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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