Your Willpower is Like a Muscle … How to Train Yours to be Strong

will power

You’ve been good all day — whole-grain oatmeal for breakfast, a salad for lunch, fresh veggies as a snack … but now come dinner that cheeseburger and fries is calling your name. Or maybe you got to work early, stayed late finishing up a major project and now feel like going home to veg on the couch instead of hitting the gym.

Is it coincidence that when we’ve been pushing our willpower to the max, urging ourselves to keep going on that diet, work schedule, exercise routine, cleaning schedule or you name it … it seems we can only go so long before we need a break?

Not at all. In fact, you only have so much willpower so when you use it for one task you have less leftover to use on the next.

 

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Allergies: Serious Hidden Health Risk for Obese Children

allergiesSixteen percent of U.S. children and young adults aged 2 to 19 are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of overweight and obese kids has been growing steadily since the 1970s, to the extent that the CDC’s Healthy People initiative identified overweight and obesity as 1 of 10 leading health indicators and called for a reduction in the proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight or obese.

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Is Your Mood Adding Inches to Your Waistline?

scaleMost of us are all too well aware that overeating, eating junk food and not exercising are sure to expand our belt buckles another notch. But weight gain is not always so cut and dry. Oftentimes you may carefully watch what you eat, load your plate full of fruits and veggies, even exercise regularly … and still not win the battle of the bulge.

In this latter case, your weight gain may have nothing to do with the foods you eat or the exercise you do, but rather with your emotional health.

A new study published in BMJ analyzed data from four medical screenings of over 4,300 British civil servants aged 35 to 55, including screenings that assessed mental health and measurement of height and weight.

People with a common mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression, at all three previous screenings were twice as likely to be obese at the final screening compared with those who had no mental health disorder symptoms. Further, the risk of weight gain and obesity was the greatest for those who had more incidences of a common mental health disorder.

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It’s Time to Relax: 15 Quick Tips to Help You Shift Your Gears to Relax Mode Quickly

America’s number one health problem — responsible for 75 percent to 90 percent of doctor visits, according to the American Institute for Stress — is stress. And it’s no wonder, given that we all face stress on a daily basis from the six areas of life that SixWise.com is dedicating to providing you guidance in:

  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Personal safety
  • Home
  • Career

When stress becomes unbearable, it can lead to a host of serious illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, depression, autoimmune diseases and reproductive problems.

So whether you are feeling stressed at home, work or in the car, taking time to relax is an essential part of staying healthy and happy. Here are 20 quick tips for helping you do just that — and, unlike drinking, smoking or other potentially unhealthy stress relievers, these tips will only do your body good.

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The Two Types of Fat — Visceral and Subcutaneous and Which Poses the Greatest Risk to You

sedentary lifestyle
It’s the dreaded “F-word” — FAT. Many of us are consumed with it … gaining it, fearing it and doing just about anything to get rid of it. Yet we all have it. Even lean adults have 40 billion fat cells; those who are obese may have 80 billion to 120 billion. But it’s not only the amount of fat that makes the difference between being healthy and unhealthy, it’s the type of fat, and where it’s distributed in your body.

Visceral Fat Vs. Subcutaneous Fat

There are two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the type found just underneath the skin, which may cause dimpling and cellulite. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is located in the abdomen and surrounding vital organs. It can infiltrate the liver and other organs, streak through your muscles and even strangle your heart; and you can have it even if you appear to be thin.

It is the latter, visceral, fat that is linked to everything from bad cholesterol and hypertension to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

 

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How Obesity and Overweight May be Impacting Your Brain … Plus What You Can do to Avoid This “Severe” Health Risk

losing weight
Obesity has been called the “Great American Disease” because it now impacts 30 percent of U.S. adults (which amounts to over 60 million people). It is, however, a global disease that affects more than 300 million worldwide.

While most are aware that being overweight and obese can increase their risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, researchers from UCLA have uncovered another lesser known, but equally severe, risk.

After reviewing brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, researchers found that obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than those of normal weight, and their brains look 16 years older as well.

Overweight people, in addition, had 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains appeared 8 years older than those with leaner builds. This amounts to “severe brain degeneration,” according to senior author of the study and UCLA professor of neurology Paul Thompson. He told Live Science:

“That’s a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain.”

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AGE Issues: Why You Want to Reduce “Advanced Glycation End” Foods in Your Diet

advanced glycation end products
When you eat too much sugar, your blood glucose becomes elevated, leading to a host of problems. Among them, the excess sugar in your bloodstream can react with proteins and lipids (fatty substances) in your body, leading to the formation of highly toxic Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs).

Although AGEs are formed constantly in your body even under normal circumstances (and accumulate with time), when there is extra glucose available in your bloodstream (which is the case if you have diabetes) it significantly accelerates AGE formation.

This, researchers believe, is a key reason why diabetics are at a high risk of nerve, artery and kidney damage — because the high blood sugar levels in their bodies significantly accelerate the formation of AGEs.

AGEs are not only formed inside of your body, however; they’re also created in certain foods, particularly those that are cooked at high temperatures. A similar chemical reaction occurs between proteins and sugars in foods as occurs in your body. This process leads to the formation of toxic Maillard products, which you can recognize by the browned areas on fried, grilled or broiled meats and cheeses.

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How to Trim Your Tummy … And Why You Should

over weight

Most people are now well aware of the health benefits of keeping their weight within a certain ideal range. This is conventionally measured by BMI, or body mass index, a standard for measuring your weight-to-height ratio. But here’s something you may not know …

You may be carrying unhealthy excess pounds even if your BMI and weight are in the recommended ranges, and these pounds may be devastating to your health.

 

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Got Milk Causing Cancer? Which Milk May be Dangerous …

If you’re like most American families, you enjoy milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products on a regular basis. You probably perceive them to be healthy staples, full of calcium, protein and other nutrients to support your family’s health.

You should know, however, that U.S. dairy products may not be as pure as they seem. Instead, they commonly contain a genetically modified ingredient — Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) — that has been linked to so many health hazards in humans and animals it’s banned in most other industrialized nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the European Union.

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The Blood Type Diet

Even though Peter D’Adamo’s book on the blood type diet came out almost 20 years ago, patients still ask me if they should follow this diet for themselves.

I also have recently come to learn that one of my prominent medical doctor colleagues is recommending this diet to all his patients.

This is obviously still a subject people are talking about.

So, I decided to write this article so that my patients know my position on this diet, and hopefully see that there is no science to it.

When the Book Eat Right For Your Type first came out in 1996 I was attracted to the concept that our blood type might indicate how we should eat. This is based on the long-held assumption that different blood types have originated in different parts of the world over the eons of time. Therefore, the logic goes, you should eat the foods that were available in the part of the world where your blood type originated.

As I said, this idea was at first interesting to me. However, as I looked more closely at it, the logic of this made less and less sense. There are indeed hundreds of other markers on our red blood cells besides the simple ABO typing. This additional testing of markers is done in blood banks when a patient’s blood is “cross matched” with their donor’s-before it is infused- to make sure that the blood will not produce a reaction in the recipient.

Furthermore, when I looked at the diet that was recommended for my own blood type, it was a diet that I had rejected years before, as a diet that made me sick and get recurrent sinusitis.

Over the years, I have watched some of my patients try this diet. Most give it up after a few weeks as not being for them. I would estimate that between 5% and 10% of my patients who have tried the diet do find that it helps them. But I’m not sure if the benefit comes the food they are eating, or rather the food they have stopped eating, in order to accomplish the diet. In other words, for some people, stopping dairy, sugar, and eggs will lead to an improvement in their health. These people might attribute the benefit to following the blood type diet, rather than realizing that they were allergic or senstive to the sugar, dairy, and eggs.

I was very happy to find an article in the medical literature addressing the blood type diet. In this article, they searched over 1400 references and they concluded that “No evidence currently exists to validate the purported health benefits of blood type diets.”

Another article was also published looking at the blood type diet and cardio-metabolic risk factors and concluded that “the findings do not support the ‘Blood-Type’ diet hypothesis.”

And so in summary, the blood type diet book provided significant financial success for the publisher and the author. However, my own practice and the medical literature, shows that it provides no benefit to patients’ health.

I was recently delighted to see that my colleague and friend Michael Greger had put together all the data on the blood type diet, into one of his five-minute brilliant video summaries. You can watch it below.

In addition he wrote a summary article called “Blood Type Diet Perceived as “Crass Fraud”. You can read it here.

Drop me a note on Twitter or Facebook let me know if you’ve tried the blood type diet, and what your success has been. What are your thoughts about this diet?

Watch Dr Gregor’s excellent video here.

References:

Blood type diets lack supporting evidence: a systematic review.

ABO genotype, ‘blood-type’ diet and cardiometabolic risk factors.

Blood Type Diet Debunked

Image Credit: Zappy’s Technology Solution /flickr


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