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 Exercise isn't just for weight loss - it's good for your brain too.by Linda Gabriel

Your body was created to move.

“Form follows function” is a principle found in nature. Because the function of a living thing will often determine it’s form, we can figure out something about the function of an organism from it’s form.

If you look at the human body, what’s the first thing you notice about the structure?
(Hint: what do we have that, say a jellyfish, doesn’t?)

Muscles.  Lots of big muscles. We have large muscles and long bones that are designed for movement.

We don’t need science to tell us that physical activity is good for us, we know we feel better when we get exercise. However the research is clear: lack of exercise leads to all sorts of problems.

What does recent data reveal about how exercise benefits for your brain?

1.  Sitting too much shortens your lifespan.

Sadly, this is true even if you hit the gym but are otherwise sitting all day.

The solution?

  • Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every half hour or so.
  • Stand up and walk when you’re on the phone.
  • Set up a standing computer station. You don’t have to use it all the time, but every little bit helps.
  • Compared to sitting, simply standing helps keep your muscles toned.

2.  Lack of exercise not only increases your chances of heart disease, it increases risk of dementia, diabetes, and a bunch of cancers.

The good news?

Almost any amount of exercise reduces these risks. It doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Almost everyone can walk for 30 minutes a day. (If you have an injury or other health problem, check with your doctor.)

3.  Exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain.

Here’s how exercise benefits your brain:

  • Exercise increases blood flow to the brain
  • Regular exercise enhances memory, even in the elderly
  • Exercise reduces depression
  • Exercise initiates a cascade of bio-chemicals that contribute to health and a sense of well-being.
  • Exercise reduces or prevents age-related brain shrinkage
  • Exercise increases BDNF (Brain-derived neurotropic factor), especially sprints.

You are not a tree. You were born to move. Get up and enjoy this precious gift!

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Drink more water to lose weight

by Linda Gabriel

Do you think drinking water is plain, bland, uninteresting?

That’s too bad. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Drinking water instead of high calorie beverages can be a short-cut to easy weight loss.

Did you know that if you eliminate only one soda or glass of juice per day you’ll automatically lose 10 to 15 pounds over the course of a year?

As a kid growing up in the desert I remember how we would gang up around the water fountain after recess. When I was hot and thirsty, there was nothing sweeter than the taste of cool fresh water. Yet as we grew up many of us learned to prefer sweetened sodas, juices, or fancy coffees.

Luckily it’s possible to retrain your brain to love water as your beverage of choice.

8 Ways to Love Drinking Water

1. Drink only water for a while

When you drink sweet drinks, even the no calorie version will stimulate your brain to crave sweets. Your addiction to sugar will decrease if you eat fewer sweet things. Soon you’ll be surprised how many things will taste far too sweet.

2. Always keep water nearby and keep it in sight

Keep an eco-friendly bottle of water at your desk. Place a glass of water on your nightstand so you can drink it first thing in the morning. Carry your own water with you in the car. Take a bottle of water with you to the movies.

3. Make sure your water source is as pure as possible… but not too pure

Consider installing a quality water filter.  It’s important to follow manufacturer directions and change filters frequently. While distilled water is pure, it lacks essential minerals that your body needs and which give water a pleasant taste. It’s okay once in a while, but don’t drink distilled water on a regular basis.

4. Enhance the flavor (and look) of water with no or low calorie extras

  • Add a twist of lemon or lime
  • Freeze berries into ice cubes and add them to a tall glass of filtered water and garnish with a sprig of mint
  • Some people find the taste of room temperature water preferable to iced
  • Try some of the commercially available no-calorie naturally fruit-flavored waters

5. Use a Jedi Mind Trick to associate drinking water with pleasant memories

Remember my description about how great water tasted after recess? Condition your mind to associate drinking water with anything you enjoy.  Every time you take a sip think of something or someone you love. Imagine beautiful scenes of water in nature – a waterfall, a rainbow, the sea. Think of drinking water as a shower for your insides. (You wouldn’t want to take a shower in soda would you?) Keep telling yourself how much you love the taste of water.

6. Remind yourself of the many health benefits of drinking water

  • Water helps your body rid itself of toxins
  • Water helps your mind function better
  • Water can help reduce bloating
  • Water helps increase weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate
  • Water helps you keep cool and hydrated in hot weather
  • Water helps prevent kidney stones
  • Water helps your skin stay moist

7. Drinking water saves you money

This is especially true if you often eat at restaurants. Saving a mere $2 to $5 per day adds up to $700 to $1800 saved per year. That’s no small change!

8. Bless your water

Are you familiar with Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work with water crystals? His experiments suggest that our thoughts can influence the molecular structure of water. Appreciate the fact that you have abundant fresh water on tap when many in the world do not. Give thanks for your water. Bless the water before you drink it and imagine it carrying those blessings to every cell of your body.

Photo Credit: Oslo In The Summertime

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5 Things You Can Do Today to Lose Weight without DietingBy Linda Gabriel

Small Lifestyle Changes Make Big Differences

Diets don’t work; the research is clear. But small lifestyle changes do add up over time and lead to surprising results.

Yes, I’m suggesting it is possible to lose weight effortlessly.

You won’t lose all the weight overnight; you didn’t gain it all overnight either. But you will lose 1 to 2 pounds a week automatically, if you make small, simple changes in the way you think, the way you move, and the way you eat.

The following suggestions have been scientifically proven to help you lose weight, and live a happier, healthier life – without dieting or deprivation.
They’re easy. They’re all free. And you can start right away. Today!

5 Small Changes You Can Make Today to Lose Weight

1. Begin your day with a high-protein breakfast.

Studies show that people who don’t eat breakfast are at greater risk for obesity than those who do.  People who eat a breakfast high in fiber and protein tend to eat fewer calories during the day, stave off hunger longer, and keep good blood sugar levels.

Menu ideas? Try cottage cheese with fresh berries, or scramble 2 egg whites together with one whole egg and serve with a slice of whole grain toast and an orange.  For some extra protein and calming calcium, stir a few spoonfuls of non-fat cottage cheese or yogurt into your morning oatmeal.

2. Take a 30 minute walk – and make it a daily habit.

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh found that just 26 minutes per day is the magic number to burn calories, generate those “feel-good” endorphins oxygenate your blood.  Moderate exercise also helps balance the hormones that control appetite.

3. Ask a friend to be your weight loss ‘buddy’ or join a group focused on fitness.

Research indicates that people who join a weight loss group lose weight at  twice the rate as people who go it alone.  And they keep the weight off longer. Even an email group or an online buddy helps.  If you exercise with friends, you’re more likely to go to the gym or take your daily 30 minute walk because it’s also a social commitment. You might even have a few good laughs! (See #4 below.)

4. Laugh out loud every day.

According to a British study, laughing raises your metabolism up to 20%.  Rent your favorite comedy. Prowl YouTube for funny clips and share them with your weight loss buddies. Play charades and get silly – the sillier the better. If all else fails, ask your sweetie to tickle you.

5. Get at least 7.5 hours sleep.

Recent studies reveal a definite connection between lack of sleep and obesity as well as other health problems. When we don’t feel rested, we seek to boost our energy with caffeine and/or sweets. To make matters worse, not getting enough sleep stimulates the production of appetite-boosting hormone ghrelin. On the other hand, when you regularly get adequate sleep, your body produce hormones that suppress appetite, combat stress, and help stabilize metabolism. Most American adults, teens, and even young children are chronically sleep deprived. Why not go to bed an hour earlier tonight and reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep?

Photo Credit

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