Category Archives: Weight

5 Reasons Stair Climbing is Good For You – Part One

I wanted to rerun this item on stair-climbing as a superb alternative to trying to exercise in the sub-zero weather which we have been experiencing in much of the country.

Regular readers know that I have been an avid bicycle rider for years. I logged over 7000 miles in the year just ended. And, I have not stopped riding. I have, however, begun a new exercise, for me – climbing stairs.

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Although this person is walking down the stairs, I don’t recommend it. You can develop knee problems among others.

How come? Well, the only drawback to cycling I know of is that it is not weight-bearing. So, while the aerobic activity benefits my cardiovascular system greatly, I get no benefits for my skeletal system. I need both and I just can’t get into weight workouts.

An additional benefit of  stair climbing over bike riding is that you can do it indoors so the weather conditions do not present a problem. Having just suffered through historic cold weather with much of the country, this is particularly relevant now. While current temps here in Chicago range in the mid 30’s, there is still a lot of snow, ice and slush around that makes for dangerous biking conditions.

So, what about climbing stairs? It burns more calories than running and doesn’t beat up your legs as much as running does. RunSociety says, “When you stair climb for exercise, you burn twice the fat in half the time than if you run and three times more than walking. An intense stair-climbing exercise session will produce more aerobic benefits in a shorter amount of time than running or walking. One hour of stair climbing will burn approximately 1000 calories.”

Nonetheless, you can climb at your own pace and still get a good workout.

A New York Times article by Dr. Harvey Simon on the heath sciences technology faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding editor of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch, wrote, “What’s so special about climbing stairs? Researchers in Canada answered the question by monitoring 17 healthy male volunteers with an average age of 64 while they walked on the level, lifted weights or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. It was twice as taxing as brisk walking on the level and 50 percent harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights. And peak exertion was attained much faster climbing stairs than walking, which is why nearly everyone huffs and puffs going up stairs, at least until their “second wind” kicks in after a few flights.”
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Filed under aerobics, biking, Harvard, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, men's health, stair climbing, Weight, weight-bearing exercise

The Sweet Truth About Chocolate

In view of Valentine’s Day tomorrow and tons of chocolate being consumed in honor of it, I thought it might be useful to get a taste of chocolate’s impact on our health.

Medical News Today says, “Throughout the years, chocolate has been on the end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, and its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

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“However, ‘the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential.’
The potential benefits of eating chocolate may include:
▪ lowering cholesterol levels
▪ preventing cognitive decline
▪ reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, chocolate cravings, Exercise, Valentine's Day, Weight

Yoda on Losing Weight

I am resending this on the blog as my Christmas present to you. My girlfriend gave me a Yoda hoodie for Christmas with the quote – “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Those were Yoda’s words to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke was stuck, unsuccessful and becoming frustrated with his failure. Luke precipitated that fabulous quote when he said, “Okay, I’ll give it a try.”

I always liked Yoda’s words. There seemed to be a deep meaning to them. How can you do something without trying? I never quite got what it was, but I always sensed there was a profound meaning in there some place. I don’t know how many years ago I heard that quote. It was in a movie theater when that particular installment of the Star Wars Trilogy was showing. Surely more than 10 years have gone by, maybe 20. Anyway, I finally got it.


I was riding my bicycle yesterday afternoon and just kind of playing with the idea of trying. What does it mean to try? That happens a lot when I am riding. I have told people that riding is my meditation. It just happens to burn calories. I don’t ride the bike for that, though. I do it because I love riding. Everything else is just gravy.

That’s how I finally got Yoda’s message.
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Intermittent fasting yields broad range of health benefits – Study

As a guy who likes to eat and snack, I had a weight problem for most of my life, so the idea of fasting – prolonged and intermittently – isn’t so appealing. Nonetheless, this study from Texas State University shows positive effects.

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Intermittent fasting may provide significant health benefits, including improved cardiometabolic health, improved blood chemistry and reduced risk for diabetes, new research conducted in part at Texas State University indicates. Continue reading

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Filed under blood pressure, ideal weight, intermittent fasting, overweight, Uncategorized, Weight, weight control

Use of diet pills, laxatives for weight control linked with later eating disorder diagnosis

Among young women without an eating disorder diagnosis, those who use diet pills and laxatives for weight control had higher odds of receiving a subsequent first eating disorder diagnosis within one to three years than those who did not report using these products, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital.

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“We’ve known that diet pills and laxatives when used for weight control can be very harmful substances. We wanted to find out if these products could be a gateway behavior that could lead to an eating order diagnosis,” said senior author S. Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School and director of STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders). “Our findings parallel what we’ve known to be true with tobacco and alcohol: starting harmful substances can set young people on a path to worsening problems, including serious substance use disorder.” Continue reading

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5 Weight loss tips from Tufts

Try these tips to avoid some common weight loss myths, according to Tufts Health & Nurtrition Letter.

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-Avoid refined starch and sugar, not all carbs. Cut back on or eliminate white bread, white rice, refined breakfast cereals and crackers, potato and corn chips, fries, bakery desserts, sweets, and soda.-Fill up with minimally processed, high fiber, phytochemical-rich foods. Seek out fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and less processed whole grains (steel-cut oats, cracked wheat, barley, millet). These healthy choices help stave off hunger.

-Enjoy healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and plant oils (olive, avocado, soybean, canola, etc.), as well as fish and unsweetened yogurt, are all great choices for weight and your overall health. Moderate consumption of cheese, eggs, and poultry is also better than choosing starchy and sugary foods.

-Maintain or build muscle. Keep active and eat adequate protein to preserve or even increase muscle mass. This will help to achieve healthy, long-term weight loss and maintenance.

-Combine diet and exercise. Physical activity is important for weight maintenance, but on its own isn’t likely to have as much impact as when you also change your diet.

-Time MEALS right. The ideal meal frequency is the one that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel and perform your best.

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Exercising while restricting calories could be bad for bone health – Study

A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research shows how bones in mammals are negatively impacted by calorie restriction, and particularly by the combination of exercise and calorie restriction. Maya Styner, MD, associate professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, is the senior author on the study.

“These findings were somewhat of a surprise for us,” Styner said. “Past studies in mice have shown us that exercise paired with a normal calorie diet, and even a high calorie diet, is good for bone health. Now we’re learning this isn’t true for exercise along with a calorie-restricted diet.”

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Styner’s research focuses on the fat in bone marrow of mice. Although fat in the bone is poorly understood, to date it is thought to be harmful to bones of mammals, including humans, because it makes bone weaker. Less fat is usually an indication of better bone health. Styner’s past studies have looked at the effects of calorie consumption on bone marrow fat, along with the role exercise plays. She’s found that in obesity caused by excess calories, the amount of bone marrow fat is increased. Exercise in both obese and normal weight mice decreased bone marrow fat and improved the density of bones. Continue reading

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Filed under calorie counting, calorie restriction, Exercise, exercise benefits, Weight

How about a reduced calorie version of Jamba Juice’s Orange Dream Machine?

I have to confess that the taste of the Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine takes me all the way back to the joy of my childhood instantaneously. Even though I know that I now have far fewer taste buds functioning in my mouth than I did when I was a child, the Jamba Juice flavor is identical to what I remember the original Orange Dreamsicle starburst of flavor tasted like in my mouth as a child. I know I had one before I was a teenager, so it was many years ago.

Whenever I pass a Jamba Juice I will stop in and order an Orange Dream Machine and savor it for the next quarter of an hour or so. I think it costs around $5.00. I wondered if it would be possible to duplicate that flavor at home on my Vita-Mix machine.

It seems simple enough. There is the taste of orange and the mellowing flavor of milk. This is the kind of ingredient list made to order for Mr. Lazy Cook.

After a number of ‘close calls’ I have come up with the following recipe:

1/2 cup of vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of vanilla non-fat yogurt
2/3 cup of orange sherbet
1/2 cup of ice cubes

Place it all in the Vita-Mix container and close the lid. Begin on the lowest speed and build to the top. I did not shift into the top speed as I did not want to make it solid. Blend just till smooth.

By my taste buds this is an exact match as far as taste goes to the Jamba Juice product. I specified taste because nutrition-wise, Mr. Lazy Cook’s is far superior.
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Filed under calories, lazy cook, Uncategorized, Vita Mix, Vita-Mix, Weight, weight control

The Importance of Portion Control – Rush

I think the first lesson I learned when I started writing this blog 10 years ago was the importance of portion control and serving size. If you aren’t paying attention to portion size and serving size for the food you eat, you are just kidding yourself about getting control of your weight. Here’s what the Rush Health and Wellness Bulletin has to say:

Are you having trouble losing weight even though you’re making healthier lifestyle choices — sacrificing sweets, swapping French fries for a side salad and sweating bullets at the gym? Do you continue to mount the scale, week after week, only to discover the same stubborn number staring back at you?

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The problem might not be what you’re eating, but how much you’re eating. In fact, portion control is often the most challenging hurdle on a person’s path to weight loss. Continue reading

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You can cut your ice cream calories

I scream, you scream. We all scream for ice cream.

Okay, summer season has officially arrived. Even here in Chicago where we have experienced the coldest spring in my memory. So, let’s talk about ice cream.

Ice cream was one of the highlights of my childhood summers and I can’t deny still feeling attracted to it at this time of year.

A waffle cone can double the calories in your ice cream treat.

A waffle cone can double the calories in your ice cream treat.

For the most part, ice cream is empty calories, but with a little foresight, you can still enjoy some without getting into trouble. Just don’t overdo it. Continue reading

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Filed under calorie counting, calories, ice cream, overweight, Weight, weight control, weight gain

20 Benefits of walking 30 minutes a day – Infographic

For the record, I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise universe – totally unappreciated. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more for further details.

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Tony

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Some tips for biking in cold weather …

Baby, it’s cold outside! (So, sue me.)

I am reblogging this because the Weather Channel said that more than 20 million people are under cold weather conditions today.

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

“The hawk is back.” That’s what we Chicagoans say when temperatures turn cold here. I woke up to 22F degrees the other morning. Mid November is a bit early for such temps, but if you want to ride your bike, you deal with it. By the way, when temps fall to sub zero, the expression is, “The hawk is back … and he brought his whole damn family.”

So, winter seems to have come early to Chicago.

Whether you ride a bike or not, I think you will find some useful info here.

From the Toronto Star The Wall Street Journal a while back had a cleverly written item on Your Outdoor Sports Survival Guide, by Jason Gay. He aptly describes “the maniacal joy of Survival Season,” and observes “Nobody looks suave playing sports in the freezing cold. If you are doing it correctly, you look a little unhinged…

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Nitty-gritty on Sleep vs. Weight-loss

I think that a good night’s sleep is possibly one of the most singularly unappreciated aspects of living a healthy life. There is a Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? with tons more information on the subject. I stumbled across the following infographic, however, and thought it was particularly interesting.

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Tony

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Filed under good night's sleep, normal weight gain, overweight, sleep, sleep deprivation, Weight, weight loss

7 Coffee Facts You Need to Know

As a coffee drinker and coffee lover, I enjoyed this post and thought you might, too.

Tony

Athletic Performance Training Center

Apparently, Saturday, September 29 was National Coffee Day.  I missed it.

I’ve touted the benefits of coffee and caffeine in past articles and blog posts (Please see Coffee, Caffeine, and Exercise, among others).  Here’s an informative article from The Ladders’ Meredith Lepore.  Read it with your daily cup of java.

It seems like every day there is a new study telling us either that coffee is slowly killing us, making us healthier, making us smarter, making us dumber, helping us grow wings, etc., However there are a number of studies that have come out recently that reveal some very interesting facts about your daily cup of joe. In honor of National Coffee Day, this Saturday, check out these 7 facts about coffee.

It can make everyone you work with so much more appealing

A recent study that appears in the Journal of Psychopharmacology finds that if you have coffee…

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The problem of obesity

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported

  – Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
– In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
– 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
– Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
– 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
– Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
– Obesity is preventable.

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What are obesity and overweight

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Continue reading

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Sleepless nights add pounds – Study

An international team of researchers has found that a single sleepless night can alter metabolic processes leading to weight gain and lack of muscle maintenance. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of the impact of a sleepless night on several volunteers.

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Prior research has shown that interfering with normal sleep patterns can lead to weight gain—night shift workers, for example, have a tendency to gain weight. But until now, the mechanism responsible for such metabolic changes has not been known. To learn more, the researchers with this new effort enlisted the assistance of 15 adult volunteers. Each volunteer was tested in a lab on two separate occasions. One of the occasions was after getting a good night’s sleep, the other was after the volunteer had stayed up all night. Each submitted blood, fat and muscle samples, which the researchers then studied looking for differences.

They found differences in gene activity linked to the production of proteins associated with lipid absorption and cell proliferation in the volunteers between the two visits. More specifically, they found that when volunteers missed a night of sleep, they had elevated levels of both metabolites and proteins that are involved in the process of storing fat. They also experienced a breakdown of proteins that are involved in muscle buildup and repair. The researchers also found that missing a single night of sleep caused changes to genes that have been associated with a type of inflammation linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The team reports that they do not know how long the metabolic changes lasted after the volunteers returned to normal sleep patterns. But they point out that their study shows that sleep serves more functions than previously thought—it is not just to rejuvenate the brain or to conserve energy, it also plays a role in overall metabolism. They suggest more study is required to determine if such changes due to episodic sleep disruptions become long-term.

To read further on the value of sleep check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

Tony

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Filed under good night's sleep, normal weight gain, sleep, sleep deprivation, Weight, weight control, weight gain