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For September 23, 2019

  • Exercise, eating, and fat loss.
    Exercise, eating, and fat loss.

    Most people who exercise and decrease caloric intake can expect to see decreases in body fat. However, health and fitness professionals are becoming aware that this isn't always the case.

    Research has shown that the body has an internal control mechanism that drives it to maintain a particular level of body fat. The term used to describe this phenomena is "set point."

    The set point mechanism acts much like a thermostat, turning energy expenditure up or down to avoid either weight gain or weight loss. So when you restrict caloric intake, the body attempts to maintain its weight and fat by lowering the metabolic rate. Conversely, the body will lose weight gained in excess of its internally regulated point by increasing metabolism. This may explain why some people have to exercise quite a bit in order not to gain weight.

    Until recently we were told that the most efficient way of manipulating the set-point was by increasing exercise, thereby programming the body to store less fat. Now we know that after a certain amount of time this is no longer true. That internal control mechanism wants to maintain the equilibrium defined by your genes. So, although you can exercise your way to a leaner body than your parents, at a certain point it becomes counter productive.

    Most people who claim to be exercising more and eating less without seeing changes in body composition feel desperate. Consequently, they exercise more and eat less. In fact, the "cure" for a damaged set point is to drop back on your exercise program and increase the nutrient density of your diet. Since this flies in the face of everything you have heard it's a difficult task that can only be managed with daily support and dealing with body image issues that normally cause problems at this stage.

    Stress is another well recognized cause for the inability to decrease body fat despite a physically active lifestyle and low calorie diet. Experts now acknowledge there is a relationship between stress and weight gain. They even suggest that it has to do with the fight or flight mechanism that encourages the body to store fat under stress. However, there is no significant research to explain this phenomena.

    If you are exercising more and eating less and still not able to lose weight, you should seek professional help with a credited dietitian and/or nutritionist.

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  • Shaking the Salt Habit
    Shaking the Salt Habit

    Cooking Without Salt

    (By Chef Tom Ney, Prevention Magazine, August 1999) � First of all, remove the salt shaker from your dining table and your stove. Put them behind your spice shelf cabinet door (out of sight, out of mind). Now, get yourself down to your favorite supermarket and roam the aisles for about one hour. Explore all the low-salt and salt-free ingredients on the shelves.

    Scan the spice section for herb and spice mixtures that are salt-free. McCormick and Mrs. Dash are a couple that come to mind. Toss a small jar of mustard seed into your basket. Later, you will place the mustard seed in a good peppermill that stays on your stove, in place of the salt shaker. Whenever you get the urge to shake some salt into a pot or pan of cooking food, grind the mustard seed instead. I like to blend white mustard seed with brown mustard seed for the best flavor enhancement. (I recommend peppermills by Peugeot.)

    Back to the spice rack: Beware of general spice mixtures. Many, like lemon-pepper, chili powder and shrimp boil, contain large amounts of salt. Stock up on Italian herb seasoning and paprika instead. Celery and parsley flakes make great flavor enhancers for liquid dishes like soups and stews.

    Flavored vinegars or frozen lemon juice (Minute Maid squeeze bottles are a favorite) add a splash of zing to many dishes beyond salads. One of my favorite condiments for flavor is Dijon mustard. (Yes, I know it contains salt, but the little mustard you need to spark up saucy dishes is way better than shaking straight salt into the food).

    Don't pass up the canned vegetable aisle. There, you will find a huge variety of flavored tomato products in cans. Diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes can each play a starring role in boosting both flavor and color, in the pot and on the plate. Around the corner you will find an endless array of salsas and picante sauces. Most will contribute low-fat flavor without a high-sodium sneak attack. A little salsa goes a long way, when it comes to flavor.

    I do a lot of broth cooking. If you don't have time to make your own, canned broth can be found in the soup aisle -- you will find plenty of canned broths with reduced salt or low salt. Flavor the broths with fresh garlic, fresh gingerroot or lemongrass, and cook with them like you would butter, oil or tomato sauce. While you are in the soup section, check out Healthy Request and Healthy Choice brand cooking soups.

    All the help you need to cook conveniently salt-free is right in your local supermarket. Start your hunt through the aisles today, and you'll be surprised how many low-salt treasures you'll find.

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  • Making healthy lifestyle changes.
    Making healthy lifestyle changes.

    If you've resolved to leave bad habits behind, you know how difficult it can be to maintain that resolve, but there are some ways you can successfully negotiate the path to new behaviors.

    Set goals and objectives. They add aim to energy, focus effort and structure time. Surveys show that people who plan ahead are much more successful over the long term than those who plunge in without knowing where they're going or how they'll get there. Remember: Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable and realistic.

    Put your goals in writing. Written goals are a tangible sign of a promise that you intend to keep. They will also help you track you progress, make your accomplishments more obvious, and help you identify problem areas that need more attention.

    Identify supporters and saboteurs. The support of others will make it easier for you to pass through the sometimes difficult transition from old to new behaviors. Identify the people who will nurture you and help you maintain your well-being, as well as those who don't see your point of view.

    Plan for the unexpected. Lack of time is the most frequently mentioned reason for discontinuing a fitness program. Life is filled with surprises, so include strategies that assure you will make time for keeping your commitment.

    Reward your success. Set up a reward system so you can receive a treat for changed behaviors. Some examples include extra time for yourself with a favorite book, a manicure or pedicure, a trip with a special friend or a lecture or play that stimulates your mind. Avoid rewards related to food and drink that may be sabotaging in the long run.

    Negotiating the path to new behaviors can be fulfilling and rewarding if you can hang in there for the weeks to months necessary to make new behaviors lifestyle habits.

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  • Types of Exercise - Overview
    Types of Exercise - Overview

    From John Hopkins Health

    Fitness is most easily understood by examining its components � cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.

    Cardiovascular endurance is the body's ability to do large muscle work, for example moving the body over a period of time. This ability is dependent on the cardiovascular system's ability to pump blood and deliver oxygen through your body. Cardiovascular endurance should be a central component of your overall fitness program. Improving cardiovascular endurance increases your supply of oxygen and energy to your body. It also decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and other life-threatening diseases.

    When a heart is well-conditioned, it is like any other muscle � it becomes stronger and more efficient. A normal heart beats at a rate of approximately 70 beats per minute at rest or about 100,000 beats a day. The well-conditioned heart can actually beat as few as 40 times a minute at rest or approximately 50,000 beats per day. A well-conditioned heart conserves energy and can supply oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body with half the effort.

    Muscle strength is the ability of a muscle or a group of muscles to exert an amount of force, typically in a one-time burst of effort. Weight-lifting (or resistance training) is a classic example of strength training because it increases muscle strength and mass, as well as bone strength, by placing more strain on muscles and bones than they are used to. When you lift weights, muscles are forced to meet that challenge by generating more force-generating proteins to feed the "fibers" that grow during exercise.

    Most muscles have a combination of two types of fibers that are challenged during strength-training activities: Fast-twitch fibers provide the explosive force needed for weight-lifting or activities such as sprint racing. Slow-twitch fibers are for endurance, such as the ability of muscle to withstand fatigue. Most muscles have a 50-50 blend of fast- and slow-twitch fibers, but others have an advantage one way or the other. When you make muscles work harder, you actually tear these fibers. As they rebuild, they get stronger and bigger, resulting in harder, tighter and larger muscles.

    Muscle endurance is the ability to resist fatigue and continue to exercise over long periods of time. Whereas strength training is needed to maintain muscle strength, endurance training is required to achieve stamina. Muscular endurance is the ability of muscles to continue working strong without rest, such as the ability of a quarterback to throw long pass after pass.

    Flexibility is the ability of joints and muscles to achieve a full range of motion. This results in the prevention of injuries and helps keep your body feeling comfortable after exercise. Despite popular opinion, there's no evidence that you should lose flexibility as you build muscle.

    Unfortunately, there is truth that the natural aging process can rob you of muscular strength, endurance and flexibility � if you don't maintain them. That's why a regular fitness regimen becomes increasingly important as you age.

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  • Sedentary Lifestyle Looms Large as Death Risk
    Sedentary Lifestyle Looms Large as Death Risk

    (USA Today Health) Being unfit is nearly as significant a risk factor for death as smoking, a large study indicates.

    "Low fitness, which is caused by a sedentary way of life, is among the most powerful predictors of mortality," says study leader Steven Blair of the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas.

    The study is in an issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association devoted to sports medicine. Based on data from 25,341 men and 7,080 women, each followed for about eight years, the researchers found:

    • Men who were among the 20% least fit had a 52% greater chance of dying during the study period. Male smokers' risk was 65% greater.
    • The least fit women had a 110% greater risk of death. Female smokers had a 99% greater risk.
    • Death risk from all causes was 41% lower among moderately fit nonsmoking men than among low-fit nonsmoking men. Among nonsmoking women, the moderately fit had a 55% lower all-cause risk of death than low-fit women.

    Other death risks studied included various markers for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, smoking and existing chronic illness.

    "If you're fit, you're going to live longer, and you're going to offset the impact of bad habits, like smoking and risk factors like hypertension and having a high blood cholesterol level," says Dr. Fraser Bremner of Loyola University Medical Center, suburban Chicago.

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  • Maximize Your Fat Loss!
    Maximize Your Fat Loss!

    There are four primary areas to concentrate on if you want to maximize your fat loss:

    1. Increase aerobic activity
    2. Increase aerobic fitness level (increase intensity)
    3. Increase Muscle Mass (increase metabolism)
    4. Eat more intelligently

    Increase Aerobic Activity

    • Types of exercise: Walk, jog, bike, swim, treadmill, stairs, rowing, nordic ski machines, aerobic dance, in-line skating, etc.
    • Frequency of exercise: 3 days/week minimum to improve health and fitness level. 4-6 days per week for optimal fat loss.
    • Duration of exercise: Build up to a minimum of 30-40 minutes in your target zone.

    Increase Your Aerobic Fitness Level

    • Know Your Zone: Monitor your heart rate during exercise
    • Get Fit: Become more efficient with your exercise minutes. Burn more calories in less time. Increase the residual effect.
    • Fat Burning Myth: Long duration light intensity is NOT the most effective way to burn fat. Moderate to heavy intensity for 30-40 minutes plus is ideal.

    Increase Muscle Mass

    • Strength Training: Will significantly build or restore muscle mass
    • Elevates Metabolism: Each pound of muscle burns roughly 60 calories every 24 hours.

    Eat More Intelligently

    • Minimize high fat foods: fried foods, fast foods, nuts, chips fatty meals cream sauces etc.
    • Eat more frequently: Consider 4 or 5 smaller meals throughout the day.

    If you follow these simple tips, you will be on your way to maximizing your fat loss and getting in great shape! Remember to always keep a positive attitude and work hard!

    Copyright Fitrex.com, August 5th 1999.

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