Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

The Secret to Dieting Success? Sleep

March 13, 2018

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Sure, eating less is the main driver of weight loss, but nailing the right amount of shut-eye each night helps too

Spring is fast approaching. For many of you, that means a race is on the horizon, so it’s time to turn up your training, dial in your diet, and rebuild your trail legs. But as you begin this performance-minded overhaul of your waking hours, you should also consider the one-third of your day where you do nothing at all: your sleeping hours.

“I often find myself in this dilemma where I could wake up early and go for a run or I could get an extra 20 to 30 minutes of sleep,” says Chris Winter, a sleep researcher who consults for various professional teams and author of The Sleep Solution. “Most days, I’d probably be better off getting the sleep.”

Roughly 40 percent of us don’t get seven or more hours of sleep. But logging shut-eye is associated with better fitness and athletic performance. Winter, for example, conducted a study that showed professional baseball players who didn’t get enough sleep had shorter careers in the majors. One reason may be that sleep helps you recover from hard training. “The lion’s share of growth hormone secretion happens during deep sleep,” says Winter.

And while eating less is generally agreed to be the main driver of weight loss, fixing your approach to sleep may actually be one of the easiest ways to cut weight. The number of sleep hours you get is a strong predictor of what and how much you eat. People who slept five hours or fewer, for example, consumed nearly 700 daily calories more than people who got a full night’s sleep, according to research. That’s about seven pieces of bread, three PowerBars, or a McDonald’s quarter-pounder with fries that can up and vanish from your daily diet.

“When a body is sleepy, you try to eat to stay awake,” Winter says. Blame biology. When you’re sleep-deprived, the appetite-regulating hormone leptin drops and the hunger hormone ghrelin spikes. You’re most likely to crave calorie-dense, high-carb foods—stuff like tortilla chips and granola bars—over vegetables.

Incremental weight loss and muscle gain is more important now than ever as you start to ramp up your training. According to research, most people end the winter nearly five pounds heavier than they started it. That extra flab doesn’t just affect your health—it can kill performance. Data from marathon runners even shows that higher body-fat percentage is tied to slower finishing times, even when you’re talking only five pounds.

So get some sleep. The simplest way is to make your bedroom feel like a cave.

#1. Darken Your Room

If you can see anything at all in your bedroom at night, it’s too bright. Light is the main disruptor of the sleep process, Winter says. The solution, he says, is to buy blackout curtains for your windows and rid electronics from your bedroom (or, at least, put tape over their lights). If it’s still too bright, use a sleeping mask.

#2. Kill the Noise

If you fall asleep to the din of Netflix, you’re setting yourself up to have your sleep interrupted, and that can blunt recovery-enhancing processes like growth hormone release, Winter says. Set your TV on a sleep timer. If your room is still loud—looking at you, apartment dwellers—invest in earplugs.

#3. Turn Down the Thermostat

“There’s new research that says temperature may be just as important as light in controlling sleep patterns,” Winter says. Cooler is better. Aim for 66 degrees: A study found that people who slept in a 66-degree room not only slept better but also boosted their ability to metabolize fats and sugars.

 

Written by: Michael Easter
https://www.outsideonline.com/2283696/easiest-way-fix-your-diet-sleep

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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Stuffed Calamari

October 5, 2017

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Suits all phases – Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large calamari, with tentacles
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
150g kale, washed and chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
400g tomato puree
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Separate the calamari tentacles from the bodies. Finely chop the tentacles, and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onions until the onion is softened.
  3. Add the capsicum and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the chopped tentacles and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and cook, stirring frequently, until the kale has softened; then remove the mixture from the heat.
  5. Fill up each calamari with an equal amount of the filling, and close them up with toothpicks.
  6. Heat another Tbsp olive oil over a medium-high heat in the same fry pan. Add the stuffed calamari to the skillet and brown all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  7. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the stuffed calamari, cover and cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Adjust the seasoning and serve with a salad or steamed vegies.

 

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Broccoli Soup with Pine Nuts

August 18, 2016

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Why I Will Choose to be a Little Fat

July 17, 2016

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How we can all feel good about ourselves, whatever our size.

I saw an article a few weeks ago with this incredible before-and-after set of photos of an overweight, post-baby woman who then became totally “bikini-worthy.”

So I had to click the link, of course, to have a look. No question about it—the “after” photo of this woman was a stunning shot. She looked fit, toned, healthy and gorgeous. I read on, eager to discover what her secret was; what profound magical method it was that she had used to shed however-many-number of pounds.

There it was, a long and detailed tract of the super lean, restrictive diet she had put herself on for a year. No carbs, no dairy, no fruit, no nothing. The sample diet she had shared in the article seemed to consist of little more than hummus, celery and endless amounts of steamed fish. Healthy—yes. Exciting, delicious, fun lifestyle—no.

I decided in that moment that I would choose to continue being a little bit fat.

Yes, I could do with losing at least about 10 pounds so that the Bébé dress I bought earlier this year would fit that much more snugly. But if it’s at the expense of not eating fruit, freshly baked breads, Greek yogurt and honey for a year, well then, I choose emphatically to continue being 10 pounds more than I should be.

Science is a wonderful thing. It’s revealed so many revolutionary ways of understanding the way our bodies work and the effects of new foods, super foods, bad foods and good foods on our health. It’s sad though that “health” has so often come to be equated only and necessarily with thinness.

The glut of diet programs, weight-loss fads, fat-burning supplements and specialized bikini-body workouts are now as much a part of our daily consumer choices as the aisles of (“forbidden”) food in supermarkets. There seems to be no excuse not to be “healthy” (read: thin) given the huge number of aids, YouTube videos and literature on the subject.

Articles like the one I read aren’t necessarily always an encouraging, inspiring thing. They don’t just tell the story of an overweight person who chose discipline and a healthier lifestyle. There is often also a more sinister sub-narrative that raises its eyebrows at the reader and challenges her—“If this person can lose xx pounds, why can’t you?”—even if the reader may not actually be unhealthy or overweight.

The titles of these articles alone are almost always weight-centered, like “I lost 120 pounds, ask me how!” or “How one man lost 200 pounds in a year.” Rarely are these articles presented through the perspective of someone choosing a healthier lifestyle, discarding bad nutritional habits or incorporating fitness into their daily routine.

There it is: the continuous, unceasing reminder that we should all be striving toward thinness. From cabbage soup fasts, to low-everything diets, to 20-minute fat-blasting workouts, the desirable end result is usually almost and entirely about becoming become a thinner version of ourselves.

I am not ignoring the fact that for a percentage of people who are facing the health risks of being dangerously overweight, losing weight is a part of becoming healthier. I don’t discount that and understand how important it is in these cases to count calories and lost inches.

Problems arise when that very same method is being adopted by people who aren’t facing any health risks—who may, in fact, be completely healthy, fit people—but who still feel that they would be healthier if only they were five, 10 or 20 pounds lighter.

So I’d like to suggest flipping things around a bit; looking at things through another lens.

Let’s focus on being healthy—and just that.

Logically and biologically, it would follow that by following a healthy way of living, eating and exercising, everything else will find its proper balance. We would lose weight if we needed to lose weight, we’d gain muscle if we needed to gain muscle, we’d balance out all the other things that come from not being healthy—stress, cholesterol, diabetes, poor complexion, hair loss etc.

And what does it mean to live healthily? In the face of all the new diet and exercise schemes, I think that actually, we all already know what it means to live a healthy, balanced, feel-totally-awesome lifestyle, without having to follow any fad or buy any specialized products.

Intuitively, deep down inside, we do know the basics of living well. We know when we’ve had enough to eat, what kinds of foods are good for us, what makes us feel good and what makes us go into a slump, how much exercise we need to do, when to stop when we’re exhausted and when to rest.

We know this not just intellectually, but physically—our bodies are always telling us what we need to do; we just need to listen.

One’s body will tell us when it feels like a massive binge on Chinese take-out. It will also tell us when it’s had enough so we don’t insist on finishing every last fortune cookie. Our bodies will take us dancing, running, swimming, trampolining and playing; but they will also make us rest and sleep.

I read something beautiful a while ago, about how we shouldn’t change our bodies so we can love them.

Instead, we should create change in the way we treat ourselves because we love our bodies.

Ultimately this is about focusing on health: the physical health of our bodies and the emotional health of how we see and relate to our bodies. We love our bodies—this temporary shell on loan to us for this lifetime—so we treat them well, nourish them, feed them, move them, hug them, stretch then, let them dance, discipline them, give them a treat sometimes and most of all enjoy them.

Enjoying our bodies is to indulge in the beautiful, sensual things like good food, good sex and the rush of an energetic run in the mornings. But also, I think enjoyment is about ensuring our bodies are at their prime health so that they truly get the most out of these things and appreciate, at our body’s fullest capacity, the good food, good sex and energetic run.

This is true whatever size we’re at, whether we’re trying to lose weight or gain weight, whether we’re severely overweight or dangerously underweight.

This is true because it’s a matter of health and of helping our bodies be at their optimum functioning levels, not merely a matter of what we look like.

Yes, ideally, I would still like the scales to tell me that I am 10 pounds lighter and to see my dress size drop to a single digit. But then, I have to ask myself what it really is that I’d like to get out of being that much thinner. I don’t have any illnesses, I live a happy, active life, and I’ve been medically cleared for good, prime health.

So what is it? To be more attractive? To feel more energetic? To turn more heads? To tighten that gap between me and the Victoria’s Secret models?

I realize now that if I only just went back to focusing on being healthy, everything else would find its rightful place. When I’m feeling healthy, my skin glows, my hair is shiny and I’m a face full of radiance. When I’m feeling fit after a big run and deep session of yoga, I’m also confident, joyful and there’s an extra bounce in my step.

Automatically, without being a single ounce lighter, I realize now that being healthy alone is enough to be more attractive, feel more energetic, turn more heads and gain almost as many admirers as the Victoria’s Secret angels.

With a focus on health, instead of weight, I find too that I enjoy life a whole lot more. I eat without guilt and play with abandon. I move and shift and indulge the very real needs of my body instead of spending good hours of my day fussing over diet plans, exercise schedules and meal replacement shakes.

It isn’t only when I achieve a vision of thinness that I am deemed healthy and attractive.

I am attractive because I am living healthily.

And if that means I shall always be a little bit fat, with a few extra pounds to shed, then that’s exactly what I shall be.

Written Via 
on Sep 29, 2013 for http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/why-i-will-always-choose-to-be-a-little-bit-fat-jamie-khoo/

The Easiest Strategies to Avoid Overeating

May 22, 2016

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Written by NEGHAR FONOONI
Listen, we’ve all been there. We’ve overindulged and lived to regret it. One too many glasses of wine and you feel like absolute garbage the next day. A sliver of chocolate cake that turns into 3 slices—bring on the guilt and remorse. Tacos at 2 a.m.? Sure, why not. And then of course, we wash it all down the next morning with Bloody Marys, our go-to hair of the dog.

In the past, I treated social gatherings as an excuse for an all-out binge sesh that left me feeling bloated, ashamed, and hungover the next morning. I then spent the next few days restricting my diet and punishing myself with exercise just to get the bloating down.

I feel you. And I also know how frustrating it can be to feel like you aren’t in control of your cravings or how much you indulge. I know what it feels like to finally get on track with your nutrition, and then feel like a failure when it all goes to pieces in the blink of an eye. I work regularly with clients looking for moderation and balance–who want to put an end to the yo-yo cycle of binge, berate, restrict, repeat.

But we still want to have our favorite things, don’t we? We want to sip and taste and never feel deprived. Because honestly, deprivation is the pits. It almost always leads to backsliding and rebounding, because willpower is finite, and we can only restrict ourselves for so long. We want to indulge without the requisite guilt that comes along with it. After all, if food is meant to be pleasurable, why should we feel so bad about it?

I want you to eat whatever you want and never feel shameful again. Shame over food (or really anything for that matter) is a wholly unproductive emotion. We can learn how to eat for our palate and our physique, living a life of nutritional freedom, and never again utter the phrase, “I can’t eat that.” We can put an end to dieting by realizing that there’s no trendy diet or brand new nutrition plan that’s going to completely transform us.

What will cause us to change is our mindset. Mindset can seem like a nebulous or intangible term but it’s actually pretty simple: Your mindset is your perspective, the way you view your environment, and how you choose to perceive your world. Your mindset guides how you think about food and fitness, and your mindset ultimately determines lasting success.

To help cultivate a positive mindset, especially as it pertains to food and indulgence, I have a handful of effective strategies that I use myself and share with my clients to develop sustainable habits for a fit, healthy life. Today I want to share two of the most powerful ones with you.

These two simple strategies, when practiced regularly, will help you put a stop to overindulgence and food anxiety once and for all.

Step 1: Eat Foods That Make You Feel Good

This phrase sounds like a cliché, but I really mean finding food that makes you feel good when you’re eating it and in the hours afterward. Indulgences can totally fit the bill here. Healthy food that nourishes your body can (and should) be palatable, and food that doesn’t nourish your body can still be neutral—meaning it won’t send you into a gut-inflamed, joint-aching frenzy. There are a few questions you can ask yourself before consuming (or imbibing) to determine if a food meets this criteria:

  1. Does this food support my intentions for my body? (If so, go for it!)
  2. If not, will I feel guilty about it later? (If your answer is no, go for it!)
  3. Even though this food doesn’t support my intentions, will it add to my experience in some significant way? (If not, don’t eat it!)

You get the idea. The point is to check in with yourself and hit the pause button before you go too far down the binge-eating rabbit hole. Using this strategy will allow you to indulge intelligently and make mindful decisions—as opposed to mindlessly consuming whatever is in front of you.

Step 2: Use the First Bite Rule

That first sip of sauvignon blanc on a sunny, summer patio that makes you go “Ahh!” That first bite of a warm brownie sundae that makes you go “Mmm.” It’s such a pleasurable experience. It’s food and it’s love and it’s heaven. Food is meant to be enjoyed, but shouldn’t we enjoy every bite as much as the first? In order to do this, you have to stop and check in with yourself after every bite (or sip, in my case!).

Is it still amazing? Am I still really tasting this, or just eating it because it’s there? This requires mindfulness, which is the ultimate goal when it comes to nutritional freedom.

By stopping to make sure you’re still enjoying the experience, you’ll ensure that you never eat more than you truly want, and you’ll slowly start to realize that you don’t have to clean your plate, drink the entire bottle, or scarf down the whole slice of pie. It’s the most natural and effective way that I’ve found to avoid overeating and post-consumption remorse.

The Takeaway

None of this is rocket science, but it does require constant practice and awareness. Ultimately, the goal is to live an empowered, vibrant life, in which overindulgence, binging, and berating yourself about your choices are all a thing of the past. Here’s to eating mindfully and indulging intelligently!

This post originally appeared on Eat, Lift, and Be Happy, a blog written by fitness and lifestyle coach Neghar Fonooni. Her mission is to help women worldwide recognize their worth, own their power, prioritize self-care, and live their bliss. As a lifelong writer and fitness professional from the past 15 years, Neghar uses movement as a gateway to encourage women to get in touch with their bodies and mindset practice as a means to get in touch with their hearts.  For more visit: http://www.negharfonooni.com/blog/

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Italian Chicken & Beef Sauté

November 26, 2015

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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Chopped Bok Choy & Steak Salad with Olive Dressing

November 5, 2015

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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Mushroom & Bacon Risotto

October 29, 2015

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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Greek-Style Slow-Roasted Beef

October 15, 2015

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