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.

Shave Minutes (Even Hours) Off Your Workout by Swapping Out These 4 Unnecessary Time-Wasters

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Bay Club Vice President of Fitness Jennifer Beaton reveals the common exercises, techniques, and habits that tack on lots of time but little benefit—and what to replace them with to boost workout effectiveness.

malepushupAt Bay Club, operator of private luxury athletic clubs and sports resorts in California, trainers have a unique window into a wide range of workout MOs. From brand new exercisers to dedicated veterans, clients come to Bay Club for amenities like member cocktail parties, conference facilities, complimentary refreshments, and the in-house spa—but often end up spending more time on the machines when they could be out cooling off at the pool

“At our clubs, clients may not actually want to get out of the gym quicker! But almost everyone could benefit from getting a more effective workout in less time and reaching their goals sooner,” says Beaton, certified personal trainer at Bay Club’s San Francisco location. To that end, here are four moves s/he gives permission to skip:

Excessive rest. All those minutes spent sitting on the bench staring at your watch really add up. “If you can sit down and read the paper between sets, you are likely resting too long,” says Beaton. To see better results with the very same moves, and optimize your time, try super setting exercises such as push ups and squats, to allow rest of a muscle group while you work another muscle group. Replacing station rest with active rest such as 30 seconds of high intensity cardio can also optimize calories burned and muscle recovery.

girljogSteady-state cardio. In other words, those marathon (no pun intended) treadmill sessions. “We see many members who do the same 60 minutes of cardio at the same intensity every day for 15 years. These individuals no longer see improvements and often start to see declines in overall condition. They would benefit by mixing up their routine, adding intervals and high intensity work,” says Beaton

Isolation exercises. “Life is full of dynamic movement, and therefore our workouts should simulate and enhance those efforts by using multi-joint, compound movements like squats, lunges, and pull-ups as opposed to, for example, adductor/abductor machines or bicep curls. To get the most bang for your buck, focus on performing movements that recruit as many muscles as possible; those smaller secondary muscles will get plenty of work as they support the larger muscle groups during those movements,” says Beaton.

Endless crunches. Likewise, if your goal is a great-looking midsection, ab-isolating exercises may miss the mark. “I often see people doing 15-20 minutes of crunches in hopes that it’ll deliver 6-pack abs. Their time would be better spent on nutrition, a solid full-body strength routine, and a balanced cardiovascular program,” says Beaton.

For more workout reward ideas, details on the above, and/or to schedule an interview with a Bay Club trainer on any fitness topic, contact Annie Appel at aappel@wac-clubs.com or 415.901.9220.

About The BAY CLub

Founded in 1977, the Bay Club is the owner and operator of 11 private health, fitness, athletic, sports, and lifestyle resorts on the West Coast. Featuring six regional campuses, the Bay Club provides club members with the finest quality programming catered to the entire family including traditional fitness elements and convenient solutions to daily work, family and life demands. For 35 years, the Bay Club has maintained the highest standards of professional service, earning a reputation as one of the leading private club companies in the United States. The company employs approximately 2,000 people and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information on the Bay Club, its clubs or services, visit: www.explorebayclub.com.

The Great American Switch Out: Ten Ways You Can Improve Your Heart Health Today

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by Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

healthychoiceSWITCH OUT: Saturated fats like butter, cheese and whole milk FOR: Nuts, avocados and non-fat milk, “The Good Fats”.

SWITCH OUT: White pasta and white rice FOR: whole wheat and whole grain pasta or brown rice pasta or brown rice.

SWITCH OUT: Sugary breakfast cereals FOR: whole grain, plain cereals that you sweeten with fruit and berries.

SWTCH OUT: Sugary sodas, candy and cookies FOR: plain water, club soda, fruit and vegetable snacks accompanied by a tablespoon of freshly-ground peanut butter.

SWTCH OUT: Fast food smoothies (which contain 32 cubes of sugar) FOR homemade blended fruit drinks made with ice and non-fat milk.

SWTCH OUT: Premade pasta sauces (usually high in sugar and sodium) FOR: low-fat, low-salt versions or homemade sauces you make with fresh tomatoes and herbs.

SWTCH OUT: Sodium and sugar-rich barbeque sauces FOR: homemade versions where you control the sugar and salt.

SWTCH OUT: Canned soup (high in salt) FOR: homemade soup with plenty of beans and veggies.

SWTCH OUT: Canned vegetables (usually high in sugar and salt) FOR: fresh or frozen vegetables

SWTCH OUT: Fast foods like pizza, hamburgers, and fried chicken FOR: whole grain pizza you make yourself with veggies and cheese substitute, turkey or veggie burgers without the cheese and pickles, roasted chicken you make at home or use a Panko coating for a crispy taste.

Once you get the hand of switching out, you’ll be on your way to feeling better, losing weight and doing your heart a huge favor.

Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy™ is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding. While earning her PhD in Natural Health and a Doctorate in Naturopathy, she completed 36 courses in nutrition from Baylor University.

Fear Is A Happiness Compass – 9 Ways to Break Out Of Fear And Handle Crisis – Part 2

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By Diane Lang

Continued from part 1 of the article…..

news3. This goes back to the old saying you can’t succeed until you have failed. You need to take risks to be successful and happy. Even if we make a mistake or fail, we learn from it so it’s never a bad move. We also get a feeling of accomplishment from trying. We start appreciating our effort as much as winning or losing. So take a risk, make a mistake; it’s a win-win situation.

4. By being vulnerable and taking risks we realize we really can’t control everything. It brings us back to reality. If we have controlling and perfection traits, we will always feel stressed out and fearful but when we realize we don’t have control over anything but ourselves and our reactions we can start to focus on what’s really in our power and start seeing results.

5. When we are fearful it is a wake up call to pause and reevaluate what’s going on. To make new choices. We can become curious about new opportunities or ways of doing things. We can look at things from a new perspective Instead of remaining in fear we can look at it as an opportunity to try something new.

6. If we truly accept fear we don’t have to mask it with food, drugs, shopping, etc. If we accept our fear we don’t have to be so angry. Fear causes anger as a defense mechanism from being vulnerable. When we are hurt or scared we become angry; it’s easier then dealing with the vulnerability.

yogapose7. When you become aware your being fearful then you can do a few things to calm your fear before it turns into anger. What self soothes you – music, exercise, nature, warm bath, etc? Use Meditation Breathing techniques to relax the physical symptoms. Self talk – I talk back to my fear by asking myself questions: What am I truly fearful of? Is it really that scary or am I making it worse/exaggerating my fear? What would happen if I felt the fear but did it anyway? What would happen if I let fear control my actions and didn’t do anything? Would I regret that decision?

8. Realize that our biggest fear is death. This again is something we can’t control and to worry about; it is a waste of time. I have learned to change my perspective on death. I have a spiritual perspective and believe that our physical body dies but our soul continues on. This perspective has changed my view/fear of death. Know there is something bigger then us. Find your spiritual side. Having a sense of spirituality let’s us know that there is something bigger than us and that has a comforting and peaceful effect on us.

9. Know how your body reacts to fear and stress. Do you get headaches, stomachaches, neck pain, TMJ, etc. When we can sense the physical symptoms we can use that as a red flag- a warning to stop and ask the important question: What am I afraid of?

Diane Lang is a Positive Living Expert and psychotherapist – is a nationally recognized speaker, author, educator, therapist and media expert. Lang is extremely mediagenic and offers expertise on a variety of health and wellness topics about creating balance and finding happiness through positive living as well as multiple mental health, lifestyle and parenting needs. In addition to holding multiple counseling positions, Diane is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University.

Fear Is A Happiness Compass – 9 Ways to Break Out Of Fear And Handle Crisis – Part 1

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By Diane Lang

newsThe biggest fear is a huge crisis where everything changes and we feel out of control but yet that huge crisis is just the motivation you needed to accept that you have to change. Psychotherapist, Happiness Author and Positive Living Expert, Diane Lang, shares how we can tune into our fear, learn from it and break free from it. Fear and crisis lead us in the right direction to a better path; if we step back and learn from our fear, we are able to shed old negative thoughts and patterns leading us to a fresh, new life of happiness and fulfillment.

“Fear is actually a good thing; it’s a compass to happiness. A crisis wouldn’t be a crisis if it didn’t scare you. So, next time you feel afraid and a crisis hits, instead of getting upset and nervous, stop for a second and ask yourself these three questions:

1. What is supposed to happen here?

2. What wasn’t I listening to?

3. What needs to change?

Then thank your fear for leading you in the right direction. Just think back to every crisis you have had and how it was only temporary and it eventually led you down a better path. The divorce that ended up putting you with your soul mate. The firing from a job that ended up leading you into your career. The illness that made you stop in your tracks and ended up teaching you to enjoy life and now you have fun and better relationships. Crisis are wake up calls because you weren’t listening to your higher self. You were ignoring the true you. So, next crisis change your perspective to questioning what is truly going on? What do I really want? What did I miss? Then slow down and be still and listen for the answer. The answer is there. It’s been there all along, you just never paid attention to it. If you don’t pay attention now, there will be another crisis just around the corner. The choice is yours. It’s your choice and your responsibility how you live your life. So fear can be a blessing,” Diane Lang says.

After a crisis and a true wake up to your higher self, you start realizing fear is not necessary and you can hear your true self without all the hoopla going on around you. We don’t have to reach bottom to hear our calling but if you have a crisis, use it for what it’s worth. A crisis helps you shed the old negative thoughts and patterns that are no longer useful or serving you. You have had enough and want more. A crisis is an ending of something we don’t need anymore. It’s not servicing us. So we have a crisis to end it, grieve it and then find the new. The fresh start that awaits us. The light after the end of the storm. Love thy fear.

Here are nine ways to break out of the “fear rut” we may be stuck in:

friends1. Realize you’re not alone – most people live in the same fear patterns. We are raised this way. Fear is a learned trait. We watch our parents be fearful, we have news that tells us to be fearful and then we get hurt and it proves to us that we should live in fear. By knowing you’re not alone and that everyone feels just as vulnerable and scared, helps us to be empathetic to everyone else. After we feel empathetic to others, we can start finding the empathy and self compassion towards ourselves.

2. Accept your fear – don’t deny your fear or try to hide it. Face it, accept it and then move past it. When we can truly admit to ourselves that we have fear, then we can work past it. A lot of our patterns are based on fear but we are just not conscious of it. Just by awakening to the realization that we live in fear starts the process of change. Once you accept it then you can make the choice to let it go and move past it. It’s a choice. Do you choose to live in fear or take a risk?

Look for part 2 of this article shortly…..

Diane Lang is a Positive Living Expert and psychotherapist – is a nationally recognized speaker, author, educator, therapist and media expert. Lang is extremely mediagenic and offers expertise on a variety of health and wellness topics about creating balance and finding happiness through positive living as well as multiple mental health, lifestyle and parenting needs. In addition to holding multiple counseling positions, Diane is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University.