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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
A SCIENCE-BASED Program Customized for Individual Results
- 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
- Delicious recipe database and thousands of meal option
- 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.

What is Stress?

Stress Management


Stress Management

It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about your stress level. The bills aren’t going to stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day for all your errands, and your career or family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management.

Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun – plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.

Identify the sources of stress in your life

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”).
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

Start a stress journal

A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:

  • What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure).
  • How you felt, both physically and emotionally.
  • How you acted in response.
  • What you did to make yourself feel better.

Look at how you currently cope with stress

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much
  • Overeating or under eating
  • Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
  • Using pills or drugs to relax
  • Sleeping too much
  • Procrastinating
  • Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
  • Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

Read Next Post : Learning healthier ways to manage stress

Healthy Dietary Fats / The Truth About Fat, Nutrition, and Cholesterol

Healthy Dietary Fats

The Truth About Fat, Nutrition, and Cholesterol



Guide to Understanding Fats; Choosing Healthy Fats for your Diet

For over thirty years, fat in our diet has been considered the culprit in obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the resulting “low fat” foods and diets haven’t resulted in most people controlling their weight or becoming healthier. In fact, the opposite is true.

It’s the type of fat that matters in addition to how much you consume. Reducing your intake of some types of fats reduces the risk of several chronic diseases, but other types of fats are absolutely essential to our health and well-being.

Sifting through all the conflicting information on fats can leave you with even more questions. What do you need to know about polyunsaturated fat, omega 3 fatty acids and other terms in the language of fats? Learn to incorporate the good fats into your diet while reducing your consumption of the bad fats.

Myths and facts about fats and oils

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the best way to curb obesity.

Facts:

  • The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the advent of the low-fat revolution.
  • In the 1960s, Americans ate 45% of their calories from fat – and only 13% of us were obese. Now, while most of us get only about 33% of our calories from fat, 34% of us qualify as obese!

Myth: Low–fat diets are essential to help you lose weight

Facts:

  • Ironically, cutting fat out of our diets seems to have the opposite effect: while Americans have been eating less fat, we’ve been getting fatter. In place of fats, many people turn to foods full of easily digested carbohydrates, or to fat-free products that replace healthful fats with sugar and high-calorie, refined carbohydrates.
  • You need to cut calories to lose weight - fats are more filling, and curbing hunger can stop you from indulging in additional calories.
  • The 2006 Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial showed that women on low-fat diets didn't lose any more weight than women who followed their usual diets.

Healthy fats are essential to good health

The human body uses fatty acids to do everything from building cell membranes to performing key functions in the brain, eyes, and lungs. The functions of fats include:

  • Brain – Fats compose 60% of the brain and are essential to brain function, including learning abilities, memory retention and moods. Fats are especially important for pregnant women, since they are integral to fetal brain development.
  • Cells – Fatty acids help your cells stay movable and flexible, as well as being responsible for building cell membranes.
  • Heart – 60% of our heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Specific fats are also used to help keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm.
  • Nerves – Fats compose the material that insulates and protects the nerves, isolating electrical impulses and speeding their transmission.
  • Lungs – Lung surfactant, which requires a high concentration of saturated fats, enables the lungs to work and keeps them from collapsing.
  • Eyes – Fats are essential to eye function.
  • Digestion – Fats in a meal slow down the digestion process so the body has more time to absorb nutrients. Fats help provide a constant level of energy and also keep the body satiated for longer periods of time. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) can only be absorbed if fat is present.
  • Organs – Fats cushion and protect your internal organs.
  • Immune System –Some fats ease inflammation, helping your metabolism and immune system stay healthy and functioning.

"Faces" in the fat families

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the players and some information about them.

Monounsaturated fats

  • Are liquid at room temperature and turn cloudy when kept in refrigerator.
  • Primary sources are plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil. Other good sources are avocados; nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans; and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds.
  • People following traditional Mediterranean diets, which are very high in foods containing monounsaturated fats like olive oil, tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Polyunsaturated fats

  • Are liquid at room temperatures as well as at cold temperatures
  • Primary sources are sunflower, corn, soybean, and flax seed oils, and also foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, and fish.
  • This fat family includes the Omega-3 group of fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and your body can’t make. In addition, Omega-3 fats are found in very few foods.

Saturated fat

  • Are usually solid at room temperature and have a high melting point
  • Primary sources are animal products including red meat and whole milk dairy products. Other sources are tropical vegetable oils such as coconut oil, palm oil and foods made with these oils. Poultry and fish contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.
  • Saturated fat raises low-density lipo protein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
  • It is unnecessary to eat saturated fat sources since our bodies can produce all the saturated fat that we need when we consume enough of the good fats.

Trans Fats

  • Trans fats are created by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas, a process called hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers – and very bad for you.
  • Primary sources of trans fat are vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Trans fat raises low-density lipo protein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), as well as lowering HDL, or good cholesterol.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vegetarians get enough Protein?

Many people believe that vegetarians have a hard time 'getting their protein'. Non-vegetarians often ask vegetarians 'how are you going to get your protein?'. The belief that vegetarians will have a hard time consuming enough protein is unfounded. Vegetarians can easily meet their protein needs by eating a varied diet

Good protein sources are: lentils, tofu, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, tempeh, peas. Many common foods such as whole grain, bread, greens, potatoes, pasta, and corn also have protein. Soy Protein, Quinoa and Wild rice has been shown to be equal to proteins of animal origin.

Almost all foods except for alcohol, sugar, and fats contain protein.

What does Protein Do?

Protein is a critical nutrient. It helps you think and see, repairs bone and muscles regulates hormones and enzymes, and fights infections.

Sources of Protein

Food Serving Size Amount of protein
Cottage Cheese
(low fat)
1 cup 29 grams
Ricotta Cheese
(low fat)
1 cup 28 grams
Seitan 1/2 cup 26 grams
Soybeans 1 cup cooked 26 grams
Lentils 1 cup cooked 18 grams
Textured Vegetable or Soy Protein 1/2 cup cooked

16 grams

Tempeh 1/2 cup 16 grams
Split peas 1 cup cooked 16 grams
Navy beans 1 cup cooked 16 grams
Kidney, Lima, Black and Pinto beans 1 cup cooked 15 grams
White beans 1 cup cooked 15 grams
Chickpeas 1 cup cooked 15 grams
Black-eyed 1 cup cooked 15 grams