5 Steps to a Healthy Being by Beth Ellen DiLuglio M.S., R.D., C.N.S.D., C.C.N., LD/N,

5 steps, 5 simple steps can help us reduce dis-ease and induce ease.

1)  EAT WHAT GROWS OUT OF THE GROUND.  A pretty simple concept, yet the best way to have a healthy diet high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, good fats and good carbs.  Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables combined can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease,  high blood pressure and even osteoporosis.  Ideally eat 9 or more servings per day for optimal health.  Add whole grains, legumes,  nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and you are on your way to a truly health promoting diet.  Of course it is important to minimize exposure to pesticides and toxins that can end up in our produce and we’ll cover that in a future post.

2)  HYDRATE.  Drinking adequate amounts of fluids is extremely important to our metabolism.  Our bodies are at least 60% water and even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and impaired athletic performance.  Preferably our fluid intake will mostly come from purified water (I recommend Reverse Osmosis for several reasons we will cover in a future post).  You can use RO water to make tea, coffee, lemonade and fruit seltzers.  Most of us need at least 1 ounce per kilogram of body weight to start.  We need to take in additional fluid in case of hot weather, losses during exertion, fever and other specific conditions.

3)  BE ACTIVE.  We all know that a sedentary lifestyle can increase our risk of heart disease and even cancer!  Moderate activity that lasts at least 60 minutes should be done daily , or at least 5 days per week.  To improve our fitness level, aerobic activity can be added a minimum of 3 times per week along with some weight training to build and maintain lean body mass.

4)  RELAX.  Stress can be as detrimental as a poor diet.  The “fight or flight” response is great if you have to wrestle a foe or escape from one.  A chronic “fight or flight” response is not great as the hormones coursing through our bloodstream can actually wreak havoc on our systems over time.  A constant barrage of cortisol can even negatively affect parts of the brain.  Deep breathing can reverse the stress response and begin to restore balance and harmony.  Plan play time and get adequate sleep in order to keep that balance.

5)  SMILE!  Just the thought of a smile can make us feel really good.  Imagine what the real thing can do!

Desk Job Making You Fat? More From Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN

Desk job making you fat? Easy ways to shed that jelly belly for good!
By Wendy Chant MPT, SPN,
Author of Crack The Fat Loss Code

Weight gain on the job is so prevalent now, that some nutritionists
have coined the term “the office 15” to describe the average of 15
pounds that about 45 percent of women gain just in the first three
months of starting a desk job. And there are millions of American
women who gain even more than this over the years, citing their job as
a main reason they’ve become overweight or even obese.

The real culprits behind job-related weight gain

It’s easy to see that long hours of inactivity and being stressed by
deadlines and work challenges contributes to the problem. But recent
science reveals exactly why this happens: With every hour of
inactivity, levels of blood sugar and the stress hormone cortisol
rise. And this triggers cravings that lead to overeating, the
breakdown of metabolism-revving muscle, plus liver slowdowns that
hinder the organ from doing its job of burning fat for energy.

In fact, the emergency state the body thinks it’s in because of the
high blood sugar and high cortisol — and it’s thinking something
major  here, like famine — causes the liver to signal the body that
more consumed calories should become fat. And that this fat should be
stored mostly around the belly as an easy energy resource when the
perceived emergency comes. Of course, for most people, dire
occurrences like famine never come, and millions of women are ending
up stuck with the extra fat that keeps piling on and that’s tough to

The secret to melting away fat despite that desk job

Here’s some good news: Scientists have found that simply doing some
activity at least once every hour keeps blood sugar and cortisol more
stable, thus keeping fat-packing mechanisms in check.

And it can be any kind of activity, even as simple as walking to drop
off some forms at a colleague’s desk, standing to organize files or
books, taking the long way to the restroom, or rapidly tapping your
feet on the floor football-drill style for 30 seconds.

You can also whittle away trouble spots and build calorie-burning
muscle with the following “deskercises” that are so discreet, no one
will notice:

For a toned tummy: Sit tall and straighten the spine. Then clench the
abdominal muscles as tightly as possible, pulling the navel into the
spine. Hold for one to five seconds, and repeat for a total of 20
times. Do at least three times daily.

For shapely thighs: While seated with knees together, imagine
someone’s pressing them together and it’s your job to push them apart.
To do this, squeeze the outer thigh muscles in one-second ‘pulses’
for  about one minute. Then imagine something is pushing the knees
apart and you’re to keep them glued together, so squeeze the inner
thigh muscles in one-second ‘pulses’ for about one minute. Do this at
least three times daily.

For a perky butt: I love this “leave your chair twice” trick! Start to
stand up, with heels digging into the ground to contract the butt and
thigh muscles. But pause for a beat about three-quarter way through.
Then sit back down, and finally stand up as you normally would. Do
this every time you get out of your chair, and you’ll be doing calorie-
burning squats without even breaking a sweat!

If it’s easy to lose track of the time at your job, set up an alarm on
your computer to remind you to do something active at least once every
hour, or better yet, twice or three times an hour for faster weight
loss results.

These nutritional strategies target desk job fat build-up

Recent research reveals that easy dietary tweaks can effectively
prevent fat-storing blood sugar and cortisol spikes, and set into play
mechanisms that help the body effortlessly burn more calories and fat.
Here are a few to try:

1. Snack on nuts and seeds. The protein, magnesium, vitamin B and
healthy monounsaturated fats found in favorites like almonds, cashews,
pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, keep blood sugar and cortisol under
control. Take advantage of the fact that they’re so packed with
energy, by having them in the earlier part of the day to keep you
productive for hours. (They’re also an excellent snack if you’re prone
to mid-afternoon slumps.) It’s true that nuts and seeds are high in
calories, but consuming 1 oz. daily — about a handful — won’t
sabotage  your weight loss efforts.

2. Nosh on crudités and cold cuts. Veggies like broccoli and celery
can be enjoyed any time of day because their high fiber content makes
them very filling and they’re rich in plant compounds that regulate
blood sugar. I also like cold cuts, like turkey and cheese slices,
because  they’re rich in satiating protein and tryptophan. This is the
building block of the “feel-happy” brain chemical serotonin that keeps
stress-inducing, fat-trapping cortisol in check. Best of all, these
are all practical options, being so easy to take in a cooler to work
with a  little low-fat salad dressing on the side. (A little fat is
needed to maximally absorb the beneficial nutrients from veggies, and
as long as you stick to 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing, it won’t slow
down your slimming.)

3. Have eggs for breakfast or lunch. Because they contain all the
essential amino acids in the perfect portions for humans, eggs are the
highest quality protein available. In fact, they’re the most effective
at increasing nitrogen stores in muscles, making them firmer so they
burn more calories even when your body is at rest. Eggs also an ideal
food when you’re trying to keep blood sugar and cortisol under
control: Their satiating protein and healthy fats prevent fat-trapping
blood sugar spikes and they’re loaded with vitamin D, a nutrient
proven to reduce cortisol production.

4. Enjoy a whey protein shake (or two!). Whey protein contains
specialized branched-chain amino acids that provide muscles with
nitrogen to keep them firm and prevent them from being broken down for
energy. This is very important since muscle degradation slows
metabolism significantly. Branched-chain amino acids also keep blood
sugar balanced and help trigger the release of the important fat-
burning hormone called human growth hormone. Look for a shake that
contains 15 -25 grams of whey protein and less than 6 grams of sugars
per serving. A single serving shaker cup is all you need to make this
an easy-to-prepare-anywhere treat.

5. Sip oolong tea. This tea has been shown to balance blood sugar and
cortisol levels, reversing the fat-storing mechanisms caused by office
inactivity. The helpful dose: One to three cups of oolong tea while
you’re at work.

©2008 Wendy Chant

Author Bio
Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN, is a certified personal trainer and a
specialist in performance nutrition. She holds a bachelor of science
degree in medical sciences and nutrition science. A champion body
builder, she opened her own training center, ForeverFit®, in 1998.
Her book, Crack the Fat Loss Code, is available now from McGraw-Hill.


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