Monthly Archives: December 2016

Easy to be healthier

1. Give yourself a break

“I spend countless hours doing cardio and never seem to lose that last ten pounds!” is a common complaint I hear from clients. Give yourself permission to shorten your workout. Believe it or not, overtraining could be the problem. Your body can plateau if not given adequate rest to restore itself, ultimately leading to a decline in performance. Fatigue, moodiness, lack of enthusiasm, depression, and increased cortisol (the “stress” hormone) are some hallmarks of overtraining syndrome. Creating a periodization program — breaking up your routine into various training modes — can help prevent overtraining by building rest phases into your regimen. For example, you might weight train on Monday and Wednesday, cycle on Tuesday and Thursday, run on Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday. You can also help balance your program by simply incorporating more variety.

2. Think small

Often the biggest deterrent to improving health is feeling overwhelmed by all the available advice and research. Try to focus first on one small, seemingly inconsequential, unhealthy habit and turn it into a healthy, positive habit. If you’re in the habit of eating as soon as you get home at night, instead, keep walking shoes in the garage or entryway and take a quick spin around the block before going inside. If you have a can of soda at lunchtime every day, have a glass of water two days a week instead. Starting with small, painless changes helps establish the mentality that healthy change is not necessarily painful change. It’s easy to build from here by adding more healthy substitutions.

3. Keep good company

You can do all the right things — but if you have personal relationships with people who have unhealthy habits, it is often an uphill battle. The healthiest people are those who have relationships with other healthy people. Get your family or friends involved with you when you walk or plan healthier meals. Making healthy changes with a loved one can bring you closer together as well as motivate you.

4. Make a list…and check it twice

Take a few minutes and write down all the reasons you can’t begin an exercise program. Then look at the basis of each reason. For instance, if you wrote, “No time” as one of your reasons, then perhaps that’s based on a belief that an exercise program takes a lot of time. Starting with even five minutes a day will have a positive effect because you will have created a healthy habit where one didn’t exist before, and that’s a powerful mental adjustment. A closer look at your list will expose those false beliefs hiding behind each excuse.

5. Sign up for an event

Let’s face it, exercising just for the sake of exercising or losing weight can get boring. Spice things up by signing up for an event like a run/walk race or a cycling ride where you can be part of a team. Doing so gives your workouts a new purpose, and it’s fun to be around others who are exercising just like you — not to mention that most events benefit nonprofit organizations, which doubles your feel-good high.

Loss weight with superfood swaps

Dieters often have an all-or-nothing mentality.

They cut out all their favorite foods – pizza, pasta, tacos, fries and cookies – to lose weight, but then they feel deprived, get discouraged and quit before they’ve reached their goal, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a Chicago-based registered dietitian nutritionist. “I run into this issue with everybody.”

Blatner, who has helped thousands of people trim down over the past 15 years in her private practice and online classes, recommends a different strategy: Satisfy those cravings by swapping superfoods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and other plant-based foods) for C.R.A.P., her acronym for overly processed foods that contain: Chemicals you don’t use in your kitchen; Refined flour and sugar; Artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors; and Preservatives.

The secret to the plan is that dieters satisfy their cravings instead of denying them. Practically speaking, that means you:

  • Eat a slice of sprouted whole-grain toast with 2 tablespoons of almond butter and mashed fruit sprinkled with chia seeds instead of a Pop-Tart or bagel for breakfast.
  • Have plain 2 percent Greek yogurt with fresh berries instead of berry-flavored yogurt.
  • Enjoy brewed chai tea instead of a chai latte or other high-calorie specialty coffee drinks.
  • Quench your thirst with sparkling water with a shot of juice instead of a sugary drink.
  • Eat sliced chicken, turkey breast, tuna, hummus or a homemade bean burger instead of processed meats.
  • Treat yourself to a small piece of dark chocolate and cup of mint tea instead of packaged cookies and cakes.

She says more than a thousand people have tried the superfood swap, and many have reported good results. One dieter on the plan lost 53 pounds in 14 weeks and won the ABC reality TV show “My Diet is Better Than Yours,” which aired last year.

Cholesterol

LDL (bad) cholesterol is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to make too much.

Eating foods with saturated fat or trans fats also increases the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. If high blood cholesterol runs in your family, lifestyle modifications may not be enough to help lower your LDL blood cholesterol.

The female sex hormone estrogen tends to raise HDL cholesterol, and as a rule, women have higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels than men. Estrogen production is highest during the childbearing years. This may help explain why premenopausal women are usually protected from developing heart disease.

Older women tend to have higher triglyceride levels. As people get older, gain weight or both, their triglyceride and cholesterol levels tend to rise.

At one time, it was thought that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) might lower a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke. However, recent studies have shown that HRT does not reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in postmenopausal women, and the American Heart Association recommends it not be used for cardiovascular prevention.

The American Heart Association recommends LDL (bad) cholesterol-lowering drug therapy for most women with heart disease. Drug therapy should be combined with a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars and rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole-grain  foods, and fat-free and low-fat dairy. Fish (such as salmon, trout or herring) should be eaten twice a week. In addition, women should manage their weight, not smoke and get an average of 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week.

What Can Cholesterol Do?

High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease. If you have other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes, this risk increases even further. The greater the level of each risk factor, the more that factor affects your overall risk. Your cholesterol level can be affected by your age, gender, family health history and diet.

When too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. Together with other substances, cholesterol can form a thick, hard deposit called plaque that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke can result.

Protein for Weight Loss

This is list good proteins for your weight loss program

Beans

One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.

Pork Tenderloin

This great and versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.

Soy

Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%. Eating soy protein instead of sources of higher-fat protein — and maintaining a healthy diet — can be good for your heart.

Lean Beef

Lean beef has only one more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.

Protein on the Go

If you don’t have time to sit down for a meal, grab a meal replacement drink, cereal bar, or energy bar. Check the label to be sure the product contains at least six grams of protein and is low in sugar and fat.

Protein at Breakfast

Research shows that including a source of protein like an egg or Greek yogurt at breakfast along with a high-fiber grain like whole wheat toast can help you feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.