Tag Archives: weight control

Empty calories: What you need to know – MNT

I think calorie-counting is a very valuable tool when you are first getting started on weight control and living a healthy life. But, there are calories and there are calories. You need to know the food value of the calories you are consuming. You don’t want to eat a lot of empty calories.

Put simply, empty calories are calories that come from foods or drinks that have little or no nutritional value.

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There are many common sources of empty calories. People may choose to limit or eliminate these foods and drinks from their diets to stay healthy and within their ideal weight range.

Helping children limit empty calories can set them up for a healthy life in the future. It can also help stabilize their energy and decrease mood swings.

Avoiding or limiting empty calories is a simple step toward a healthier diet and lifestyle.

What are calories?

Calories are units of energy. Scientifically, a gram calorie (cal) is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram (g) of water by 1° C.

From a scientific perspective, what is typically called a “calorie” is actually a kilogram calorie (kCal). This is a unit of energy made up of thousands of “small calories” equal to the large calorie often used to measure the energy in food.

Calories are an essential part of the diet. The body needs to burn calories to do the simplest tasks, such as breathing or blinking. When physical exercise is thrown into the mix, even more calories are required to stay healthy and alert.

The amount of calories a person needs every day can vary widely. Most recommendations are based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day. However, this number may be higher or lower depending on the individual and their habits.

A registered dietitian can help determine a person’s ideal caloric intake based on activity level, age, sex, metabolism, and height.

What are empty calories?

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Filed under calorie counting, calorie restriction, calories, Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, junk food calories, overweight, stealth calories, Weight, weight control

Walnuts Activate Brain Region Involved in Appetite Control – Study

Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. So, it is always  useful to learn more about how various inputs like food and exercise impact the brain. Here is some fresh info on walnuts from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

  • Double-blind test bolsters observational data that walnuts promote feelings of fullness.
  • Results provide a quantitative measure for testing other compounds’ ability to control appetite, including potential medications for the treatment of obesity.
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Fascinating how walnuts also suggest the shape of the brain.

Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have demonstrated that consuming walnuts activates an area in the brain associated with regulating hunger and cravings. The findings, published online in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, reveal for the first time the neurocognitive impact these nuts have on the brain. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain exercise, brain function, brain health, good weight loss foods, walnuts, Weight, weight control

How to Use Your Brain for Weight Control

I took a course in The brain six years ago and was so inspired by what I learned that I posted on it. Thought you newer readers might get something out of it.

Tony

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

Exercise and intelligent eating are the keys to weight control and healthy living. Everyone knows that 30 minutes on the treadmill burns X amount of calories depending on your weight. The role of exercise in healthy living and weight control is straight forward and doesn’t need explaining. The exercise of the brain in weight control is another matter.

In order to understand it, you need to know a few basic facts about parts of your brain and how they function. If you are willing to wade through a couple of basic biology facts, I think you will emerge at the other end with a new tool in the universal ongoing battle of the bulge.

For this subject we need to focus on just two parts of the brain and how they work, together and separately.

The first is the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that is central…

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How to battle holiday weight gain – Rush

In deference to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday which ushers in the holiday season, I published yesterday my post – Healthy eating tops for the holidays.

I thought this write up from Rush University Medical Center was a worthwhile follow up. The Rush dietitian has some good detailed suggestions and examples.

Trying to lose weight during the holiday season may be unrealistic, given that the average American gains one to five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, a six-week span marked by celebrations, eating and drinking.

This is especially true for people who are already overweight.

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A review of studies evaluating holiday weight gain determined the average gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to be only 0.8 pounds. However, people who were already overweight or obese gained as much as five pounds. A more recent evaluation also found that obese people experienced greater increases in body fat over the holiday season compared to people in the normal weight range. Continue reading

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12 +1 Rewards of Exercise

WebMD is offering a nice slide show with what they call the top 12 rewards of exercise.

I called this post 12 +1 Rewards because I have included my own observation adding one  reward from working out that WebMD didn’t mention.

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They list Better Mood pointing out that exercise releases endorphins – the feel good’ chemicals in the brain.

Next is More Energy, noting that “when you exercise regularly that fatigue goes away and you find yourself with a lot more pep.” Continue reading

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Exercise is Not Optional

I think that probably the most widespread misconception about being healthy in general and losing weight in particular is that exercise is optional. It isn’t. As I wrote in an earlier post, you need to Move ya body. A skinny body with no muscle tone is not a healthy body. Also, and most importantly, exercise excites important activity in the brain. In a lot of ways the brain benefits as much as the body from exercise. Check out Important facts about your brain (and exercise)

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Following is an excerpt from my Page – How to lose weight (and keep it off)

You need to exercise. Exercise is your two-edged sword. You do it to work your muscles and remain in top physical and mental condition. AND, you can do it to burn calories and help in weight management.

According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services:
Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
. Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.

Be careful using free weights. Seniors: If you weigh 150 pounds, you should not exercise with more than 60 pounds of weights because as you age, the spinal discs are not as flexible and the risk of a back injury increases. Check out my post on How Much Should You Lift? here.

Have a lovely day!

Tony

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Saying ‘yes’ to kale, more successful than ‘no’ to cake – Baylor Study

Back more than six years ago, the primary focus of this blog was weight loss pure and simple. In the course of writing about weight loss, I found myself opening up to the concept of good health and long life and the idea of simply losing weight diminished in value. In my mind the positive aim of healthy living easily trumped the negative and short range goal of simply dropping some unwanted pounds. Now, it seems that Baylor University  has determined that looking on the positive side worked far better than the avoidance, or negative side in their studies.

Baylor reported that, many diet plans are doomed from the start.

The reason? Dieters tend to adopt the wrong strategies, often planning to ditch their favorite foods and replace them with less-desirable options, according to new research from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.

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Conversely, successful dieters focus on adding healthy foods – foods that they actually like, said Meredith David, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing at Baylor. She is the lead author on the study, “Saying ‘No’ to Cake or ‘Yes’ to Kale: Approach and Avoidance Strategies in Pursuit of Health Goals,” published in the journal Psychology & Marketing. Continue reading

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Watermelon Fun!

Here is yet another way to enjoy the wonderful cooling and healthy benefits of watermelon.

I am a giant fan of watermelon. Check out my posts for further details:

How healthy is watermelon?

How about some polar opposites: watermelon and Twinkies?

More good reasons to eat watermelon – Infographic

Vita Mix – Drinking a watermelon

Tony

Eat well, Live well

Today is the first day of July and the summer time is here! What better way to celebrate the first day of July with a fun watermelon drink? Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C,  has plenty of antioxidants (watermelon gets it reddish-pink shades primarily from lycopene!), and has a rich supply of an amino acid called citrulline.

A fully ripened watermelon will feel heavy for its size. Heaviness in a watermelon is a good thing because the water content of a watermelon will typically increase along with ripening, and a fully ripened watermelon will be over 90% water in terms of weight! A fully ripened watermelon will also often have a ground spot that has turned creamy yellow in color.

Looking for ideas on what to do with watermelon? Make it into a fun drink. I used plain seltzer water mixed with watermelon for a light spritzer drink…

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Weight Loss: Exercise vs. A Healthy Diet

Some really good , healthy concepts here. I love the positive approach. Work on being healthy and your weight loss problem will disappear.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

Are you trying to lose weight with just exercise alone? Do you have a soda addiction but figure it’s not as bad as smoking or other vices since you can just exercise the ‘bad’ calories away? Unfortunately new research looking at the weight management approach of calories in versus calories out tells us that this is really not the case — you really can’t outrun a bad diet.

Diet Trumps Exercise for Weight Loss

The 2015 study published in the journal Current Biology suggests that too little physical activity can make you unhealthy but too much of it drives your body to make big adjustments to adapt, leading to weight loss plateaus. The authors  of the study point to the need to focus on diet, especially when it comes to weight loss and weight management.

Below is a great video that pretty much sums up exactly what the research says:

How to Make a Healthy Diet Fit Your Life

I’m…

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Eating in moderation

This post demonstrates the difficulty of trying weight control without the proper tools. For my money the number one tool in weight control is portion control and its corollary serving size. These are absolutes that can be followed by anyone willing to put in the effort.

Check out the following for more details on portion control

How to lose weight using portion control

Serving size and portion control – Keys to weight loss

A fresh look at portion control and portion distortion

How to lose weight using portion control

Tony

Focus on food safety

Pizza size is all in the eye of the beholder (Photo: Valerio Capello). Pizza size is all in the eye of the beholder (Photo: Valerio Capello).

In 1978, I visited the USA with two colleagues on a mission to study meat quality. After travelling by car for many hours to reach Texas we got very hungry and stopped at a pizza joint in Oklahoma. We had a choice of small, medium, large and very large pizzas. We settled on one medium each as one should eat in moderation, but huge pizzas each covering half of the table arrived. We couldn’t even eat half of the pizzas.

This highlights that there is no universal measure of eating in moderation.

What is moderation?

Eating in moderation seems to be practical advice for a healthy diet, but a new study suggests that it is an ineffective guide for losing or maintaining weight. The scientists found that the more people liked a food, the more flexible their definitions of moderation were. And who…

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The Six Best Doctors

I found this in my web wandering and fell in love with it. I don’t even know if it qualifies as an infographic.

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In the close to 7 years I have been writing this blog I find that a lot of the loose ends have been burned off. In the beginning it was all about losing weight, counting calories, measuring portions, etc. Now, while I am aware of calories and portions, my focus has shifted entirely to simply living healthy. I weigh in the mid 150 pound range where I have dwelt for around five years. I have total confidence that I can control my weight. I don’t try any more. I am simply doing it. Just like Yoda said, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

I don’t think you need expensive gym memberships or more expensive personal trainers to get control of your weight. You can do it.

This infographic, or set of pictures with captions, tells the whole story for me. Get outside, move, drink water, get enough sleep, eat intelligently and enjoy the sunshine.

I hope you can get it to work for you.

For the record: While I don’t use a personal trainer, I realize that they know a lot about exercise and can be very helpful. Also, I have a number of friends who do that for a living. If you feel you need one, by all means, use one.

Tony

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Good Health Habits = Good Aging – What About Weight Loss???

I have observed an interesting semantic phenomenon. If I say, “I can help you lose five pounds in a week or two,” most people jump to full attention. But if I say, ” I can teach you good healthy habits that will benefit you the rest of  your life,” their eyes glaze over. Losing weight is hot, living healthy is ho hum. What a shame. And, what short sightedness. If a person lives a healthy life, the pounds will melt off and he/she will not have to lose weight.

Only about 30% of the characteristics of aging are genetically determined. The other 70% are linked to lifestyle.
 Italics mine.

Cute, yes. Effective? Not so much

According to the U.S. Census bureau, a woman who reaches 50 years and remains free of cancer and heart disease can expect to live to her 91st birthday. An average healthy male who is 65 years today will most likely live to see age 81.

As I wrote on my Page – How to lose weight and keep it off – “14. You need to exercise. Exercise is your two-edged sword. You do it to work your muscles and remain in top physical and mental condition. AND, you can do it to burn calories and help in keep your weight down.

According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services:

Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.”

So, eat intelligently and get some exercise every day. You will live longer and look better. forget losing weight; you won’t have to.

When people ask me why I ride my bike every day, I tell them, “I am paying for my old age, one bike ride at a time,” and I believe it’s true.

Tony

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What About Calories? – Infographic

Here’s a ton of facts on calories. You can’t live without ’em. The trick is moderation ….

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Tony

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Is Hummus Good For You?

Everyone is familiar with hummus, right? That pasty substance made from crushed garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and sesame seeds and spices. Years ago you had to go to a Middle Eastern restaurant to get it, but now lots of restaurants serve this as a tasty appetizer with pita bread. You can even pick it up at the supermarket.

I am here to suggest that you take some home. Not from the restaurant. You can find it on many grocer’s shelves. I get the excellent Sabra brand at Costco in 2 lb tubs. Sabra calls this their secret recipe. I don’t know about that, but I do consider it the most delicious hummus I have ever had.
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But that is personal. Hummus itself is really good for you no matter the brand.

According to Wikipedia, “Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Depending on the recipe, hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets and like other combinations of grains and pulses, when eaten with bread it serves as a complete protein.”
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Keen on Quinoa (Keen-wa)

Got a pleasant surprise in Costco the other day. Saw a giant display of four pound bags of Quinoa. Normally, quinoa is only sold at health food stores. You don’t find it in regular grocery stores often. Also, it usually sells in single pound boxes. This was the usual great Costco bargain, 4 lbs for $10.00, about half the price you would pay at a health food store.
quinoa
If you are one of the many who aren’t familiar with this “mother of all grains” according to the Incas, read on. First of all, it isn’t really a grain although it looks like one. It is a small seed. Smaller than rice, about the size of couscous.

Quinoa.net says that quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. An average of 16.2% vs 7.5% for rice, 9.9% for millet and 14% for wheat. Quinoa contains complete protein, all the essential amino acids, unlike corn, wheat and rice which are incomplete proteins.

Wikipedia says that It is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. It is gluten-free and easily digestible. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights.

Dani Spies, culinary nutritionist and fitness trainer who has her own website at danispies.com did an excellent presentation on You Tube.


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Tips on How to Eat at a Buffet

There is a buffet at a riverboat not far from where I live and I stopped by for lunch today after playing. I am always fascinated at the way folks at a buffet not only fill their plates, but stack the food on top as if they won’t be allowed to take more than one helping.

As it is ‘all you can eat‘ I always have to fight temptation to eat ‘all I can.’

You really need to engage your decision-making faculties at a buffet or you can go overboard very easily by overeating

Here is how today’s battle went. A bowl of oatmeal to start. Not fancy but very tasty the way they make it. Also, nutritious and slightly filling to take the edge off my appetite. No sense handicapping myself further.
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