Is Stress a Cause of Weight Gain?

A good number of studies have found that too much stress will lead to weight gain. Stress has been existing for a long time, in our ancestors wearing animal skins and carrying hunting spears, whenever they encounter a fight or flight situation. It will lead to the release of numerous hormones in reply to such situations.

Although the stressors faced nowadays come more in the form of hefty credit card bills and mishaps at work rather than a giant mammoth running straight at you, our body reacts the same way as for the other. More than anything, stress can also prevent any continuous weight loss.

How the Body Reacts to stress

Stress will lead to the release of hormones adrenalin, cortisol and the corticotrophin releasing hormone or CRH; all of them are released to provide energy to deal with any emergencies. Commonly adrenalin and CRH can reduce the appetite but the effects are short lived. However cortisol has lingering effects and can induce the body to acquire more food even when the stressor is no longer present.

Even though the situations that cause us stress nowadays don’t involve much physical activity, the cortisol that is released tells the body to eat up all the same. The stress is then relieved by eating. That may be beneficial for the ancestors, but not for the present human, who is keener on losing weight.

Stress usually causes people to consume food rich in carbohydrates such as sugars. As you intake sugar the body releases an equivalent amount of insulin. The function of insulin is to store the calories from sugar as fat in our bodies. So the excess insulin will lead to low sugar level in our blood leading to a crash, by which time the body will ask for more sugar, and so it continues.

At first you may be doing this subconsciously, but soon you will be aware of the conscious thought of turning to food every time you get stressed. In order to break from the habit you can follow these six things:

  • Eat Well – Eat six meals a day containing foods low in sugar and high in fiber. Eg: whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meat.
  • Exercise – Exercise will keep a check on your cortisol levels, while also burning the calories.
  • Sleep Well – Lack of sleep will lead to increase in cortisol levels.
  • Relaxation – An activity that is calming and relaxing will fight off stress on a biological level
  • Do not take alcohol or caffeine – Besides interfering with sleep, it can also increase levels of cortisol
  • Intake Multi-Vitamins – Stress can lead to the depletion of important vitamins such as vitamin B and C. Make sure you replenish them.

It is impossible to eliminate stress altogether from your life. However you can control your body’s response to them. Make use of the information provided in this article to control stress and avoid the related weight gain.

alcohol-and-weight-loss

Alcohol and Weight Loss

You might have read that drinking alcohol is detrimental to weight loss. It is true to some extent. If it is taken in moderation you will still be able to lose weight rather than gain it.

So let’s define moderation by defining what a drink is. A drink can be in the form of half an ounce of an 80 proof 40% concentration drinks such as vodka and whiskey, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. The typical calorie in each one is somewhere around 150 calories. There will be more calories in mixed drinks because of the sugar that is added.

The moderate amount for women is one drink a day, while for men it can be two. If you drink too much of it then weight loss will become difficult for you.

How Does the Body Treat Alcohol

Getting to know the metabolism of alcohol will shed light on why taking too much of it can affect weight loss. Since alcohol is toxic to the body, the liver turns its attention to breaking down the alcohol, to metabolize it and then eliminate it. Just one and a half drink is enough to divert 75% of the livers attention from burning fat to breaking down the toxic drink.

Besides not burning the stored fat whenever alcohol is taken, the liver also doesn’t burn the calories from the meal that was consumed at the same time. You will not think clearly after taking alcohol, which will lead to eating too much food and also eating foods that are high in calorie and saturated fats; food which are not good for you.

Typically you will eat the same deal of calories from the food you eat with the drinks as with the calories from the drink itself. Since alcohol is there to provide you energy, your body stores the excess calories as fat, not mentioning how it is not burning the already stored fat because of alcohol intake. That is the sole reason why drinking too much alcohol and weight loss don’t hang well; you increase calorie intake rather than reducing it.

Health Benefits of Drinking Alcohol in Moderate Amounts

Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts can actually be helpful for weight loss. Some of the health benefits of alcohol include decreasing the risk of the following diseases:

  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer

It also does other benefits such as increasing the amounts of good cholesterol HDL, lower blood pressure and helping your immune system.

It should be apparent by now that moderate intakes of alcohol can be taken without any risk to your weight loss program. This can be done carefully by limiting your alcohol intake and having control of yourself to stop drinking more. You will stay clear if you do not exceed the right caloric proportion from alcohol.

mint leaves

How to Make Water Taste Better

Water is quite important for health, as we all know, however it is not very rewarding to drink plain water. Many people get less than the recommended eight glasses of water because they do not favor the drink. Let’s not forget the importance of drinking water when doing intense exercising and working out.

Is impossible not to recognize the importance of water and its role in the correct functioning of our cells. Cells are two-thirds made of water and helps carrying and moving nutrients around and allowing all chemical reactions that take place within a cell. It is safe to say that without water, the cell will not be able to replicate and multiply inside our body and will slowly die.

How can you make water more enticing and appealing?

Citrus or Cucumber

Adding one or more slices of some citrus fruit such as orange, lime or lemon to a glass of water will make the water more tasty and also offer some other benefits. In addition to that, you can also put a couple of crushed springs of rosemary as well; it will make it taste better and also look better.

Alternatively you can also add a slice of cucumber to your glass. Besides enhancing the flavor, the green rind covering the slice will be appealing to your eyes.

This drink is perfect when trying a new diet to lose weight. Not only will it calm your thirst but also prevent over-eating.

Green Tea

As well as for making water more tasty, you can also brew it into a green tea to enjoy the health benefits of it. Studies have shown that polyphenols present in green tea can help by doing the following:

  • Reduce high cholesterol
  • Relieve rheumatoid arthritis
  • Prevent infection
  • Help recover your immune system

Green tea is beneficial, whether taken hot or cold.

Mint Tea

Mint tea is another people’s favorite. It can be made by adding fresh mint leaves to boiling water. There are many health benefits of mint. One of them is the soothing of stomach which is upset by stress and another one is weight loss.

Mint tea incorporates a compound called theanine, which is shown to bestow a calming effect. Its diuretic effect helps with reducing weight; it will help excrete excess fluids from your body and thereby reduce body weight. Mint tea also got some amount of caffeine, which acts to increase endurance and thus can burn more calories by helping you stay longer in the gym.

Fizzy Water

Consume fizzy water such as Club Soda or Seltzer water. They are free of calories so you are not adding any, instead just some fruity flavors. Alternatively, you can make use of the soda machines to make your own fizzy water. Only add the bubbles, not anything else.

The notion of drinking 64 ounces of water per day is old fashioned now. Many nutritionists say that some of the water required are gotten from sources other than just water, such as tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables. Water in that form surely makes life more enticing.

Protein Shakes for Women to Get Recovered from Workouts

As people across the nation are getting more interested in health and nutrition, a lot of protein shakes specifically for women are entering the market. Protein shakes are good to aid with weight loss or to enhance performance. Protein shakes are ideal for you if you are looking for a high nutrient meal after workout, or any other time too. You just have to look over the variety of available protein shakes with various benefits and pick a tasty drink.

So What is a Protein Shake?

Proteins are required to give strength to muscles, tissues, bones and skin. Lack of protein will contribute to brittle bones and weak muscles. Those who do workouts usually consume a protein meal shortly afterwards to recover their muscles faster. One thing to consider when you go shopping is the ingredients contained in the protein shake. Shakes may contain a combination of protein, carbohydrates, sugars and fats. They may come in the form of premade drinks or in the form of powder. You may choose one considering the budget and convenience factors.

Benefits of Protein Shakes

Not only can professional athletes benefit from drinking protein shakes. It is applicable for anyone interested in health and fitness. It is better to include protein shakes as a part of any healthy well rounded diet. As part of a well-balanced diet, protein shakes will pose no risk to the kidneys or bones.

  • Improves endurance
  • Helps with recovery after a heavy workout
  • Repairs muscle damage
  • Replenishes glycogen stores in muscles after they are spent during exercise
  • Help with exercises in general
  • Takes care of sore muscles
  • Less chance of infection
  • Helps with weight control
  • Prevents likelihood of heat exhaustion

What is the Amount of Protein Found in Shakes?

By now you should be aware of the various benefits of drinking protein shakes. Next thing is finding shakes that have the right quantity of protein to drink. Men and women have different body compositions, so their protein needs are different. The required level of protein also depends on the amount of activity and the intensity of the exercise they do. Look at you gender and the level of intensity of your exercise before buying protein shakes. For endurance athletes the recommended level is between 1 to 1.6 grams of protein while those who do strength training should aim between 1.5 to 2 grams.

Looking at the product label will help you determine whether the shake contains everything you need. If losing fat is your goal then choose shakes with the lowest levels of carbs. If you do regular workouts you should get a combination of milk protein, fats, and carbs.

Milk, whey, eggs, soy and casein are the different types of protein you can find in any shake. Determine whether you are allergic to any of these things before buying. The right pick can help with recovery after exercise and also provide supplementation to your diet. Buy a suitable high quality protein shake from the market and enjoy a great feel before as well as after workouts.

What is the Ideal Duration for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

Most kinds of people are appealed towards HIIT training. It may be for those who are looking for ways to burn calories more effectively and lost weight, or for those who wants a new type of fitness training, or even for those just seeking a challenge. Regardless of your experience and motives, you should not do anything too much.

What is the Ideal Frequency for HIIT Workouts?

Doing HIIT daily isn’t recommended by most experts. If done properly, doing it about two or three times a week can get good results. However, this doesn’t hold you back from doing exercise every other days; it is just that the intensity would not be as much.

For an absolute beginner, it is better to have a day of complete rest in a week. Maybe a light activity such as walking may do, but you should keep in mind not to overdo it, even though it is a less intense activity.

It better to pick days from the week for your HIIT training and mark them in the calendar so that you can abide by it. It will make it easier for you to achieve your fitness goals.

What is the Recommended Length of an Individual Session?

The answer to this question varies. Even something as little as 3 minutes of workout done three times a week can bring about results, as shown by studies. Generally you can aim for more.

The common duration for a particular HIIT workout is 15-20 minutes. The workout involves period of highly intense activity such as sprinting for 30 seconds, that precedes a less intense activity such as a 30 minutes’ walk. For a beginner it is recommended that he/she spent more time doing less intense activity, before repeating the cycle again. This may increase the time you spend for your workouts.

You must bear in mind that HIIT training works your body hard. During the intense activity period your body is in overdrive, even if for a short while. This is a reason why HIIT workouts last shorter than the usual cardio sessions.

It is important not to forget warm ups and cool downs, leaving aside how long the HIIT is going to take. This is a basic step to prevent injuries. Pushing yourself too far, especially if you are just starting and not in good physical shape, may result in injury. In case you are lagging in fitness, it may be a good idea to do some cardio sessions for some weeks before going into HIIT.

Is a Step Machine Right for You If You Are Overweight?

If you are overweight and new to working out, going to the health club for the first time can be intimidating. Do let that bother you; everyone there is there for the same purpose – to get physically fit.

See Your Healthcare Professional First

If you are overweight and out of shape, be sure to visit your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program. You need to find out first if you are healthy enough to exercise on a routine basis.

Start Slow

Don’t try to be the king or queen of the gym your first trip there. Do what you can within your limits and gradually work up from there. In no time, you will be doing full exercise routines.

Finding a workout routine that you are comfortable with can be hard at first. Try out some different machines to see which one might be right for you. One great choice, if you do not have bad hips, knees or ankles, is a step machine.

Not only is it good for your heart health, it is a great way to:

  • Lose weight
  • Tone your lower body
  • Strengthen your abdominal core.

1. Lose weight

Once you have worked up to a routine lasting over 20 minutes, you get into the fat-burning mode. After exercising for that amount of time, you have used up the glycogen stored in your muscles and your body looks for other sources that it can use for energy, so it taps your stored fat cells.

2. Tone your lower body

Stepping routines work the large lower body muscle groups … especially the gluts, calves, hip flexors and quadriceps. As you work these muscle groups, they will continue to get stronger and more developed each time. Over time, you will burn more calories during each workout because developed muscles, burn more calories over the same amount of time tan undeveloped muscles.

3. Strengthen your abdominal core

As you increase the step resistance, your body has a natural tendency to lean forward. Your body senses the lean and it tries to counteract it and straighten you up again, by contracting your abdominal core muscles. You can also help work your core even more by pulling in your stomach and holding it for 10 seconds at a time. Now relax it for the same amount of time. Continue doing the pulling in/relaxing throughout your workout.

If the step machine at your gym has front handles that move back and forth, this also works your upper body muscles making for a total body workout and burning even more calories.

If your do have bad lower body joints, then try an elliptical trainer or water aerobics/swimming. Both exercise routines are easier on the joints than step machines, while still giving you a good workout.

juice-fruits

How Effective is Juice Fasting to Achieve Lasting Weight Loss

Juice fasting has many benefits to our body but extended weight loss is not one of them mostly because juice fasting helps losing weight only to gain it back after some time. Moreover, it can create permanent damage to a person’s metabolism system and digestive tract. Juice fasting also loses efficiency whenever the person begins to eat again, that is why is not considered a long-term solution for weight loss.

Juice Fasting Main Purpose

Health specialists also do not recommend fasting exclusively with natural juices as a healthy solution for weight loss. It may help you lose weight very fast during the earlier days of fasting. However, the main purpose of juice fasting is to make you healthier by cleansing toxic elements from your body, not to make you skinny by burning extra body fat.

You might lose weight fast by starting a juice detox diet but is more important to have a healthier digestive tract. A healthier digestive tract might help your body absorb nutrients more effectively.

Juice Fasting the Right Way

juice fasting the right way

juice fasting the right way

A person following a juice fasting diet for a long time will lose weight quicker than a person doing juice fasting for a short time. However, it will be the second person the one who will be enjoying all the benefits of juice fasting.

This is because following a juice diet plan is originally meant for detoxifying your body, not for weight loss. Read the truth about detox diets in this article from WebMd.

Here, in the case of the first person, the weight loss will not last for a long time. In fact, the second person will enjoy a permanent weight loss because juice fasting for shorter periods will increase his or her blood circulation, hormone levels, energy, vitamin absorption and metabolic rate. To me, is like getting a car ready for a race. First, you start by following a juice fasting diet for a short term to clean your body from toxins, improve your bodily functions and get your body ready for phase 2.

In the phase two, you will follow with a healthy weight loss diet and regular exercise to start burning fat. I am not saying not to include fruit and vegetable juices in your diet, as a matter of fact, it is recommended to do so, what you should avoid is following a juice fasting diet for a long time, not a juice diet.

Please, make sure to consult with your doctor before you start any diet plan or cleansing procedure to make sure your health is protected. For some advice on how to stay healthy when fasting check this article: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/23/health/anthony-fasting/

The Final Word…

fruitWe should all realize that no health problem, such as overweight, develops instantly. It takes a long time for a problem to start and appeared on the surface and be immediately visible to us. Similarly, the healing process also does not take place instantly. The body needs time to absorb and process the changes that any procedure brings to it. In reality, people should know that some weight loss goals, especially “fast” or “quick” promises, could not be achieved within a short time.

Responsible juice fasting (read about Joe Cross’ 3-day weekend juice cleanse here) is the only way to achieve permanent weight loss in a healthy way and improve your body’s health. Remember, before adopting any juice fasting diet or fasting plan, you should consult with your doctor. Juice fasting for weight loss should only be follow for a short period of time and only with the purpose of detoxifying your body and to get ready for a weight loss plan consisting of a healthy and balanced diet and regular exercise.