Sunday, October 31, 2010

Motivation To Lose Weight

Everyone has a different motivation to lose weight. However, a study has found that those who are able to sustain a type of motivation called autonomous motivation during the 4 to 16 week period of a weight loss program, were more likely to actually lose weight at the end of the 16 week program.

This conclusion is summarized in a PsychCentral articled titled, "Motivation Important for Weight Loss."

The study defined autonomous motivation as "the feeling that self-control is the best way to help oneself make changes." The group that maintained and increased their feeling of self-control were more successful at losing weight than those who relied on pressure groups and tactics.

The study also concluded that weight loss programs should consider using methods that strengthen autonomous motivation during the critical 4 to 8 week period of the program. This can include more intense support, or activities that encourage and improve autonomous motivation of the weight loss participants.

Not all of us can afford this type of help, however.

There are several methods that you can use to maintain your motivation to lose weight.

The first is called the Motivational Inoculation method that can help you maintain your self-motivation to stick to the weight loss program as described in the article, "What's the Half-Life of Your Motivation for Weight Management?" These are a series of questions that you should ask yourself and honestly ponder. It is a way for you to understand your internal motivation to lose weight and stick with the program.

Another interesting method to find and maintain your motivation to do something is described in the article, " 10 Ways To Find New Motivation ." Basically,
  • Think about what losing weight will give you in return. This will help you maintain your focus on continuing with the program.
  • Keep reminding yourself why your are trying to lose weight, and why it is important to you.
  • Create a list of ten reasons why you should lose weight. Frequently remind yourself of these ten reasons.
  • When thinking about your goal to lose weight, use positive words. Thinking in positive terms about your weight loss goal will help you stick to the program and achieve your goal.

Being positive and staying focused on your internal reasons for your goal along with a strong feeling of self-control will help you maintain your motivation to lose weight.

Find additional info at Motivation to Lose Weight - The Key to Success.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

Hamstring Strengthening Exercise At Home

The Hamstring Standing Curl is a hamstring strengthening exercise that you can do at home.

When I was a teenager, many moons ago, I remember my dad wanting to take up bowling. So we went to the alley to start this new bowling adventure.

Nothing happened at first as we learned to enjoy this sport, but then as my dad got ready to throw the bowl down the alley, he turened and asked, "Who shot me?" We looked at him with a puzzling stare, and told him that no one shot him. He insisted that he was shot in the leg. Of course, we found out later that he injured one of his hamstring muscles.

Our dad, who was not extremely active, injured a muscle that he simple did not use much. This injury could have been avoided with this simple hamstring strengthening exercise - the hamstring standing curl.

The hamstrings are the three muscles in the back of your thigh. They are the
  • Biceps femoris
  • Semitendinosus
  • And Semimembranosus

All three flex the leg and extends the thigh.

You can do this easy exercise if you can stand next to a chair or counter for support, and bend your knee with one leg while standing on the other leg. The procedure is as follows:

  • Stand next to a chair, counter or table for support. Use just a few fingers to help keep your balance.
  • Keep your neck and spine straight and well aligned.
  • As you breathe out, bend your right knee, and raise your right calf behind you.
  • Hold for a count of three and lower your leg back to the starting position as you breathe in.
  • Repeat this workout with your left leg.
  • Try to do 8 to 12 repetitions at least 3 times a week, every other day. Eventually, you should be able to do this simple workout every day.

This is a great hamstring strengthening exercise and very easy to do. With this simple exercise, you should be able to avoid the type of injury that plagued my dad.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Colon Cancer Prevention

A new Danish study concludes that 23% of colorectal cancers can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle that includes:
  • At least 30 minutes a day of exercise
  • Moderate intake of alcohol
  • No Smoking
  • A healthy diet
  • And a small waist size.

This agrees with an article written several years ago that stated that numerous studies indicated that highly active people substantially reduced their risk of colon cancer compared to sedentary people. A Chinese study also indicated that sedentary individuals who consumed high amounts of saturated fats had a four fold increase in colon cancer rates compared to individuals who were the least sedentary and consumed the least amount of saturated fats. The same article stated that their was little correlation between exercise and rectal cancer.

Ideas for your exercise routine can be found at .


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

High Intensity Workouts

Do you need high intensity workouts to be healthy?
When I heard about US swimmer Fran Crippen dying while competing in a 10-kilometer marathon in the UAE, I was reminded of an article that I read back in March. The article is titled: "Marathoners Face Greater Risk of Artery Problems - And this could lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, even death, study suggests."
According to the article, exercising too much can be just as bad as not exercising at all. The beneficial effects of exercise on our health has a "U" shape correlation. Exercising too much may put constant stress on the body, which leads to a hardening of the large arteries that can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and even death. Exercising too little has the same bad effect.
According to the results of a 27-year longitudinal Study conducted by the Cooper Institute, the optimum level of exercise to remain healthy and increase longevity is 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on five or more days of the week. Generally, you are doing moderate intensity exercise when you are mildly breathless but can still talk with ease.
The situation with Crippen may have been the high temperature of the water at the United Arab Emirates, even though the exact cause of his death is not known. The high physical stress of the competition combined with the high water temperature could have been too much for his heart. According to another study, marathons can cause damage to your heart, but those with the best physical endurance and training program are affected the least.
Basically, you only need high intensity workouts if you plan to be a professional athlete. In that case, make sure that you stick to a well planned and researched training schedule. However, if like me, you only want to stay in good physical shape and maintain good health for as long as possible, 3 to 4 hours a week of moderate intensity exercise is all that you need.
For illustrated examples of exercises, click .

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Health Benefits Of Seeds

I never considered eating Chia Seeds until I received a free sample after purchasing some pumpkin seeds.

While investigating the advantages of eating Chia Seeds, I learned from Dr. Oz that Hemp Seeds are also a good seed to eat. Heck, I didn't even know that it was legal to purchase and eat Hemp Seeds.

So, I decided to write this little blog highlighting the health benefits of seeds.

Chia Seeds

These seeds are actually a good source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds actually have more omega-3 fatty acids than Flax seeds.

These seeds can be stored for a long period of time without becoming rancid, and don't have to be ground like flax seed. Like most seeds, they are a good mineral source as well.

When soaked in water, the seeds become gelatinous, which can be used to thicken foods.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Hemp Seeds

No, you won't get high on these seeds.

These seeds are the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids. They are also an excellent source of a complete protein, since they contain all eight essential amino acids. Consider eating the hulls by grinding these seeds, since the hulls contain most of the mineral content of this seed.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Hemp Seeds


This seed is high in omega-3 fatty acids. However, the seed must be ground to absorb the omega-3. It is also a good source of fiber.

This seed does not store well. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds


Yes , buckwheat is a fruit seed.

One of the reasons that I started eating buchwheat pancakes is because it is a good source of selenium. In addition, it has all 8 essential amino acids, and has more fiber than oatmeal. It is high in flavonoids, especially rutin.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Buckwheat

Sesame Seeds

These seeds are an excellent source of copper, calcium and vitamin B1. Copper is necessary for tissue repair and energy metabolism. This seed is easy to store and is eaten whole. I also like the flavor.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Sesame Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

These seeds are one of the best sources of Vitamins E, B1, B5 and folate. It is also a good source of selenium. It is also rich in phytosterols that help lower cholesterol.

It is available year round, easy to store and tasty.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds may help prevent prostate problems, such as BPH. It is also a good source of zinc for prostate and bone health.

This seed is also a good source of phytosterols to reduce cholesterol. It is available year round, and easy to store.

Additional Info On The Health Beneftis Of Pumpkin Seeds

Remember that a proper diet in combination with an exercise program is essential for good health. Click on for exercise ideas.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Health Benefits Of Curcumin From The Spice Turmeric

Turmeric is that peppery, yellow spice that is used in curry. It is also the spice that makes bright yellow mustard , well, bright yellow. It is so good at making things yellow that it is used as a textile dye.

A lot of research has been conducted over the past 20 to 30 years studying the health benefits of one of turmeric's active ingredients called curcumin. A great overview of the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin can be found at Whole Foods. In summary, turmeric and curcumin are found to be

  • A potent and safe anti-inflammatory
  • An effective Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease
  • Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • A benefit to Cystic Fibrosis sufferers
  • Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth
  • May help prevent Colon Cancer in combination with onions
  • Helps prevent prostate cancer in combination with cauliflower
  • Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia
  • Improves liver function
  • Provides cardiovascular protection
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • May provide protection against Alzheimer's Disease

Turmeric can be added to salads and vegetables to provide a tasty and peppery flavor. I like drinking turmeric tea in the morning, and it is easy to make. For 1 serving,

  • Bring to boil 1 cup of water
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric to the water and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • I don't strain the tea, but some may prefer to strain out the remaining particulates.
  • Add honey to taste and enjoy.

You can also add ginger for an added zing to the tea if you prefer.

Here are some recent research articles regarding curcumin:

Remember that diet in combination with a regular exercise program is the best way to a healthier life. For illustrated examples of exercise techniques, click .

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WebMD's Least Effective Exercises

WebMD has a nice slide show of their "9 Least Effective Exercises." Some of the least effective exercises on their list are:

  • The Lat Pull-Down Behind the Head exercise. According to WebMD, "only people with very mobile shoulder joints can keep their spines straight enough to do this exercises properly." Doing this exercise improperly may lead to a tear in the rotator cuff.
  • Military Press Behind the Head exercise. This exercise done improperly can have the same consequences as the Lat Pull-Down Behind the Head.
  • Upright Row. This exercise can compress the nerves of the shoulder.
  • Lying Leg Press with your Knees Bent Too Deeply. This can hurt your back and knees.
  • Squats on the Smith Machine. This exercise can force your body into risky positions, according to WebMD.

A couple of the recommended and safer alternative exercises are:


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Benefits of Lifelong Exercise

We have more scientific evidence that we should remain active for as long as possible to stay healthy.

The findings of another study shows that active senior men have twice the capacity for oxygen uptake than men who do not exercise. Incredibly, the active senior men have values that are similar to men 40 to 50 years younger but do not exercise.

The study is a collaborative effort between researchers at Mid Sweden University and Ball State University.

Go to for exercise ideas for your fitness program.


Monday, October 18, 2010

New American Heart Associatiion Guidelines For CPR

The American Heart Assciation (AHA) has issued new guidelines for CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

Two of the main highlights are
  • "When administering CPR, immediate chest compressions should be done first."
  • "Untrained lay people are urged to administer Hands-Only CPR (chest compressions only)."

Trained people are now urged to start with chest compressions first, and then check the airway and administer breaths. In addition,

  • "During CPR, rescuers should give chest compressions a little faster, at a rate of at least 100 times a minute."
  • "Rescuers should push deeper on the chest, compressing at least two inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants."
  • Between each compression, rescuers should avoid leaning on the chest to allow it to return to its starting position."
  • "Rescuers should avoid stopping chest compressions and avoid excessive ventilation."
  • "All 9-1-1 centers should assertively provide instructions over the telephone to get chest compressions started when cardiac arrest is suspected."


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Friday, October 15, 2010

Chest Compressiion Only CPR

Recently I updated by CPR training. The new procedure was much different than the one that I learned years ago. The compressions now occur between the nipples rather than below the sternum. The protocol cycle is also 2 breathes followed by 30 compressions.

However, a new study published in The Lancet indicates that bystanders should use chest compression only CPR rather than the standard 2-breathes and 30-compression current protocol.

The results of this study show that survival rates for compression only CPR is 14% compared to 12% for the current standard CPR. The conclusion is that "For adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, instructions to bystanders from emergency medical services dispatch should focus on chest-compression-only CPR."

The may actually convince many to give CPR to a stranger, since many of us are concerned with exchange of body fluids with a stranger. Knowing the compression-only CPR may actually be better is a big help in eliminating those concerns.

As a side note, automatic defribilators have really come down in price over the last few years. Even though it is still pricey at between $1000 and $1500, the cost is substantially down from what it used to be. An example is the Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator (AED) for less than $1300. A good investment if you have someone in your family with heart problems.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Health Benefits Of Walking

One of the health benefits of walking as reported in a study supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging is that walking at least 6 miles each week protects the brain from shrinkage in old age. This is also an indication that regular and frequent walking helps prevent memory problems and a decline in cognitive abilities.

This is another reason to live an active lifestyle. Similar studies have shown that those who walk at least 10000 steps each day reduce their risks of cardiovascular disease by 72% compared to those who walk only 5000 steps each day.

Longitudinal studies have also shown that we can reduce our mortality risk by 50% with 30 minutes of moderate intensity workouts on 5 or more days of the week. If you combine an exercise routine with a Mediterranean style of diet, you can reduce your risks of developing Alzheimer's Disease by 60%, according to studies by Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Gall Bladder Story

For 8 years, I had near sleepless nights due to digestive tract spasms. It actually felt like my stomach was being twisted.

My physician usually pointed to possible vision problems or stress. I knew, however, that these possible problems were not the cause of my spasms.
So, I experimented with diet and lifestyle changes. Nothing seemed to work. The spasms continued, and I slept less and less.

I finally realized that the spasms were coming from my gall bladder. Determined to keep my gall bladder right where nature put it, I started researching for possible cures.
I tried various suggestions, even the Chinese Gold Coin Grass herb. Nothing really worked.
I finally came across a suggestion that seemed plausible. It was lecithin.
I started taking 3 teaspoons of granular lecithin with meals everyday. In 2 days, the spasms stoppoed. I have continued taking 3 teaspoons of lecithin per day with my doctor's approval, and I have been spasm free for almost 2 years now.
With the spasm free nights, I sleep much better.
Lecithin contains choline compounds. Choline helps prevent the abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver. Some studies suggest that it may also help dissolve fatty deposits in the liver , gall bladder and blood vessels. Choline is used by our body to transport and metabolize fats. Choline also regulates inflamation in our cardiovascular system.
I also eat half a red beet root everyday, also. Compounds found in red beet root increases bile flow, which helps prevent fatty buildup in the liver and bile ducts. Betalain found in beet roots also converts choline to betaine, which provides anti-inflamatory functions in our body.
For more information on the benefits of exercise and a proper diet, click on .

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Barley For Breakfast

Oatmeal gets most of the attention concerning a nutritious breakfast. However, many do not realize that barley may be a better choice.

40 grams of dry oatmeal gets you about 4 grams of dietary fiber, while the same amount of dry hulled barley gets you a whopping 7.5 grams of dietary fiber.

Barley is also an excellent source of selenium, which is a powerful cancer fighter. Selenium also helps prevent heart disease.

Barley is also an excellent source of copper. Copper

  • helps your body absorb and use iron to synthesize hemoglobin
  • helps to maintain the integrity of myelin - the covering of nerve cells
  • is needed for the maturation of collagen
  • is needed for the formation of elastin and bone development
  • is used in a number of enzymes required for energy production.

The various forms of barley are

  • Hulled Barley - This form is truly a whole grain and the most nutritious form of barley. Only the outermost hull of the grain is removed. This form also required soaking and more cooking time.
  • Pearl Barley - The outermost hull is polished off, and the grain's bran layer and perhaps some of the inner endosperm layer may be removed during processing. This makes this form less nutritious than the hulled form.
  • Barley Flakes - the grain is flattened and sliced, and appears similar to rolled oats. The nutrition content can vary depending on how it is process and whether it is made from hulled or pearl barley.

Hulled barley should be cooked for about 90 minutes, while pearl barley requires about 1 hour of cooking. What I usually do is place the barley in boiling water, and then turn off the heat and cover. I let the barley soak in the hot water overnight. The next morning, I cook the soaked barley for about 20 to 30 minutes and serve hot.

For one serving, use 1/4 cups of dry hulled barley. Soak in 1 to 1 1/4 cups of boiling water overnight - turn off heat and cover for overnight soaking. The next morning, cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Add salt to taste. I also add 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon, and a drop of vanilla. I then add the cooked barley to 1 chopped banana, 1/4 cups of raisins and 1/4 cups of chopped walnuts in a cereal bowl.

Barley is more chewier than oatmeal. However, I enjoy the taste, and it gives me a hearty and nutritious breakfast.

For more information on Barley see

For oatmeal information and recipes see


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Americans Take Fewer Steps Each Day

Study results from the University of Tennessee have shown that Americans fewer steps each day than people from Australia, Switzerland and Japan.

Interestingly, study results also show that 34% of Americans are obese, compared with 16% in Australia, 8% in Switzerlan and 3% in Japan. Being more physically active by walking does have a major impact on our health. In another study by the Pennisngton Biomedical Research Center found that those who walk 10000 steps each day reduce their odds of developing cardiovascular disease rish factors by 72%. This is compared to those who walk less than 5000 steps each day.

We can increase our steps per day by taking more walking trips.

  • Get your own coffee or water rather than asking someone else to get it for you.

  • Walk to lunch or the store

  • Walk to soccer practice

  • Use stairs rather than an elevator or escalator

  • Keep the TV remote on the other side of the room

  • Use a push rather than riding lawn mower

  • Hand deliver messages rather than using the phone or email

Click on " Walking 10000 Steps Per Day " for more information on the benefits of walking.

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