Saturday, April 25, 2009

Super Secrets

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Supposedly, some people lost more weight than others using these super diet secrets (or not so secret, as the case may be):

Cutting out sugary drinks better for weight loss than restricting food - Ask Boots
The people who reduced their 'liquid calories' during the course of the study lost more weight than people who didn't reduce their liquid calories.
Diets That Reduce Calories Lead to Weight Loss, Regardless of Carbohydrate, Protein or Fat Content - February 25, 2009 -2009 Releases - Press Releases - Harvard School of Public Health
Another important finding was that participants who regularly attended counseling sessions lost more weight than those who didn't.
Diabetes Research Summary - People Will Lose More Weight with a Modified Low-carbohydrate Diet than a Low-fat diet - American Diabetes Association
People on the MLC diet lost more weight than the people on the NCEP diet.
Financial Incentives Can Encourage Weight Loss - ABC News
Overweight employees who were paid a small amount lost more weight than those who weren't compensated for their efforts, according to one of the first studies to examine such a strategy at workplaces.
Weight-Loss Drugs More Effective With Lifestyle Change -- Goldfarb 3 (3): 8 -- DOC News
Over a 1-year period, participants who received the combination of medication and group meetings lost more weight than those who had drug or lifestyle changes alone.
Obesity - A Two-Year Randomized Weight Loss Trial Comparing a Vegan Diet to a More Moderate Low-Fat Diet[ast]
Individuals in the vegan group lost more weight than those in the NCEP group at 1 year [ - 4.9 (- 0.5, - 8.0) kg vs. - 1.8 (0.8, - 4.3); p < 0.05] and at 2 years [ - 3.1 (0.0, - 6.0) kg vs. - 0.8 (3.1, - 4.2) kg; p < 0.05] .
Weight Loss - Complementary -
A preliminary study found that people trying to lose weight using a meal-replacement formula containing soy protein lost more weight than a group not using any formula.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Panic No More

Image via 松林L
Panic No More
Trying to lose weight can put anyone into a panic – that's for sure. So here are some of the more common issues that come up while fighting the battle of the bulge, along with some helpful tips.
I have been reading about stress and weight lately, and came across this article that I found interesting and motivating. It talks directly about eating problems such as pigging out, binge eating, and stress eating and offers tips to deal with each situation. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but there are some good, solid tips that make a good, short read that just might motivate you today.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Image via Wikipedia
I've been out with a cold all day, sleeping most of the day, and only managing to rouse myself enough to eat dinner and check my email. I'm off to bed again, but here are some links of meditation that I found interesting.

User Post: MizFit Meditation: A few minutes a day to a less maniacal me - Healthy Living on Shine
For many moms, exercise is shoved to the bottom of the to-do list beneath what seems like every.single.other.task.
Learning Meditation Home Page
Welcome to Learning Meditation. I hesitate to use the word meditation. To me, as well as many others, the word "meditation" conjures up the picture of a bearded man sitting cross-legged in front of an entrance to a cave or high on a mountain top. Climbing the mountain and reaching him is part of the arduous journey toward self-fulfillment, self-improvement. Once we find him we ask, "What is the meaning of life?" or "How do we achieve peace in ourselves and our lives?" This all-knowing man tells us the answers are "inside ourselves" and tells us to go and contemplate. I don't know if that answer was worth the journey!
YouTube - How to meditate
A video over meditation, how to meditate.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stress, Cortisol and Weight Gain

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Stress, Cortisol and Weight Gain
A recent survey showed Americans find personal health a much more stressful topic than even a year ago. And what's one of the top stress producers for women? You got it - concerns about weight. What many of us don't realize (and what scientists are just starting to understand) is that dieting, Americans' most common solution to weight concerns, doesn't offer any real answers for the majority of us. Instead, it just confuses the picture by adding more stress that can lead to health risks that have nothing to do with too much body fat. What's more, our reaction to stress very often ends up adding even more pounds - exactly opposite to the effect we're seeking.
This article talks about cortisol, the hormone that the body produces when its under stress. Stress is something I’m very familiar with, and I often wonder if it’s at the root of my weight gain. This article brings up an interesting point: what if the dieting itself is hurting my chances of losing weight because of the inherent stress I put myself through to accomplish the goal? It brings up interesting points, and ones I will need to consider further. It’s a good read, I suggest you check it out!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Adrenal Fatigue

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Adrenal Fatigue
Dr. James L. Wilson coined the term "ADRENAL FATIGUE" in 1998 to identify a group of signs and symptoms that people experience as a result of suboptimal adrenal function. This lack of optimal adrenal performance is often associated with the affects of stress on the human body.

Are You Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue?
* Tired for no reason?
* Having trouble getting up in the morning?
* Need coffee, colas, salty or sweet snacks to keep going?
* Feeling run down and stressed?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue: Is there such a thing? -
Adrenal fatigue is a label applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. The term often shows up in popular health books and on alternative medicine Web sites, but it isn't an accepted medical diagnosis.
So, what do you think? Fact or Fiction?

Friday, April 17, 2009

8 Fantastic Fibrous Foods

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8 Fantastic Fibrous Foods | Fitness Destinations
Most studies indicate that Americans don’t get nearly enough fiber, especially with the proliferation of processed foods filled with white flour, which is made only from the fiber-less endosperm of the grain, with none of the bran and germ parts of the grain that provide the fiber. In fact, if you read labels, it’s pretty rare to find any prepared food that has more than a gram or two of fiber. It can make you despair if you think about having to get to the 25 to 38 grams you need every day. So how can you get your daily dose of fiber without eating yourself into a coma? There are some fiber-rich superfoods that can help get you to your daily recommended allowance, without the coma.
This article answers the question about how much fiber we should be getting, whether we should be taking fiber pills or dinks to supplement fiber needs, and why we should even be concerned about fiber in the first place. There is also a good list of fibrous foods that could be used to boost the fiber content of meals.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Menu Planning

Image by iboy_daniel via Flickr
Menu Planning - Meal Planning - Meal Plan
Three Menu Planning Methods
  • The Night Before: This is the method that takes the least forethought. It provides the most control over waste and the opportunity to use up leftovers. Plan at least the dinner you intend to serve the next day and have a good idea for lunch.
  • A Week, Fortnight or Month at a Time: I prefer to plan a fortnight at a time. Others prefer to plan for a week or month. Whichever timespan you choose the process is the same. This method allows you to take good advantage of weekly supermarket sales. It requires you to shop once a week.
  • Rotating Menus: When you are seriously pressed for time and your family is very picky, this is the best method to use. You plan out 10 to 20 complete menus and then rotate them, serving a different one every day. It limits variety, but there are no surprises. Since you are so familiar with each meal you are able to prepare it more quickly, or make and freeze several batches at once and spend the least amount of time in the kitchen.
Hillbilly Housewife talks about three different styles of menu planning. I have to admit, we are a "night before" family. It's more convenient for us to to our grocery shopping in the morning for the entire day. Yes, it might waste a little gas, but honestly the grocery store is very close to our house and we would probably waste more money throwing out wasted food that didn't fit in with our "taste" for the day. A common theme at our dinner table is "What do you want for dinner tomorrow night?" at which time many suggestions come up. I try to pick the healthiest of them, but sometimes I give in.

Like tonight. Tonight we are having frozen pizza.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Calorie Count Recipe Analysis

Image by syvwlch via Flickr
Calorie Count Recipe Analysis
Get the nutrition facts on your favorite recipes
This website will allow you to input your recipe into the fields provided and get back a food label that you can analyze just like the food labels in the store. It's a great resource for keeping track of the nutrition values of your favorite recipes as you change them to become healthier.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Image by Aaron Landry via Flickr
Serving Size : 16
Preparation Time :0:30

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in the water, and let sit
for 10 minutes.

Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in wheat flour and 1/2
cups of the white flour.

Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour
until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled
bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should
take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the
dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite
pizza recipe.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough
on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake
immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan,
and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown,
about 15 to 20 minutes.

"This simple pizza crust is chewy and soft, with a crispy exterior."

"16 slices"

Start to Finish Time:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 106 Calories; 2g Fat (17.3%
calories from fat); 3g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg
Cholesterol; 134mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat;
1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Super Size Me

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Download Super Size Me for Free. Watch Super Size Me Online with Other Documentary Films and Free Movies.
"Super Size Me" is one man's journey into the world of weight gain, health problems and fast food. It's an examination of the American way of life and how we are eating ourselves to death. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock unravels the American obesity epidemic by interviewing experts nationwide and by subjecting himself to a 'McDonald's only' diet for thirty days straight. His Sundance award-winning feature is as entertaining as it horrifying as it dives into corporate responsibility, nutritional education, school lunch programs and how we as a nation are eating ourselves to death.
Watch the documentary file Super Size Me for free at the site above. This movie is very eye opening. I applaud his effort in showing people what fast food can do to you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stress Eating

Image by Getty Images via Daylife
I realized something not so nice about my eating habits the other day. I was doing the taxes (yay, fun!) and I kept "wanting a snack" even though I wasn't hungry. Eventually I broke down and went to Burger King where, you guessed it, I didn't order the healthiest thing on the menu. (To be fair with myself, I stuck to a kid's meal so I didn't go toooo overboard.) I've realized that stress - particularly stress that stems from finances - triggers what I call "fast food hunger". It's the feeling that I need to go out to eat, or to eat something from a gas station such as a bag of chips. It's obviously an emotional response, and one I was unaware of for quite some time.

I never thought I was an emotional eater because for some reason I associated it with feelings of depression or anger. I am an anxious eater. I eat when the anxiety goes over a comfortable level. Since the recession hit our business very hard, anxiety has been a mainstay in our lives.

Here are some good websites on stress eating that I found interesting.

Stress and Emotional Eating: What Causes Emotional Eating?
Cortisol Cravings: Stress can bring on increased levels of cortisol, known as "the stress hormone." Cortisol has a beneficial function in the body, but excessive levels of cortisol brought on by chronic stress can cause a slew of problems in the body. Among other things, high levels of cortisol can create cravings for salty and sweet foods. In previous centuries, this enabled people to bulk up on foods that would sustain them during times when food is scarce; however, in modern times and industrialized nations, when food is rarely scarce, this previously adaptive mechanism causes excess weight gain.
Stop stress eating and lose more weight
Foods to choose, foods to avoid

In addition to general healthy eating guidelines, Stress Eater Diet offers tips on foods to avoid when feeling stress and foods to eat more of to keep moods more balanced.

For instance it says that when you’re feeling stressed, you shouldn’t turn to things that are probably exactly the foods you’re going for now, such as:

* caffeinated beverages, which can worsen anxiety and boost blood pressure
* junk and fast foods, which lack the nutrition to help you fight stress
* carbonated beverages, which can lead to excess carbon dioxide in the body, weakening the immune system
* high cholesterol foods like egg yolks, cheese and nuts, because stress already boosts the body’s cholesterol levels

On the other hand, there are foods that are great to choose to help limit feelings of stress in your daily life:

* foods with tryptophan, like turkey, bananas, red mead and nuts, which increase serotonin levels, making you feel calmer
* foods rich in B vitamins, like leafy greens, beans and tuna, which can boost mood and relieve stress
* foods with magnesium like dairy products, spinach, sweet potatoes and whole grains can improve depression
* selenium, found in some fish, Brazil nuts and green leafy vegetables, also helps the body produce serotonin

* vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), in beef, eggs, many vegetables and
pork, boosts the immune system, making it easier to deal with stress
Weight-loss help: How to stop emotional eating -
  • Learn to recognize true hunger.
  • Know your triggers.
  • Look elsewhere for comfort.
  • Don't keep unhealthy foods around.
  • Snack healthy.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly and get adequate rest.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Food Heroes or Zeroes?

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Food Heroes or Zeroes? - Page 1 - MSN Health & Fitness - Diabetes Meal Planning
The truth is, some people with special risks do need to be cautious about their intake of "scary" foods such as fish, coffee, eggs, wine, and soy. The rest of us are just depriving ourselves of their significant health benefits—from reducing the odds of cardiovascular disease and cancer to preventing blindness. Here's how to get over it.
I found this article interesting. So often I hear warnings about seemingly good-for-you foods and I wonder: are they really all that bad? This article by MSN Health & Fitness helps to dispel some of the red-ticket warnings about popular foods and why they are healthy for you after all.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Body Mass Index (BMI) Charts

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Body Mass Index (BMI) Charts
For years, doctors have used height and weight measurements to assess a child's physical growth in relation to other kids the same age. Now they have another tool: body mass index (BMI). BMI is a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate how much body fat someone has. Doctors use it to determine how appropriate a child's weight is for a certain height and age.
I used this helpful website to show my teenage girls that there is a difference in adult BMI and the BMI for children and teenagers. It helped bring body image issues into the light and showed them that they aren't "fat" after all, no matter what the other kids might say.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Over 100 Quick and Easy Healthy Foods

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Over 100 Quick and Easy Healthy Foods - Stepcase Lifehack
Sometimes cooking takes a lot of time in our life, but we got some good news for you. We gathered an excellent list of cooking recipes which are easy to prepare. There are categories of receipts like Breakfast, Salad Entrees, Soups, Fish, Chicken and Turkey, Lean Meat, Vegetarian Entrees, Side Salad/Dressings, Side Vegetables, and Desserts. You don’t even need to think what to cook tonight!

Anyone who knows me knows I can't cook very well. I try, but I'm just not a natural in the kitchen. I've browsed through this list of recipes and most look easy enough to make and healthy enough to fit in my diet. I'll never be a good cook but hopefully I can find recipes to compensate for that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nutrition facts, calories in food, labels, nutritional information and analysis –
On Nutrition Data, you'll find detailed nutrition information, plus unique analysis tools that tell you more about how foods affect your health and make it easier to choose healthy foods.
This website is amazing. You can find the "food labels" for any food, even things like bananas and eggs where you might not purchase the product with a label on it. My favorite part about this website, however, are the tools it offers free to visitors of the site. Today, for example, my diet was low in protein, high in fat, and right on for carbohydrates. I needed a food that was high in protein, low in fat, and somewhat low in carbs. I utilized the Nutrient Search tool to find a list of foods that would round out today's meals. In the top five I noticed nonfat mozarella cheese, and it was easy peasy to add a bit of it to my salad at dinner. Have I said I love this website?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yoga Basics: Sun Salutation

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Sun Salutation Yoga has a good list of benefits that can be had from the Sun Salutation.
To list some of the benefits of Suryanamaskar:
  • Tones up the digestive system by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs. It activates digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia.
  • Strengthens abdominal muscles.
  • Thoroughly ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.
  • Acts as detoxifying agent, by getting rid of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
  • Tones up the nervous system and improves memory.
  • Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.
  • Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands - especially the thyroid gland.
  • Refreshes the skin. Prevents Skin disorders.
  • Improves muscle flexibility.
  • In women, stimulates the breasts to help firmness normally. Restores any lost elasticity, through stimulation of glands and the strengthening of pectoral muscles.
  • Suppresses menstrual irregularity and assists in easy childbirth.
  • Prevents loss of hair and graying.
  • Helps reduce fat.
  • Reduces abnormal prominence of the Adam's apple.
  • Eliminates unpleasant smells from the body.
  • Lends grace and ease of movements to the body.
  • Revives and maintains the spirit of youthfulness.
  • Broadens chest and beautifies arms.
  • Makes the spine and waist flexible.
  • Produces health, strength, efficiency and longevity.

Yoga Basics: Sun Salutation A | LIVESTRONG.COM
The yoga Sun Salutation pose is a great way to start the day. Proper breathing is very important when executing this yoga pose. Learn yoga basics from a professional fitness trainer in this video on health and fitness.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Image via Wikipedia
StillTasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide - Save Money, Eat Better, Help The Environment
How long will your favorite food or beverage stay safe and tasty? What's the best way to store it? Get the answers for thousands of items!
Have you ever looked in the fridge, saw the boneless, skinless chicken breasts you bought a few days ago, and wondered if you would get sick if you ate it? It still looks good; it smells as good as raw meat can smell. Instead of weighing the odds of getting sick against the loss of money on a product wasted, this website gives the answer to the question: is it still safe to eat?

Searching the website is easy. You can either browse by category or you can do a keyword search from the home page. The answers are clear with a bold graphical interface that is easy to understand.

In the case of the chicken breasts: they last 1-2 days in the fridge. If you bought them three days ago, you should probably throw them out.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Hate Vegetables

Image via Wikipedia
I hate vegetables. It took me years to eat a decent salad, but even then it has to be loaded with a creamy dressing like ranch or blue cheese. I eat them anyway, because I figure that veggies coated with lite ranch dressing (or fat-free dressing when I can find it) are better than no veggies at all. On the plus side, the salads tend to be somewhat healthy, with green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, raw spinach, shredded carrots, radishes, and red cabbage. I'll usually throw in other things like cucumber bits or baby greens if I have them. Sometimes I'll add a bit of shredded cheese or croutons, but I've nearly eliminated the croutons.

They look so good, don't they? All those colors and all that vibrancy just draws you. But the taste! Even a tiny bite of some of those things makes me want to gag.

I just don't like vegetables, and this is one battle my inner brat is winning. I know I need to eat them. I just can't figure out how to actually like eating them. And if I don't like them, how will I eat them for the rest of my life? I don't even like potatoes or corn unless they are loaded with fat (butter, oil, or gravy).

If you have any secrets to share, please do! I want to like vegetables so I can enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Build a Video Workout - Build a Video Workout
It's easy, fast, fun, and best of all, it's FREE! In just 30 seconds you can create your own video workout to target your trouble spots and fit into your schedule. Plus you can use the equipment you already have (or none at all!)
I ran across this website completely by accident and decided to give it a whirl. I set up an account and made my first video in less than 5 minutes. The exercises were well explained even if the music was a bit bland. After the first time or two, I would probably turn off the music to the video and just follow along with the exercises while my own music plays. It's a great tool. Check it out!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Warm Up or Beginner's Workout?

An 1800 depiction of jumping ropeImage via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia
I was reading an article about the proper way to exercise. It goes something like this:

Cardio (3X A Week)
5 minutes warm up (brisk walking, jump rope, etc)
30 minutes cardio (running, swimming, etc)
10 minutes cool down (stretching)

Weight Training (2X A Week)
5 minutes warm up (brisk walking, jump rope, etc)
30 minutes weight training (free weights, machines, etc)
10 minutes cool down (stretching)

The first thing that struck me about this list is that it must be an ultimate goal, not an outline for a beginning exerciser, because there is no way I'm going to be able to do any of this. Jump rope for 5 minutes? As a warm up? I can barely jump rope for 2 minutes total exercise for the day! (Yes, I know I'm woefully out of shape.)

To be honest, it looks like a fine regimen, but for someone like me, that can barely make it through a walk in the park without sitting down, it's discouraging.

I'll keep the list, but for now I'm going to put it away, out of sight. I can't aspire to that right now. I'm going to hyper-focus my goal to just this month and see what I can do. For this month, my goal is to build up my endurance to be able to exercise at 60% of my maximum heart rate for 15 continuous minutes. For me, that would equal 5 minutes of warm up, 5 minutes of cardio or strength training, and 5 minutes of cool-down stretching.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Healthy Dining Finder

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 21:  A Burger King cust...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Healthy Dining Finder
Healthy Dining’s vision is that every restaurant in the U.S. join the Healthy Dining Program to offer their customers a selection of delicious Healthy Dining options … so that dining out is a delicious part of a healthy lifestyle!
I was amused when a quick search of my area brought up Burger King as the closest spot with a healthy menu choice. The top suggestion for an order at BK was a BK VEGGIE® Burger that has 420 calories and 16 grams of fat. Other choices included offerings from Domino's Pizza, Cracker Barrel, Blimpie, and Hooters. It was an informative site and a good resource if you want to eat out. Next time we decide to go out to eat, I'll try to head over there and find the healthiest menu option first!

On a side note, I noticed McDonald's was not anywhere on the list, even though they are very close to my house. Somehow, I'm not surprised.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Humor, Laughter and Health

Image by Getty Images via Daylife
As you come across the myriad of April Fool's Jokes today, remember that while laughter is medicine for the soul, it can be beneficial for the body too!

Humor, Laughter and Health: Bringing more humor and laughter into our Lives
The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. Humor and laughter can cause a domino effect of joy and amusement, as well as set off a number of positive physical effects. Humor and laughter strengthen our immune systems and help us recover from illness, as well as bring joy into our lives. The question is, how do we gain access to this priceless medicine?

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