How To Handle Food Cravings

A craving is a powerful desire that that can drive us to eat things that we possibly shouldn’t. Some of us find that our cravings are more healthy, but ultimately, they aren’t actually telling you what you need or what your body needs. In most cases, cravings tend to disrupt our diet plans.

Cravings for salads, carrots, fruits, and lean proteins are rare at best, and if you get them, yay for you. Usually, you face cravings for cake, cookies, fatty foods, comfort foods, and other junk food which triggers you to fight excess weight and sometimes even health problems. Yes, things like chocolate give us a little mood boost and make us feel good, but are they really worth it?

There are evolutionary bases for these cravings. We have hormones known as Ghrelin which can help us or hurt us when it comes to healthy dieting and maintaining a healthy weight. Ghrelin for example, when in the right doses in our bodies, can help us to stop at just one piece of cake. In 2013, a major study showed that ghrelin levels were associated with a typical rise and fall pattern with a relatively boring and healthy meal. However, these hormone levels spiked when eating a sugary or fatty food. This is even after the participants are full. Scientists call this hedonic food consumption.

Satisfying cravings is different than a binge. Cravings can lead to binges, but they don’t have to. A binge is when you step over that level where you may very well feel out of control. Both cravings and binges can be emotionally based in nature. Emotional eating often flies under the name of stress eating. Emotional eating is not eating because you need food, but rather because you are trying to soothe yourself and address feelings of emptiness or other problems specifically with food.

Likewise, some people experience another major cause of cravings and related binges. Sometimes, we just get bored, and we fill our time with eating.

When it comes to diets, even the most disciplined dieters may hit a roadblock. When you are always denying yourself what you really like and sticking to rabbit food 24/7, you are more likely to break. On the other hand, there are those who fix this simple problem by simply taking a cheat day on a regular basis. I don’t mean pigging out all day on cheetos and cake. Generally, this is just on meal, still keeping things in moderation.

Finally, there are those who end up binging simply because they are hungry. Yes, this happens. We are actually hungry, and we make bad decisions on what to meet that hunger with. We can easily satisfy our hunger with healthier foods, but for whatever reason, we choose not to.

There are definitely things that you can do. In many cases, it’s a matter of reminding yourself why you’re eating healthier while also surrounding yourself with healthy food choices. Sometimes, when you only have healthy choices as opposed to that chocolate bar hiding in the cupboard, it’s a simple decision. You won’t go out of your way to find unhealthy foods that are not readily available.

Does More Belly Fat Hurt Your Brain?

Nobody wants that belly fat pooch that covers up the washboard abs you’ve been working so hard for, but at the same point, most of us don’t necessarily think of all of the other things that belly fat can do. Of course, there is the fact that belly fat can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease and cancer among other things. However, it may be that your belly fat is also causing issues when it comes to your brain power and maintenance.

A recent study published called Abdominal Obesity and Lower Gray Matter Volume finds that Our findings also provide some evidence that the inverse association between abdominal obesity and brain volume is particularly prominent for GMV, and that it is not mediated by vascular brain injury.

I know, it sounds like a lot of nonsense, science speak. What does it actually mean? In short, there is some debate about the facts, but overweight people are likely to experience inflammation associated with excessive fat cells, leading to insulin resistance, dysregulation of fat-derived hormones like leptin, and this may cause brain damage that you may or may not notice until you are older.

So what do you do? In short, you should make sure to be healthy. Eat healthier, cut calories, exercise on a regular basis, and see if you can focus on good fats instead of bad fats to fight the battle of the bulge. The biggest thing is to stick to a diet that you can work with. The worst thing you could do to yourself is to go to an extreme diet that will just lead to yo yo dieting effects.

Why You Should Sit Less

I was walking through my office the other day when I saw an individual who had literally raised his entire desk. He had a keyboard holder, and he was standing. There are plenty of people around the office who actually keep wireless headsets and walk around during work. I’m one of them, but he was definitely more serious about standing up than the rest of us. There are some people who also use treadmills at their work station, but that depends on the person.

The problem is not sitting in and of itself. However, there are many who say that sitting for an extended period of time can actually take your metabolism to a halt while also causing reduced blood flow among other things. In fact, a recent study published in Runner’s World looked at children and prolonged sitting. Does it really matter for kids? After all, they have much higher natural metabolism.

According to the study, even among children (with their higher metabolisms), getting up from time to time instead of just sitting around actually reduced markers of cardiometabolic risk. This was not measured by the total amount of time sitting, just the frequency of breaks. Kids are often expected to sit in class for extended periods. However, if kids have just 4 30 minute activity breaks during 8 hours, they are much better off than a child who sits for 6 hours with no breaks. The same is even more true for adults. If you stand up and exercise from time to time, you are much more likely not to face the potentially bad effects of sitting for too long. This is regardless of the total amount of time spent sitting.

There are various techniques that have been introduced to make sure that you stand more or exercise more throughout your workday. Some recommend a simple metric of making sure you stand and move 5 minute for every 25 minutes you’re sitting down. Just keep your body moving on a fairly regular basis, and you should be fine.

Proven Ways to Have a Happier Morning

Have A Little Tulip In Your Coffee

I know, it sounds odd. Who wants to have tulip in their coffee? However, according to evolutionary psychologists, flowers and plants come across to our minds as subconscious cues of safety, reward. and promise. In other words, the flowers tell us that soon, fruits and other foods will be coming. So get a little bouquet. When you see those flowers, it may tell your mind that good things are coming your way, and you will be a little happier.

According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School psychologist Nancy Etcoff PhD, women who saw flowers upon waking in the morning were happier and less anxious. They also reported being more energetic at work.

Sleep On Your Right Side

It doesn’t seem like something that should be consequential. According to research, which side you sleep on actually influences your dreams. A Turkish study specifically found that those who sleep on their right side tend to have mellower dreams. Their dreams are filled with joy, peace, love, and relief. Those who slept on their right side were also better rested and more effective during daytime hours.

Some theorize that this could be because organs like the stomach and spleen are on the left side. So sleeping solely on the left side ends up putting more pressure on those organs, and maybe it could be linked to nightmares.

Drink More Orange Juice

Oranges are chalked full of vitamin C, which can boost your natural immune health. However, orange juice is also full of vitamin B6 and folic acid, both of which are typically low in patients with depression. In other words, if you want your mind to be at its best, you want to have the proper amounts of these essential nutrients. In addition, a Brazilian study found that those who smelled the scent of sweet orange essential oils actually felt less anxious throughout exams. That feeling went later into the afternoon.

Go to Bed an Hour Earlier

This seems like the most obvious one. You’re going to bed an hour earlier, getting more sleep ideally, and that allows you to wake up feeling more well rested, alert, and with your mind in good shape, you will ideally feel more optimistic. When you lose sleep, there are many well known side effects and other problems. Eventually, you can start hallucinating and even die from lack of sleep, but that’s another story.

Do 10 Burpees in Your Backyard

Burpees are not the funnest exercise, but they are full body exercises. You don’t necessarily have to do burpees, it’s just an idea. Cardio exercise in general in the morning gets you going for the day. It gets your heart going, increases your adrenaline, and gives you energy that actually lasts throughout the day.If you do it outside, some believe it actually improves the effectiveness.

Never Cry Yourself to Sleep

If you are crying yourself to sleep, you are going to go to sleep with a lot more stress. When you go to bed thinking about all of this, they turn into dreams, which can become even more vivid. This could be an evolutionary part of us.

According to a study from The Journal of Neuroscience, people who saw disturbing images at bedtime experienced strong reactions before and after sleep. When they were shown the images in the morning and then after the day, they didn’t seem to have the same reaction to it. They were able to better mull over it when they were given awake time to sort it out as opposed to just going straight to sleep on it. The same seems to work when it comes to being upset.

7 Habits To Pick Up Now

If you are feeling more stress and having some health problems now, there are a few things to pick up now. If you want to be healthier far into your old age, there are little routines you should pick up now to make sure that you can face every day without as much worry. You will be healthier, smarter, more aware, and it could even make a difference in the way you feel right now (not just when you’re old).

  1. Take 5 deep breaths each morning

    Lay in bed, stop at the door, sit in your car. Do what you need to do in order to take a few moments each morning to just take a few breaths. According to Elizabeth Lombardo PhD psychologist of Chicago, this will reduce stress, which contributes to or causes over 90 percent of illness.

  2. Take supplements when you brush your teeth

    Some of us think about taking supplements every morning. We’ve certainly heard of it. However, we just forget, because it’s easy. So make it easy to remember to take your supplements. Put them by your toothbrush in your bathroom. So in other words, every time you get up to brush your teeth, you will also take your supplements. You can also do this with prescriptions and anything else you need to take in the morning.

  3. Prepare your lucky workout clothes every morning

    Maybe you have a lucky pair of workout clothes, maybe there is just a pair that makes you feel good or fits well. Regardless, you can skip the clothes that are unflattering or just don’t motivate you. Get your favorite workout clothes ready. Set them out the night before instead of trying to find them in the morning when you have other things to do.

  4. Create a spot in the gym

    Whether you are taking a class or just going to the gym, get a spot that you like. If you’ve ever taken a class and claimed your seat, it gets to be more familiar and comforting. You can look for a spot where, for example, the light is a little more flattering, the air is a little bit more nice, and you’re more likely to stick to your workouts.

  5. Have a little cocoa every morning

    Instead of coffee, try mocha. You can keep cocoa near your coffee pot to make it more convenient, and then stir it in. According to Dr. Steven Masley, a Florida physician and nutritionist, you get your caffeine while also helping your heart on a daily basis. Cocoa is chalked full of healthy antioxidants, and it can improve your natural blood flow to the heart.

  6. Stand up when the phone rings

    When the phone rings, get on your feet and walk around. We’re all used to sitting, and we really don’t get the blood flowing or anything else when we’re doing that. When you sit for just 30 to 60 minutes, it significantly reduces your calorie burning, and it can expand your waistline. Stand up and walk around on a regular basis, and it can help you to significantly improve your heart health and calorie burning.

  7. Use your dental floss in the shower

    Remembering to floss can significantly improve your heart health in the long run. So keep your floss in the shower, and when you’re getting ready anyway, you can clean your mouth along the way. Brush, floss, and you can even use the shower to remove bacteria from your teeth in general. Dr. Jacquie Fulop-Goodling, a New York orthodontist says, A hand sprayer works as a water pick, and removes bacteria from the teeth.

How To Improve Your Mental Flexibility

Most people hear the word flexibility and think about physical flexibility. It supposedly helps you to prevent injury and maintain limber muscles, right? But what about your brain, and how is this all related to depression and mental health? Psychological flexibility, as it turns out, is essential if you really want to live life to the fullest. To remain emotionally fit and healthy, you have to have the mental flexibility to deal with things that may come along in life in general.

To keep yourself mentally flexible, there are a few easy things to keep in mind, and it may not be as complicated as you once thought.

The first thing to do is to try to learn something new every day. Stay nimble by exercising those brain muscles and looking into things that you’re not used to. Make your mind work. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Some people use simple brain games that are becoming rather popular as of late. Something as simple as learning a new word every day, a new historical date or fact, or some other bit of trivia can be a small thing that keeps you working effectively and your mind running well.

The second thing to keep in mind is to do something different every once in a while. Change up your routine and surprise yourself. This could be as simple as sitting in a new place, going to a new coffee shop, or holding your coffee cup in the other hand. If you always do things one way, just try doing something different from time to time to keep your mind working rather than allowing it to get complacent.

Finally, try stretching out of your comfort zone. I know, it’s easy to stick to a small range of things and places, because you never really have to take any risks. This is not a good thing for your mental flexibility and performance. We have a natural tendency to stay with what we’re familiar with and what’s safe. However, if you make a regular habit of getting out of your comfort zone, learning new things, etc, you will be able to enhance your mental flexibility.

These steps are small, seemingly insignificant even. But it’s the small things that could make that huge difference and even help you to prevent depression and other issues.

Get Rid of Quackery In Cancer Care

There are those who will rail and complain about the use of chemotherapy to treat cancer. Of course, there are millions who can attest to the fact that while chemo is by no means fun, they’re still alive because of it. On the other hand, the natural treatments some prefer to go for are not proven. There are plenty of families who can attest to the fact that their loved ones are now dead, because they refused to go in for proven treatment, instead opting for natural alternatives.

The latest claimed treatment is of course marijuana, which supporters say has been proven to shrink tumors. This is far from true if you look into the actual research, but it doesn’t stop the hype and ultimate quackery promoted on various sites that are unreliable to say the least.

This is not to say that I don’t support alternative measures, when used alongside proven methods to fight cancer. For example, eating better in general may just end up making you feel better than you would otherwise. People have used marijuana to fight the nausea associated with chemo. There’s nothing wrong with that. The issue I have is when people completely switch the two out. I’m sure Reiki and ginseng have their uses, just not in the curing of cancer or other serious disease.

It’s not that I don’t understand. Cancer is scary, and many times, oncologists are so used to it, they become somewhat callous. Their bedside manner leaves something to be desired. On the other hand, the natural and holistic clinics are often filled with the idea of warmth and comfort. They promise that they can provide the cure you need, and they have the peaceful demeanor to go with it.

So what about Reiki? It’s a form of energy healing which technically requires no medicine started in Japan in the late 19th or early 20th century. In short, the practitioner transfer their good energy to you, and it is supposed to help you in a variety of areas, not just cancer treatment. It’s a nice idea, but does it work?

To me, this begs the question, why are we even asking? Shouldn’t the average person (desperate or not) know the answer is no? Just think about it. There are no studies showing its efficacy, you can’t transfer good energy from one person to another like magic. Yes, magical thinking is nice, but not so much if you end up dead!

According to actual research, The existing research does not allow conclusions regarding the efficacy or effectiveness of energy healing. The serious methodological and reporting limitations of limited existing reiki studies preclude a definitive conclusion on its effectiveness. The evidence is insufficient to suggest that reiki is an effective treatment for any condition.

Had enough? Reiki studies typically don’t use control groups, they don’t randomize (after all, how would they? All someone has to do is look up Reiki to know if they’re getting the real thing to a degree), and the evaluators are typically aware of who the patients are by group, leading to a certain bias serious studies look to avoid. The studies are also very small, typically involving only a few patients at a time.

Then there’s reflexology. You apply pressure to certain areas of the feet, hands, ears, and other areas to relieve stress…..and….drumroll…..there are no proven benefits of this therapy. According to authors of more serious science, the notion that reflexology is an effective treatment option is currently not based on the evidence from independently replicated, high quality, clinical trials. This therapy, like many other alternative therapies, is nothing more than a placebo effect at best.

There are others who use certain vitamins and herbs, none of which have been proven to fight cancer, and again, many patients have passed (even with mild forms of cancer) because of it. There are the occasional people who swear it worked for them, but do we really know? In some of these cases, I have to wonder if they were even diagnosed in the first place, let alone did they say get a second opinion. They just went to some naturalist who said oh you feel bad, I’ll fix your problem.

There are many surprises around a lot of corners, but I wouldn’t recommend waiting for the surprises associated with natural medicine, etc. If you believe it’s worth your life, fine. However, if you are not on a suicide mission, you may want to think again.

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