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How Sleeping More Can Help With Weight Loss

Link Between Sleep and Weight Loss

You’ve been in the battle of the bulge for years, fighting to reach your ideal weight and shed those pounds that just keep creeping up. You might feel like you’re on the right track for a little while, but that extra weight always comes back. Eating a balanced diet and staying active aren’t enough. If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to take a lesson from Sleeping Beauty. Get more sleep.

How Sleeping More Can Help with Weight Loss

You’ve tried everything else such as the fad diets, extreme fitness, diet pills, and supplements. It’s hard to believe that something as simple as sleep could be the key to unlocking the body you have always wanted. According to Women’s Health Magazine, there are numerous advantages when it comes to getting more sleep.

When you sleep more, your body’s metabolism actually works more efficiently, burning more calories and cutting down the storage of fat in your body. You’ll also find that you are less likely to indulge in additional snacking if you hit the sack at a reasonable time. Go to bed and you won’t give into cravings. Studies have even shown that a lack of sleep affects your brain functioning and makes it more difficult to resist temptation when faced with poor choices in eating.

Your Body Needs Sleep

The bottom line is sleep is good for your body. There’s a reason that you start to wind down like a toy running on low batteries. The human body is an amazing, complex system and all of your internal systems are working hard every day. Give it the rest that it needs and you’ll have a chance to recharge, enabling your body to function at optimal levels. That includes burning up calories so that your weight doesn’t go out of control.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, results from a recent study recommend seven to nine hours of sleep on a regular basis. To determine what is best for you, pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you’re having a hard time staying awake while you are driving, you’re nodding off at your desk, or you feel lethargic all the time, adjust the amount of sleep that you get each night. Experiment until you find that magic number that makes you feel well-rested and energized when you wake up.

How to Establish a Sleep Routine

You’ve been so busy watching what you eat and getting the allotted amount of exercise on a daily basis. Now it’s time to devote the same attention to your sleep schedule. Set up a routine that works for you and stick with it. Stay away from late night snacks, alcohol, and caffeine before bedtime or you may sabotage your efforts. Do something relaxing each night before it’s time to turn in. Make sure your room is dark and cool. Make sleep a priority and you’ll find that it is easier to achieve the weight that you want when combined with a healthy lifestyle.

How Sugary Drinks Increase the Risk of Heart Disease

Link Between Sugary Drinks and Heart Disease

Studies have proven that sugary drinks, such as soda, increase the risk for heart disease. A recent report by the University of California at Davis found that the faulty ingredient was not sugar, however, but the high fructose corn syrup added to the drinks. While fructose is not pure cane sugar, it is a type of sugar, which is important in understanding the link between sugar and heart disease.

The study found that all beverages with added high fructose corn syrup increase a person’s risk for heart disease. Three types of beverages were tested; low, medium, and high levels of high fructose corn syrup. The test subjects were young, healthy males and females, and the test duration was for only two weeks. Both groups of individuals, who drank various levels of the sugary drinks, were found to be at higher risk for heart disease than the control group, even after the short two week study.

You should still avoid heavy amounts of sugar

Researchers went on to say, even though the study only included high fructose corn syrup, that any type of sugary substance was harmful to humans when consumed on a regular basis. Participants drank varying levels of sugary drinks, and each person showed an increased risk for cardiovascular dangers.

Daily blood draws were conducted over the 15 day study, where four groups of men and women drank various amounts of sugary substances. The blood draws measured lipoproteins, triglycerides, and uric acid, which are known cardiovascular disease risks.

As doses of high fructose corn syrup rose, so did the levels of these factors in the blood. That means that group one, who had no added sugar, saw no rise, while group four, who had the most added sugar, had the most rise. However, all three groups, low sugar, medium sugar and high sugar, all saw a rise in these risk factors for heart disease.

High fructose corn syrup risks

Basically, any amount of high fructose corn syrup will increase a person’s risk of heart disease. The study demonstrated, however, that men have it worse than women. The men in the studies had higher levels of lipoproteins during testing. The rise in risk factors in the blood was independent from body weight; smaller people did not show differences in risk factors in the blood than larger people.

The heads of the study determined that further research is necessary to find out exactly how much danger there is in high fructose corn syrup, but this initial study proved that the risk is real. People who consume high levels of sugar in a regular diet are more at risk for cardiovascular disease than those who limit their sugar intake. Specifically, high fructose corn syrup, such as that found in sodas, further increases the chance of heart disease over other sugars.

Conclusion

There are other factors to heart disease, such as genetics and other habits, so if those factors apply to you, try to cut back on sugary drinks. This study proves definitively that soda is harmful to our health, so switching to natural fruit juices as soon as possible is a good move for your future.

Whole Wheat Vs. Whole Grain

What is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain?

In our daily strides to gain better health through all of our choices, particularly those choices involving food, decisions about what we eat can get confusing. While many of us have wisely removed white flour from our diets, the terminology around whole wheat vs. whole grain can be puzzling. A recent article presented by fitday.com provides good guidance. Check it out here: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/the-difference-between-whole-grain-and-whole-wheat.html

While wheat flour is much better for us than white flour, the use of the phrase “whole wheat” is a bit misleading. Yes, the wheat used in “whole wheat” products retains many more nutrients and fiber than does white flour. However, it is not necessarily “whole.”

What are whole wheat products?

Whole wheat products contain only wheat flour, and that grain has undergone some refining. During this refining process, whole wheat flour is partially stripped of its most healthful features, because the bran and germ are removed during the refining process. Only the endosperm remains in the whole wheat kernel before the grain can be used in the making of whole wheat products.

What about whole grain?

In contrast, whole grain products are made from many different grains. These grains may include any or all of the following: Amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, sorghum, tiff, wheat, and wild rice. These multiple grains may or may not be as pleasing to the palate as whole wheat.

Because whole grains are actually whole grains and not altered by refining, whole grain products have a much higher density of nutrients and fiber, and produce less of a sugar spike to the blood stream, reducing the risk of insulin resistance. Whole grains flours are also much lower in fat than whole wheat flours.

Whole grain products and whole wheat products are similar in color but can be very different in texture. Whole grain products tend to be denser, and because whole grain flours undergo less refinement, the bread tends to be more inclined to crumble. Whole wheat flour has more flexibility after baking, so whole wheat products are lighter and chewier on the tongue.

Because it has a much higher fiber content, whole grain flour produces breads and crackers that are much more filling than whole wheat products. Adding whole grains to your diet can lessen your risk of developing insulin resistance and may reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Luckily, the Whole Grain Council has reduced the risk of error in selecting products made of whole grains. If you’re ready to add whole grain products to your diet, look for the Whole Grain stamp on your next grocery shopping trip.

Conclusion

Wellness is a path, not a destination. The best way to build better health is to strive to make consistent and sustainable changes that will enable you to reach for the next healthy goal. For instance, anyone who previously consumed a diet high in white flour probably faced a challenge in developing a taste for whole wheat flour. Once you’ve developed a taste for whole wheat flour, however, the leap to whole grain products is another challenge well worth meeting.

Why You Need More Than Exercise to Lose Weight

Weight Loss Requires More Than Just Exercise

I’ve always been interested in losing a few pounds. That means that I must either sweat profusely and expend much more energy than I generally like to, or do the dreaded restricting of calories.

Exercise is time consuming, and not getting to eat what you want isn’t very fun either. So, every year, like a lot of people, I try to pump myself up for some new diet or exercise challenge to see if I can shred some flab. This year I decided to enlist the help of my smart phone and use an app to keep track of my calories and exercise. What I found out after three months of hard work is that people need more than just exercise to lose weight.

My thoughts on exercise were wrong

I thought that if I exercised enough, then I could eat whatever I want. It was simple. I logged in the foods that I ate on the app, and then when I exercised, I logged that in too. The app did all the math work and showed me that I should be losing weight because of all the exercise that I was doing. I would get up early and bike ride, then after lunch I would do some core strength training, then at night a mixture of both, or maybe some yoga. I was excited about all this exercise and the prospect of still eating ice cream and pizza while indulging with several dark beers.

Now, my body is resistant to change, so I gave it a good two months before I expected to see any results. I also know that muscle weighs more than fat, so I figured if I was gaining muscle, then I might see a slight weight increase before any decrease in the numbers on the scale. I have been known in the past to measure all the parts of my body in order to compare those results too. A quick and easy test to tell if you’ve lost weight or even toned up is just to slip on some pants that were too small or tight before you started exercising. Experts always say that your body is more than just a number on the scale!

Either way, I still like using the number on the scale at the end of the day. Each week I would look forward to weighing in. I would weigh myself on a Sunday morning before coffee and breakfast and look forward with much anticipation to see the fruit of all my hard labor. Except, the number wasn’t budging, even after three months! What was wrong? I was being so diligent about logging in all my food and exercise, and I was sternly dedicated to exercising for many hours a day. The app was saying that I was taking in much fewer calories than I was expending, so what’s the problem?

It’s all about Nutrition

I started Googling for information on if diet really matters, even if you exercise a lot. What I came up with is that not all calories are the same. Now, I probably knew this in the back of my head, but I just didn’t want to believe it. What that means, though, is that you can’t just eat cake, ice cream, potato chips, and a bunch of food that basically is full of fat and sugar and has very little nutrients because your body processes them differently.

According to TrainingPeaks.com, a website dedicated to training and health, “Carbohydrate, fat and protein calories are indeed equal by definition in terms of their energy content, but the body processes each in a distinct way, and these differences have real implications for weight management.” Your body sees processing 500 calories of ice cream differently than 500 calories of nutrient-dense foods.

So, back to the drawing board. I threw out all my processed snacks that I was eating and bought some carrots and broccoli instead. I left the dark, thick beer at the store and went with some light white wine. I decided also that because it was summer, I would make some healthy fruit smoothies to curb my sweet tooth. The foods you eat definitely make all the difference in the battle of the bulge.

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Off the Couch and get them active

How to Get Kids Up off the Couch and Moving

Kids are spending more and more playing video games and watch television while sitting on the couch. Neither of these activities offer enough physical activity to meet even the most minimal standards out there. Trying to get kids to stop playing video games and initiate activities is like trying to convince a cat to do dog tricks. Maybe the trick is to encourage activities they choose so that they get off the couch willingly! Don’t know what to do? Here are some tips to help get your kids off the couch:

Neighborhood activities

Call the other parents in the neighborhood and set up a schedule of kickball games, ghost in the graveyard, baseball, etc. Provide some refreshments. Make the activities into a league with a championship. Kids like friendly competition and will be attracted to the chance to get out with friends. These activities will also build a sense of community in the neighborhood.

Volunteer Work

United Way, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity hospitals and other nonprofits often offer volunteer work for kids. Many times the local high school will have information on these opportunities. Volunteer work gives kids a new perspective on life and it offers them the chance to be helpful and unselfish. Eventually it is great resume material.

Family Activities

There are so many activities for families in the community. The zoo, the fair, the local swimming pool, and even the high school track offer chances for more active recreation. For the sake of getting out of the house, how about going to the movies, having a picnic, or heading to an amusement park? Families that play together stay together. It is important to make memories as a family.

Organized Activities

There are a lot of community sports leagues. Organizations like CYO, little league, etc., off kids the chance to participate in sports year round. Most school systems offer a variety of sports programs for kids, including everything from golf, to soccer, to football to swimming. Sports are a great way to teach kids team work. Sports can improve a kid’s self-concept and self-esteem. Kids in sports spend less time on the couch.

Parks and Playgrounds

Parks are great for hikes. Some of the national parks actually have hiking programs where you keep track of the trails you have completed and get an award for hiking them all. Give kids a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list of things that are found in the woods and give them a prize for whomever gets the most. You might put things like acorn, bark, oak leaf, pine cone, and moss on the list. Kids can learn and have fun at the same time.

Playgrounds offer kids the chance to socialize with other kids. A lot of the playground equipment is intended to help kids get exercise and movement. When kids play together in the playground they often let their imaginations go and get involved in very creative play. Its’ not that difficult to get a kid to go to the playground.

5 Tips to Stop Emotional Eating Before You Start

How to Stop Emotional Eating

Does stress or sadness drive you to food? Do you eat for comfort or because you’re bored? Many people use food as an emotional salve. However, if you eat because you’re hungry for something other than food, you may have a problem.

Emotional eating has health consequences. It’s a sure-fire way to gain unwanted pounds that are hard to shed. It’s worse if you’re already obese, or if you have a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Recognize the Signs

Fortunately, you can gain control of emotional eating. The problem is not really about food but feelings. You may not even recognize food as your emotional salve, but there are warning signs.

Unexpected weight gain with no apparent cause is one clue. Eating until you are uncomfortable or “stuffed” is another sign. You may not even remember eating until you notice an empty plate or bag of food.

Stop Before You Start

If you have a problem with emotional eating, you can take steps to gain control of the situation. The solution has less to do with food than with how you handle emotions. Here are 5 ways to stop emotional eating before you start.

Address the Stress

Stress is part of everyday life. It creates the same physical responses as anger: increased blood pressure and heart rate. If stress triggers your eating, find other activities to calm you down.

Remove yourself from stressful situations, and take a deep breath. Deep breathing lowers your blood pressure and promotes calmness. Any stress-relieving activity, like exercise or a hobby, can keep you from raiding the pantry.

Elevate Your Mood

Sadness is a common trigger for emotional eating. Sad people often turn to food for comfort, especially if they’re grieving a loss. It’s easier to soothe the hurt with food than deal with the grief.

If you eat when you’re sad, replace uncomfortable emotions with positive activities. Exercise is a healthy, natural mood booster. Pets also promote emotional wellness. If you don’t have a pet, visit a shelter.

Combat Loneliness

Loneliness and sadness go hand-in-hand. Many people eat when they’re lonely, but they aren’t really hungry for food. They really want love or affection.

If you eat when you’re lonely, find a different pick-me-up. Reach out to family or friends you haven’t seen in a while, or volunteer. It’s hard to feel down when you’re helping others.

Conquer Boredom

People can get bored even in a world of television, video games, smartphones and social networks. For some, food is just another form of entertainment. Do you eat when you’re bored?

When you’re tempted to snack out of boredom, do something that doesn’t involve food. Play a board game or develop a hobby. Make it a rule not to multitask during meals.

Keep it Real

Not all emotional eating is bad for you. It’s natural to celebrate a special event, ike a birthday, with food. It’s only a problem when it’s frequent or involves a medical issue.

If every life event triggers emotional eating, it’s time for a change. Save celebratory meals for special occasions, and learn to enjoy life with activities other than food.

Do You Have to Do Cardio to Lose Weight?

Is Cardio Necessary for Weight Loss

People who are out to lose weight are constantly being told different things about the best way to go about it. There are always fitness and diet crazes telling you the very best way to get lean and do it fast. Cardio is one of the things that is often touted as being key to weight loss, but is that true?

What is Cardio?

First off, what is cardio? Cardio refers to exercise that gets your heart pumping and the sweat going, such as running, kickboxing, dance classes or rowing. The idea is that these activities burn off many calories and can lead to weight loss.

While cardio can absolutely help you lose weight, you don’t have to do cardio to lose weight. Essentially, to lose weight you need to take in less calories than you burn through. To lose a pound, you need to cut or burn 3500 calories.

You can do this different ways. Either cut 3500 calories from your diet, for instance by slashing your daily consumption by 500 calories a day for a week – or you need to eat the same and burn off 3500 extra calories in a week through exercise. You can also do a combination of these two methods – burn 300 calories a day through exercise and cut 200 calories a day from your diet, for example. This will lead to a weight loss of roughly a pound per week, which is a very healthy weight loss pace.

The reasons why people tout cardio as being good for weight loss are that:

  1. You tend to burn calories quickly when doing cardio workouts, so it’s pretty easy to use it to jumpstart weight loss. Speed walking for an hour on a treadmill can easily burn 400-500 calories at a clip.
  2. Working out builds muscle in addition to burning calories, and muscle makes the body work more efficiently, even at rest. What does this mean for weight loss? It means that if you work out regularly you are burning more calories all the time, even when you are just sitting and watching television in the evenings.

While this means cardio is great for weight loss, it certainly isn’t the only way. If you have an injury or health problems that make it unsafe too do csrdio, you can lose weight through cutting back on calories alone.

Strength Training

Another option if you want to work out and lose weight without cardio is strength training, explains WomensHealth. In strength training, you use weight resistance machines and/or lifting weights to get fit and toned. This can be easier on your body than the jarring motion of running, for instance, but it still builds muscle mass and as mentioned, muscle burns calories.

Always remember to speak to your doctor before starting any exercise routine, whether cardio or strength training to make sure your body is up for the challenge. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor before changing your diet dramatically.

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/cardio-vs-weight-training

https://www.sharecare.com/health/weight-loss/have-do-cardio-lose-weight

How Eating Slowly Can Help You Lose Weight

Eat Slow, Lose Weight

It may sound too easy to be true, but even the most ancient texts that we’ve been able to translate describe how eating more slowly is a great way to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Today, scientists and medical professionals understand that eating more slowly triggers a number of beneficial reactions in the body, with the end result being the body slowly adjusting to a healthy weight.

Here are 4 few ways you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle by eating more slowly:

Schedule Longer Meal Times

Many of us today live in a hectic and fast-paced modern environment, and are used to gulping down drinks and “grabbing” a “quick bite” to eat in between other activities. When you begin to eat more slowly, meal times will last longer, so be sure to adjust your schedule accordingly. Instead of wolfing down a few bites during a 15-minute break period, try bringing a healthy lunch to work and savoring it slowly over the full hour break in the middle of your shift.

Chopsticks

Scientists have studied the speed at which lifelong chopsticks users in Asia and other parts of the world eat in comparison to Americans and other westerners who use forks and knives. The results clearly showed that even “professional” chopsticks eaters consume their food more slowly. Beginners will find that concentrating on mastering the technique will help in eating more slowly as well. Once you become more proficient, you will see how chopsticks can only lift a small amount of food during each pass, giving you an extra opportunity to slow down as you eat.

If chopsticks are too difficult for you to master, or if you are finding their use frustrating, another option is to try using your fork, spoon, or knife in your non-dominant hand. By concentrating on lifting the fork or spoon to your mouth when using your non-dominant hand, you will be forced to slow down for every single bite.

Focus on the Food

Sometimes we’re so used to eating quickly that we are barely conscience of what foods we are putting in our bodies. Every time you eat, close your phone, computer, television, and shut off other distractions so that you can properly appreciate and enjoy every single bite. Lift the fork or spoon to your nose and give yourself time to identify and savor the complex aromas. Once the food is in your mouth, chew it slowly, giving your tongue time to experience and identify the ingredients. Not only will this help you lose weight but you’ll find yourself gaining greater satisfaction from your favorite foods.

Eat Often

Although you should always thoroughly chew and enjoy every meal slowly, that doesn’t mean that you should go for long periods without eating. After waking, and throughout the day, be sure to eat a meal or snack about every 2-3 hours. Of course, healthy food and beverage options in combination with a physical fitness regime will increase the weight loss effects of eating frequent meals more slowly.

SOURCES:

http://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/lose-weight-by-eating-slowly/

http://greatist.com/health/ask-expert-will-eating-slowly-help-me-lose-weight

http://www.wikihow.com/Lose-Weight-by-Eating-Slowly

How Many Meals Should I Eat in a Day to Lose Weight

How Many Times to Eat Per Day for Weight Loss

When you decide that it’s time to get in better shape, one of the first things you’ll naturally do is head online and start looking up meal plans. Saying that the results brought forth by a simple Google search of “healthy diet plans” are conflicting is an understatement.

Some will recommend juice cleanses and water fasts before starting your new diet, while others will suggest you cut out all snacks and stick to three solid meals a day. Others still will recommend forgoing any sacrifices and instead eating more meals throughout the day, just smaller and healthier so you’re never hungry. Which way is the right way? How can you follow a diet plan that will keep you feeling satiated and satisfied while still allowing you to lose weight?

What is a Diet?

First, let’s look at what a diet is. Diet, by definition is not simply a meal plan one follows until they reach a desired weight. A diet is “the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats.” (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary). What does this mean in relation to you reaching your fitness goal? It means that you shouldn’t just follow a meal plan for a set period of time. You shouldn’t go on a diet, but rather change your existing one.

The opinion on whether three meals or five to six meals a day is widely debated, but it’s been demonstrated by research that the amount of meals consumed per day doesn’t have as large of a metabolic effect on our bodies as the content of those meals.

You can either eat three larger meals and burn those calories off toward the end of the day, or you can simply consume more frequent meals of a lesser caloric content and still exercise. One thing that’s agreed upon by every nutritionist is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Whether you plan to eat five meals, snack healthily or stick to three, breakfast is essential as it boosts your metabolism. Studies have shown that people who skip the first meal of the day often wind up consuming more calories by the time the day is over.

Assess Your Current Situation

The first thing you need to do when you decide you want to lose weight is assess what you eat now. The recommended caloric intake for an adult male and female is 2500 and 1200 respectively, though there are many contributory factors that you can review here.

Once you’ve calculated how much you’ve been consuming and how much you should be consuming, you can begin to look at your actual diet. Do you eat a lot of processed foods? Fast food? Meals packed with fats, sugars and sodium? If so, start swapping out your unhealthy dishes for ones that are lean and packed with nutrients instead of empty calories.

You can still eat meat, but instead of having your serving of beef come in the form of a processed and fatty patty, make it a healthy, homemade burger like the ones featured on BBC Good Food with fries swapped for sweet potato wedges.

Familiarize yourself with the human body’s daily nutritional needs and begin to look up meal plans that seek to fulfill those, combining your new diet with frequent exercise. Not only will you be able to lose weight, but you’ll also find it easier to keep the weight off in the future since you won’t be having to readjust your eating habits repeatedly to maintain your figure.

What’s the difference between hunger and appetite

Hunger vs Appetite: What’s The Difference?

Have you ever noticed that you may feel hungry, but when you see the food choices (think your high school’s cafeteria food), your appetite disappears? Depending on food preferences, our appetites can be affected by many different factors such as emotional health, hormone levels and the specific food available.

Our appetite is in control our cravings for food. It is influenced by our sensory reaction to food.

What is Appetite?

Hunger and appetite are two very different mechanisms. Appetite is associated with one’s behavior. It is a conditioned response to food and how it makes us feel when we eat it. Think of your appetite as the desire to eat. How many times have you been totally full after eating, but when you walk passed a bakery and smell your favorite freshly baked bread, you felt compelled to turn around to get some? This is because we are conditioned to want the things we like. If bread was not one of your preferred foods, then the aroma would have no impact and you would simply continue walking.

Being satiated can also be affected by our mood, emotional health, as well as the way we connect to food through our emotional state. Our food choices also affect our level of fullness. For example, food that is made of low-quality fat products will leave a person feeling satisfied, but in general, contains very little nutritional value. In the end, the person has only consumed something that was very high in fat and calories.

When we think of “junk food”, we think of fried food, cakes, cookies, ice cream and chips. It is almost as if we are programmed to automatically think negatively about a healthier food option because subconsciously we are thinking it will not satisfy our craving.

If this same person who was craving the “junk food” consumed an avocado, the health benefits would have been far greater. Although avocados are high in fat, it’s a good fat and they are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. When eating for our appetites, we do not give our brains the time it needs to register that we are full. We are eating simply for the enjoyment.

What is Hunger?

On the other hand, hunger is biological need to eat. We feel hunger when our bodies send signals to us that it is running low on resources and needs refueling.

To define hunger, one can say that when you hear that growling in the pit of stomach, it’s time to feed it the beast. When your body is running low on reserves, it sends messages to our brains. That is where the grumbling and rumbling comes from. This also happens when it has been hours and your insulin level drops. Hunger is not a conditioned response to food as is your appetite.

Keep in mind though that if you are used to eating at certain times and then you are on a diet, your body will still send messages at those times because it was in the habit of you eating then. This is more of a conditioned response or a habit.

Source: http://eating-made-easy.com/hunger-vs-appetite-whats-the-difference/