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Blog posts tagged with 'weight loss'

Why Knowing Your BMI can be the Beginning of Better Health

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Why Knowing Your BMI can be the Beginning of Better HealthBecause every person's body shape can vary in size, proportion, and weight distribution, having a particular set of measurements to calculate your ideal weight in relationship to your height can be helpful in assessing the current state of your overall health. The body mass index measurement, or BMI, can give you a specific idea of what your target weight should be. However, figuring out your BMI is only the beginning. Integrating the proper nutrition and exercise into your lifestyle - in manageable, realistic steps can help you reach your target BMI index and achieve the greater health you desire.

Your BMI and Its Importance

Your body weight is tied to many areas of overall well-being. From blood sugar to blood pressure to overall heart health—and even the internal pressure of your organs and other systems—weight is one of the single most important aspects of assessing how healthy you are. This is why the BMI can be a great tool. This formula can help determine whether your body type and size is putting you at a higher risk for serious health problems and allows you to pinpoint specific areas you need to target to set you on the path to better health.

To determine your BMI number, start with your weight (in pounds) divided by your height (in inches) squared, and multiply by 703. Once you get your BMI number you can look at the unhealthy and healthy ranges. For adults age 20 or older, if your BMI is 30 or higher, you are considered obese. BMI measurements 25-29 and beyond are categorized as "overweight", while numbers from 18.5 to 24.9 are considered "normal" weight. Anything less than 18.5 is considered to be "underweight", which also can put you at risk.

A Realistic View of Health

While it's always sensible to maintain a healthy weight for lifestyle reasons, fad diets and unattainable body images have led many astray in the process of attempting to lose weight. Health starts from within. Not everyone can or should want to look like models in TV commercials or magazines. With that in mind, knowing your BMI number and what your ideal range should be can help you set realistic goals when it comes to weight loss.

However, in addition to knowing your BMI number, you should also know what it doesn't take into account. BMI doesn't factor in age and gender, or differences between fat and muscle mass, Athletes or those with more muscles mass may have a higher BMI, but are not necessarily unhealthy. In the same respect, age and gender can skew your BMI reading. According to the CDC, women tend to have more body fat than men, on average. Also, as you get older your body tends to store more fat.

Another important factor to consider, therefore, is waist circumference. Abdominal fat has been linked to heart concerns and higher blood pressure. For women, a high waist circumference can mean anything above 35 inches, and for men, anything above 40 inches. Because each individual is different, including genetic history, nutrition, physical activity, and body type, your area of focus might not always be the same as another.

Smaller Steps to Greater Health

When targeting your ideal BMI, experts say your initial weight loss goal should be losing 10% of your total weight. It's also important to set a realistic target date; you're not going to change your lifestyle or general health in one week or even one month. True and lasting change takes time and repetition. Introducing the appropriate amount of calories into your daily diet will take trial and error. Experts suggest it can be helpful to start by eliminating one unhealthy meal or food item from your diet a time instead of trying to totally change your diet at once.

Checking with your physician to know your limits as far as physical activity is concerned is important, as is maintaining consistency. Again, smaller steps can help ease you into the lifestyle change you desire. Trying to not be inactive can be easier than trying to immediately go from not exercising to trying to exercise five days a week. Walking three times a week or small forms of aerobic exercise a few times a week is a good starting point on the road to greater well-being.

Information Equals Better Decisions

People are motivated and driven by different things when it comes to health. For some of them it's realizing that they can't perform a physical activity as easily as they once could; others see something on TV that speaks to them in a way that hits home. No matter where your motivation comes from, it's important to get all the information you can before you set out and try and enact your healthy change.

Start by seeking the proper expert advice and using the tools that are available to you—such as BMI, blood pressure, and waist circumference measurements. There are also a number of technological applications that can help you track your weight, remind you to exercise, or figure out how to properly structure your diet. All of these can be valuable resources when it comes to making the small changes that lead to a world of difference.

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Revealed: Sabotaging Food Words We Often Fall For

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Revealed: Sabotaging Food Words We Often Fall For

Whether you’re scrolling through a restaurant menu or shopping for groceries, if healthy eating is on your mind you may tend to base your food choices on certain buzzwords you spot on menus or food packages. Some of these buzzwords clue you in to how the dish is prepared whereas at other times they may be used to make a food item seem more nutritious than it actually is. Using these buzzword indicators can help you avoid unhealthy eating options and aid your quest for healthy weight management this summer.

Danger Zone Food Descriptions 101

Sometimes it’s not the food itself but a sauce or dressing that can get you. Potatoes contain vitamin C and more potassium than bananas, spinach, or broccoli. But if they’re made “au gratin” then beware—this means the dish will most likely be covered with cheese, heavy cream, and bread crumbs. Similarly, “battered” and “creamed” are other terms to be wary of when used to describe a dish. Anything battered is made with flour, eggs, and butter, then deep fried. Creamed broccoli, spinach, and corn may sound healthy since they’re made with vegetables. However, the cream sauces are thick with butter and heavy in fats and oils, canceling out most of the nutritional value of the vegetables.

More Obvious Warning Signs

Many BBQ sauces and marinades contains lots of sugar, which can make your glycemic index shoot up. If you’re trying to eat lighter and going the soup and salad route, it’s best not to go the creamy route. When trying to choose a healthy soup, a vegetable-based broth is the best choice. If you’re on a salad kick try to avoid heavy dressing such as bleu cheese, or at least ask for it to be served on the side so you can control how much you want to add.

Checking That Label Twice

Advertisers and food companies might also use healthy-sounding buzzwords to persuade you to purchase their items. “No fat”, “low calorie”, and “whole grain” sound nutritious. However, sometimes a closer look at the label is warranted. Some labels will say “no added fat”, but this could still mean that the product is heavy in fat content; it just means that no fat was added during processing.

Choosing foods based on popular buzzwords alone can also be counterproductive to your healthy eating plan. Temple Northup, an assistant professor at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston, recently published a study in Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. By putting 318 people through sample tests, given the choice between big-name products or products containing words such as “organic whole grain”, “heart healthy”, and “all-natural” on the packaging, he showed that the items containing the healthy buzzwords seemed immediately more appealing. But that didn’t necessarily mean the products were any healthier than items that didn’t have those key words on their packaging.

“Everything in our memory is connected, so everything associated with that word—like organic and thoughts of health—becomes more accessible and influences your decision,” Northrup said. For example, a can of soda may claim to be high in antioxidants because it contains one antioxidant. But upon closer inspection, there may be just a minimal amount of it in the ingredients.

Interpreting Descriptions for Health

Choosing healthier eating options becomes easier when you know what you’re looking for and what to avoid. You don’t have to spend hours scouring labels. Understanding how food is prepared and what a claim on a package really means can help you to avoid the bad and continually choose the good, allowing you to support a healthy figure throughout summer and beyond.

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Did You Know: Three Surprising Tips for Weight Loss

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Did You Know: Three Surprising Tips for Weight LossAs we reach the midpoint of summer, you may feel your motivation to maintain a healthy weight begin to slip, or maybe you're now feeling inspired to start taking your diet more seriously. Whatever your state of mind, there are plenty of ways to help you reach your objectives. Here are some unique tips to keep you sailing towards your summer weight goals.

Sometimes your body needs a little influence from the mind. If you often find yourself trying to juggle many tasks at once, take the time to put everything aside during mealtimes so you can focus on your food. A recent study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that if you're eating while doing another task, chances are you won't be satiated. In the study, one group of people ate a meal while playing solitaire while another group ate their meal without any distractions. Results showed that more people who played the game while eating couldn't remember what they ate—and they were still hungry afterwards. It also helps to plan your meals ahead. If your goal is to eat more servings of fruit and vegetables per week, for example, write it down and check it off your list the moment you do it. In one healthy eating experiment, participants who had a concrete plan to eat more fruit per week ended up eating twice as much fruit as those who simply tried harder without having a solid game plan. While a majority of people watch what they eat while dieting, it's also important to remember to watch for liquid calories. No matter how vigilant you are in monitoring your food intake, all that food-watching and calorie-counting can be undone with a few sugary drinks throughout your day. The American Heart Association recommends that adult men and women should consume no more than 37.5 grams and 25 grams of sugar, respectively, per day. A typical 20-oz. bottle of soda has around 65 grams of sugar and 240 calories—just one soda can almost double the recommended daily intake! Many store-brand fruit juices also contain as much sugar as sodas, so just because something has fruit in it, don't automatically assume that it will be low in sugar and calories. If you're feeling thirsty in the warm, summer sun, stick to water to stay hydrated or press your own fruit juices as a healthier option. Coffee can also help speed up your metabolism, but watch out for those sweetened coffee beverages because they can pack a lot of sugar and calories. The desire to enjoy the mid-summer season can be a great motivator to help you stay on your weight management course. However, the health tips here aren't just exclusive to summer; you can apply them all year long to maintain a healthy body weight. Find your motivation and enjoy the rest of the summer—and the entire year—in good health!

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30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Help Keep the Pounds at Bay

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30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Help Keep the Pounds at BayWorking out is a commitment that few people enjoy, but if you’ve been trying to shed some extra pounds and dread spending long hours in the gym, you’ll be pleased to learn that a new study reveals that 30 minutes of exercise a day is all it takes to help shed that weight. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology, moderately overweight men who exercised for 30 minutes a day for three months lost an average of eight pounds compared to men who worked out for 60 minutes a day, who lost an average of six pounds.

Work Out Smarter, Not Longer

The study authors based their research on 60 moderately overweight men who were randomly assigned to either a high aerobics group, which was required to work out 60 minutes a day, or a moderate aerobics group, which worked out 30 minutes a day. Both groups were required to exercise hard enough to break a sweat by doing activities such as running or cycling. At the end of 13 weeks, both groups lost about nine pounds of body mass, but the 30-minute-a-day exercise group lost about two pounds more body weight. The researchers theorize that the men who worked out for half an hour found the amount of time to be reasonable, so they were actually more committed to accomplishing their workout goals in the shorter time period. Compared to their counterparts who worked out for an hour, the 30-minute exercise group also burned more calories. Post workouts, the 30-minute group probably had more energy left over, so they remained more active throughout the day, too. The 60-minute exercisers probably ate more after their workouts, so on average they gained back some of the calories that they burned.

Be Inspired to Get Healthy

Although a difference of two pounds of weight loss may not seem much at first glance, over a year the results can add up. The study also shows that you don’t need to spend countless hours in the gym as long as you’re fully committed to doing as much as you can within the time that you give yourself. Being healthy begins with being smart, so plan your workouts accordingly to get the most benefits.

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