Ditch these running excuses to jump-start your weight loss

By  Published March 24, 2017 FoxNews.com

Exercise is a key ingredient in weight loss and maintenance. Running especially comes with a host of health benefits: It can give you more energy, boost your metabolism, improve your mood, and help release stress, Erica Stepteau, a health coach at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, told Fox News.

 

But strenuous exercise like running can seem daunting, and we often like to tell ourselves certain very convincing reasons why we should skip the cardio for the day. Fox News asked Stepteau about some of these common excuses about running, and how to get over them:

1. Running is too hard.
Running can be difficult, given that it uses every muscle group in your body, Stepteau said. However, there are ways to start gradually: Try one of the online couch to 5k programs, she suggested.

2. Running is lonely.
Another common excuse Stepteau hears is running is too lonely or boring. But try to reconfigure your thinking around running: Look at it as your therapy and alone time, Stepteau said.

3. The weather is bad.
If it’s rainy or slushy, your desire to run may take a nosedive. But even if you aren’t usually a fan of treadmills, you can still use them to recreate an outdoor running experience, Stepteau said. Try changing the incline on the treadmill, and listening to noises — like chirping birds — to remind you of outside.

4. I don’t have a runner’s body.
Some people believe that if they don’t have the idealized athletic, slim, and fit runner’s body, they shouldn’t get started. But be gracious with yourself, said Stepteau, noting that “aesthetics come into play later on but shouldn’t stop you from getting started.”

5. My knees will start hurting.
Running is definitely high impact on the knees, but you can go to a running specialty store to get fitted for proper shoes, which should help minimize the impact, Stepteau said.

 

6. I should have started when I was younger.
While many people wish they had gotten started on their running goals earlier, there are still huge benefits of getting started mid-age, Stepteau said. She noted that you can still reduce your risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes just by moving an hour a day.

7. I’ve been inactive for too long.
Even if you feel like you’re out of practice, increase your activities gradually, Stepteau said. Soon, you’ll start building your endurance

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/03/24/ditch-these-running-excuses-to-jump-start-your-weight-loss.html

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Weight Loss Involves Overcoming Interpersonal Challenges

Source: https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/02/03/weight-loss-involves-overcoming-interpersonal-challenges/115969.html

New research discovers that weight loss efforts may be complicated by unexpected barriers erected by our friends and even family.

North Carolina State University investigators found that the people around you may consciously or subconsciously sabotage your efforts. The study also uncovered strategies that people use to navigate interpersonal challenges related to losing weight and keeping it off.

“Many times, when someone loses weight, that person’s efforts are undermined by friends, family, or coworkers,” says Lynsey Romo, an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State and lead author of a paper describing the recent study.

The paper, “An Examination of How People Who Have Lost Weight Communicatively Negotiate Interpersonal Challenges to Weight Management,” is in press in the journal Health Communication.

“This study found that people experience a ‘lean stigma’ after losing weight, such as receiving snide remarks about healthy eating habits or having people tell them that they’re going to gain all of the weight back.”

For this study, Romo conducted 40 in-depth interviews with people who reported themselves as having been formerly overweight or obese, but considered themselves thin at the time of the interview.

Twenty-one of the study participants were women, 19 were men, and the participants reported an average weight loss of 76.9 pounds.

“All 40 of the study participants reported having people in their lives try to belittle or undermine their weight loss efforts,” Romo says.

“This negative behavior is caused by what I call lean stigma. However, the study found participants used specific communication strategies to cope with lean stigma and maintain both their weight loss and their personal relationships.”

Researchers discovered the communication strategies involved two different categories.

The first category focused on study participants helping other people “save face,” or not feel uncomfortable about the study participant’s weight loss and healthy eating habits. The second category focused on damage control: participants finding ways to mitigate discomfort people felt about an individual’s weight loss and related lifestyle changes.

Techniques used to avoid discomfort included telling other people about one’s intentions and rationale before losing weight.

Study participants also reported taking steps to conceal the scope of their lifestyle changes, such as eating smaller portions of unhealthy foods at family gatherings, accepting food from people but not eating it (e.g., taking a piece of cake at an office birthday party, but saying they’ll eat it later), or saving their “cheat day” for a night out with friends.

Meanwhile, techniques used to mitigate discomfort tended to focus on making excuses for changes in behavior.

“Study participants would go out of their way to make clear that they were not judging other people’s choices,” Romo says.

“For example, participants would stress that they had changed their eating habits for health reasons, or in order to have more energy.

“Overall, the study highlights how important relationships are to making sustainable lifestyle changes — and the importance of communication in how we navigate those relationships,” she adds.

Source: North Carolina State University

Can Intermittent Fasting Take Your Weight Loss To The Next Level?

Source: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

What is intermittent fasting?

We’ve all heard that skipping meals is the fastest way to slow your weight loss progress. But, what if I told you it could actually speed up your metabolism and burn stubborn body fat? Intermittent fasting (also referred to as “IF”) is the practice of only eating your caloric requirements during certain times of the day or week. The rest of the time, you fast.

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Intermittent fasting enthusiasts are reluctant to call it a diet — it’s more like a lifestyle. Here are a few examples of how people put it into practice:

    • Eat Stop Eat: Fast for 24-hours one day a week.
    • LeanGains: Eat all meals during a specific window of time, like noon to 8 p.m.
    • Warrior Diet: Eat just one meal a day, typically dinner, with total needed calories.
    • Alternate Day Fasting: Alternate between fasting every other day.
    • Limiting Calories: Limit calorie intake, like down to 500, for one or two days a week.

These are all variations on the same idea, and they are not to be used at the same time. Since some plans are more extreme than others, make sure to find one that works for you and your schedule. If you need some motivation to give intermittent fasting a try, here are some of the scientifically-backed benefits to know about:

1. Intermittent fasting can promote weight loss

Research has shown that intermittent fasting can promote weight loss.

In one study, researchers found that intermittent fasting was an effective tool for weight loss in obese individuals. They had participants alternate between eating normally for 24 hours and fasting (or partially fasting) for 24 hours. After three weeks, participants lost four to eight percent of their body fat. After 12 weeks, participants lost 11 to 16 percent body fat. Researchers also noted that intermittent fasting may be more effective at retaining lean mass during weight loss than traditional calorie restriction. Another study recorded similar findings for obese individuals.

There’s quite a bit of anecdotal evidence on intermittent fasting and weight loss as well. From fitness forums to YouTube videos, you’ll find plenty of success stories to inspire you.

2. It can reduce your risk of diabetes

One study found that alternate-day fasting in nonobese individuals led to lowered insulin production. In addition to burning fat, a lower level of insulin means that there is less risk for insulin resistance. And we all know what that means: less risk for diabetes! Interestingly, researchers noted that hunger levels on fasting days did not subside during the study, meaning that it may be difficult for some individuals to keep up the schedule up for the long haul.

3. It can reduce oxidative stress

Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals interact with our body’s all-important molecules, like protein or DNA. When free radicals damage them, it can pave the way for numerous dangerous diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The good news is, one study found that alternate day fasting increased markers of good health, lowered inflammation and reduced oxidative stress in a group of adults over the course of eight weeks. The practice of intermittent fasting also increased antioxidants in the body. Now there’s something we all need more of!

Other health benefits shown in rats

While the studies on humans are the most promising, researchers have also learned loads from studies on rats. Some of the most promising results of intermittent fasting include:

  • Increased lifespan
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Protection against diabetic kidney damage

What to eat in-between intermittent fasting

Eating whole foods can help you lose weight while practicing intermittent fasting.

Here’s an important point to drive home: Just because you’re fasting, it doesn’t mean you should indulge in junk food on your non-fasting days or hours. In fact, eating processed foods can hamper your weight loss! Fake sugars, preservatives and chemicals will interrupt your body’s natural digestion process, which is all the more reason to eat “clean.” For example, when you cut out processed sugar, your body will learn how to rely on another source of fuel — fat!

Whole, fresh foods with a variety of nutrients will set you up for success. In-between meals, make sure to drink plenty of lemon water, along with coffee or tea as needed. Try to eat as many of these foods as possible to get your body on the right track:

  • Nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios
  • Eggs: always source an organic, antibiotic-free varieties
  • Fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, pineapple, avocados, lemons, berries
  • Tubers: sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots
  • Seeds: chia, pumpkin, flax, hemp, sunflower, sesame
  • Spices: garlic, cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, pink Himalayan salt
  • Legumes: chickpeas, black beans, lentils, green beans, peas
  • Probiotics: sauerkraut, Greek yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, miso
  • Vegetables: broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower, peppers
  • Healthy oils: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
  • Gluten-free grains: quinoa, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, amaranth
  • Organic, free range meats (in moderation): chicken, turkey, wild-caught salmon

Before you embark on any lifestyle change, it’s important to check in with your primary care physician. Fasting should be undertaken with supervision, especially if you are on medication for a chronic condition. If you have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, intermittent fasting is not a good idea.

How to safely try intermittent fasting

Make sure to stay hydrated while doing intermittent fasting.

If you’re working on the LeanGains method, for example, start with a broad window of time during the first week. The idea here is to start slow so that your body can make the adjustment. At first, make a commitment to only eat between a 10-hour window, say 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Then, the following week, try to move down to an 8-hour window, like 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will quickly eliminate mindless grazing outside of a set time frame. Plus, you’ll be getting creative in the kitchen to squeeze in all of your nutrients.

While your body is getting used to the change, you may feel a bit more hungry or irritable than usual. Don’t worry, that’s normal — and it’s temporary! Here are a few ways to make the process easier so you can get the most out of intermittent fasting:

  • Determine your ideal caloric intake. Before you get started, crunch some numbers to find out how much you should be eating every day. Please don’t starve yourself! Instead, find a goal that’s reasonable for weight loss to prevent you from binging after a fast.
  • Break your fast with normal meals. Proponents say it’s better to eat multiple small meals than a huge meal all at once. Be careful not to overload your system.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water is a great way to help your body detox. It can also help get rid of some of those hunger pangs, especially at first.
  • Know your limits. It’s not recommended to undergo rigorous physical activity while fasting until your body is used to it. Pay attention to how you feel at all times.

And there you have it! Have you tried intermittent fasting? How did it work for you? Let us know in the comments below.

— Hilary Lebow