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Posts Tagged ‘WebMD’

WebMD – How to Avoid Gaining Weight When You Quit Smoking

Posted by 4love2love on July 26, 2011

By Peter Jaret
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Many smokers worry that they’ll gain weight if they try to quit. Some even use that concern as a reason not to quit.

“That’s a bad idea for many reasons,” says Scott McIntosh, PhD, associate professor of community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester in New York and director of the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center. “Not every smoker who quits gains weight.” Even those who do, he points out, gain on average just 4 to 10 pounds.

Indeed, for many ex-smokers, putting on a few pounds is healthy. Research shows that smoking actually makes some people unhealthily thin.

Still, if you’re worried, remember this: a few simple strategies can help limit weight gain while you kick the habit. Once you have successfully broken the addiction to tobacco, you can work on losing any weight you’ve gained.

Smoking and Metabolism

Research shows that nicotine from tobacco boosts the body’s metabolic rate, increasing the number of calories it burns. Immediately after you smoke a cigarette, your heart rate increases by 10 to 20 beats a minute. The unnatural stimulant effect of nicotine is one reason smoking causes heart disease.

When smokers quit, metabolic rate quickly returns to normal. That’s a healthy change. But if ex-smokers keep getting the same number of calories as before, they put on pounds.

Be Smart About What You Put in Your Mouth

When smokers quit, nicotine isn’t all they crave. They also discover that they miss the habit of lighting a cigarette and putting it to their mouths. Many smokers turn to food to satisfy this so-called need for “oral gratification.”

That’s fine if it helps you to quit. But by choosing low-calorie or zero-calorie foods, you can avoid putting on weight. Some smart alternatives include:

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Sugar-free hard candies
  • Celery or carrot sticks
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Slices of jicama

Experiment to find which alternatives work best for you. Research shows that some smokers who quit experience a sharpened “sweet tooth.” They’re better off finding foods sweetened with artificial sugar. Some smokers really miss the oral gratification of smoking. They do best finding alternatives that require unwrapping something and chewing or sucking on it, such as sugar-free gum and hard candy.

Another trick is to brush your teeth frequently throughout the day. This can satisfy a passing craving for oral gratification. When your mouth is fresh and clean, you may have less of an urge to smoke.

Avoid Crash Diets

Choose healthy foods that are rich in nutrients and low in calories whenever you can. But experts advise against radical changes in how you eat. “Quitting is tough enough without adding the stress of extreme dieting,” says Steven Schroeder, MD, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of San Francisco.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Many smokers do gain some weight. It’s fine to resolve to do everything you can to keep your weight down. But don’t make weight a make-or-break issue. “It’s important to tell yourself right at the beginning that it’s OK to put on some weight,” says McIntosh. “Don’t be too tough on yourself.”

Stay Busy

To distract yourself from the urge to smoke, fill your day with things to do that don’t involve eating. Physical activities — walking, gardening, doing chores — are a great choice. They burn calories, of course. And research shows that they also have a positive effect on mood. But any kind of distraction from the urge to smoke will help. Examples include:

  • Watching a movie
  • Attending a concert
  • Going to the library to read
  • Visiting a local museum
  • Calling a friend
  • Volunteering

“Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find smoke-free places to go these days,” says Schroeder. “That trend has helped to make it easier for smokers to quit.”

Talk With Your Doctor

A variety of products and medications are available that have been found to help smokers quit. Several also appear to help quitters keep weight off. In a 2009 review, researchers found that the antismoking drug buproprion and the antidepressant fluoxetine, as well as nicotine replacement therapies and cognitive behavioral therapy, helped limit the amount of weight that smokers gained while quitting.

Keep Your Health in Perspective

If you do gain extra pounds while you kick the habit, don’t let that derail your efforts. “By quitting smoking, you can add years to your life — and years of being in good health rather than sick and disabled,” says McIntosh. “Those extra pounds are a small price to pay.” Once you’re tobacco-free, you’ll have plenty of time to get into shape and achieve a healthy weight.

Reviewed on January 24, 2011
© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
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WebMD – 8 Diet Dos and Don’ts to Ease PMS

Posted by 4love2love on July 26, 2011

These strategies may help curb PMS symptoms.
By Cari Nierenberg
WebMD Feature

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is such a regular occurrence for many women that they consider it a normal part of getting their period. About 8% to 20% of women get moderate to severe symptoms a week or two before their monthly cycle begins.

These symptoms include a range of physical and emotional changes. The biggest complaint is often mood-related, such as feeling extremely grouchy or unhappy, often to the point where family members know when your period is coming, says gynecologist Rebecca Kolp, MD, medical director of Mass General West in Waltham, Mass. Abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, and headache are other frequent gripes she hears from patients.

Although the causes of PMS aren’t well understood, fluctuating levels of hormones and brain chemicals are thought to play a role. What a woman eats and drinks can also have an effect.

“There’s evidence that diet is involved in either the development of PMS or contributes to the severity of symptoms,” says Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, ScD, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, who has studied nutrition’s role in PMS.

With that in mind, here are eight diet-related suggestions to help ease PMS symptoms.

1. Do enjoy high-quality calcium foods.

In studies of college-aged women and nurses, women with the highest intakes of calcium andvitamin D were less likely to develop PMS, Bertone-Johnson tells WebMD.

“With calcium, those results were stronger when it came from foods than from foods plus supplements or a supplement alone,” she says. Her research found a food benefit from calcium at about 1,200 milligrams a day (RDA for women 19-50 is 1000 mg) and at 700 IU of vitamin D (RDA for women is 600 IU aged 70 and below.)

To get these amounts, aim for at least three servings of calcium-rich foods a day, such as low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified orange juice, or soy milk. It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone (salmon and fortified milk are good sources), but women can make up the difference with a daily multivitamin or a supplement. Many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D.

As for why these nutrients may ease PMS, Bertone-Johnson suspects that calcium works in the brain to relieve depressive symptoms or anxiety, and vitamin D may also influence emotional changes.

Of course, you need adequate calcium and vitamin D for many other health reasons, including the health of your bones. Curbing PMS may be a fringe benefit.

2. Don’t skip breakfast or other meals.

“The hormone storm from PMS can lead to a domino effect on appetite,” says Elizabeth Somer, an Oregon-based dietitian and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness.

To avoid becoming overly hungry, eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. If you’re feeling blue from PMS, then skipping a meal will only make you more irritable as blood sugar levels plummet.

3. Do include whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.

Eating well all month long is a better approach to PMS than tweaking your diet when you have symptoms. So enjoy plenty of colorful, fiber-packed fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, and rye bread.

Fortified breads and cereals also supply B-vitamins. Recent research  found that women with higher intakes of thiamine (vitamin B-1) and riboflavin (vitamin B-2) had a significantly lower risk of PMS. This was true for women who got B-vitamins from food, but not from supplements.

4. Don’t overload on sugar.

“If you’re craving sugar, you’re craving it for a reason,” Somer says. That reason is shifting levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can also decrease levels of the chemical serotonin in the brain. These changes may affect a woman’s mood and trigger PMS symptoms.

In fact, studies have shown that some women with PMS may take in 200 to 500 more calories a day. Those additional calories typically come from fats, carbohydrates, or sweet foods.

Rather than turning to sugar to boost serotonin levels, Somer advises eating whole grains instead.

5. Do pay attention to what you’re drinking.

Some, but not all, studies have revealed that alcohol use is more common in women who are experiencing PMS or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), perhaps as an attempt to self-treat symptoms. PMDD is a more severe form of PMS, in which emotional symptoms are more predominant. It affects fewer women than PMS.

Although women are often advised to cut back on alcohol and even caffeine, there’s not a lot of evidence these steps are necessarily beneficial, Bertone-Johnson says. Her own research did not find that alcohol increased PMS risk. Still, she says, there’s no downside to easing up on alcohol and caffeine, and doing so may ease breast tenderness and bloating.

Somer likes to remind women to drink plenty of water to reduce bloating. This may sound counterintuitive, but she says a bloated body is holding on to too much water, likely because of too much salt.

6. Don’t overlook salt.

Since nearly everything that comes in a bottle, bag, package, or can is loaded with salt, it’s almost impossible to eliminate sodium. But slashing some of it may reduce the uncomfortable bloating and water retention from PMS, Somer says.

To halt the salt, focus on whole foods, rather than overly processed or convenience foods, because sodium is often added during manufacturing. “And if you can’t cut back enough, drink lots of water,” Somer says, so your body can get rid of the excess sodium.

7. Do consider supplements.

Besides encouraging her patients to eat a healthy diet, Kolp also recommends that they first treat PMS symptoms with a combination of exercise, stress reduction, and some supplements.

She suggests a daily multivitamin, 100 milligrams of vitamin B-6 a day, 600 milligrams of calcium carbonate with vitamin D daily, along with at least one calcium-rich food serving, as well as 400 milligrams of magnesium oxide.

Taking B-6 and magnesium at these levels may temper mood changes, and magnesium may reduce water retention.

As always, tell your doctor about any supplements you’re taking to avoid any possible drug interactions, and let her know if PMS is causing you a lot of problems.

8. Don’t ignore other lifestyle habits.

There’s some evidence that maintaining a healthy body weight may help prevent PMS, and that overweight or obese women are more likely to have symptoms.  Being physically active helps keep your waistline in check and works wonders to release stress.

“Stress plays a huge role in the intensity of PMS symptoms,” Kolp tells WebMD. So find ways to relax your mind, whether it’s exercising, deep breathing, or doing yoga.

Feeling tired is yet another sign of PMS, so you might need more sleep than usual. Lastly, ditch the butts: A recent study showed that smoking, especially in yourteens or early 20s, may increase a woman’s risk for moderate to severe PMS.

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WebMD – Expert Q&A: Fighting Midlife Weight Gain

Posted by 4love2love on July 26, 2011

An interview with Pamela Peeke, MD
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

First, you notice shopping for clothes isn’t as fun or simple as it used to be. Next comes the “muffin top” spilling over the jeans. Then the scale delivers dire news: You’re 10, 15, maybe 20 pounds beyond your “normal” weight.

Midlife weight gain is common. Many Americans gain a pound or so every year as they make their way through young adulthood, ending up fat and flabby at age 40 and beyond.

But it is not inevitable, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, the author of the best-seller Fight FatAfter Forty. Peeke also serves as the chief medical correspondent for Discovery Health TV and often appears as a medical commentator on television news and talk shows.

Why do so many people gain weight in midlife?

Blame it on hormones in convergence with poor lifestyle choices, overeating, not exercising enough, and stress.

But hormones only account for about 2 to 5 pounds. The rest is the result of overeating, poor lifestyle choices — such as not exercising enough — and stress.

How can I not be one of those people who gains?

The keys are three: mind, mouth, muscle.

Use your mind to control stress. If you walk around and everything is stressful, you have a problem. You may respond to stress by making poorer lifestyle choices, such as not eating healthfully and not exercising enough.

Look at your nutrition — in terms of quality, quantity, and frequency of eating. You should eat often.

Quality is all about eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein.

Processed foods are bad. Anything that comes in a family-size bag, turn in the opposite direction and run.

Quantity is where a lot of people fall. The majority are baffled by what a serving size should look like. When eating out, and in doubt, eat half of it or less.

Be accountable for calories. You need a general idea of how many calories you need. An average woman, not an athlete, in her 40s or 50s, needs about 1,500 to 1,600 calories a day, on average, if she is exercising. A middle-aged man, average height and not an athlete but exercising, needs about 1,800 to 2,000.

Muscle, of course, refers to the need to exercise and, of course, to weight train.

Should my goal weight increase when I hit midlife?

A better goal than focusing on scale weight is to keep track of body fat. The goals should be to decrease body fat and optimize bone strength.

For a man, a body fat percentage of 18% to 25% is not bad for 40-plus. For women 40-plus, 22% to 27% is not bad.

To get that body fat percentage, you need to have excellent fitness to maintain a good muscle base.

Also, a man should have a waist circumference below 40 inches and a woman below 35 inches.

I’m 40-plus, eating right, and exercising but not losing weight. Why do I have midlife weight gain?

If you have tailored your portion sizes to ones that are appropriate, look at the frequency of your eating. Eat every three or four hours. But not too late at night. The later you eat, the lighter you eat is a good rule.

Eat a balance of lean protein, fats, and carbs. Make the fat good fat, not palm oil or hydrogenated oil, but high-quality good fats [such as those in nuts]. The protein should be lean — a turkey burger or a veggie burger.

Most people have been doing the same exercise routine for years, and your body acclimates. Fat cells at 40 are reticent to give it up. Mix up the exercise routine. Exercise at least five times a week, and I mean cardio.

Add intensity. Add some level of weight training, and challenge yourself with the weights. [Getting professional instruction is advised if you’re a novice.] Weight train two or three times a week.

Building muscle gives you that metabolic edge, since muscle mass burns more calories than fat.

Does HRT cause midlife weight gain, is that the culprit?

You can’t blame the low doses of HRT in use today for midlife weight gain, at least not for any more than a few pounds. You do get a little more bloated on it, but it does not cause body fat accumulation. Overeating, not exercising, and stress do.

What’s up with this belly? I never ever had one before.

I call it the menopot. On a man, it’s the manopot.

Excess body fat occurring in the lower abdomen is associated with aging, after 40. This excess body fat in the normal range is usually only 2 to 5 pounds. And you do get a little pooch.

How can I lose this belly?

You minimize it by following the mind-mouth-muscle concepts.

But it’s probably unrealistic to expect a stomach as flat as your 20-something stomach.

Can I boost my metabolism?

Absolutely. You can optimize your metabolism throughout life relative to your age by maintaining the highest level of training you can, within the limits and constraints of your life.

If you lose muscle mass [by not exercising], obviously your metabolism is going to drop.

Of course strength or weight training is crucial.

What workout or workouts are best for midlife people?

Creative cardio. Burn 400 to 500 calories a day in cardio. On the elliptical, for instance, you can burn about 400 calories in about 35 minutes. Cross train as much as you can. Burn the 400 to 500 calories all at once or accrue it.

And don’t forget the weight training.

What’s your weakness? What’s the hardest part, for you, of staying on track and fighting flab after 40?

Because of long days and all my commitments, getting enough sleep. I remind myself: the poorer your sleep, the wider your girth.

Eating dinner not too late. Sometimes I am on a plane or a train, I don’t have the control I want over how late I eat. In general, do not eat dinner past 8:30. I like to eat right about 7.

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WebMD – You Asked! Expert A’s to Your Beauty Q’s: Pretty Feet

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

Step into spring with our expert picks for softer, more radiant feet.
By Ayren Jackson-Cannady
WebMD the Magazine – Feature
Reviewed by Karyn Grossman, MD

In each issue of WebMD the Magazine, our experts answer your questions aboutskin care, beauty, makeup, hair care, and more. In our March-April 2011 issue, Daphne LaSalle, 30, who lives on the U.S. Air Force Base in Altus, Okla., asked about beautifying her feet for summer. We ran her question by two doctors: Eric Reynolds, DPM, a podiatrist in Jersey City, N.J., and Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, who is co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C., as well as an assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: What can I do now to get my feet soft and ready to show off by sandal season?

Tanzi’s top picks:

A: Thick, dry patches pop up on heels during winter months because feet are often crammed into heavy socks and boots that don’t allow for effective exfoliation of dead skin. To loosen up that scaly epidermis, use a nightly cream likeDr. Scholl’s Ultra Overnight Foot Cream($6.99), containing aloe and palm oil to soothe tough skin.

To buff the dead skin away once it’s been softened, try the PedEgg Pro Pedicure Foot File with Handle ($12.99). It’s better than a pumice stone for gently sanding down thick skin on the heel and ball of the foot because its stainless-steel micro files stay sharp. Once the bottoms of your feet are smooth, keep them hydrated with an emollient-rich lotion likeL’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream ($26), which is packed with moisture-locking shea butter.

If you painted your toes in rich, dark hues throughout the winter, you may be noticing some nail yellowing. Take a break from polish for a week or two, and the discoloration will slowly fade. Once you’re back to coating your toenails in polish, be sure to start with a clear base coat without formaldehyde, a chemical that can react with the keratin protein in nails and make them change colors. The formaldehyde-free OPI Start-to-Finish Base & Top Coat ($12.50) is a good one to try.

Reynolds’s top picks:

A: During winter months when humidity is low, skin dries out more rapidly. In some cases, feet get so dry they peel or crack. While there are plenty of prescriptionmedications that work wonders, I like to start with home remedies, which are inexpensive and can be just as effective.

To soften super-dry areas, soak your feet in original Listerine AntisepticMouthwash ($4) (yes, Listerine!) once or twice a week. Mix one part Listerine with two parts warm water in a basin and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes, then apply a moisturizer like Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Foot Creme ($5.59), which contains hydrating urea. In addition to skin-sloughing benzoic acid, Listerine contains ethanol, which kills bacteria, fungi, and germs that can lead to athlete’s foot.

Coating feet in a cream like Burt’s Bees Thoroughly Therapeutic Honey & Bilberry Foot Creme ($10), which is loaded with moisture-replenishing honey and jojoba oil, and wearing socks to bed is an excellent way to lock in moisture for softer feet. If you can’t stand to sleep in socks, place a humidifier at the foot of your bed to keep feet hydrated. Treat thick, dry patches on your feet by massaging them with Vicks VapoRub topical ointment ($3) in the p.m. to battle bacteria while you sleep.

Symptoms of Common Foot Problems

A normal nail bed is pink and smooth. Anything other than that may be a sign of a serious medical condition, Reynolds says. Here’s what to be wary of.

Are your nails brown or black?

See a doctor ASAP. A black or brown spot on your nail could be an indication ofmelanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Are they green?

This might be a bacterial or fungal infection caused by trauma to the nail. The tint could be from trapped fluid or pus underneath the nail.

Are there horizontal ridges?

Bumpy lines that run across the nail may be an indication of chronic eczema on the skin under or around the toenail.

Are there vertical ridges?

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis or problems with circulation have lines running along the length of their toenails.

The opinions expressed in this section are of the experts and are not the opinions of WebMD. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

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WebMD – Extreme Fitness: Calorie-Torching Workouts

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

Please remember to consult your physician before beginning any new exercise activities. Depending on your health, some of these exercises may be too strenuous for your personal situation. Swimming exercises are really good for low-impact, calorie burning exercises for people with more limited abilities, aged, or with certain limitations or physical disabilities. Whether or not you will be able to perform some of these exercises will depend on your individual situation. Please take care when getting into any new exercise regime.

 

Don’t plan on reading a magazine while you do these workouts. You’re entering a no-slacking zone.
By Annabelle Robertson
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Looking to blast calories? Get ready — it’s going to be intense.

“It’s got to be high intensity, whatever the workout is, if you’re going to torch calories — not just burn them,” says Bret Emery, a behavioral psychologist and weight loss specialist based in Weston, Fla. “Heart rate is key. That’s the speedometer of the body. If we speed the body up, it will burn more calories, just as a car will burn more fuel if it speeds up.”

Also, you need to mix up your workouts so they stay challenging. This will help keep your heart rate up, and force your body to burn more calories, Weston says.

The following workouts will zap calories, but they’ll also push your body way past your comfort zone. So check with your doctor before taking on the challenge. Don’t just tell your doctor you want to work out — let him or her know exactly what you’re planning to do. That way, your doctor can make sure you’re ready.

If you’re not active now, remember that it is better to ease into exercise in order to help prevent injury. Even though you may want to go all-out immediately, it’s wiser not to.

Interval Workout

Interval training is all about challenge and recovery — over and over — for a cardio blast.

You can do intervals many different ways — running, on any sort of cardio equipment, or in a pool.

This particular workout — which comes from Michael Banks, certified personal trainer and owner of Body by Banks Corporation in Salt Lake City — uses a treadmill. If you’re already fit, you can add dumbbells for an extra challenge.

1. Warm Up: On the treadmill, with the incline set at a challenging angle, power walk at a speed of 3-3.5 for 7 minutes. Keep your elbows up above your heart. Stop, get off the treadmill, and stretch.

2. Sprint: Drop the incline to 0, increase the treadmill speed, and sprint hard for 30 seconds. Aim for 90% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring your speed down to 3.0 and walk for one minute.

3. Squats: Get off the treadmill and squat, with your bottom out to the rear and your legs slightly apart. Then jump from the squatting position into the air, landing in the same squat position as before. Do this for one set of 15 or 20, working your quadriceps. If you’re already in good shape, hold dumbbells by your sides.

4. Overhead Presses: Do 15 or 20 overhead presses with the weights, pushing them straight up and directly over your shoulders.

5. Sprint: Get back on the treadmill and sprint for 30 seconds (no incline). The goal is to be at 80% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, decrease your speed to 3.0 and walk for one minute.

6. Tricep Extensions: Using dumbbells, do one set of 15 or 20 overhead tricep extensions. Your elbows should point toward the ceiling, with the weights behind your head. Lift the weights directly above your head and back down again.

7. Pushups. Do one set of 15 push-ups, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle from the body. Modification: Do the push-ups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.

8. Sprint: Back to the treadmill. Sprint for 1 minute, aiming for 70% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, jog for 90 seconds.

9. Jumping Jacks. Do one set of 15 or 20 jumping jacks. If you’re strong enough, add two 10- or 15-pound dumbbells — lift up the weights when you jump out, in an overhead press position, pulling them back down to shoulderheight as your legs go back together.

10. Finale: Incline your treadmill to an angle that really challenges you — but don’t hang onto the treadmill’s rails. Walk at a 2.0-3.5 speed for 30 seconds, aiming for 60% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring the treadmill down to a 1.0 incline and drop your speed to 1.9 or 2.0 for a 1-minute walk. Finish by stretching.

Quick CrossFit Series

CrossFit workouts are about getting maximum effort in minimum time.

The following exercises come from Doug Katona, co-founder and owner of CrossFit Endurance in Newport Beach, Calif. They can be done on their own, all together, or in any combination.

30-90s

  1. Warm up for 10-12 minutes, finishing the warm-up at 75% of your maximum heart rate or at 7.5 on the perceived exertion scale, in which 0 is no effort and 10 is your max.
  2. Choose any type of cardio. Do it at your maximum effort for 30 seconds.
  3. Stop and recover for 2 minutes, or for 90 seconds if you’re already in good condition. Do not shortchange the rest period.
  4. Do this up to three times.

Body Weight Blast

As fast as you can, do 10 squats, 10 push-ups, and 10 full sit-ups. Then do nine reps of each. Then eight, seven, six, and so forth, until you reach one rep of each exercise. Rest as little as possible between sets. Record your time and try to improve each week.

100 Burpees

If you only have a little time, try to do 100 burpees. Or, if that’s too much, start with 25, then move to 50, then to 75, until you can do 100.

Begin in a squat position with your hands on the floor, in front.

  • Kick back your feet to a push-up position.
  • Return your feet to the squat position.
  • Jump from the squat position into the air, straight above you.
  • Repeat, moving as fast as possible

Rowing or Indoor Cycling

Don’t overlook the rowing machine and stationary bikes in your gym. You may be sitting down, but you’ll be sweating when you try this workout from Scott Nohejl, coach and program director of The Chatham Area Rowing Association in Savannah, Ga.

  1. Row or bike for a minute.
  2. Sprawl with push-up. Run in place, with your feet just coming off the ground, for a count of five. Lower yourself onto your hands, jump your legs backward to a push-up position. Do one push-up, then bring the legs back, tucking them in. Stand and repeat for 1 minute.
  3. Squats. With hands on top of your head, squat so your knees are at 90 degrees — make sure they do not go past your toes — and then stand up. Repeat for 1 minute.
  4. Side jumps. With feet together, toes pointed forward, jump from side to side for 1 minute.
  5. Rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Row or bike for 1 minute.
  7. Scissor jumps. With one leg in front and the other in back, jump and “scissor” your legs before landing. Do this for 1 minute.
  8. Sumo jumps. Squat down, then jump, bringing your feet slightly off the ground. Do this for 1 minute.
  9. Jumping jacks. Do these for 1 minute.

Repeat the full set four times, nonstop, for a 16-minute workout. Cool down, and then stretch.

Swimming

The pool isn’t just for cooling off. It’s also a great way to heat up your metabolism — and burn a maximum number of calories.

Craig Keller, chair of the U.S. MastersSwimming Coaches Committee and head coach of the Asphalt Green Masters Swim Team in New York City, offers several workouts for swimmers, including two that will work well for people with injuries.

If you like distance, begin with two 500-yard (or meter) freestyle swims on intervals of 6.5 minutes. The quicker you finish, the more time you’ll have to rest. Then swim at an easy pace for two minutes.

Follow that with two 400-yard freestyle swims on a 5.5-minute interval, and another easy, two-minute swim. Finish with two 300-yard swims on 4.5-minute intervals.

Sprinters may prefer this workout:

  1. Do 20 freestyle lengths (25 yards) with five seconds of rest in between lengths. Recover with a 100-yard swim of your choice, at an easy pace.
  2. Do 16 25-yard swims of your choice with 10 seconds of rest, followed by another slow-paced 100-yard swim of your choice.
  3. Next, do 12 25-yard freestyle lengths with 15 seconds of rest between each. Recover with a 100-yard swim.
  4. End with 8 25-yard Freestyle lengths, resting for 20 seconds between lengths.

Got a leg or hip injury? Just grab a buoy and do a “pull swim” instead.

This workout consists of three rounds of four 200-yard freestyle swims. For the first, put the buoy between your ankles and pull the four 200-yard swims on 3-minute intervals. For the second round, remove the buoy and swim, dragging your legs. Do these 200-yard swims on 2.75-minute intervals. For the final round, place the buoy between your legs and pull on 2.5-minute intervals.

If your arms or shoulders are hurting – or you simply want to work your legs – use a kickboard and do two sets of four 100-yard swims, with 20 seconds of rest between each.

For the first 100 yards, kick hard for the first 25 yards, then go easy for the remaining 75 yards. For the second 100 yards, kick hard for 50 and easy for 50. Kick hard for 75 yards, then easy for 25 on the third one. And for the last one, go all out. Repeat the set.

More Calorie Burners

There are lots of other great options for burning calories through exercise. Here are some:

  • Playing basketball
  • Running
  • Jumping rope
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Taking an aerobics class
  • Spinning (stationary bike class)
  • Dancing (the faster you dance, the more calories you’ll burn)

Exactly how many calories you burn depends on your weight – and how intensely you do the exercise.

© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

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WebMD – You Can Start Feeling Better: 8 Important Things to Do About Depression

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

Fears and Facts About Antidepressants

WebMD Medical Reference

By Mary Anne Dunkin

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Along with counseling, antidepressants are a common part of treatment for depression. And they are usually effective. Six out of 10 people treated with antidepressants feel better with the first one they try. If the first antidepressant medication doesn’t help, the second or third often will. Most people eventually find one that works for them. Yet many people who could benefit from an antidepressant never try one, often because of fears and misconceptions about them, experts say.

Here are eight common fears about antidepressants, as well as facts that can help you decide if an antidepressant might be right for you.

Fear: Antidepressants make you forget your problems rather than deal with them.

Fact: Antidepressants can’t make you forget your problems, but they may make it easier for you to deal with them. Being depressed can distort your perception of your problems and sap you of the energy to address difficult issues. Many therapists report that when their patients take antidepressants, it helps them make more progress in counseling.

Fear: Antidepressants change your personality or turn you into a zombie.

Fact: When administered correctly, antidepressants will not change your personality. They will help you feel like yourself again and return to your previous level of functioning. (If a person who isn’t depressed takes antidepressants, they do not improve that person’s mood or functioning.) Rarely, people experience apathy or loss of emotions while on certain antidepressants. When this happens, switching to a different antidepressant may help.

Fear: Taking an antidepressant will make me gain weight.

Fact: Like all drugs, antidepressants have side effects, and weight gain can be a common one of many of them. Some antidepressants may be more likely than others to cause weight gain; others may actually cause you to lose some weight. If this is a concern, talk with your doctor.

Fear: If I start taking antidepressants, I’ll have to take them for the rest of my life.

Fact: Most people who take antidepressants need to take them continuously for six to nine months – not necessarily a lifetime. Once an antidepressant gets depression under control, you should work with your doctor to decide when to stop your medication and then decrease your dose gradually. Discontinuing them suddenly may cause problems such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

Fear: Antidepressants will destroy my sex life.

Fact: Antidepressants can have an effect on sexual functioning. The problem is usually an inability to achieve orgasm rather than a lack of desire. But because depression itself decreases libido, a medication that eases depression may improve your sex life. As with other side effects, certain antidepressants may be more likely than others to cause sexual problems.

Fear: Antidepressants are expensive and aren’t covered by insurance.

Fact: Antidepressants are usually covered by insurance plans with prescription drug coverage. The cost of antidepressant therapy varies widely, depending on the dosage, the drug you are taking, and whether it is available as a generic. Even without insurance coverage, it is possible to purchase a generic antidepressant for as little as $15 per month.

Fear: Taking an antidepressant is a sign of weakness.

Fact: Like medical conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol, major depression is a condition that often responds to medication.When depression interferes with your ability to function normally, seeking treatment is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of good self-care.

Fear: Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide.

Fact: Studies in recent years have raised concerns that antidepressants may raise the risk of suicide among children, adolescents, and young adults. For example, a 2009 review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) analyzed 372 studies involving nearly 100,000 people who were taking antidepressants. It found that compared to placebo, use of antidepressant drugs was associated with a small increased risk for suicidal thoughts in some children and young adults, have no effect on suicide risk among those 25 to 64, and reduce risk in those 65 and older.

In 2004, the FDA required manufacturers of antidepressants to revise their labels to include a black box warning statement about these risks.

Other studies paint a different picture. A 2006 study published in PLoS Medicine suggests that the use of antidepressants has saved thousands of lives. Data show that the U.S. suicide rate held fairly steady for 15 years prior to the introduction of the widely used antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) and then dropped steadily over 14 years while sales of Prozac rose. The research team found the strongest effect among women.

The bottom line: Regardless of your age or sex, it’s important to see a doctor immediately if you have suicidal tendencies or witness them in others.

 

© 2010 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Everyday Fitness

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

with Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP

Living life to the fullest is all about striving for a mind-body balance every day. Achieve a mental, nutritional, and physical transformation for life with tips from wellness expert Pamela Peeke, MD.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Glorious Glutes for a Sunsational Summer

Your Best Beach Body, Part Three

Welcome to Week Three of our “Back to the Beach” six week campaign. If you’ve missed the first two weeks, or need a refresher, click here. We’ve begun our Beach Mind Beach Body journey, but this time with a mental and physical twist.

Instead of obsessing about body parts, I’m asking you to engage your mind to see how your lifestyle behaviors are reflected in how you look and feel. If you do, you’ll experience a royal win win — by being more mindful of your body all day, your body will benefit by all of that attention. You’ll look great and feel so much better. This week we’ll use your beautiful behind as a case in point.

Hey, call it what you want — behind, booty, derriere — those soft pillows of feminine flesh serve you well all day. They power you out of chairs, up the stairs and straighten you up after tying your sneakers. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. Keep in mind, that, like all other muscles, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Simple routines that anyone can do will keep your rear end from sagging into those less than attractive rolls of bountiful butt straining your pant seams.

Many of you have a love-hate relationship with your butt. Well, that ends now. It’s time for you to express your own Glute Gratitude. Yep, let’s take what you’ve got and appreciate and optimize it.

Staying consistent with my MIND MOUTH MUSCLE template, you’re going to enter this third week with Power MIND. As I’ve noted in the previous blogs, you’ll fight any urge to default back to self-denigrating comments about your body. We’ll have none of that! Instead, this week you’ll say, “I’m smart, beautiful and fun and this week I’m going to practice body gratitude.” Every day, wake up and appreciate all of the body parts that work. Stop concentrating on what you can’t do, and pay attention to what you can do. This is especially true for as you age. Joints are creaking and there’s that recurring pain. Adapt and adjust and be happy you’re here today to rock and roll through another 24 hour life adventure.

Moving to the MOUTH, how about a few simple tricks to help you with the cravings that can destroy your best beach body intentions? Get over the urge to splurge by:

1) Medicating with Movement: Stop using food to anesthetize your stresses. Instead, get up and move. Research has shown that when that creepy craving starts to hit, you should hit the road. All it takes is 15 minutes of walking to increase levels of both the pleasure chemical dopamine as well as the mood modulator serotonin. In combination, they help you win the food fight.

2) Pound down the Protein: Got a craving? Grab lean protein all day long — for meals and snacks. Protein helps to curb the “I’m starving and I need to eat everything that’s not tacked down” hunger hormone, ghrelin. Avoid only eating protein at main meals. If you include protein in your snacks (low fat dairy, peanut butter on apple slices), you’ll keep this hunger hormone in check all through the day.

3) Substitute: Hey, it’s OK to have a treat every now and again. When you do, how about creating a tasty, healthy “cheat” by doing simple substitutions. Instead of grabbing something with boatloads of addictive refined sugar, make a fruit parfait with fresh berries and yogurt. Forget the potato chips and instead have hummus and carrots.

Now it’s time to honor that gluteal MUSCLE. I love these exercises because most are simple and easy to do throughout the day. Remember to always check with your medical team before you engage in any physical activities, especially if you have a medical and/or physical condition.

1) Stop Sitting So Much: Get up more often throughout the day. Walk while you talk on the phone. I always recommend standing and moving every 30 minutes. You’ll increase your fat burning metabolism as well as engage your muscles to keep them firm and fit.

2)  Stay Mindful of Your Rearful: As many times as you can, become mentally aware of your behind and as you do, contract your glutes. You can be standing in line, walking up stairs or running to the bus. Pay attention to how they feel as you move. As I noted in a previous blog, engaging your core throughout the day keeps your posture upright and makes you appear taller and slimmer. The same is true for the glutes. Become glute aware!

3) Burn Your Butt Fat: As you proceed to do some of the glute exercises, just remember that in addition to strength training and good nutrition, you absolutely need to be doing regular cardio (goal is to burn 400 calories each session) with intensity intervals. That means when you hit the hills by increasing your treadmill’s incline, you’ll cook a ton of calories compared to simply walking on the flat. Crank up your treadmill’s incline to 5%, walking at a pace of around 3.5-4MPH and you’ll burn at least 350 calories per hour, which is a 64% increase over walking on a flat surface. Or ramp up the speed with which you walk. Intensity intervals simply mean adding hills and/or speed every now and again to your workout. Check out the WebMD resources on how to do interval training.

4) Butt Blasters:

  • Backward Leg Toe Touch and Lift: Stand behind a chair, toes facing forward, with both hands placed on top of the chair for stability. Keeping both knees straight, extend your left leg back pointing your toes with your big toe is touching the ground behind you. Gently lift your left leg about 30 degrees off the ground without bending your knee. Tighten your glutes and hold for a count of 10. Bring down and touch the ground with your pointed big toe and lift right back up for another count of 10. Repeat this 5 times and switch sides.
  • Donkey Kick Crossover: Grab a mat and get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders. Keep your left knee and ankle flexed as you lift your knee to hip level behind you. Hold for a count of 5 and bring down, touching the mat briefly and lift again. Repeat 5 times and switch sides.
  • Butt Bridge: Lie face up on a mat with knees bent and feet flat, arms by your side. Left hips slowly off the floor, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders. Tighten your glutes and maintain this bridge position for a count of 10. Bring your butt down for 10 seconds and lift back up again into bridge position for a count of 10. See if you can do it for a count of 20. Repeat 5 times.
  • Sizzling Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core abdominal muscles. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Squat down, never going beyond a 90 degree angle to your lower legs. For novices or anyone with knee issues, just squat down enough to feel your glutes engage well and hold for a count of 3. As you stand up, for an added twist, rotate your trunk to the left and lift your bent left knee in front of you. Return to squat again. Switch sides and repeat. Do this whole set 5 times.
  • Invisible Chair Wall Squat: You can do this anytime and anywhere there’s a wall. Standing straight, place your back on a wall. Squat down as previously described, and imagine you’re sitting on an invisible chair. Squeeze your glutes. Hold for a count of 5-10 (or 20 for the advanced), and stand up. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Everything I’ve described is simple and doable. So, do it already! Summer’s around the corner. That’s your “bottom” line! Next week, we’ll move upstairs anatomically to help you with your right to bare strong and fit arms for a sensational season. Keep it going everyone!

Read the Series:

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Raising Healthy Kids – Ways to Keep Kids at a Healthy Weight

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed By David Ludwig, MD, PhD

If your child is at a healthy weight now, you may wonder what you can do to help him maintain it.

If your child is currently overweight, you may wonder how you can help her stick to a serious diet and exercise plan.

Well, according to experts, rigorous diets and exercise plans are not the healthy habits to be striving for. Singling out an overweight kid will just make him feel persecuted and unhappy. It also won’t work.

Instead, you can help your overweight kid move toward a healthy weight in much the same way you can help a healthy weight kid maintain that healthy weight. How? By making it easy for everyone in your family to make healthy choices and encouraging them to make those choices so consistently that they become your family’s healthy habits.

Making healthy choices can help an overweight kid who is still growing hold his weight steady so he can grow into his weight as he gets taller. Small healthy choices also give healthy weight kids the habits and foundation to maintain their weight.

Healthy Habit 1: Choose to eat dinner as a family.

You can encourage family health by having the whole family sit down to dinner together as often as possible.

It might seem like an indirect way to help with your child’s weight, but experts say it can help. Studies have found that family meals are associated with a healthier diet and lower rates of obesity.

Why? Experts say that social eating is good for us. Family dinners are a healthy habit that help us stay emotionally connected.

Plus, when kids eat on their own — especially plopped down in front of the TV — they might not pay attention to their hunger and absentmindedly overeat.

Finally, when you cook at home, you control the menu, so it’s easier for everyone to eat healthy.

Healthy Habit 2: Don’t let your child set the menu.

It’s potentially a disservice to your family’s health to let a child’s limited tastes dictate the family’s diet. If you do, you might wind up eating hot dogs and mac and cheese every night.

When you’re cooking healthy meals — filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy — your child might not like the vegetables that show up on her plate. But keep offering them anyway. Studies show that the more kids are exposed to a food, the more likely they are to try it.

When you’re making a healthy entrée that your child might not like, experts recommend that you include a healthy food that she does like — fruit, for instance — as a side dish. That way, there’s something familiar for her.

If she protests, experts suggest that you be firm: Make it clear that her choices are limited to what you’ve served. Resist the temptation to cave in and make her a separate meal. In time, she’ll come to accept the limits that you’re setting — and will start trying some healthier foods.

Healthy Habit 3: Choose to reduce TV time.

Because many studies have found a clear association between television-watching and obesity, experts say that reducing your kids’ TV time makes sense. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of TV watching a day for kids aged 2 and older. It’s best if children younger than 2 not watch TV at all.

Of course, the most effective way to curb your child’s TV watching is for you to also limit your time in front of it. The easiest way to successfully have a healthy family is for you to lead by example.

Afraid such healthy goals will challenge your poise and patience? If you’re swooping in every 15 minutes, scowling, and clicking off the TV, you might face a revolt — or your kids will just scurry off to a different screen — a computer, video game, or TV in another room.

To keep your cool and remember your goal to have a healthy family, don’t focus on what your kids can’t do, but what they can do. For instance, don’t even mention after-school TV. Instead, create a list of activities — rain or shine — that can be done after school instead of TV watching, like dancing to favorite songs or biking in the neighborhood. Then, help your child pick 1 to try.

Healthy Habit 4: Buy a pedometer for everyone in the family.

It’s not enough for you to demand that your child exercise. Instead, inspire your whole family to move more.

Outfitting each family member with a pedometer encourages healthy habits. Once a kid starts to track how many steps he’s taking, it’s pretty natural to want to take more. At the end of the day, everyone can compare the number of steps they took and chart their progress. It can become a fun competition that leads to better family health. Studies have found that pedometers can be effective in kids as young as 6.

How many steps should your child be taking? While many adults aim for 10,000 steps per day, researchers say that a child’s target should actually be higher. One study found that for kids aged 6 to 12, a healthy goal for girls was 12,000 steps a day and 15,000 steps a day for boys.

That might seem like a lot, but kids are naturally more active than adults. Of course, a child’s stride is much shorter, so they won’t walk as far as you will.

Start slowly. Begin by aiming for an additional 2,000 steps to what each person takes on an average day now. Even that modest increase will help with family health.

Healthy Habit 5: Choose not to micromanage your child’s eating.

As a parent, you don’t want to be watching every bite of food that goes into your kid’s mouth. You don’t want to be swatting her hand away from the cookie jar all the time. That sort of micromanaging will just make everyone miserable.

Instead, the easiest path to raising a healthy family is to remove the source of conflict. Replace the cookie jar with a fruit bowl. After all, kids do most of their eating at home — that’s true even for many teens. Because parents are the ones who shop, you have control over the food that’s in the house.

When you’re at the grocery store, swap the chips and cookies you normally put in your cart with healthier options. Don’t buy sugary drinks like soda and juice-like drinks, and limit the amount of 100% fruit juice you buy.

Buy only foods that you want your child to eat. It will boost your family’s health, and you won’t worry so much about which food she’s choosing for a snack.

Healthy Habit 6: Choose healthy ways to manage stress.

Some studies have shown that kids with stressed-out moms are more likely to be overweight. The cause of the stress can be anything from health problems in the family, money issues, or problems with their mate.

So, here’s another reason to enlist help to find solutions to your stressors — to help your kid’s weight stay in a healthy range. Try these healthy stress relievers:

  • Talk it out with a friend, counselor, or religious advisor.
  • Use exercise as a way to burn off stress.
  • Tell your kids about your stress, using words they can understand.
  • Look for support to help you with the things causing you distress from family, government programs, hospital classes, and so forth.

By handling stress in healthy ways you set a great example for your kids, too.

Healthy Habit 7: Choose to make sleep more important.

Studies have found that a lack of sleep is associated with weight gain. When kids are overtired, changes to hormones and metabolism seem to increase the risk of obesity.

To raise healthy kids, enforce a routine bedtime. You can make the transition easier by trying to make the time before bed relaxing. A helpful way to do this is to remove distractions from your child’s bedroom — including TVs, cell phones, and computers.

Sticking with the same routine even on the weekends can help eliminate fluctuations in mood from fatigue and avoid that Monday-morning angst from trying to get back on schedule.

Bedtime may get harder with teens. As kids hit adolescence, their body clocks reset, and they become biologically wired to stay up late. Because high school starts so early, many teens are chronically overtired and at higher risk of obesity as a result.

As a parent, the best you can do is to work with your teen to encourage healthy sleep habits before bed. Help them see just how much better they feel when they do get enough sleep and how much easier it is to concentrate in school.

A healthy amount of sleep helps reduce the risk of obesity in adults too. So prioritize sleep accordingly to set a healthy example for your family.

Healthy Habit 8: Choose to be consistent about family health.

Consult with an expert — like a dietitian or childhood weight loss expert — to adopt basic, sensible changes to your family’s diet and exercise routine and stick with them.

If after a few months you don’t think these healthy habits are helping — if, for instance, your child has been gaining weight — check in again with an expert and tweak your family’s plan.

The most important thing to help your family adopt healthy habits is to stick to your plan. Stay consistent: about the foods you have in the house, about family exercise routines, and about bedtime.

If you do, your kids are more likely to accept your rules in the long run. If they sense any hesitation on your part, they’re more likely to argue and push back. With persistence, you will be able to help your kids adopt healthy habits, and they will benefit for the rest of their lives.

 

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Chefs’ Diet Secrets

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

How top chefs manage their weight.
By Lisa Zamosky
WebMD Feature

If you think managing your weight is tough, imagine if your job was to spend all day cooking, thinking about, and tasting food. That’s the challenge professional chefs face each day when they go off to work. In spite of being around tantalizing food all the time, however, many professional cooks manage to keep themselves in great shape. How do they do it?

WebMD talked with three working chefs to learn about their weight management strategies, and with one nutritionist to determine if these methods make sense for those of us cooking at home.

Managing Hunger

How is it possible to eat all the time and still be hungry? Most chefs say they taste small amounts of food all day long but rarely sit down to a full meal.

Chef Dale Talde, director of Asian concepts for the Starr Restaurant Group, which is based in New York and owns many restaurants on the East Coast, says it’s a requirement of his job to taste every dish that leaves the kitchen to make sure it’s up to standards. Talde, who has been featured on the Bravo’s Channel’s Top Chefs and Top Chef All-Stars, figures that amounts to eating thousands of calories each day.

“But you never eat a full meal,” he says. “You’re not hungry but you’re not totally satisfied either.”

Talde works nights and says he’s lucky to get home before midnight. By then he’s ready to eat. “It’s that sense of a hard day’s work finished off by a meal,” he says.

Over the past two years, Talde has packed on about 30 pounds. His blood pressure has risen, too. This has caused him to get creative in finding ways to reduce his caloric and salt intake, but still perform his duties as a chef.

One of his biggest tricks is making sure he doesn’t let himself get too hungry.

“I don’t [usually] like to eat before noon, but now I wake up earlier to get something healthy in – some cottage cheese with salsa and arugula, for example – that way I have something in my stomach before I go to work. It’s easier to maintain what you’re eating when you’re not starving,” Talde says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: Talde’s approach is smart, says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, assistant director of UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition.

“The night is over and it’s not even a question that they’re famished at 11 p.m. or midnight,” Bowerman says of chefs working the dinner rush. “It’s how they unwind at the end of the day.”

For chefs and home cooks alike, scheduling time for a good breakfast — with some protein (such as a protein shake or some protein-rich cottage cheese) and healthy carbohydrates such as fruit — helps keep hunger at bay, making us less likely to overeat. The key is to fuel up adequately and make sure you’re getting nutrients earlier in the day.

Limiting Alcohol

Drinking fine wines and liquors often goes with the territory of being a chef. “It’s often 2:00 in the morning when we get out of work, so there’s not much else to do but go to the bars,” Talde says.

For many chefs, fine wine – and plenty of it – is the natural accompaniment to a good meal. But alcohol adds a lot of calories to your day. Half a bottle of wine, for example, is approximately 250 calories, Bowerman says. Drinking also loosens one’s resolve to eat well.

Talde says he recently began alternating a glass of wine with a glass of sparkling water at dinner to cut back on the calories. He also found that drinking water from a wine glass made the experience feel more special. “Then I really don’t notice and it doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on anything,” Talde says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: “Alternating an alcoholic beverage with a calorie-free beverage is a tip I always make for people,” Bowerman says. And putting the nonalcoholic drink in a wine glass is a great psychological trick that for some can make sparkling water just as satisfying as drinking wine. “The wine glass idea makes sense,” Bowerman says. “It may be something just about feeling the stem of the glass that elevates the meal to something more special.”

If drinking only half the alcohol you normally would with each meal seems unsatisfying, take a different approach. Bowerman suggests adding up the total number of drinks you have in a week and then cutting it by a third. “Can you cut out one night, rather than cutting back every single day?” she asks. For some people, that approach is more successful.

Keep It in the Bowl

Chef Nikki Cascone was a contestant on the Bravo Channel’s fourth season of Top Cheftestant and owns Octavia’s Porch, a restaurant in New York. She’s among the lucky few with a naturally fast metabolism that has kept her slim for most of her life. But after having a baby four months ago, managing her weight has become a new challenge.

Like Talde, Cascone finds that the chef’s lifestyle makes it difficult to eat well. “You’re never really off when you get to a certain level, especially when you own a restaurant. There are late-night hours and it’s a very tense environment. You’re dealing with the public, high stress, and high temperatures. I’ve had to train myself to eat healthy,” she says.

One trick that’s worked well for Cascone is keeping all her meals confined to one bowl, and consciously filling the bowl with lean protein, such as chicken, legumes, seeds, and vegetables. Packing it full of healthy foods helps her to feel satisfied. Limiting the meal to one bowl helps her to not overeat.

The Nutritionist’s Take: “She’s practicing portion control,” Bowerman says of Cascone. The size of the container we eat from can determine how much we eat, according to Bowerman, and for the average dieter at home, that’s a great tip.

But if you don’t care for the idea of eating every meal from a bowl, control your portions instead by using a smaller plate. “It’s about the visual impact of looking at a full plate of food,” Bowerman says.

Swap Ingredients

Diane Henderiks, RD, is a personal chef and culinary nutritionist who frequently appears on Good Morning America. Her goal is to raise the culinary bar for healthy cooking. “I switch up ingredients to maintain the integrity of the dish without fat and sodium,” she says.

Henderiks’ motto is that any dish can be made healthier. She cooks with fresh and dried herbs, citrus juices, and nectars to make dressings that are lower in fat and sugar. Ground turkey substitutes for ground beef, applesauce or yogurt are used in place of butter, broth or wine instead of oil, and she uses marinades and rubs to add flavor to meat without adding calories.

Similarly, Cascone uses a balsamic vinegar reduction (balsamic vinegar cooked on the stove top until it’s reduced to a syrup) for a very low-calorie salad dressing, and has replaced all table sugar with agave syrup as a way of eliminating refined sugars from her diet.

The Nutritionist’s Take: For the home chef, these are great techniques and they all add up, Bowerman says. “Cutting fat and calories becomes habit.”

Just be careful when replacing sugar with natural sweeteners like agave syrup, because “you’re not saving any calories,” Bowerman says. Still, she concedes it could be a small change that works for some people because the taste of agave syrup is more complex than table sugar, and it often blends better in things like ice tea. “Sometimes these replacements, although not saving calories, are more satisfying, and so people use less of it.”

Focus on Grains

Cascone says when she’s building her bowl of food she grants more space to grains than to protein. “I’m big on grains like quinoa. That’s a priority over fish or meat,” Cascone says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: Whole grains (as opposed to refined grains) are a very important part of our diet, Bowerman says, and few of us get enough of things like barley, brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, popcorn, or wild rice.

Still, she says, protein is the most satisfying type of food when it comes to keeping hunger in check. Whole grains are high in fiber and filling but can be high in calories too, so it’s important to watch portion size carefully. “When I have people look at a plate of food, one-third should be filled with lean protein. The rest of the plate should be vegetables and salads,” Bowerman says.

 

©2005-2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Top 8 Acne Treatment Mistakes

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

Common ways people go wrong in treating their acne.
By Anna Nguyen
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

For the nearly 50 million Americans affected by acne, the many available medications and treatments can be confusing and overwhelming.

It’s easy to make mistakes treating acne or even make it worse, despite the best intentions.

Recommended Related to Acne

Skin Conditions and Acne

Most people develop acne — the most common skin condition — to some degree, but it primarily affects teenagers undergoing hormonal changes. Acne may be mild (few, occasional pimples), moderate (inflammatory papules), or severe (nodules and cysts). Treatment depends on the severity of the condition.

Read the Skin Conditions and Acne article > >

Here, experts list the most common mistakes people make while treating acne. In most cases, a dermatologist can help undo the damage.

Mistake No. 1: Not trying an acne treatment long enough

Skin reacts slowly to treatment. Even if the acne came on fast, it still requires time to heal. That usually takes between two to six weeks, says Barbara R. Reed, MD, a dermatology professor at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver.

April W. Armstrong, MD, MPH, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California Davis Health System, tells WebMD that she advises patients to give a product one month and keep using it if they notice any improvement.

In some cases, the skin can experience minor irritation the first couple of weeks of treatment, says Diane S. Berson, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Ithaca.

“It’s not an infection, it’s an inflammation. It can even get worse before it gets better,” Berson says.

Mistake No. 2: Trying too many products at once

People usually layer on products when they don’t get results in the first few days of treatment, Reed tells WebMD.

“What then happens is that they start trying different products, abandoning them very quickly if they do not see results in a day or two. They also add one product to another. Sometimes the products can cause irritation of the skin and add further insult to the owner,” Reed says.

When someone self treats their acne, they may accidentally traumatize their skin. This can make the acne lesions bigger, more likely to pigment, and heal with spots and scars, Berson says.

Mistake No. 3: Overscrubbing or overcleansing the skin

Scrubbing the skin will actually worsen acne, as it can compromise the skin’s protective barrier and can increase irritation, Berson says.

Instead, gently wash with a nonirritating, pH-balanced cleanser to decrease inflammation. It’s also important to thoroughly rinse off the cleanser because the residue can be irritating, she says.

“Acne is not from dirt,” Reed says. “Many people tend to overwash and overscrub when they get acne. As one of my teachers used to say, ‘If acne were from dirt, you would have it on your feet!’

Mistake No. 4: Choosing the wrong products for acne-prone skin

Harsh cleansers, alkaline bar soaps, and alcohol-based products may worsen acne, says Berson, who has consulted for skin care product makers Galderma Stiefel, Proctor & Gamble, and Neutrogena.

Reed says she advises patients to look for “noncomedogenic” or “for acne-prone skin” products. Noncomedogenic products do not contain ingredients that tend to clog pores in people with acne-prone skin.

Certain ingredients found in products such as cosmetics, sunscreen, and moisturizers are more likely to clog pores. They include isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, decyl oleate, isostearyl neopentanoate, isocetyl stearate, myristle myristate, cocoa butter, acetylated lanolin, and D & C red dyes. Products containing oil can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

 

Mistake No. 5: Popping and picking at pimples

Popping and picking pimples prolongs healing time and increases the risk of scarring. Infected material can get pushed further into the skin, leading to more swelling and redness.

“People tend to groom the lesions. They examine them very closely several times a day and start imagining that there is something they can stick in the lesion or extract from the lesion. So they pick and the lesion gets worse,” Reed says.

Mistake No. 6: Waiting too long to see a dermatologist

It’s time to make an appointment once acne starts taking a toll on self-esteem, becomes painful, causes excessive scarring, or if over-the-counter (OTC) medications aren’t clearing it up.

Dermatologists have more tools to treat acne, and can prescribe stronger doses of OTC medications and oral antibiotics. They also offer new technologies, such as light and laser therapy, and chemical peels. However, newer does not necessarily mean better, and these treatments are probably not necessary to treat a patient’s acne, Armstong says.

Dermatologists can give prescription medicines that are tailored to the type of acne a person has and also their skin type, Reed says.

It’s also possible a patient could have rosacea, which usually requires different treatment than acne. Rosacea is a long-term disease that causes redness and pimples.

Mistake No. 7: Overusing or under using a prescribed acne medication

Berson says she stresses to patients to use the medication as instructed. Overusage will not help clear the acne, but can cause additional redness and dryness.

Not sticking to a regimen delays any potential improvements.

Half of the battle is consistency. Many people under use because they lose motivation after the first two weeks. They can’t expect results overnight, Armstrong says.

Underusing the medication by spot-treating fails to prevent breakouts.

“You need to apply medication to the entire affected area that tends to break out, instead of spot treating. With spot treating, you haven’t addressed the area next to it, where another pimple could be brewing, Berson says.

Mistake No. 8: Stopping the use of acne medication once it clears up

It is best to taper medication usage by using it less and less. For example, if you’ve been using it twice a day, use it once a day for awhile, then once every other day, then twice a week, and then stop. It often takes acne four to six weeks to return, just like it took it the same amount of time for it to get better, Reed says.

To keep skin blemish-free, most people need to continue usage with at least one acne product. It’s possible to cut down to a few times a week if someone is using an OTC medication.

 

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Why Some Smokers Have a Harder Time Quitting

Posted by 4love2love on June 25, 2011

Study Shows Variation in Brain May Give Some Smokers More Pleasure From Nicotine
By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

smoker and double helix overlay

May 16, 2011 — Quitting smoking is never easy, but some smokers have an even harder time kicking the habit, and now new research suggests that they may derive more pleasure form nicotine.

The new study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may also help foster the development of more effective quitting strategies for certain smokers.

Researchers used PET scans to capture images of the number of “mu-opioid receptors” in the brains of smokers. Smokers with greater numbers of these receptors seem to derive more pleasure from nicotine, and as a result may have a harder time quitting.

“The brain’s opioid system plays a role in smoking rewards, and quitting smoking and some of the variability in our ability to quit among smokers is attributable to genetic factors,” says study researcher Caryn Lerman, PhD, director of Tobacco Use Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“The ability to quit smoking is influenced by a number of psychological, social, and environmental factors, but also genetic factors,” she says. “For some people, genetic variations may make it more difficult to quit than for someone else who smokes the same amount for same amount of time,” Lerman says.

The study findings are more applicable to quitting smoking than becoming addicted in the first place, she says.

New Quitting Strategies/Tools Needed

There may be a role for personalized medicine when it comes to smoking cessation, Lerman says.  Personalized medicine takes the trial and error out of matching treatments by making decisions based on genetic profiles.

“Based on a person’s genetic background, we can select the optimal treatment,” she says. “It is a two-pronged approach of developing new medications and being able to make the best choice for a particular person based on existing options.”

Importantly, even diehard smokers should not take these findings to mean they can’t quit, she says.

“Don’t become fatalistic,” she says. “You may need particular approaches tailored to you,” she says. Going forward, “we hope to study this pathway in more detail to understand whether examining genetic background and the numbers of brain receptors can help us choose the right treatments for the right individual.”

Raymond S. Niaura, PhD, an associate director for science at the Schroeder Institute of the American Legacy Foundation, an antismoking group based in Washington, D.C., says that “there are genetic influences involved in becoming addicted to nicotine and tobacco and on how hard it is to quit smoking.”

The new findings provide “a peek into the genetic and underlying brain processes responsible for nicotine addiction,” he says.

Daniel Seidman, PhD, assistant clinical professor of medical psychology and the director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, agrees.“There are a lot of smokers and everybody gets lumped together, but there are a lot of patterns like with other types of addiction.”

This paper “points to a biological or genetic substrate which predisposes some people to have a hard time,” he says. Quitting smoking can be emotionally charged, he says. Symptoms typically include irritability, anger, and sad mood. “Some people are able to rally more and some may not bounce back as well because they have a harder time finding alternative sources of pleasure,” he says.

Agreeing with Niaura, Seidman says that some smokers seem to need nicotine replacement for longer periods of time. “When they come off nicotine patches or gum, it doesn’t feel right and it may be related to this subtype,” he says. “This is not a problem because nicotine replacement doesn’t cause cancer or go into yourlungs.”

People with this particular genetic variation may benefit from extended treatment, he says. “They may have a certain kind of sensitivity to nicotine, which could explain why they became addicted in the first place and why they may need to use nicotine replacement for a longer time than others.”

 

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Sunscreen: Are You Really Covered?

Posted by 4love2love on June 25, 2011

Our experts debunk sunscreen myths — plus a top dermatologist reveals her favorite sunscreens.
By Ayren Jackson-Cannady
WebMD the Magazine – Feature
Reviewed by Karyn Grossman, MD

Now that summer’s in full swing, it’s time to make sure you’re fully protected from sun. But what kind of sunscreen should you buy? How long should you keep it? And just what are the factors for skin cancer anyway? In this special feature, we answer the top myths about sunscreen, bring you a top dermatologist’s sunscreen recommendations, and offer a quick way for you to assess your own chances of getting skin cancer.

Top Sunscreen Myths

1. The higher the SPF, the better the protection.

FALSE. It sounds right — a sun protection factor of 100 should be twice as protective as SPF 50. But it’s only a few percentage points more effective. An SPF of 15 screens 93% of the sun’s rays and an SPF of 30 screens 97%. “But the number becomes irrelevant if you aren’t applying enough in the first place,” says Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist in Danbury, Conn., and an assistant clinical professor at Yale University Department of Dermatology. Studies show the average person slaps on one-seventh to one-tenth of the amount of SPF needed to reach the number that’s on the bottle.

“For better protection apply 1 to 2 ounces (the size of a Ping-Pong ball) of sunscreen on your body 30 minutes before going outdoors [so your skin can absorb it completely], and every two hours to any exposed skin after that,” Gohara says. For your face, apply a dollop the size of a silver dollar every day, no matter what the weather. Note, too, that SPF refers to protection from UVB (the burning rays) only, not UVA (the aging rays). You need to guard against both, since both can lead to skin cancer.

2. It’s OK to use last year’s bottle of SPF.

TRUE. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of about two years, says Jordana Gilman, MD, a New York City dermatologist. If you are using sunscreen properly, however, you shouldn’t have any left, since it takes about 1 to 2 ounces of sunscreen to cover the entire body, so a 4-ounce bottle should last for only four applications.

3. Sunscreen only needs to be applied to exposed skin.

FALSE. The average T-shirt offers an SPF of about 7, notes Gilman. Darker fabrics and tighter weaves provide more protection, but it is much safer to apply sunscreen to your entire body before you get dressed. Or better yet, wear clothing made of UV protective fabrics. These have been specially treated with colorless UV-absorbing dyes, and most offer an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50, which blocks both UVA and UVB.

Don’t want to invest in a whole new summer wardrobe? Spike your detergent with a wash-in SPF product you can toss in with your laundry.

4. Using makeup with SPF is just like wearing regular facial sunscreen.

FALSE. Certainly, applying makeup that contains SPF is better than skipping it altogether, but it’s not as effective as wearing a facial lotion with sunscreen underneath. Generally, most makeup cracks on skin, allowing UV rays through. “For makeup to provide adequate ultraviolet protection, it would need to be applied in a really thick layer, which most women do not do,” Gilman says. So unless you plan to spackle on your foundation, smooth on a layer of lotion with sunscreen first, and then apply your makeup.

5. Sunscreen can cause cancer.

FALSE. The only way sunscreen could be hazardous to your health is if it is absorbed into the body, which does not happen, says Amy Wechsler, MD, dermatologist and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Reverse Stress Aging and Reveal More Youthful, Beautiful Skin. “UV rays break down the chemical molecules in some sunscreens relatively quickly, long before they can seep into skin.”

Still concerned? Use a sunscreen containing physical blocking ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which stay on the surface of the skin as a protective barrier. Don’t be tempted to use babies’ or children’s sunscreens, which don’t necessarily contain physical blocks. And make sure to check the “active ingredients” section on the label to see what the bottle contains. Even the same product can vary from year to year. Some dermatologists believe people should wear physical blocks only. They might be safer than a mix but are harder to find and not as easy to wear since they tend to be thicker and goopier products. Try a few to find one you like.

6. “Waterproof” sunscreen doesn’t need to be reapplied after swimming.

FALSE. It’s no surprise researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health recently found that vacations near the water were associated with a 5% increase in small skin moles, which in turn boosts a person’s risk of melanoma. While the FDA recognizes the term “water resistant” (which means a sunscreen offers SPF protection after 40 minutes of exposure to water), it does not acknowledge the term “waterproof.” “No sunscreen is truly waterproof,” Wechsler confirms. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two to three hours — and every time you get out of the water if you’re doing laps in the pool or splashing around in the ocean.

7. Wearing sunscreen can lead to vitamin D deficiency.

FALSE. There’s no denying that our bodies need vitamin D (which can be obtained though sun exposure) to function — without it, the body can’t use calcium or phosphorus (minerals necessary for healthy bones). And according to a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, three-quarters of Americans are deficient in the crucial vitamin. But that doesn’t give you a no-SPF pass. “You still get enough sun to make plenty of vitamin D through the sunscreen,” says Brett Coldiron, MD, a dermatologist at the University of Cincinnati. If you’re worried about vitamin D deficiency leading to brittle bones, Wechsler says, ask your doctor about taking a supplement. The Institute of Medicine’s recently revised guidelines recommend most adults get 600 international units of vitamin D a day; some people may need more.

8. Sunscreen with antioxidants provides better UVA/UVB protection.

TRUE. While they aren’t necessarily active sunscreen ingredients, antioxidants are great SPF supplements. Sunscreen alone does not block all of the damaging rays from the sun — even an SPF of 50 blocks out only 98% of UV rays. “Antioxidants are a good way to catch the UV radiation that ‘sneaks’ past the sunscreen,” Gohara says. Sunscreens infused with antioxidants such as skin-loving green tea extract or polyphenols from tomatoes and berries are proven to reduce the formation of free radicals (small chemical particles that wreak havoc on skin and can cause skin cancer) in the presence of UV light.

To read entire post, please go to Sunscreen : Are you really covered?

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – 10 Best Low-Carb Snacks

Posted by 4love2love on June 25, 2011

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Expert Column

Chips, cookies, ice cream, candy bars, crackers, and microwave popcorn are some of America’s most popular snack foods. But they’re often packed with fats and carbs, with little nutritional value.

What are your options if you are looking for a smart low-carb snack?

You could choose foods that are higher in fiber and/or important nutrients, feature carbohydrates with lower glycemic indexes, are balanced with some protein, and contain some of the more heart-healthy fats.

That’s exactly what the following 10 low-carb snacks are all about.

My Top 10 Low-Carb Snacks

1. Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups

Cut one part-skim mozzarella cheese stick in half lengthwise. Roll about 1 ounce of sliced roasted turkey breast around half of a part skim mozzarella cheese stick and repeat with the remaining cheese and turkey to make a total of two roll-ups.

Each serving contains: 3.5 grams carbohydrate, 0.3 gram fiber, 144 calories, 17 grams protein, 6.6 grams fat, 3.8 grams saturated fat

2. Side Salad Topped with a Hard-Boiled Egg or Avocado

Top a typical side salad with a hard-boiled egg or 1/4 chopped avocado, drizzle with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar or 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette.

Each serving (with egg) contains: 3 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 146 calories, 11 grams protein, 10 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat

Each serving (with avocado) contains: 6 grams carbohydrate, 4.4 grams fiber, 120 calories, 4 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat

3. Large Artichoke

Cut artichoke in half (from the stem to the tip) and cut out the inedible thistle part of the center of the artichoke. Place in microwave-safe, covered container with 1/2 cup water and cook on high until tender throughout (about 6 minutes for one artichoke or 10 minutes for two). Enjoy with lemon juice or 2 teaspoons of canola oil or olive oil mayonnaise.

Each serving (with lemon juice) contains: 17 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber, 76 calories, 5.5 grams protein, .2 gram fat, .01 gram saturated fat

Each serving (with mayonnaise) contains: 17 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber, 106 calories, 5.5 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 0.1 gram saturated fat

4. Avocado and Shrimp Cocktail

Toss 2 ounces of cooked thawed shrimp with 1/4 avocado (chopped) and a tablespoon of cocktail sauce.

Each serving contains: 8.5 grams carbohydrate, 3.4 grams fiber, 161 calories, 13 grams protein, 7.6 grams fat, 1.2 grams saturated fat

5. Typical fast-food Caesar salad with grilled chicken (no dressing)

Each serving contains: 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 220 calories, 30 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat

6. Peanut Butter & Celery Sticks

Serve 3 celery stalks with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter.

Each serving contains: 8.5 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 208 calories, 7 grams protein, 16 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat

7. A Handful of Nuts

A handful, depending on the size of the hand, can be the ideal snack portion: a quarter cup. You can keep roasted, unsalted mixed nuts on hand or choose any variation of nuts.

Each serving (1/4 cup roasted almonds) contains: 6.7 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 205 calories, 9.5 grams protein, 18 grams fat, 1.4 grams saturated fat

8. Edamame Bowl

A super-convenient way to enjoy high protein soybeans as a snack is to put 3/4 cup of frozen, shelled edamame into a microwave-safe bowl and micro-cook them for a few minutes or until nice and hot. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, if desired.

Each serving contains: 8 grams carbohydrate, 4.3 grams fiber, 97 calories, 9 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat

9. Carrot Sticks and Hummus

Cut one large carrot into sticks or coins and serve with 1/4-cup hummus.

Each serving contains: 15.8 grams carbohydrate, 5.8 grams fiber, 133 calories, 6 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 0.9 grams saturated fat

10. Soy Latte (iced or hot)

Blend a cup of light soymilk with a shot or two (1/8 to 1/4 cup) of espresso or triple-strength coffee (decaf if you’re sensitive to caffeine). Serve over or blend with 3/4 cup crushed ice for an iced soy latte.

Each serving contains: 8.5 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 73 calories, 6 grams protein, 1.9 grams fat, 0 gram saturated fat

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the “Recipe Doctor” for WebMD and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

© 2010 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Chemicals May Be Risky to Nail Salon Workers

Posted by 4love2love on June 16, 2011

To view more articles related to health and care, please visit WebMD.

Study: Workers Are Exposed to Unsafe Levels of the Chemical Toluene

By Matt McMillen 
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 5, 2011 — Harmful chemicals may be endangering the health of Vietnamese nail salon workers, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and Asian Health Services report finding unsafe levels of toluene, a solvent linked to neurological, reproductive, and endocrine damage, and other chemicals, including one that has been banned by the FDA since 1974.

The study is published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The research team recruited 80 workers, all of whom were Vietnamese women, at 20 different salons — half of them in Oakland, Calif. — to participate in the study. Each of them wore a monitor attached to a shirt or coat collar. Over the course of each shift, the monitor would measure concentrations of toluene, ethyl acetate, and isopropyl acetate.

High Levels of Risky Chemical

The researchers found that the average toluene levels were 0.15 parts per million, nearly twice the amount recommended by the California Environmental Protection Agency for indoor air, according to the study.

In addition to the samples taken from the workers’ monitors, they also measured the ambient air in three of the salons being studied. They found notable levels of methyl methacrylate, which has been banned for decades.

Finally, the salon workers were given a questionnaire in which they were asked to identify any health symptoms they had experienced while working. The most frequent complaints common among salon workers included irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, shortness of breath, nausea, and coughing.

“This really explains why we have been hearing from salon workers about the health problems that they have,” study researcher Thu Quach, PhD, MPH, says of the Vietnamese women who make up most of the salon workforce in California.

While Quach’s study focused on workers in California, reports of adverse health effects among Vietnamese salon workers have been a concern in other parts of the country, including the Pacific Northwest, Houston, and Boston.

“It’s definitely a national issue,” says Julia Liou, MPH, manager of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, an organization founded in 2005 to address the health and safety concerns among California salon workers. “We’re concerned about their cumulative, chronic, and long-term health problems.”

Nail salon workers may be at heightened risk of health problems because they are exposed to the chemicals on a daily basis. However, Quach points out, the toxins are in the nail care products, which means that customers are exposed as well, albeit to a much lesser extent.

In addition to the acute symptoms that salon workers suffer, Quach is concerned about potential long-term health risks.

“I’m really very interested in following the long term health outcomes of these women.”

 

© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Web MD – The Best Life Diet

Posted by 4love2love on June 16, 2011

To read more articles provided by WebMD, please visit their site.

What Is The Best Life Diet?

 

Exercise physiologist Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet is an easy-to-follow, no-gimmicks approach to a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s a dietician’s dream diet — and one that apparently changed talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s life. Winfrey describes in the foreword how, after years of struggling with diets, she found success with The Best Life Diet.

There is nothing groundbreaking about The Best Life Diet. Greene’s “diet” is synonymous with the phrase “lifestyle change.” There’s no going on and off this diet, because it’s not a “diet.” It’s a lifestyle of healthy eating, with an emphasis on regular physical activity.

The Best Life Diet is a safe, effective way to lose weight and improve fitness. But it is not quick or temporary. You’re encouraged to make gradual changes, one step at a time. The aim is to transform your old eating and exercise habits into healthier new ones that will last a lifetime.

 

Depending on your gender and activity level, The Best Life Diet guidelines suggests calorie levels ranging from 1,500-2,500 and a recommended number of servings from the various food groups. The basic premise is that the more active you are, the more calories you can eat.

Greene’s fitness insights and easygoing style makes weight loss easy to understand. Lots of great tipsrecipes, menus, and useful tools are included to help dieters get and stay motivated. The Best Life Diet is easily tailored to a wide array of personal lifestyles, activity levels, and food preferences. The program can be followed online for a fee, or by the book.

What You Can Eat on The Best Life Diet

 

There is no calorie-counting on the Best Life Diet, only a mindful approach to making wise food choices and monitoring portion sizes. Splurges are worked into the program during the third phase with an allotment of “anything goes” calories.

It appears very simple. You can enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods while slowly ridding your diet of unhealthier choices such as fried foods, foods containing trans fats, white bread, sugary soft drinks, regular pasta, and high-fat dairy. These foods are phased out and replaced with healthier foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and more. Weekly eating plans provide suggested meals.

Greene has placed his Best Life Diet seal of approval logo on a variety of food products he recommends as healthy. Dieters are asked to make their healthier choices from a recommended list of foods from companies involved in corporate sponsorship.

How The Best Life Diet Works

 

Greene’s Best Life premise is to promote a non-dieting mind-set so you can focus on improving your life and gaining control over your struggles with eating and weight. While strict diet plans usually set you up for disappointment and ultimate failure, Greene sets dieters up for success, one small step at a time.

Some programs start with a very strict first phase with a long list of prohibited foods. Greene takes a different approach by starting with a more liberal first phase:

    • Phase One, a maximum of four weeks, focuses on slowly increasing activity levels and changing old eating habits. Recommendations include no eating two hours before bed, eating three meals and one snack daily, eliminating alcohol (temporarily), staying hydrated, and taking a daily multivitamin/mineral, omega-3 fatty acid, and calcium (if needed). The meal and snack suggestions make healthy eating sound delicious.
    • Phase Two, a minimum of four weeks, promotes a more aggressive approach to losing weight through healthier eating and increased physical activity. This phase builds upon the changes made in Phase One, with an emphasis on controlling physical and emotional hunger, removing six problem foods from your diet, weekly weigh-ins, and portion control.
  • Phase Three is maintenance, or the phase for the rest of your life. It focuses on eliminating more unhealthy foods and adding more wholesome foods, and introduces “anything goes” calories. Greene’s “anything goes” calories are similar to the “discretionary calories” found in the U.S. government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines, which allow you to enjoy your favorite treats in small portions. Greene gives the green light for more “anything goes” calories when you are most active.

Greene also tackles issues that lead to overeating, such as hunger and emotional eating. Using his hunger tool helps dieters stop overeating by learning how to gauge real hunger. He tackles emotional eating head-on by asking dieters to answer some tough questions before beginning the program:

    • Why are you overweight?
    • Why do you want to lose weight?
  • Why have you been unable to lose weight in the past?

Answering these questions honestly can help dieters identify the things that need to be changed so they can start to address problem issues.

What the Experts Say About The Best Life Diet

 

The Best Life Diet is based on science — it supports the U.S. government’s 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines with very doable and easy suggestions. And most registered dietitians and fitness trainers agree that true weight loss success comes from making lifestyle changes.

Greene’s flexible approach helps dieters stick with the plan. But obesity expert Cathy Nonas, RD, wonders if his realistic, gradual approach will appeal to overweight people who want the quick fix.

“Once a person decides to lose weight, they want it gone immediately,” says Nonas, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “And unfortunately, they choose fad diets [and] lose weight quickly only to regain it back instead of choosing a program like Best Life Diet that tackles changing eating behaviors.”

Nonas says she likes the slow and gradual first phase followed by the more intense second and third phases.

“Anyone who gets through the first phase, regardless [of] if they lose weight, will improve their dietary picture,” says Nonas. If you’re not successful at losing weight during the first or second phase, “stick with the phase longer before moving onto maintenance,” suggests Nonas.

Counting calories is too difficult and inaccurate. But if you cut out the sodas, fried foods, and giant white bagels, the calorie savings will add up.

“For people like me who already avoid the six perilous foods, it won’t make much of a difference,” says Nonas. “But for anyone who eats or drinks the high-calorie foods, it should help them lose weight.”

Nonas also points out that some “forbidden” foods can be enjoyed in moderate portions.

“There is nothing wrong with high-fat dairy if you make modifications elsewhere in your diet, and likewise if you enjoy white pasta or white bread as long as you get enough fiber in your diet,” she says

The bottom line, Nonas says, is that Greene’s recommendations are sound for the most part. She suggests that dieters buy the book but ignore the branded merchandising.

“What is really important is not the brand of yogurt, but reading labels to choose a low-fat yogurt,” she says.

The Best Life Diet: Food for Thought

 

If you’re tired of gimmicks and strict food lists and are looking for a program that can help you change your life once and for all, this book is for you.

The plan’s goals are attainable, and, more important, sustainable. Tools, tips, recipes and a wealth of helpful resources, including the online Best Life Diet message board, provide great support.

WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Greene, B. The Best Life Diet, Simon & Schuster, Dec. 26, 2006.

Cathy Nonas, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association.

Reviewed by Jonathan L Gelfand, MD, on February 6, 2009

© 2009 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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