Healthy Byte: The Mighty Six

Originally Posted HERE

Trimming the fat — that’s what fitness is all about. But taking the very notion of slimming things down and applying it to all aspects of your life can be equally as difficult, and equally as satisfying, as becoming more fit and muscular. Imagine if you could trim the proverbial fat from your workday, commute, or any other number of responsibilities? Chances are, you’d reclaim a good amount of time, and be a lot happier.

 For the uninitiated, playing the architect and devising a fitness routine can be difficult — so difficult that we’ve trimmed things down to six simple exercises that can get you started on the path to success.

1. Squats

man performing bodyweight squats on a track

Squats will always be a workout staple. | iStock.com

 We discuss squats a lot — and for a good reason. Squats are basically the founding lift or exercise that everything else builds on top of. Squats not only help you build a powerful lower body, but also work your abs, back, and really to some extent, your entire body. You’ll become stronger, faster, improve your range of motion, and your balance as well. There are many, many reasons why squats are integral to a balanced workout, so be sure to get them in.

This is why they tell you not to skip leg day.

2. Pull-ups

man doing pull-ups

Chin-ups and pull-ups are the ultimate display of strength. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Think of pull-ups as the squat of the upper-body. It’s an exercise that incorporates nearly every muscle in your personal northern hemisphere, and forces everything to work in conjunction: your back, chest, abs, and arms. Hell, you’ll even get a little cardio going. Of course, there’s a steep curve for pull-ups, as a lot of people can’t even do one. But that shouldn’t deter you — do what you can, focusing on form. Before you know it, you’ll be busting several out over a few sets.

3. Power cleans

bodybuilder power cleans

This lift works your entire body. | Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The clean is an excellent lift, with the only potential downside being they require access to barbells and gym space. Even so, this is one of those lifts that, similar to squats, will get your whole body into action. Not only will you be using your lower body to get a powerful lift off, but you’ll need your back and core, and finally your arms to handle the weight once you get it above your waist. You’ll develop explosiveness and definitely build a lot of muscle by incorporating cleans into your workout. There are substitutes, like rows, but if you can, get your hands on a barbell and some plates for the full experience.

4. Planks

man doing planks while a woman times him

Planks will give you the abs of your dreams. | iStock.com

Here’s an exercise that can be done in a barren fitness center, devoid of any equipment, or even in a hotel room or airport. Planking is so much more than just a passing internet video fad — it’s one of the better exercises that can be adopted into your regimen. Planks will give your core and upper legs a real workout and even help sculpt your abs. And there are a ton of variations you can throw into the mix as well to ensure you don’t get bored.

5. Lunges

man doing a dumbbell lunge

Lunges are great for your booty. | iStock.com

As if we haven’t given your lower body enough of a run-through, we’re going to add lunges to the list. Lunges, like planks, can be done in a much more convenient setting, and only require a set of barbells — or anything weighty that can be carried, really. Lunges will train your glutes and quads, helping you build explosive muscle that will also help with cleans, squats, and deadlifts. Use them in addition to your other lifts, or if you can’t do anything else, use the simplicity of lunges to your advantage.

6. Burpees

man in the bottom phase of a push-up in an empty room

Burpees are tough, but they’re seriously effective. | iStock.com

Yes, the exercise you probably hate the most is, indeed, one of the most effective. Burpees are the whole package — they raise your heart rate with the jumping movement and offer strength gains with the squat, plank, and push-up positions. If you’re unfamiliar with how a burpee works, you begin by jumping up and then immediately lowering to the ground to perform a push-up. Once the push-up is complete, hop your feet back in, and jump skyward once more. This is just one rep — do as many as you can in a minute to complete a set, or try out one of these difficult variations.

 

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Healthy Byte: Body Size Perception

Originally Posted HERE

Full Research Article HERE

A new study from Macquarie University has found that people’s perception of their own and other people’s body weight can change in as little as two minutes.

“After two minutes of being exposed to images of thinner versions of themselves or others, we saw that the neural mechanisms controlling participants’ perceptions actually adapted to see thin images as normal,” lead author Associate Professor Kevin Brooks explained.

“Original sized body images now looked fatter to them.”

The opposite was also true: exposure to fatter body types made participants see original body sizes as skinny.

The researchers also found that while there were different brain mechanisms controlling a person’s perception of their own  and the body size of other people, the two mechanisms can also affect each other.

“This means that being exposed to images of skinny people doesn’t just make you feel bad about your own body size, which has been known for a while, it actually affects the perceptual mechanisms in your brain and makes you think you are bigger or smaller than you really are,” said Dr Ian Stephen, another author of the study.

“Duration and frequency of exposure definitely play a role, but the fact that the brain adapts after such a short exposure time suggests we are incredibly susceptible to being manipulated by images of different sized bodies.”

The researchers say that the results add another piece of the puzzle to our current understanding of  involving body image disturbance, such as anorexia nervosa and muscle dysmorphia, and could potentially be used in the development of treatments for such conditions.

“There is only one way for information to be received by our brains: through the perceptual and neural mechanisms fed by our senses. By unpacking the details of the  involved in body size perception we are hoping to discover more about how the brain deals with this information as a whole, so that we can understand how conditions involving  image disturbance arise,” Associate Professor Brooks concluded.

Healthy Byte: ‘Starvation Mode’ the Myth

close-up on a man's stomach as he rubs itCould this man be experiencing starvation mode? | iStock.com

If you eat healthy, count every calorie, keep track of your nutrients, and work out day in and day out, then you’re probably expecting your body to get lean and strong in no time. So, if you find yourself hitting a weight-loss plateau without cheating on your diet or slacking on your exercise routine, you may assume you’ve hit starvation mode. This phenomenon, according to Livestrong, affects anyone who eats below their recommended daily caloric intake and makes weight loss nearly impossible. But is there any truth to this claim? It’s time to dispel myth from reality.

This is what starvation mode in dieting is said to be — a complete halt in weight loss when you’ve gone too far with your extreme dieting. Here’s the truth: While your body will have a response to cutting calories, it won’t be strong enough to completely prevent you from losing weight.

healthy foods and a tape measure

Healthy fresh produce for weight loss | iStock.com

In truth, The Washington Post explains metabolism will slow when you’re cutting calories. This is your body’s natural response to a significant change in your diet and your routine, but this doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, this slowing of your metabolic rate doesn’t even happen within the first six to eight months of extreme dieting, which is when most people find that they hit their first plateau and look toward starvation mode as a reason. It takes years and years of severe calorie restriction for your metabolism to completely offset a reduction in calories.

The idea that you won’t lose weight when your caloric intake is too restricted is completely dispelled when looking at The Minnesota Starvation Experiment outlined by the American Psychological Association. In World War II, men were worked to physical extremes and were given less than 1,600 calories to eat a day, resulting in extreme hunger, gaunt bodies, and malnutrition. They were rehabilitated back to full health by being fed a proper number calories, but nowhere in this study did they find the men stopped losing weight because they were eating too little. In fact, all of the participants lost about 25% of their body weight.

If you’re at the point in your diet where you’re unable to lose weight further, A Workout Routine suggests this may be because your body simply isn’t burning as many calories as it did when you weighed more. When your body weight decreases, you burn fewer calories in general, meaning the diet that worked for you when you were 50 pounds heavier may not be working so well for you anymore.
weighing-man
You also may think you’re eating the same exact diet that you were a few months earlier when you first started, but take a closer look. Have you allowed any unhealthy foods to sneak into your diet that may be sabotaging your weight loss? Keeping track of each food you eat every day is a good way to know if something like this is happening without your noticing it.

So, while starvation mode may not really be what’s keeping you from losing weight, there is some truth to the idea. Your metabolic rate will slow when you go to extremes with calorie restriction. However, this metabolic slow-down is not enough to completely halt weight-loss progress, and it happens very slowly Restricting calories may also cause you to feel intensely hungry and crave foods you ordinarily wouldn’t, and you may even feel like you’re mentally slowing down. It’s important to always listen to your body and to eat health-conscious meals packed with vitamins, healthy fats, and fresh produce to maintain your desired weight.

Going hungry for weight loss is never the answer, and a diet that strict likely won’t last long, either. While starvation mode is largely a myth, you’ll feel and look your best when you’re eating plenty of nutritious meals.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Lose Weight AND Be Happy

NOTE: These exact list of things, like anything else won’t work for everyone. However, I think the general approach has a broad enough applicability to warrant consideration. If we can only implement on 1 thing to eliminate entirely that would bring us one step closer to being healthy in body, mind, & spirit, then this was worth the post.

Losing 70 pounds is tough. Keeping it off for more than a decade is even tougher. Trust me, I tried everything. Once I lost the weight, I thought I’d feel relieved and proud all the time, but what I didn’t expect were the feelings of panic and fear.

I was constantly afraid that I’d end up back where I started and keeping the weight off became an obsession. When I overindulged or wasn’t able to work out, my first thought was that I was going to gain the weight back. It was exhausting and nerve-racking.

But somehow I’ve managed to keep it off and eventually found a way to do it that’s effective, effortless and doesn’t mean living in fear. Here’s what I’ve learned about what it takes.

1. Workouts that I dread.

I used to assign value to workouts purely on the number of calories that they burn so I stuck to brutal, high-intensity workouts that sorta made me miserable and ultimately got me injured and left me feeling burned out. Then, it occurred to me that I’m more than just muscle and fat. So I started only doing workouts that felt good in my body and contributed to the overall well-being of my body, mind and spirit. Now, I actually look forward to my workouts, which means I’ve got no problem getting them in regularly.

2. Eliminating entire categories of food.

Legit food sensitivities and allergies aside, cutting out a whole classification of food is not sustainable, making it a one-way ticket to Frustration City. Our bodies were designed to take in quality fats, protein and carbs (in moderation of course) and each plays a vital role in proper bodily function. Now, over time, I’ve learned that there are certain foods that don’t make me feel the greatest — for example, gummy candies cause my skin to break out, cereal makes me gassy and fried foods make me sluggish — but will an order of fries, a few celebratory cocktails or a birthday cupcake (or two) derail my inner peace and send me into a downward spiral of self-loathing and guilt? Absolutely not. I don’t give food that much power over me anymore.

3. Thinking in terms of calories.

Calories get far too much attention considering that they only tell a small part of the story. So many other things have a direct effect on your body weight and overall health and well-being — for example, hydration, sleep and stress levels all affect how well your body’s internal processes work, including digestion and metabolism. When we focus on calories, we learn that low-calorie means better … but it doesn’t. Many of the most nutritious foods on the planet are calorie dense and many very low-calorie foods have little or no nutritional value. Remember that food is fuel, so quality and nutrition definitely matter.

4. Punishing myself for “slipping up.”

Workouts aren’t punishment and deprivation is cruel. Think of it this way: if your child or pet screwed up, is it okay to run them into the ground or withhold a meal from them? No. So why, oh why, it is okay for us to do it to ourselves?

5. Ignoring the need for recovery.

I used to wear my perpetual muscle soreness like a badge of honor and told myself that I had to work out every day in order to “earn” my calories for that day. Honestly, I wish I could get back all that time I wasted — it didn’t make me stronger, leaner or happier. Our bodies can self-heal, but only if we give them the time to do so. Pushing yourself to the limit every day may seem bad-ass, but it’s robbing your body of the chance to rebuild, adapt and grow stronger.

6. Choosing my workouts based on what I want to look like.

My current workout routine reflects how I want my body to function so that I can do all the things that make my life fun and enjoyable — like teaching yoga, running ultra marathons, playing with my 3-year-old niece and carrying all my groceries in one shot. Here’s the thing: I’ve been a size 18 and I’ve been a size 0 — and everything in between — and it didn’t change how I felt about myself. Losing 70 pounds didn’t make me any less self-conscious about my body. You know what did make a difference? Learning what my body is capable of and developing my strengths. The shape and size of my body don’t define me or affect my overall quality of life.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: It Just Take a Little

Image result for little exercise

Past research has indicated that metabolic function is critical for women to prevent cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes after they reach menopause. Now, according to new research from the University of Missouri, minimal exercise may be all it takes for postmenopausal women to better regulate insulin, maintain metabolic function and help prevent significant weight gain. These findings suggest that women can take a proactive approach and may not need to increase their physical activity dramatically to see significant benefits from exercise.

“Diseases and associated with metabolic dysfunction skyrocket after menopause,” said Vicki Vieira-Potter, assistant professor of nutrition and at MU. “The intent of this research was to determine what role exercise plays in protecting women, specifically less-active women, metabolically as they go through menopause.”

Vieira-Potter’s research team compared how exercise training maintained metabolic function in sedentary rats versus highly active rats. The rats were provided a running wheel which they could use as much or as little as they wanted. The sedentary rats only ran 1/5th of the distance as the highly active rats did; yet, the limited physical activity still maintained their metabolic function and normalized insulin levels. Moreover, the previously sedentary rats saw a 50 percent reduction in their fat tissue as a result of that small amount of exercise.

“These findings suggest that any physical activity, even just a small amount, can do wonders in terms of maintaining ,” Vieira-Potter said. “This is significant for as they deal with weight gain associated with menopause as well as the increased risk for disease.”

Vieira-Potter says sedentary women can be proactive as they enter menopause by:

  • Going on regular walks with friends;
  • Taking the stairs rather than the elevator;
  • Joining beginners’ fitness programs;
  • Monitoring through use of fitness trackers.

“Voluntary running attenuates metabolic dysfunction in ovariectomized low-fit rats,” recently was published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Jaume Padilla, assistant professor; and Jill Kanaley, professor and associate chair; in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology co-authored the study. Other contributors from MU were Young-Min Park, a former graduate student; Terese Zidon, graduate student; Rebecca Welly, lab manager in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology; and Frank Booth, professor of biomedical sciences. Researchers from the University of Michigan medical school and the University of Kansas medical center also contributed to the study.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: New Non-Diet Approach

NOTE: Here’s an article that I don’t necessarily agree with but I do realize that what has worked for me (counting calories via MFP) does not work for everyone. So here’s some encouragement for those who is looking for the life style transformation that will last.

Image result for calorie counting

We are gathered, dear friends, to pay honor and, just maybe, to say farewell forever to an acquaintance not-so-dearly departed: the calorie-restriction diet. Because in this world where women sip small-batch nut milk before barre class, legions of people who aren’t actually sensitive to gluten won’t touch a dinner roll, and eating like a cavewoman is considered a viable nutritional plan even though most cavewomen didn’t survive past 35, it has become devilishly hard to find someone who admits she follows a straight-up calorie-counting diet anymore.

Skeptics will say the shift is purely semantic, a case of political correctness in which everybody is still dieting but nobody wants to utter the dreary word itself. But if you doubt that the trim-at-any-cost mass culture is changing, consider that Lean Cuisine, which has had two years of falling revenues, recently revamped its frozen-food recipes and added words like “organic” and “freshly made” to its packaging. “We realized that low fat and low calorie were not the modern definition of what people were looking for in healthy cuisine,” says the company’s marketing director, Julie Lehman. It’s a similar story at Weight Watchers, the company that first implanted the calorie-counting chip in the collective brain of American women more than 50 years ago. “It’s a different age,” says R. J. Hottovy, a consumer-equity strategist at Morningstar, an investment-research company, which keeps an eye on Weight Watchers, whose sales had taken a hit thanks to things like fitness trackers and meal-plan apps (the brand has since gotten in on the game, too). Even with the help of the planet’s most effective pitchwoman, Oprah Winfrey, “[the company is] still facing headwinds,” says Hottovy.

And the most recent weight-loss trend to gain popularity, so-called intermittent fasting, alternates periods of “normal” eating with short bursts of severe calorie restriction. By some jujitsu of dieting logic, these programs, like the 5:2 plan, allow those who follow them to enjoy a sense of balance and satisfaction at most mealtimes.

The hard truth is that the once nearly universal obsession with cutting calories and eliminating entire food groups is simply no longer trendy. When was the last time you heard someone say she was doing the South Beach Diet, the Master Cleanse, or Ideal Protein? Women from all walks of life (including but not limited to bloggers, social-media stars, actresses, and activists) have dropped more-restrictive regimens in favor of plans that promise health, wellness, and mind-body balance. ” ‘Diet’ has become”—wait for it—”a four-letter word,” says Susan B. Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University in Boston who studies weight-loss habits. It’s not that people don’t want to lose weight and get healthy and feel better; even if they don’t use the D word, more than half of all U.S. consumers are on a diet of some kind, according to a 2015 report by the market-research firm Mintel. “The problem is that they’ve tried so many things and struggled, and for what?” Roberts says.

Deprivation, after all, has a dark side. Remember this scene from the front lines of weight loss? You’re in your bathroom, you haven’t eaten a carbohydrate in weeks, you’re living on foods high in protein but no individual servings larger than your fist, and you’ve just urinated on a small wooden ketosis strip to see if it’s working. “All of these diets have created such angst for people around eating,” says Judith Matz, a coauthor of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook (Sourcebooks), who advises her clients to eat a wide variety of healthy foods. “It’s meant to be a source of nourishment, energy, and pleasure. But when you have to pee to make sure you’re eating properly, you take that pleasure away.”

Not that calorie-restricting diets don’t work. They generally do—just not for long. Many studies have shown that, except for a small sliver of the population, the average dieter sheds perhaps 10 percent of her weight during an exhilarating honeymoon phase, then returns to her original size within a couple or three years or even puts on extra pounds. Traci Mann, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and the author of Secrets From the Eating Lab (Harper Wave), echoes a newly familiar sentiment: Eat healthy and stop counting calories. She has delivered her message about the futility of food restriction to audiences around the country. These days, she often feels she’s preaching to the choir. “I talk a lot about all these physical changes from calorie deprivation that make it harder to keep dieting, and people say, ‘That’s exactly what happened to me. I started dieting, and suddenly I was hungry even when I ate things that used to make me feel full,’ ” she says.

Even among the very large number of women who still eat for their bathroom scale, the tendency now is to dispense with calorie counting in favor of a “lifestyle.” Thirty-day challenges, the paleo diet, eating “clean,” even locavore or artisanal-food obsession can be ways to limit your overall intake without having to refer to a system of points—although any experienced nutritionist will tell you the only reliable way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than your body burns.

Still, what the lifestyle plans do enticingly offer is a sense of control, possibly even joy. Maybe this is the most crucial point of all: You’re signing on to a new way of living, rather than chipping away at the one you’re used to. And some of them, at least, like the so-called Mediterranean diet, actually emphasize health and well-being over rapid, unsustainable weight loss. “As we get away from calorie counting, we move closer to nutrition,” says New York City registered nutritionist Keri Gans, the author of The Small Change Diet (Gallery Books). “People are starting to realize they have to be patient, move slowly, and give themselves time to create new habits.”

The lifestyle approach has another advantage. By choosing to go macrobiotic or to explore the benefits of cold-pressed juices, to name a couple of examples, the modern dieter can at the same time be a part of the infectious fun of the food-cultural revolution that is so dramatically remaking our grocery stores, restaurants, and entire channels of cable TV. “I don’t care if you live at the very edge of the forest during this Whole Foods moment, you still know there’s a buzz about kale and avocado,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of the Moon Juice plant-based apothecary and food stores in Los Angeles, where Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley come to shop for things like reishi mushrooms (believed to boost the immune system), mineral-rich maca root, and shilajit tonic, which is used in Ayurvedic medicine. In that sense, the new way of dieting is all about the benefits (#gainz, if you do your boasting online) and not just the losses.

Bacon’s esoteric brand of holistic living—a combination of kundalini and Vedic meditation, exercise, and meals designed to promote wellness—includes managing one’s weight without being consumed by it. A typical lunch might be zucchini ribbons with basil, pine nuts, and sun-cured olives with a cup of green tea. Outside experts could debate for days whether that actually constitutes a healthy meal or is just low-calorie dieting dressed up in New Age finery. But Bacon is evangelical about the need to “bust the myth of traditional dieting,” as she puts it. “I stand in good company, which includes medical doctors, when I say that what I put in my body can definitely help me maintain my weight. But along with that, my skin is different; my energy levels are very different; my personality is different. Food affects everything.”

THE ONCE NEARLY UNIVERSAL OBSESSION WITHCUTTING CALORIESAND ELIMINATING ENTIRE FOOD GROUPS IS SIMPLY NO LONGER TRENDY.

The scientific community has long accepted that idea, of course, along with the understanding that our weight is also determined by genetics and other physiological factors beyond our control. All of which encourages the emergence, in a parallel universe that coexists with all the super skinny fitness stars of social media, of the idea that a woman’s body can be considered beautiful and healthy no matter how it happens to be shaped and sized. Hashtags like #fatkini (accompanied by photos of large women in bathing suits) make the rounds on Instagram, where the extraordinary yoga instructor and “fat femme” Jessamyn Stanley has 168,000 followers and counting.

Popular women’s websites decry fat-shaming and celebrate body positivity. When Kelsey Miller, the author of Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting & Got a Life (Grand Central Publishing) and the creator of the Anti-Diet Project column at Refinery29, first joined that website in 2012, one of the dieting buzzwords of the day was “detox.” (“We now know what bullshit that was,” she says.)

Today’s buzzword is more like “DGAF” (look it up). Miller, who says she has spent her entire conscious life in the dieting cycle, now practices what’s known as intuitive eating, in which her meal choices are guided by what she’s hungry for coupled with an understanding of which foods make her feel healthy and energetic and, conversely, which ones slow her down. “It’s about getting over the idea that kale is the savior and the cheeseburger is the enemy,” she says.

Here’s what it looks like at mealtime: When Miller is in the mood for, say, a steak, potatoes, and spinach, she eats it. Or she gives it some thought and decides, “You know what? That sounds really heavy and not comfortable right now,” says Miller. The goal either way is to take worrying about her weight out of the equation and to focus on comfort, health, and satisfaction—to reach a state of Zen-like food neutrality.

Miller is the first person to say there’s a utopian, if still somewhat attainable, quality to her anti-diet philosophy. And there’s no going back—for her, and many others who have had enough of the old way of dieting. Elizabeth Angell, a digital editor in New York City, can’t imagine ever going back to Weight Watchers, although she found the program helpful when she wanted to lose baby weight after the birth of her daughter three years ago.

But ultimately it was no more helpful than accepting the fact that her weight will fluctuate, and the best thing she can do for herself is eat lots of fresh vegetables, prepare as many of her own meals as possible, keep sweets out of the house, and try to limit her consumption of carbs to once a day. “On a diet, you’re always ten pounds away from your goal, and I just don’t want to always be short of my goal,” Angell says. “I’m tired of saying no.”

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

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