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Most of the time when people are looking at losing weight, they are really looking for a miracle cure or quick fix that will help them lose that extra twenty or thirty pounds.

Typically people want to avoid any hard work in hopes of effortlessly losing weight quickly.  Most of these quick weight loss diets that are supposed to remove pounds per day really don’t work and are not healthy in the long run.

Many of these diets are not entirely safe and focus on almost starving you for a short period of time just to attempt to drop a few pounds per day.  The thought is that if you can make it through a few days of hunger, then you can drop the weight. Read the rest of this entry

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Successfully Burn Fat For A Leaner Body

For any person attempting to lose weight, burning fat is the most significant thing you can achieve. Without burning fat all your going to lose is muscle, and the more muscle you lose the more fat you’ll actually gain.

The more muscle your body has it naturally burns more calories during your body’s resting state. The higher your body’s fat percentage the slower your metabolism will be.

Don’t skip your breakfast. As soon as you first arise in the morning, your body has just completed an 8 hour fast. After enduring such a time span without nutrients, your body enters a catabolic (muscle wasting) state and starts breaking down protein. This is an important time to eat some much needed nutrition ASAP! A healthy breakfast is critical to any successful fat-burning diet.

Consume a meal every 2 to 3 hours. This means that you will be eating a meal 5 to 6 times a day. Not only will this kind of meal regime stimulate muscle maintenance and fat loss, it is also an essential technique for controlling food cravings.

You see, when people miss a meal, or neglect eating for a while, their blood sugar plummets, and their will power becomes weak. In other words, people who go a long time without eating are much more likely to cheat on their diet. Thus, eating every two to three hours will help eliminate those cravings that may be the main reason that you have failed all dieting attempts in the past.

Even if you never get the cravings for food caused by missing meals, you must still be careful. If you miss meals on a regular basis, your body will actually activate enzymes that store fat. This will make losing weight much more difficult. So don’t do it! Eat!

You must reduce your carbohydrate intake. Your body’s fuel will be attained from a mixture of carbs, protein and fat. When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body’s stores of carbs will diminish quickly. This creates an effect in your body, and it will use a higher amount of free fatty acids (fat) for fuel.

Cutting down on your carbs will also cause a hormonal fat-burning effect. When you decrease the amount of carbs that you eat, insulin (a storage hormone) is lowered and glycogen (a fuel mobilizing hormone) is raised. This causes a greater number free fatty acids to be released from fat cells and burned, relying on the fact that you’re working out properly.

Choose compound exercises over isolation exercises. Compound exercises use more than one muscle across several joints, and isolation exercises attempt to train only one muscle at a time. The advantage of using compound exercises is that you will be training the most muscle in a given amount of time.

Generally, the more muscle you use per exercise, the larger the energy (calorie) demand will be on your body. This in turn, uses more energy, which is definitely good, but it also encourages the body to hold on to its lean muscle during fat burning phases, which helps keep your resting metabolic rate up. In addition, compound exercises have been shown to stimulate the release of your body’s natural anabolic hormones. This further helps you maintain lean muscle.

Be accountable to someone. If you unable to afford a trainer full-time, hire one to write your diet and exercise programs for you and monitor your progress. You may only need to be in contact with your trainer once a month, but having them there will offer you someone you are accountable to on a continual basis. This will help you stay focused.

If you can’t, or don’t want to work with a trainer, attempt to find someone to work out with. This will make you more committed to exactly when and where you will be working out.

There will be less missed workouts, and you’ll have more consistency in the gym and your workouts in general. If this is impossible or undesirable to you, attempt to find one good friend who totally backs you, and who doesn’t mind you calling them up every few days and reporting your progress.

It may seem like your friend is almost like a sponsor in an AA meeting at times, but in saying this, that’s not such a terrible thing to possess in your life when you’re trying to lose weight. This is even more important when you’re continually in the company of people who don’t care about what they eat.

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New Research on the Placebo Effect

You have probably heard about the Placebo effect. We know new drugs are measured against the placebo effect because a good percentage of people get better just by taking sugar
pills.

I think a lot of us don’t take the time to consider how crazy this is. Some pretty major health conditions are “cured” by basically the belief that the pill or injection will work.

This is obviously power of the mind stuff, but until recently scientists had never been able to actually “see” the placebo effect actually working in the brain.

Thanks to Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (f MRI) and PET scans, researchers can now see the brain work in real time.

The Placebo Research

A researcher named Jon-Kar Zubieta, a neurologist at the University of Michigan, used some amazing trickery in order to discover that the driver of placebo effect in the brain is an area called the nucleus accumbens (NAcc).

What is interesting, (and actually makes sense) is that this area of the brain is responsible for our expectancy of reward.

I won’t go into too much detail about the actual study (it involved researchers sticking subjects in the jaw with a needle to cause pain – OUCH!!!), and then giving them an intravenous pain cure.

The cure of course was just plain old saline solution (a placebo).

The PET scans revealed that the placebo caused an actual dopamine boost with highest dopamine release coming from the nucleus accumbens (NAcc).

All the subjects experienced some relief, but some more than others.

So the researchers used fMRI on the same subjects to see if there was a correlation between those who got the best placebo effect with those who potentially had the mostactive nucleus accumbens (NAcc).

Scientists are tricky! Here is how they pulled it off.

While using f MRI to monitor brain activity, they had the subjects play a game where they could receive monetary rewards. The anticipation of reward intensified the activity in the nucleus accumbens.

The cool part is that the people who had the highest activity in the NAcc during the game are the same people who had the most profound placebo effect in the pain part of the study.

The Take Home

So it seems that it pays to have an NAcc that hums if you want to get cured by a sugar pill.

I have been thinking about this study a lot and it begs this question.

Could we actually train ourselves to enhance our expectancy of reward, thus strengthening the NA? If so, this might mean we could develop some ability for self healing. Or it just might be genetic – nobody knows right now

Here is the citation for the study I just summarized.

Scott et al.: Individual Differences in Reward Responding
Explain Placebo-Induced Expectations and Effects
Publishing in Neuron 55, 325–336, July 19, 2007. DOI
10.1016/j.neuron.2007.06.028.

The research is still in its early stages and I would curious if any of you have any other real research on the subject (not new age mumbo jumbo, but real peer reviewedresearch).

If you do, just post it below.

Here are some other cool facts about the placebo effect:

  • Orange, Red and other hot colored tablets work better as stimulants.
  • Cool colored ones (blue, green, purple) work better as depressants.
  • Big pills generally work better than small pills!
  • Higher priced pills work better than lower priced pills.
  • Injections work better than tablets
  • And “branded” tablets work better than unbranded tablets!

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Will This Fat Burning Diet Change Your Life?

How many times have you heard “This diet will change your life?” You have heard that one previously, have you not? The hottest trends profess to stumble upon a mystery secret that years of research and millions of real-life experiments failed to uncover. Funnily how those “magical secrets” just do not live up to the initial high expectations.

Even if these fat burning diets accomplish you to shed unwanted pounds, they never help you to transform your life.  For a healthy lifestyle and success on any fat burning diet, you need to transform your life. If you do not transform your lifestyle, you will end up with the same unhealthy eating habits and that will lead you right back to square one. Unhealthy, obese and depressed for life.

Conventional diets are temporary solutions to what representing the whole obese world with a lifetime predicament. Did you know that 95% of dieters gain their weight back within a year? Your best choice to success with your weight loss goals is to forget about fads and gimmicks and rely instead on you own common sense.

Trying to lose weight successfully without changing to a healthy lifestyle is like patching a flat tire. To ride further you put a temporary fix on the damaged area, but it is more than likely that you will have to patch it again later. The same principle is true with weight loss. You can choose either change to a healthy lifestyle or just put a temporary fix on your health.

Remember by putting on a temporary fix you are in the habit of yo-yo dieting and that put extra strain on your heart and depletes your immune system. Yo-yo dieting also have the effect that when you lose weight and gain it back it is becoming that much harder to shed the pounds and much easier to gain more weight.

The key to a healthy lifestyle transformation to fix the weight problem finally lies in motivation, healthy habits, and confidence. You need a healthy weight loss diet with permanent results. One that makes you feel good about yourself, one where you get support from fellow dieters who know the steep path to achieve your weight loss goals.

Where you will experience freedom to make your weight loss journey as you see fit. Freedom to carve out your weight loss goals and to create the healthy lifestyle you always dreamed about. Now is the time to start your journey to reinvent yourself to a beautiful and gorgeous YOU!

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SparkPeople – Excellent Weight Loss Solutions

The weight loss and fitness industry have been booming for decades, and there is no sign of them slowing down. Books, magazines and DVDs all are equally obsessed weight loss solutions.

With various support programs such as Weight Watchers, Weigh Less, and Jenny Craig this trend has grown massively over the years. Even online, there are many sites dedicated to weight loss and exercise to help dieters in their weight loss battle.

Most weight loss sites are asking a membership fee. Therefore, for a long time those who needed personalized guidance to a healthy weight loss diet, but unable to pay the membership fees, were out in the cold.

There is however one site that threw open their doors for all to benefit in their quest to healthy weight loss solutions.  SparkPeople is a 100% free online program that offers features that rival those of expensive weight loss websites.

Their credentials speak for themselves. Named as the Best Health Website by Business Week in 2006, 2007 and 2008, SparkPeople is one of the most visited diet websites in the world.

In 2001, SparkPeople.com began as a goal-setting website. However, when the owners realized that the majority of members’ goals were related to nutrition and fitness, they switched the site’s focus.

With premium tools, added SparkPeople became a subscription site. However, in 2005, a decision was made to offer all of the tools and resources free!

How SparkPeople Works

As a new user, you are ask to declare your goals. The body mass index (BMI) is calculated. They also provide further assistance in setting safe and achievable weight loss goals to lose a certain amount of weight in a certain time. Next, the user sets his “Fast Break” goals, which consist of small changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

Create your own personalized “SparkPage” and join “SparkTeams” geared toward different interests and goals. A message board let you interact with other members and get support.

A variety of tools will help you in your quest to conquer the battle of the bulges.

Nutrition Tracker
This tool helps you to plan your meals, check the calories and the nutritional value of food. The healthy eating plans allocate a certain number of calories, carbs, fat and protein each day. As you add your food during the day, their values are subtracted, showing how much more calories you may consume.

Fitness Tracker
Use this tool to assists you to build a fitness plan especially for you. A standard plan automatically generate according to each member’s needs. However, feel free to alter it to suit your preferences.

I learned that if I must do something, which clashes with my personality, I usually do not follow it through. You need to do stuff that inspires you to do it even more.

Weigh-In
This tool helps members keep track of progress by recording weight and measurements.

Blog and articles
SparkPeople features a motivational blog and thousands of articles about weight loss and fitness.

The SparkPeople website supports itself with an online fitness store. Items available include fitness equipment, DVDs and apparel. However, unlike many programs, SparkPeople does not require members to purchase anything.

For a $40 billion industry, weight loss programs are surprisingly horrible at giving you the whole picture. In fact, hardly anyone even mentions how to overcome the most common dieting roadblock – weight loss motivation.

Sick and tired of your overweight body? Give yourself a gift – the gift of loving you enough to decide today to join a safe weight loss program and enjoy a healthy lifestyle full of vitality.

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