Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Drinking Alcohol May Not Cause Weight Gain

It's a common misconception that alcohol and weight loss are mortal enemies. The reality may be surprising... In fact, scientists have discovered that alcohol may not be a deal breaker as it pertains to burning fat.
Alcohol does contain calories, in fact, it has just 2 calories per gram less than fat, so it makes sense that avoiding alcohol would promote weight loss. The reality is not so neat and simple.
Alcohol may actually benefit your metabolism when you keep it to moderate levels. First, moderate alcohol intake can activate an enzyme called AMP kinase which improves insulin sensitivity, lowers triglycerides, lowers blood glucose, and lowers body weight.
Finally, moderate alcohol intake increase the activity of catecholamines, neurotransmitters that burn fat by keeping the metabolism burning.
Now the down side. As you know, there are a number of consequences to drinking alcoholic beverages. First, alcohol does come with calories, and, depending on the drink that you choose, often quite a few calories. If you choose low carb, low-calorie drinks then you can get by with relatively few calories.
Next, drinking is often associated with eating poor quality, high-fat, high-carb bar food. This can certainly place some strain on your metabolism and can, in and of itself, negate any positive benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption.
Scientists discovered that alcohol doesn't make you do stupid thing, it simply makes you not care about doing stupid things. This means that alcohol knocks out the mental breaks that prevent you from acting on impulses and thoughts. The result is you may find yourself eating a whole bag of Oreo cookies or chips when you get home from the bar. This is perhaps the biggest problem with drinking, it causes you to eat foods that are not so fat loss friendly.
So, what do you do? Drink alcohol? Avoid it like the plague?
1. Avoid greasy bar food when drinking. Make sure that you eat something healthy before heading to the bar.
2. Order alcoholic drinks that are low-carb and low-calorie. Some great choices include: rum and diet cola, dry red wine, MGD 64, and Michelob Ultra. Avoid sugary drinks at all cost.
3. If you're looking to burn that spare tire, my recommendation is to avoid alcohol altogether. If your trying to maintain your weight, limit daily alcohol to no more than one glass or one "party night".
4. Remember that alcohol can interfere with healthy sleep, so plan on getting a few extra hours of sleep after your "party night"
5. If you have a particularly bad night, try using a meal replacement shake for weight loss support. Meal replacements can give your body the break it needs to burn some of the extra fat.
Although it may sound like alcohol promotes fat loss, it is no fat loss miracle. That being said, it may not be the evil fattening beverage that many believe it to be. So, for now, keep alcohol to a minimum and if you throw down a couple of glasses of red wine on the weekend, don't worry too much about it, go ahead and enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Health to the Text!

Have you approached your health and wellness in a fairly traditional manner? Take a walk on the digital side as far as your health is concerned, blaze new avenues to get you to peak wellness? Let's consider some possible opportunities to reach outside your comfort zone, use new technologies, and explore what advances in the healthcare arena can propel us forward.
Living in the digital age provides exciting applications we can use to be healthier and more informed. Here are some great tools:
1. Tracking daily pollen counts can empower allergy sufferers. If you know the pollen count is high, you can plan to minimize exposure. Use the World's first Sneeze Alarm, have the pollen forecast delivered right to your door (phone that is). Depending on how high or low the current count is, you will awake to the sounds of sneezing. You will be able to distinguish what your allergy day will look like based on the number of the sneezes. The pollen count for the Clarityn Sneeze Alarm is provided by the University of Worchester. This is absolutely not a normal wake-up call but one that gets your allergy head on for the day.
2. Another great feature is the Clarityn Allergy Forecast Tool, this uses your smartphone's camera and GPS feature to analyze the pollen count around you in wonderful animated 3D. The pollen forecast for the Claritin sneeze alarm is provided by the University of Worchester.
3. Are you looking for new, innovative ways to improve your heart health? CardioSmart has launched a free, interactive tool called PREVENT. You will be sent health tips, advice and reminders to your cell phone. The content was developed by The American Academy of Cardiology. You will receive two messages a week during the six month program.
4. Need some help with your smoking cessation program? CardioSmart has a free, interactive program called QUIT where you can receive text messages designed to help with your goals of smoking cessation. This is also available in Spanish.
5. SmokefreeTXT is a program that is designed to help young adults all over the United States quit smoking. The National Cancer Institute developed the content for the program. This is an opportunity to get text messages that are encouraging and offer advice and tips to help on your journey to give up smoking once and for all.
Take a walk on the digital side and see what an abundance of tools are available to help us reach our personal health goals. Put your health to the TEXT, use this as a means to encourage you on your journey to better health.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Medical Bill Help

Some battles over consumer free speech are having a dramatic effect on the law around medical privacy, at least in America, where thorny, complicated legislation raises all sorts of questions about what a doctor, a patient or an insurer can say in public. The latest scrutiny of laws like HIPAA relates to the simple practice of a patient posting something that they liked, or didn't like, about a doctor's office, online.
Careful What You Sign
In many cases, the source of these legal challenges are the forms that you sign when waiting for service at your doctor's office. Hidden in some of these forms, often in fine print, are legalese rules governing 'disclosure' or, in other words, effectively muzzling you on what you can and can't say as it relates to your medical visit experience.
These agreements aren't a big deal unless you decide you want to submit an online review. When a negative review goes out, you may encounter an unexpected retaliation. In some shocking cases, providers have been known to threaten to sue patients with some going a few steps further as recently aired in the media. The charge? Breach of contract.
Patients Fight Back
Patients who see 'fees' attached to their bills for public reviews that they have posted are not likely to pay up, and it seems that many of these cases are going straight to court, often in the form of counter-suits against a provider. It's likely that local courts will look favorably on the patient's right to express thoughts about providers with little regard for restrictive prior agreements on paper, especially since there's a good case to be made that these forms are signed under a specific kind of duress. But the issues do raise further challenges, about who can say what, and when. Now there's the question, batted around in law offices and other venues around the country, about whether a provider's response to one of these reviews might also violate medical privacy laws.
The eventual result is a situation where people just aren't sure what's allowed and what's not. And free speech experiences are fundamentally squashed. Read the fine print in any contract or consent form that a doctor's office wants you to sign. If you don't understand or don't agree with any portion, talk with your doctor before your exam. Continue to communicate proactively with your medical provider so that you will receive the care and service you deserve.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Road to Greatness - Become a Better Athlete

Looking to become a better athlete? It takes dedication and hard work to be an athlete. Here's how you can become a better one.
Personal Trainer
To excel at sports you need to find a personal trainer who can push you to even higher levels of success. If you have a personal trainer and you just aren't seeing the results you need then it's time to re-evaluate your trainer. Sometimes all it takes is to find a trainer that has the same drive you do and wants to see you excel. Your trainer can be critical to your overall goals so make sure you have one that works for you. Don't hesitate to change if the arrangement isn't working for you.
Positive Enforcement
Your ability to excel at sports is very much mental as well as physical. If you're not being positive when it comes to your sport or athletics then you're missing out on something that can benefit you. If during your workout you are negative all the time then it's gone to become a habit and your attitude will make it difficult for you to excel and push forward. If on the other hand you reinforce yourself with positive messages, even if you fail then you will push through stumbling blocks and become a better athlete. The mind is just as important as your body in athletics.
If you're not performing as well as you want, then it's time to look at your overall strength. Often you just need a bit more training to get to where you want to be. A different routine can help and this is where your personal trainer can help you. As you get stronger you'll be able to evaluate your performances and times and see if there's an improvement.
While strength is important it isn't going to get you very far unless you have good flexibility. If there isn't the range of motion that you need then you'll need to improve your overall flexibility so you have just that little bit more you need for a better result. Just remember that many athletic events are won in a fraction of a second and your flexibility can play a role here.
Being able to keep going even when you're tired separates the average athlete from the exceptional one. You need the endurance to excel at athletics. The more you practice and work on your time and speed the better you'll get. Your body will adapt as you push it to higher levels.
What you eat is just as important as how hard you train. You might not be eating as well as you could for your sport. Seek the advice of a nutritionist and work through meal plans that better suit you. Having more energy from your meals can help you push through to new levels. Consider a sports nutritionist not just a regular one as they understand the needs of athletes.
Many Factors
It takes a lot of effort to become a better athlete. Be prepared to put in the effort to get there and keep a positive attitude. Seek a nutritionist, decent trainer, and never give up.