Even if you have superhuman willpower, the holiday season is challenging for everyone. Staying on track can seem so daunting, you feel like swan-diving into the eggnog and sending your sensible routine into hibernation until the New Year. But, as we all know, excess pounds don't disappear along with the decorations. And nobody wants to start the new year in the hole, body-wise.
Turns out, there's no need to. "You can have fun without throwing away your healthy habits," says Elisa Zied, RD, author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips. Check out our 15 rules for a no-gain season. You can indulge and still wake up the same size (or less!) come New Year's Day.
Weight yourself twice a week
That's often enough to make sure you stay on track, but not so often that you take all the fun out of holiday noshing, says Michael Dansinger, MD, an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. Step on the scale first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty.
It’s an all-too-common scenario: You wake up in the morning swearing today’s the day when you’ll eat clean, nourish yourself with a healthy breakfast at home, and pass up the glistening bakery goodies that tempt you every day.
You make it to work without incident and then stress hits—any kind of stress, from a new project deadline to a caustic remark from your boss. A little while later, you find yourself with pastries in hand, wolfing down sugary anesthetics and wanting more. When you finally pop out of your food trance, and the reality of what you’ve done begins to settle in, the ensuing feelings of shame and guilt stoke your stress levels more and you’re already plotting your next food fix.
You wonder: Why do I keep caving to these cravings? Where’s my discipline and willpower?
This is your brain addicted to food.
That’s right. Addicted. You might tell yourself, "I’m not addicted to food; I just love a good sweet now and then."
Well, I’m here to tell you that food addiction is real; it affects more people than you know, and manufacturers actually design food products so that they are as addicting as possible. Yes, that perfect combination of salty, sweet, and savory was created to make sure you keep reaching for more.
Here are six ways to beat food addiction:
1) Take the test. First, you need to find out if your relationship with food is a healthy one. Take my Food Addiction Quiz. This is a special assessment developed by Yale University researchers to evaluate your relationship with food. Experts believe that the majority of people who are overweight or obese have some level of food addiction. However, anyone of any age and size can have this issue.
2) Know your staples from your treats. Our brains are rigged to seek out the delicious reward of natural carbs like berries from a bush or veggies from the ground. We savor healthy fats from avocados, olive oil, and fish and lean meats. Our brains drive us to forage around to find these foods so that we have quick energy (from carbs) and long-lasting fuel (from fat). These natural whole foods have sustained us since the dawn of time. Our brains were acclimated to the taste of these rewards. Every now and again, we’d savor a treat that contained more natural sugar (grapes) or fat (dairy or meat). This mix of staples and treats became our natural balance of healthy nutrients. Flash-forward, and now we have manufacturers creating “hyperpalatable” foods—full of sugar, fat, and salt. And because they are ubiquitous, cheap, and easily accessible, fewer people cook. Grab and go is now the way to go.
3) Rein in your reward center.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/25/6-ways-to-beat-your-food-addiction/#ixzz2AQE5tzQZ
The number of Americans who are severely obese shot up by 70 percent in the past decade or so, though the increase has slowed down in more recent years, a new study finds.
Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of Americans who were severely obese - at least 100 pounds overweight - rose from 4 percent to almost 7 percent.
The increase showed signs of slowing after 2005, researchers found. But the bad news is that the severely obese remain the fastest-growing segment of obese Americans, said study leader Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the non-profit research institute RAND Corporation.
More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, which means having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is a measure of weight relative to height.
Recent studies have found that the nation's obesity rate, among adults and kids, may be leveling off. But most of those folks are moderately obese.
"Everybody's talking about obesity leveling off," Sturm said. But what tends to get "lost" in the discussion is the fact that severe obesity - BMIs of 40 or higher - is still rising fast.
That's important, Sturm said, because those are the people who have the highest healthcare costs - about double those of normal-weight Americans.
People with a BMI of 40 or higher would be at high risk of conditions like diabetes, severe arthritis and heart disease. They are also the folks who could be candidates for obesity surgery.
But there are other costs besides the healthcare price tag, Sturm noted. There's the human cost of living with obesity-related health problems, and often a loss to the workforce.
"There's the disability and inability to work," Sturm said. "People may be basically forced into retirement because they can't work."
The findings, reported in the International Journal of Obesity, are based on data from an annual government health survey of U.S. adults. BMI estimates were made based on people's self-reported weight and height.
Moderate obesity, the study found, rose relatively slowly after 2000 and seemed to level off from 2005 on. In contrast, the proportion of Americans with a BMI of 40 or above climbed by more than 70 percent.
That translates to about 15 million U.S. adults with a BMI that high, Sturm said.
And some Americans were consistently at greater risk over time than others. The rate of severe obesity was 50 percent higher among women than men, and twice as high among black Americans as among white and Hispanic adults.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/19/severe-obesity-still-rising-fast-in-us/#ixzz29khijNV0
Dr. Larry Bishop--Florida Today
When I was a kid, I went to the Ohio State Fair every year. Although the rides were a hit, I really loved the midway. Carnival barkers would talk me into investing my hard-earned cash on games of skill. They taunted me into knocking over milk jugs with baseballs and playing ring toss, but the game I loved most was the “Guess your age, guess your weight” booth. Of course, I knew the prizes they gave out were worth less than the dollar the players ponied up, but I was amazed at how often the man who ran the game was right.
Every year, I would sidle up to the guy with the microphone and ask him how he did it, and every year he would tell me to beat it. But, one night, I got lucky. “Kid, it’s like this. Look at their eyes, look at their teeth and look at their hands. It’ll give ’em away every time.”
Now that I am a dermatologic surgeon, I get it perfectly. People who are trying to rejuvenate their appearance, commonly get treatments for the lines around the eyes with Botox and Elastiderm. For inevitable changes to our teeth, we often look to a cosmetic dentist or over-the-counter products to whiten and brighten our smiles.
But what about the hands? For most patients, the hands take a tremendous beating, particularly from the sun. We work with our hands, garden with our hands, wash the car with our hands. What we don’t do is protect them nearly as well as we should. As a result, we see our hands reveal our age.
So, what should you do about the spots, thin skin, the sunken appearance between the bones of the hand? Luckily, there are all sorts of tricks to which we, as dermatologic surgeons, can resort.
The most dramatic improvement in a short time comes from the use of intense pulsed light. The “age spots” on the hands are very sensitive to IPL, and in one or two treatments most of the unsightly brown spots can be eliminated.
For the thinness of the skin, we resort to using the wrinkle remover Retin-A or one of its similar cousins. By using this class of drugs, known as retinoids, the body is stimulated to produce collagen, which in turn thickens the skin.
Is Alzheimer’s disease really a form of diabetes? Let’s call it type 3, because that’s what a Brown Medical School researcher dubbed it back in 2005 when she autopsied the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and found that they had signs of insulin resistance -- an early indicator of diabetes.
Since then, however, we haven’t seen a sea-change in preventive treatments based on this idea. Those who carry the gene for hereditary Alzheimer’s aren’t given diabetes drugs to help stave off dementia. Nor are Alzheimer’s patients given insulin injections.
What has been getting attention, however, is whether we should make extra efforts to eat a low glycemic diet -- which is low in processed foods, sugar, and starchy carbohydrates that cause quick spikes in blood sugar -- to help protect our brains from developing those gunky amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
The September issue of the New Scientist advocates for changing our eating patterns with a frightening image of a cracked chocolate brain on its cover. (Chocolate consumption, though, hasn’t been linked to cognitive decline, much to my relief.)
New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman pointed out in a recent post that the latest studies provide some persuasive evidence linking diet to the development of Alzheimer’s. I’ve covered those studies too, including this one that measured a smaller Alzheimer’s risk in people who eat a diet rich in fish, veggies, and fruit compared with those who eat a diet centered on processed foods containing trans fats.
But I’m not convinced that puts Alzheimer’s in the diabetes category. I asked Dr. Suzanne DeLaMonte, the Brown Medical School neuropathologist who did the initial studies, whether she still thinks of Alzheimer’s as akin to type 3 diabetes.
“I think it’s pretty clear that it is,” she said. “Alzheimer’s is insulin resistance in the brain, and those with diabetes have a two to three fold higher risk of getting cognitive impairment and dementia, probably because of this.”
A large body of research has accumulated in recent years connecting the two diseases, and both have risen precipitously in the population -- with a declining age of onset -- along with obesity. Clinical trials have also tested the diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, though with mixed results.
“Some patients had improved cognition, but others didn’t,” said DeLaMonte, and it’s possible that by the time dementia symptoms appear, it’s too late to reverse the damage to the brain caused by the insulin resistance.
The solution, she said, probably won’t come from any drug, at least for a while; instead, it lies in prevention by making lifestyle tweaks where needed. First off, DeLaMonte said we should do what we can to limit our intake of nitrates -- found in cured meats such as hot dogs and salami --because the latest research being conducted by her and others shows a strong association between nitrates and neural effects. Nitrates, when heated, form the amino acid nitrosamine, which impairs how cells interact with insulin, she said.
We should also take note of our calorie intake by reading all those postings in fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain, and Starbucks because gaining excess fat increases insulin resistance. Better yet, we should make our own food at home so we can avoid chemical preservatives and control how much oil gets drizzled on our vegetables and pasta. (And make that pasta whole wheat.)
read more: http://www.boston.com/dailydose/2012/10/01/alzheimer-disease-akin-type-diabetes/ONtkkk9J3n69NQBQkX3Z3K/story.html
The first tip is the most important: Never go to
sleep with make up on your face. Tip number two: Don't be afraid to use soap on your skin if it is
oily.Number three: Use cold cream but don't wash it off with water, take it off with tissues and follow with a cold water splash before driving with a clean towel. The number four tip is to always use clean towels when drying your face.Tip five: Drink plenty of
juices and water each day to keep your body cleared of harmful toxins that can erupt as pimples or worse on your face. Tip six: Be careful about using astringents on your face if it is really dry. Tip seven has more to do with your entire daily habits of self care that should include plenty of rest during the normal sleep and wake cycles. Tip eight: Balance your
diet with a healthy selection of foods and drinks like green mint tea whenever you feel out of sorts due to menstrual or menopausal times of your life.Tip nine: Think of your
facial beauty as a result of your caring for your internal digestive and bodily organs to insure that they have the nutrients needed to keep your skin repaired and vital.
It isn’t always easy being beautiful, and some women–ahem, some Women’s Health Facebook fans–go to great lengths to enhance what their mamas gave ‘me.
In fact, when we asked our fans to share their weirdest beauty tricks, they told us about putting coconut oil in their hair, witch hazel under their eyes, showering in ice-cold water, applying aspirin face masks and slathering lip balm on their bikini lines.
- Mix 1/4 cup ground coffee with 3 tablespoons hot water and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to absorb the water and form a paste.
- Then, mix in 2 tablespoons of olive oil to help bind the grinds.
- Cleanse problem areas in a warm shower, then turn off the water and apply the scrub by massaging in a circular motion for two to four minutes with your hands or a washcloth.
- Rinse with warm water to remove all grounds, then pat dry and moisturize if desired.
Not surprisingly, we thought some of these tips sounded crazy…until we asked Women’s Health natural beauty expert Renée Loux to reveal whether they actually work. This week, we cross our fingers to find out: Do coffee grinds smooth away cellulite?
Renée’s verdict: This treatment can be moderately effective.
Try using fresh ground coffee to maximize the benefits, as it has more antioxidants and caffeine than used coffee grounds.
Try this coffee-grind cocktail: Mix 1/4 cup ground coffee with 3 tablespoons hot water and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to absorb the water and form a paste.
Then, mix in 2 tablespoons of olive oil to help bind the grinds. (This will make it easier to spread on, and offer extra moisturizing effects.) Cleanse problem areas in a warm shower, then turn off the water and apply the scrub by massaging in a circular motion for two to four minutes with your hands or a washcloth.
Rinse with warm water to remove all grounds, then pat dry and moisturize if desired.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/09/20/do-this-with-coffee-say-goodbye-to-cellulite/#ixzz277JYGFqF
They sound...ominous. Time to clear up the mystery of what, exactly, free radicals are―and learn how to combat them.
First the science lesson: A free radical is an unstable molecule, one whose naturally paired electrons have been split up, explains Anne Chapas, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine, in New York City.
The remaining unpaired electron is highly reactive, seeking out another electron to pair with and become stable. The problem is, the electron it steals might come from a healthy cell in your body, leaving it damaged. Sources of free radicals include irritants, pollution, smoke, and UVA and UVB rays, as well as normal cell processes, like cell metabolism.
“Everyone’s body generates millions of free radicals every minute,” says internist Svetlana Kogan, founder of Doctors at Trump Place, in New York City.
How They Affect You
On the outside, free-radical damage results in lines, sagging, and dull skin. Internally, it creates inflammation, which can lead to heart, lung, and gastrointestinal diseases and some cancers, says Diane Berson, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, in New York City.
What You Can Do...
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/09/05/lowdown-on-free-radicals/#ixzz26TEgKccy
TUESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- People with blood sugar levels at the high end of the normal range may be at increased risk for brain shrinkage that occurs with aging or dementia, according to a new study.
While numerous studies have shown a link between type 2 diabetes and brain shrinkage and dementia, little has been known about whether people with blood sugar levels at the high end of "normal" also experience these brain effects, the study authors noted.
To examine the issue, Australian researchers looked at 249 people, aged 60 to 64, with normal blood sugar levels. The participants had brain scans at the start of the study and four years later.
The brain scans revealed that people with higher fasting blood sugar levels within the normal range were more likely to have a loss of brain volume in the areas of the hippocampus and the amygdala -- areas involved in memory and thinking skills -- than those with lower blood sugar levels.
After allowing for factors such as age, high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol use, the researchers concluded that having blood sugar levels at the high end of the normal range accounted for 6 percent to 10 percent of the brain shrinkage.
The study was published in the Sept. 4 issue of the journalNeurology.
While the study found an apparent link between high-normal blood sugar and brain shrinkage, it didn't prove a definitive relationship.
"These findings suggest that even for people who do not have diabetes, blood sugar levels could have an impact on brain health," study author Nicolas Cherbuin, of the Australian National University in Canberra, said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. "More research is needed, but these findings may lead us to re-evaluate the concept of normal blood sugar levels and the definition of diabetes."
You know that familiar feeling all too well: It's only an hour until dinner, but you're starving. You can either hold out and risk overeating, or have a snack, even though it's tempting to inhale the entire bag of pretzels. But there's a plan B—make these healthy, guilt-free snacks, all for 200 calories or less.
Lemony Fruit Dip
Sure, an apple makes a great snack, but this lemony dip, with its light texture and tangy flavor, will give any fruit a kick. The base of low-cal whipped topping keeps this appetizer in the diet-safe zone, while the vanilla extract gives it a sweet taste. Use any fruit, but it's especially delicious with strawberries and pineapple.
This popular antipasto dish is quick to throw together and quick to fill you up. The olives add a good bit of heart-healthy fat, iron, and skin-protecting vitamin E. Plus the garlic, orange zest, and crushed red pepper make a spicy topping for the already savory snack.
Roasted Almonds With Lemon and Salt
Though this snack takes a little prep work, make a batch and enjoy throughout the week. Soaking almonds in lemon juice creates a subtle citrus flavor that's enhanced by a sprinkling of salt. Best served right out of the oven and with a cold (light) beer, this recipe packs enough fat and protein to keep you satiated until dinner.
Read more: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307311_3,00.html