Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Be A Happy Loser! – Healthy Lifestyle Living

You don’t have to bring back the past just to be happy with your weight. So, what if you no longer look the way you did when you were in high school or the same size as you were on your wedding day? For goodness sake, it’s been five or ten years since you last looked like how you exactly wanted to look like.

There’s no need to get down to the size when you were in your teens or prior to giving birth. Even if you’re overweight, losing just 10% of your body weight is already associated with a lot of health benefits, which include a lowering of blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar, as well as reducing your risk for heart disease.

In addition to the health benefits, this kind of weight loss is easier to attain and maintain. It also helps set you up for success in the long run.

According to Dr. Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight and Eating
Disorders at University of Pennsylvania Medical School, just as the body temperature is programmed to stay around 98.6 degrees, body weight is naturally regulated to stay within a range of 10%-20. This weight range is known as the “set point.”

Aside from genetics, it’s the eating habits and exercise habits that also help to determine the set point. The complex set of hormones, chemicals, and hunger signals help the body naturally maintain the weight within this range.

Wadden said that overeating swamps the internal regulatory system, and, as a result, the set point increases, “which is much easier to do than it is to lower it. The body adjusts to the higher weight and ‘resets’ the set point to defend the new weight.”

It may be difficult to set a lower range but not impossible. Changes in healthy eating and exercise can help lower your set point. Maintaining a 10% loss for six months to a year helps your body adjust to the lower weight and thus reset the set point.

When you lose large amounts of weight at once, you set up an internal struggle and hormones like ghrelin spike to make you hungrier as your body tries to defend its comfortable range.

Instead, experts recommend that you try losing 10% the old-fashioned way, gradually changing eating and exercise behaviors, then maintain this new weight for a few months before trying to lose more. This will signal your body to lower its “set point” and allow yourself a chance to get used to new food choices, smaller portions, and regular exercise.

Patients who lose 10% start to realize how a little weight loss impacts their health in very positive ways. It makes them feel better, sleep better, have more energy or less joint pain. Some are even able to reduce medications.

However, when people overestimate how much weight they can realistically lose, they become frustrated. Forget trying to fit in to your prom dress or wedding gown. Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale, set some behavioral goals: Eat breakfast every day, go for daily walks, eat more fruits and vegetables. These are easier to accomplish and they will make you feel good. Stick with these behaviors for 3-6 months and they will become part of your life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Refreshing Summer Diet as one of healthy lifestyle living

Diet is one of the habit of many people for their healthy lifestyle living. Summer is here and everyone is excited to wear not just their colorful flip flops but their skimpy bikinis and daring thongs to show off those hot bodies. Everyone wants to enjoy and to having muscle relaxant for there hot bodies. Speaking of hot bodies, many people are starving themselves on a wacky fad diet just to fit in those swimsuits. Come to think of it, weight loss is simply choosing healthy foods and taking in fewer calories than you burn. During summertime, it’s a lot easier to make better food choices because heavy, high-calorie dishes become less appealing. The hot season also keeps you out of the hot kitchen, that’s why.

Summer’s best foods are simply great for weight loss: they’re light and refreshing! Load up on nature’s bounty, whether fruits or veggies, which are at peak during summer. In addition to being low in calories, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Delight on fresh melons and berries! Savor on cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, beets, all those produce that abound in the garden this time of year! When it comes to fresh fruits and veggies, you can forget about portion control!

To cut your staying time in the kitchen, prepare cut-up fruits and washed greens. When you need something a bit heartier, just add rotisserie chicken, prepared soups, and pre-threaded kebabs.

Here are some picks from experts and dietitians of the best summer foods to help with weight loss:

Chilled Soups – low-calorie soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill that contain lots of chunky vegetables are a great way to start a meal. It is filling and can make you eat less at the meal.

Watermelon – Since almost half of the watermelon is water, it’s perfect in satisfying thirst and your sweet cravings.

Who doesn’t love diving into a crisp, juicy slice of watermelon when it's hot outside?

Grilled Veggies – this summertime must-have is great even for non-vegetarians! A plate of grilled onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and garlic in your fridge can make a variety of healthy dishes, such as grilled vegetable and goat cheese salads, grilled vegetable pitas, and grilled vegetable, ricotta, and fresh herb pasta and frittatas.

Salads – with no recipes required, salads make for quick, healthy meals. Make sure you rinse the veggies well, toss some sliced fruits, low-fat cheese, toasted nuts with a light raspberry or vinaigrette, along with a whole-grain roll for a quick, easy meal in minutes.

Flavor your salads with herbs from the garden so you can go light on the dressing. And when adding meats or fish to your salad, think of them as an accessory to the greens, vegetables, and grains.

Low- and No-Calorie Beverages – While smoothies, sweetened specialty coffee drinks, sweetened teas and sodas all go down so easily, especially when it's hot outside, the calories add up just as easily.

Since we need to drink lots of liquids to stay cool, these refreshing drinks and treats will help you enjoy this summer without blowing your diet:

• Root Beer or Orange Dream Float. 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt in 12 ounces of diet root beer or orange soda (100 calories)
• Tart Lemon Pom Spritzer. 12 ounces of lemon sparkling water mixed with the juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, served over ice (35 calories)
• Large Ice Skim Latte from Starbucks™ (130 calories)
• White Wine Spritzer. 5 ounces white wine mixed with 3 ounces lemon/lime seltzer water (120 calories)

Fruit-Based Desserts – Though you are on break from eating this summer, your craving are not. To replace those high-calorie desserts, opt for these naturally sweet treats that can tame the sweetest tooth:

• Grilled banana sundaes made with low-fat ice cream
• Grilled pineapple with rum and pecans
• Grilled white peaches with blackberries and honey
• Frozen, dark, sweet cherries
• A chocolate-covered frozen banana (such as Diana’s Banana™, with 130 calories)
• Frozen grapes

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Heart Tips for Daily living

Living a healthy lifestyle, heart is very important in our life. Having a healthy heart is as simple as coining a two-word phrase. Say, “eat right or “work out” or “don’t smoke.” Now, isn’t that very simple? But wait. These two-word phrases won’t be effective unless you put them into daily practice. And that’s what matters most.As adults, at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for five or more days in a week is needed to maintain a healthy heart. (Children and teens need at least 60 minutes of activity most days.)

Exercises such as strength training, aerobics, flexibility, and stretching are good ideas. It is also good to know that playing kickball with your kids, walking the dog, or shooting hoops with colleagues during your lunch break are also considered exercise and can help improve heart health.

Even the minimum daily exercise requirement of at least 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at once. You can distribute it throughout the day by aiming for a 10-minute morning walk, or perhaps a short workout with hand weights at lunch, or even go for some digging in the garden before dinner.

Now, that’s good news!Getting a regular health check-up is also important in keeping a healthy heart. And no one is responsible for keeping an eye on your medical health but you. Be responsible for your own sake.

Unfortunately, the ho-hum pragmatism of routine health exams makes it an easy thing to forget. But there’s no way you’ll know what’s going on inside your body unless you take the regular blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol checks, as well as physical exams. While some exams are needed by everyone, there are regular exams that can depend on age, health risks, and gender.

Obesity puts a growing number of people at risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. If you maintain a healthy weight, it not only reduces your risks for these and other conditions, but it can also improve sleep, boost energy, and rev up self-esteem.

Go for nutritionally-dense foods to get as much nutrition as you can from the calories you eat. While a soft drink has over 120 calories but no nutrients at all, a handful of mixed nuts has about 165 calories and is packed with body-building protein and heart-healthy fats.

Our bodies need calories for energy. But there should be a balance between the calories you consume and the calories your body needs. To lose weight, consume fewer calories than you burn.

A diet rich in produce may help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. It fills you up with only a few calories in it. Whole grains help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, lower the saturated fat in your diet and you can reduce your risk of heart issues by half. Start by switching to low-fat meat and dairy, and change to healthier fats like olive and safflower oils.

Cooking without salt and limiting processed foods can get your diet down to the recommended 2,400 mg daily amount of sodium (or about 1 teaspoon).
Another factor that is significant in maintaining a healthy heart is to get rid of stress. So be sure to relax and unplug daily. Make time for yourself. You don’t need to get a relaxing vacation to avoid distractions. If your work involves the computer and telephone, be sure to have some time away from these gadgets. Make time to recharge your batteries, to find both energy and calm daily.

And of course, the hard habit to break should be broken: Quit smoking! Everyone is aware of what damages smoking can do to the body and mind. In addition to heart problems, cancer and lung disease, smoking is also associated with early menopause, infertility, and pregnancy complications.

While it’s not easy to give up smoking, there are many ways to help you to successfully quit the habit. There are medications, support groups, counseling, or a combination of all three. You just have to do it for your own good. For your heart. It’s as simple as that!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Healthy Changes One Step At A Time

Forget about crash diets. Don't make your life complicated. The road to a healthy lifestyle living is paved with small changes made one step at a time.Even with tiny changes, one can expect awesome rewards in the end. Starting a healthy habit now definitely will help you look better, feel better, and live better for years to come. Do not forget that even small steps can add up to long-lasting results.What you actually do over time counts a lot. Talk about over-eating or being idle every once in a while. Don't panic. While it's normal for people to go overboard, be sure to balance these times by eating less or being more physically active for a while. If it's just one meal or one day, don't fret.

There's nothing wrong with those popular fad diets. But for these diets to be successful, you have to faithfully adhere to its design. It means you have to change your eating patterns to fit the diet's rules. Instead of worrying about following a fad diet, it's better for you to think about your health and your lifestyle. You can start by learning which foods are good for you.

Eating foods that are closer to its natural state is always the better choice. Examples of these are fresh fruits and berries which are great in terms of taste and are known to satisfy craving for sweets. Choose whole vegetables which have lots of vitamins and minerals. Eat more green, orange and yellow vegetables. To retain the most nutritional value of veggies, be sure to just steam them and be careful with sauces which may be high in calories and fats that aren't good for you.
While an apple is good for you, an apple pie is not necessarily a health food. Avoid sugary snacks and pastries as well. For pasta lovers, be sure that your pasta or baked goods are made from whole grains.

When it comes to meat, shop for lean meats and don't forget the fish. It is important to serve seafood 2 or 3 times a week because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in ocean fish are often lacking in our diets. Baked fish and chicken are a lot healthier than fried, and lean meats like bison or venison may be healthier than beef with high fat content.

On the contrary, processed lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon, and sausages have a lot of saturated fat and nitrates in them which are not healthy for your body. However, if you really love these meats, you can find healthier versions sold at health food stores.

Always consider eating a variety of foods to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. When it comes to liquids, stick to water, milk and 100% fruit and vegetable juices as your main beverages and limit sugary soft drinks. To spice up your plain water, add a slice of lemon or lime to improve its flavor. Kids will surely appreciate fruit juice that's jazzed up with carbonated water.
Learning which foods are good for you is one thing, watching your eating habits is another. If the foods you eat are not healthy, you might want to work within your habits and current lifestyle conditions, since they are usually tough to change.
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