Stop Letting Bad Excuses Destroy Your Health

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By Katherine Smith

healthywordsThere are all kinds of reasons we give for why we settle for an unhealthy lifestyle. Here’s the thing: They’re all bad. Granted, healthy living is not as easy for some as it is for others. But it is absolutely essential for all.

Consider some of the reasons we give for not sticking to a healthy diet:

• Healthy food is more expensive

• Healthy choices are harder to find

• Healthy eating requires a lot of cooking

These all seem like excellent reasons until we end up with some kind of life-threatening disease which requires a drastic dietary change. Suddenly, the budget opens up for healthy eating. We discover where to find those healthier choices. And cooking becomes much less of a chore than it once was.

The same kind of thing is at play when it comes to proper exercise. We are convinced that our bad excuses are actually good reasons. Here are three of the most popular excuses, why they’re bad, and how you can overcome them:

I Can’t Afford It

Who said you need money to get fit? You can strap on the pair of running shoes you already have in your closet and hit the road to physical fitness before you are done reading this paragraph.

Spending money to achieve higher levels of fitness is always optional. But if you select one of the many options, such as a Fitness 19 gym, you will find plenty of affordable plans that cater to entire families.

You can spend as much or as little as you want. You can choose to take classes from professional instructors, or enjoy a more free-form use of facilities.

We tend to spend money on the things we consider important. If your life depended on a gym membership, you would find the money. It is just a matter of convincing yourself that your health is a budgetary priority. If a loved one were in your condition, you would find a way to pay for their treatment. You only need to love yourself equally as much.

Pain Is Holding Me Back

Regardless of your level of health, good exercise causes a certain amount of discomfort. This is especially true for muscle building. But not all exercise is about muscle building. No pain, no gain may be motivational to a certain type of Neanderthal. But it is scientific nonsense. Exercise doesn’t have to hurt.

Lifehacker points out…..

“This myth has been debunked by doctors, physical therapists, and researchers of all stripes, but it still persists because most people conflate the idea of pushing themselves to work out harder with pain.”

The desire to, and enjoyment of hurting one’s self is called masochism. It is a mental illness, not a useful, athletic trait. If exercise moves from challenging to painful, see your doctor. And get better exercises to do.

Exercise need not be at the level of a professional athlete to be useful. Expecting pain from exercise is the product of bad high-school coaching. Take your favorite NSAID such as Advil, and do the level of exercise you can achieve that does not include pain.

I Don’t Have Time

This is always the trump card that is supposed to end the discussion. It is also the worst of the bunch. You may think that a good exercise regimen takes a lot of time. But the Mayo Clinic begs to differ.

They say it takes about 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise. That is less than 11 minutes a day. Strength training will cost you two sessions a week with no specific time limit. Whatever you can spare is fine.

How do you find the time? Set your alarm to go off eleven minutes earlier. Take one less detour to Starbucks. Split it up with two minutes here, three there, and so on.

At the end of the day, finding eleven minutes, or eleven dollars, or eleven pain-free exercises is not the problem, and never has been. It is always ever about prioritizing your health. It is either important to you, or it isn’t. Don’t let past failures stand in the way. One saying we all learned as children applies doubly as adults: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Expert Advises Against Detox Diets

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This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

doctorIf you’re looking for a way to get rid of the toxins in your body through detox or cleansing diets, keep in mind that your body already has an all-natural way to do this, according to an expert at Baylor College of Medicine.

“There are a lot of detox and cleansing diets that claim to cleanse your body of toxins and reset your metabolism, but toxins in your body already are filtered through your gastrointestinal system, kidneys and liver every minute of every day,” said Molly Gee, a registered dietitian with Baylor. “Our body already has a built-in system to take what it needs from food – the nutrients, the energy – and then eliminate the products that are not needed.”

Gee cautions against diets that promise quick weight loss by eliminating certain types of foods and only allowing for other types of foods, such as raw fruits or vegetables in a juice form. Many of these diets then add supplements, herbs, vitamins and minerals to make up for the missing nutrients from foods.

“When the diet calls for you to include supplements while eliminating other foods, that should be your first clue that you are missing something,” said Gee. “Your diet needs to provide the adequate nutrients for your body to operate, like any piece of efficient machinery.”

Gee also cautions against diets that withhold a significant amount of calories from your body.

“Can you run your car on an empty gas tank? Think about what you’re doing to your body when you’re not putting any fuel in the form of food into it,” said Gee. “You’re putting your body under great stress when you eliminate foods as fuel.”

Gee said to never start any type of extreme diet without consulting with your primary care physician, who is the gatekeeper of your overall health. This is especially true for those with a compromised immune system, older adults, children and teens.

According to Gee, the best diet is the diet that works for you, and she believes that all foods can fit into a diet – it’s a matter of portion control.

“Try to be moderate in all of the foods that you eat,” she said. “Use good common sense, but don’t take the fun out of food.”

If you’re trying to lose weight, Gee said that a reasonable goal to aim for is half a pound or a pound a week, and the best way to do this is to cut back on your portions.

Reasonable portion sizes are usually a half cup to one cup of most foods, and for an animal protein, about three ounces cooked. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber with 6 to 8 cups of water are keys to a successful diet. Don’t forget regular physical activity like walking.

“Most extreme diets don’t work because you can only follow them for a couple of weeks,” said Gee. “You need to develop your own plan that will work for you.”

Understanding Obesity From The Inside Out

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This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below….

obesityNew lab method reveals roles of GABA in the control of appetite and metabolism

In the last 40 years, obesity has more than doubled around the world. In the United States, the average American is more than 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the University of Washington are studying the problem of obesity from the inside out.

The researchers developed a new laboratory method that allowed them to identify GABA as a key player in the complex brain processes that control appetite and metabolism. The team’s results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Qi Wu, assistant professor of pediatrics at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital led the team that for several years searched for new laboratory methods to better study the function of GABA in the brain.

GABA is a chemical messenger produced by brain cells. It binds to other brain cells via specific receptors and reduces the cells’ activity. Research has implicated GABA in the complex neurological processes that control fear and anxiety, and also in those related to the control of appetite and metabolism. But direct proof of the role GABA plays in weight control has been elusive in part for the lack of better methodology to precisely control GABA production by brain cells.

“We developed a new experimental system based in in-frame, nonsense mutations and aminoglycosides, which allowed us to abruptly stop the synthesis of GABA in adult animals,” Wu said. “We were able to silence the genes involved in the synthesis of GABA in a particular set of cells located in the hypothalamus, the brain area that controls appetite. As a result, these cells, called AgRP neurons, stop producing GABA as quick as in four days.”

Wu and colleagues then observed the changes in weight and the behavior of these mice lacking GABA in their brain area for control of appetite.

The researchers studied two groups of mice; two month old young adults, and 8 month old mice. The young adult mice without GABA stopped eating, lost tremendous amount of weight, increased their physical activity and became glucose intolerant. On the other hand, the much older mice only lost their appetite temporarily.

healthillustratedThe findings are significant to the study of obesity as they strongly indicate that GABA is a potential candidate for targeted drug design that may lead to medications that help control appetite and metabolism.

“Our hope is that the new and better methodology we have developed will be used by other genetics labs as a tool for selectively silencing other genes,” Wu said.

Other researchers involved in this work are Wu lab team members including Fantao Meng, Yong Han, Dollada Srisai, Mónica Farías and Yong Xu from Baylor; Valery Belakhov and Timor Baasov from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; and Richard D. Palmiter from the University of Washington.

This work was supported by the Pew Charitable Trust; American Diabetes Association Junior Faculty Award #7-13-JF-61; Baylor Collaborative Faculty Research Investment Program grants; USDA/ARS CRIS grants; new faculty start-up grants from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Iowa; NIH grants R01DK093587, R01DK101379, and R01-DA24908. The authors include an HHMI Investigator, a Pew Scholar of Biomedical Sciences and a Kavli Scholar.

Nutritionist Comments On New FDA Trans Fat Regulations

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Article courtesy of K-State News & Communications Services….. Food and Drug Administration has announced that partially hydrogenated oils, which are the primary dietary source of trans fat, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. This ruling comes two years after the FDA’s first tentative determination of the same finding and a request for comments on the matter. The FDA has given the food industry until 2018 to stop using partially hydrogenated oils and fats in processed food products.

Mary Meck Higgins, a Kansas State University associate professor of human nutrition and an expert in food and nutrition, discusses what the announcement means for nutrition and the food industry.

Expert name: Mary Meck Higgins

Expertise: Kansas State University associate professor of human nutrition, K-State Research and Extension specialist, fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and

Dietetics, registered dietitian and licensed dietitian



What is trans fat?

“The primary dietary source of trans fat is partially hydrogenated oils. These oils are produced by a process called hydrogenation, where some hydrogen is added to a liquid vegetable oil, which converts it into a solid when it’s at room temperature. Partially hydrogenated oils and fats, and thus artificial trans fat, have been in many processed foods for the past 60 years. They are used to improve the shelf life, texture and flavor stability of a processed food.”

“Foods sold without a nutrition facts or ingredients label do not have partially hydrogenated oils or artificial trans fat in them. Small amounts — typically about 2 to 3 percent — of naturally occurring trans fat may be found in some cooking oils and in the fat component of dairy and meat products from ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats.”

What does this announcement mean?

“Food companies will have three years to stop using partially hydrogenated oils and fats in their processed food products. After that, there should no longer be artificial trans fat in our food supply.”

Why is it important?

“Eating partially hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated fats is a strong risk factor for getting heart disease, which is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the U.S. They contribute to the buildup of plaque inside the arteries that may cause a heart attack. Eliminating them from the food supply should prevent thousands of deadly heart attacks each year and fewer people will get heart disease.”

“Currently, eliminating trans fat from one’s diet entirely is all but impossible because it’s practically unavoidable in the U.S. diet. People would also have to spend lots of time reading two kinds of food labels. The nutrition facts label shows how many grams of trans fat are in one serving of each processed food. In many instances though, a food that is made with partially hydrogenated oils has too little trans fat in it per serving to be listed on the nutrition facts label. For foods showing 0 grams trans fat, one must then look at the mostly small-print ingredients list. If a partially hydrogenated oil or fat is listed as an ingredient, then that food does contain a small amount of trans fat. The new FDA ruling will eliminate the need to have to do all of this, since partially hydrogenated oils will no longer be in our food supply once it goes into effect.”

What else should we know about this announcement?

“Food companies have three years to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils and fats from their products. Until then, check ingredient lists of foods — especially frozen pizzas, coffee creamers, stick margarines, microwave popcorn, crackers, cookies, refrigerated dough products, cakes, packaged pies, ready to use frostings and nutrition bars — and avoid those brands that contain partially hydrogenated oils and fats.”

“To further reduce risk of heart disease, people should limit dietary saturated fats. On average, people living in the U.S. eat four to five times as much saturated fat as trans fat.”

How can a person reduce dietary saturated fat?

“Eat at least three one-ounce servings of whole grains and 4 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Eat seafood — including oily fish — and cooked dry beans and peas in place of some meat and poultry. Choose skinless poultry. For beef and pork, choose lean cuts — such as loin — and at least 90 percent lean ground. Limit intake of fatty meats, such as sausage, franks, bacon and ribs. In addition, choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheeses and other dairy products. Cook and bake with liquid oils instead of shortenings, butter and lard.”

Project ACES 2017

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kidsexercisevectorProject ACES was a huge success this past May, with millions of children participating from all over the world. Once again, the state of Michigan reported almost 400,000 children participating, and should be commended for their great work in the state teaching children about healthy lifestyle.

Mark your calendar, as the date has been set for the big 2017 event on May 3rd! It will be the 29th anniversary of this great program.

Thanks to The American College of Sports Medicine and The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition for their continued support.

Stay healthy and fit!

Baylor College Of Medicine Expert Dispels Nutrition Myths

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newsThis article was submitted by the Baylor College Of Medicine…..please share your comments below…..

Diet and exercise typically comes down to common sense, but we don’t always want to believe it, according to Roberta Anding, registered dietitian with Baylor College of Medicine. Instead, we’re more likely to believe the sensationalized information or fads.

Anding breaks down some common myths for us and simplifies how to eat healthy:

Myth #1: I should eat more protein because of my new exercise program

Your intensity determines your nutritional need – whether you should add more protein to your diet depends on the intensity of your workouts, and most of us are not working out at that intensity to need additional protein than what is recommended for us.

Anding says to divide up your protein throughout the day, and especially be sure to combine protein with carbohydrates for breakfast to fuel you for the day and help you control your appetite all day long. A bagel and cream cheese is not the ideal breakfast – consider half a bagel with scrambled eggs. Don’t backload your protein at the end of the day – start adding protein with breakfast.

Myth #2: BMI is the best tool for goal setting

If you never work out, you may have a higher percent body fat, whether or not you are obese according to your BMI. This can put you at risk for sarcopenic obesity, a condition in which you are losing muscle mass and adding body fat. It is possible to be normal weight but metabolically obese. Anding says the best way to determine your percent body fat is to get a Bod Pod test done. This can tell you how much of your weight is lean weight and how much is not.

Myth #3: Eating healthy is confusing

One of the keys to eating healthy is to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Anding suggests if weight loss is your goal invest in smaller plates so that your portions are automatically smaller. Be sure to distinguish between a meal versus a snack. A snack for women should be less than 150 calories, and for a man should be less than 200 calories. To limit snack portions, put your snack on a plate rather than picking at food – this will hold you more accountable for your portion size.

Myth #4: Organic food will prevent chronic illness

There is no scientific data to support this. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and focusing on a plant-based diet has been shown to prevent chronic illnesses. Consider purchasing a fruit and vegetable brush to wash your produce with before consuming it if you are worried about pesticides.

Myth #5: High fructose corn syrup is the reason for America’s weight crisis

applescaleCompared to Americans in the 1970s, we now eat 500 calories more and exercise less. This is what’s contributing to the weight crisis. Americans eat too much sugar in all forms. The new Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sugars. Focus on added sugars, not the natural sugar in milk or fruits.

Myth #6: Muscle weighs more than fat

Muscle is more compact than fat, but one pound is one pound. Anding says that what you choose to put in your body is what makes all the difference. However, increasing your weight through adding muscle is advantageous. Increasing your muscle mass increases the amount of calories you burn at rest since the muscle is the metabolic engine.

May 4 Is Project ACES Day – All Children Exercise Simultaneously!

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kidsrunningIn conjunction with May’s Exercise is Medicine® Month, “The World’s Largest Exercise Class” is coming to children and schools around the world May 4.

Millions of participants across the globe will be celebrating the 28th annual Project ACES® Day beginning at 10 a.m. This Youth Fitness Coalition (YFC) signature program, in partnership with American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine® initiative, promotes physical activity to children in order to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Project ACES, an acronym for All Children Exercise Simultaneously, also coincides with National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and National Physical Education Week.
According to Olympic Gold Medal Decathlete Dan O’Brien, “Project ACES engages millions of children, parents, and teachers each year to participate in physical activity at their schools and at home. Through Project ACES, children learn the value and importance of good nutrition, adequate physical fitness and healthy decision-making – lessons they can carry well into adulthood.”

Schools can choose their activity, from walking or jogging to martial arts or dancing. Students typically exercise for 15 to 45 minutes following an educational component. In the past, schools have incorporated celebrity guest speakers or used music in their Project ACES activities. The program has been recognized by multiple presidents, including Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, and has inspired events in 50 different countries. As the time zones change, this chain of local events creates a global wave of exercise.

“Project ACES is a great way to teach children how to live a healthy lifestyle through adequate physical activity,” said physical education teacher Len Saunders, who created the program in 1989 to motivate children to exercise. “Childhood obesity is an issue plaguing many young people today, and Project ACES is designed to make physical activity and nutrition fun.”

Schools and students will celebrate Project ACES Day by making physical activity a priority. Federal physical activity guidelines recommend children and adolescents do 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Project ACES helps children reach this goal from activities ranging from running to sports and games. Teachers can also make physical activity a priority throughout the year by creating a Project ACES Club at their school to teach and learn healthy lifestyle food and exercise choices.

kidsexercise“We’re all in this together,” said Shihan H. J. Saunders, president of the Youth Fitness Coalition and an exercise physiologist. “Something magical happens when we synchronize our collective consciousness in the spirit of fun on Project ACES Day.”

Parents are invited to participate by joining their kids at school or by celebrating on May
7 for the 9th annual PACES Day: Parents and Children Exercise Simultaneously. PACES Day kicks off a 52-week exercise program with various fun activities parents can enjoy with their children. The PACES website offers resources including a list of family activity ideas for every week of the year.

“If we feel good about ourselves, we can lead by example, and inspire our kids to be their fit best, not just on Project ACES and PACES Day, but every day and toward each other,” said Shihan Saunders.

For more information on Exercise is Medicine® and how to get involved with Project ACES, visit

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc. is a New Jersey-based non-profit organization committed to combating childhood obesity by making exercise programs fun and by educating children, parents and teachers about the importance of lifelong fitness and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Stretch The Effectiveness Of Your Workout

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stretchThank you to the Baylor College of Medicine for supplying this article. Please share your thoughts below…..

We’ve all heard that you should warm-up before a workout, but according to sports medicine experts at Baylor College of Medicine, oftentimes stretching is misinterpreted as a warm-up, and a proper warm-up before exercise that includes dynamic stretches is most beneficial.

“Dynamic warm-up programs have been shown to prevent injuries,” said Dr. Theodore Shybut, sports medicine expert and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor. “The real key for athletes is learning an appropriate warm-up routine for their sport and incorporating it into their training.”

A proper warm-up to exercise is done by using dynamic movements that ramp up in intensity and eventually mimic the activity you will be participating in, according to Meghan McKay, athletic trainer with Baylor.

“Warm-ups should focus on warming up the body for your activity,” said McKay. “When the warm-up is complete, you should have an increased heart rate and be breaking a sweat.”

According to Shybut, warm-ups should be tailored to sports demands.

For example, if you’re playing soccer, a typical warm-up should include walking lunges, side squats, walking toe touches, ball touches, gradual springs, backpedals and shuttles. Baseball pitchers and other throwers need to activate their core, rotator cuff, periscapular and shoulder girdle, as well as arm and forearm muscles.

Ideally, you should warm up and cool down all body parts. If you’re limited on time, focus on those that are primarily used for the activity and do the next closest body part secondarily, said McKay.

stretchAfter exercising, focus on long, slow stretches for each major body part. The best approach is to go slowly into the stretch, hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three to five times per body part and side. When cooling down, you should go into the stretch until you feel discomfort, not pain. If repeating the same stretch three to five times, you should be able to get a little further into the stretch than the previous time. If you aren’t feeling the stretch, find a modified version or different stretch for the same body part.

“Don’t forget to stretch your upper body and back if you’re doing lower extremity activities like running or lifting,” said McKay.

In An Emergency At Work, Would You Know What To Do?

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workdeskBeing healthy does not make you impervious to serious accidents and injuries. In dangerous environments, caution and good judgement will get you a lot further than exercise and a healthy diet. In a typical office space, people are more concerned about health than safety, assuming there are no major safety issues in a cube farm. They couldn’t be more wrong.

There is a lot the goes into maintaining a safe workplace. However, nothing you do can eliminate all workplace risks. Sometimes bad things are going to happen. To keep things going from bad to worse, you need to know what to do in a tense situation. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Assess and Treat

Most workplace accidents are minor. But minor issues can become big issues in a hurry if left untreated. Cuts, burns, and sprains are quite common. Less common but more serious is choking. All of these things can be treated by just about anyone. What is required are basic observational skills and the application of first aid.

It is a good idea for all employees and contractors to go through first aid training. Once trained, everyone needs to know where to find first aid supplies. It is imperative that companies keep those supplies well stocked and the employees well informed.

While it is important to put burn cream on a burn, stop the bleeding, and wrap a sprain as quickly as possible, it is even more important to apply CPR in a timely manner. There may not be time to call the one person in the office who knows how to do it. Everyone needs to be empowered to assess and treat the little things so they don’t turn into big ones.

Assess and Report

Are you starting to notice a pattern? The first thing to be done in every emergency is to assess. You should never go leaping into action like Supergirl before you even know what the situation calls for. When someone is on the floor crying out in pain, you don’t know if the situation is serious or not.

Even if you are not versed in emergency protocol, there is still something useful you can do. You can ask the person about the problem. If they have a recurring condition, they will tell you what you need to know. If you can’t get useful information from the person in pain, you need to alert a supervisor about the matter.

Calling 911 should not be the first thing you do if the situation doesn’t require it. Don’t just go running and screaming and adding panic to the situation. Get useful information about the problem, then report it.

Assess and Prevent

A hazard for one person is a hazard for all. There is no reason to allow a spill to claim two victims instead of one. Part of your assessment is to see that the floor is wet. While you are on the way to the person on the floor, you should grab the safety sign and set it up so that no one else slips.

Prevention is everyone’s job. If you see a stack of cups and plates precariously balanced, you don’t stack yours on top like a game of kitchen Jenga. You make smaller stacks. Perhaps you could even start the dishwasher. If you see a spill, don’t leave it for the next person. Clean it up. If someone left a sharp knife out, put it away.

By assessing the emergency at hand, you are in a good position to prevent the next one. In an emergency, the second thing you do always depends on the first thing. And the first thing you should do is make a level-headed assessment of the situation to see if treatment or reporting is required.

Emergencies happen fast, and so do mistakes. Slow it down, figure it out. Then do the right thing.

– Submitted by Katherine Smith

Project ACES Set For May 4th

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Mark this year’s date on your calendar – May 4th

Each May, on a designated date and time, millions of school children all over the globe will exercise simultaneously in a symbolic gesture of fitness and unity to show the world that they do not fit into that negative stereotype of being “physically unfit”. This non-competitive program has proven to be educational, motivational, and fun. The program has been praised by Presidents of the United States; such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan. The program has also received praise from Governors, Senators, and celebrities from sports and show business. Starting its 28th year, Project ACES has reached millions of children, parents and teachers all over the world, including participants from over 50 countries.

Learn more at: