Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

Weight loss and good health made simple

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Overweight? Might Need To Get More Sleep.

Better sleep leads to better health.

Plenty of health problems, from obesity to migraines, have been linked to a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night; less than that and it could be difficult to perform the most basic of tasks. Sadly, according to the National Health Interview Survey, at least 30% of adults get fewer than 6 hours of sleep each night.

So, if you find yourself among the one-third of sleep-deprived Americans, there are ways to improve your sleep habits. A recent report by ABC News outlines a few tips to help you get the kind of rest your body needs.

Some of the tips in the article may surprise you. One such idea is to skip your evening workout. We know exercise is a great way to manage stress and can help you sleep; but it also gives you a natural energy boost – something you definitely don’t want if you’re trying to get some shut-eye. So, the article recommends exercising early in the day. Also, eating dinner several hours before bed will help with digestion and make you more comfortable at bedtime. Another new tip: counting backwards from 300 by 30’s.

Here are a few more tips to help you sleep better:
  • Decrease your caffeine intake and go caffeine-free after 2pm.
  • Take a warm bath each night before bed.
  • Make your bedroom a sanctuary. It should be a quiet place to relax (free of kids and pets); maintain a comfortable, cool temperature in your room; and make sure your mattress isn’t part of the problem.
  • Establish a routine. Maybe it begins with meditation, a cup of tea, or a good book. Keep your routine consistent so your body starts to recognize the “cues” for bedtime.
  • Go to bed and wake up about the same time each day. Sleeping in on days off will only throw your schedule off and it really isn’t possible to “catch up” on lost sleep.
Try just one of these tips every night this week and sleep tight.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Your Plate May Help You Lose Weight!

The food guide pyramid is now a thing of the past and in its place is a portioned plate designed to help weight loss. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released MyPlate, a visual tool that should make it easier for people to make better food choices and serve up more reasonable portion sizes for weight loss.

MyPlate shows Americans what their plate should “ideally” look like, with 50% of the plate containing fruits and vegetables. This new tool is very different from the standard American diet, which is heavy in grains and protein. Many felt the food guide pyramid was confusing and not something that called people to make an immediate change. MyPlate, on the other hand, can help people make meal-time changes simply by comparing their plate to the new image.  This change could go a long way to help reach weight loss goals.

We all know it is important to eat fruits and vegetables, but controlling your portions may be one of the best (and easiest) routes to weight loss.  One study examined the effect of a portioned plate on weight loss in people with diabetes. Researchers found using a portion control plate not only helped people lose more weight than those who did not, but it also helped them decrease their medications. So, a visual image that is easy to understand may help people control portions, lose weight, and improve their health.

One concern about MyPlate is that it doesn’t help people understand the differences between foods, like whole grains versus refined products. However, the argument has been made that most Americans know what they should eat; but, they either don’t make the right choice or just eat way too much of it. In either case, this simple, user-friendly tool may help people be more mindful of the size, shape, and color of the foods filling up their plate.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

World's Fastest Cure For a Bad Mood

Think happy thought.  Stay healthy.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones and start getting happier instantly.

In a recent review, researchers examined over 160 different studies and found that happy people live longer, healthier lives. People who are happy and have a positive attitude also have fewer diseases than those who are negative, depressed, or anxious.  Not surprising, right?

A positive attitude is associated with a stronger immune system, fewer diseases, and a decrease in stress-hormones. Stress hormones not only contribute to a weakened immune system, but high levels are linked to obesity. On the flip side, being depressed, anxious, or stressed-out is associated with a greater risk of disease, illness, and a shorter life-span.

How can you put on rose-colored glasses and improve your outlook? Eating a healthy diet and managing your stress levels will help you view life in a positive light. Exercise is another proven way to boost your mood.

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that make you feel energized, happy, and de-stressed. These chemicals are also thought to decrease the amount of pain people feel. In addition, regular exercise improves self-esteem and boosts your immune system. All of these things can contribute to a positive outlook!

Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 days per week to get yourself on the path to happiness. Be sure share your happiness with others; there is nothing more contagious than a positive attitude and a smile!