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For June 25, 2018

  • The Supermeal
    The Supermeal

    Remember how Mom always used to warn you "Skip breakfast and you're asking for a tidal wave of neuropeptide Y two hours after lunch"? Okay, maybe she didn't put it so technically. But she undoubtedly said that breakfast is the most critical meal of the day.

    Nutrition researchers, of course, reached the same conclusion long ago. Skipping breakfast, they found, can slow your metabolic rate. In fact, studies from the Mayo Clinic show that breakfast eaters burn up to 150 more calories per day than do those people who don't eat breakfast. Also, "eating breakfast is a good way to short-circuit after-lunch cravings," says Dr. Wayne Callaway, a nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic. Researchers have found that when underfed lab rats are finally given a meal, levels of neuropeptide Y -- the neurotransmitter that triggers the snacking impulse -- skyrocket, causing the animals to binge even though they're full. And studies of schoolkids have shown that skipping breakfast can turn your thinking to mush. Breakfast truly is, as the Zulus call it, indlakusasa, or the "strength meal." Here are some simple ways to maximize its benefits.

    Follow the 25 percent rule. Breakfast should account for at least a quarter of your daily calories, says Callaway. Some men do better by dividing the day's allotment into thirds, while others prefer a breakfast-lunch-dinner ratio of 30-40-30. No matter which pattern works best for you, he says, if you can adhere to it for three weeks, your appetite will naturally "lock on" to the routine. How much food are we talking about? Consider this example: If a 30-year-old man weighs 160 pounds, stands 5 foot 10, and works out regularly, he'll burn about 2,640 calories a day. He could eat 2 pieces of whole-grain toast with a teaspoon of margarine and 2 tablespoons of honey (322 calories); 1 cup of Wheaties with a half-cup of skim milk (144 calories); 5 strips of bacon (163 calories); 1 banana (116 calories); 1 cup of coffee with whole milk (20 calories); and 4 ounces of orange juice (56 calories). The total: 821 calories, or 31 percent of his daily fuel requirement.

    Eat carbs first. When you sleep, your body is in a fasting state; to fuel metabolism and brain function, it uses carbohydrates stored as glycogen. So when you wake up, "your body still has plenty of fat to burn, but what you don't have is very many carbohydrates," explains James Hill, Ph.D., the associate director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado in Denver. Refuel with a breakfast that is high in carbohydrates -- whole-grain cereal and toast or a bagel, plus a piece of fruit. Choose whole grains. High-fiber, whole-grain carbohydrates contain more nutrients than refined, processed ones do, and they'll make you feel fuller for longer periods. Select whole-wheat toast, hot oatmeal, or a cold cereal, such as bran flakes or shredded wheat, with at least five grams of fiber per serving.

    Have some java. Caffeine increases the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters involved in mental acuity, says Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., a cognitive-science researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wurtman, the author of Managing Your Mind & Mood Through Food, calls caffeinated beverages "probably the most potent mind-alerting component of breakfast." Just a cup or two should do the trick.

    Catch a protein lift. Wurtman believes that a breakfast delivering at least an ounce of protein can enhance mental function by providing the brain with tyrosine, a chemical necessary for alertness. You can get that from one cup of yogurt or from a two-egg omelet.

    By: Jim Thornton

    Originally featured in Men's Journal

  • Weight Lifting Combats the Effects of Aging
    Weight Lifting Combats the Effects of Aging

    When it comes to fitness, investing in a set of weights might pay dividends just as big as a pair of walking or running shoes, researchers say. Indeed, research has shown that weight training (often called resistance training) can slow and even reverse the declines in strength, bone density and muscle mass that accompany aging.

    The American College of Sports Medicine's fitness guidelines now recommend weight training for people over 50 in addition to aerobic activity and stretching. Muscle fibers shrink in number and in size as you grow older. They also become less responsive to messages from the central nervous system. Together, these factors contribute to decreases in strength, balance and coordination.

    "Generally, sedentary people lose about 10 percent of their lean muscle mass for each decade after age 30," says Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

    "If you don't do anything to replace that, you're losing muscle and increasing fat," says Dr. Laskowski. "But, if you do strength training, you don't lose as much. It's like having a V-8 engine instead of a 4-cylinder. You have a bigger engine to burn more calories because it takes calories to keep that engine running."

    Aerobic exercises like running, walking and bicycling strengthen your heart � also a muscle � by forcing it to adapt in a positive way. Similarly, weight training, done properly, challenges other muscles, forcing them to adapt to the stress and become stronger, according to Dr. Laskowski. Resistance training does more than just build muscle. It also can stimulate and strengthen bones � good news for those concerned about osteoporosis. Weight training also can help older people maintain their independence by keeping them strong enough to do routine tasks.

    A University of Alabama at Birmingham study found that older women who lifted weights regularly during the study were able to carry bags of groceries with 36 percent less effort and to get up from their chairs with 40 percent less stress on their leg muscles than prior to the training. The 14 women in the study ranged in age from 60 to 77 and worked out for an hour, three times a week, for 16 weeks.

    "No matter what your age, you can combat lean muscle loss by weight training," says Dr. Laskowski.

    Copyright 1999, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

  • How To Win The Battle Of The Bulge
    How To Win The Battle Of The Bulge


    Despite the daily medical warnings about the possible health effects of excess bodyfat, Americans are mostly concerned with their cosmetic appearance, especially the abdominal area. This preoccupation with the old spare tire has lead to the boom in the sale of the many abdominal exercise contraptions that promise to give you washboard abs. Still, Americans have gained an average of 10 pounds in the last decade--so much for the abs of steel.

    What we are learning about losing visceral abdominal fat (VAT), or the old spare tire, is that it is easier to put on than get off. Studies have shown using obese women that for every kg of bodyfat lost, there is a 2-3% reduction in VAT when they used dieting alone. The role of exercise alone is conflicting as VAT in women appears to be resistant to exercise-induced weight loss, while significant results have been seen in men who exercise. The combination of diet and exercise was not different to that of diet alone in either men or women.

    Dietary supplements may be able to enhance a person's ability to lose weight. Nothing is better to help with taking off pounds than diet supplements containing ephedrine and caffeine. The combination of these two compounds helps increase metabolism and decrease appetite. It also increases fat loss and decreases muscle loss. These compounds can reduce lipogenesis, which further prevents fat accumulation. One added benefit of these compounds is that they help maintain serum HDL levels during weight loss.Although some reports on the safety of these two compounds have been the subject of controversy, ephedrine has been used safely for more than 5,000 years as a herbal dietary supplement. When used responsibly, these two compounds are safe and efficacious allies in helping people lose weight in combination with exercise and diet.

    Since the FDA-approved weight loss drugs Fen-Phen and Redux have been voluntarily recalled due to their causing heart-valve defects and pulmonary hypertension, overweight people need a safe and natural alternative to aid in weight loss. As the best way to lose weight is to avoid consuming excess calories and keeping active, supplementation with thermogenic herbs will help ensure that the body turns up the metabolism to help burn away those excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat.

    Ross R., Effects of diet and exercise-induced weight loss on visceral adipose tissue in men and women, Sports Med1997; 24; 55-64.

  • Take short-term steps for long-term SUCCESS.
    Take short-term steps for long-term SUCCESS.

    By Kevin Davis

    There's a good reason why most people fail at keeping their New Year's resolutions.

    "Most people don't plan to fail, but fail to plan," says Harold Shinitzky, Psy.D., a psychologist in the department of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "You should plan long-term goals with short-term steps."

    If your year 2000 goal is to quit smoking, for example, take the first small step by getting information about how to quit. Call the American Cancer Society or American Lung Association for pamphlets. Sign up for a smoking cessation class. Talk to your doctor about the health implications, possible withdrawal symptoms, and quitting options and strategies. Then come New Years Day, you'll be better prepared to throw away the smokes without the ire.

    Dr. Shinitzky says most people make resolutions without understanding that changing behavior is a process, not a once-a-year activity. "Most people tend to be outcome-focused rather than process-focused," he says. "People tend to use the same unhealthful negative behaviors with the goal of achieving some positive outcome. The reality is that change is difficult. You haven't figured out the steps. You have to figure out how to get there. By implementing certain behavioral steps, we can increase the likelihood of achieving our goal."

    Being process-focused means understanding that you will not miraculously reach your goal by wishing for it or making a half-hearted effort without planning ahead. "You have to figure out what are the behaviors that will lead to that outcome," says Dr. Shinitzky. "When you just declare a goal, you're not looking at the process."

    For instance, if your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, the first step is to set a goal with an appropriate amount within an appropriate time � medically speaking, about one pound per week. If you want to keep it off, you have to change your behavior and eating habits � the process. You have to reduce your caloric intake, cut down on fats and sweets, and exercise more. You don't have to do it all at once. Make small changes, like walking two or three days a week, cutting out desserts � things you can achieve without much trouble, says Dr. Shinitzky. "If you set up goals you can achieve, it reinforces a positive feeling that helps you go on. And we know that success breeds success."

    With that in mind, Dr. Shinitzky has developed what he calls the SUCCESS plan, a series of steps to help people reach their goals.

    S=Set Your Goals. Decide what changes you want to make, keeping in mind that you should be specific and realistic. "Lose weight," is a broadly defined goal. A more specific and realistic goal would be, "Lose 10 pounds within two months." Write down your goals and let others know about it, which will increase the likelihood that you'll follow through and get support when you need it. This step allows you to list many goals. The brainstorming is a good starting point.

    U=Understand Your Passions. Know what really makes you feel good, what you like to do and use that to help guide you to your long-term goals. If you want to be fit, or to become a better athlete, focus on what it will take, such as increasing your cardiovascular workouts or weight training. This step requires you to narrow your focus to one or two goals. Which goals do you value most? These will become your priorities.

    C=Critically Plan Your Steps. Determine small steps that will lead to the larger one. If your goal is to become more fit, you can join a gym and/or schedule a workout three times a week. If you want to drop 10 pounds, map out a diet to cut out 500 calories a day to lose the weight in one- or two-pound increments per week. If you want to quit smoking, try cutting down a predetermined number of cigarettes each day within a timetable until you quit completely.

    C=Challenge Youself Through Adversity. That means work hard, push yourself and feel a little discomfort if it means helping you reach your goals. Realize that if you want to lose weight, you might feel a little hungry sometimes or feel a little pain at the gym while working out. Realize and acknowledge that change is not easy. If it was, you would have already accomplished your goal. When it gets difficult, we tend to revert back to previous behaviors. However, now is the time to develop those new lifestyle behaviors.

    E=Evaluate Your Progress. Are you making headway? If not, why? Adjust your plan to meet your long-term goal. Are you meeting your weekly or monthly weight loss goals? If not, determine what might be the problem. Add another half hour of walking each week or cut out second helpings.

    S=Stay Focused. That means not being deterred by obstacles. "Obstacles are things you see when you lost sight of your goal," says Dr. Shinitzky. Are you invited to a great party where there's lots of food? Look past the buffet table and envision yourself as the fit and trim person you want to be. That should help you control yourself. Remember, "if it's meant to be, it's up to me."

    S=Savor Your Accomplishments. Reward yourself for reaching small goals along the way. If you lose weight, buy yourself some new clothes. Quit smoking? Treat yourself to your favorite food, the flavors of which you will likely taste more fully.

    Last updated December 06, 1999

    From Discovery Health

  • Winterize your workout
    Winterize your workout

    By Michele Stanten

    From Prevention on Women.com

    Winter brings with it some health hazards for the outdoor athlete. Here are nine hot tips for safe cold-weather exercise.

    1. Warm up inside first

    Once you get moving, you know you'll warm up. But to avoid the chill when you step outside, get your blood pumping and muscles working with a five- to 10-minute warm-up indoors: jog in place, do some jumping jacks or climb the stairs a few times.

    2. Bundle up right

    Layers are the best protection against the elements. Here's how to stay cozy. First layer: polyesters and polypropylenes such as Capilene and Coolmax that wick away moisture. Second layer: fleece for warmth. Third layer: Gore-Tex or another waterproof, breathable material to keep you dry.

    3. Stay dry

    Wearing wet clothes in chilly temps puts you at greater risk of hypothermia, a lowering of body temperature that can be deadly. If your clothes get soaked, whether from the elements or too much sweating, get indoors and into dry clothes quickly.

    4. Don't forget the water

    You can become dehydrated just as easily in cold weather as in hot weather. You lose water with every breath you take, and overdressing may cause you to sweat more. So drink up. Backpack-type water bottles may make it easier.

    5. Protect your feet

    Cold weather can stiffen the midsoles of athletic shoes, causing them to lose a lot of their cushioning ability. The solution: Choose shoes with softer (compression-molded EVA) midsoles for winter.

    6. Ski safely

    Always follow ski safety rules posted at the resort. Also, to reduce your risk of injury on the slopes, quit in the early afternoon. More injuries occur after this time due to fatigue.

    7. Top off your outfit with a hat ... and earmuffs or a headband

    You lose the most body heat from your head, so keep it covered. If you start sweating too much, take your hat off but don't leave your ears vulnerable to frostbite. (That's where the earmuffs come in.)

    8. Keep your feet dry

    Cold, wet feet are the worst. Now you can protect your tootsies with waterproof socks. DuPont's SealSkinz Waterproof MVT Socks keep your feet toasty dry and are breathable.

    9. Be safe, not sorry

    If weather conditions are severe, stay indoors. Walking or running in icy conditions can alter your stride and cause you to tighten your muscles more, putting you at increased risk of injury.

    Michele Stanten is the Fitness Editor at Prevention magazine in Emmaus, PA. She specializes in the areas of exercise, weight loss, fitness, and sports medicine. She is also a certified group fitness instructor and lifestyle counselor in the areas of weight control and stress management. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, mountain biking, backpacking and traveling.

  • Study Gives Overweight Adults Hope For Health
    Study Gives Overweight Adults Hope For Health

    For years, being overweight was among the worst health stigmas � and with good reason. To be obese � medically classified as being at least 20 percent above your �ideal� body weight � was associated with a lack of self-discipline, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. It was considered �common knowledge� that extra poundage � plain and simple � would always lead to an early grave.

    But does it?

    While being overweight is certainly a health risk, a recent study suggests that the odds of dying of cardiovascular disease may be linked more closely to fitness than to fatness. In the March 1999 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers report that overweight men who were physically fit (as measured by performance on a treadmill) were less likely to die of all causes, including heart disease, than men who were lean but unfit.

    �Overall, it�s better to be lean than to be fat, because fatness is still an independent risk factor for cardiac disease as well as many other diseases,� says Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at its Bayview Medical Center. �But among those who are fat, the handful who are fit seem to have a good degree of protection from death from various causes.�

    Specifically, the study followed nearly 22,000 men aged 30 to 83 years for an average of eight years. They were broadly categorized by cardiovascular fitness level (fit or unfit) and body weight (lean, normal or obese). Regardless of their body weight, those who were fit had lower death rates. In fact, unfit lean men had more than twice the risk of dying of all causes than obese men who were physically fit.

    The results of this study are encouraging for those who exercise regularly and achieve fitness, but are still overweight. Although body weight is determined mainly by how much you eat and exercise, genetics can play a part. Some people will never be thin, even if they exercise daily. Nevertheless, these people will still be better off in terms of better health, a better quality of life and a lowered risk of death.


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