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Dream Big—and Get There This Month

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It may be the final week of this month’s Dream Big Challenge, but it’s just the beginning of your Target Crushing status. Finish strong with this step-by-step guide.

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Congratulations! Whether it It feels like it took forever to get here or it went by in a flash. You made it to the finals – week four of our month-long challenge where we master weightlifting, veganism, and the power of positive thinking. (If you’re new or need a refresher, click here before continuing.)

You have reached the top of the mountain (aka the goal you always wanted to get) that we know took a lot of hard work and dedication. We hope you’re basking right now, but we know you’re probably thinking, “What’s next?” Too.
Don’t stop for the beginning! You have climbed the mountain, so to speak. Now climb the mountain faster or a slightly larger mountain. There is always room today to be a little better than yesterday.

The other thing you can do is invite others on the next trip with you. There is power (and accountability) in numbers. They also have a virtual crew cheering you on on Instagram and Facebook – find us at #DreamBigGetThere. See you upstairs!

Dream Big: Think only about positive thoughts for 24 hours

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Week 4: Practice gratitude

The science: positivity doesn’t just give your heart a visual boost. It can actually make your heart physiologically healthier. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that people with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive attitude were one-third less likely than people with to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years a higher negative outlook.

Move-the-Needle-Monday: “Gratitude brings positive feelings back to you. It’s contagious, ”says Allison Chawla, a licensed social worker and clinical psychotherapist in New York City. This week is all about making gratitude a regular part of your routine. Showing gratitude really just means recognizing the good things that happen to you during the day and stopping to appreciate them. It recognizes and recognizes the good and the positive.

The Plan: This week’s plan is to find a way each day to show gratitude. It can be as simple as smiling at the person (with your eyes if you’re still masking yourself) who is giving you your coffee over the counter, thanking the taxi driver, or sending a short text to a friend to let them know how grateful you are for her. When you combine everything you’ve learned this month – realizing negative thoughts, mindfulness, movement, and ultimately gratitude – you can begin a cycle of positive thinking that will benefit you and everyone around you. After all, optimism will be your first instinct – and everyone will be better off because of it.

Top tip: “Remember, you are going to have bad days, but the main goal is to find tools that will help you manage them better and recover them faster,” says Chawla. Practicing gratitude can help you remember that even if things don’t go your way and you experience negative thoughts, the sun will still rise. “It’s about handling the negativity better and faster instead of being consumed by it, as has been the case in the past.”

Dream Big: Raise Your Body Weight

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Week 4: Notice Your Profits

The Science: You may find that this week you can focus on your work, sharpening the lean, medium-sized muscles that you are building. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that after five weeks of strength training, the brains of laboratory animals produced genetic markers that indicate the formation of new neurons. The researchers concluded that this suggests that exercise might help “restore cognitive deficits”. Muscles and brains made of steel? Count us!

Move-the-Needle-Monday: This week we invite you to pay attention to the changes in your body while exercising – you should feel more controlled, more confident in your movements and overall stronger. So, whether you are actually pushing your weight on the bench or just getting close to it, take some time to understand how much your body can do and celebrate your progress! Jamie Costello, MSC, certified personal trainer, functional exercise specialist and vice president of sales and fitness for the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa in Miami, FL, recalls, “You’ve Reached a New Level!”

The Plan: Do three sets of these movements on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: bench press, chest fly, shoulder press (seated or standing), and triceps extension. For each, choose the weight that will get you to failure in 10 reps, then 6, then 2 to 3 for a 3% to 5% increase over the week before. Then Sunday is the big day – time to check your progress by repeating your basic test and hopefully using your body weight to the full!

Here’s a reminder of that test: after a warm up (10 minutes of light cardio followed by 10 bench presses with a weight that you can easily lift) and with an existing spotter, load the bar with a heavy (for you) feel Make sure you can push up once. After successfully lifting it, wait a few minutes, add a little more weight, and try again. Repeat this process until you have reached the absolute maximum of what you can lift at one time.

Top tip: Building muscle requires protein – 1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. But that doesn’t mean you have to clear the chicken breast area of ​​your local grocery store! “While you desperately need protein to repair and rebuild muscle, it doesn’t have to come with the amounts of animal meat people traditionally think of,” says Costello. Instead, get the essential muscle building from plant-based options like legumes, nuts, and quinoa.

Dream Big: Go vegan for a week

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Week 4: Make a full week of vegan food!

Here’s the science: if you want to lose weight and keep it off, a long term vegan diet might be the way to go. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that a low-fat vegan diet compared to the Mediterranean diet had better results in terms of weight loss, body composition, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels – another reason not just to go vegan for a week, but possibly for always.

Move-the-Needle Monday: What If You Feel Like Eating Only Plants? “Cravings can be tough to overcome,” admits Brandy Leno, a nutritionist and culinary specialist with the Howard County Office on Aging, Maryland. “In my experience, the longer I ignore a craving, the more likely I will want to forego this food.”

Fortunately, Leno points out that with things like dairy-free ice cream and plant-based “meat” items, it is easier than ever to find a vegan solution to those cravings. “Make sure you’re not just hungry,” she advises. “Food cravings can happen more often or feel stronger if you don’t eat enough throughout the day.” If the desire persists, it’s okay to give in every now and then. “Go out and order a small serving of what you crave or make something at home and share most of it with friends, family, or neighbors so you don’t get stuck with leftovers,” she says.

The plan: looking for a healthy vegan snack? “I like whole grain crackers and bean dip as a light lunch or snack,” says Amy Allen-Chabot, Ph.D., a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD. Baked fries with salsa or guacamole can also be satisfying, she adds. Do you have a sweet desire? Try non-dairy ice cream, pudding or yogurt made from milk alternatives, or bake homemade vegan brownies.

Top tip: what if you fall off the cart or don’t want to give up your weekly burger night? Or have you tried the vegan experiment and found that you are simply not ready to give up meat altogether? Here’s the good news: Research shows that replacing just 3% of animal protein sources with plant-based protein resulted in 10% lower overall mortality rates in both men and women. Even if you make some herbal substitutions in your diet, you can get better long-term health results.

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Can a Low-Carb Diet Help Your Heart Health?

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Instead, the researchers designed what they considered to be a practicable and relatively healthy diet for each group. All participants ate meals such as vegetable omelets, chicken burritos with black beans, spiced London broil, vegetarian chili, cauliflower soup, roasted lentil salads, and grilled salmon. But the high-carb group also ate foods like whole grain bread, brown rice, English multigrain muffins, strawberry jam, pasta, skimmed milk, and vanilla yogurt. The low-carb group avoided bread, rice and fruit spreads as well as sugary yoghurts. Instead, their meals contained more high-fat ingredients like whole milk, cream, butter, guacamole, olive oil, almonds, peanuts, pecans and macadamias, and soft cheese.

After five months, people on a low-carb diet did not experience any adverse changes in their cholesterol levels, even though they obtained 21 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat. That amount is more than double what the federal government’s nutritional guidelines recommend. For example, their LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad variety, stayed about the same as those on a high-carbohydrate diet that got just 7 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat. Tests also showed that the low-carb group had about a 15 percent reduction in lipoprotein levels (a), a fat particle in the blood that has been strongly linked to developing heart disease and stroke.

The low-carb group also saw improvements in metabolic measures related to the development of type 2 diabetes. Researchers rated their lipoprotein insulin resistance scores, or LPIR, a measure of insulin resistance that looks at the size and concentration of cholesterol-carrying molecules in the blood. Large studies have shown that people with high LPIR levels are more likely to develop diabetes. In the new study, people on a low-carb diet saw their LPIR levels decrease by about 5 percent – reducing their risk of diabetes – while those on a high-carb diet increased slightly. People on a moderate carbohydrate diet had no change in their LPIR values.

The low-carb group also had other improvements. They had a drop in their triglycerides, a type of fat in their blood that has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. And they had elevated levels of adiponectin, a hormone that helps lower inflammation and make cells more sensitive to insulin, which is a good thing. High levels of body-wide inflammation have been linked to a number of age-related diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

The low-carb diet used in the study largely eliminated highly processed and sugary foods, but still left room for “high quality” carbohydrates from whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and other plants, said Dr. David Ludwig, author of the study and an endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School. “It’s mainly focused on eliminating the processed carbohydrates that many people are now realizing to be among the least healthy aspects of our food supply,” said Dr. Ludwig, co-director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Ludwig emphasized that the results do not apply to the very low carbohydrate levels typical of ketogenic diets, which have been shown to lead to large increases in LDL cholesterol in some people. But he said the study shows that people can get metabolic and cardiovascular benefits by replacing the processed carbohydrates in their diet with fat, including saturated fat, without worsening their cholesterol levels.

The new study cost $ 12 million and was largely funded by the Nutrition Science Initiative, a nonprofit research group. It was also supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the New Balance Foundation, and others.

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5 Breakfast Myths That You Could Be Messing With Your Morning Meal

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, at least that’s what our parents always told us. But how do we know which breakfast dish suits us best? Whether it’s too much sugar or too little nutrients, many breakfast options depend on nutritional myths. And these myths can do more harm than good when it comes to your morning meal.

We met with the molecular nutritionist Dr. Emma Beckett, who shattered some great breakfast myths that could keep you from maximizing your morning goodness.

Here’s what she shared with us about breakfast myths.

Myth # 1: Traditional breakfast food is bad for you

The truth: “Some high-carb foods like whole grain bread and breakfast cereals contain fiber that helps us feel fuller …”

For those who have busy mornings to complete endless chores, or even those who don’t bother making gourmet meals every morning, granola is the top choice. It’s simple, convenient, and tastes damn good.

The best thing about grain, according to Dr. Beckett that it’s a great way to make sure we’re getting tons of nutrients in the morning. Packed with iron, B vitamins and fiber, muesli is a better breakfast choice than you might think.

Dr. Beckett even gave us some great tips on how to spice up your morning cereal bowl too:

“Grains go well with other nutritious breakfast foods like Greek yogurt and nuts, which are sources of protein. Protein is essential in the diet as it is the most filling macronutrient that can help reduce grazing habits throughout the day, ”she said via email.

If you’re not sure which cereal brand is good to grab, Beckett suggested going for Kellogg’s All Bran or Sultana Bran because they are “high in fiber and have a 4.5 or even the maximum rating of 5 health stars . Grains like this have been a popular choice for nearly 100 years. “

Who would have thought cereal was so good?

Myth # 2: Processed = Bad?

The truth: “Most foods have to undergo processing in order to be edible and digestible – processing is a broad term that encompasses cooking, slicing and packaging.”

Many of us have been afraid to buy something marked as processed, but it is actually an important step for most foods. Processing sometimes has more to do with preserving the food and avoiding waste than with nutritional value.

Dr. Beckett explained, “Key nutrients like protein are not necessarily lost in processing; they can sometimes be retained or made more accessible through processing. Others like B vitamins and iron can be added back when they are lost in a process called fortification. “

In fact, the common breakfast suspects like cereal and bread are often fortified with added nutrients and processed because they are affordable, accessible, long-lasting, and popular. This just makes it easier for us to make sure we are adding the right substances to our bodies to start the day.

However, this does not mean that the all-clear will be given for all processed foods. Dr. Beckett notes that it is still important to consider how much a food has been processed, with products that have been ultra-processed being consumed in moderation.

Myth # 3: Eating healthy is expensive

The truth: “According to a recently published Australian model-based study, it is possible to improve the Australian diet while spending less money on groceries by choosing inexpensive, nutritious foods, improving nutritional quality and potentially reducing a family’s food bills by over 25 Percent. “

A common misconception about healthy eating is that our wallets are pinched and products need to be consumed quickly. Surprisingly, there are actually tons of healthy food options that are relatively cheap for what you get out of them and don’t spoil as quickly. Foods like whole grain bread and cereal are actually pretty budget-friendly and last a relatively long time.

One twist I wasn’t prepared for is that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as they are fresh (as long as they’re not in syrup). If you’re worried about that bunch of bananas you bought and you won’t finish before they go, toss them in the freezer! They last longer and do not lose any health properties.

“When you do your research and shop, healthy eating really doesn’t have to be as expensive as it may seem!”

Myth # 4: Breakfast cereals are too sugary and have no nutritional value

The truth: “Australian data has shown that grains make up less than 3% of the added sugar in the average diet. Many cereals contain whole grains and fiber that many people cannot get enough of. “

According to Dr. Beckett, many breakfast cereals are “full of vital vitamins and minerals that are important for health and well-being and the most important source of iron in the Australian diet, especially for children.”

Obviously, muesli’s sugar content varies, with some sweeter ones available if that’s your cup of tea (or should I say your bowl of muesli), but most are moderately sweetened and many are sweetened by added fruits that contain natural sugars.

“For example, half of Kellogg’s 55 cereals contain 2 or less teaspoons of sugar per bowl. By updating the recipes, over 700 tons of sugar and 300 tons of salt were removed from the Australian diet – that’s the weight of about seven blue whales! “

Myth # 5: If it’s not whole grain, it doesn’t contain fiber

The truth: “While whole grain foods contain fiber, not all fiber-containing foods contain whole grains.”

How’s that for a mind-bender?

If you’re like me, fiber is confusing and I’m not sure what it is or where to find it. Fortunately, Dr. Beckett broken it down for us.

“Fibers are in the outer part of the grain, the bran. The bran can be removed from the grain and used in food, ”she explained.

This means that foods made with bran aren’t always whole grains, but they do contain a lot of fiber.

According to Dr. Beckett, I’m not the only one confused about fiber. Two in three Aussies fail to meet their daily fiber goals. What’s worse is that four in five Australians don’t eat enough fiber to protect themselves from chronic illness. Yikes

“For most of us, adequate fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams per day. That might sound hard, but getting your daily dose is really easy when you’re eating high-fiber options like high-fiber breakfast cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, “she said.

Dr. Beckett then explained that not all whole grains were made equal (in the fiber department):

“Did you know that different whole grains have different amounts and types of fiber,” she said.

“For example, whole grain brown rice and corn both naturally have less fiber compared to other whole grain products like whole wheat and oats, which have higher amounts of fiber.”

The interesting thing, however, is that just one whole grain contains less fiber, doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial – it is!

Whole grains are exactly what they sound like – it’s whole whole grains. Fiber is only one component of whole grains, and all of the components work together to provide health benefits.

The more you know!

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Dr. Bridget Gibson: Eight ways to get your metabolism moving | Free

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Metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body’s cells that converts food into energy. Our bodies need this energy to do everything from moving to thinking to growing.

If a person’s metabolism is the rate at which their body burns calories for energy, then are there things they can do to increase that rate? And is metabolism the key to weight management and why do some people struggle and others never seem to gain weight?

There are conflicting theories about how your metabolism works and whether it can be boosted to help people lose weight faster. Let’s get the facts about what can be done while losing weight.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is how your body uses food for energy and then burns that energy to keep your body going.

How can I boost my metabolism?

1. Eat your meals on a schedule: Eating your meals at the same times throughout the day helps your body maintain a metabolic balance. In other words, if you overeat and then don’t eat for a long time, your body can overcompensate and burn calories more slowly or store more fat cells.

2. Don’t skimp on calories: Skipping meals or reducing your calorie count too much can slow your metabolism down so your body can conserve energy. Make healthy choices that will keep you within the recommended number of calories but still fill you up.

3. Drink green tea – While studies are inconclusive, some research suggests that green tea extract may play a role in promoting fat metabolism. Green tea can also be a great alternative to sugary juices and sodas, and can help ensure you get enough water during the day.

4. Do resistance training and high-intensity workouts: Lifting weights and doing exercises that use resistance weights or body weight will help build muscle. Muscle mass has a higher metabolic rate than fat, which means that muscle mass needs more energy to maintain and can boost your metabolism. To do this, add a routine that includes alternating periods of higher and lower intensity to burn more energy.

5. Drink plenty of water – Drinking is important for the body to function optimally. Water is necessary for an optimal metabolism and can help with weight loss.

6. Get plenty of sleep – When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases the hormone ghrelin, which can make you hungry. It also releases less leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full. Getting enough sleep can help keep these hormones balanced and can prevent you from overeating.

7. Reduce stress: Stress affects hormone levels and can cause the body to produce too much cortisol, the hormone that regulates your appetite and can lead to unhealthy eating habits that, in turn, disrupt your metabolism. Stress is also closely related to the quality of sleep.

8. Get enough B vitamins: B vitamins in foods like bananas, baked potatoes, eggs, orange juice, peanut butter, peas, spinach, and whole grains are essential for a functioning metabolism. B vitamins help your body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats and use the energy stored in food.

Do I burn energy when I am not active?

Yes, even when you are not moving, your body uses energy performing functions such as breathing and keeping your heart beating. This is known as the “resting (or baseline) metabolic rate”.

What determines a person’s resting metabolic rate?

– Genetics: The hereditary traits passed down from your parents and grandparents play a role, but luckily there are other metabolic factors that we can control, such as diet and exercise.

—Age: Most people’s metabolism naturally begins to slow down around the age of 30.

—Gender: On average, women have a slower metabolism than men. This is because men usually have more muscle and therefore burn more calories.

—Weight: People who weigh less need less energy (fewer calories) to keep their bodies energized. As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down too, so losing and maintaining weight can be more difficult over time.

Three tips for healthy weight loss

The bottom line when it comes to healthy weight loss is to be aware of your caloric intake (and the reduced caloric needs as you age) and focus on the factors that you can control.

1. Start with the goal of losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight through more physical activity and healthier diets. The benefits can be dramatic.

2. For example, a person weighing 250 pounds who lost 5 to 10 percent would lose 13 to 25 pounds, which could lower their risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Other benefits that you may actually feel sooner include more energy, less pain, and feeling less breathless or out of breath – which makes it a lot easier to keep moving.

3. Celebrate your victories at every milestone. When you hit 5 percent, feel better, or notice an increase in energy, give yourself a gold star, do your merry dance, or reward yourself with a favorite activity. You deserve it and the benefits are just beginning.

Slowly and steadily the race wins! Extreme diets and fitness routines are not sustainable in the long run. The saying “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” is true. Healthy weight loss and control is about what you can do each day to get more exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains than carbohydrates, fried foods, and sugar.

Dr. Bridget Gibson is the general practitioner for Brookwood Baptist Health.

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