Thursday, 27 September 2007

Less stress = less fat

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Do you gain weight when you're stressed out? You're not alone. The majority of people seem to pack on pounds when they're extra busy or when something's worrying them. It might seem like stress leads to over-eating but that's only part of the answer -- a new study shows that stress triggers chemicals in your body to store more fat. I suspect this is an evolutionary response -- your body prepares itself for the event that food is scarce.

So if you're trying to lose weight, try your best to eliminate stress from your life. Conveniently, exercise is a great stress reliever -- particularly a gentle walk during or after a hurried day at the office. And remember to take it easy and you put yourself first sometimes.

How do you de-stress?

Seals of approval are bought

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At my grocery store, there are a number of items that carry seals of approval from the heart and cancer organizations. To me, this seal of approval should mean that said item is heart healthy or shown to help fight cancer -- don't you agree? But according to this post from CNN's Dr. Gupta, these seals of approval don't mean much -- they just show that the manufacturer has tossed some money at organization.

Want examples? Wrigley's gum plaid $36,000 to get a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. And Neutrogena pays $300,000 a year to get the seal of approval from the American Cancer Society. It seems so wrong, and yet organizations like these need money in order to fund research.

What do you think about this practice? Is it despicable or necessary? Should companies be able to 'buy' a seal of approval?

1 in 12 outpatient visits are preventative check-ups

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Preventive health check-ups account for about one in every 12 outpatient visits to doctors, according to Pittsburgh researchers.

About 63.5 million adults had a preventive health or gynecological check-up each year between 2002 and 2004, with an average annual cost of about $7.8 billion.

Of course, the data in the survey was from doctors themselves, who responded with the 12 percent representation. Of the doctors who participated, just under 5,400 patients came in for preventive check-ups and just over 3,000 were in for gynecological exams, out of a total of 181,173 patients.

The most popular preventive exams from the surveyed doctors included mammograms, cholesterol screening and smoking cessation.

Merck to donate one million cervical cancer vaccine doses

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In what could be interpreted as a PR move or an act of genuine goodness, drug giant Merck has plans to give up to one million doses of its cancer drug Gardisil away for free.

Up to one million women in some of the world's poorest countries will be given the drug donations, which will be given in three shots spread over three months.

Cervical cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide according to Merck, is highly preventable in many cases since the cause stems from a viral infection, usually by unprotected sexual contact.

In many cases, it can be prevented by prudent sexual practices as well as preventive screening, which can detect the early stages of cervical cancer.

Congress votes to limit 'popcorn lung' chemical exposure

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After the recent "popcorn lung" incident was discovered, the U.S. Congress acted this week to limit the exposure to workers who are employed at plants that produce microwave (and other) popcorn, citing exposure to diacetyl. Diacetyl is a common butter flavoring used on many butter-flavored popcorn products.

Stating that further delays could cost lives, Congress dismissed OSHA's non-stance on safe exposure levels of diacetyl, while the Republicans in the U.S. House hastened the move as being "premature."

Although diacetyl is found naturally in many foods (cheese and butter, for example), the concentrations inhaled by popcorn factory workers have been blamed for lawsuits claiming illness due to bronchiolitis obliterans -- otherwise known as "popcorn lung."

Happy News: Food can improve your mood

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DiYLife blogger Francesca Clarke wrote recently about 11 foods with the power to increase energy and improve mood. No need for supplements and special drinks, says Clarke. These tasty treats will do the trick all on their own.

As you plan your meals for the days to come, consider incorporating these feel-good items. Some are pretty darn appetizing. Check out the last one. Now that's an invitation for happiness -- but only if pursued with moderation, of course.
  • Milk
  • Chocolate
  • Whole grain rice or pasta
  • Mackerel
  • Broccoli
  • Coffee
  • Turkey
  • Liver
  • Blueberries
  • Brazil nuts
  • Any food that tastes good
Here's to good food and good moods!

Should you encourage kids toward certain sports?

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The best rowers and swimmers are generally tall. The best distance runners are lightweight and small. While there are occasional exceptions, research and physics have shown body size does matter when it comes to success at the elite level of sports.

So do you encourage young athletes toward sports that best fit their physical gifts or do you support their love of a certain game? Perhaps you could offer both or maybe it's not even a parent or mentor's business to share opinions at all. But what about coaches? Should a cross-country coach intervene and guide a tall teenager toward the swim team instead?

This thoughtful article in The New York Times makes you ponder these questions. If you ask me, I believe heart matters most. Expose kids to different sports and cheer them on as they vacillate toward the sports they enjoy -- physics, motivation and luck will take care of the rest.

Dieting and exercise with asthma takes a special strategy

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As most asthmatics probably know, there is no special diet for curbing asthma. Asthma's inflammation can't be hobbled by that certain fruit or beverage, according to sources.

Is asthma associated with obesity? In some, it is. The failure of many asthmatics to be able and work up heavy breathing during exercise can lead to a lack of it -- and that deficiency can lead to more fat being stored instead of burned.

For asthmatics in particular, watching a diet and trying to find ways to exercise that won't overstimulate your breathing should be part of a healthy daily routine. Every try Pilates? Works wonders for many, and you control the heavy breathing.

Nutritional information just a click away

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I started changing my diet at the end of April. I started slow, with just a few modifications -- no soda, no sweets -- and then tweaked things here and there until I'd ditched all crap from my cupboards and kept only the healthy goods. It took a while before I'd identified all my wrong-doings. In the beginning, for example, I'd liberated myself from sugar and was eating loads of fruits and veggies but hadn't quite caught on to the whole low-fat thing. It hit me one day after eating a Pizza Hut personal pan cheese pizza. Sitting like a lump in my stomach, that mini-pizza told me I'd made a wrong turn when I pulled into that Pizza Hut parking lot. So I rushed home, sat in front of my computer, and began hunting for nutritional information on the gut buster I'd just consumed. I found it. It wasn't good.

My little pizza cost me 620 calories and 26 grams of fat. It came with 69 carbohydrates and seven grams of sugar. So I didn't bomb on the sugar thing but holy cow did I go way wrong on everything else. Ever since that day, I've been investigating all sorts of food items before I eat them. Before my husband I went to Red Lobster with a gift card, I took a peek at the stats on those yummy cheesy biscuits. Yikes -- 160 calories and 9 grams of fat fill one Cheddar Bay Biscuit.

I've since checked up on fresh fruit -- seems one cup of most fruits come with about 100 calories, some natural sugar, and no fat -- and kiddie snacks, and anything that makes me wonder. If you'd like to do the same, check out calorie-count. You can also visit restaurant sites directly. Try these Web sites for the lowdown on McDonald's, Subway, and Taco Bell.

Fat is a problem for pets too

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Is your cat or dog overweight? Try this test:
  • Stand over your pet and look down. You should be able to see a "waist" that cuts in near their back legs. If you can't see this waist, your pet may be overweight.
  • Run your hands over your pets ribs. You should be able to feel the ribs, but not see them.
If your pet failed both parts of that test, it might be time to put them on a diet. People often don't realize it, but pets are susceptible to obesity just like people and can develop the same kinds of health issues. Pet treats and table scraps are often the problem, but so is not measuring your pets food before feeding them. Read the back of the bag of dog or cat food and make sure you're feeding your pet an appropriate amount. In addition, our four-legged friends need exercise just like we do. The next time you take that after dinner walk, invite your dog along or spend a few minutes playing with your cat. Many pet owners think food is love, but your love is better expressed with time, attention, and concern over your pets health.

Take a hike up your family tree

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Does diabetes run in your family? How about cancer? Heart disease? This is the stuff you should know about your relatives, not because you're destined to fall prey to the same ailments -- although it's a possibility -- but because family history can help you chart your course for a lifestyle of prevention. If your mom and aunt both had breast cancer, for example, and you know a healthy diet and regular exercise help ward off this disease, then you can hop on board and embrace these practices. Add annual mammograms, clinical exams, and your own monthly self-exams, and you might just keep one step ahead of cancer.

It all starts with knowledge. So grab a pen and paper and begin recording your family health history. It'll be like your map -- keep it handy for yourself and take it with you to medical appointments. Here's how to put it all together.
  • Call or send e-mails to relatives informing them of your health project. Cover at least three generations -- yours (include siblings and cousins), your parents (include siblings), and your grandparents.

Continue reading Take a hike up your family tree

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Magnets found to be ineffective for pain relief

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If you've ever seen those magnetic bracelets being hawked in magazines or on television, have you ever bought them? I know a few people that swear by them for wrist pain. But then again, some people justify their purchases with irrationality, I've found.

Still, I've never used them. According to new research this week, those products are not useful when it comes to the pain management many bracelet wearers are seeing.

Specifically, the study referenced pain from arthritis or fibromyalgia. But for the billion-dollar industry consumed with selling with magnets for use as pain relief products, this study is taking issue with that. To respond, that industry will need to provide valid, scientific evidence that magnets do somehow bind to pieces of the human anatomy in order to whisk pain away.

Functional fitness for frequent fliers

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We've talked about functional fitness before here at That's Fit. If you're a frequent flier, than functional fitness can also help you when you travel. Having good upper arm and core strength can make hauling your bags more comfortable and make it easier for you to lift them into your trunk or the overhead compartment. And being in shape will help you avoid injury when those bags are stuffed full. If you're a frequent traveler, FitList has three exercises that can help you handle the bulky luggage with ease as you dodge crowds and race through busy airports.

Preventative maintenance on the heart very wise

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One thing I have noticed in this day and age is the reactiveness of most people when it comes to their own health. Unless you feel bad or shows signs of something, health is a little-thought-of piece of daily life for many of us. Why is that?

I'm not sure this is the best analogy, but it's like vehicles. Do every one of us check our oil levels, transmission fluid and tire pressure every week or month? I'd suspect not. we apply the same principle to our own health.

But, two new studies concluded with this one simple message: people need to take care of their heart both before and after heart trouble starts. In other words, have regular checkups and follow through with doctor's orders when something of concern shows up. Just because there is no pain doesn't mean there isn't something brewing, right?

The top 5 alternatives to soda

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I recently saw this article from eDiets on the best alternatives to soda. Their choices? Vegetable juice, fruit juice, teas and coffees, enhanced waters and spring waters. These are all great choices, but if I was a soda addict, I don't know that they'd cut the mustard. So I decided to come up with my own list of my favourite soda alternatives:
  1. Club Soda and Cranberry Juice. I drink this pretty much every day. It's basically just half club soda and half low-cal cranberry juice. It's refreshing, fizzy and very low in calories.
  2. Italian Sodas: Italian sodas are kind of like the previous drink, but with flavoured syrup. I buy low-sugar vanilla-flavoured syrup, add some club soda or carbonated water, stir and enjoy! And the Olive Garden has delicious Italian sodas if you're out for a meal.
  3. Homemade Lemonade: I make my lemonade the old-fashioned way -- with lemons and Splenda. It's quite a treat!
  4. Homemade Iced Tea: Here's how you do it -- take your favourite flavour of tea, brew it with boiling water in a jug, ad some ice and and a squeeze of lemon, and let it cool in the fridge for a while. You can also add Splenda if you like it sweet, but I like mine au naturel. My favourite tea flavours to use are peppermint and Rooibos.
  5. Chocolate milk: If I am really craving something chocolaty, I'll have a half-glass of chocolate soy milk. Or I'll use skim milk with some reduced-sugar nestle quick. It leaves me feeling quite full and satisfied!
Of course, I'm also a water fiend--I drink at least 64oz a day--so enjoy these but please make sure you're getting you share of good ole' water too.

'Allergy epidemic' shows up in United Kingdom

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In the Midwestern U.S. right now, allergies are a-plenty. Not a day goes by that the pollen, mold and ragweed counts are off the charts. It's being called one of the worst late-summer allergy seasons in a decade where I live.

Across the pond, health officials in the UK are calling the allergy outbreak in Britain an "epidemic." That sort of language is used when it comes to diseases, but allergies?

Allergy sufferers have apparently grown up large numbers in England, and it's not just to the air outside. Food allergies are escalating, and food labels are being scrutinized as well. Soon, the words "may contain nuts" just won't be enough. Allergy sufferers need to know exactly what is in the foods they eat beyond vague descriptions.

Have your buffet and eat it to with these seven tips

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If you're trying to watch what you eat, a buffet can be a really hard place to monitor your calories and watch your portions. The plates are usually large and the food is never-ending. Not only that, buffets often take place at celebratory occasions like parties and weddings and you might feel the urge to let loose and put your health-related goals aside for the evening. In many cases, that's perfectly appropriate, but if a setback will truly set you back emotionally, then you need to stay in control for the evening. Diet-Blog has an excellent list of seven ways to beat the buffet. Some of the suggestions are simple -- use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Others may be a little harder, like the one that suggests you find the slowest eater to sit next to, or avoid the buffet altogether. Buy by following these tips, you can enjoy your meal and still feel good about yourself in the morning.

How to make your veggies taste better

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I know it sounds cliche, but I've never liked brussel sprouts. They're one of the only veggies I don't care for, and while I'm sure they're awfully good for me, I just can't eat them. They're too bitter for me. But there might be a reason why brussel sprouts taste bitter to me -- I might not be getting enough zinc.

Seriously. A study from the University of Ulster in England found that women who didn't get at least 7 mg of zinc a day are more likely to find brussel spouts and similar veggies like cabbage bitter. The recommended daily intake for zinc is 8 mg and it's found in fish, lean beef, chicken, yogurt and nuts.

What do you think about this finding? I don't know that a lack of zinc is a problem for me -- I think it's just brussle sprouts are gross. Don't you agree?

Drinking beer improves your memory

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I don't know about you, but after a couple beers, I'm not exactly the sharpest tool in the box. However, recent research seems to suggest that beer is better for your brain than you might think -- as low to moderate alcohol consumption apparently enhances your memory.

The science behind why this is true isn't exactly easy to follow -- but, essentially, consuming alcohol reportedly enhances activity in one part of a receptor that's located in an area of the brain that's critical to memory. So, when researchers gave alcohol to rats (about the equivalent of one or two drinks per day for a human, depending on your size), they discovered that the rats performed better in memory testing.

Which means, says one scientist, that even though people often drink to "drown sorrows," consuming alcohol "could actually paradoxically promote traumatic memories." Bummer.

On the other hand, I guess this also means that if you're having a couple pleasant drinks every afternoon, you're going to be a little more on the ball than if you went teetotal. This is such great news, I think I'm going to go celebrate -- with a beer!

Thanks to Scott for the tip!

ADA gives sugar-free gum a seal of approval

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The next time you pick up a pack of Wrigley's Orbit, Extra, or Eclipse gum, you might see an ADA seal of approval on the package. That's because for the first time since the 1930s, the ADA has approved sugarless gum as a product that might promote dental health. The saliva that is produced from chewing the gum for 20 minutes after meals washes away food particles and gives the teeth a "bath" of calcium and other teeth-strengthening minerals. The seal does not mean that gum is now a dental care product, only that the product does manage to do what the packaging says it does.

Many neurological problems not caused by thimerosal, says study

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A new study has poked the ongoing debate on whether the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal causes neurological disorders in some children. The biggest condition that comes up regularly is autism, although many experts have now stated that vaccinations containing thimerosal have no effect on potential autism.

The latest study comes from the federal government in an attempt to reassure parents about the safety of vaccination shots given to their kids.

But, this study was different -- it concentrated on neurological disorders, but did not include autism at all. However, a federal study that will look at autism causes is due soon, according to federal health authorities. In this most recent study, there was no clear link between between early exposure to the preservative thimerosal and any brain functions in kids aged 7 to 10.

The 100 best foods

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If a trip to the grocery store leaves you scratching your head and wondering just which of the hundreds of labels you should choose, you're not alone. The choices that are available to us these days are overwhelming. Wouldn't it be nice if someone rated them all and told us which were the best ones?

Oh, wait. Someone has. Women's Health Magazine has put out a report in which they've rated the best 100 foods in a number of categories. Here are some examples:
  • Best Cereal: Kashi Heart to Heart
  • Best Yogurt: Stonyfield Farm Fat Free Peach
  • Best Frozen Dinners: Lean Cuisine Spa
  • Best Ice Cream Cones: Skinny Cow Ice Cream Cones
Want to see the whole list? Check out the list in its entirety by clicking here.

Which items do you recommend?

Get beautiful skin by...taking a bath in Ramen noodles?

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We all want good skin, and we've all heard of countless different ways to go about getting it, but sitting in an enormous bowl of Ramen noodle soup? That's a new one.

A Japanese spa is offering just that: the opportunity to dip yourself in noodles to get a healthier glow. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it!) it's not real noodles (just noodle-shaped spa treatments) but it is real broth. The pork-based broth contains collagen, hence the skin-enhancing benefits.

The treatment costs about $29 -- would you do it? I think I'll pass, and save my Ramen noodles for meals only.

Via Luxury Launches

Stupid Cancer visits Side Order of Life

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If there's one crummy disease that flies in the face of good health, it's cancer. Stupid Cancer is what Matthew Zachary calls it.

Cancer-surviving Zachary, founder and executive director of I'm Too Young For This -- a rockin' place for young adults with cancer -- does all he can to support those under 40 trying to reclaim their health. You name it, he does it. Advocacy? Yep. Excursions, camps, and retreats? You bet. Scholarships and financial aid? Right on the money. This guy hosts his own streaming live Stupid Cancer Show on Monday nights, serves on the Google Health Advisory Council, sports a website TIME calls one of its Top 50, and now this inspiring cancer guru is making a splash in Hollywood.

Zachary will appear in an episode of Lifetime's Side Order of Life on Sunday, September 30 at 9:00 PM (ET/PT). In this episode, Vivy Porter (Diana Maria Riva) is dealing with cancer treatment and looking for the right kind of support. She finds it, at the hippest support group in town: a Stupid Cancer Happy Hour! Enter Zachary, who is there to greet Vivy when she arrives.

Check out this ground-breaking episode, won't you? Zachary promises you'll witness an accurate and hip portrayal of young adult cancer survivors. And I promise you'll love this guy, who is doing so much for so many. Like me.

Boost metabolism = lose weight

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If you're into losing weight and transforming your body -- but you don't want to give up your favorite habits and lifestyle, there may be hope yet.

Well, according to Lyssie Lakatos, RD, LD, CDN, anyway. Instead of reaching for impossible goals and crashing & burning on all those fad diets, how about incorporating small changes into your daily life and keeping them permanent?

Instead of limiting calories to insanely low levels (which triggers starvation mode), try upping your metabolism instead, says Lakatos. Getting your metabolism to burn calories in the most efficient way is the answer. Determine those needs, get those small meals going throughout the day (instead of a few large ones) and keep moving -- don't remain sedentary all day.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Get that candy jar out of your office

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Brian Wansink knows food behavior. He directs Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab, authored "Mindless Eating" and spent hours watching people's food choices in and out of the home.

We may think we overeat if we're super hungry or the food is tasty, but according to Wansink, that's a bunch of hooey. He says visibility and convenience are the most influential motivators. Get that candy jar out of your office -- out of sight, out of reach, out of mind. In one fascinating experiment, Wansink placed candy jars stuffed with chocolate in employees' cubicles for a month. Then he moved the jars a mere six feet farther away. Subjects chowed down five more candies daily (125 calories) when the jar was nearby. I was never one to turn down the candy jar, unless it sat in the office of a supervisor I didn't like. Then I would walk more than six feet and pounce when they went to lunch!

Take that Lazy Susan off your dinner table, too. Do people still have those serving circles? Wansink states you'll consume more food if you eat "family style", directly from a bag/carton, from a big plate/container, in front of the TV, in the car or with friends. I relish the days before kids when I could totally control what food sat in the pantry. I buy plenty of healthy fruits/veggies, but the kids' treats beckon to me every day.

Daily Fit Tip: Beware taking too many meds at once

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While it's mostly an issue for older adults, mixing medications and taking too many different types at one time is a concern for everyone. Even if you're in close contact with your doctor there is still a significant risk to your health if you're on more than a couple different meds -- drugs are getting so complicated these days human error is inevitable when it comes to remembering, and predicting, side-effects and drug interactions.

How many meds are you or your loved ones currently taking? Are you aware of and watchful of potential side-effects and are you absolutely sure you need them all? When it comes to your health you are your own best ally, so educate yourself and be involved.

The Daily Turn On! Nix the naysayer

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Life is too short not to be fully "turned on." The Daily Turn On! energizes all aspects of "you." Everyday The Daily Turn On! with That's Fit Life Fit expert Laura Lewis will awaken your mind, your body and your life!

Keep charged with positive friends and nix the naysayers in your life. Many times our friends, loved ones, partner and/or spouse believe they are being supportive when they claim, "You are perfect just the way you are. You don't need to change." Or, when your best friend encourages you to stop walking daily because it's "running you down" or because she needs more time with you. Oftentimes, a partner or spouse may claim that your workouts are infringing on "us" time?

What the naysayer may not realize is that you want to change. And that, yes, sometimes you even do need to change. While their unconditional love is appreciated and important, it is equally important that you receive the support of your loved ones as you go about creating healthy changes in your life.

So, how do you nix the naysayer without nixing the relationship? The following tips will help you generate the positive support you need from your friend or significant other.

  1. Take a break. Some times it is best to just spend time away from people who struggle to support you. When you are feeling stronger in your conviction for change or have made significant progress, the naysayer will have less power or influence in your decision-making. And, once the naysayer sees your commitment to change, he or she may actually get on board with you!
  2. Be the yin to her yang. If you have a naysayer in your life, let your positive energy and commitment to success be the balance to his or her negativity. Simply put, kill it with kindness. While misery loves company, kindness will always trump!
  3. Honesty never hurt anyone. Let your naysayer know his or her lack of support is hurtful. Tell the truth and let your friend or spouse know how important her support is to you and how helpful she could be. Sometimes people fear change because they are afraid it will alienate them. Let the naysayer in your life know that his place in your life is not threatened.
  4. Create a code. Create a code word that can serve as a trigger each time your naysayer is negative. Be creative and try a word that will make you both laugh. Make your code word positive and light-hearted. Make it a game and not a punishment.
Remember, change is hard. Don't let the people in your life derail your positive progress. Stay on track and realize the life of your dreams!

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Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Put more punch in your lunch!

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Life Fit Chat with That's Fit Life Fit Expert Laura Lewis brings conversation provoking tidbits to your table, served up with a touch of spice! Byte-sized information that pack some punch, brought to you every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!

Did you know ... There is a new theory about why the French are healthier than Americans and most other Mediterranean cultures (besides the fact that they drink more wine). It is because they eat their largest meal at lunchtime and snack less. Curtis Ellison, MD, of the Boston University School of Medicine, compared fifty Parisians with fifty Botonians. He found that the French eat 57 percent of their total daily calories before 2:00 pm! After 2:00 pm, they are unlikely to eat again until 7:00 or 7:30 pm, when they usually consume lighter foods than they do at lunch.

Americans that took part in the study were found to eat only 38 percent of their total daily calories before 2:00 pm and then they snacked three hours later. Americans typically have 2.9 snacks per day, usually making up 22 percent of their total daily calories. The French only consume 1.1 snacks per day on average, making up 7 percent of tehir total daily calories.

Better to go hungry? Some longevity specialists believe a low-calorie diet slows down aging. The theory maintains that if you are "working" without food, your body probably will produce less of the bad cholesterol or LDLs.

Action Tips:
  • Eat a high-carbohydrate, low-fat breakfast. Lunch should be composed of four to six ounces of a lean protein, a large salad and two hefty servings of grains or "whole" carbohydrates.
  • Drink room-temperature water with lemon! There is no fat to speak of an an added benefit will heightened alertness after lunch,
  • Snack only on fresh whole fruit, water with lemon or lime and some form of whole grain carbs.
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That's Fit Weekly Podcast #28: September 21st, 2007

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We're always looking for fresh and innovative ways to blog about news and trends fit for helping you live a healthy life. Now, thanks to Saturn, we bring a new voice to our efforts with the launch of our That's Fit Weekly Podcast. Each Friday, we'll go from blogger to broadcaster as we discuss topics relevant to pursuing your health and fitness goals.

We are creatures of habit, and sometimes those habits can get the best of us especially when we have great intentions to improve our health through diet and exercise. What is it going to take to snap you out of old habits and integrate new "fit" ways to achieve your ultimate health and fitness goals? This week we begin the first in our series of six on "Regenerating YOU!" It's fall and regeneration is a natural process in nature. Now you have the opportunity to "Regenerate YOU" at the deepest level. Listen on and learn how to begin the process!

Have comments on our current shows or ideas for future podcasts? Or, do you have a burning health and fitness question you'd like answered on an upcoming installment? Comment right here and we'll do our best to provide the helpful information you're looking for!

There are several ways to receive the That's Fit Weekly podcast: Subscribe to our RSS feed, through iTunes, or just click on the MP3 file link directly below! -- your choice!

Receive That's Fit Weekly Podcast using one of these methods:
[RSS] Add The That's Fit Weekly Podcast feed to your RSS feedreader and have it delivered automatically
[MP3] Download the podcast directly
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast directly in Apple iTunes

Laura Lewis

File Format

8:56:00 length, 8.18 MB size, MP3 format (128kbps)

September 28th , 2007 Program: Tune in to learn how to regenerate your body at the cellular level, to create new and improved building blocks for your new and improved body.

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Take a Child Outside Week starts Monday

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It may seem pretty basic but starting Monday, all parents are urged to nudge their kiddos into the outdoors. Why? Because the week of September 24 has been dedicated as "Take a Child Outside Week."

The brainchild of Liz Baird, director of school programs for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, this week came about after Baird took a neighborhood walk one beautiful evening and noted the glow of television sets coming from nearly every window she passed. So yep, it's pretty basic. Turn off your TVs. And get the kids outside.

Research links a lack of outdoor activity to depression, obesity, and stress in children. Exposure to nature, on the other hand, fuels creativity, builds self-sufficiency, and activates the senses. Don't you remember roaming free when you were a kid? Today's children may not have such fond memories unless we shove them out the door because unstructured outdoor activity is down by half from the previous generation. Let's change that -- and not just for one week.

Working in the Workouts: What do the experts say?

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owen and mommyEach week, Debbie will share her goals, challenges, successes and tips on how to fit in fitness when caring for a rambunctious toddler.

I admit, I haven't been stellar with my exercise routine the last week or so, and another admission -- my creativity is wearing out, fast.

So this week, I turn to the experts at Baby Center (I use the term loosely) for some ideas about how to make time for exercise.

Did I gain any insight? Sadly, no, but it made me feel good about what I am doing. I've incorporated some of their ideas, which really work better for younger babies, like using a stroller or carrier for hikes and walks. I've also gotten childcare so I can walk, which they suggested, and used exercise videos (my good ol' yoga).

Although the other ideas don't work for me, you might find Baby Center's tips of using a gym with childcare or joining a stroller exercise class fits you and your baby.

Me? I'm sticking to me strength training in the mornings and my walks and yoga when I can get it.

Do you have any ways that you fit in the exercise that we all haven't thought of yet? Please, enlighten us!

Blotting pizza cuts calories, fat

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My little boys are fans of the kids' cheese pizza sold at the sandwich shop Schlotsky's. It's not what I'd first choose for them to devour -- it contains 479 calories and 13 grams of fat -- but they love it. And I love when they actually eat, so I mostly oblige when they request this cheesy treat. To make myself feel better about their food choice, which happens to come with a side of grease, I blot the top of their meals with napkins and try to sponge up every bit of oily stuff I can manage. Does my strategy accomplish much? I don't know. Still, it makes me feel better.

While flipping through the September 12 issue of Woman's Day magazine last night, I got my answer. "Blotting your pizza with a napkin can soak up around 30 calories and three grams of fat," read a little blurb on page 20. So my technique works, to some degree. My kids are now ingesting 449 calories and 10 grams of fat. Not ideal. But better.

Teaching kids to read nutrition labels

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It's quite enlightening to hear than a 10 year-old in the U.S. reads food labeling when shopper with her mom, but that is just what Marie Grandguillotte does every time she goes shopping at the local grocer. Marie says that reading food labels was "a little bit confusing, but after a while I got used to it."

That is the sign of a well-informed person, and I'll venture a guess that little Marie does what most U.S. adults do not. If even one percent of the kids did this in the U.S. and knew how to make nutritional choices based on that information, we'd see massive health benefits from it.

So far, flashy colors and goofy kid-targeted marketing are winning, as they always have been. The worst are the free prizes in sugary breakfast cereals, most of which easily fall into the junk food category. It never hurts to pop out one of those boxes and explain to your fifth-grader what all that nutrition information means.

Tune out to slim down

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I'm guilty. When I turn on the TV, I want to eat. Not such a bad thing now that I mostly snack on fresh fruit, but when cookies and candy were on my shopping list, watching TV was downright dangerous.

The more entertaining the television show, the more we tend to eat mindlessly, says Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Programs that really capture our attention also expand our waistlines, according to Hirsch, who recommends we stop watching TV altogether, TiVo our favorites for times when our tummies are full, or trade the fun shows for boring ones.

You can also give my plan a try: Ditch all junk food and snack only on fresh fruits and veggies. Surely, enjoying an apple while watching Survivor never hurt anyone.

Are we over-tolerant to obesity?

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Scotland's Sunday Herald has printed a fairly scathing article on our attitudes to obesity, claiming that we are far to tolerant to fatness in North America and the UK. In other parts of Europe, the writer argues, fatness would be not be as acceptable -- hence less people are obese in such countries. But in the US and UK, being unhealthily obese is perfectly ok. In her words, it is a 'comfortable' experience to be obese.

What do you think about this? On one hand, I think the writer has a point -- obesity is not as socially acceptable in Europe. In France for instance, normal-weight people like myself even feel uncomfortably large compared to the svelte Parisians. But I don't think ridiculing obese people and making them feel out of place is the answer. Still, what is?

(Via Diet Blog)

Are intelligence and IQ the best ways to study brain activity?

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Are IQ tests the best way to determine intelligence? For a standardized way to get everyone on the same playing field, I suppose it is the best method yet. But, according to researcher Rex Jung, we need to understand how the brain works by studying how it is put together so we know why it unravels for some of us.

Jung went through mountains of neuroscience literature looking for studies that analyzed reasoning and measures of intelligence. What he concluded after studying the studiers was that scientists need to look at intelligence in a more systematic way rather than as a whole.

Do the brains between two people differ from each other? Sure they do, and sometimes in massive ways. Biologically speaking, there is little difference, but when it comes to the "wiring," there can be fundamental differences. Measuring intelligence using a method that doesn't account for all this bias, in turn, can be a road to nowhere. But, hey -- it's the best we have at the moment.

New tampon model cuts toxic shock syndrome

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Menstrual toxic shock syndrome is fatal for women everywhere, although the death rates from it are low compared to other conditions. But, with TSS, it may be easily preventable in many cases if a new kind of tampon makes its way to market.

On the new tampon design, a fiber layer called glycerol monolaurate (GML) was found to reduce the production of a toxin that directly leads to most cases of TSS. GML is already used in many food products.

In recent research, the new fiber coating not only did away with toxin production, but promoted vaginal health, as it created an environment in the vaginal area where there is a balance of protective bacteria.

How to survive a gas station run-in without ruining your diet

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When I take a road trip, I tend to eat less healthfully then usual. My rationale? It will be next to impossible to find something healthy at the convenience stores along the way, so I might as well let loose. Pretty lame justifacation, huh? Yeah, I know.

The awesome Mark's Daily Apple has put together a video on how to make healthy choices when you're on the go. He raids a convenience store and shows us what to get and what to avoid. A major no-no? Muffins and carrot cake. Instead, try to find snacks that are a good source of protein and/or fiber. Like? Well, you'll just have to watch the video to find out.

What's your go-to convenience snack?

Reboot your brain with a walk

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Don't you hate when you're working through a problem, or trying to generate new ideas, and your brain won't seem to work? While you might be compelled to push through these times of creative atrophy, chances are that'll just make you frustrated. Instead, your best bet to jump-start your brain is to get up and talk a walk.

It doesn't have to be a hour-long trek, even five minutes will do. However, keep in mind these three tips, offered to by Lifehacker, a productivity blog:

1. Ditch the backpack and briefcase, you don't want to be weighed down.

2. Imagine that, even if you're walking in a familiar area, that you'll never see these buildings and space in the same order again.

3. It's about the journey -- not the destination. Even if that journey means pausing on a park bench, or popping into your favorite bookstore to see what's going on.

So reboot, refresh, and get walking -- just don't forget to take a pen and paper, so you can be ready when the ideas start flowing!

Why an mp3 player may soon be in your doctor's office

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The stethoscope in your doctor's office may be on the way out, and an mp3 player may be on the way in. No, doctor's aren't jamming to tunes while assessing patients, but instead are using the gadgets to better hear breath sounds and everything else they used to listen to with a stethoscope. By pressing a microphone to the chest doctors and nurses get much better sound quality, and can even record and replay what they hear and store the sounds on computers for others to reference later.

Stethoscopes have been around for over 200 years, and although there will always be some uses for them I say there's no shame in retirement!

'Quiet' lung cancer genes can lead to a malignancy

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Although the understanding of human genes and how they relate to the onset (and prevention) of certain diseases is only just beginning, one that comes to mind for many of us relates to cancer. Is there a gene or set of genes responsible for it?

In recent news, the activity of a group of 15 genes was found to have a negative outlook when it came to lung cancer malignancy. That is, the genes -- which normally protect lung cancer according to research -- may in fact help lung cancer develop if their activity is somehow suppressed.

Researchers looked at 25 people with lung cancer and 24 without it and were 96 percent accurate in identifying those with cancer simply by analyzing these 15 genes. Now, the march goes on to see why these genes were less active (not that expressed, apparently) in some than in others.

Ultra-thin pedometer is a stealth way to count your steps

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This fun ThinQ model 303 pedometer is only 3mm thick -- about the size of a credit card. So if you're the sort of person who isn't really into fitness, but would still like to know how much exercise you're getting on your walk to the office, or during your evening strolls around the neighborhood, this is perfect.

Because, let's be honest: even if you'd like to pretend you're too cool for physical activity, you're (hopefully) getting at least some exercise during your day-to-day routine. This is a good thing. You can expand on this. You'll feel better for it -- I promise.

And now you can see how many steps you're taking and calories you're burning, simply by opening you wallet -- allowing you to optimize your daily activities so that they incorporates even more little moments of fitness. Awesome!

Secondhand smoke may lower test scores

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Lighting up cancer sticks at home hurts your kids' lungs -- it may also hurt their high school test scores. According to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, 16-18 year-olds sucking in secondhand smoke suffer academic consequences -- a whopping 30 percent decrease in the odds of passing standardized achievements tests.

Interestingly, the researchers set out to analyze prenatal smoking's impact on adolescent test performance. They discovered secondhand smoke exposure was worse than prenatal. The study does not explain why secondhand smoke increases test failures rates, but prenatal smoke exposure has been connected with a higher risk of cognitive and academic defects, impulsivity and even learning disabilities.

About one-third of women in their childbearing years smoke, while up to 60 percent of kids may be exposed to secondhand smoke in the home. Quitting is rough stuff. Keep trying! At the very least, don't light up in the home or car -- head outside.

Can you learn to 'direct' your dreams?

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I think we'd all like to be able to control and "direct" our dreams, especially the fun ones where we're flying or have just won the lottery. Very few people ever get to experience what's called a "lucid dream," but there are some out there who claim it's a skill that can be taught. Although there is some debate on whether people can just interact and change the course of a current dream or if they can custom-design a dream from the ground up, retreats and courses are available across the country for those who want to give it a try. And the phenomenon is even hitting Hollywood, with several hit movies having been inspired by lucid dreams.

I think lucid dreaming is possible, although I'm not so sure about taking courses or classes to learn how. And to me part of what makes a dream a dream is the fact that you can't control it.