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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The Truth About Water Pills

The Truth About Water Pills

Water pills, also known as diuretics, are one of the most commonly prescribed pills by doctors to reduce blood pressure, treat heart failure, and to lower down swelling. However, nowadays, many people tend to self prescribe water pills to lose weight temporarily or even ease bloating. But after learning these facts about water pills, you may want to steer clear from self-prescribing them for weight loss or bloating.

It may be tempting to pick up some over the counter water pills to ease your bloating but it can also be very risky. The difference between over the counter water pills and prescription water pills is that you don’t know what’s actually in the OTC water pills since they aren’t controlled by the FDA. Additionally, they can cause serious damage to your body when you take them without knowing the recommended dose you should be taking.

Water pills may help you feel less bloated, but it only works temporarily since you’re losing water weight. Once you stop taking them, you’ll return to your normal body weight or in some cases, you may even end up gaining more weight. This happens when you take water pills or any other diuretic over an extended period of time because your kidneys may end up holding on to much more weight than you had before you started taking them.

So instead of taking water pills that may not even guarantee weight loss, focus on your diet more and exercise. Before taking any kind of medication, always talk to a doctor!

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The Healthy Way to Lose 15 Pounds in One Month

The Healthy Way to Lose 15 Pounds in One Month

Losing 15 pounds in one month can sound like an extremely dangerous and hard task to accomplish. Some may even deem it as impossible while others may think it’s possible only using unhealthy techniques. However, it actually is possible to lose 15 pounds in one month in a very healthy manner by following a few simple and easy guidelines:

Reduce your Caloric Intake

While counting your calories may not always work, reducing the amount of calories you intake can make a major difference. An average woman needs to eat around between 1,600 and 2,400 calories and an average man needs to to eat 2,000 to 3,000 calories to maintain weight. However this all depends on age, lifestyle, general health, height and weight. In order to lose weight, you can start by cutting off as much as 500-1,000 calories on a daily basis..

Increase your Protein Intake

By increasing your protein intake, you can feel more full for a longer period of time and it can also help boost your metabolism. The best protein sources include meat, fish, beans, nuts, and eggs.

Perform Cardiovascular Exercise

Select a cardiovascular exercise you’ll enjoy doing over the course of 30 days. Doing cardiovascular exercises regularly is a great way to lose weight and increase metabolism rate in a healthy and efficient way.

Protect your General Health

Along with all of the other tips, it’s important to not neglect your general health. By cutting down calories, make sure to not end up starving yourself or eating unhealthy foods that are low in calories. Make sure to get eight hours of sleep and take vitamins if you need them. If you notice any negative changes, be sure to see your doctor.

Want some more information about how to lost weight the fast and healthy way? Check out the great infographic below! The insights are awesome, without too much information overload- and it’s easy to get started!

How to lose weight

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Run Smart, Not Hard

Run Smart, Not Hard

It takes a lot of determination to be able to have the motivation for going on a run on a regular basis, but fortunately there are many benefits that come along with it. Running is great for losing weight, preventing diseases, and is also an excellent stress reliever. However, you will only see these benefits last for long if you’re running properly. You may feel confused right now and it’s completely understandable because you may be thinking that there is no “proper” way to run. Many people might think that it only has to do with moving your legs but there is actually way more to it than that- there’s a whole strategy and technique behind it!

A running coach, Michael Olzinski, says “The most common thing that I seem to point out every week to runners is simply the way they position their upper body, namely their shoulders, arms, and upper torso.” Although that may sound strange at first, your upper body has to do a lot with when your legs give up while running. The more relaxed your arms and shoulders are, the faster and longer you will be able to run.

Proper Running Form Cues InfographicBefore going for a run, it is important to always do warm up exercises that incorporate the upper body. It is also important to mentally prepare yourself to feel relaxed before you go for a run. According to many runners, the mind can be your greatest obstacle and that you can actually keep running even if your mind tells you to stop. The same rules apply for the treadmill as well. Even if your mind is constantly telling you to stop, you should push yourself to always reach your running goal. Another mistake many runners make is doing the same running routine everyday. Although it’s great to have a routine, sometimes it’s good to switch it up a little! So the next time you go for a run, be sure to keep these tips in mind and you will see many lasting results!

 

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Weight Loss Myths And The Truth Behind Them

Weight Loss Myths And The Truth Behind Them

Every year or so, a new weight loss trend spreads either through social media or from what celebrities suggest. Yet sometimes these trends don’t actually work and may even make it harder for some people to lose weight. Here are some weight loss myths that many people who are on their weight loss journey may hear, and the truth behind them:

Carbs are Bad for You
A common misconception that many people tend to believe is that any form of carbs are terrible for you. Complex carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, etc.) are actually very important for providing energy. However like any other food group, portion sizes and what you eat the carbs with are important to control.

Skip Meals
Skipping meals is never a good idea. Not only will you end up gaining more weight, but people who skip meals, like breakfast, are more likely to develop heart diseases and mess up their metabolism rate.

Diet Pills are a Quick Solution
Any dietary pill or supplements that claim to have quick results are never long term solutions and can possibly end up being extremely dangerous! Most diet pills are not regulated by the FDA. Your body may react very badly to some of the ingredients and there are many negative side effects that come with it.

Cut off Whole Food Groups
Many people believe cutting off dairy or gluten is healthier. However, cutting off gluten and dairy also means losing out on calcium, protein, and carbs that your body needs. This can lead to serious long term effects.

Always Count Your Calories
According to many dietitians, counting calories may actually be a complete waste of time. Firstly, you don’t actually know how many calories your body needs or ends up absorbing.  Sometimes, many nutritional panels will not even have an accurate calorie count as the FDA allows up to a 20 percent margin of error. Instead of constantly counting your calorie intake, go for healthier food choices, and remember that moderation is key.

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Everything you Need to Know about Hunger Pains

Everything you Need to Know about Hunger Pains

Hunger pains are caused by contractions in the stomach as a reaction to feeling hungry or having an empty stomach. However, many people do not know that hunger pains can also happen even when the body does not need food. Sleep deprivation, dehydration, hormones, and medication side effects can all be causes of hunger pains.

Hunger pains feel like a gnawing in your stomach. Along with the sensation in your stomach, you may feel tired, lightheaded, and have cravings for specific foods. Sometimes these types of hunger pains can even be the reason why many people have a hard time sticking to a diet.

In response to an empty stomach, a hormone called ghrelin is released. Ghrelin signals the body to release stomach acids to digest food in your stomach, but if your stomach is empty, the stomach acids can attack the linings of the stomach which can cause hunger pains. Ghrelin levels also rise when you eat junk foods containing high amounts of sugar or carbs which can also cause hunger pains. Even smells or pictures of foods can trigger physical symptoms. People who have diabetes tend to also have hunger pains when blood sugar is too high or too low. Sometimes antidepressants can intervene with hunger signals and pains as a response.

It is actually really easy to relieve hunger pains. Start eating at regular times so ghrelin is released after you actually eat to digest food. Eat a balanced meal that contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Make sure to fill up on low calorie foods so you feel fuller without having to eat too many calories. Additionally, get enough sleep at night and always stay hydrated! If these do not alleviate your hunger pains, consult a doctor.

Sometimes stomach pains can actually indicate a developing infection or a gastrointestinal disorder and it is always better to be safe than sorry by going to your doctor to get checked and ensure that the pains aren’t actually early stages of something more serious.

 

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