Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Prostate cancer treatment shrinks penis

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A recent Turkish study has found that a type of prostate cancer treatment reduces penis length by 40 percent. Men who undergo a combination of hormone therapy and radiation for local or locally advanced prostate cancer can expect to to lose more than 2 inches in "stretched penile length."

The 18 month study, conducted on 47 Turkish men, found that, on average, the men's penises had shrunk from 5.6 inches to 3.4 inches.

Researchers also discovered erectile problems post-treatment. About 23 percent had normal erectile function before the therapy, while only 12.5 percent were "able to have an erection that was suitable for intercourse" by the end of the study.

Doctors, noting that "quality of life concerns are important when considering treatment options for prostate cancer," suggest that a prospective patient should be told that "penile shortening may occur." However, as noted by William Saletan in Slate's Human Nature column, "If you don't chose this treatment, your penis may lose you."

Death or diet? Most British men choose death

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How's this for shocking? A study shows that in Britain, men are literally waiting for a heart attack before they start to slim down. They need a wake-up call, I suppose, and what's a better wake-up call than almost dying? Unfortunately, for some it won't be a wake-up call -- it will be a permanent sleep.

What's also scary is that 56% of men polled said they didn't need to lose weight. But 32% of these men were overweight or even obese! Ap parently, the problem lies in a lack of education -- these men don't know what medically obese means, and that it's a label that can be attached to them.

What do you think? Are they clueless or just in denial?

Large families at higher risk for stomach cancer

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Growing up with a large number of brothers and sisters may increase your chances of developing stomach cancer. A recent study suggests that early childhood infections -- which are more common in big families -- may contribute to cancer later in life.

After checking blood samples for bacterial infection, researchers discovered that men with certain strains of bacteria in their stomach who also had seven or more siblings were twice as likely to get stomach cancer than men with less than four brothers or sisters. According to Dr. Martin Blaser of New York University, who led the research, "This is a very carefully controlled study that clearly shows that there are factors in early childhood that affect the risk of developing cancer many decades later."

Anyone who's had kids in their house knows that children are bacteria magnets, and it only follows that younger children -- whose immune systems are less-developed -- are more susceptible to contracting infections from their older brothers and sisters. Dr. Blaser also speculates that bacteria transmitted from sibling to sibling is better adapted than that which is transmitted from a non-relative.

Add this to the list of things to blame your older brother or sister for later in life.

A basketball team...for grandma?

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The latest craze for senior women's fitness may not be what you think. It's not yoga, hiking, or even strength training -- it's basketball. Dozens of basketball leagues for women over 50 are starting up all over the U.S., and it's thought to be part of a larger general movement by older Americans towards organized sports.

Of course there are some health risks associated with playing sports, for older players especially. Cardiovascular complications, arthritis, and knee injuries are so common many of the leagues require a doctor's approval before women can join.

But that's not stopping anybody. About 500 women from 47 states participated in the 2005 National Senior Games, and the trend seems to be getting bigger everyday. I think I can see why -- with team names like "The Hot Pink Grannies" it sounds like fun bunch of ladies!

Can you be 'fat' but not 'overweight'?

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Do you think of yourself as "fat" even if you are not "overweight" by typical measurement standards? In a recent Italian study, over 60 healthy women living in Rome were observed to see if they had a high percentage of body fat -- but who were not overweight -- caused more inflammation in their bodies than what was expected.

Out of the 60 women, 20 of them were obese based on their body-mass index (BMI). BMI is used to calculate weight tolerances and measurement based on height-t o-weight ratios.

Another 20 of the women in the study had a normal BMI, but had body fat percentages more than 30%. The researchers termed these women "normal-weight obese" because of their high percentage of fat -- but also because of their normal BMI by all standards.

75% of school-age children can't meet state fitness goals

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According to this, Kids in Manteca, California, can't meet state-imposed fitness requirements, which included tasks like doing 15 sit-ups. Kids in fifth, seventh and ninth grade were tested, and the results were quite low, even compared to the rest of the state, where minimum fitness goals aren't being met either.

You may not live in Manteca or California, but I think this will be a trend throughout North America, and it's really a shame. The school I attended at that age required daily activity, and if we couldn't meet t he minimum goals, we worked harder at it. Truth be told, I didn't enjoy it at the time but now that I'm an adult, I'm glad I had daily fitness requirements because it inspired me to make exercise a priority. And guess what? 15 to 20 years later, I still get daily activity.

What do you think?

How to acheive stressful living

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Everyday Wonderland, a blog about spiritual awakening, brings us this decidedly sarcastic study on how to "live stressfully." Here's one of my favorite excerpts:

The key here is to convince yourself that if you take your eyes off of the world for just one moment, everything will fall apart. It will be helpful here to imagine an anthropomorphized version of God, preferably one that is cruel and fickle, and believe that you need to be on his good side in order for everything in your world to stay intact. When you've made God into a person, you will feel that the methods you use for controlling other people will also work to control him.

For those truly striving to achieve stressful living, the post also suggests you "believe in the possibility of 'making it', look for satisfaction out there, and attempt to control absolutely everything."

As noted by Life Hacker, where I found the link to the Everyday Wonderland post, this is a nice break from the more typical "just relax," or "stress will kill you" warnings -- the reading of which is so stress-inducing that it's practically self-defeating.

Lower health care costs could come to senior HMO customers

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Are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) known for excellent access to affordable health care? Not likely, according to many people I have spoken with in recent years. While the "affordable" part of the equation may be true, the "quality" part is not. But, according to a new study, HMO participants could save money but participating in exercise programs.

But, what is HMOs gave the opportunity for customers to participate in a subsidized community-based ex ercise program? Would that help lessen the health care costs since this would most likely mean healthier clients? Probably so.

Dr. Huong Q. Nguyen -- of the University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington -- said that "these findings warrant additional investigations to determine whether policies to offer and promote a community-based physical activity benefit in older adults with diabetes can reduce health care costs."

Baby boomers are getting fit -- and it's good for business

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Fitness catering to the baby boomer population is ... well ... booming, as more middle-age folk are realizing the importance of their health and feeling the need to keep their body going as aging tries to slow them down. One chain, aptly called "Boomer Fitness", specifically offers service and products to baby boomers in the Bay area. One thing that sets them apart is requesting a doctors note before the beginning of any fitness regime -- this allows personal trainers to work around limitations, preventing injuries.

If you'd like to find out more about Boomer Fitness, click here.

Panda put on a diet -- to help him mate and procreate

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Apparently, the obesity epidemic isn't limited to humans -- it stretches to animals too, particularly Panda Bears. A panda in China, named Xuang Xuang, had been put on a diet in order to successfully mate with his partner Lin Hui. He's about 10kg overweight -- which is just enough to hurt his chances at mating. And since Pandas are an endangered species, it's especially important that they are able to produce offspring.

I find it alarming that it only takes an extra 10kg (that's 22 lbs!) to hurt this guy's chance at having a Xuang Xuang jr. Does extra weight also affect the chances of humans who are trying to conceive?

Healthier doughnuts on the horizon?

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Who here likes to start their day off with a good cup of coffee and a donut (or "doughnut" to be precise)? Although most donuts pack quite a wallop of sugar and calories these days -- in addition to many of them being fried -- they sure taste good. But,most are definitely *not* healthy -- far from it.

As more and more customers wake up to the fact that artery-clogging trans fats are bad for them, are donuts poised to become more healthy as donuts chains and mak ers get pressure to make these tasty treats quite a bit more healthy?

Frying donuts in an oil that contains no trans fats would be a good start -- without losing taste, that is. One thing is certain -- the pressure to rid trans fats from all food sources is not going away -- so donut makers should prepare to change (or lose some customers).

Burn 100 calories, practically by accident

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Dieting sucks, and I think anybody who is or has been on a diet can relate to the fact that it feels like it comes down to practically one calorie at a time. So burning 100 calories might not sound like much right off the bat, but think: if you do it everyday it can really add up. And these ideas are things you can definitely do everyday. Here are just a few of the random daily activities that you can do to burn 100 calories, and barely notice: vacuum for 25 minutes, golf for 20 minutes (and what golf game is over in just 20 minutes? bonus!), play Frisbee for 30 minutes, push a stroller 30-40 minutes, weight train for 15 minutes, or do aerobics for just 10 minutes.

There are 20 ideas on the list total, so if none of these few work for you there's bound to be something that will.

8 Minutes in the Morning -- is that really all it takes?

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Think losing weight takes a lot of time and hard work? Think again. According to Jorge Cruise, it only take 8 minutes in the morning to look your best. That and a diet consisting lots of fruits and veggies and strict proportions of everything else. Sound simple enough? Maybe too simple? Cruise combines simple at-home workouts designed to boost metabolism with a diet aimed at weight loss and voila! He has gained a following of almost 3 million people who believe in the plan. The program appeals to people because it's simple, quick and it doesn't cost much -- workouts are done at home and there's no special foods that you need to buy.

I'm intrigued -- Though seeing as I am soooooo not a morning person, I can't see myself choosing a workout over one more snooze on the alarm clock -- even if it is only 8 minutes.

What about you? Have you tried it?

World's first "test tube" baby gives birth herself

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When in-vitro fertilization became commonplace in the 1980s, many hoped it would be a way to couples to have children when fertilization took place outside of the woman's body.

Now that "Test tube" babies are born every day, the world's first -- Louise Brown -- has just given birth herself to a 6-pound baby boy.

Brown's baby was naturally conceived in England where Brown resides.

What is your 'weight loss secret'?

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Like many of you, I have a "weight loss" secret that has helped me maintain a rather slim figure for many years after being very overweight for a decade or so of sitting behind a desk and eating cheeseburgers every day. Gone is that lifestyle, but it did take "secrets" to get to where I am today.

The term "secrets" is pretty big, since it encompasses several methods of eating healthy (while feeling fulfilled) and eating the right portions while exercising as well.

My "secrets"? Here we go:

-- Avoiding as much processed food as you can (this is a hard one). Refined foods and sugars are also to be avoided, like high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and table sugar. I also try to avoid fake sweeteners and food additives and dangerous chemicals in foods as well. Get used to reading the "Nutrition Facts" of everything you eat and researching the ingredients. Be prepared to be scared a little. Want a sweet snack? All-natural granola without heavy or refined sweeteners is excellent. I like Bear Naked myself. Fried foods? None of them -- get out of that mindset completely if you can.

-- Get regular exercise as much as possible. Even wearing a pedometer and counting the steps you take everyday is good. Never take elevators -- use the stairs if you can. When the weather is nice -- walk outside. You'll walk a mile before you even realize it.

-- Cut down on dairy, red meat an d other "fatty foods" as much as possible. I rarely drink cow's milk -- even skim -- regardless of the "calcium" marketing angle from the dairy industry. Instead, I use liberal amounts of soy milk as a replacement and I eat fresh fruits and blended real fruit juices for breakfast -- not cow's milk and sugared breakfast cereal (that's not the way I want to start my day).

Some of these sound harsh, but they have worked so well for me that the new lifestyle is worth it -- and so are all the pounds I obliterated to...well, somewhere.

Back pain? Drink water

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Here's a helpful tip from blogger David Seah. After experiencing some serious back pain -- "each vertebra crunching against each other like little disks of sand" -- he eventually discovered that a common cause of joint and back pain is dehydration.

A quick Google search led David to two helpful websites. On Diagnose Me, he found that "Pain may be a warning of localized thirst; that is, the pain signal may be a warning of dehydration in that specific area (a regional thirst), for example low back pain, migraine headache, joint pain, and angina." In a News Target article, he found that "heartburn, rheumatoid joint pain, back pain, migraine headaches, colitis pain, fibromyalgiac pain, even angina pain - [are] signs of dehydration in the body."

Personally, I find I have both joint and back pain associated with sitting at a desk typing all day long (not surprisingly). I'm going to up my water intake and see what happens -- I'll be sure to keep you posted. Have any of you already had success in reducing back pain by drinking more liquids?

(Thanks to Life Hacker for the link)

Spas help with "tech neck"

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Afflicted with office ailments? Got BlackBerry thumb? Suffering from tech neck after using your laptop? Fear not, cube dwellers, high-end spas are now offering treatments just for you.

For just $185, you can get a Purity Plus facial at NYC spa Completely Bare. The herbal mask, steam treatment and massage takes about an hour, and is already one of the spa's most sought-after services. Aida Bicaj offers cell-phone facials at her Upper East Side townhouse for $225 a session, and has discovered a number of stressed-out , overworked professionals who are willing to pay for it.

But is it worth it? The American Physical Therapy Association just made BlackBerry thumb an official workplace malady, and the demand for the high-priced treatment of this work-related affliction shows no signs of slowing. What do you think? Would you try it? Have you? Did it work?

Small study gives hope to those with chronic fatigue

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Do you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome? If so, here's an article that might be worth reading. A small study has been completed on 25 sufferers of the disease using an anti-viral drug called Valcyte with promising results.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is characterized by having a distinct lack of specific or defining symptoms, making it hard to pin down. Some people come down with it suddenly, like a flu that never goes away. Others fall into the disease slowly. Treatment of the condition varies from non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to allergy medications to anti-depressants. No one really knows what causes it, but according to this article, scientists have suspected a virus for quite some time.

Gathering a pool of 25 participants, all who had antibodies to two different kinds of viruses -- Epstein Barr and human herpes virus 6 -- in their blood plasma, the researchers prescribed a course of the anti-viral drug. Most of the participants responded and responded dramatically. The drug maker, Roche, is fronting the money for a larger study in the near future.

Continue reading Small study gives hope to those with chronic fatigue

Japan begins incinerating 10,000+ chickens

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Why on earth would Japanese officials want to burn over 10,000 chickens anyway? Well, the authorities started the process after the chickens were found to have the bird flu or were culled at the farm they started dying in. A broad subtype of the bird flu known as H5 is the culprit, and while not necessarily fatal to us, it is very pathogenic to the unfortunate poultry.

Want to know how serious they are about the threat? The Japanese government "has banned shipments of eggs and 330,000 chickens at 16 poultry farms within a 6.2-mile radius of the farm," according to the article. They are not taking any chances considering that over 150 people have died worldwide due to a strain of the bird flu.

Given the numbers, it seems as though trans fat poses more of a threat than this health hazard. But even so, it is still interesting to see how other countries are going to great lengths to protect themselves.

You must have goals for losing weight -- and keeping it off

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Do you have certain goals for losing weight? How about a pound per week? A few pounds per month? For one -- you need to stay sensible when setting goals for weight loss or the angst of discouragement and the tribulations of disappointment may discourage you from dieting (as in, "I'm just not strong enough to do it").

First, mentally committing to a goal is the way to get things going. Writing your commitment to yourself where you can see it every day (and be reminded of it) is a good place to s tart.

Secondly, what are your goals for weight loss? Do some research about your situation and ask questions to those you know who have lost weight successfully before -- and kept it off. What did they do? What "realistic" goals were set?

Thirdly, measure...measure...measure. You'll never know how you are going unless you measure your progress at regular intervals and stick to your commitment no matter who hard it is and how slow the process seems to be. Only you can affect change. You can do it.

Try Cauliflower for Vitamin C

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cauliflowerIn this season of colds and flu, you may be like I am -- looking for any way possible to prevent illness through nutrition. And getting enough vitamin C is always in the back of my mind.

When I think vitamin C, I think citrus fruits, mango, kiwi, even strawberries. But cauliflower? Apparently so, according to Meredith Sta nton of WebMD.

Just to satisfy my curiosity (and to double-check my information, as all good writers should!), I surfed on over to Calorie Count, one of my favorite sources of nutrition facts about all sorts of food. And wouldn't you know it, cauliflower is chock full of vitamin C.

Now that I am over my disbelief, I am excited to find a vegetable that is rich in vitamin C. I love options, and I love cruciferous veggies. I am even excited to try the recipe included in the WebMD article. How can you go wrong with a mustard and balsamic sauce over pasta and veggies?
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Salad bar do's and don'ts

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Possibly the most famous of all diet foods: the salad. Popular restaurant order of dieters worldwide? The salad bar. The salad, and the salad bar, came by these stereo-types because they can be very low-calorie and full of nutrients. But like anything, they can easily go the other way if you're not careful.

I came across this article that covers pretty much everything you usually see on a salad bar, and has the pros and cons of each and whether you should be tossing some in your bowl or not. Some surprises for me included radishes and alfalfa sprouts being on the "don't bother" list while cottage cheese gets the green light -- I totally would have thought that was the other way around!

What do celebrity chefs eat?

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I think it would be great to be, or at least to live with, a professional chef. You'd get fresh, gourmet meals every day! No need to go out to eat -- your kitchen table is where the best meal in town can be found. But I wonder -- is it really like that at a chef's home? Maybe they get sick of working with food at work and when they're home, they're serving Spaghetti Os and Kraft dinner like the rest of the population.

Nahhhh -- according to this, celebrity chefs do eat well on their own time -- and they do so healthfully. They cook with organic foods, low-fat substitutions and flavorful herbs and spice. Celebrity chefs realize that they have an influence on the diets of everyone else, so eating healthy is a way of encouraging others to do the same.

Fit Links: Healthy parents, healthy kids

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As fabulous as we here at That's Fit think this blog is, the truth is there are hundreds of wonderful blogs on healthy living to be seen all over the blogosphere. So in this feature, Fit Links, we'll introduce you to some that have caught our eye.

This week in Fit Links, I'm recommending some blogs to keep you in-the-know for the latest news in healthy parenting and kids. Granted, I myself am not a parent yet. But it seems like my friends have been having babies left and right for the past two years, and babysitters need to stay informed too!

The WebMDBlog Healthy Children is written by Doctor Steven Parker. He answers pediatric healt h questions plus reacts to news and current events in the field of children's medicine.

The Parenting Weblog covers medical news, healthy new toys and games for kids, and parenting tips for children from newborns to teenagers.

Healthy Parenting
's slogan is "Raising Happy Healthy Children... Naturally!" The blog itself is a sort of random collection of news, opinions, parenting advice and family entertainment, but worth a look.

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Daily Fit Tip: Finding the source of true happiness

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Happiness, whatever THAT is, is an ultimate goal we all seem to have in common. Heck, the Declaration of Independence even grants us the right to pursue it. But please note the key word "pursue"--that document does not in any way promise we will achieve happiness, just the right to seek it.

So, just what is happiness and how do we achieve it? Well, happiness means different things to different people, so it's tough to say. Some believe that having enough money will bring happiness. Ask them to define exactly how much that is and the one common answer you'll receive is that whatever the amount, it's never enough.

To some happiness is being beautiful. They think that being pretty will gain them popularity, the right life partner and whatever else they want. Problem is, what--and who--defines beautiful? Ask five people who they think is the most beautiful woman in the world and you'll get five different answers. Turns out beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

To yet some others, happiness is associated with having the perfect body. By just being thin, these folks believe they will get whatever they want and achieve true happiness, as with the author of a recent article I read on these thin people and those who desperately wish to be them.

Having been on both sides of the weight spectrum, I can honestly say that being thin does not necessarily make you happy. The thin people I know, like those Geneen Roth mentions in her article, didn't seem to have it any easier than the rest of us. They still have bad hair days, get cut off in traffic and get passed over for promotions.

So, you say, if happiness is such an amorphous concept, how does anyone achieve it, and why bother trying at all? Happiness, like the right amount of money or beauty, is also in the eye of the beholder. This means we all have the chance to define happiness for ourselves, giving us control over achieving it.

For me, happiness can be found in the little things. I don't tackle the overwhelming concept of happiness but rather break it down into more manageable, achievable parts. For example, watching the sun rise over the lake in the park across from my apartment building makes me happy. Playing with my puppy--a joint effort he readily accommodates any time of day--makes me happy.

Sure, you say, but what about money, beauty, being thin--the things that seem to affect us all? Well, I manage those in smaller parts too. The sense of security I gain watching my 401(k) grow makes me happy. So does looking in the mirror and realizing that no one else in the world looks just like me, which is beautiful in its own right. As far as being thin goes, the thinness is not what makes me happy but rather the health benefits I know I am achieving by working out and eating right. I'll never be a size 2, but I can run a half-marathon--even though I couldn't climb the rope in gym class as a child.

Get your motor running: tips to rev up your metabolism

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Our bodies change as we get older. In our youth, we burn our calories carelessly -- our youthful metabolisms revved to the max. But as we age, the calorie burning machine -- our metabolism -- gets a little rusty. We get jobs, become more sedentary, and suddenly the loss of activity and muscle mass catch up to us. Over our life time, our metabolisms may slow by 25-30 %.

So should we resign ourselves to middle-age spread? Absolutely not! A slowing metabolism is not a life sentence, it just takes a little work to get it up and running again. This article has tips to maximize your calorie burning potential morning, noon, and night. You don't have to follow every tip, but if you do, the article says you can burn up to 200-300 more calories a day. That doesn't even include your regular workout! In fact, a mere 12 weeks of strength training alone can boost your metabolism by 10%. That's amazing!

Some of my favorite tips include adding strawberries to your breakfast and music to your day. I recently put a small CD player in my kitchen with a homemade CD titled "Get Up and Go." Now in the morning, instead of grumbling into my cereal bowl, I find myself dancing and singing while I get my day started. Other great tips include drink ing a little caffeine in the morning, snacking on nuts, and getting plenty of sleep. Because a new metabolism requires new muscle (muscle burns more calories than fat), there's a few yoga moves, strength training exercises, and even a quick but intense mid-day workout. Check out the full article for more tips and start maximizing your metabolism today!

Move over Folgers: Is soda the new breakfast drink?

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Think breakfast beverages, and coffee or orange juice probably comes to mind -- but what about soda? According to a consumer research firm based out of New York City, soda consumption for breakfast has almost doubled over the last 15 years. Given, they only took into account sodas taken with a meal (i.e. Starbucks didn't factor in) -- but people are ordering pop with their eggs and pancakes 15.1% of the time today, vs. 7.9% back in 1990.

Although most sodas contain some level of caffeine, the average is only about half what's in a similar-sized cup of coffee. So if it's not for an extra energy boost, what's the draw? Die-hard morning soda drinkers seem to get a kick out of the cold, tingly, refreshing factor of drinking down a Coke, vs. the warming action of coffee, first thing in the morning.

To each their own, just beware the calorie attack.

Jogging for Normal People: Holy Freakin' Gosh Darn Crap It's Cold

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I was scared when I moved to Texas. I'm from Ohio, and Northerners -- at least all the Northerners I know -- think of the Lonestar state as a place filled with gun totin', horse ridin', split slingin' cowboys with half a mind to shoot Yankees on sight. But, much to my surprise, Texas is way better than Ohio -- not least of all because on a good day it'll hit 80 degrees in January (plus, it's not actually filled with cowboys after all).

Today, however, is not a good day. As a matter of fact, with the wind chill factored in, it was 22 degrees when I left the house to go running. And yes, I know, it gets colder up North -- I remember days in Cleveland when my spit froze upon contact with the sidewalk -- but these are different times. My blood has thinned. I am typing this post with numb hands.

Oddly enough, and complaining aside, I think the arctic chill actually improved my jogging. No lies. It's like the frigid air switched on some long-dormant survival instinct deep within the most forgotten recesses of my nervous system -- a fight or flight reaction to the disgustingly low temperatures that said: "body, get thy ass in gear or you'll be up the creek without an icepick."

So I did. I got my ass in gear. I ran further, faster and longer through this freezing January morning than I've ever run before. I pushed, I got tired, and then -- as if touched by the hand of some magical respiratory god -- my breath came back mid-stride, allowing me to grin my way into another mile.

Pigs can fly. It's a cold day in Texas. Huzzah.

My hands, however, still hurt, and none of this triumphant self-congratulation can change the fact that it's colder than a witch's naughty bits outside. So next time, I'll be prepared. Check out this post for great tips on how to stay warm, and, if nothing else, remember the following: 1) dress in layers, 2) always wear hat and gloves, 3) make your inner layer a garment that will wick away perspiration, and 4) watch out for ice.

It may be a cold, but we can do it. Winter cannot defeat the jogger!

Why we overeat -- and how to curb the addictions

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If you find yourself overeating on a regular basis, do you ever perform any self-discovery on the causes of why you overeat? Are there physical and mental causes of this? My guess is that, yes -- there are both mental and physical causes of overeating at play in many situations. Sometimes, they are inter-twined as well.

Mental causes of overeating may be a reaction to stress -- whether everyday normal stress or situational stress that is not normal. Can you discuss the reasons for overeating with yourself and come to a conclusion that may give you a hint of why you do this -- plus, possible solutions?

Regarding the physical reasons why some of us overeat, I'm a big believer in trying to locate "endocrine disruptors" in the foods I eat (like Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)) to ensure that fake chemical does not cause my brain and endocrine system to think I am not full when I really am. If I don't think I am full, I will continue eating. Hence, I will most likely overeat. These chemical taste enhancers make many foods taste good, but they also disrupt the passageway from your brain to he digestive system that tells you when to stop eating.

To get over the habit of overeating, then, there are many things you can do -- but it takes knowledge and willpower to do so. We all have it -- harnessing it is the challenge.

Coming soon: Chewing gum to help you lose weight!

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You've got to hand it to the scientists. Just when you think it couldn't get any better than fighting cancer with a cold, they go and try developing chewing gum that helps you lose pounds! Researchers out of the UK have come up with an ingenious way to deliver an appetite-curbing hormone to people trying to lose weight: through gum!

The hormone called pancreatic polypeptide, which can be found in the gut, helps tell your brain that you are full and to stop eating. Scientists will hopefully be able to find out how to alter the hormone to make it last longer. So why chewing gum? Well, if it were taken with a pill then digestive juices would end up destroying it. Of course you can always opt for the weekly injection too.

For the most part they are hoping that enough of the polypeptide can cross the membrane of the mouth to be effective. Imagine being able to just open a pack of your favorite mint-flavored dieting gum and curb your appetite on command. It would be a big leap for weight watchers everywhere!

Time for bed: lack of sleep causes health problems in children

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Recently, my husband came home and asked, "Why do our kids go to bed so early?" He'd been talking to some co-workers who balked at our kids' early bedtime. "Because they're tired," was my answer. Our kids have always gone to bed early -- even as small babies. We're the envy of our neighbors in the evening, but I see few lights on down the street when my kids get up before dawn. Early to bed...early to rise, that's what they say.

No matter when your kids get to bed, though, it's important to make sure they're getting enough sleep. A lot of the same health problems that can occur in adults who are sleep deprived can also happen in kids. Sleep loss has been linked to obesity and anxiety in children, as well as a lowered immunity to viruses. Not only that, sleepy kids are more accident prone. One only needs to watch a sleepy toddler try to walk to understand why. A tired school-aged child on a bike or a sleep-deprived teenager in a car are at risk for much more than a head bonk on the coffee table.

How much sleep does your child need?