Buddha
“The mind is everything; what you think you become.”-Buddha

Body Articles Q2 2012(4)

Can't Lose the Weight?

Can't Lose the Weight?

May 17, 2012

You can almost hear a collective sigh each morning, as dieters across the U.S. step onto their scales and discover that, in spite of their best efforts, the weight isn’t going anywhere. They’re following the conventional wisdom—eating right and exercising—but the pounds are staying put. In fact, according to a Pennsylvania State College of Medicine analysis of 14,000 adults, just 1 in 6 dieters succeeds at losing 10 percent or more of his or her body weight and keeps it off for at least a year. The culprits—from food sensitivities to stress levels—can sabotage even the best weight-loss efforts. Of course diet and exercise play a crucial role, but if those strategies aren’t working, consider the possible saboteurs that follow and take the recommended steps to combat them. You’re sensitive: Several recent studies suggest a connection between childhood obesity and food allergies. Which comes first remains a matter of debate, but a few small trials suggest that identifying and eliminating food sensitivities before dieting can set a weightloss program off on the right foot. Try: An elimination diet: Start by ditching all of the suspected culprits (dairy, gluten, peanuts and soy are common) for three weeks and add them back one by one. You’re stressed out and exhausted Chronic stress prompts a surge in the “fight or flight” hormone cortisol, which can tear down muscle fiber, impair blood sugar metabolism and boost the brain chemical neuropeptide Y, which sparks cravings. Meanwhile, losing just an hour of sleep each night for three days can prompt a surge in the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and a slump in the hormone leptin, which tells us when we’re full). Deep sleep, on the other hand, fuels production of the fat-burning human growth hormone (HGH). Try: Meditating for 10 to 30 minutes a day to help normalize cortisol levels and boost levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone serotonin. To relax your body and keep your digestive system cleansed, try 250 milligrams of magnesium daily. Or take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) an hour before bed. Your thyroid is sluggish Turner estimates that nearly onethird of all men and women have a thyroid that is operating in a suboptimal range, often brought on by stress, a genetic predisposition, working out more than an hour a day, or restricting calories too much (less than 1,700 a day for women; 2,000 for men). Try: Having your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels tested. While 0.4 to 4 ml/UL is considered “normal,” a value higher than 2 can slow metabolism and hinder weight loss. Consider taking the herb ashwagandha (believed to jump-start production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4). Also, eat a few Brazil nuts every day (they’re rich in the mineral selenium, which is key for proper thyroid gland function). You’ve hit a hormonal rut According to a 2011 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, restricting calories and losing body fat can wreak havoc on insulin, leptin, ghrelin and other hormones, prompting a surge in hunger and a slump in metabolism. This typically occurs about 10 weeks into a weight-loss program and can last for more than a year, even after the diet is abandoned. Dieting also prompts dopamine levels to fall, squelching motivation. Try: Indulging in one higher carbohydrate “cheat meal” per week to bolster your leptin levels, suggests Turner. Taking a daily omega-3 supplement can also raise leptin levels and promote satiety.

Source: Natural Health

Your Guide to Positive Thinking

Apr 27, 2012

When it comes to self-criticism, women are ruthless. We talk to ourselves in ways we would never, ever consider talking to someone else. One reason is the idea that "if I cut myself down, it will somehow move me to engage in better behaviors." But research shows just the opposite is true. It's at least some comfort that we're biologically programmed to do this. There is a part of our brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, which is basically the "worrywart center." It's wired to remember negative moments most keenly, which is your brain's way of teaching you not to do something potentially harmful again. As it happens, it's larger in women than in men. Not that a little self-criticism is all bad: It can be a reality check and may fire us up to perform better (which can make us more successful) or strive to be better people (which makes us happier). But there is a vast difference between "I need to work out more," which sparks your motivation, and "I'm a jiggly blob"—which just makes you want to sit on the couch. The article then details ways to muzzle that inner critic, here is an overview: - Put negative stuff in a box: the next time a negative thought intrudes, take a few deep breaths and then quickly narrow it down and put your problems into the smallest box possible. - Try the power of possible thinking - research has found that when you're down and out and force yourself to say positive things to yourself, you end up feeling worse. That's because our internal lie detector goes off. Instead try a technique called possible thinking, which involves reaching for neutral thoughts about the situation and naming the facts. - Ask yourself if you're really so guilty - Make the choice to be kind to yourself by questioning your initial thoughts, which is key to slowing down that voice. The more follow-ups you ask yourself, the more you dilute the shameful moment. - Put a better spin on things - It may sound silly, but this little change of wording gives you distance and reminds you that your low self-esteem moment is just that: a moment. - Ask: what would my best friend say? - If you wouldn't say it to your friend, don't say it to yourself. - Give your inner critic a name (preferably a silly one) - It's hard to take that inner voice seriously when you call it The Nag. - ...While you're at it, give your rants a name, too - Pick up the phone - find the courage to do the counterintuitive thing and tell someone what happened - Embrace your imperfections - It's enormously freeing to stop holding yourself to insanely high standards. Relax your standards just a little. If you give yourself the same empathy you'd show a friend, it will be so much easier to take on The Nag, and win.

Source: Health Magazine

Need a terrific doctor? Here’s how to find one you’ll want to keep forever

Need a terrific doctor? Here’s how to find one you’ll want to keep forever

Apr 1, 2012

In a recent survey, nearly a third of Americans who don’t have a primary care physician (PCP) said they didn’t think they needed one. The truth is, we all do. Not only do people with a regular doc receive better overall care, but it’s easier for them to get an appointment on short notice—helpful for reassurance on day-to-day health queries, and especially crucial if you should ever find yourself in a serious health crisis. Your mission: To locate an MD with great experience; an organized, friendly office staff; and, most of all, the ability to collaborate well with you (it is, after all, your body and health). This article will help you learn how. Overview of how: - Go to your network - Check out his/her credentials - Vet the office - Size him/her up in person

Source: Health Magazine

Health Lies Trainers Tell

Apr 27, 2012

That "helpful" advice you hear at the gym may actually hurt you. This article will help you distinguish the truth from the B.S. Organizations that train and certify trainers warn their members not to cross the line that separates fitness tips from health advice. The line is thin, but trainers still have to respect it. For example, it's OK to talk about the basics of good nutrition. But it is absolutely not OK to tell someone to avoid a specific food group, like dairy, unless the trainer also happens to be a registered dietitian. Likewise, if something hurts while you're exercising, an instructor may be trained to provide basic modifications. But if you're still in pain, she should refer you to a doctor. This article gave the skinny on some of the top myths muscling their way around gyms right now, such as: - "Heat and vigorous exercise help you sweat out toxins." You aren't likely to purify your body of much of anything by sweating, whether in a hot yoga class or sizzling sauna, because all that's in perspiration is water, salt, and a smattering of electrolytes. - "The more limber you are, the better." Flexibility is certainly important, and you should be flexible enough to do the things you need or want to do without being uncomfortable. But there is no health benefit in having a hyper-flexible body or being able to twist yourself into a pretzel just for the sake of doing so. In fact, pushing your body into extreme stretches can cause injury. - "A cool-down after your workout minimizes muscle soreness." There is some evidence that after intense exercise, a cool-down can help prevent blood from pooling in a person's extremities and reduce their risk of becoming dizzy or passing out. But don't sweat it if you have to cut out of your session early. - "You should replace your sneakers every six months to avoid injury." General rule is to replace sneakers every 300 to 500 miles, or roughly every three to six months. However, trainers who advise this as a general rule aren't taking into account that people who exercise indoors or run fewer miles simply don't put that kind of stress on their shoes. A better recommendation is to check the soles of your shoes every few months to make sure the treads aren't worn. Then take each shoe in your hands and give it a twist. If it twists easily, like a towel, your sneakers probably aren't providing enough support. - "Perspiration and a high heart rate are signs of a good cardio workout." For a workout to deliver true cardio benefits, it's got to be rhythmic, dynamic activity that utilizes large muscle groups -- for example, those in your legs and upper body -- for a minimum of 20 to 60 minutes, depending on your level of fitness. - "Performing yoga twists purifies your organs." Yoga provides many health benefits. But nothing indicates that compression of your organs is what's helping. - "Running gives you wrinkles because all that pounding breaks down collagen." - Fortunately the idea doesn't appear to have any hard science to back it up. - "You should keep your heart rate below 140 when exercising while pregnant." These days there is no one-size-fits-all heart rate for pregnant women. Once a woman gets the green light from her physician, she can pretty much do whatever her body and lack of symptoms allow her to do. As a general rule, it is fine to work to the point of fatigue but not exhaustion. Use common sense and always check with your doctor first.

Source: Fitness Magazine