Thursday, May 15, 2008
What kind of progress are you making with your weight loss goals? If you’re doing great and are right about where you want to be, then congratulations are in order. Keep up the excellent work. However, if you are not quite doing as well as you had hoped, perhaps I may know a possible reason.
According to a recent report, “Sleep Duration as a Correlate of Smoking, Alcohol Use, Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity, and Obesity Among Adults,” released 7 May 2008, there is a direct link between being overweight and the amount of sleep you get. Adults who got fewer than six hours of sleep per night had the highest rates of obesity. The lowest obesity rates were found among those who got between seven and eight hours of sleep.
The report did not provide any direct explanation of the findings; however it did show that people who got fewer hours of sleep also engaged in other unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking cigarettes, drinking large quantities of alcohol, and limited physical activity. This is in no way to suggest that sleep is the only factor to consider when struggling with weight loss. But it is definitely a important aspect to take into account.
The amount of sleep we get each night has long been thought to have significant impact on our lives; well, here is yet another reason to make sure you are getting enough.
To read the full report, visit the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here at this link:
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
There are many strategies for dealing with weight loss. Some work better than others. Some diets work better for some people than they do for others. It is important for you to find the one that works best for you. Nothing is more truer than monitoring carbs (carbohydrates).
So what are carbs? Carbs are natural sugar molecules found in many foods. Many dieters focus intently on carbs in maintain their weight loss regimen, and the mistake many of them make is to lump all carbs into the same basket. Think of your carbs like you do your fats. There are good fats and bad fats. Carbs are the same way.
In some people, it may be necessary to limit all carbs based on your body’s metabolism, amount of physical activity you get, and your over all body make up. So, before you make the decision to ban all carbs from your diet, do a little research first (if you haven't already done so) to determine whether that’s the best course of action for you.
To help get you started, check out these health articles about carbs, some of which have links to additional resources.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I have done so very well with my goals since January. I didn’t necessarily declare a New Year’s Resolution to stay on point, but I have made a renewed commitment to myself. I did have one slip up and ate more than I wanted to a couple of weeks ago; but I have done well.
I even have been seeing results with exercise. I have been paying the gym membership dues, so I figured I might as well began to get my money’s worth. Back in January when I started back going to the gym, I started out slowly, determined to do no more than 15 minutes per session on the treadmill. At that time, I felt like I was going to die after only five minutes. I didn’t (still do not) have a wide range of weight to lose; however, I was terribly out of shape. Now, I easily go for 20-30 minutes a session. Same thing with my weight training and the work I do on the recumbent bicycle and the elliptical machine. The level of the resistance I initially was using was not challenging and thus, I increased it.
Even though I have had some displeasure with the numbers on my scale (and I know how to fix that problem), I am seeing major results in other areas and overall I am pleased. It would have been easy to quit and give up – especially since I didn’t always have people right there beside me pushing me and motivating me when I didn’t feel like sticking with it. But I mustered up the motivation from someplace and I’m that much the better for it.
So, I’m posting this for anyone who reads this who may be facing a wall. Don’t quit, even when you feel overwhelmed and even if the results you are expecting are slow coming. Stay with the program and in six weeks – three months – half a year – you definitely will see big changes. Just don’t never give up.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
What’s In Your Bottled Water?
Many of us like bottled water, mostly because we are afraid of what might be in our tap water. That’s the reason I drink bottled water. Though I live in Maryland, I work across the river in Washington, DC and after several water scares, mainly for lead problems, I vowed never to drink the DC water again. I try to drink it most everywhere else I go too.
But it might surprise you, just as it surprised me, that the federal guidelines for processing water allow for higher levels of contaminants in bottled water than tap water.1 According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a common contaminant found in water is arsenic, a natural element that enters the water supply naturally from rocks and soil.2 3 The water purification process removes most of it, most being the operative word. There are still some traces that remain but the levels are said to be microscopically small, making the water safe to drink. But there is something else that is removed from most bottled water: fluoride. The presence of fluoride in tap water is an advantage over bottled water because of its benefit for the development and maintenance of strong teeth.4 Some manufacturers of bottled water are sensitive to this and add fluorine to the finished product before it makes it on the store shelf.
Many of us spend much more water on bottled water and are misled into believing that it is much better than our tap water. Based on reports by the Food and Drug Administration, the quality can vary depending on the municipal market where it is produced. Some consumers have better tap water than do others.5 But, is bottled water the better option? That is something people will have to determine for themselves. How do YOU feel about bottled water over tap water?
1. Natural Resources Defense Council Web site, available at:
3. Center’s for Disease Control Web site, available at: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/healthywater/
factsheets/arsenic.htm 4. "Bottled Water: Better Than Tap?" FDA Consumer Magazine, July-August, 2002, available at: www.fda.gov/FDAC/features/2002/402_h
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Whether you have been exercising for years or you’re just starting out, you may have experienced DOMS but didn’t know it had a name. If you haven’t experienced it, then you aren’t exercising correctly. But that’s a topic for another day.
DOMS, the acronym for Delayed onset muscle soreness, is the soreness that follows a rigorous exercise routine – anywhere from 12 to 18 hours afterwards. It is a phenomenon associated with increased physical exertion from activities such as walking long distances, taking a bike ride, shoveling snow, climbing a long flight of stairs, though it is most closely associated with exercise.
DOMS is caused by the tearing of the body’s muscle fibers, and the intensity of the tearing, or soreness, is directly related to the intensity and length of the activity. DOMS is an important sign to let you know that you’re reaping the benefits of your exercise routine. If you don’t have any degree of soreness of the muscles of your arms, legs, abdomen, or other areas of your body, then you need to either do more or do what it is you’re doing for more repetitions or for longer amounts of time.
When you experience DOMS, you shouldn’t get back out there the next day to workout just as hard. The soreness is indeed a sign of progress – and we all want immediate results; you should be following the hard easy regimen. Workout vigorously one day, lightly the next. When your muscle tissues are torn down, they require about 24-72 hours to recover.
This is meant to give you a brief overview of DOMS. There is a ton of information on the subject, much of it is available online. Take some time to do some research and learn about some of the ways of minimizing its effects.
Maes, Johndavid and Kravitz, Len “Treating and Preventing DOMS” available at
Quinn, Elizabeth, “Preventing and treating muscle soreness and pain after exercise” available at
Ross, Michael “Delayed-onset Muscle Soreness” The Physician and Sports Medician, Vol 27 – No. 1,
WebMD Online Article, available at
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