects against some degenerative diseases. However, if you're low in iron, you might want to avoid soy, Brazil nuts, almonds, oatmeal pinto beans and corn, as these foods are high in phytates. Note that this is a fairly drastic step and should only be considered if you are concerned about the iron in your diet. You can also take steps to neutralize phytates by soaking your beans, nuts or grains overnight before preparing them the following day (this is a step everyone should be taking anyway). Fermenting and sprouting are two other techniques for reducing phytates. Also, eating phytate foods in the presence of oily fish appears to override the effects of the phytates.
A note about iron supplementation: Go for the safe form of iron in supplements called carbonyl iron if you do want to take a supplement. In many cheaper supplements, particularly children's vitamins, an inorganic form of the metal called ferrous sulfate is used. It is a relatively toxic form of inorganic iron and it can lead to significant problems including acute overdose (usually when a child gets a hold of a bottle of vitamins and eats them like they're candy).
Healthy Eating Guidelines
-Start writing down everything you eat. Start today.
-Always eat breakfast . Eat within one hour of rising. So if you normally get up at 6a.m., you should have breakfast by 7 a.m., then have a snack around 10 a.m
-Enjoy three meals and two to three snacks daily. That means alternating
every 3 to 4hours (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner) to keep your energy levels stable and your metabolism running.
-Eat every 2-3 hours to keep blood sugar stable
-Look for foods that lower blood pressure and foods that speed metabolism
-Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime. As our body prepares for sleep, our
metabolism naturally slows down, so it's best to have your meals and snacks when your
system is functioning on all cylinders.
-Try to have a little protein and a healthy carb at each meal and snack,
don't forget fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates too
-The most important thing is that you don't skip meals or snacks so that you keep your blood sugar balanced and your energy levels humming.
-Aim for 25 grams of fibre a day
-Cleanse the liver regularly
-Drink some water, then drink some more water.
-Avoid white flour, sugar, and processed foods
-Try rye, spelt or kamut breads and pastas instead of wheat
-Include healthy fats for the heart, skin and joints
When a doctor recently swore to a Glamour editor that he could help women lose weight just by making over their sleep habits, we were dubious. Research has linked lack of sleep to weight gain, but certainly weight loss requires hard work, diet and exercise—right? We decided to put it to the test.
Sleep and medical experts Michael Breus, Ph.D., and Steven Lamm, M.D., created a plan for seven Glamour readers of varying weights. The women’s one simple goal: Get at least seven and a half hours of sleep a night. That’s it. In fact, we asked the women not to make any significant diet or exercise changes—we wanted to see if sleep and sleep alone would make a difference. Did it ever!
Week by week, we were amazed by the results the women reported. At the end of 10 weeks, Réal, 30, dropped seven pounds; Kate, 25, lost six; Lisa, 34, took off nine pounds; Brelyn, 28, lost 10 pounds; Paige, 35, shed 12; and—are you ready for this?—Ehmonie, 33, lost 15 pounds!!
We don’t want to give the impression that this makeover was effortless; finding time for more sleep does take work. In fact, one of our testers, Natasha , 33, wasn’t able to stick to the plan for more than two or three nights a week because of a crazy job schedule. But even though she didn’t lose weight, by the end of the plan she had still lost a total of two and a half inches off her waist, bust and hips.
At least two dozen studies have documented that people tend to weigh more if they sleep less, says Sanjay Patel, M.D., a researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In a 16-year study of almost 70,000 women, Dr. Patel and his colleagues found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30 percent more likely to gain 30-plus pounds than those who got more rest. In fact, some experts believe lack of sleep is one reason for America’s obesity epidemic. The average woman gets six hours and 40 minutes of sleep most nights, according to the National Sleep Foundation—much less than the seven-and-a-half-hour minimum our experts say healthy women need.
What exactly is the sleep-weight connection? Science shows that sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on hormones that control appetite, cravings and the metabolism of fat. See how these findings translate to your body.
Sleep More, Eat Less
Whether you notice it or not, you probably eat more, sometimes much more, when you’re tired. Proof: Researchers at the University of Chicago allowed people to sleep five and half hours one night and eight and a half on another, then measured how many free snacks the participants downed the next day. They ate an average of 221 calories more when sleepy—an amount that could translate into almost a pound of fat gained after two weeks! “When women are deprived of sleep, they have an increase in ghrelin—what we call the ‘go’ hormone—because it makes you want to go eat more,” says Breus, clinical director of the sleep division at Southwest Spine & Sport in Scottsdale, Arizona, and author of Beauty Sleep. “They also have a drop in leptin, the ‘stop’ hormone that tells you to stop when you’re full.” Not only do you want more food when you’re sleep-deprived, you also want junkier food: Your body craves simple carbohydrates (chocolate, pastries, candy) that it can break down fast for quick energy, explains Breus. “I used to eat a ton of sugar every afternoon,” Glamour volunteer Johnson says. “But now I can have just a small piece and feel satisfied.”
Sleep More, Store Less Fat
Even before seeing the number on the scale drop much, our testers noticed other changes. Three weeks into the plan, Braverman easily put on a pair of pants that used to be too snug. And at the two-month mark, Hamilton-Romeo told us, “My stomach is getting flatter and my love handles smaller.” By the end of 10 weeks, she’d shaved almost five inches off her waist, hips, bust and thighs—even though, at 5’4” and 133 pounds, she wasn’t overweight to begin with. The explanation? “During deep sleep, your brain secretes a large amount of growth hormone, which tells your body how to break down fat for fuel,” explains Breus. “Deprive your body of deep sleep, and when extra calories get stored as fat, there isn’t enough growth hormone to break it down. So your body takes a shortcut and packs it away in your butt, thighs, belly—wherever you tend to put on weight.” Says Braverman, who lost a total of two and a half inches: “The changes in my body fascinate me, because I really haven’t changed anything except my sleep habits. I eat the way I always have and exercise the same amount, maybe even less because my schedule is tighter now that I have to go to bed earlier!”
Sleep More, Have More Energy
Perhaps not surprisingly, all of the women on our plan said they felt much less tired. And though we told them not to make any conscious exercise changes, a couple of them couldn’t help themselves. “I’ve always worked out,” Barr told us, “but I’m spending more time at the gym because I finally have the energy!” Says Foley, “I used to have days when I’d want to go home and just veg out on the couch; now I’d rather run or do something physical—a complete revolution in my lifestyle.” Breus wasn’t surprised. “Your perception of how hard or easy exercise is to do is directly affected by how sleep-deprived you are”. http://www.glamour.com/magazine/2009/02/lose-weight-while-you-sleep
Imagine a garden hose with water happily pouring out of the end onto your garden. What happens when you place your thumb over part of the opening? The same amount of water is struggling to get through the opening. There is more force, more water pressure trying to push the water through. Now imagine the water is your blood circulating through your body via your arteries. When the arteries are constricted, stiffer as we produce less collagen, narrowed by plaque build up or even partially blocked, the pressure builds. The blood is having a harder time getting through.
Hypertension is a common condition. If you have been diagnosed with it you will most likely be on medication to help stabilize your blood pressure to normal levels. There are several things you can do to help lower your blood pressure while still following your doctor’s orders and using your medications.
• Lose weight if you are overweight (BMI 25 +) check out the DASH diet at heartandstroke.com
• Limit your Salt Intake
• Limit alcohol
• Eat foods containing enough potassium, calcium and magnesium
• Avoid unhealthy fatsLearn to relax
• Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products
• Exercise at a moderate intensity for 30 t0 60 min, 4 to 7 days per week.
Once your blood pressure is stabilized and you able to exercise take things slowly. Start with a 10 minute walk once a day. Soon you will be up to 15 or 20. Resistance training has been shown to help lower blood pressure over time. Caution must be used for weight training in individuals with hypertension. Try for 2 non consecutive days per week. Light weights for 10 to 20 minutes, plus your warm up and cool down. Always remember to keep your hands below your head and your head above your heart. This means raising your arms out to your sides to work your shoulders is fine, however raising your arms overhead to do an overhead shoulder press is not recommended. Try not to drop the head down below the heart. Lying positions might be fine but not in a decline position where the head is lower than the heart. Extra care needs to be taken as well when returning to standing from lying or even a seated position. Getting up too quickly will cause Postural Hypertension, in other words it will make you dizzy.
Another important factor in exercising with High Blood Pressure is to avoid Isometric Contractions. So no planks or static wall squats. And of course, don’t forget to breathe. Nice and steady, breathing out when you are exerting force, lifting or pushing. Breathing in when you are recovering.Remember a nice long warm up of 10 – 15 minutes and the same goes for cooling down.
Always check with your Doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Lifestyle factor Recommendations Impact on blood pressure (systolic/diastolic mm Hg)
Physical activity Engaging in moderate or vigorous physical activity 30 to 60 minutes per week… lowers blood pressure by 4.9/3.7 points
Weight control For losing weight, per kilogram lost… lowers blood pressure by 1.1/0.9 points
Diet By following the DASH diet… lowers blood pressure by 11.4/5.5 points
Sodium (salt) intake By reducing sodium intake by 1,800 mg… lowers blood pressure by 5.1/2.7 points
Alcohol consumption By reducing intake by 3.6 drinks per day… lowers blood pressure by 3.9/2.4 points
Go to the Heart and Stroke Website to get your own High Blood Pressure Action Plan.http://www.heartandstroke.com
1. Organic food tastes great!
2. Organic food meets strict standards
3. Organic food reduces health risks
4. Organic food helps protect children's health
5. Organic farming replenishes soil
6. Organic farms conserve water resources
7. Organic farmers respect wildlife
8. Organic producers preserve biodiversity
9. Organic agriculture protects farm workers
10. Organic farming keeps rural communities healthy
Magnesium Deficiency Could be Causing Your Stress and Depression (by Doug DiPasquale)Feeling stressed? Moody? Depressed? While you may think it's your life that needs changing, your real problem might be what's missing from your diet: magnesium.
This under-appreciated and vastly under-consumed mineral is the hidden cause of many mood disorders, and boosting your magnesium levels could be the key to improving your emotional health.
Statistics show that we simply do not have enough magnesium in our diets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims that 60 per cent of Americans aren't getting their daily magnesium requirements. And according to psychologist/MD/medical researcher Dr. Mark Sircus, who has written extensively on the topic, that number just scratches the surface of the problem -- "What they don't tell us is that this 60% is based on minimum daily estimates set by the Department of Agriculture [which] are set terribly low, so actually the number is much higher." A common culprit is processed foods, which are depleted of many essential minerals, including magnesium. On top of this, soil that has been depleted of minerals also lacks the all-important magnesium, so even our fresh produce tends to be lacking.