Category Archives: weight loss

Just how healthy is watermelon?

It’s early in watermelon season and I thought it might be nice to discuss this giant member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Although watermelons are sold year ’round, summer is their season and that’s when you get the best tasting ones. It is aptly named because a watermelon consists of 92 percent water. Can you say super-hydrator?

Full disclosure: Mr. Lazy Cook loves watermelon. What’s not to like? It is utterly simple to deal with and tastes delicious. Below is a photo of my first watermelon this year. Yum.

My first watermelon of the season

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Filed under calorie counting, calories, healthy eating, lazy cook, watermelon, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Exercise trumps weight loss for heart patients – Study

 

It seems to be that sedentary is fast becoming a dirty word when it comes to a healthy extended life. The more we act to remove it from our lives that better off we will be.

Increased physical activity, not weight loss, gives individuals with coronary heart disease a longer lease on life, according to a new study conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

NTNU researchers have found that heart disease patients can gain weight without jeopardizing their health, but sitting in their recliner incurs significant health risks.

Weight loss seems to be associated with increased mortality for the participants in the study who were normal weight at baseline. The survey, which is an observational study based on data from HUNT (the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study), was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC).

Researcher Trine Moholdt in NTNU’s Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging collaborated on the study with cardiologist Carl J. Lavie at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, and Javaid Nauman at NTNU.

They studied 3307 individuals (1038 women) with coronary heart disease from HUNT. Data from HUNT constitute Norway’s largest collection of health information about a population. A total of 120,000 people have consented to making their anonymized health information available for research, and nearly 80,000 individuals have released blood tests.

HUNT patients were examined in 1985, 1996 and 2007, and followed up to the end of 2014. The data from HUNT were compared with data from the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry.

During the 30-year period, 1493 of the participants died and 55 per cent of the deaths were due to cardiovascular disease.

“This study is important because we’ve been able to look at change over time, and not many studies have done that, so I am forever grateful to HUNT and the HUNT participants,” said Moholdt.

Exercise and live longer

The study revealed that people who are physically active live longer than those who are not. Sustained physical activity over time was associated with substantially lower mortality risk. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, longevity, successful aging, Weight, weight control, weight loss

New review highlights benefits of plant-based diets for heart health

There seems to be a lot of pro-plant based diet info coming out of late. The old ‘meat and potatoes’ diets we grew up on in the ’50’s are being viewed in some doubt. Attitudes change as we learn more about health benefits. While I don’t mean to equate smoking with eating meat, I remember when my first wife was pregnant with our daughter in the 1960’s she said she was going to quit smoking till the baby was born. I thought that seemed really extreme at the time. These days no sane mom-to-be would consider ‘lighting up.’

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Vegetarian, especially vegan, diets are associated with better cardiovascular health, according to a new review published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

Researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine looked at multiple clinical trials and observational studies and found strong and consistent evidence that plant-based dietary patterns can prevent and reverse atherosclerosis and decrease other markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, including blood pressure, blood lipids, and weight. Continue reading

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Filed under blocked arteries, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, cholesterol, good weight loss foods, HDL Cholesterol, hypertension, LDL Cholesterol, weight loss

Why we choose the donut over the apple – MNT

As a person who has had a weight problem for much of his adult life, food choices loom large on my radar. I love snacking, pizza, cheeseburgers, you name the junk food, I likely love it. However, I weigh in the mid 150 pound area and have done so for the past seven years. What has worked for me is clearly thinking about what the food means to me in terms of my health. Not focusing on how good it is going to taste and how much I have always loved that flavor. I tie my action to its likely consequences. The clear goal of eating healthy has been my solution. These researchers have some interesting ideas to add to the discussion.

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Everyone knows that an apple per day is a more healthful option than a donut and yet, given the choice, many people would still choose the donut. A new study has revealed that food choices could be down to the associations that we make with food-related stimuli.

Researchers explain why the urge to eat a donut is mightier than the urge to eat an apple — even though the apple is the more healthful option.

 

Aukje Verhoeven, Sanne de Wit, and Poppy Watson, all psychologists at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, conducted the research.

Their findings were published in the journal Appetite.

The consumption of unhealthful foods is on the rise around the world, which is contributing to the more than 1.9 billion adults who are overweight globally.

Among children in the United States, more than 27 percent of calories each day come from snacks, including salted snacks, candy, desserts, and sweetened beverages. This could have hazardous consequences for their health.

Learned cues affect food choices

Government initiatives have focused on making people more aware of the adverse effects of eating unhealthfully. However, most people fail to adhere to the recommended food guidelines, and eating behaviors often remain unchanged.

Though it is not clear why informational interventions do not work, evidence suggests that food-related stimuli in the environment may play a role in triggering unhealthful eating habits.

“Health warnings often make people want to choose healthier food products, yet many still end up picking unhealthy food products,” explains Verhoeven. “We suspected this might partly be due to the fact that people learn to associate specific cues in their environment with certain food choices.”

For example, seeing a large “M” sign in the environment has been linked to reward, such as eating a cheeseburger, which then prompts a craving and could trigger a trip to the restaurant for a burger. Continue reading

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Filed under food choices, good weight loss foods, ideal weight, normal weight gain, snack foods, Snacking, weight control, weight loss

Morning mushrooms may be key weight control tool – Study

Shades of Alice in Wonderland!  A new study demonstrates that mushrooms may have near magical powers in making your body feel as full as if you had consumed meat – when protein levels are matched. This could be really good news for anyone who feels concerned about reducing his saturated fat consumption from red meats.

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If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then mushrooms may be one of the most imperative ingredients. A new study on satiety published in the October issue of the journal Appetite indicates that eating a mushroom-rich breakfast may result in less hunger and a greater feeling of fullness after the mushroom breakfast compared to the meat breakfast.

“Previous studies on mushrooms suggest that they can be more satiating than meat, but this effect had not been studied with protein-matched amounts until now,” said gut health and satiety researcher and study author Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, professor at the University of Minnesota. “As with previous published research, this study indicates there may be both a nutritional and satiating benefit to either substituting mushrooms for meat in some meals or replacing some of the meat with mushrooms.” Continue reading

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Filed under good weight loss foods, mushrooms, Weight, weight control, weight loss, weight mainetenance

5 Habits that work for weight loss – Harvard

I think that deciding to live a healthy life is a far more rewarding goal than ‘losing a few pounds.’ Unfortunately, I think peoples’ eyes glaze over contemplating the general idea of living a health life. Whereas, lopping off a few offending pounds resonates. Statistics show that 60 percent of us are overweight and half of those folks are outright obese. So, we need to know some weight loss techniques. I think Harvard does a good job on this list from the Harvard Heart Letter.

1. Make time to prepare healthy meals

Home-cooked food tends to be far lower in calories, fat, salt, and sugar than restaurant food and most processed food. But it takes time and effort to choose recipes, go to the store, and cook. Take a close look at your weekly schedule to see if you can carve out a few hours to devote to meal planning and shopping, which is more than half the battle, says Dr. Blackburn. It could be on Sunday afternoon or in 15- to 30-minute increments throughout the week. Continue reading

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10 Metabolism secrets to help shed pounds – Infographic

The aim of this blog is not to simply lose weight. It is to live a healthy, happy and long life and to have all our mental faculties functional till the end. I am including this infographic because it has a lot of good information on those very things – as well as losing weight.

Eat less; move move; live longer.

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Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, overweight, stress, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Keeping your weight in check as you age

I am aging along with everybody else on this earth. That has important aspects and implications. Me at 30 is not the same as me at 50 nor me at plus 70. It helps to know what to expect.

Most of our lives we hear that thinner is better. That is true, but for older folks activity becomes a more important factor. We have to be able to continue to do all our activities. As WebMD says, “It’s less about what you weigh and more about how much of your weight is muscle instead of fat. Your doctor can tell you if your weight is on track, in light of your age and overall health.”

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Don’t cop out. “My metabolism is slowing” is a fact from our 20’s onward. It’s not a reason to stop working on your weight and health. If you stop being active, your body will shift to more fat and less muscle. Fat doesn’t burn calories, so an inactive person will gain weight. Eat less, move more is the mantra of this blog and should be of every person.

Being active works muscles and allows you to consume more calories. Sedentary oldsters are the ones with weight and health problems. You can have some cake and eat it, too, just choose a reasonable amount.

WebMd makes a good point about aging and eating, “Those corners you cut when you were younger (huge portions, happy hours, little to no exercise) You can’t get away with that any more. But age does not have to equal weight gain.”

Check out my previous post on strength training. Even if your muscles have slacked off with you, you can revive them and revitalize yourself. Muscle loss isn’t permanent. Health clubs have free weights, weight machines and there are numerous exercises you can do just using your own body weight including yoga that will build muscle.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle due to aging. This results from lack of activity, hormonal changes and poor nutrition. Eat less and move more. Sarcopenia does not have to be a permanent condition.

The bottom line is that your health doesn’t have to shrink and your waistline doesn’t have to bulge as you age. But, you do have to take an active part in the process. As you age, your margin of error does shrink. So, pay close attention to what and how much you eat. Get out there and get some exercise. Walking is a very good way to start. It works your muscles and clears your mind as well as burning the odd calorie.

Check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off for more guidelines.

No one likes folks who don’t practice what they preach. About 10 years ago my weight got out of control and I ballooned over 220 pounds. I took off 50 pounds in a year, but that only got me down to the mid-170’s. You can read How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

I am now 77 years old and wear the same size pants I wore in high school. I ride my bike around 6000 miles a year here in Chicago. My resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. I have weighed in the low 150s for six years. If I can reach this level of health, there is no reason you can’t, too. Just decide to do it.

Tony

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Filed under aging, aging myths, Exercise, exercise benefits, Weight, weight control, weight loss

No Weight-Loss Protection from Vitamin D – Tufts

I have said time and again that losing weight is not a good goal. Instead, work at living a  healthy life, eat intelligently and exercise regularly. Do that and you will never have to lose weight. I have been doing it since six months into writing this blog and now, eight years later, I have fluctuated about five pounds on either side of my 155 pound weight.

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This info from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter, highlights postmenopausal women, but has wider implications.

While losing weight can protect you against chronic diseases, it does come with a downside – especially for postmenopausal women: Studies have shown that obese older women who lose weight also lose lean muscle mass and bone mineral density (BMD), particularly if they are inactive, potentially putting them at greater risk of frailty and falls. Continue reading

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How often should you weigh yourself?

The waistline on your pants keeps shrinking for some reason. You joined a health club and even went there and sweated. So you have decided you want to get serious about this weight loss thing.

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Should you be weighing yourself every morning? Are you going to be bummed if those 30 minutes on the elliptical machine haven’t pared some pounds overnight?

Welcome! You are beginning to learn that weight loss and weight control are mental as well as physical. In fact, I think they are more mental than physical. They are also things that occur over a continuum, as opposed to overnight. I you are carrying extra baggage, it took you a while to accumulate. Give yourself adequate time to unload it.

So, what about weighing in regularly? The answer is … Yes. It is a good idea. You need to get feedback on your efforts. You also need information on more than a weekly basis.

There are a few important things to keep in mind, though. First of all, your weight can vary by one or two percent on a daily basis just based on hydration and elimination. So, you can’t take a daily jump or drop in weight too seriously. Keep the trend in mind. Remember, you didn’t put the weight on overnight, so you can’t expect to take it off that fast. In fact, a good rule to keep in mind is that one pound to 1.5 pounds a week is a good healthy rate of loss. You want to lose permanently, not just water weight. That’s why you are eating intelligently now and working out regularly.

One of the most important aspects to daily weighing is not to feel guilty or get frustrated if you don’t see immediate results. Keep a level head and your eyes on your goal and you will be successful.

I wrote a page on How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off. There are a lot of very useful guidelines in it. I know they work because I used them myself over the course of writing this blog for the past four plus years. Check ’em out. They couldn’t hurt. And good luck!

Finally, I would like to make one further suggestion. If you have success shedding pounds, and I hope you do, take a moment to reflect on what got you there. You have eaten intelligently and exercised regularly. I have a secret for you. If you continue to eat intelligently and exercise regularly you will never have to worry about your weight again. Wouldn’t that be lovely?! I hope you will consider it as an alternative to going back to your careless ways and packing on extra pounds again.

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Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, weighing, weight control, weight loss

More bad news for expanding waistlines

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers make the case that metabolic syndrome is the new silent killer and that the “love handle” can be fatal.

I have posted on obesity in general and expanding waistlines in particular. If you want to read further on these subjects, check the links at the end of this post.

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University make the case that metabolic syndrome — a cluster of three of more risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes — is the new “silent killer,” analogous to hypertension in the 1970s. As it turns out, the “love handle” can be fatal.

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In a commentary published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics , the authors describe how being overweight and obesity contribute to metabolic syndrome, which affects 1 in 3 adults and about 40 percent of adults aged 40 and older. Clinicians have traditionally evaluated each of the major risk factors contributing to metabolic syndrome on an individual basis. There is evidence, however, that the risk factors are more than just the sum of their parts.  Continue reading

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Weight loss facts that work

Since eating temptations abound around Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share these observations on weight.

“…. There are facts about obesity of which we may be reasonably certain — facts that are useful today,” says researcher Krista Casazza, PhD, RD, from the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a prepared statement, WebMD reported.

Here they are:

1. “Your genes are not your destiny. Moderate environmental changes can promote as much weight loss as even the best weight-loss drugs.”

I love this one. So often people use ‘bad genes’ as an excuse for their weight problems, ignoring completely their own bad eating habits.

2.”Even without weight loss, physical activity improves health.”

Another winner. I have reiterated this statement in at least 25 different posts on this blog. Eat less; move more; live longer.

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3. “Physical activity or exercise in the right amounts does help people lose weight.”

Amen. Listen to Uncle Sam.

4. “Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss helps people keep the weight off. Think of obesity as a chronic condition.”

Likewise, I think of good eating and exercise habits as chronic, too.

5. “For overweight children, involving the family and home environment in weight-loss efforts is ideal.”

6. “Providing actual meals or meal replacements works better for weight loss than does general advice about food choices.”

Both 5 and 6 sound like first rate advice.

7. “Weight-loss drugs can help some people lose weight.”

I am not going to argue with the experts here, but I sincerely doubt that the weight stays off if they don’t change their eating and exercise habits. I repeat my recommendation to pay attention to what you eat and exercise regularly. That will melt the pounds away. You won’t need drugs.

8. “Bariatric surgery can help achieve long-term weight loss in some people.”

The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health. Our tax dollars at work.

I would like to say for the record that I don’t believe losing weight works. It is only temporary at best. If, instead, you get your head on straight and aim to live a healthy life by eating intelligently and exercising regularly, I can promise that you will never have a weight problem.

Tony

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Are you guilty of information avoidance?

Next month I will complete my seventh year of writing this blog. What started out as a ‘weight loss’ blog has developed into a total mental and physical health resource and I am grateful for the following it has developed. I can honestly say that within six months of starting the blog, I began to feel conversant with various aspects of my own personal health. I had learned and paid attention to how much I was consuming at and away from the table. What’s more I kept my exercising activities in focus also. I believe that as a result of that experience I have not only lost over 10 more pounds since starting, but have maintained that healthy weight with nearly no fluctuations outside of five pounds, plus or minus. One of the aspects of that experience is that I am willing to confront anything that looks like a developing problem when it appears on my radar.

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I wanted to discuss that because before starting the blog for the majority of my life I had struggled with a weight problem. Because I have an athletic background, my activities disguised my poor eating habits for years. Hitting my late 20’s, however, the chickens started coming home to roost and I gained weight and declined in health for years afterward. One of the features of that period was a reluctance to truly face the problem. I wouldn’t weigh myself as regularly. I wouldn’t admit that I was tiring a lot earlier than previously. Continue reading

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Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight

If, like many folks, you overindulged during the recent holidays, perhaps this item I wrote back when the blog was still in diapers might be of help.

Besides, I think the brain is amazing and we can’t know too much about it.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Regular readers know that I am retired and have been taking courses from The Great Courses for some time. Lately, I have become fascinated with the brain and how it functions.

The latest class I am studying is “The Neuroscience of Everyday Life” taught by Sam Wang, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Neuroscience at Princeton University. Additionally, Professor Wang is the co-author of the best-selling book Welcome to Your Brain which has been translated into 20 languages.

Here is the best-selling book Professor Wang co-wrote

I have only just begun reading the book, but I ran across a passage on page 36 that I thought would interest and benefit readers of the blog. The following is from a two-page write-up titled Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight.

This is the conclusion of those two pages:
“Early food exposure influences dietary preferences in adulthood, and eating habits…

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Filed under brain, brain function, Exercise, exercise and brain health, overweight, Snacking, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Metabolism and weight loss – WebMD

As my blog title says, I am one regular guy writing about diet, exercise, etc. Professionally, I worked 20 years as a financial journalist. After writing this blog for nearly seven years, I consider myself to be a newbie health journalist, but still just a regular guy. I still find myself in deep waters when it comes to body chemistry among other medical subjects.

So when I ran across the extensive write up on metabolism by WebMD, I thought I would share some of it. You can read the whole thing by clicking the link.

Metabolism is the body’s engine. It’s the energy you burn just to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and your other organs running. Unless you’re an elite athlete, resting metabolism accounts for 60% to 75% of all the calories you burn each day, and it varies a lot from person to person.

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If you’re counting calories, knowing your resting metabolism can help you figure out how much you can eat without gaining weight.

People who have a naturally high metabolic rate can eat more, without gaining weight, than people who burn calories at a slower pace.

The bad news: It’s hard to boost your resting metabolism much beyond its natural set point, though it is possible to slow it down.

Are you familiar with the TV show The Biggest Loser? I know it has been around a while and has a certain popularity. I watched it a few times, but was never comfortable with it. It seemed so unnatural and I had a feeling it wasn’t truly healthy either. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, overweight, The Biggest Loser, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Guys – Get that check up

I started writing this blog for guys nearly seven years ago. The idea was that women did a great job of keeping track of their health; men, not so much. Over the course of writing it, I have found that more than half of my readers are women who are paying attention to their  health, so the focus shifted from guys to simply good health and living past 100. But, according to this little infographic, guys still don’t do a very good job. With 34% of men over age 20 overweight or obese, guys need to wake up.

I hope this little Men’s Health 101 from Texas A&M University Health Science Center gives you a wake up call.

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Tony

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Filed under blood pressure, medical check ups, men's health, overweight, Weight, weight loss