Healthy Byte: Intermittent Fasting – Beyond Weight Loss

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7 Intermittent Fasting Benefits That Aren’t Weight Loss

Jeff CsatariMon, August 30, 2021, 7:11 AM·5 min read

Most people try fasting with one goal in mind: losing weight.

But science has also discovered health benefits linked to whole-day, alternate-day, and time-restricted fasting, says Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., the registered dietitian that helped develop the new book The Men’s Health Guide to Intermittent Fasting.

Scientists speculate that the benefits of short-term fasts may come from the structured break they provide to around-the-clock eating.

“Even if you don’t change the content of your diet, by controlling the time period in which your calories are consumed, you give your body a pause from a constant onslaught food,” says Williams.

Maybe you’re skeptical. But Williams says that, at first, she was too.

She studied the research. She looked at the data. She even tried a time-restricted fast herself. “I expected the fast to affect my blood sugar because I’m prone to low blood sugar and I know how I get without eating,” Williams says.

But Williams says she was surprised to find that she had no trouble going 16 hours without eating. Her method: She stopped eating after dinner and fasted from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m., following the popular 16:8 intermittent fasting pattern, which leaves an 8-hour-long window for eating.

“I find I’m really not hungry; in fact, sometimes I have to remind myself to eat lunch,” Williams says.

While more research is needed to determine if fasting is effective for long-term dieting, there’s no debate that it works in the short-term.

By refraining from eating for at least 12 hours (ideally 16), your body starts burning through glucose and can begin tapping fat for fuel, explains Williams. Studies show that you can expect to lose between 3 and 8 percent of your bodyweight in as few as three weeks.

Compared to calorie-restriction diets, intermittent fasting tends to trigger more belly fat loss, the research suggests. Anecdotally, Williams says she senses greater energy and improved clarity of thought.

Here are some other potential upsides of intermittent fasting, each supported by research.

Intermittent fasting may help maintain muscle.

Whenever you restrict calories and lose weight, some of that weight comes from a reduction in muscle mass. That goes for intermittent fasts as well as traditional calorie-restriction diets.

However, at least one study conducted by the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois suggests that intermittent fasting may be more effective for retaining muscle mass.

The study compared overweight and obese adults who followed a calorie restriction diet with similar-weight subjects who restricted calories through intermittent fasting. After 12 weeks, the researchers found both diets to be equally effective in trimming body weight and fat mass, but less muscle was lost by the group that fasted.

Intermittent fasting may target belly fat.

Overweight people who could choose any 10-hour timeframe to eat as long as they refrained from eating the other 14 hours of the day saw a reduction in waist circumference and visceral abdominal fat after 12 weeks, according to a report in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Intermittent fasting may reduce diabetes risk.

The study in Cell Metabolism referenced above also demonstrated the potential of intermittent fasting to reduce risk of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

All the participants in the study were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health conditions—including high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides levels—that occurring together boost the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

After 12 weeks, every participant experienced improvement in all of the common markers of metabolic syndrome.

A similar study in the journal Translational Research found that alternate-day fasting, in which participants restricted calories by 75 percent on a “fast day,” followed by a “feed day” without calorie restriction, resulted in clinically significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin resistance.

Intermittent fasting may lower high blood pressure.

A study published in Nutrition and Healthy Aging demonstrated that participants who practiced 16:8 intermittent fasting without calorie counting significantly reduced their systolic blood pressure compared to a control group after 12 weeks.

Intermittent fasting could fight inflammation.

Inflammation is your body’s natural way of fighting off infection, illness, and injury. But there’s another type of inflammation, a chronic inflammation that can silently trigger heart disease and diabetes.

Smoking, mental stress, and a regular diet of fatty, fried, or sugary foods are common causes. Several studies have shown that intermittent fasting may induce an anti-inflammatory effect that reduces risk of those metabolic diseases—and even improve pulmonary function in people with asthma.

What’s more, a reduction in inflammation due to short-term fasting appears to protect the brain from memory disorders and depression, according to a study in Obesity.

Intermittent fasting may reduce oxidative stress.

Even when you don’t lose weight while on an intermittent fasting routine, your cells may benefit from extra protection, according to a study in Cell Metabolism.

The study assigned men with prediabetes to either a 6-hour early eating period, where they could eat only from 8 a.m. until dinner before 2 p.m., fasting the rest of the day, or a 12-hour feeding period.

At the end of five weeks, the researchers found that the men on the early time- restricted fast improved blood pressure and insulin sensitivity (as expected), but also improved resistance to oxidative stress, where unstable molecules called free radicals can damage proteins and DNA.

Intermittent fasting may help you live longer.

Rodent studies suggest that intermittent fasting, which is much easier to maintain than extreme calorie cutting, may boost lifespan, too. In one study comparing rats who were given unrestricted access to food to rats who were fed every other day, the rats who fasted lived 83 percent longer than those who gorged themselves.

Healthy Byte: Holistic Body Love

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4 Parts Of Your Body You Shouldn’t Forget To Exercise

Your arms, legs and abs get enough love. Don’t neglect these other areas if you want to improve your overall health.

By Nicole Young08/31/2021 05:45am EDT | Updated August 31, 2021

It’s time to reshape the full-body workout.

When we think of these types of routines, we typically think of working the core, glutes and legs, and arms. But if we want to really care for our overall well-being, we need to expand beyond those muscle groups. In fact, there are several areas we often forget to “exercise” when we’re working to improve our health, according to experts.

It’s time to reshape the full-body workout.

When we think of these types of routines, we typically think of working the core, glutes and legs, and arms. But if we want to really care for our overall well-being, we need to expand beyond those muscle groups. In fact, there are several areas we often forget to “exercise” when we’re working to improve our health, according to experts. Here are other parts of our body that need love too:

Your Brain

We tend to think of our minds as separate from the rest of our physical health but they serve a vital function, and the brain benefits from training just as much as anything else.

Brain function is known to decline over time, but there are ways to reduce the risk of this happening, explained Rana Mafee, a neurologist in Westchester, Illinois. Though genetics do play a part in cognitive function, Mafee said it’s “environmental factors such as diet, sleep habits or chronic stress that slowly grind away at your brain, making you less sharp over the years.”

The good news is ― much like the way consistent physical exercise can improve our longevity ― exercising the brain on a regular basis can enhance cognition and have lifelong benefits. The idea is to use exercise to strengthen the longevity of neuroplasticity, which, in short, is the brain’s ability to adapt and master new skills, as well as store memories and information.

“A lack of mental exercise will gradually reduce the efficacy of the brain’s neurotransmitters, making it harder to concentrate, make and keep lasting memories or even perform everyday tasks,” Mafee said.

Adults should focus on keeping their brains active. We can do this in a variety of new ways, from learning a new language to navigating a new city. The key is to challenge our minds. We can also try picking up another hobby, like learning to play the piano or a new sport. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help with this as well.

“In addition to healing and repairing cognitive decline, regular brain exercise can improve mental sharpness, improve your mood and your overall quality of life,” Mafee said.

Your Lungs

Keeping our lungs in good health should be a priority since they transport oxygen from the air we breathe into the blood, according to Alberto L. Rozo, a pulmonary medicine specialist at Northwell Health in New York City.

Exercise is needed for the lungs to function at peak performance and since “lung function declines gradually every year starting at age 35,” Rozo said, it’s important to incorporate habits that help increase our lung capacity.

This includes daily aerobic workouts and doing breath work like diaphragmatic breathing. Lie down on your back, placing one hand on your stomach over your belly button and one on your chest. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air go into your abdomen and your stomach pushing out. Then breathe out for two seconds through pursed lips, allowing your stomach to deflate. Repeat several times.

Your Wrists

“It is important to exercise the muscles that control wrist function in order to optimize strength and joint stability,” said Joseph A Gil, an orthopedic surgeon in Rhode Island.

Paying attention to the wrists is especially important for anyone who does sports or exercises on a regular basis. A dedicated warmup that stretches the wrists and forearms could help prevent overuse or injury by “preparing the muscles and tendons to overcome the cumulative stress” that exercise might put on them, Gil said.

Stretching the forearm muscles with “wrist extension and flexion” is one of Gil’s favored techniques for warming up the wrists before working out.

Do this by lying your forearm flat on a table, allowing your hand and wrist to dangle off the edge. Bend your wrist down slowly, then bring it back up. Repeat several times, then move on to the other side. You can also do this with a small, light weight.

He noted that you might want to consult with a trainer to work on wrist range of motion before weightlifting, which “places high stresses on the tendons and ligaments around the wrist,” or yoga, “which requires extreme wrist position that predispose participants to ligament injuries.”

Your Toes

The five bones located just behind the toes, called the metatarsals, bear a great deal of our body weight and need special attention to remain in proper working order. According to Bruce Pinker, a foot and ankle surgeon in New York, there is somewhat of a “springlike quality to the metatarsal region, which helps to create the arch of the foot.” That flexibility requires maintenance to ward off injury and exhaustion.

Pinker said that by neglecting regular foot stretching, “you risk the chance of your feet tightening up or contracting, which can lead to pain.” And since many people experience some level of stiffness in their feet when they first wake up, Pinker also feels “it is important to stretch or exercise the tops of the feet upon awakening.”

To do this, take a page out of a dancer’s playbook: Kelby Brown, a dance and fitness coach in New York City, suggested trying point and flex foot progressions to strengthen and create flexibility in your toes and ankles. Start by sitting with your back against a wall and extend your arms at your side, “with the tip of the middle finger lightly pressed into the ground,” he said.

Then, brace your core and tightly hold your legs together. Point your toes from this point and count to four. Then flex your feet and count to four. Do this a few times. While in the stretched position, your feet should “resemble a cashew or banana,” Brown said.

According to Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, a certified yoga and Pilates instructor, you can also multitask and maximize foot flexibility with a standing quad stretch. Though this move is primarily designed to stretch the front of the legs, “you can bring the attention to your foot by using your palm to pull toes in to stretch the top of your foot,” she said.

“Shift all of your weight onto your standing foot and grab the opposite foot with the coinciding hand,” she explained. Holding a table or stable surface can help with your balance. Then, put your palm on your ankle. Flex your foot, then point your toes. After pointing and releasing the toes about 10-20 times, repeat on the other side.

Healthy Byte: It All Adds Up

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USA TODAY

Study: Sugar-reduction initiative could lead to reduction of heart disease in millions across the U.S.

Nada Hassanein, USA TODAYMon, August 30, 2021, 9:31 AM·3 min read

Slashing sugar from packaged food and drinks could prevent disease in millions of people and potentially cut billions from health-care costs, especially among people of color, a new study suggests.

Researchers conducted estimates by creating a model that projects future impacts from a proposed “sugar-reduction policy” by the U.S. National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative. The regulation would push food and drink companies to decrease sugar in their formulas.

Cutting sugar from a fifth of packaged food and 40% of drinks could prevent more than 2 million strokes, heart attacks and cardiac arrests, according to the study, published Friday in the American Heart Association’s journal, “Circulation.” The researchers also estimated a dramatic impact on health-care costs: The U.S. could save more than $4 billion in total health-care costs and more than $118 billion across the current adult population’s lifetime.

Even if companies didn’t fully comply, the regulation could lead to “significant health and cost savings,” the authors wrote.

Dietician Dana Hunnes, a community health sciences adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the findings shed light on the far-reaching effects food regulations can have.

“It’s important to have a monetary value on these things, in addition to a health value” for policymakers, she said. “The sheer volume of health-care costs that can be saved, and basically life productivity and life in general that can be protected, is really quite astounding.”

Lead author Dr. Siyi Shangguan, an attending doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, argued such regulations would have a greater impact on reducing adult sugar consumption more than a sugar tax, labeling added sugars or banning drinks in schools.

Due to a number of structural inequities, including lack of access to healthy food and a history of targeted marketing, sugar consumption is highest among Black Americans, poorer people and those with less education. But policies like this could help, the authors found.

Health and health-care cost improvements “were most prominent among younger adults, Black and Hispanic Americans, and Americans with lower income and less education. The policy was estimated to consistently reduce health disparities among different races/ethnicities, income and education levels,” wrote Shangguan and her colleagues, who included scientists from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Dr. Neel Chokshi, a cardiologist and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said such upstream efforts are important because medical professionals can only do so much by the time a patient needs their care.

“In general, diet is probably the biggest contributor to long-term cardiovascular disease, but it is the most difficult for us as physicians and clinicians to intervene upon, because it has so many variables,” Chokshi said. “By the time they’re seeing a cardiologist, usually they’ve developed some sort of cardiovascular disease or have developed a cardiovascular risk factor.”

Healthy Byte: 20 Second Boosts

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Eating Well

Doing a Micro Workout Can Boost Fat Metabolism By 43%—Here’s How to Do It

Karen Asp August 16, 2021·3 min read

Turns out, there might be another solution for staying healthy when it feels like you don’t have time to exercise. The evidence for short bursts of activity has been mounting for some time. (Remember the 7-minute workout?) But now there’s research showing that even really small sessions can have bona fide benefits. They’re called exercise snacks. “And they’re somewhere between that short walk to the water cooler in pre-pandemic times and high-intensity interval training,” says Scott Lear, Ph.D., the Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Think: challenging enough to jack up your heart rate, but only a minute or less at a time—such as 20 seconds of squat jumps, stair climbing, burpees or a fast 60-second run down your block.

These short-and-sweet exercise snacks help build cardiorespiratory fitness, a major indicator of overall health. “Increasing your cardiorespiratory fitness can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” says Martin Gibala, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario. One study Gibala was involved in, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, had inactive young adults do 20-second bike “sprint snacks” in which they pedaled as fast as they could. Participants repeated these mini workouts three times a day, each separated by one to four hours of rest. After six weeks, their cardiorespiratory fitness improved by 9%—similar to the 13% increase a second group got by doing the same sprints within longer 10-minute cycling sessions. Other research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that sedentary but healthy women improved their cardiorespiratory fitness by doing just 20 seconds of vigorous stair climbing three times a day for three weeks. “The precise reasons why exercise snacks work has yet to be determined, but they may improve the heart’s pumping capacity and ability to transport oxygen throughout the body,” says Gibala. They also appear to improve markers of insulin sensitivity and lower triglycerides.

Current exercise guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week (or a combination of the two), which is a far cry from what you’d get from an exercise snack. But doing a few micro workouts can be a good alternative for those days you can’t fit in your regular routine. “The message now is anything is better than nothing, and every little bit counts,” says Gibala.

No matter your fitness level, exercise snacks are an option for everyone. While inactive people stand to gain the most from them, Gibala says that even gym-going folks with desk jobs can reap the rewards. “Structured daily exercise doesn’t negate the harmful effects of sitting for much of the day,” he explains. “So these snacks can help break up sedentary periods.”

Preliminary research suggests that among people who typically sit for eight hours per day, those who completed five 4-second cycling sprints every hour during the workday (for a total of 160 seconds of exercise) had 31% lower triglyceride levels and 43% higher body-fat metabolism the next day. How’s that for a satisfying snack?

Healthy Byte: Gaining Muscle Easier than Previously Thought

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Women's Health

You Can Actually Put On Muscle Way Faster Than You Think

Julia Sullivan, CPTAugust 16, 2021·6 min read

If you’re looking to see how much muscle you can gain in a month, you’d be wise to focus on strength training first and foremost. When it comes to exercise modalities that produce quick results, it doesn’t get much more instantly gratifying than lifting heavy. On top of walking out of the gym with a major mood boost, there’s a fairly solid chance whatever muscle you just trained will look stronger and larger as you leave, too.

And no—that enlargement isn’t just a product of improved confidence; it’s a physiological phenomenon called transient hypertrophy. Of course, those aren’t actually gains per say. Rather, the “pump” you see is just a temporary flush of fluids to whatever muscle was being worked.

But how long does it really take to start building lasting muscle from a weight training program? And more importantly, how do you get there? All the info you need is ahead.

How Muscle Growth Works

First, it helps to know how muscles, and their growth process, work, according to Jacque Crockford, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “Muscle mass is increased through training and nutritional programming which, over a given period of time, can increase the size of the muscle fibers,” she explains.

Start a strength training routine with this dumbbell workout:

Quick science lesson: Myofibrils are bundles of proteins within muscle fibers that help your muscles to contract and relax. “[They] become thicker and stronger with increased strength training,” Crockford explains. Meanwhile, she notes, the sarcoplasm (which is the fluid around those muscle fibers) boosts the size of the muscle itself.

Basically, this means that when you do a single biceps curl, for example, the muscle sustains damage, or breaks down. The body then delegates microscopic repairmen (a.k.a. the myofibrils and sarcoplasm) to fill in those damages. When this process is repeated, the muscle grows bigger and stronger over time. (You also might have also heard this referred to as hypertrophy.)

Why Some People Build Muscle Faster Than Others

Despite the fact that our muscles break down, repair, and grow with the same biochemical reactions, according to Crockford, that process is streamlined for certain people. “Those exercisers who are genetically male may experience faster, seemingly easier increases in muscle growth when compared to females,” she says. “This is mainly due to [genetically male] people having more of the hormone testosterone, which is primarily responsible for assisting in muscle growth.”

There are a few caveats to the gender divide, though. Crockford says that all people, regardless of their gender, have varying levels of testosterone. (So it’s entirely possible for one woman to be carrying more testosterone than another, so she packs on muscle more quickly.)

Moreover, most studies analyzing testosterone levels in comparison to muscle growth and size pretty much only feature male participants, says Crockford. “More scientific research is needed to understand potential hormonal differences in women and men [as it relates to strength training].”

However, Crockford says that human growth hormone, as well as insulin, also play a role in a person’s ability to build muscle. Again, though, the extent to how much of each hormone a person has is largely genetic.

Another major factor in the muscle-building puzzle? Age. “Sarcopenia, or a loss of muscle mass, has been shown to increase with age,” Crockford says, noting that this phenomenon is two-fold: While muscle loss, like bone loss, is a natural part of aging, it’s often accelerated with an inactive lifestyle.

In other words, regular resistance training can help offset that muscle loss. Studies have shown that this deterioration can begin to occur in a person’s early forties, although it becomes more prevalent as the decades go on, with a 50 percent reduction in muscle mass common among folks in their eighties.

How Much Muscle You Can Gain In A Short Period

Back to the question at hand! If you’re brand-new to resistance training, expect to see tangible shifts in your muscle mass after three to six months of regular training (with proper nutrition!), says Crockford. “Although strength and body weight changes may be measurable within a few days or weeks after beginning a hypertrophy program, these changes are often due to neural adaptations and fluid fluctuations.”

That being said, Crockford says that seeing real, long-term muscle growth is possible after a month of training in some people (keyword: some). “With high genetic potential, it may be possible for someone to gain up to two pounds of muscle mass in a month,” she says. “But that rate is pretty unpredictable per person.”

The Four Driving Factors Behind Muscle Growth

1. Resistance Training Regularly

The most important action you can take in building muscle mass, according to Crockford, is regular resistance training (heavy resistance training, to be exact). “Exercise programming for hypertrophy requires heavy weights, or 65 to 85 percent of your one-rep-max (1RM),” she says.

Pro tip: If you’re not sure what your 1RM is for a particular exercise, Crockford says that choosing a weight that allows for six to 12 reps and roughly three to six sets is ideal (your final rep should feel pretty challenging).

And while sticking to the hypertrophy-focused regimen above for roughly three to six months (focusing on a twice- or three-times-per-week schedule) will contribute to muscle growth just about anywhere, focusing on large muscle groups, like your chest, back, and legs, to really build muscle, per Crockford. “And try to increase the time-under-tension for each exercise.” (Essentially, this just means slowing down each rep into stretched-out counts of two or three.)

2. Eating Enough Calories

While Crockford says that calorie abundance in general reigns supreme when it comes to muscle gain, studies have shown that ample protein specifically can contribute to muscle growth. In one study published in Nutrients, scientists noted the optimal amount for gains was 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day.

3. Prioritizing Sleep

“Rest, particularly sleep, is where muscle recovery takes place,” Crockford says, adding that those hormones responsible for muscle growth and recovery (namely, testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin) are streamlined to repair microtears in muscle fibers during periods of rest. And if the muscles can’t repair quickly, they won’t grow as fast. “Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to function, however, try to aim for six to nine hours each night,” Crockford recommends.

4. Staying Hydrated

Here’s another reason to drink up: “A properly hydrated body functions better in all areas, and that includes facilitating the healing of muscle fibers after resistance training sessions,” Crockford explains. While she says that, again, your level of hydration is highly dependent on your activity level and body size, as long as your urine is a light yellow, that probably means you’re on track.

Healthy Byte: Weightlifting at Any Age

Originally Posted HERE

Men's Health

Arnold Shared Some Great Advice to Help Anyone Get Started Weightlifting

Jesse HicksSun, August 29, 2021, 9:44 AM

It goes without saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pretty good source for weightlifting advice. The 73-year-old former Mr. universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia has always generously shared his workouts and fitness recommendations. So it’s no surprise that when a fan asked for some tips on getting into weightlifting, the Terminator was glad to help.

The question appeared in his newsletter: “Do you have any advice for a girl getting into weightlifting?” Schwarzenegger started his answer by declaring, “I would have the same advice for you as I do for any boy!” From there, he laid out some initial considerations. What kind of weightlifting are you interested in, and what are your goals? Someone who wants to tone up and feel better has a much different path from someone who wants to start Olympic or powerlifting.

Schwarzenegger encouraged his reader not to let anyone doubt her because of her gender. “If anyone gives you crap about it, let your lifting do the talking,” he writes. For anyone interested in Olympic lifting, he recommends reading about Kate Nye, who switched from gymnastics to weightlifting, and five years later delivered the US’ best result in two decades, winning silver in Tokyo. “She overcame some tremendous mental health struggles,” he wrote, “and I hope she inspires you, because she definitely inspires me.”

For people looking to feel and look better, Schwarzenegger’s advice is simple: Start with lower weights, focus on your technique, and master the basics—the squat, deadlift, and press. From a strong foundation, you can start to build. “Stay consistent and stay confident and no one can beat you!”

HEALTHY BYTE: Metabolism & Aging

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New Study Says That Your Metabolism Doesn’t Really Slow Down until This Age

Stephanie Gravalese; Reviewed by Jessica Ball, M.S., RDAugust 17, 2021·2 min read

We’ve been told over the years that the body’s metabolism (or the rate at which we convert food and drink into energy) is at its peak during our adolescent years. After that, our metabolism reportedly experiences a steep decline through middle age and onward, which makes us process calories at a slower rate and causes that seemingly inevitable midlife weight gain. But a recent study has found that this might not be the case.

Recent findings published in the journal Science show that the peak in our metabolism is actually much earlier, and that the sharp decline does not occur until your 60s.

While metabolism is discussed in reference to the consumption and processing of calories, it impacts much more than your ability to gain or lose weight. Every action in the body (even thinking) requires energy, aka calories, to keep us moving.

“There are lots of physiological changes that come with growing up and getting older,” study co-author Herman Pontzer, Ph.D., associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, told Duke Today. “Think puberty, menopause, other phases of life. What’s weird is that the timing of our ‘metabolic life stages’ doesn’t seem to match those typical milestones.”

The research team evaluated calories burned by over 6,600 people in 29 countries, with participants ranging in age from 8 days old to 95 years of age, to determine how much energy was expended each day.

The study suggests that infants (not teenagers) have the highest metabolic rate in relation to their size. Granted, this is partially due to how small infants are and how quickly they grow compared to their body size. This period of increased metabolism is in line with a critical period in early development. At this peak, a 1-year-old child can burn through calories 50% faster than a middle-aged adult. After this peak in energy consumption, the study shows that between the ages of 5 and 20, our our metabolism slows down at a rate of about 3% each year. From our 20s, this metabolic rate remains steady (and does not decline) until our 60s. The study also found that factors like pregnancy and menopause did not contribute to decline in metabolism.

If you’re between the ages of 20 and 60 and feel like your metabolism has slowed down despite this compelling research, fear not. There are a few things you can do to perk up your metabolism at any age, such as eating a healthy diet full of protein and whole foods, incorporating regular strength training, drinking green tea, eating certain spicy foods and cutting off your technology use before bed.

Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Writing within Boundaries

ORIGINAL CONTENT

I recently took a short trip to visit one of my best gal pal H in Michigan and came across why we don’t. For her is why she doesn’t engage & complete larger art projects. For me, it’s writing. We both love our perspective art forms and yet, we both often find ourselves unable to fulfill our potential in those perspective fields.

H shared with me something she learned in one of her art workshops which was very thought provoking. She shared that the fear of mistakes with larger pieces of art often hampers her from finishing projects. As talented as she is, it surprised me that she would have such reservations.

In thinking what hinders me to write with any consistent frequency is that I realize that in order for me to write consistently I have to have a passion for it, a story or a perspective which unapologetically monopolizes my mind, constantly badgering me until I surrender to tap, tap, taping it out on the laptop so that I can move on with my thoughts.

And it’s not a matter having nothing to write about. It’s become a matter of being attracted to controversial topics / current events which leads to my anticipation of the outpouring of negativity that makes me reluctant. Even under the anonymity of a pen name, there are risks that I will become someone’s pet project to be identified and located. It is a burden I am not certain is worth the effort.

So I limit my writing to neutral and vanilla things which can be difficult to muster the motivation to pull out the old laptop and write about.

It’s a risk that I am still pondering but at least now I am aware of my stumbling block.

Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Manipulating the Narrative

ORIGINAL CONTENT

I’m erasing myself from the narrative
Let future historians wonder how Eliza reacted when you broke her heart
You have torn it all apart, I’m watching it Burn

(Hamilton)

The fragility of the narrative is an interesting one. As Eliza’s broken hearted anthem to “erase (herself) from the narrative” insinuates that any narrative can be molded and shaped to produce a certain desired perspective for future generations.

Perhaps one of the most successful narrative manipulation was achieved by a group of southern socialites called the United Daughters of the Confederacy. They picked and chose what to highlight and what to omit, delivering this pseudo-history of the South’s participation in the U.S. Civil War, not as a war of keeping slaves but rather one to be revered, full of heroes.

As I journal / scrapbook in my Hobonichi, I come to realize that I am recording pieces of not only my life but the lives around me, the world as it is today. In the same vein, that which I choose to omit will be as if it never existed, or happened, and with time, it will simply fade out of existence.

What a horribly powerful tool the written word still remain.

So the true question here is should serial killers, mass shooters, and all the ills in the world be forever commemorated for future generations to read about, for the few misguided to be worshipped, perhaps even emulate? Perhaps a pact should be made to report on these atrocities but no name and no photos – deprive them of their narrative but still allowing the world to see the extremes travesties humanity can create.

Twenty years from now, how will January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol be remembered, be taught, be talked about? How will the COVID-19 pandemic be reflected in history? Will there be a continuous debate whether over 600,000 American deaths were staged like the moon landing?

When I was in my journalism class we learned about the different truths and how few things we read are actual truths. As human beings, it is near-impossible to write without any underlying biases. However, I do believe if we are conscious of the fragility of truth as truth actually is, then perhaps we can continue to strive for the lucid unicorn.

Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: A Day in the Life

ORIGINAL CONTENT

There’s a constant gentle breeze nudging the nearby trees sway this way and that. The air is dense and warm, feels sort of like trying to breathe in a plastic bag and it is only mid June. Large dark ominous clouds scattered across the sky, with the sun totally hidden.

My hand dangled off the side of the bed and I am slow to wake to the licks of the Weimaraner. He’s telling me it is time to leave the comforts of my fresh cotton sheets but I resist and withdrew my hand underneath the covers. The Dane makes a huge commotion on the bed getting up, turning around, and lurk at me patiently. I opened one eye to see a set of nostrils and floppy face, in fear impending slingers, I leap out of bed and begin my daily routine.

It’s my day off and I am especially slow in my movement. I looked forward to going to an early morning OJ class so that I can go about my day. The Weimaraner caught a glimpse of the Lucky Japanese Jizo Family Praying garden statute temporarily propped up on top of the bookcase in the living room and growled at it. He must have forgotten it was there after barking at it for a solid 15 minutes the day before. My day is filled with the jingling of dog tags, the low hum of the refrigerator, and the ceiling fan leisurely circulating the air between the air conditioning coming on.

I sit at the kitchen table procrastinating on writing with a few rounds of Bejeweled. Then I searched for a new featured image to top off my posts, followed by refilling all the dogs’ water bowls with fresh water. I glanced over at the sink full of dishes and at last, I chose to open a new daunting blank page to fill with words.

It’s rear to be off work, at home, without the constant blaring of the television. It has almost become an anomaly as the Hubs prefers the background noise where as I prefer the stillness, the calm, the elusive hush which allows me to think and formulate coherent thoughts. It’s a compromise that I have learned to accept after 26 years of marriage. However when moments as today surfaces, I cherish it as a gift, a reward, one I should not waste on playing MouseCraft.

Writing, like any other art form is a perishable skill. However, on the flip side of that, is the more one writes the easier it is to write more – at least it is true for me. I have committed myself to journaling/scrapbooking in my Hobonichi everyday in order to be accustomed to the act of writing daily. It has provided a very liberating platform to write as I please while capturing glimpses of my day-to-day life. The act of having to formulate a complete and coherent thought has made a significant difference in fostering a more consistent blogger which I hope is one step closer to finishing my CNF manuscript.