Like it or not, it takes a good walk or run around the park to burn fat. Cardiovascular exercise or cardio is a necessity for burning fat and keeping it off.
The good news: You can choose what cardio works for you and what you like to do.
Example: if you only have ten minutes to walk in the morning and ten minutes when you get home, that’s the same as walking twenty minutes in one stretch. You don’t need a huge block of time to get the benefit of cardio.
If you hate to play tennis but love swimming, by all means swim. You’ll be more likely to stick with it. You do need to raise your heart rate for 30 minutes 3 – 5 times a week in order to truly benefit from a cardio exercise program. Regular physical activity can help you maintain an elevated metabolic rate, enabling you to burn off calories faster and keep off pounds longer.
You don’t have to look like “Ah-nold” to benefit from lifting. Weights not only tone you up and make it easier to slip into your favorite jeans, they also help you build muscle, which burns more calories at rest than fat. So, up to 12 hours after your last weight lifting session, you’ll be burning more calories as you sit, walk, and go about your day, making your engine more efficient and easier for you to maintain your weight.
Women need to be particularly attuned to the benefits of weight lifting, as most women lose a pound of muscle each year starting at age 35.
This means that women who don’t lift weights, yet continue to eat the same way they did before age 35, will begin to put on weight, even though their food intake has remained unchanged.
Make two 30-minute strength-training sessions per week your goal.
Remember, “weightless” alternatives where you use your own body weight for the workout still count! Yoga, Pilates, and the use of resistance bands are great ways to tone up without lifting a barbell. To burn an extra 500 calories a day, add ten pounds of muscle and watch the fat melt away.
One of the few advantages of being overweight (but you can’t use this as an excuse!) is that your muscles are already strong enough to haul around all those excess pounds. Strength training will help you preserve those strong muscles and help remove fat tissues from the muscles so you can boost your metabolism.
The human body is about 80% water. That means we need to replenish the supply by drinking lots of water every day. Water keeps us hydrated, flushes out toxins and satisfies thirst, which we often mistake for hunger. Next time you’re craving a snack, or even before, drink a glass of water with a slice of lemon or lime to make it tasty – and fill up your tank without adding a single calorie. Americans drink 100’s of calories each day in nutritionally empty caloric beverages, especially soda and fruit juice.
The problem with drinking your calories is that they go down so quickly you don’t even know they count.
Before you know it, you’ve added 100’s of calories to your daily total, without satisfying any of your hunger.
So, if you want to see significant weight loss, grab a water bottle and make water your drink of choice!
We lose water every day through the breathing process, sweat, urine, and bowel movements. Experts generally agree that the average person needs 2 quarts of water a day to stay hydrated.
That’s a general number and there are a lot of factors, including how much you weigh. People engaged in intensive exercise programs and those who live in hot climates will need more, as will those who are sick, have chronic diseases, and women who are breastfeeding.
In addition to flushing toxins and helping you feel full, getting enough water helps your liver to stay focused on one of its main missions: to metabolize fat.
Another function of the liver is to pick up slack for the kidneys, which need water to function properly. So if the kidneys are underperforming because of dehydration, the liver is forced to do their work and put the fat metabolism function in the background.
Some of your water intake can come from food like fruits and vegetables, soups, and tea.
Coffee, juice, and soft drinks don’t count. I Love pH Water. It’s the best way to hydrate.
White foods — white bread, white flour, pasta, sugar, cakes, pies, muffins, donuts — are bound to add pounds to your waistline and little or nothing to your nutrition.
That’s because all these “white” foods have a highglycemic index, raising your blood sugar rapidly, only to have it crash and burn, causing you to crave more sweets (and fattening white stuff) hours later.
Sugar is bad.
Most of us already know that.
It adds empty calories—those that don’t offer any nutrition, but certainly add pounds. The average American consumes two to three pounds of sugar a week.
Even if you’re not adding table sugar to your morning coffee or other foods, look for hidden sources of sugar in unexpected places: bread, mayonnaise, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and virtually all frozen meals.
Sugar plays havoc with your blood sugar. Avoid it at all costs.
Aside from sugar, white foods are highly processed. That means most of the nutrients (the wheat germ and most of the vitamins and fiber naturally present in grains used to make flours) have been removed in the manufacturing process. That leaves you with a light fluffy biscuit that has almost no nutritional value. While it might temporarily help you feel full, it gives you virtually no nutrition.
Empty calories leave your body’s native intelligence “hungry” for more real food, but the controlling mind translates that desire for good food into a wish for more biscuits, sweet rolls, spaghetti, and sugary cereal.
Most commercial baked goods have 3 strikes against them: they are made from white flours with added sugars and lethal trans fats.
The same warning about processed flours holds true for many other white foods, including white rice, cereals and potatoes that can have similar roller coaster effects on our blood sugar.
To keep your blood sugar level and your waist trim, aim to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day.
Colorful foods contain high concentrations of nutrients vital to a healthy body. Load up on common colorful foods like tomatoes, oranges, blueberries, spinach, beans, squash, apples, berries and grapes and be adventurous with more unusual ones like kale, kiwi, eggplant, pomegranates, rutabagas, avocadoes, apricots and more.
An exception to the “avoid white foods” rule: eat plenty of onions and garlic. They are loaded with powerful antioxidants that promote health and prevent disease.
High fiber foods fill you up and colorful foods like broccoli, red peppers, black beans and yellow squash represent a variety of crucial nutrients. So if your plate looks like a fiesta, you know you’re eating what’s good for you!
Add to your rainbow of fruits and veggies a daily fist-sized portion of your preferred protein. Eat as many leafy greens as possible for their nutritional value, cleansing ability, and high-level protein.
Research shows that the more often a person dines out, the more body fat he or she has. Home-prepared food is usually healthier and more nutritious since most restaurants depend heavily on highly processed foods. As much as possible, prepare your meals at home. Eat out and get take-out foods less often. When you do eat away from home, try these tips to help you control portions:
Most overweight people have a poor perception of appropriate portion sizes, resulting in overeating. Here are some easy ways to determine correct portion size:
It’s an old joke. You buy a whole pie, intending to have one slice. Then you sit down with the pie, in front of the TV and before you know it – where’d the pie go? Somebody stole it! Or, you just downed 1,000’s of calories without even knowing it.
Because it takes 20 minutes for your body to get the satiety signal, if you eat fast, you’re consuming more calories than you need, before you’ve even had the chance to get the “that’s enough” signal.
Because we tend to eat too fast, we end up eating much more than we need.
It takes about 20 minutes for the “I’m full” signal to reach your brain. You can eat a lot in those 20 minutes! Slow it down, leave some food on your plate and save it for next time, or even better, share it with a friend. Vibrant health starts in the kitchen by choosing salutary foods. Choose to eat the best food and daily diet that you can afford. Many of us make the wrong choices every day by consuming foods that were never intended for our miraculous bodies. With healthier food choices — you can reduce your risks of premature aging, heart disease, common forms of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and reduced vision and mental functions and lose body fat at the same time.
Choose to eat 5 small, regularly spaced meals daily about 3 hours apart to help balance blood sugar and prevent overeating due to excessive hunger.
British researchers at the University of Nottingham found that obese women who ate regular meals at roughly the same time every day consumed fewer total calories, metabolized calories better, lowered blood cholesterol levels, and showed improvement in insulin production compared with when they ate irregular meals. Grazing can be a very effective weight loss tool. However, and this is a big “however,” it is essential that you are very careful not to overeat if you are eating many small meals a day. The operative term is “small.”
I am not big on calorie counting, but this is one place where calorie counting can be important. If you have determined that you need about 1500 calories a day to steadily lose weight (remember, one pound = 3,500 calories), you should divide your 5 meals into 300-calorie increments. Yes, it’s OK to make a couple of the mini-meals 150 or 200 calories so you can eat a little larger dinner, but grazing will only be an effective weight loss tool if you keep the calorie count within your target zone.
While I am a vegan, I realize that many of you reading this eat differently than I do. So here are a few suggestions for 300-calorie mini-meals:
A poached egg, a thin slice of whole grain bread, and a small orange
Stress eating is a major factor in the obesity epidemic. Who isn’t under stress these days? Not only do we eat in some misguided desire to fill up our emptiness or calm the jitters we mistake for hunger pangs, we also eat in response to natural fluctuations in the stress hormone, cortisol, and in our blood sugar.
How many times have you found you’re craving sugar at 4 pm? Or you want a bedtime snack of ice cream or potato chips?
Chronic stress elevates blood levels of cortisol, increasing cravings for fattening sweet and salty foods.
Stress eating can also manifest in “stuffing” or eating to control uncomfortable emotions, particularly confrontation or nervous nibbling, really oral fidgeting aimed at relieving nervous energy or giving their mouths something to do, especially in stressful social situations.
It’s important to keep your stress levels down. Did you know that two-thirds of all doctor visits are due to stress-related ailments?
That’s right. It’s also believed that 80 to 90 percent of all diseases are stressrelated. And if you’re female, stress may be even more damaging to your health. Study after study has found that women suffer from both stress and depression more often than men.
Sleep plays a major role in glucose metabolism and neuroendocrine function.
Research shows that getting a good night’s sleep is a critical part of losing weight. In a study involving 70,000 women, researchers found that women who slept 5 hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (an increase of 33 pounds or more) and 15% more likely to become obese over the course of the 16-year study, compared to those who slept 7 or more hours a night.
Sleeping less affects changes in a person’s basal metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn when you rest).
In one study, researchers found that children who did not get sufficient hours of sleep were more likely than their wellrested peers to be overweight.
It’s possible that reduced sleep means adults and kids are tired and therefore less likely to exercise. There is also some evidence that lack of sleep produces changes in levels of satiety and the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, according to many studies.
Research also shows that skimping on sleep interferes with your body’s ability to process carbohydrates, which can lead to elevated blood-sugar levels and an increased tendency to store calories as fat.
Why does this happen? When you’re sleep deprived, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol, which seems to set this chain reaction in motion. In other words, loss of sleep can be just as bad for your health as no exercise or a poor diet.
Another possible sleep-weight link: When sleep-starved, your body craves more energy, driving you to eat more than you would otherwise. Any way you look at it, if you want to slim down your body, have more energy, feel more positive, look years younger, be more patient, live longer, abate stress, or decrease blood pressure, you must make getting more sleep at night a non-negotiable lifestyle habit. I know I put nine of these secrets in, but I’ve always been a proponent of overdelivering, so I hope you enjoyed. And guess what? I am giving you a…
Virtually every other mammal can; however, human babies can only until they’re about 9 months old. Around this time the voice box drops quite low in the neck compared to other animals, which allows us to have a wide range of sounds for speech – but takes our ability to breathe and eat or drink at the same time.
Just as you have neurons in your brain, you also have neurons in your gut – including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is also found in your brain and is linked to mood. Your gut literally serves as your second brain, and even produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin – known to have a beneficial influence on your mood – than your brain does.
In other words, you have two nervous systems: the central nervous system, composed of your brain and spinal cord, and the enteric nervous system, which is the intrinsic nervous system of your gastrointestinal tract.
Both are actually created out of the same type of embryonic tissue. During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system.
To put this into more concrete terms, you’ve probably experienced the visceral sensation of butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, or had an upset stomach when you were very angry or stressed.
The flip side is also true, in that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety, depression, and perhaps even more serious neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
Loneliness is emotionally painful for sure, but it’s physically painful as well. In fact, both loneliness and physical pain are processed in the same region of your brain, the anterior cingulate cortex. So just as you have a powerful drive to avoid causing physical pain to your body, you have a similarly powerful drive to connect with others and seek companionship – in order to avoid painful feelings of loneliness.
And there’s a very good reason for this. Because stomach acid can be harsh on your throat and mouth, the extra saliva helps dilute the acid and rinse it away to minimize any damage caused by vomiting.
Not by eating it, of course, but rather by sprinkling it directly on the wound. Sugar is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water that bacteria need to survive.
This method has been popular among healers in Africa for generations, and it is reportedly useful for bed sores, leg ulcers, amputations and more.
A twist on this idea is to use honey, which will help draw fluid away from your wound and suppress the growth of microorganisms.
Part of what gives honey its antibacterial properties is an enzyme called glucose oxidase, which the worker bees excrete into the nectar (this is found only in raw honey). Another part is the presence of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria, found only in raw honey, which fight infection.
Have you ever walked into a room and then forgotten why you went there in the first place? This is because your brain perceives the doorway as an “event boundary,” and memories from the room you just left are “stored” there for when you need them. This is why when you go back through the doorway into the prior room you can often remember what it is that you forgot! Nice!
Most people have three types of color receptors that allow them to see color vision. Some women have four, however, which allows them to see a wider range of colors than the average person (a small percentage of women even have five color receptors).
The red and green color receptors, which can be shifted to allow for a greater range of color vision, are located on the X chromosome; blue is on the Y.
Your nasal mucus might be host to small amounts of contaminants (acting as antigens) that may actually “educate” and boost your immune system when they’re consumed. So contrary to the belief that eating boogers could make you sick, it might actually help your body to fight off illnesses. I am not promoting this, just sharing it. I am laughing now, so please, be careful.
Though you’ve got two nostrils, about 85 percent of people only use one at a time. But, erectile tissue in your nose slowly swells the tissue in one nostril while shrinking it in the other, so you automatically switch breathing between nostrils about every four hours.
Interestingly, body position, illness and other factors can influence which nostril you breathe from when, and, in turn, the nostril you’re breathing from can impact your health. For instance, breathing through the right nostril causes you to use more oxygen and raises your blood sugar levels.
When you gain a pound of fat, your body makes seven new miles of blood vessels. This means your body must work harder to pump blood through all of these extra new vessels, which may put a strain on your heart, and may reduce oxygenation and nutrient replenishment in other tissues. Fortunately, if you lose a pound, your body will break down and re-absorb the now unnecessary vessels, hence your blood pressure will go down.