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Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter weight gain, how to AVOID

Temperature start to fall, the day get short and people put on weight. When the weather gets colder, the blood vessels in the skin contract, and as the extremities cool, blood moves to the center of the body. There it stimulates internal organs like the digestive tract, and their activity increase. when the digestive tract grows more active. appetite increase, and if the appetite increase, so does weight. 
Winter weight gaining. There are several possible explanations. For one thing, it's natural. In the animal kingdom, flattening up for the cold winter months is critical for survival. The human animal, on the other hand, doesn't need to fatten up for survival. May be we did years ago when food was less accessible in winter and shivering in the cold caused us to burn our fat stores quickly. But now, with temperature control, improved agricultural techniques and a Starbucks on every corner, that leftover instinct just causes trouble. Today we humans fatten up just for the fun of it. (Exceptional if you are a lady who has body fat lower than 12% and you are a guy who has body fat lower than 5%)
Though these old instincts are plausible as a partial of the winter weight gain, there are more complex-- and controllable -- causes too. The most important involves a decrease in both sunlight and physical activity. Together, they can contribute to enough of calorie imbalance to cause weight gain. Here's how.
Physical activity: when it's cold, we tend to cut back on subtle calorie-burning activity such as short walks and light outdoor chores. These caloric expenditures may only add up to 100 calories burned per day; but this translate into a 3-4(or more) pound weight gain during the winter months. 

Sunlight: Some people are particularly sensitive to light deprivation, caused by the decrease in daylight hours during the winter. About 5 percent of the population becomes markedly depressed with seasonal affective disorder(SAD). About one-fifth of us are affected to some degree, prompting increased food craving and weight gain in susceptible people, say Norman Rosenthal, MD, a SAD expert and author of Winter Blues. These food craving may result of the seasonal changes in the brain chemical serotonin.



Tips: How to avoid winter weight gain.
1. Get Some Sun
Increase your exposure to sunlight, especially in northern zones, Bundle up and go outside to reverse the symptoms of light deprivation. The amount of needed daylight varies for each individual, In general, more is better. Rosenthal suggests one hour daily. If you can't spend an hour outside everyday, several hours on the weekends may help make up for a lack of sun during the week. 

If going outside doesn't do the trick or isn't always an option, light therapy-- also known as phototherapy-- may help. Special "sunny" light bulbs mimic the sun's spectrum and include harmless ultraviolet rays that are absent from most artificial lights. You can buy these through www.sunbox.com
2. Up your activity level
Even it's just a little. During just one bout of exercise, your brain releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals increase feelings of well-being and elevate your mood. If you are active regularly, the benefits multiply. A brisk 30 minutes walk just three times a week relieves major depression just as effectively as an antidepressant in most adults, according to a 1999 study published in the Archives of internal Medicine.
Indoor or out, get moving. Go to the gym, walk in malls and rake stairs instead of escalators. Get some good walking shoes, and if you drive to work, park several blocks ' away; if you take mass transit, get off one or two stops early. Walk to the grocery, to the movies, to the library--even if it takes 45 minutes. Move!

3. Pump an iron.
Exercise is your best weapon against winter weight gain. And strength training will do a lot to keep your metabolism revving. So hit the gym for strength training at least two-three times a week and devise a workout routine that will tax your biggest muscles. Each pound of muscle burn 30-50 calorie at rest. Moreover we get an extra burn after weight lifting session too.


4. Eat high quality carbohydrate Increase your intake of high quality carbohydrates, High quality carbohydrate is the food from the source and no process such as sweet potato, yam, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. Carbs increase serotonin production, and serotonin regulates mood and appetite. Therefore eating whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables--increases serotonin levels, and that cuts cravings and helps keep you from putting on pounds.
5. Add more protein
Try eating more protein--it can help reduce the cravings for cakes, cookies, chips and other fatty carbohydrates that can be caused by light deprivation. Wholesome protein sources include poutry. lean meat, egg white, whole egg, soy milk, tofu, legumes and low-fat dairy products.

6. Add healthy fat
Our body needs essential fatty acids for optimal health and well being. Essential means that the body cannot produce the specific fatty acid and has to take them in from outside sources-either through food or supplements. Linoleic acid(omega-6), linoleic acid(omega-3) and arachidonic acid(this is formed from linoleic, linoleic acids) are indispensable for the biochemistry of the body. Essential fatty acids sources: salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna, flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, canola oil, soy bean oil, olive oil, avocado, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seed, sesame seeds, raw sunflower seeds, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards etc.) and all kind of nuts.
5. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks or more! 

Eating frequent small meal helps to boost metabolism, stop feeling hungry, keep your blood sugar stable therefore you can stop craving and binge eating and you don't store fat.
6. Create calorie deficit
Losing weight is made possible through a simple equation. The calories you burn must be greater than the calories you eat (Calories burn > calories eaten). 1 pound of fat is 3,500 calories. If you reduce your calorie intake or burn your calorie through exercise 500 calories per day, in a week you will lose 1 pound. Smart way to approach long term weight loss is to combine food reduction and exercise so you don't burn out and you don't deprive yourself. Remember! moderation is the key.
7. Drink more water
A new fact sheet from the University of Minnesota Water Resource Center incorporates research from several different sources into a concise, short guide on drinking water to lose weight. Here are some highlights:

You need water for your body to burn fat. Without water, your kidneys can not do their job properly and your liver must pitch in to help. While it's helping the kidneys, your liver can't burn as much fat, so some of the fat that would normally be used as fuel gets stored in your body instead. Drinking more water lets the liver get back to it's own job of turning fat into fuel.

Your body needs water-it's sixty percent water. But if you don't drink enough, your body thinks it's in danger and tried to hold onto all the water it can get. The more water you drink, the less you 'll eat. Water is nature's own appetite suppressant. A glass of water before eating will help you feel full and eat less. You 'll also get rid of extra salt by drinking water (salt can also cause the body to hold onto water)
Drink at least 8, eight-ounce glasses of water everyday. If you're overweight, drink an additional glass for every Twenty-five pounds of excess weight.
8. Plan your meal
One of the most effective strategies for losing weight and sticking to your diet is to plan ahead. While it may seem difficult at the first to be prepared, the results will astound you.

You know your schedule the next day, therefore think ahead of time and plan your meals according to your schedule. For example if you get up and go, you can plan a ready to go meal a night before such as a Greek yogurt with fruit and nut or smoothie. You can also plan your dinner for 3 days by cooking large portions and freezing them to eat later. Then you can just pop a serving out of the freezer and heat it up when you’re too tired or busy to start from scratch.
Sunday & Wednesday Method. Set aside some time on Sundays and Wednesdays to chop, grate, mix, cook and pack whatever you can for your meals and snacks. It’s amazing how even doing something simple, like chopping vegetables for your sauté vegetable and lean meat dish save you time during the week.

9. Find motivation
Motivation is one of the most important factors which determine how successful we are at what we do. It is the driving force that gives us the will to accomplish tasks and eventually succeed at reaching an ultimate goal. Motivation levels can vary each day depending on how we feel, or how we view certain experiences. For anyone to succeed at slimming motivation will be the most important part to work at, it will provide us with the determination to get up and exercise or go to the gym even if we don't feel up to it. Motivation also drives us to stick to portion control and balance meals required to keep our progress moving.
Here are some ideas:
- Set realistic goal(s)
- Place your slim pictures on the fridge or on your desk
- Place a picture of your role model or your superhero that has the body you died for on somewhere you can see often.
- Track your progress; write your journal (food log/ exercise log/ weight and measurement log)
- Start to fill $ in the jar (or piggy bank) once you stick to your plan either exercise or food, put the money in the jar by the end of the month you can use these money to buy a non-food reward to yourself.
- Your health comes first.
- Find a workout partner or make a date night with your partner (husband, wife, lover) at the gym
- Look around at the gym to find a cute guy who comes to workout at the same time. You might find the reason to pull your ass from your home or office but once you are at the gym. It’s going to be an easy part because you are there, so do it.
10. Clean your house
I usually plan my time to clean the house or take care of vegetable garden on my active rest day. You will burn an extra 100-250 calories for cleaning your house. Clean house for nice an environment and healthy living and you also get a nice body while taking care of your house and your health.
11. Less stress and keep weight down
The winter months can take a toll on your mood. Snow, freezing temperatures and a lack of a vitamin D infusion from the sun can leave you stressed and your waistline in trouble.
Cortisol (the body’s “stress hormone”) is rapidly produced in the body when stress hits. This imbalance throws off blood sugar levels, metabolism and mental well-being. Studies also link cravings to the production of cortisol, which is why you might feel the need to reach for some Ben & Jerry’s in times of distress.

According to a study out of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, people who are less stressed experience greater fat loss and are able to keep weight off over time. That’s enough to give the phrase “chill out” a whole new meaning this winter.
To keep stress in check as you wait for spring to arrive, read my previous articles.
12 Catch your zzz time
How sleep affects your weight. Many hormones are affected by sleep: Leptin and ghrelin work in a kind of "checks and balances" system to control feelings of hunger and fullness, explains Michael Breus, PhD, a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and director of The Sleep Disorders Centers of Southeastern Lung Care in Atlanta. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full.
So what's the connection to sleep? "When you don't get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food," Breus tells WebMD.
The two combined, he says, can set the stage for overeating, which in turn may lead to weight gain.
13. Get Naked
I’m not kidding. Winter time we usually cover ourselves with clothes from head to toes, many layers and many protection, so we do not have a chance to see our own body as often as we used to see in summer.
Once you are alone, take off your cloth and give a good 5-10 minutes check yourself front of the mirror or take a picture of yourself from the mirror. Self awareness is also important.
14. Ask yourself what is your weakness
Finally you need to find out what is your strength and weakness then pay more attention with your weakness. It might be eating too much for each meal, so you will come up with the plan that assist you with portion control i.e. Measuring your food or plan your food in advance and food log. If you do cardio but you don’t know how to do weight training, find a good personal trainer in your area.
Ask some question to yourself;
- Do you do train on your target heart rate?
- What is a balanced meal?
- How much food do you need to consume each day if you want to lose 1 pound per week?
- Do you know how to use free weight?
- Do you need motivation?
- Etc.
Having a great body and be healthy doesn’t mean you have to spend long hours in the gym. I exercise only an hour for 4-5 days per week. It doesn’t mean you have to be on diet. Train smart & Eat smart; you do not need to go for harder in order to be healthy and have a great body.
Triya Redberg (Certified Fitness Trainer & Certified Nutrition Coach)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Healthy Hanukkah Recipes and Celebration


We just had Hanukkah celebration today. Everyone was happy with my healthy & yummy sweet potato latkes, baked latkes, sweet and sour cabbage soup with beef brisket and a big rainbow salad.

Olive oil is one of the symbols of the holiday, potato pancake are normally fried. But since I’m a host, I have decided to break with traditional and give the recipe a healthy twist. Trimming fat and calories and the meal is so delicious.

Sweet Potato Latkes

Prep Time:15 Min
Cook Time:10 Min
Ready In:25 Min

Original Recipe Yield 8 latkes

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying

Directions

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a colander. Place a cheesecloth over the potatoes, and squeeze the potatoes to release as much liquid as possible. Let the potatoes sit to release more liquid, then squeeze again.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, eggs, brown sugar, flour, cloves and cinnamon; mix well.
  3. Heat oil in large heavy skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Form mixture into pancake size cakes, and fry in hot oil. Flip cakes after 2 to 3 minutes (when bottom is browned) and brown other side. Drain on paper towels,

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 69 | Total Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 53mg


Latkes -- Potato Pancakes (Baked)

  • 1-1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes or sweet potato, peeled
  • 8 oz (about 2 large) carrots, peeled
  • 8 oz. (about 2 large) parsnips, peeled
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.

Grate potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Working in small batches, press tightly between paper towels to squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to a large bowl. Combine with remaining ingredients. Scoop mixture into muffin tins, packing down firmly. Bake 45-55 minutes until golden brown.

Serves 12.

Per serving: 111 calories, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 33 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein


Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup with Beef Brisket.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 65 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds top rib (flat brisket)
  • 1 quart light beef broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cups tinned tomatoes, finely chopped, with their juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 pounds cabbage, coarsely shredded or very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sour salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons golden raisins

Preparation:

Combine the top rib beef brisket broth, and water in a 10-quart soup pot or kettle. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and skim off the gray residue for 5 minutes, or until every last bit of residue has been cleaned off the top.

Add the onions, tomato, tomato sauce, cabbage, sour salt, black pepper, and sugar.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then cover and simmer 3 hours, until the meat is very tender. Stir in the raisin, set the lid to the pot slightly askew, and simmer 20 minutes. Taste, correct the seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper as necessary.


Yield: 8 servings

A big bowl of Salad.

Happy Chanukah

Source : About.com (home cooking), Suite101.com, allrecipes.com

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quick Stress Relief

Fast and effective ways to rapidly reduce stress



Managing Stress in Relationship

Ever wish a stress superhero could save you from traffic jams, chaotic meetings, or a toddler’s tantrums?

Guess what? You can be your own stress-busting superhero. Everybody has the power to reduce the impact of stress as it’s happening in that moment. With practice, you can learn to spot stressors and stay in control when the pressure builds.

Learning quick stress relief won't happen overnight. Like any skill, it takes time, self-exploration and above all, practice. But think of it as an education with a huge payoff.

The origins of stress



Are you friends with stress, or do you fear stress and wish you could make it go away? Believe it or not, stress is necessary for life. Without it, you would be dead—you need stress for creativity, learning, and your very survival. Stress is only harmful when it becomes overwhelming.

You may think that the worst kind of stress comes from traumatic situations like a car accident or a mugging. But what you may not know is that chronic, everyday stress can be just as damaging. Relentless small-scale challenges can wear you down, whether or not you even realize it’s a problem.

Internal stress: Are you making yourself stressed?

Stress doesn’t always come from our external environment. Often, stress is self-generated. This can happen when we worry about things that are out of our control, dwell on the negatives, criticize ourselves, imagine the worst, or hold ourselves and others to unrealistic standards, or take on too many responsibilities. Internal stress is one of the most important kinds of stress to recognize and manage.

Emotional balance starts with the ability to manage stress

Being able to manage and relieve stress in the moment is the key to staying balanced, focused, and in control, no matter what challenges you face.

When stress is out-of-control, it can get in the way of your ability to:

  • Think clearly and creatively
  • Communicate clearly
  • Accurately “read” other people
  • Hear what someone is really saying
  • Trust others
  • Attend to your own needs

Bottom line? Those who are aware of their stress and know how to manage it are less likely to get overwhelmed.

How well do you currently manage stress?

To assess your present ability to manage stress, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When I feel agitated, do I know how to quickly calm myself?
  • Can I easily let go of my anger?
  • Can I turn to others at work to help me calm down and feel better?
  • When I come home at night, do I walk in the door feeling alert and relaxed?
  • Am I seldom distracted or moody?
  • Am I able to recognize upsets that others seem to be experiencing
  • Do I easily turn to friends or family members for a calming influence?
  • When my energy is low, do I know how to boost it?

Source: The Language of Emotional Intelligence by Jeanne Segal

Learn to recognize stress

Acknowledging stress is the first step in lessening its impact. Many of us spend so much time in a stressed state, we have forgotten what it feels like to be fully relaxed and alert. Being stressed out feels normal.

What does it feel like to be calm and stress-free? You can see that “just right” inner balance in the smile of a happy baby—a face so full of joy it reminds adults of the balanced emotional state that most of us have misplaced. In adulthood, being balanced means maintaining a calm state of energy, alertness, and focus. Calmness is more than just feeling relaxed; being alert is an equally important aspect of finding the balance needed to withstand stress.

If you don’t feel calm, alert, productive, and focused most of the time in your daily life, then too much stress may be a problem for you.

Tips for recognizing when you’re stressed

Hush the voice that’s telling you, ‘Oh, I’m fine.” Notice how you’re breathing has changed. Are your muscles tense? Awareness of your physical response to stress will help regulate the tension when it occurs.

When you're tired, your eyes feel heavy and you might rest your head on your hand. When you're happy, you laugh easily. And when you are stressed, your body lets you know that too. Try to get in the habit of paying attention to your body's clues.

  • Observe your muscles and insides. Are your muscles tight/sore? Is your stomach tight or sore? Are your hands clenched?
  • Observe your breath. Is your breath shallow? Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with each breath. Notice when you breathe fully or when you "forget" to breathe.

Identify your body's stress response

Internally, we all respond to stress the same: our blood pressure rises, our heart pumps faster, and our muscles constrict. When stressed, our bodies work hard and drain our immune system. Externally, however, people tend to respond to stress in three different ways: some become angry and agitated, others space out or withdraw, and still others freeze up.

The best way to quickly relieve stress may relate to your specific stress response. Read on to find out where you fit in.

Stress doesn’t always look stressful

Psychologist Connie Lillas uses a driving analogy to describe the three most common ways people respond when they’re overwhelmed by stress:

  • Foot on the gas. An angry or agitated stress response. You’re heated, keyed up, overly emotional, and unable to sit still.
  • Foot on the brake. A withdrawn or depressed stress response. You shut down, space out, and show very little energy or emotion.
  • Foot on both gas and brake. A tense and frozen stress response. You “freeze” under pressure and can’t do anything. You look paralyzed, but under the surface you’re extremely agitated.

How do you act when stressed?

When it comes to managing and reducing stress quickly in the middle of a heated situation, it’s important to be familiar with your specific stress response.

  • Overexcited stress response – If you tend to become angry, agitated, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down.
  • Under excited stress response – If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and that energize your nervous system.
  • Frozen stress response (both overexcited and under excited) – If you tend to freeze: speeding up in some ways while slowing down in others, your challenge is to identify stress relief activities that provide both safety and stimulation to help you “reboot” your system.

The basics of quick stress relief

There are countless techniques for preventing stress. Yoga and meditation work wonders for improving our coping skills. But who can take a moment to chant or meditate during a job interview or a disagreement with your spouse? For these situations, you need something more immediate and accessible. That’s when quick stress relief comes to the rescue.

The speediest way to stamp out stress is by engaging one or more of your senses—your sense of sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement—to rapidly calm and energize yourself.

The key to practicing quick stress relief is learning what kind of sensory input helps your particular nervous system find calm and focus quickly. Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so an awareness of your preferences is essential for reducing stress.

Talking to someone who listens: a rapid stress reducer

Want to know a quick social stress reliever? Talk to someone! It’s true, talking about your stress with a calm and balanced listener will make you feel better instantly. Although it’s not always realistic to have a pal close by to lean on, building and maintaining a friendship network is ultimately good for your mental health. Between quick stress relief techniques and good listeners, you’ll have all your bases covered.

Bring your senses to the rescue

Here comes the fun part. Now that you know that your senses are powerful tools in your stress-busting toolkit, it’s time to experiment with various kinds of sensory input. Remember exploring your senses in elementary school? Grownups can take a tip from grade school lessons by revisiting the senses and learning how they can help us prevent system overload.

Start by slowing down. When you slow down, you learn better and feel better.

C:\Users\Robert Home\Pictures\~Photo Folders\stress\sights_120.jpgSights. Surround yourself with visual stimulation such as comforting mementos and uplifting photos. Wear accessories and jewelry that make you feel powerful when you catch sight of them. Hang a prism in the window for a rainbow display. Keep a fresh bouquet of flowers at a table or workstation.

C:\Users\Robert Home\Pictures\~Photo Folders\stress\sound_120.jpgSound. Experiment with music and other sounds that calm and soothe you. Keep birdfeeders outside and tune into bird chatter. Hang wind chimes near an open window. Place a small fountain in your home or office so you can enjoy the soothing sound of running water. Listen to different interpretations of your favorite music.

C:\Users\Robert Home\Pictures\~Photo Folders\stress\scent_120.jpgScent. If you tend to zone out or freeze when stressed, keep energizing scents nearby. If you tend to become overly agitated under stress, look for scents that are comforting and calming. Inhale the smell of freshly brewed coffee or tea if you start to feel yourself zoning out. Keep a bowl of fragrant fruit nearby.

C:\Users\Robert Home\Pictures\~Photo Folders\stress\touch_120.jpgTouch. Experiment with textures and with warm and cool temperatures to relax and renew. Play with your dog, feel his warm, soft head against your face. Give yourself a hand or neck massage—lightly tap your head and neck for a few seconds. Press a warm (or icy) beverage mug into your skin.

C:\Users\Robert Home\Pictures\~Photo Folders\stress\taste_120.jpgTaste. Mindless eating will only add to your stress—and your waistline. The key is to indulge your sense of taste mindfully and in moderation. Eat slowly, focusing on the feel of the food in your mouth and the taste on your tongue. Slowly drink a refreshing cold beverage. Chew a piece of sugarless gum.

C:\Users\Robert Home\Pictures\~Photo Folders\stress\movement_120.jpgMovement. Movement has a sensory effect on stress and acts like one of our senses. If you tend to shut down when stress strikes, try pacing while you talk on the phone. Stand up—instead of sitting down—at a desk to write and work. Keep a rubbery stress ball at your desk and squeeze it to relax. Use a rocking chair to focus and relax. Got more energy to burn? Try pushups!

The power of imagination

Sensory rich memories can also quickly reduce stress. After drawing upon your sensory toolbox becomes habit, another approach is to learn to simply imagine vivid sensations when stress strikes. Believe it or not, the sheer memory of your baby’s face will have the same calming or energizing effects on your brain as seeing her photo. So if you can recall a strong sensation, you’ll never be without access to your quick stress relief toolbox.

Find quick stress relief tools that work for you

Sensory stress-busting techniques give you a powerful tool for staying clear-headed and in control in the middle of stressful situations. They give you the confidence to face challenges, knowing that you have the ability to rapidly bring yourself back into balance. The following worksheet will help you find the stress relievers that work best for you.

Tips for finding sensory inspiration

Inspiration is everywhere, from sights you see on your way to work to smells and objects around your home. Explore a variety of sensations so that no matter where you are you’ll always have something you can do to relax yourself. Here a few ideas to get you started.

  • Memories. Think back to what you did as a child to calm down. If you had a blanket or stuffed toy, you might benefit from tactile stimulation. Try tying a textured scarf around your neck before an appointment or keeping a piece of soft suede in your pocket.
  • Watch others. Observing how others deal with stress can give you valuable insight. Baseball players often pop gum in their mouth before going up to bat. Singers often chat up the crowd before performing. Ask around about what people you know do to stay focused under pressure—it could work for you too.
  • Parents. Think back to what your parents did to blow off steam. Did your mother feel more relaxed after a long walk? Did your father do yard work after a hard day? Try some of the things they did to unwind; they might work for you too.

Take a break from technology

Taking a short hiatus from the television, computer, cell phone, and iPod will give you insight on what your senses respond to best. Here are some “unplugging” tips:

  • Try tuning into relaxing music instead of talk radio during your commute. Or try riding in silence for 10 minutes.
  • Stuck in a long line at the grocery store? Instead of talking on your cell phone, take a moment to people watch. Pay attention to what you hear and see.
  • Instead of checking e-mail while waiting for a meeting to begin, take a few deep breaths, look out the window, or sip some aromatic tea.
  • While waiting for an appointment, resist the urge to text and give yourself a hand massage instead.

Make quick stress relief a habit

Let’s get real. It’s not easy to remember to use our senses in the middle of a mini—or not so mini—crisis. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up. The truth is, quick stress relief takes practice, practice, and more practice. But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature. Here’s how to make it habit.

Learning to use your senses to quickly manage stress is a little like learning to drive or to play golf. You don’t master the skill in one lesson¾you have to practice until it becomes second nature. Once you have a variety of sensory tools you can depend on and use, you’ll be able to handle even the toughest of situations.

  • Start small. Instead of testing your quick stress relief tools on a source of major stress, start with a predictable low-level source of stress, like cooking dinner at the end of the day or sitting down to balance your checkbook.
  • Identify and target. Think of just one low-level stressor that you know will occur several times a week, such as commuting. Vow to target that particular stressor with quick stress relief every time. After a few weeks, target a second stressor. After a few weeks more, target a third stressor and so on.
  • Test-drive sensory input. Experiment with as much sensory input as possible. If you are practicing quick stress relief on your commute to work, bring a scented handkerchief with you one day, try music another day, and try a movement the next day.
  • Make “have fun” your motto. If something doesn’t work, don’t force it. Move on until you find your best fit.
  • Talk about it. Verbalizing your quick stress relief work will help integrate it into your life. It’s bound to start a fascinating conversation—everyone relates to the topic of stress.

Quick acting stress-busting tips

The best part of quick stress relief is the awareness that you have control over your surroundings. Even if you share a work area, you can personalize your space to serve as a “stress prevention zone” or to put quick stress relief within arm's reach. We all have our stress hotspots. Where are yours?

Quick stress relief at home

  • Entertaining. Prevent pre-party jitters by playing lively music. Light candles. The flicker and scent will stimulate your senses. Wear clothes that make you feel relaxed and confident instead of stiff and uncomfortable.
  • Kitchen. Cool the kitchen commotion by breathing in the scent of every ingredient you use—even if you’re just opening cans. Delight in the delicate texture of an eggshell. Appreciate the weight of an onion.
  • Children and relationships. Prevent losing your cool during a spousal spat by breathing and squeezing the tips of your thumb and forefinger together. When your toddler tantrums, rub lotion into your hands then breathe in the scent.
  • Sleep. Too stressed to snooze? Try using a white noise machine for background sound or a humidifier with a diffuser for a light scent in the air.
  • Creating a sanctuary. If clutter is upsetting, spend 10 minutes each day to tidy and organize. Paint the walls with a fresh coat of your favorite calming color. Display photos and images that make you feel happy. Throw open the curtains and let in natural light whenever possible.

Quick stress relief at work

  • Meetings. During stressful sessions, stay connected to your breath. Massage the tips of your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Sip coffee.
  • On the phone. Inhale something energizing, like lemon, ginger, peppermint or coffee beans. While talking, stand up or pace back and forth to burn off excess energy. Conduct phone business outside when possible.
  • On the computer. Work standing up. Do knee-bends in 10-minute intervals. Wrap a soft scarf around your neck. Suck on a peppermint.
  • Lunch breaks. Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Listen to soothing music while eating. Have a quick chat with someone you love.
  • Your workspace. Place family photos on your desk and display images and mementos that remind you of your life outside the office.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guilt-Free Brownie

Balance dessert Brownie (GUILT-FREE)
The holidays are coming soon, starting from Thanksgiving going through the end of the year. This usually brings fun & joyous times with family and friend, with lots of good food and dessert. Most people gain more unwanted weight during holiday season than any other time of the year.
I have experimented making with many brownie recipes. The healthiest one does not taste so good; the high calorie, high fat and high carbohydrate ones always taste better.
Finally I came up with a good ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat with even better taste than the unhealthy one.

Triya’s Guilt- Free Brownie
12 serving: 79 cal per serving
4 g carbohydrate, 3.75 g fat, 8.4 g protein
Ingredients
- ¾ cup egg beater
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp prune puree
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- ¾ cup peanut flour (You can find at Trader’s Joe)
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla exact
- 5 packs Truvia (You can use any sweetener but I like Truvia)
- A scoop of casein protein powder (if you don’t have it or you don’t want to use it, it’s ok. Protein content above (- 2)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
Directions
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 8 * 8 inch square pan.
  • In medium bowl, stir all liquid ingredients together, beat well
  • Another medium bowl, add all dry ingredients together and mix well.
  • Add the dry mixture to the liquid bowl and stir well
  • At this point, if you want, you can add nuts and chocolate chips to the batter
  • Spread batter into greased pan and bake for 15-20 minutes until brownies begin to "pull away" from the pan. You can check after 15 minutes with toothpick, if toothpick comes out clean, so it’s ready.
  • Cool completely in pan.
  • Cut brownies into 12 serving squares.
  • Enjoy with a glass of milk.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How to Lose Belly Fat


How to Lose Belly Fat

Have you ever exercised incessantly, starved yourself or did endless crunches without getting any visible results?
I used to be like you, wondering how I can loose my belly fat and get a six pack. How can we lose weight and do not gain it back? Six years ago I lost 20 pounds in 14 weeks and I still maintain my weight. Today I’m going to share my secrets with you
The Best Way to Lose Belly Fat
1) Nutrition by eating correctly and keeping your blood sugar stable
Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating correctly. Eating healthy is a good approach and a first step to be success; however, if you eat healthy but you do not feed your body the right amount of nutrient, you still store body fat.
2) Exercise wisely and correctly
Combination: steady cardio, interval training, weight training, core training and stretching.
Why we store fat? Where body fat comes from?
Before trying to lose belly fat, I would like to show you how and why we store body fat.
When you consume a big meal and especially one with a lot of starchy or sugary foods, your body experiences a spike in blood sugar levels due to a rise in glucose in your bloodstream. In response to this rise in glucose levels, the pancreas releases the hormone, insulin. Insulin is a hormone that’s absolutely essential for getting amino acids into the muscles for growth and getting carbohydrates into the muscles where they’re needed for energy.
However, when there’s a large blood sugar spike, your body tends to "overreact" and produce too much insulin which is leading to high blood sugar know as “Hyperglycemia
The cost of high blood sugar
- Excess Secretion of Insulin
- Excess Storage of Nutrients
- Excess Body Fat Gain
- Sleepiness
- Lethargy
The insulin quickly clears the glucose from the bloodstream, leading to a sharp drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia.
The cost of low blood sugar
- Loss of lean body mass: The nervous system is fueled by glucose. When blood sugar is low, the body begins to break down all stored forms of fuel to create available glucose. Amino Acids fall into that category. Remember 1 pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories, fat is burned in muscle. Low blood sugar burns muscle, which is turn, slows down your metabolism.
- Body Holds Fat for two reasons
1) Fat doesn’t not break down to glucose efficiently, it takes time and energy.
2) Fat has over twice the energy of glucose and amino acids. The body holds it fat at times of starvation.
Low blood sugar levels cause the following;
- Nervousness
- Sweating
- Intense Hunger
- Headache
- Weakness
- Sugar Cravings
- Mood swing
- Decreased energy
The hunger and cravings tend to cause the sugar consumption to perpetuate itself, resulting in a vicious cycle of ups and downs in energy throughout the day.

When excessive amounts of carbohydrates are ingested, particularly high glycemic (sugar content) simple carbohydrates, insulin converts the excess glucose in the blood into triglycerides (blood fat) that are then stored in the fat cells. And, worse yet, is the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a dangerous hormone that actually kills brain cells, increases fat storage, and breaks down lean muscle mass.
The Best Strategy to get rid of Belly Fat
  1. Nutrition : Keep blood sugar stabilize
The three main keys to stabilizing blood sugar are as follows. 
  1. Meal Intervals
  2. Nutrient Ratios Per Meal
  3. Calories Per Meal
 In order to have your body use its stored fat for fuel, the blood sugar must be stabilized each meal. Think of a baby. A baby feeds every 3 to 4 hours, never overfeeding or underfeeding. Babies eat when they feel hungry, and stop when satisfied. If this is the way the body is meant to be fed, why do we ever stop eating in that fashion? We ask that question daily. Perhaps stress, work, societal pressure; basic life. Frequent meals are a must for optimizing health. Quantity and nutrient ratio (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) should be adjusted on a meal to meal basis depending on activity, stress, and body composition. Keeping the blood sugar stable and learning the necessary adjustments to make that happen is what makes our program special.

2. Exercise 
Sleep and Nutrition are used to create balance and release stored fat; exercise is used to burn up the fat. Exercise is what burns energy and speeds metabolism. Muscles are what control your metabolism. Here are the three main benefits to building muscle:
  • Fat is burned in muscle.
  • One pound of muscle is 3 times smaller than one pound of fat.
  • Each pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories per day.
This means that the purpose of exercising is to activate each muscle fiber in order to achieve the goal of an efficient metabolism.
INCREASED MUSCLE = ACCELERATED FAT BURNING
Each type of exercise recruits different muscle fibers. To maximize results, each type should be performed on a consistent basis. These are the five types of exercises:
  • Standard Cardio (Walking, stair climbing, rollerblading, bike riding)
A cardiovascular exercise that proceeds at a steady consistent pace will activate type I muscle fiber.
  • Stretching
    Muscle will shorten when it is used, and stretching keeps the muscle elongated. It will also keep the circulatory system active, and help remove toxins and fat from the body.
  • Interval Training (sprinting, hill climbing)
    any cardio that incorporates high intensity bursts of speed that causes a high heart rate. This type of exercise activates your type II muscle fiber.
  • Core Work (pilates, yoga, swiss ball)
    You are only as strong as your weakest link. Many people never strengthen their stabilizer muscles. Remember fat is burned in muscle; given the correct strategy, the more muscle you activate, the more fat is used for energy. A strong core also prevents injuries.
  • Resistance Work (weight training)
    The first 4 types of exercise enable each muscle fiber to work. Then implementing resistance training will promote muscle size increase and improve bone strength. This translates into more energy derived from stored fat.
For more information: Nutrition Consulting and Coaching
Consulting Packages and more information: http://formetraining.com/nutrition.html
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- Customized meal plans based on personal nutritional parameters and food preferences
- 3 Phase guide to achieving your health goals
- Personalized cardiovascular exercise plan for fast results
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- Nutrition and Exercise Journal
- E-Newsletters from the top nutrition and fitness experts
- Learn how to increase your metabolism, burn fat, and achieve all of your goals permanently!

Learning healthier ways to manage stress

Stress Management

How to Reduce, prevent, and Cope with Stress

If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s

Change the situation:

  • Avoid the stressor.
  • Alter the stressor.

Change your reaction:

  • Adapt to the stressor.
  • Accept the stressor.

Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.

  • Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
  • Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.
  • Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
  • Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
  • Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

Stress management strategy #2: Alter the situation

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.

  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you’ll have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
  • Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you’ve got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.
  • Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you’re under.

Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

  • Re frame problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
  • Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
  • Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”
  • Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

Adjusting Your Attitude

How you think can have a profound affect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as "always," "never," "should," and "must." These are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts.

Source: National Victim Assistance Academy, U.S. Department of Justice

Stress management strategy #4: Accept the things you can’t change

Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.

  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
  • Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
  • Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
  • Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.

Stress management strategy #5: Make time for fun and relaxation

Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitably come.

Healthy ways to relax and recharge

  • Go for a walk.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Call a good friend.
  • Sweat out tension with a good workout.
  • Write in your journal.
  • Take a long bath.
  • Light scented candles
  • Savor a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Work in your garden.
  • Get a massage.
  • Curl up with a good book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch a comedy

Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.

  • Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
  • Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
  • Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
  • Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.

Learn the relaxation responseLearn the relaxation response

You can control your stress levels with relaxation techniques that evoke the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. Regularly practicing these techniques will build your physical and emotional resilience, heal your body, and boost your overall feelings of joy and equanimity.



Stress management strategy #6: Adopt a healthy lifestyle

You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.

  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary "highs" caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
  • Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.