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We are Not as Healthy as we Think

May 7th, 2011 paulr Posted in Nutrition & Exercise 1 Comment »

Not as Healthy as we ThinkDo you have a big goal with a deadline: for example,  lose 70 pounds by your wedding day or by your birthday! Perhaps we are Not as Healthy as we Think and losing weight might be more difficult than we think.

Many people will use all kinds of tricks and ideas to help them lose weight and to draw attention to their issue so they can get support for losing weight. What it really takes is for people who want to lose weight is to  move around more. They need to get out for a walk, play a sport, cycle etc.

Run down a  staircase or beat back tempting treats, the real issues that most people already know that success hinges on accountability. We have to recognize that inactivity on couch potato days, is just going to mean increased weight. This contributes to being not as healthy as we think we are.

We all have those days when we think about our younger days when we were a lot more active as a young athletes playing hockey, baseball, karate and football. We could eat anything we wanted because were going to burn it off with the energy we expended running around. Do we still run around like that? The answer is NO and this is one of the reasons we are not as healthy as we think we are.

So What Happens, Why do we Gain Weight

Many people get  caught up working, and get lazy at the end of the day, and before you know it, your pants don’t fit anymore. Writing a blog about losing weight is one way to be accountable and to think about everything you put in your mouth along with the consequences. It also forces us to think about the exercise component and how we must increase the activity level.

Recognized Your Weight Problem –  Don’t Delude Yourself

Most of us don’t even realize that we are overweight. We have been that way for so long we have forgotten what it feels like to be at the right weight. Over two-thirds of the Canadian population is overweight and we suspect even more of the US population.

We have about 20 per cent of the Canadians being what you would clinically obese.

Time warp

Polls indicate that seventy-seven per cent of those polled said they live a generally healthy lifestyle. Again, their answers on the specifics of diet, exercise and sleep don’t bear that out.

When people were asked why they aren’t healthier, lack of time was the main reason given:

  • Not enough time to make healthy meals: 37 per cent.
  • Not enough time to get vigorous exercise regularly: 42 per cent.
  • Not enough time to sleep: 36 per cent.

Nearly 60 per cent of both adults and youth surveyed said they are tired most of the time, and nearly 40 per cent of adults reported feeling stressed most of the time.

Part of the problem is that few consumers  look at what actually drives poor eating habits and our sedentary nature.

It is Easy to be Inactive

People feel they lack the time and skills to prepare healthy meals, while research shows insufficient sleep and stress actually change our metabolism and lead to cravings and changes in how the body stores energy.

Another source of the problem is how society makes it easy to be inactive. We chose cars over walking and video games over outdoor play in a society that is biologically and sociologically “wired” to embrace convenience. We’re biologically trained for survival with little expenditure of effort, and our culture of labour-saving devices encourages mindless eating at otherwise idle moments.

We are spending more and more time in front of TV or computer screens, instead of moving about. The bottom line is that if you want to lose weight, you first have to recognize that you are over weight and need to lose weight to improve your health. Consumers then must manage the combination of food intake with the amount of energy expended through physical activity. If you eat, and do not move around in some significant way, you are going to probably gain weight!

Comments are appreciated by our readers. We are looking for comments that will help our readers with this serious issue of avoiding gaining weight and how we can lose weight. Not as healthy as we think we are is a serious issue for many people.

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Vitamin D Levels & Asthma

June 21st, 2010 paulr Posted in Nutrition & Exercise 1 Comment »

Vitamin D Levels & AsthmaAnyone who suffers from asthma, bronchitis or COPD knows how scary it is  to suffer from any of these diseases. To struggle to be able to breath is frightening. When you are gasping for breath you are truly petrified. Sometimes when you suffer from chronic bronchitis you are susceptible to coughing fits. You are coughing so much that you cannot get a breath. When these events are occurring, sometimes panic can set in. This can make the situation even worse. Only people who have had this experience really know what they are talking about.

It takes a lot of self control to focus on breathing and controlling your coughing. it is necessary to get that breath of air into your lungs so you do not pass out. If you can do this and get it under control with your self control mechanisms and emergency puffers, this scary situation will pass.

This is one of the reasons that many doctors and researchers continue to look for solutions. Now some think there may be a link between vitamin D and asthma.

May we suggest you read the following excerpt from WEBMD. Then we will follow up with some more comments about our opinion about this study and asthma.

Vitamin D Levels & Asthma

Study Shows Asthmatic Kids With Vitamin D Insufficiency Have Poorer Lung Function

By Charlene Laino, WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 3, 2010 (New Orleans) — Many children with asthma have low blood levels of vitamin D. The insufficiency seems to place them at risk for more severe disease.

In a study of 99 kids with asthma, 47% had vitamin D insufficiency. Compared with children with normal levels of vitamin D levels, those with vitamin D insufficiency:

  • Had poorer lung function
  • Had higher levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), an immune system protein the body makes in response to allergens that tells you the likelihood that you’re allergic
  • Were more likely to need inhaled and oral steroid medications to reduce airway inflammation and mucus production
  • Were more likely to need long-acting beta-agonist drugs that relax muscles in the lung’s airways, improving a patient’s ability to breathe freely and reducing asthma symptoms.

Further studies in the lab showed that vitamin D has an anti-inflammatory effect on cells. It also enhances the activity of inhaled steroids.

About 21 million Americans suffer from asthma. Which is caused by inflammation and swelling of the airways. The inflammation, in turn, can cause excessive mucus production and narrowing of the airways. This results in asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.

Findings Presented

The findings were presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting.

The study doesn’t prove cause and effect. And it’s not clear whether low vitamin D causes more severe asthma that requires treatment or whether more severe asthma lowers vitamin D levels, says study researcher Daniel A. Searing, MD, of National Jewish Health in Denver.

Also still unknown is whether vitamin D supplements would improve asthma control and lower the need for medication, he tells WebMD.

Still, a number of studies now suggest that low vitamin D levels are associated with allergies and asthma, says James Gern, MD, vice chair of the committee that chose which studies to highlight at the meeting and professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

If a person has vitamin D insufficiency, “we need to correct it anyway. So it will be interesting to see if the supplements help improve asthma symptoms,” he tells WebMD. Gern was not involved with the work.

In the study, vitamin D insufficiency was defined as levels below 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood.

End of Article

Our personal interpretation about the results of this study is that they still really do not know if this is the link. They conclude that whether it is or is not a link, it is always a good idea to achieve the right balance of Vitamin D in your blood

So I guess the conclusion is  that you should have your blood tested for vitamin D and then if it needs correction, start taking vitamin D or get outdoors in the sun to help the body generate natural vitamin D. Makes sense and just maybe your asthma will improve!

Unfortunately this is the way it is for many studies and testing. The average person is left wondering what to do. If you are an asthma sufferer, you are willing to do pretty much anything to reduce or eliminate the effects of asthma.

Some people think that multi vitamins are the best approach to ensure that you have a good mix of vitamins and maintain the proper levels.  Eating a well balanced diet is another excellent approach with 3 meals a day and following the Food Guide which helps you make sure that you have a balanced diet.

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Diet, Exercise, Energy Deficits

February 7th, 2010 paulr Posted in Nutrition & Exercise 1 Comment »

Diet, Exercise, Energy DeficitsDiet, Exercise, Energy Deficits which one should you try? Or how about all of them? Anyone wanting to lose weight must deal with the fundamental laws of energy. You cannot lose weight if you are taking in more energy than what you are burning. Energy deficits must be created every day if you want to lose weight. As we discuss the details of this theory, it will get much more complicated, however you should remember that if your energy absorbed through food is greater than the energy burned through daily activities and exercise you are going to gain weight. By burning more energy than you take in, and creating an energy deficit, only then will you lose weight.

Diet, Exercise, Energy Deficits

Fad Diets

There are lots of fad diets that are advertised on TV and the radio and in newspapers. Most of them are selling a product and that is how they make their money. They do not always deal with the larger issue of how exercise factors into the equation. Low carb diets, water melon diets, soup diets and on and on. These diets just do not deal with the need for a balanced diet with the proper vitamins that the body needs. Nor do they deal with the total number of calories that everyone needs to maintain a normal busy life style vs. what they need to take in and lose weight. Creating an energy deficit while eating properly will ensure that you lose weight.

Weight Watchers

Weight watchers appears to focus on portion control using a point system to manage your calories and intake. Consumers following the weight watchers diet must keep track of their food intake using a point system and also portion control. They can also bulk up on low calorie food to give them that full feeling that everyone wants. Consumers on weight watchers diets can even partake of deserts as long as they have not exceeded the number of points they need to consume for the day. Still for weight watchers to be successful, even weight watchers agrees that an energy deficit must be created if you are going to lose weight.

Add Exercise

If you maintain a normal daily routine i.e. going to work, household chores etc, then you will need to make sure that the calories you take in through meals and snacks is less than what you need for daily activity. As long as there is an  energy deficit, you will lose weight over time. Going for a walk, working out at the gym or exercising on your own will help you increase this energy deficit and help you lose weight. Paying attention to what you eat and how much is an important element of weight control. Exercise will burn calories and increase your energy deficit.

Building Muscle

One of the side effects of working out is that you will build muscle. You will lose fat content as well, however it is a well known fact that muscle weighs more than fat. Some consumers who are exercising regularly do not lose weight, but their body is changing, becoming more lean and less chubby. Consumers should not be concerned about this. Muscle is always better than fat, and will actually increase your metabolism which in turn burns more calories. Besides who does not want to look well toned and lean?

Eat Good Food

We all know that there are good calories and bad calories. Some dieters are even allowed to eat sweets, but there is a big difference between some sweets and others. Take a chocolate bar for example vs a piece of chocolate. A chocolate bar as a lot more in it besides chocolate. There is corn starch, trans fats and lots of sugar. This is an example of a not so good desert or snack. Eating a piece of pure chocolate does not contain all of these extra elements and is just as satisfying.

The same rule applies to many other foods. Fried foods, deep fried foods and precooked frozen foods lose much of their nutrient value during preparation, while at the same time picking up lots of trans fats and calories during the cooking and preparation processes. Stick to fresh foods that you cook yourself to avoid all of these extra calories and fats. Use low fat cooking techniques and avoid frying your food.

Read the Labels

All processed food is labeled with the number of calories and fat content. The first thing to remember is that the number of calories could be up to 20% higher than what the label says. Manufacturers are allowed to be 20% in error. If you must eat processed food , keep this fact in mind when you are planning your meals so that you do not ruin your energy deficit calculations.

If you are serious about losing weight, there are a number of steps you need to take to ensure that you lose weight. First of all you must create an energy deficit each and every day. An energy deficit can be created by dieting or exercise or a combination of both. Practice portion control to reduce the calories that you take in.

Snacks and Energy Deficits

Another huge area which can eliminate your energy deficit is snacks. Snacking by itself is not bad. It can actually be good to help increase your metabolism. The problem with snacks is that we do not have control over how much we eat while snacking. Before we realize it, the snacks we eat can eliminate our energy deficit and cause us to gain weight. If you cannot eliminate snacks, then practice portion control to manage how much food you actually take in. Secondly change to a low calorie type snack which cause you to bulk up give you that full feeling. However the best way is to avoid snacks all together.

Manage your energy deficit by managing your diet and adding exercise to increase you energy deficit.

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Diet, Nutrition and Exercise

January 12th, 2010 paulr Posted in Nutrition & Exercise 1 Comment »

Diet, Nutrition and ExerciseDiet, nutrition and exercise are such an important aspect of our lives and yet many people do not pay attention to what they eat or how much they eat. This web site is aimed at helping people understand the importance of eating a healthy well balanced diet. We believe that moderation is key, that you can eat just about everything and you do not need to starve yourself. We also believe that dealing with various medical issues contribute to diet and to overall weight issues. We will be discussing some of these from time to time as well.

We are bombarded with food related ads all of the time on TV, the radio, the newspaper and on billboards, yet none of these really talk about nutrition. Instead they urge your to purchase their products and to enjoy them often. There are diet schemes that promise quick results in a matter of weeks or days. None of these are real and most diets take perseverance and discipline to actually lose weight. There is no silver bullet, you just have to work hard at dieting, while eating the proper foods and exercise to build up muscle tissue while burning calories.

Diet, Nutrition and Exercise – Use the Buddy System

Many people become disillusioned and forget about losing weight and they end up shortening their lives significantly as a result of poor diet, eating too much and no exercise. Having a buddy to work with can be a huge advantage. When your down or fall off your diet or exercise routine, your buddy can help you get back on the routine. You can also help your buddy as well. When you are working in a team, things just go better. Diet, nutrition and exercise  is key to avoid these problems.

Exercise, The Added Ingredient

Although most advertisements focus on diet and nutrition along with their special products, everyone should eat moderate amounts of food, a well balanced diet and ensure that they have foods that provide their bodies with all of the essential elements and vitamins, there is one more factor.

That factor of course is exercise. We do not believe in suggesting that you run the marathon or that you run 20 miles everyday. Instead we urge consumers to get out and go for a walk every day or every second day. park the car further from the door to the shopping center, walk a block or several blocks to the corner store, work in your garden. The main thing is to do something that keeps you active everyday and provides you with a moderate amount of exercise. Exercise can be fun, especially if you do it with someone else. Burning calories and building muscle is key to increasing your metabolism over all.

Sodium & Saturated Fats

Fast food, take out food, and prepared food no matter were you purchase it is generally not good for you. They tend to be higher in saturated fats, higher in sodium and lack the necessary vitamins that you really need to support a healthy lifestyle. Focus on reading labels if you want to balance diet, nutrition and exercise.

You really have to read the labels. One big issue with me personally is the amount of sodium or salt in prepared food. I seen store bought pizza with sodium counts as high as 35% of your daily intake in one piece of pizza. Salt is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension leads to heart attacks, and over a period of time harms many of the organs in the body. Watch your salt content in all foods that you are eating and if possible add less salt to your meals over time. Personally, I stopped adding salt to meals and found that I enjoy the meal much more now, since I can taste the real taste of the food and not the salt in the food. If you really need something, add spices to give some taste to your meal and avoid that bland taste of an excellent meal.

Saturated fats are another key ingredient to watch for. The higher the saturated fats, the more damage you do to your body in terms of cholesterol and calories you add to your system. If you have high cholesterol, consumers can deal with it in a number of ways. For some people all they need to do is change their diet, moving away from  high cholesterol food. Others are genetically inclined to high cholesterol and will have to take cholesterol reducing pills. Either way it is important to get this under control so that your arteries do not get clogged with fat causing blockages, heart attacks and strokes.

Diet, Nutrition and Exercise – In Summary

So to sum up our message about diet and nutrition, eat everything in moderate amounts, eat good food as much as possible, make sure you are getting the proper mix of vitamins and essential minerals and exercise, even if it means going for a walk around the block. You will enjoy your life and those around you much more when you eat well and manage your weight.

Take control of your life. You may have dependents, you may be missing out on many of life’s experiences,  and you could be significantly shortening your life due to the additional weight obesity related diseases that plague anyone who is overweight. These include diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, all types of joint problems and esteem issues. Many over weight people have low esteem due to their high weight. This also contributes to poor or limited relationships in some cases, as well as issues at work.

So it is time to do something about your life and get on a plan to beginreducing your weight, getting some exercise and eating properly!

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