Weight Loss Basics: Obvious…or Not?

Weight Loss Basics: Obvious…or Not?

Everything in this post should be obvious.  But sometimes we ignore the obvious in favor of the expedient.  So it’s always worth a quick review!

As we all know, if you want to lose weight the two indisputable universal factors are healthy eating and exercise. In fact, everything you will ever read about how to lose weight will fall into one of these two categories.  That said, here are some simple, but very effective tips to remind you of the obvious.

Walk!

We all have to get around.  So walk whenever possible.  Even if you have to drive to get where you are going, stop looking for that close parking spot.  Park on the other side of the lot and force yourself to walk!  Forget the elevator and take the stairs.  Walk!  Best of all, you don’t have to make time to fit these walks in.  You have to go anyway!  Just don’t be lazy.  Look at it as an opportunity.

Exercise First

If you exercise first thing in the morning, your body is a lot more likely to actually burn away fat.  This is because when you are asleep, it is as though you are fasting.  So when you wake up, your body is in a state of low blood sugar and a high amount of fat-burning hormones like adrenaline.  So by doing cardio exercising first thing, research shows you end up burning more calories and fat than exercising during other times of the day.

If You Are Going to Eat Carbs Do It After Exercising

This is called carb backloading, eating complex carbohydrates after intense exercise that was done after essentially fasting, i.e., sleeping.  The benefit of this that the carbs you consume after the workout will not be stored as fat, but will by your cells to replenish depleted amounts of glycogen.

So you can kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, by exercising early and then enjoying your complex carbs for breakfast.

Brrrr.. Cold Showers!

A cold shower is great for waking you up.  But it can also help you lose weight since your body will use up calories trying to warm itself.  Cool! (pun intended)  In addition, the shocking cold increases your levels of adrenaline and testosterone.

Don’t Drink Sugar. Drink Water.

You want to lose weight and save money?  Drink water.  Very simple.  Enough with the soda that is dripping with sugar.  Just switching to water alone is enough to improve your health and lower that number on your scale.  It’s wasted calories!  And for what?  A candy hit?  Grow up.  And that includes all the fancy coffees and cappuccinos that are loaded with fat-giving cream.  Oh yah…and chuck the beer too.  Okay, okay, I hear you.  Fine, you can cheat with a periodic light beer.  But the bottom line is drink water.  Believe it or not, drinking water will even accelerate your metabolism!

Get More Sleep

Most Americans are sleep deprived.  We are also mostly overweight.  It could be that there is a correlation here since sleeping helps burn fat!  So sleep often and sleep well to maximize all of your fat burning opportunities.

Eat Slower

Slow eating will not, in and of itself, help you lose weight.  It’s not like exercising your jaw more or less is going to burn calories.  It’s psychological, but it works.  If you chew slower and eat slower you will feel fuller and your food will digest easier.  Consequently, you will also end up eating less.

So there you have it.  Hopefully, there was nothing new here for you.  But if there was or if you have been ignoring the obvious, time to get back to basics.

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The Top 5 Foods for Healthy Living

The Top 5 Foods for Healthy Living

Every article about healthy eating that you read will tell you that one of the most important factors in living a long and healthy life is the foods you eat.  The typical article will push vegetables, fruit and exercise.  And they are definitely right.  They will also tell you that if you are eating grains you should only eat whole grains which still contain all of their vitamins and nutrients before being washed away in the processing.

But in this article we want to boil it down to the most healthy foods that a person can eat in order to get the most nutrients one can.  Eating these foods regularly as part of your ongoing healthy diet will certainly help most people to live a longer and healthier life. 

Not only that, but each of the five we have chosen, are not only among the healthiest foods that are easily available, but they are also extremely versatile.  That means it is very easy to prepare and fit them into your regular menus.  It will not be necessary to learn to cook all over again and taste things you’ve never heard of before.  It’s just a matter of getting more of the right foods that have the right ingredients for your improved health!

So here we go with Dietgirl’s list of the Top 5 Foods for Healthy Living

1. Berries (Cranberries) 

Another  delicious and very healthy food is berries.  Not only can they be easily incorporated into your meals, but they are great for a snack. All berries have antioxidants that are important for your diet. Cranberries, in particular, are very high in antioxidants, but all berries are benefitial and should be enjoyed often.

2. Quinoa (Whole Grains)

All whole grains are far better to eat than processed grains.  But quinoa is in a class of its own. Please note that by itself, quinoa has a bland taste, but you can fix that easily with some garlic, salt, lemon or oils.  Better yet, just grab a few recipes off the internet and you will see that it is quite easy to jazz it up.  It’s worth that extra little effort because quinoa is very high in  fiber and in protein, and is an excellent source of magnesium and iron. 

3. Salmon

Naturally filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and other terrific nutrients, salmon is one of the best foods on the planet that a person can eat.  This one grilled piece of fish has almost everything in it that your diet requires. And on top of all that it is low in fat and bad cholesterol, but high in good cholesterol.  Quinoa makes a terrific add to everyone’s diet.

4. Spinach (Greens)

As mentioned above, green vegetables are very important to your diet.  And some of them can be important sources for calcium  fiber, protein, and other important slices of the nutrition pie. Interestingly, spinach does not provide all the benefits that collard greens and kale do, but since spinach is easier to mix into your recipes and add to your menu in ways beyond a simple salad, we have focused on it over all other greens. 

5. Soy

By now, everyone has heard of soy.  Unfortunately, this unique incredible food does require learning how to cook it.  But it is so worth it.  Soy is simply a fantastically healthy food. It has fiber, protein, Omega-3, calcium, vitamins, —almost everything a person could want from a meal. The good news is that soy can also be found in lots of foods, as vegetarians can find soy cheeses, soy meats, tofu and other things that can all be used to help you find ways to include soy in as many meals as you want.

So there you have it!  The Top 5 Food for Healthy Living.  Bon appetite!

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The Top 9 Exercise Lies Many People Believe

The Top 9 Exercise Lies Many People Believe

Get up and go! That’s all it takes, right? Not so fast! Many things that people think are true about exercise are actually wrong. Like anything else, if you don’t do it right, you are unlikely to get the results you expect. So let’s cut the fat and slim on down to the facts.

Lie Number 1. You will always achieve your goals if you stick with your exercise program.

Well, obviously, this depends on your goals and your program. Goals must be realistic and your exercise program must be designed with you in mind. Not everybody responds the same to the same exercise program. Given each of our genetics, it is likely that your personal gains in speed, power and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know.

Lie Number 2. You can lose as much weight as you want just through exercise.

Exercise is very important. But it will not do the job alone. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is dependent on many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. As discussed above, not everybody will lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. Believe it or not, it is possible to be active and still be overweight. You won’t believe how many black belts in karate I have known who were quick, strong and talented, but they just could not lose their beer bellies! Nevertheless, even though exercise by itself probably will not guarantee you reach your desired weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important variables in achieving a healthy and fit body.

Lie Number 3. You will burn more fat with low intensity workouts.

It’s a darn lie! The truth is that you will burn up more calories per minute the faster you move. The problem is that high-intensity exercise may be hard to maintain in the beginning, so most people are not able to exercise very long pushing so hard. Because of this, it is much safer and more practical to start out at a lower intensity and gradually work your way up. In general, the main benefit of low intensity exercise, other than as a starting point, is that it is less stressful on joints. However, the bottom line is that fat reduction depends on the total energy cost or how many calories are used up when exercising.

Lie Number 4. With specific exercises anyone can build their arm muscles or get a six-pack.

It’s just not true. What is true is that specific exercises will definitely tone and strengthen specific areas of your body. But if you have fat there you may not be able to see those strengthened muscles as they are covered with your fat! Not only that, but you cannot control where you will lose fat on your body through dieting or exercise. That is all genetic. That’s why being careful with what and how much you eat goes hand in hand with exercise. It’s a package deal. The good news is that research continues to show that any exercise is better than no exercise. For example, regular walking or even gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to help a person feel more energetic and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Lie Number 5. People who are obese are not likely to benefit too much from exercise.

That’s outright nonsense. Everybody benefits from exercise and everybody should consult with their doctor before beginning any workout program. Those who are very overweight probably need much more professional oversight and guidance so they do not try to do too much too quickly. But the truth is that research shows that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of the fact that they are so overweight. Even a little bit of exercise is significantly better than no exercise.

Lie Number 6. If your goal is to lose weight, forget about strength training since it’s going to bulk you up.

Life is about balance. Your body needs cardiovascular exercise, such as aerobics or running, as well as strengthening, through push ups, planks or weight lifting. Strength workouts help increase muscle mass and decrease your body fat ratio. Everyone needs both.

Lie Number 7. Yoga and Tai Chi may be enjoyable but the fitness benefits are still unsubstantiated.

That may have been true years ago. But more recent research clearly illustrates that these exercise forms are quite beneficial in multiple ways. Some of these benefits include, improvements in coordination, flexibility, posture, balance, strength and stress management. Tai Chi has even been shown to help improve fibromyalgia and pain in the lower back.

Lie Number 8. Exercise programs in water are mainly for seniors and the handicapped.

Just because water fitness programs are primarily marketed to the handicapped and seniors, does not mean that they aren’t terrific alternatives for all of us. Water exercise offers many benefits, such as going easier on the joints, but don’t be fooled. These fitness programs can be just as challenging and successful for improving fitness and losing weight as any other. There are many athletes who incorporate water fitness programs into their workouts.

Lie Number 9. The best way to get healthy and lose weight is by going to a gym.

Poppycock! The best workout is one you are going to do! It has to be at least somewhat enjoyable, convenient, easily accessible and affordable. In fact, studies have shown that many people strongly prefer a home-based fitness program for all of these reasons! So ignore the hype about the latest fitness fads and trendy exercise equipment and facilities. Your best workout is what fits into your schedule, budget and needs. Do what works for you. But ya gotta do it!

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How Accurate Is Your Fitness Tracker?

How Accurate Is Your Fitness Tracker?

Wearable fitness trackers have become an ongoing trend in both the fitness and tech industry. Whether you’re at the gym or at work, you’ll see people wearing fitness trackers everywhere. But the question is, how do they actually work? How helpful are they for your workouts and are they actually worth spending hundreds of dollars on?

Fitness trackers come in all different shapes and sizes, and can be worn in different ways. They can be paired with your smartphone to use the many apps that are available to download that let further track your workouts and view your daily calorie intake. Most of them are worn on the wrist like a watch and rely on a heart rate monitor sensor that detect changes in the color of blood, which represents blood oxygenation, to calculate things like how many calories you’re burning. However, the heart rate monitors used on fitness trackers are far from perfect because there are many other factors that can affect the oxygenation of blood. The best fitness trackers do not rely on just heart rate monitors alone, but they also rely on tracking your movement. Still, fitness trackers that track your movement may not be the best way to track your workouts since it may not catch every time that you’re active.

Like we mentioned before, counting calories may actually be ineffective since we don’t exactly know how the accurate number of calories we’re consuming and burning. So for this reason alone, many people may not see the point in buying a fitness tracker. But, a fitness tracker can be a great tool to track your general daily activity and provide much more information on how you sleep. As long as you know there is a limit to what a fitness tracker can do, you may want to invest in one depending on what you are looking for.

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Quick and Easy Weight Loss Tips and Adjustments

Quick and Easy Weight Loss Tips and Adjustments

Many people may think that losing weight is a long, hard, and strenuous journey and although the journey may vary from person to person, it can actually be pretty easy. We guarantee that small lifestyle changes and adjustments will make your weight loss journey much easier! Here are some quick and easy tips:

Drink Tea
Tea is proven to burn fat, boost metabolism, and reduce stress. Drinking a cup of tea will surely be a great way to start the morning.

Make a Smoothie
If you aren’t a big fan of tea, then you may want to start off your day with a smoothie. Use high fiber vegetables, milk or water, and some fruits and you’ll feel good and have loads of energy.

Track your Heart Rate
Tracking your heart rate while working out is important so you get the most out of all of your workout sessions. You get your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age by 220 and you find the minimum by multiplying that number by 0.7 By staying between these numbers while working out, you will see amazing results.

Find Healthy Substitutions
There are many delicious and healthy substitutions for unhealthy junk food. For example, Wendy Williams told E! News that she drinks coconut water and kale chips instead of soda or potato chips. Cut out snacks high in sugar or sodium and go for high fiber and protein snacks.

Cute Gym Outfit
Many people feel more motivated to exercise if they have the appropriate clothes or gear to workout in. Treat yourself by buying some cute gear and we’re sure you’ll enjoy working out in them.

Avoid Carbs at Night
By not eating carbs at night, you are doing yourself a huge favor. It means more fat burning hormones are being released while you sleep and it helps many overweight people lose almost half of their weight.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar
According to a Japanese study, two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar were enough to help obese participants noticably lose weight in just 8 weeks. You can even mix it with different ingredients to make it taste good.

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Can Caffeine Make Your Workout Better?

Can Caffeine Make Your Workout Better?

Caffeine is one the most well known and accessible stimulants consumed by many people around the world on a daily basis. Sometimes on a multiple basis daily. It is great at helping anyone who drinks it feel more alert, and can help some people stay awake for long periods of time. If taken an hour or so before exercise, it can even help boost athletic performance tremendously. Not only can caffeine help an athlete feel more alert but it can also allow athletes to run, bike, and swim for longer and faster. It also allows exercise to feel less exhausting and it makes it easier for the muscle to burn fat. But, many coaches or trainers believe that caffeine would only boost performance if athletes would avoid consuming any type of caffeine prior to a big event. However, a new study proves that someone can drink a cup of coffee everyday and still have boost from the caffeine.

Bruno Gualano, a professor of physiology and nutrition at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, recruited 40 male cyclists to prove that caffeine will always boost athletic performance no matter how often an athlete consumes it. He and his team divided up the cyclists in to three teams: low-caffeine group, moderate-caffeine group, and a high-caffeine group. First, they were each given a caffeine pill, then an identical-looking pill as a placebo, and then no pill at all. After the 3 trials, the researchers compared their times. Almost all of the riders completed their ride 3.3 percent faster on average after they took a caffeine pill compared to when they had had no pill and 2.2 percent faster than after they took the placebo. The results were all the same among the three groups no matter how much caffeine drinks they usually had.

If you would like to have a better workout and feel less exhausted while exercising, we suggest you drink a cup of coffee an hour before! But we suggest doing everything in moderation and start off with small doses. One cup would be enough to help make your workouts easier!

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Fitness is for Any Person of Any Size

Fitness is for Any Person of Any Size

Body-shaming is real, and it is horrible. This is especially the case when the victims are trying their best to get on the track to fitness, and are being ridiculed despite their efforts instead of being cheered on. People deserve to be treated better and feel welcomed when it comes to their participation in fitness, regardless of their appearance, abilities, and level of mastery.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying fit is something that everyone has the right to do, and no one should be judged on how they decide to handle it. A predominant myth about people who may appear overweight is that they only workout to get thinner and that it is their only goal. Another myth is that if they just put in a little more work or try just a little harder, they would become skinnier. Neither of those are true. Many people that are overweight say that they are constantly body-shamed even by fitness trainers and gym members when they try to workout on a regular basis. These experiences can not only discourage them from trying to reach their goals, but also psychologically affect them. A positive and welcoming mindset towards any person that may have suffered from experiences like this can really make a difference.

Always keep in mind that the smallest thing you say or do can affect a person for a long time either negatively or positively and that you can always help! Many fitness trainers think that clients that are too overweight should give up because they can not be taken seriously. This mindset needs to be changed because anyone can start their fitness journey at any point, and it is never too late. Fitness trainers need to be more welcoming to people who have had terrible experiences regarding their weight or size. There needs to be more diversity amongst fitness trainers, to provide a healthy and systematic way for people of all different sizes to reach their goals. Although it is not a requirement for anyone of any size to be engaged in physical activity, it is important for us, as people, to be accepting and respectful of others, no matter what.

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How to Squeeze Exercise into your Travels

How to Squeeze Exercise into your Travels

It goes without saying that it’s important to stick to your exercise routine into your daily life. That also applies to your travels. Whether you’re on a business trip or a family vacation, you must devote time to work out, even if at a lesser capacity. It doesn’t take much to get on that slippery slope once your routine gets broken, nor does it take much to regain what was lost due to inactivity during travels.

Here are some great ways to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise while you are traveling:

Pack Fitness Gear
Many people feel more motivated to exercise if they have the appropriate clothes or gear to work out in. Pack your workout clothes so you have more motivation workout even while you’re on vacation!

Take Breaks While Traveling
If you are traveling to your vacation spot by car, take a break. For example when you get out of your car to buy some snacks or fill up your car with gas, stretch a little or even walk around for a few minutes. You will feel more energized and you may even drive better.

Take A Hike
If your vacation spot is at a scenic place, go for a hike! You can enjoy the views and also get a quick workout done. Explore the area without having to take a car.

Take Advantage Of Local Facilities
If you’re staying at hotel, find out if there is a gym. If not, you can even go to the pool and go for a swim! Swimming is a great way to burn calories and also have fun with your family if it’s a family trip.

Stick To What You Normally Do
As mentioned before, sticking to any routine is important even while you are on vacation. It is also important to somehow incorporate your exercise routine if you are busy throughout the day. If you are a morning person, try waking up an hour earlier and go for a jog. If your day was busy, unwind with a quick and relaxing yoga session. Do some squats, jumping jacks, pushups, and arm exercises while at your hotel room. Bottom line: don’t look for an excuse to not exercise- look for opportunities to actually do it!

 

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The World of a Fitness Model

The World of a Fitness Model

What do you typically notice as you scroll through images of fitness models on social media? They seem to be living quite the grand life, aren’t they? They’re looking great, and often appear to be posing in their ultra-cute sponsored outfits, in settings with some form of clever product placement, simply enjoying the fruits of a privileged life, right? Wrong. They’re just like the rest of us, and battle their own demons in terms of insecurities and struggles. There’s a lot of hustle behind each of their successes, especially when it comes to upkeep. The upkeep itself is similar, yet also different from that of bodybuilders, as seen in the infographic below by Boston Mobile Dance:

According to a feature on Shape magazine, there’s so much more that goes into being a fitness model. An NYC-based fitness model, Chelsea Aguiar, says that she has been working on loving her own body her whole life, but things were rarely ever rainbows and butterflies. She said that “For every 100 casting calls you go to, you may get two jobs”. A common misconception is that it’s easy for a fitness model to land their gigs because they look so perfect, but many companies don’t necessarily think so for their own set of reasons. Fitness models do get rejected and although at times it can be hard, they learn to get comfortable with this rejection.

Fitness models have their share of insecurities and are not resistant to harsh comments or bullying that they regularly deal with on social media. Fitness models also have to be able to perform like athletes so there is a lot more pressure on them than meets the eye. Aguiar says that it can be both “overwhelming and scary”. There is also no such thing as short-term dieting for fitness models because they always have to consistently stick to a very healthy diet since they can be called for a job ion short notice.

Aguiar also says that “It’s important that as the fitness industry continues to expand, we don’t reinforce misconceptions of what ‘ideal health’ looks like.” She thinks it’s very important for the fitness industry to promote models of all different sizes for more women to become strong and confident. It takes hard work and dedication for a fitness model to earn their success but at the end it’s always worth it, because ultimately their goal is to inspire others to strive to become the best version of themselves.

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