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Stop Waiting to Lose Weight: Five Ways to Start Today

Stop Waiting to Lose Weight: Five Ways to Start Today

Waiting to lose weight? You never will, unless you start today.

You’ve wanted to drop those 15 pounds (or five, or 50) for longer than you remember. But every time you start a new diet you lose a few pounds and then those old habits rear their heads again. Before you know it, you’ve gained it all back and then some. Here are five secrets to successful weight loss that will help you keep it off. (N.B., Of course, see your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan. Make sure your body is ready for these changes. Don’t substitute this advice for that of a physician’s counsel.)

1. Do the Math

Your body is an amazingly designed, highly efficient, energy-processing machine. It’s a medical fact that if you give your body the right kinds of fuel in the right amounts, you’ll lose weight. Quit trying to starve yourself and learn to eat properly by being a math nerd.

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Start by understanding one fact: if you take in fewer calories than you burn, your perfectly designed energy-processing machine of a body will do its job. Find out how many calories per day your body needs to maintain itself at your current weight and you’ll understand what it takes to start shaving off those extra pounds.

Use a free online tool like this one from the Calorie Control Council and get the data you need to use math to melt it off.

2. Step It Up

You don’t have to be a triathlete to get in better shape. Here are a few ways to start moving more. Before you know it, you’ll be healthier and feel better, and the positive feedback in the mirror will keep you going.

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  • Park farther away. Even 50 extra feet from your workplace or the grocery store when you run your errands turns into 100 extra feet you walked on the round trip. Over the course of a year, all those extra steps will turn into lots of calories burned off your body, just by that one simple change. Think of your goal, not grabbing that convenient close spot, and you’ll see the results. Here’s a great article from the American Heart Association for more information.
  • Take the stairs. Climbing a few flights of stairs can burn off excess calories, melt fat, and does a lot for your muscle tone and heart health. Here’s one stair-climbing success story. 
  • Watch your step(s). Get a pedometer to keep up with how many steps you take every day. You’ll soon start seeing it as a goal and try to take a few more than you did yesterday. Every step burns calories off the old waistline. Here are more stats about taking more steps.

3. Use Food for Fuel, Not as Medicine

Sometimes we eat to comfort us when we’re feeling bad. The problem is, emotional eating doesn’t do anything to help our emotional issues; it just makes us feel worse the next day. Examining why you eat when you’re sad or stressed and admitting to yourself that it’s an issue is the first step.

Here’s a great article about how to examine why we eat at certain times, and what to do instead.

4. Understand What You’re Eating and What Your Body Does with It

Knowing how different foods are handled by your body’s energy machine will help you make better choices. Most people cannot sustain a radical diet for very long, and the result of many extreme weight-loss strategies (no-carb, all protein diets, etc.) is that people tend to rebound and gain more weight. Knowing what your body does with the fuel you give it will help you make better choices and lead to lasting success.

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Here is a primer from the CDC to get you started.

5. Win Today

You don’t have to focus on the 15 or 50 pounds you need to lose. If you’re focused on the big number, you’ll be discouraged every time you step on the scale. But if you simply learn to win today, every day, you’ll hit your targets and feel successful. Take in less than you burn, one day at a time, and your body will do the rest.

A good example is the 500 calorie plan. It’s pure fact that if you can reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you’ll lose one pound per week. It’s very easy to cut 500 calories in one day if you plan your food intake strategically. Think about the simple things, like substituting water for soft drinks. A typical soft drink or fruit juice has 120 or more calories per serving, so if you make three or four of those choices a day, you’ll hit your 500 calorie target without much trouble.

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Keeping it up, and making a conscious choice to win the Battle of Today, every day, will produce the leaner, healthier version of yourself you’ve always known was hiding under all those extra pounds.

Remember: You can’t lose weight tomorrow. Stop waiting and start weighing less, starting today.

Featured photo credit: mrd00dman via Compfightcc via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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