Stress and weight gain are directly related, though many of us don’t realize how strong that link truly is. In fact, it’s one of the largest contributors to dieting struggles. The reason is that it is inextricably connected through various processes within the body.
Stress has become a fundamental part of our everyday lives. We are constantly struggling to juggle the trials and tribulations associated with our health, career, debt, school, family and all of the other factors that life throws our way on a daily basis. When stress and weight gain occur simultaneously, it can make the situation all the harder. (more…)
Instagram fitness influencers can be a fantastic place to find ideas, inspiration and motivation. Unfortunately, just as it can have a very positive effect on us, it can also drag us down if not taken properly. After all, when we’re struggling with a plateau, it can be very difficult to see perfect pictures of people who seem to be finding it easy to leap beyond our goals.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a strategy in place to be able to get the most out of Instagram fitness influencers instead of letting them get you down. Use these tips to help. They may seem obvious at first, but many of us aren’t using them yet.
If you have been thinking about boosting your health with a new fitness program, then you’re certainly headed in the right direction. However, there are a few steps that you will need to take before you can declare yourself set for this healthier lifestyle.
Joining a new gym can be much like choosing a new school for your children, or even a new doctor or dentist. When you are trying something, new there are a series of observations you should make and questions you should ask. This also goes for choosing a new gym, as it can be a very big decision if you are planning on spending time there 3-5 days a week.
There are several characteristics that make a gym “good quality,” and it is always best to shop around for better membership benefits before settling on one that costs the same as the others but may not offer as much to its members.
Regardless of your age, sex or fitness level, exercise is good for you. It’s so good for you that it can help you live a longer, happier and healthier life. Regular exercise means at least 30-60 minutes a day, three to five days a week of moderate physical activity. It can increase health benefits for not only your body, but also your mind.
Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Some of the benefits your physical body will acquire include protecting you from heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, chronic pain, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, sarcopenia, obesity, and arthritis.
Some of the mental health benefits of exercise include increasing memory, reducing stress, anxiety, depression and improving self-esteem.
Fitness and Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of health-related deaths in the United States. Your heart is a muscle and muscles need to be exercised to stay healthy. Also, like other muscles, the more your heart is exercised, the stronger it becomes. The stronger it is, the less susceptible it will be to cardiovascular disease.
To reduce your risk of CVD is it recommended that you increase your physical activity to at least 800-1000 kilocalories per week and eat a heart healthy diet. Cardiovascular and aerobic exercise can also assist with hypertension.
Physical activity also can also reduce the risk of strokes and prevent recurring strokes by regulating blood pressure, breaking down glucose and assisting with mobility and balance.
Exercise and Insulin Regulation
Another benefit of regular exercise is strengthening your body’s insulin regulatory systems. Exercise can help cells transport glucose to liver, muscle and tissue reducing risks and helping to cure type 2 diabetes.
Your Musculoskeletal Health
In addition to protecting and preventing your organs from premature failure, exercise can also support muscular and skeletal health. Your muscle mass is important for movement and load bearing tasks. Over time, muscle mass can deteriorate causing weakness and inhibiting daily tasks such as walking, running, agility and even balance.
This is known as sarcopenia and increases with age. There are resistance exercises that can be done whether you are 25 or 50 that can improve muscular and skeletal health.
Exercise can also help with people experiencing arthritis. Although it is commonly prevalent amongst people 55 and over, arthritis can affect people of all ages. Exercises that can help improve and reduce arthritis include aerobic exercises as well as aquatic exercises that will decrease wear and pain on load bearing joints.
Finally, to help improve bone health physical activity can stimulate bone growth and prevent osteoporosis which a mineral deficiency that results in increased numbers of bone fractures and breaks.
Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Along with the physical benefits of physical exercise there are also several mental benefits. People who exercise daily experience a healthier psychological well being. Exercising can be a great way to manage everyday stress which can be preventive to mental blockages and breakdowns that are experienced throughout each day.
Exercise also boosts your endorphins which results in “feeling good”. It has been known to suppress anger, tension and more surprisingly, fatigue. Studies have shown that even 5 minutes of exercise can reduce levels of anxiety in both males and females.
Individuals who suffer from mental health disorders such as depression, panic and anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders can improve their symptoms through regular exercise. Even a handful of minutes per day can help to make a measurable difference. This can help to contribute to the efficacy of broader coping, treatment and therapy strategies.
It is becoming increasingly commonplace for doctors to recommend adding exercise to mental health therapy programs. While more traditional strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (C.B.T.) remain as important as ever, they are not considered a cure. Instead, they are a central component to larger efforts. Among those efforts, regular daily physical activity has been placed in the spotlight.
Confidence, Self Esteem and Self Image
Fitness also has a major impact on self esteem. Although understanding contributors to self-esteem can be quite complex, body image, strength, and physical condition or attractiveness are variables that people consider when they evaluate themselves on social levels.
People who exercise tend to be both more outgoing and confident in themselves. This is a natural response to many components of regular physical activity. Joining a gym or a team can help to promote a sense of belonging. It can also create and strengthen friendships.
Exercising regularly can make individuals feel stronger. Moreover, as progress is measured and goals are met, the sense of accomplishment can provide a substantial confidence boost.
The low carb vs low fat debate has been ongoing for around two decades. Though it had been in existence longer, it was the sudden explosive popularity of the Atkins diet that kicked it into high gear. After that point, the debate was on regarding which macronutrient should be slashed for best results.
The Low Carb vs Low Fat Debate Rages On
The low carb vs low fat debate has taken many forms. Some have been anecdotal. Others have looked to science. Even celebrities have tried to weigh in – so to speak. That said, as a growing number of diets embracing each style have come along, it has become harder to know which is right.
After all, it feels like new diets are popping up all the time. Even if it feels like we know the answer to low carb vs low fat at the moment, it can take only a few weeks to change our minds. A new successful weight loss program can come along and make the grass on the other side of the fence look greener.
Changing Diet Trends
Over the past several years there have been several weight loss plans that promise to help you shed excess pounds and keep them off. Many of these diet plans fall into one of two categories; low carb or low fat and most people don’t know the differences between the two. Low fat diets were more popular for several decades before low carb diets became increasingly trendy.
These two diets are polar opposite of one another. Low fat diets tend to be high in carbohydrates, while low carb diets are high in fat. Literature containing empirical research has set out to determine which of these plans are most effective and studies have found that participants on a low carb diet were able to lose more weight in the initial few months but over time, both dieting methods yielded parallel results.
There are several types of low carb diets including the Atkins, South Beach, Medifast, Dukan and Paleo diet plans. When the restriction is of carbohydrates that would generally be used as energy, it forces your body to burn stored fat as energy instead.
People utilizing low carb diets are encouraged to eat foods high in both protein and fat while staying away from foods that contain carbohydrates and starches. It is also recommended that participants eat several smaller meals throughout the day to help suppress their appetites.
Foods that are high on a low carb diet plan include:
- Fruits (citrus),
- Lean meats,
- Nuts and Olive oil.
Foods that should be avoided include potatoes, corn, carrots, grains, sweets and alcohol.
There are also several types of low fat diets that include Macrobiotic, TLC and the Ornish diet plans. People who are on low fat diets eat foods that limit the intake of fats (like the fat found in from oily fish, nuts and fruits) and saturated fats (found on meat and in butter).
Low fat foods have been considered a heart healthy diet. Unlike the low carb diet, on the low fat diet people can eat larger meals as long as they don’t contain increased levels of fat.
Foods that are high on a low fat diet plan include:
- Whole meal flour and bread,
- Fruits and vegetables,
- Lentils, and
- White fish.
Foods that should be avoided include, fried foods, cakes and pastries and most snack foods.
Low Carb or Low Fat? Which Should You Choose?
If you are planning to go on a diet be sure to consult with your physician to see whether a low fat or a low carb diet is best for you. Physicians will most likely suggest a more balanced diet since neither low carb nor low fat diets are recommended as a long term diet plan.
Also, be sure to add exercise to your daily routine. Studies have shown that any diet plan produces better results with increased exercise.
That said, when all is said and done, the winner in the low carb vs low fat battle depends on you. Which diet are you more likely to stick to over time? The reason is that if you can keep it up over the long term, then that’s the one most likely to help you lose weight and keep it off. If you can’t keep it going, then your results won’t last either.
Looking for more helpful diet tips to get your weight loss off the ground? Check out this article: Dieting Tricks that Work for Everyone
- Have you tried one or both of these two types of diets? Feel free to tell us about your experience. Which diet worked best for you and what did you eat?
Many healthy wellness programs have been updating their fitness performance tracking strategies to include sleep. Recently, the even the Canadian Armed Forces updated their own fitness strategy to include sleep as one of its four main components.
This is becoming an increasingly common move in fitness performance tracking in groups where physical and mental fitness, energy and alertness are critical. In that specific case, sleep has been added to the three other existing pillars of fitness including physical activity, nutrition and injury prevention.
Fitness Performance Tracking Indicators
This new component of fitness performance tracking has been added as an indicative performance behavior in the new “BALANCE” fitness strategy of the Canadian military. This addition has other national militaries as well as other groups such as emergency responders, paying attention. The new military fitness indicators replace the previous version that was last updated in 2008.
Sleep had not previously been mentioned in prior military fitness performance tracking strategies. That said, it is now one of four primary measures of fitness.
Why is Sleep a Measure of Fitness?
It is very rare for adults to be able to reach optimal performance levels when regularly obtaining fewer than seven or eight hours of sleep per night. This, according to the new fitness strategy of the Canadian military, which cited a number of studies on the impact of sleep on soldiers in making this determination.
The military’s own recruitment website states that its recruits should expect to receive six hours of sleep per night during basic training. That said, the newer BALANCE fitness strategy will bring in a “decentralized” implementation method. This will allow various bases and units to develop their own programs in order to meet to fitness performance tracking objectives.
What Should You Learn From This Strategy?
Physical fitness isn’t just a matter of regular workouts. In fact, it isn’t even just a matter of eating right and being active while taking steps to avoid injuring yourself. Instead, it involves many other factors and sleep is primary among them.
Sleep has an impact on energy, alertness, fatigue, motivation, physical performance and mental health. It has a significant effect on decision making and reflexes as well. As a result, paying closer attention to sleep is increasingly considered to be an important fitness performance tracking measure. Improving your sleep habits and the quality of your sleep can have a wider impact on the rest of your fitness and wellness goal achievements.
If you’re looking for a fantastic summer vacation destination, then you may want to consider heading to Mexico this year. While this may surprise you as the country is typically exceptionally popular at that time of year, this year may provide a unique opportunity.
The reason is that there is an expected dip in travel from the United States to Mexico, which means that the most popular summer vacation destination options may not be as crowded as they have been in previous years. The prediction in dropping travel to Mexico was made by Allianz Global Assistance.
Where Are People Going for Their Summer Vacation Destination?
Cancun has stayed at the top of the list for international summer vacation destination from the United States this year. That said, the difference in 2019 is that it is expected to account for only 10.5 percent of international travel. In 2018, it made up 15.7 percent and the year before that, it was 16.9 percent.
Despite its popularity as a summer vacation destination, Cancun does appear to be sliding when it comes to the places where Americans plan to travel from May 24 through September 3. It was during those planned trip dates that Allianz based its data.
Why This Makes Mexico A Great Choice
The reason this still makes Mexico a top choice for a summer vacation destination is that it means that you’ll be able to enjoy all the same:
- Events, and
- Historical sites
These all remain the same as they would be during the top years for this destination. That said, you won’t need to do it while facing crowds the size that they were last year or the year before.
Moreover, you may find that with a drop in travelers, there may also be a larger amount of competition, meaning that you may be able to find a better deal. Still, if you were hoping for a luxury summer vacation destination, then it’s a good idea to step away from those most popular spots such as Cancun.
Instead, consider this luxury villa rental in Mexico’s Nayarit province, which is a true hidden gem in the country. It is safe, gorgeous and friendly, while still being within reach of top must-see locations such as Puerto Vallarta.
Keep in mind two of the main reasons Allianz identified for the drop in tourism numbers for this summer vacation destination are the defunding of the Mexico Tourism Board and its international offices closures. It isn’t that the location is any less appealing but is instead simply a matter of reduced marketing. Wise travelers look for precisely these opportunities to take their dream vacations.
Though substantial weight loss is often considered to be a positive thing, it can also come with some surprising unwanted side effects. While many people know about the risk of loose skin, there is also a chance that you can experience hair loss, too.
This is not usually the case when someone loses a few pounds, unless they are the result of extremely poor nutrition. Instead, it typically takes substantial weight loss in order to bring on such unwanted outcomes.
Hair Loss from Substantial Weight Loss
After losing around a hundred pounds or more, this type of substantial weight loss can lead to hair loss. This is very frustrating for many people because they work so hard to drop the pounds and then experience highly unwanted consequences as a result. For many people, the hair loss can be more upsetting than any other part of the weight loss, including hunger, exhaustion or having to change their lifestyle.
Once people experience substantial weight loss, hair can become more thin as well as being finer. This becomes most obvious in the shower when washing hair, where it can seem to come out in large amounts.
How to Correct Hair Loss Resulting from Lost Weight
There are four main things that you can do to help to reverse – or prevent – significant hair loss after substantial weight loss.
- Eat enough protein – Protein is an important part of your diet when it comes to hair growth. If substantial weight loss is causing your hair to fall out, making sure you’re eating right can play a vital role in correcting it.
- Eat enough biotin – Like protein, biotin is an important nutrient for improving the health and strength of both your hair and nails for that matter. Try to obtain it through food over supplements if at all possible as food sources of nutrition are more effective.
- Give yourself scalp massages – Many people feel that scalp massages can help to promote better hair growth and health. The reason is that these gentle massages not only feel good but also promote blood flow to the area. This added blood flow means the area receives more oxygen and nutrients which make it better able to grow hair.
- Patience – Keep in mind that hair grows in cycles. Therefore, even if you’re doing something that’s working, it could still take weeks or months before you see real results. Be patient and try not to be discouraged. Just as substantial weight loss takes time, so does hair regrowth.
Yes, it is possible to eat at McDonald’s or your other favorite fast food restaurant without ruining your diet. This feels as though it goes against everything we’re told about healthy dieting. Indeed, eating fast food isn’t really the healthiest move you can make in terms of nutrition. It’s also true that eating it too frequently can make it extremely difficult to control your weight.
However, this doesn’t mean that if you treat yourself to a McDonald’s meal, you’ll be ruining your diet. If you’re using it as an occasional or rare treat, and if you are maintaining a steady weight management strategy most of the rest of the time, your treat shouldn’t do any damage in the grand scheme.
Fast Food Isn’t Ruining Your Diet
It’s easy to point to fast food to explain what is ruining your diet. If you’re having it frequently – several times per week – you could be right. That said, it’s not actually the food itself. Instead, it is your choice to eat it as frequently as you do.
If you are eating a healthy and balanced diet most days, the occasional cheeseburger with fries won’t impact your ability to lose or maintain your weight over the long term. Having a bit of fun and treating yourself to the foods you like is just as important as eating healthy foods within a certain calorie restriction on the majority of days.
Don’t Make Yourself Feel Deprived
Making yourself feel deprived will ruin your diet just as quickly as eating fast food regularly. Remember that if you truly love eating at McDonald’s, then the occasional treat there is going to be a part of your life. You need to enjoy your food, the experience and the taste. It’s important psychologically, even if it does not nourish you with the vitamins and minerals you require.
If your eating habits start making you feel deprived, then your strategy will not last. Eventually, you will decide to break your healthy habits and your promises to yourself. Then, you’ll do it again. Since it’s not something you’ve worked into your strategy, it will be “breaking the rules”. As a result, it is done without restrictions or limitations. It just requires you to accept that you’ve broken the rules. If you make it a part of your rules, it will be kept under your control without ruining your diet.
Learn the calories in the foods you choose to eat and keep yourself accountable for them. Track them as you would the rest of your foods so that you can make sure you’re nourishing your body properly the rest of the time, even when you hop away from healthy foods for the occasional meal now and again, just because.