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Jan 9

Weight-loss plan developed at Penn State named one of the nation’s best – Penn State News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Restaurant closures, supply chain disruptions, and employment changes have altered peoples eating habits to varying degrees this year. Research shows that people have had a hard time maintaining their weight. People who are looking to lose weight may want to consider Volumetrics, a diet developed by Penn State Nutrition Professor Barbara Rolls.

For each of the last 11 years, Volumetrics has shown up near the top of the U.S. News & World Reports annual rankings of the best available diets. This year, Volumetricstied for the ranking ofNo. 3 "Best Weight-Loss Plan," while also appearing on the lists for "Best Overall Diets," "Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets," "Easiest Diets to Follow," "Best Diets for Healthy Eating," and "Best Diets for Diabetes."

How Volumetrics works

According to Rolls, Volumetrics is a research-based diet that focuses on satiety, or feeling satisfied after eating. In Volumetrics, people are shown how to lower the calorie-density of their diet. Calorie density refers to the amount of energy, in the form of calories, that is contained in a volume of food.

Volumetrics doesnt ban any particular foods, Rolls said. Its just that, as the calorie density goes up, you are encouraged to eat those foods in more moderate amounts.

When low calorie-density foods like fruits and vegetables are substituted for higher-calorie density foods, people can eat their usual portions while managing calories. This enables people to feel full and satisfied while losing weight. Volumetrics encourages people to eat a good balance of nutrients while comfortably controlling their hunger.

Rolls, Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutritional Sciences, has conducted a number of studies demonstrating that following Volumetrics leads to successful weight loss.

In our research, people who ate a lower calorie-density diet were consuming between one to two pounds more food each day compared to people who were not reducing calorie density, Rolls explained. Over six months, the people on the reduced calorie-density diet ate fewer calories and lost significantly more weight.

Other studies have shown that people who ate a low calorie-density diet for a year ate more food and felt less hungry.

Rolls has written three books about Volumetrics. The "Volumetrics Weight Control Plan," published in 2000, explores the science of satiety. "The Volumetrics Eating Plan," published in 2005, focuses on practical dietary advice. 2012s "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet contains a 12-week diet plan.

What to eat

This is not about eating nothing but salads, said Rolls. Its about substituting some lower calorie-density ingredients into your meals without sacrificing the flavor. So, in your favorite sandwich, put a bit less of the fatty meat and bulk it up with your favorite vegetables. Perhaps use mustard instead of mayonnaise.

We have shown that the calorie density in dishes like macaroni and cheese can be reduced by 20% to 30% without anyone noticing, Rolls continued. When you do this, people eat the same amount they would have of higher calorie-density macaroni and cheese. They do not feel hungrier after the meal, and they do not compensate at the next meal. Even three-to-five-year-old kids who of course are not trying to lose weight but who are eating to feel satisfied who ate this way for five days didnt compensate by consuming additional food.

The magic weight-loss ingredient

Rolls said that people often ask her if there is one ingredient that can help them lose weight, and there is: water. Water adds bulk to food and contains no calories at all.

Rolls also emphasizes that weight loss and healthy eating must be connected. Ultimately she wants to help people find a healthy eating pattern that they enjoy that will help with sustainable weight management.

A lot of people think of managing weight and healthy eating as two different things. Volumetrics brings these together and emphasizes that, when people are eating fewer calories, it is more important than ever to eat a good balance of nutrients, Rolls said. One of my goals is to make sure that the concepts in Volumetrics become part of mainstream thinking about weight loss.

About the rankings

To rank diets, U.S. News & World Report assembles a panel of experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease to rank diets by seven standards: ease to follow, short-term weight loss, long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness, safety, managing heart health, and managing diabetes.

Volumetrics was ranked No. 5 (tie) for best diets overall, No. 7 for best fast weight-loss diets, No. 8 for easiest diets to follow, No. 7 (tie) for best diets for diabetes, and No. 5 (tie) for best diets for healthy eating.

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Weight-loss plan developed at Penn State named one of the nation's best - Penn State News

Jan 9

The 14 habits of people who lose weight and keep it off – Belfast Telegraph

Dublin parents-of-two Rob Cullen and wife Yvonne, lost (and have kept off) 13 stone between them. Rob says it's because they stay focused on why they want to maintain a healthy weight. "For us it's about remembering why we started in the first place and that was for our two boys."

oth felt unhappy with their weight and how it was making them feel - lethargic and depleted. They decided to make a change, embracing home cooking and cutting out takeaways and alcohol.

The couple say they feel more energised, their taste buds have changed, they have fewer aches and pains, less bloating and even Rob's snoring has stopped.

Rob's confident his and Yvonne's approach (which they write about at is sustainable.

What helps is being mindful of what they eat and watching portion sizes, making healthy choices but still allowing for occasional treats and staying focused on their common goal of remaining fit and healthy for their two sons, Liam (8) and Tommy (13).

Rob and Yvonne along with a panel of experts explain the habits you need in order to keep the weight off.

1. Have a (non-scales related) long-term goal

Many of us fall into the trap of losing weight to reach a magic number, fit in an outfit or go on holiday. But these short-term goals won't sustain long-term commitment - this requires a deeper, values-driven motive.

Psychologist Susannah Healy, author of Fabulous Jelly: Use Your Brain to Lose Weight and The Seven Day Soul, explains:

"We are naturally more inclined to give our effort and attention to things that are meaningful if the weight loss was just to fit into an outfit at a wedding, then the goal was not hugely meaningful and the motivation is unlikely to last."

2. Sleep (for about eight hours)

Several scientific studies have suggested a strong correlation between getting a good night's sleep and weight management. One study reported that older adults who slept less than five hours, compared with seven to eight hours, increased their risk of obesity by 40%.

3. Find an exercise you love and do it regularly

You might have been able to force yourself through an intense workout regime to lose weight, but exercise will not become a long-term habit if it's not something you enjoy.

4. Address your headspace

Weight management is about so much more than calories in and out. So many people who reach a weight they are happy with talk about the importance of self-love, of being able to look in the mirror and accept yourself.

5. Monitor your progress

That doesn't have to mean stepping on the scales every day, it could mean noticing when a pair of trousers starts to feel a little snug, feeling more breathless doing an activity you previously could do with ease. Be attuned to your body and act fast if you see changes.

6. Eat enough fibre

"We know that the better your fibre intake, the lower your sugar intake," explains dietitian Aveen Bannon.

"Fibre slows down the speed at which food passes through digestion and makes you feel fuller for longer. The best sources are fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and pulses."

7. Get support

The people you have around you have a big role to play in the success of weight management. "Have a friend, a class, a dietitian," says dietitian Sarah Keogh. "It takes quite a while to really bed down new habits so having someone you can check in with regularly is important, not necessarily for a weigh-in, although that can help for some."

8. Eat mindfully

Ever sat down to watch TV only to look down and realise you've shovelled a family-size bag of crisps into you without even noticing? If you want to try and stop your waistband expanding, register what you're eating. "Eat slowly and notice when you feel full, don't just automatically clear your plate," recommends Keogh.

9. Make a food plan

Planning ahead is pro-active and will give you control in choosing what you eat. "I dedicate a lot of time to meal planning on my courses because I truly believe that planning and organisation is what holds so many of us back from achieving our health goals," says Elsa Jones, a nutritional consultant who runs free online weight management workshops.

10. Be able to draw a line under something

"One of the most common mindset traps I see people fall into is 'all or nothing' thinking," reveals Jones.

"This is when you tell yourself you've blown it by eating one biscuit, so you may as well eat the whole packet and start fresh tomorrow. The best way to counteract this is to ditch the whole notion of being on a diet. If you're not on a diet then you can't blow your diet. Instead just focus on what you can do today to bring you closer to your goal."

11. Keep an eye on your proportions

Portion size is important, but a long-term, sustainable, balanced diet also revolves around having the right balance of nutrients on your plate - one quarter protein (chicken, fish, beans) one quarter complex carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa) and the rest veggies.

12. Drink water

Being even a little dehydrated can cause your metabolism to drop and work less effectively. Most of us don't drink enough water and often confuse thirst with hunger, reaching for a snack when we should be turning on the tap.

13. Remember how far you've come

You might have thrown out all your old clothes and not want to look at old photos, but they can be motivating.

14. Accept there's no 'one size fits all' approach

Maintaining a weight you're happy with is about doing what works for you. Some swear by keeping an eye on the scales, others rely on how they feel - the most successful means of maintaining a healthy body weight is finding the best way that works for you.

Belfast Telegraph

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The 14 habits of people who lose weight and keep it off - Belfast Telegraph

Jan 9

The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic January 8 – Medical News Today

The coronavirus pandemic has dominated the headlines and our daily lives for most of this year. Medical News Today have covered this fast-moving, complex story with live updates on the latest news, interviews with experts, and an ongoing investigation into the deep racial disparities that COVID-19 has helped unmask.

However, this hasnt stopped us from publishing hundreds of fascinating stories on a myriad of other topics.

In the first Recovery Room of 2021, we begin with the latest edition of our Medical Myths series, which debunks 11 misconceptions about weight loss. We also look at nostalgia and how it may enable people to move forward with greater confidence, which is particularly important as a new year begins.

We then report on evidence for the benefits that eating avocados may have on the gut microbiome, as well as how the microbiome might influence the quality of a persons sleep.

Other articles featured this week expose the threat that plastics in our environment pose to our health, look at why dogs and their owners often develop diabetes together (while cats and their owners do not), and investigate why smiling makes getting a shot up to 40% less painful.

Finally, far from being a sign of a mental health condition, we look at how talking to oneself may actually be beneficial.

Below are 10 recent stories that may have gone unnoticed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.

Many people aim to lose a little weight at this time of the year, so the first Medical Myths feature of 2021 is well-timed. This week, Senior News Editor Tim Newman investigates 11 misconceptions about weight loss.

Does skipping breakfast help? Do fat-burning foods or weight loss supplements work? What about cutting out sugar, snacking, and treats? Is it possible to target fat in specific areas of the body? These are just a few of the myths we look at this week.

If you or someone you know is embarking on a weight loss journey this month, its an article well worth reading.

Learn more here.

In this Special Feature, Maria Cohut, Ph.D.,looks at the history of nostalgia. Views on what nostalgia is, who experiences it, and whether it is a mental health issue have shifted over the years.

These days, experts see nostalgia as an emotional experience that may unify our sense of self and even help us build a sense of who we want to be in the future, which is particularly relevant at the beginning of a new year.

This thoughtful Special Feature moves from a historical perspective to a detailed consideration of the value of nostalgia in the present day. Looking back may help a person move forward with confidence.

Learn more here.

Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic drug prepared from the root of the iboga plant, which is native to West Africa, where local people use it in rituals. It has also served to treat depression and addiction in clinical settings, as well as in more informal settings. However, its use has been linked to several deaths.

This week, we reported that scientists have created a less toxic water-soluble version of ibogaine, called tabernanthalog (TBG). Research in animals suggests that TBG might help treat depression and also promote the growth of connections between nerve cells.

TBG may modify key brain circuits that underlie not only depression but also anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction, so further investigation is needed.

Learn more here.

Earlier this week, MNT launched two new hubs focusing on nutrition and vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Both provide science-backed advice and resources to help guide people through the complex world of healthful, sustainable eating.

One food that often features in lists of healthful ingredients is avocado. This week, we reported on new research findings that eating avocado with at least one meal each day leads to more healthful microbes making their home in a persons stomach and intestines.

Our article investigates how the research team ran the study and who funded it. It also suggests possible alternative probiotic foods to include in your diet.

Learn more here.

Gut microbes also feature in another study that we covered this week. New research from researchers in Japan suggests that gut bacteria may affect normal sleep patterns by influencing the production of neurotransmitters.

The researchers gave one group of mice access to water containing a range of broad-spectrum antibiotics, while mice in the control group had access to water without antibiotics.

After 4 weeks, 60 normal metabolites linked to the production of neurotransmitters were missing in the guts of the mice that drank the antibiotic-laden water. The researchers also found disturbances in the sleep patterns of mice in this group. They note that these may be related to changes in the levels of neurotransmitters, specifically those of serotonin.

For more in-depth articles on this topic, please visit our resource hubs focusing on the microbiome and the science of sleep.

Learn more here.

MNT have reported before on the potential health risks of plastics in seafood. This week, we covered a new report highlighting how exposure to plastics can disrupt an individuals endocrine system, potentially causing serious health issues.

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can adversely affect a persons endocrine system. Today, there are more than 1,000 widely used chemicals that can have this effect.

Manufacturers use plastics containing EDCs in packaging, cookware, childrens toys, furniture, electrical goods, textiles, cosmetics, and vehicles. The lead author of the report concludes, Definitive action is needed on a global level to protect human health and our environment from these threats.

Learn more here.

According to a recent study that MNT covered last month, if a dog has diabetes, there is an increased risk that its owner will, too. This was a large study that looked at 208,980 owner-dog pairs. The researchers found that people who owned a dog with diabetes had a 38% greater likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes than those who owned a dog without diabetes.

The researchers found no such association between diabetes in cats and their owners.

For more evidence-backed resources for people living with diabetes, visit MNTs new diabetes hub.

Learn more here.

As well as reporting on the findings of this recent study, our article also summarizes how cancer develops and the link between telomeres and biological aging.

The research is important as it demonstrates, for the first time, that telomere shortening could prevent cancer. It also provides insights into how a wider range of human diseases may develop over a lifetime, and how telomere shortening therapies could potentially suppress them.

Learn more here.

At a time when many millions of people are expecting to be vaccinated in coming weeks and months, this new research will come as good news.

Researchers investigated the possible links between facial expression and pain sensation. They concluded that a genuine smile or a grimace could reduce the pain associated with a vaccine-like needle injection by up to 40%.

Learn more here.

Our team investigated self-talk this week. For most people, its a perfectly normal behavior rather than a sign of a mental health condition. In fact, self-talk may have some benefits, such as improved performance when completing certain tasks. It may also aid a persons understanding when following instructions.

If you or someone youre with chooses to verbalize their internal monologue, dont worry, its very common and may even be beneficial.

Learn more here.

We hope that this article provides a taste of the stories that we cover atMNT. Well be back with a new selection next week.

We publish hundreds of new stories and features every month. Here are some upcoming articles that may pique our readers interest:

Go here to read the rest:
The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic January 8 - Medical News Today

Jan 9

Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: January diets and simple ways to lose weight – The Irish News

MOST people have given up one vice or another over the past few days. From Dry January to Veganuary or quitting sugar, we all strive to be a fitter, healthier, better version of ourselves at this time of year.

For many people January is the month for changing things for the better. A get fit quick plan, or lose half a stone in a week. Mostly these promises are made by fad diets and someone trying to make a fast buck out of us.

The truth is that wellbeing (and that includes being at your healthy weight) is a long-term commitment. If weight loss is your goal this January, then no matter what diet you have decided to follow, there are a few simple rules that will soon become daily habits which will help at any time of the year. They are easy to stick to, get results and work. Choose one change and stick to it this week. By the end of the week you are likely to feel a whole lot better.


1 Aim for three main meals and include snacks only if you need to.

Forget the little and often mantra and get back to eating three meals a day. Eat enough at your main mealtimes to keep you going for a few hours. When we snack we raise our insulin levels and prime our body to store more fat. I also find that when my clients take snacks out of the picture, they tend to eat healthier as it is often the snacks between meals that add salt, sugar and the wrong sort of fat to their diets, which contributes to weight gain.

If you really need a snack, then eat something that will add a little pop of nutrition to your day, like carrot sticks with houmous (to contribute to your five a day), a handful of nuts (for a mid-afternoon protein hit that is packed with essential fats).

2. Include protein every time you eat.

Protein will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, So make sure you include a palm-sized portion of the stuff with every meal. Choose from eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, natural or Greek yoghurt (full fat and unflavoured is best), cheese (Id recommend cottage, goats or feta cheese), houmous, beans, lentils or quinoa.

3. Drink 2-2.5 litres of water/day.

Keep well hydrated. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. Keep your water levels topped up and replace one or two of your teas or coffees with herbal teas each day.

Within a few days you are likely to notice a difference to your skin, digestion and energy levels.

4. Limit or eliminate alcohol, caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners.

You know it makes sense. Whether you quit altogether, or simply reduce your intake of this stuff, your body will thank you for it. Start by keeping a food diary and notice your daily or weekly habits. When do you grab a coffee, what time of day are you looking for a sugar hit, and how often do you drink alcohol? Once you notice your habits, then it is easier to change them.

Just a word on diet foods. Low fat, skinny, light/lite all of these words should be a red light to avoid. Dont be fooled by the low-fat brigade who advocate eating over-processed junk food (and I am thinking Skinny Whips, Muller Lights and low-fat spreads). This is not food. Get back to basics and eat real food.

I hope this helps get your on a healthy track.

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Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: January diets and simple ways to lose weight - The Irish News

Jan 9

‘I’ve Maintained My 61-Pound Weight Loss For 8 Years By Setting These S.M.A.R.T. Goals’ – Yahoo Lifestyle

Photo credit: Antoinette Jensen

From Women's Health

My name is Antoinette Jensen (@netjfitness), and I am 34 years old. I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and I am the owner and operator of NetJFitness. I decided to lose weight as a New Year's resolution and began with WW. Then, I transitioned to my own low-carb, high-protein way of eating and workouts, and I've kept over 60 pounds off.

Before I began my weight-loss journey, I lacked confidence, motivation, and self-esteem. I hid in my house to avoid being seen by anyone who had known me before I gained weight. My self-isolation and lack of confidence was starting to affect my marriage and friendships. At 26, I hit my heaviest weight of 200 pounds.

I had reflected on the past year and realized that it had consisted of going to work, then immediately coming home to just sit in the house with my husband and kids. I decided that night that I had had enough. I was going to start working on making myself feel and look better. It was 2012, and I was 26 at the time.

Initially, I had signed up for Weight Watchers (now called WW). I had shared my desire to lose weight with one of my co-workers, and she invited me to join a WW group at our workplace. During our weekly lunch meetings, I learned how to ensure my meals were nutritious and portioned correctly, I was able to get healthy recipes and make healthy food substitutions, and was able to track my weight to see what impacts these changes made to my body.

Im extremely grateful for the WW point systemit was easy to follow, and I learned about the basics of eating in a calorie deficit without obsessing over counting calories.

I also focus on portion control, and I log all my foods in the MyFitnessPal app to keep track of calorie and nutrient intake.

Story continues

Breakfast: Eggs with turkey sausage

Lunch: Turkey meatballs with sweet potato hash

Snacks: Fresh fruit

Dinner: Salmon paired with asparagus

Dessert: Cookies and Crme Premier Protein shake

Initially, I attended Zumba class at a local fitness center. Im thankful for my supportive husband who attended the classes with me for months until I felt comfortable. Once I became comfortable, I then sought the help of a personal trainer who showed me new exercises.

Currently, I work out six days a week for at least 90 minutes each day. I begin my workouts with a three-mile run. I alternate each day between working upper body and lower body, utilizing high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

I also enjoy strength training. After researching and trying different workouts programs and exercises, I found that I loved how my body reacted to lifting and targeted body sculpting.

During the two years I was actively working to lose weight, there were stretches of time where I did not lose any weight for weeks, or I gained weight. There were times where I indulged for days and weeks at a time. However, I never lost sight of my goal and the reasons why I wanted to lose weight and get healthier.

To maintain my weight, I set goals each month. This helped me stay focused. A few examples of my goals:

I also take *a lot* of pictures. Doing so has helped me identify my body composition changes, and its a great reminder that change is happening even if the scale isnt moving.

I created a routine. This was necessary for me to be successful. Out of convenience, I began going to the gym first thing in the morning. I would be at the gym at 5:00 a.m., so I could start my day off with a workout and still be home in time to help get my three children ready for school. Also, prioritizing the beginning of my day to my workouts reduces the likelihood that I will find an excuse not to go to the gym.

I set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Each month I set out to create a goal for myself that was S.M.A.R.T.that means they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and had a timeline. For example, when I decided to train for a half marathon, I had given myself 12 weeks to prepare for the race. I set a goal to run a set number of miles each week, I tracked my pace and time for each run. This allowed me to measure my progress and make sure that I was on track to be successful in reaching my goal of running a half marathon. I did complete my first half in 2019, in one hour and 57 minutes.

I made healthy food swaps. I completely cut out zero-nutrition foods, like sodas, cookies, etc. My family and I also made other substitutes, such as switching hamburgers to turkey burgers, switching from 2 percent milk to skim milk, and making sure that there is at least one serving of vegetables with lunches and dinners.

My weight loss allowed me to understand that I am important, that it is okay to give myself permission to take care of me. Creating a routine to take care of myself is not being selfishits self-care, and I need it.

I have regained my confidence and discovered a new passion for fitness. However, the upsides do not come all at once. I found that you have to take the time to celebrate the little wins and changes. The goal is progress, not perfection.

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'I've Maintained My 61-Pound Weight Loss For 8 Years By Setting These S.M.A.R.T. Goals' - Yahoo Lifestyle

Jan 9

Curry benefits to lose weight and improve your health – Explica

Curry benefits to lose weight and improve your healthJanuary 08, 2021 12:34 hs

Curry is a mixture of various dry spices such as chili pepper, basil, caraway, saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, dried onion, celery, coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, mustard, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, pepper and tamarind . In addition, depending on the country where it is made, it may vary a bit, but basically it is very similar.

This seasoning is normally used for culinary purposes, however it has great health benefits, so today we will tell you what they are so that you have more reasons to consume curry.

Heart health: Curry reduces blood pressure, since it has vasodilator properties, it also contains properties that help prevent and attenuate multiple heart diseases.

Goodbye to joint pain: Curry has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which is why it reduces joint pain, which is recommended for treating diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Steels bones: This seasoning increases bone strength and the speed of regeneration and repair of bones, therefore its consumption is recommended in people with diseases such as osteoporosis.

Promotes weight lossSome of the spices in curry speed up the metabolism, which is perfect for burning fat much faster. In addition, some of its ingredients are satiating and diuretics that will also help you lose weight in a healthy and fast way.

The rest is here:
Curry benefits to lose weight and improve your health - Explica

Jan 9

My newest fitness tracker is a VR headset – CNET

The Oculus Quest 2 is a surprisingly good workout device. Just know its limits. (Start with Beat Saber.)

I was on a health kick once, but 2020 challenged my fitness plans. Being at home for nearly a year means setting up a home fitness regimen, somehow. Apple launched its watch-connected Fitness Plus, and there are plenty of exercise bikes and Pelotons. Nintendo has its Ring Fit Adventure. But for me, I've found myself swinging with lightsabers and punching targets in VR.

The Oculus Quest has been a surprisingly capable fitness device since the day it launched, thanks mostly to Beat Saber. Moving around in VR can feel like an escape to a completely different space. When it's used for fitness, that means it can inspire me to let go a bit more, absorb myself in the activity and consequently work harder.

CNET's Apple Report newsletter delivers news, reviews and advice on iPhones, iPads, Macs and software.

VR headsets seem like an inevitability for the next wave of fitness tech. VR fitness is already here, in a way. People have found ways to lose weight with VR workout regimens. There are downsides, though: The equipment isn't explicitly designed for exercising. Headsets can get sweaty fast, and most aren't designed to breathe well during workouts. My glasses fog up, sometimes. If I don't add some sort of protective rubberized eye cushion, the foam padding soaks with sweat, which is disgusting.

Facebook made a move to push VR further into the fitness zone with an app called Oculus Move late last year, which tracks motion and estimated calories in VR apps and games. It's like a systemwide fitness tracker. This type of app already existed via a sideloaded app called YUR, but Facebook made its own version. The concept demonstrates how the fitness tracker tech that's on your smartwatch or Fitbit could make the move to headsets more easily than you think.

In some ways, the idea's already here without a headset. Apple's Fitness Plus pairs with an Apple Watch and shows heads-up stats during workouts, but displays that heads-up info on a TV screen, iPhone or iPad. Oculus Move goes for a similar idea, projecting a heads-up display in VR that can float above my head, or down on the floor.

Oculus Move's ring-filling feels Apple Watch-like, but the metrics are different. There are only two rings to fill: One is for total active minutes, and one is for estimated calories. The Oculus Quest measures headset and controller motion to calculate and estimate the numbers, and it's not perfect. Also, it calculates during any VR activity, which can get weird. My time playing a casual platform game in VR, such as Moss, somehow earns a few active minutes -- I guess because I'm moving. But the ring makes more sense for deliberately active fitness games and apps, such as Beat Saber, Supernatural and FitXR.

What Oculus Move looks like when playing Beat Saber: the readout floats in the air (or at your feet).

One thing the Oculus Move tracking goals and dashboard does is set up to show daily achievements just like the Apple Watch Fitness app. And it works. It motivates me. I actually get going, try to play long enough and exhaust myself to get those active minutes. The game becomes a workout.

If VR headsets were more fitness-friendly, and could pair more automatically with fitness trackers, maybe they could be the next big idea in home fitness equipment. I love using the Quest for exercise, but really, VR isn't optimized for fitness. It's possible to injure yourself by throwing your hand into a table (it doesn't have live collision warnings), or you could smack yourself in the head with a controller (I've done that many times). The headset should be lighter, too.

But I feel like I've seen the future of my home gym now. I don't want to go back.

Beat Saber: The starting point, and maybe your finishing point, for fitness in VR. It's music-rhythm light saber dancing, and you need to try it. Beat Saber is not only fantastic and perfectly tuned to lightning-quick reflexes, but it's also where most of your VR friends are most likely to play. Leaderboards and high-score challenges make a great way to set fitness goals -- I keep swapping high scores with my nephew, and it's exhausting. A multiplayer mode also works for live two-player matches, and there are a solid number of DLC music packs you can buy. The included game also has a lot of tracks (from mostly unknown artists) to play with.

FitXR: A more fitness-focused boxing-type music rhythm experience has separate download packages to buy, and has timed workouts. There are also some in-game tracking metrics for estimated calorie burn.

What it feels like to do fitness in VR (of course, you can't see yourself).

Supernatural: The most elaborate fitness experience on Oculus Quest feels like VR Peloton, with holographic videos of real trainers guiding you through routines (which involve you swiping at Beat Saber-like targets along with music). Supernatural pairs with the Apple Watch, showing heart rate and fitness stats. But it also requires a monthly subscription fee.

Pistol Whip: A music-rhythm shooting game that feels like The Matrix mixed with Dance Dance Revolution. A new update adds a story-based quest, and there are lots of levels to try. The activity level is pretty low-impact, though.

Eleven Table Tennis: This isn't quite cardio, but the realism of this ping-pong game is pretty intense at higher difficulty levels.

Tai Chi: A relaxed meditative movement game where you move your controllers around to match positions of glowing targets. Like Beat Saber, but slower and more focused.

OhShape: This clever dance game has you match shapes of cut-out figures to strike poses and keep playing. It makes you move.

Dance Central: Harmonix's dancing music game feels like a club where you can dance with people and try out moves to songs. It's tiring but also weirdly fun.

Thrill of the Fight: A complete boxing simulation, with Rocky-like thematic overtones.

Now playing: Watch this: Oculus Quest 2 is better and cheaper... with one Facebook...


VR fitness is usually about standing in place and waving your arms around a lot, relying on motion tracking in the controllers. There's some leaning and ducking in VR headsets that have six degrees of freedom tracking, too. (Oculus Rift/Quest, HTC Vive, Valve Index, PlayStation VR and Microsoft's VR headsets, for example.)

At least 5 square feet, ideally. You'll be arm swinging and lunging, and you don't want to smash your hand into a chair or wall or another person. Make sure your VR system's room boundaries are set well beyond the space you need to be safe.

VR fitness isn't always a great match with the fabrics and lenses and straps that VR headsets use. It's not easy to clean a VR headset, either. If it gets gross and soggy, try removing the foam eye-liner and cleaning it gently. There are VR headset liners you can buy, too (I haven't gotten that serious yet).

Use your fitness tracker to start a stationary workout (or "other" workout), and you can record your heart rate and estimated calorie burn.

There's a common pattern in many of these games: whether it's swinging sabers or hitting colored blocks, they're often about timing and beat, like VR versions of Dance Dance Revolution.

VR fitness games won't tell you if you're overextending yourself. Much like when I pulled a muscle in Ring Fit Adventure on the Switch, you need to remember to keep to your own pace, even if the game is screaming at you to do something. Start at the easiest setting and work your way up.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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My newest fitness tracker is a VR headset - CNET

Dec 26

How to Gain Healthy Weight Fast: What Foods to Eat to Gain Weight – Parade

If youre reading this article, youre likely part of the one percent club. That is, the one (and a half) percent of Americans who are clinically underweight. The number, no surprise, has shrunk over the past several decades as more and more of people pack on pounds and head in the opposite directionmore than 71.6 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the CDC.

Its not easy being a minority in the world of weight. Its important to understand there are people out there who are underweight and find it as difficult to gain weight as others do to lose it, says nutrition and weight expert W. Scott Butsch, M.D., the director of obesity medicine in the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. There is a stigma on both sides.

Moreover, whether your low weight is due to lifestyle, illness or physiological factors, falling below a healthy number on the scale has its own set of health risks. Under-fueling your body can impact immune function, bone health, skin and muscle strength, says Julie Stefanski, R.D.N., a registered dietitian in Morrisville, North Carolina, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Individuals who dont meet their minimum calorie needs may feel fatigued, moody and pick up colds more frequently. In fact, she says, people who carry a few extra pounds as they age are likely to live longer than those who are underweight.

If you want to put on pounds the healthy way, youve come to the right place. The first step is to figure out the causes of your weight issuesthe next step is to address them. Start here.

Regardless of the reason, if your body mass index (BMI)or your weight-to-height ratiodips below a certain point, doctors will consider you to be medically underweight.

The exact formula to calculate your BMI is: weight in pounds/(height in inches)x 703

A BMI of 18.5 or less is considered underweight, says Alicia Romano, R.D., a registered dietitian at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Of course, BMI does not take into account a number of factors, including age, muscle mass or bone structure, so it should not be the only marker used to assess weight status.(Your doctor will likely also take into account your weight history and body composition.)

So what might cause your weight to dip below an 18.5 BMI? Everything from lifestyle choices to your individual physiology could play a role. These are some variables doctors will consider:

A switch from a meat-based diet to veganism or another type of restricted food plan might cause you to not consume enough calories in the day.

Deliberately restricting calories based on a desire to drop poundseven if you are already at or below a normal weightcan result in a low BMI.

Elite athletes, especially those who compete in endurance events like marathon running and cycling, may weigh less or have lower BMIs than the general public guidelines because of the physical demands of their sport.

Serious illnesses such as cancer can result in unexpected weight loss for several reasons, including decreased appetite and smell/taste due to chemo, mouth sores that make chewing and swallowing painful, stomach/intestinal pain due to tumor location or medication and more.

This group of disorders causes your body to mistakenly attack itself, wreaking havoc on your gut, joints and overall energy levels.

Sometimes characterized as an autoimmune or immune-mediated disease, chronic conditions like Crohns and ulcerative colitis affect your GI tract, with symptoms that can include ulcers in your intestinal lining, diarrhea and difficulty absorbing the nutrients from the foods you eat. IBD and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) both may reduce the bodys ability to digest and absorb food properlyplus, uncomfortable symptoms related to eating and dietary restrictions may pose an increased risk of weight loss, says Romano.

While eat more calories than you burn is a valid strategy for the majority of underweight people, it doesnt work for everyone. There are people who are underweight and find it difficult to gain because of the way their body regulates fat, explains Dr. Butsch. They have a physiological response to weight gain, where their body increases its metabolism and decreases a persons interest in food, all in an attempt to drive weight back down to where it was.

What youve likely heard about: Obesity leads to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and more. What you may not know: Being underweight can cause bone loss, osteoporosis, low energy, constant fatigue, irritability and trouble conceiving. It can also lead to a loss in muscle mass and trouble with your immune system, raising your risk for things like colds and the flu, says Dr. Butsch.

For women, the fallout from being underweight is highlighted with a handful of fertility issues, including amenorrhea (missed or irregular periods) and trouble getting pregnant. Blame it on an appetite-regulating hormone called leptin. Leptin is secreted by fat cells in the body and communicates with your brain to tell it how much body fat you have, says Dr. Butsch. When women become too thin, fat cells shrink and secrete less leptin, signaling to the brain that there is less fat stored, which is not optimal for reproduction. Realizing that a woman may not have enough body fat to safely carry a baby to term, the body essentially shuts down the ability to get pregnant.

Related: 66 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Right Now

Your goal when youre trying to gain weight isnt to house a whole fruitcake in one sitting, but rather, to sneak in a couple hundred extra calories here and few more there, in a way that feels manageable and sustainable.

A little bit of calorie math: One pound of body weight is equal (more or less) to 3,500 calories. So if you eat 500 additional calories a day, youll gain about a pound a week. As a general rule, start by adding an extra 250 to 500 calories per day on top of your current intake, says Stefanski. If this doesnt lead to weight gain, calories should continue to be increased. It can be a little overwhelming trying to calculate your caloric needs for every meal, and every person is slightly different. A registered dietitian can help you work out a weekly meal plan for optimal weight gain.

A bag of potato chips may tip the scale, but it lacks the quality nutrition youd get from foods that are part of a more balanced approach, like the so-called Mediterranean diet (see: whole-wheat pasta tossed with olive oil). Overall, says Romano, your goal should be to include foods that are both nutrient- and calorie-rich.

The foods here can serve as building blocks or add-ins to increase the caloric content of any meal:

Certain snacks, or ingredients you add to existing snacks, can help you push your daily calorie total up. Think about it like this: If you add one tablespoon of oil, two tablespoons of peanut butter and an ounce of full-fat cheese to your daily snacks, you will incorporate an extra 400 calories per day from those small changes alone, says Romano.

These healthy snack choices for weight gain, suggested by the Cleveland Clinic, weigh in around 400-600 calories:

Related: Delicious Peanut Butter & Bacon Burger Recipe

High-calorie drinks can be an effective strategy for weight gain, says Dr. Butsch, but liquids can make you feel full, so be sure your choices are not interfering with your appetite for your actual meal. Look for drinks that have at least 250 caloriesand 10 grams of protein per bottle, Romano suggests. Here are some options:

While sodas can have 250 or more calories a serving, they are high in sugar and low in protein, so they arent ideal from a nutritional standpoint.

When your weight drops below a healthy level, you dont just lose fat, you lose muscle mass. That can be dangerousyour muscles support your bones, and without enough muscle strength, the load on your bones can lead to issues like stress fractures.

Protein is the building block for muscle growth, and protein powder, a nutritional supplement, can help support your muscles when you are low on calories. You can add it to shakes, fold it into pancake batter, stir it into mashed potatoes or sprinkle it on vegetable dishes.

But buyer beware: Protein powders are not FDA-regulated, meaning the quality of contents may vary greatly from one manufacturer to the next. Whats more, certain protein powders, which are often made from whey, soy or casein protein, can contain excessive sugar (avoid those), while a 2019 study from the national consumer safety group Clean Label Project found some powders contain high levels of toxins, including pesticides, arsenic and mercury.

If you do decide to add protein powder to your daily diet, talk with a dietician about which ones are best. And remember, while protein powder can be beneficial for building muscles, if minimal calorie needs arent met, protein powder will do nothing special to promote weight gain, says Stefanski.

Related: Should You Take Collagen Supplements?

Lets assume youve maxed out on your whole food options for gaining weight. If the needles still not moving, its time to break out the blender. Making a homemade shake or smoothie with high-calorie ingredients andpotentiallya protein powder can be helpful, acknowledges Romano.

Prioritize calories over protein: Research shows your body can only absorb around 30 grams of protein at a time, anyway. Milk, yogurt, soy milk and peanut butter are already rich sources of protein and great ingredients to incorporate in a homemade shake, says Romano. Once youve added those, protein powder could be overkill.

If you dont have time to whip up your own beverage, you can buy these ready-made protein shakes at the store to gain healthy weight. They are easy to pack and drink on the go:

You dont need to make major changes to your favorite dishes in order to gain weightsmall tweaks can increase calories. For any meal, think about how you can boost the calorie content by adding a nutrient-dense option to it, says Stefanski.Start with these twists on popular meals:

Related: How to Improve Your Gut Health

It might sound counterintuitive that you should work out to gain weight. Isnt that what people trying to drop pounds do? But heres the thing: Because muscle loss is such a worry with people who are underweight, its key that as you put on pounds, you also focus on strengthening your body to support it.

You may have heard that to build bigger muscles, you need to lift bigger weights. But recent research suggests that may not be the case: A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that exercisers were able to build the same amount of muscle mass, regardless of how heavy their weights were, as long as they did each move to exhaustion.

Moderate cardiovascular exercise is also important in an overall healthy diet plan, as it helps your body digest food and keeps systems regular. Activities like walking or swimming will get your heart rate up and blood pumping. If youre looking for inspiration, there are numerous fitness apps that suggest workouts you can do at home.

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With any luck, following these suggestions will put you on the path to healthy weight gain. If youre still struggling, dont give up. Every person responds differently, says Dr. Butsch. Maybe you need to eat smaller meals, but more frequently. Or maybe you need to take in more calories through liquid nutrition. Trial and errorand communicating with your healthcare providerwill eventually help you find a strategy that works.

Looking for a place to start? Try your hand at these healthy ground chicken recipes.

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How to Gain Healthy Weight Fast: What Foods to Eat to Gain Weight - Parade

Dec 23

Andrew Moscrop: Deprivation and the failure of Boris Johnson’s covid-19 weight loss plan – The BMJ – The BMJ

If we all do our bit, said Boris Johnson, launching a Government strategy to tackle obesity during the summer of 2020, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirusas well as taking pressure off the NHS. Following his own coronavirus scare, the prime minister appeared eager to get the nation to lose weight. An online videoshowed him walking his dog around the grounds of Chequers and referring to his personal battles with obesity and coronavirus.

But anew report by a cross-party think-tank suggests that Government messages on weight loss and coronavirus have done little to help people with obesity address their condition. So what was wrong with Boris Johnsons coronavirus weight loss plan?

The evidence is now in: obesity can double your chance of dying from coronavirus, saidNHS Englands chief executive in the run up to Johnsons strategy launch. Obesity may be one of the few modifiable risk factors for covid-19, announced Public Health England. But it had already been shown that obesity was not the only factor to double your risk of death from coronavirus. Nor is it the only modifiable risk factor for covid-19. Living in a deprived area doubles your chance of dying from coronavirus. Social deprivation is another modifiable risk factor for coronavirus mortality. And yet it has attracted little attention from the prime minister and no government initiatives were set up to address it.

Modifying, or eradicating, deprivation demands that the government make progressive changes in policies. Meanwhile, efforts to tackle obesity tend to push the responsibility onto individuals, encouraging them to make different life choices and change their behaviour. This was apparent when thegovernments obesity policy described a call to action for everyone who is overweight to take steps to move towards a healthier weight. The Health Secretary wrote of the policy that at its heart is better information:providing the public with information to help them make healthier choices. The focus on individuals and their personal choices was also apparent when, in anarticle accompanying his dog-walking video, the prime minister summoned a spirit of personal responsibility to tackle the problem of obesity, highlighting how your health depends on your own choices about how you lead your life.

But the emphasis on personal choice did not acknowledge the complex social causation of obesity. In particular, it did not acknowledge the higher incidence of obesity amongmore deprived groups. It ignored the unequal environments in which personal choices are made. Deprived areas have afive times greater density of fast food outletsand fewer shops selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Taking Dilyn the dog for a walk around the lawns of the Chequers estate is unarguably a more appealing option than taking exercise in many urban housing estates. Promoting personal choice also ignored the unequal resources that people have, including the fact that many children grow up in homes that struggle toafford a healthy diet,andfood poverty is a real issue. Having to depend on food banks does not facilitate personal choice. And making choices in order to lose weight relies upon a sense of personal agency and control that many people experiencing deprivation have had eroded over time, as life opportunities have been withheld from them, as state benefits have been cut despite their protestations, and as their efforts to secure employment or housing have resulted only in disappointment. Many of these issues have already been exacerbated by coronavirus, because it is people onlow incomes who have tended to lose their jobs or be furloughed, and the economic fallout will continue to hit hardest those who are already worst off. People who are more deprived may be more likely to be obese, but they are less able to respond to the governments call to action.

Of course, addressing obesity and addressing deprivation do not need to be conflicting priorities. After all, since rates of obesity are higher among more deprived groups, it might make sense to address these issues together. But when obesity is addressed in isolation it shifts attention, effort, and resources away from the issue of deprivation, and from the unfair impact of deprivation on peoples health.

The governments coronavirus-inspired weight loss plan was a failure. It marked a failure to acknowledge deprivation as a risk factor for coronavirus mortality. And it failed even to acknowledge the role of deprivation as a risk factor for obesity. Many observers anticipated this failure, with the PMs strategy branded a missed opportunity at the time, showing little sign of policies that will address the root causes of obesity. Without addressing those root causes, as a nation we will not only fail to lose weight, but we will continue to fail the more vulnerable members of our society.

A whole systems approach to obesity has been advocated; looking at the wide range of factors that may contribute to higher rates of obesity. With that in mind, and with recognition of the role of deprivation in relation to obesity, coronavirus, and many other health problems, we should take note of Michael Marmots recent invocation to Build Back Fairer. In the wake of coronavirus, priorities should include reducing social and economic inequalities, and ensuring that fair health outcomes are at the heart of government policy. The healthcare professions still have a powerful role in holding the government to account.

Andrew Moscrop, primary care physician, Oxford.

Competing interests: None declared.

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Andrew Moscrop: Deprivation and the failure of Boris Johnson's covid-19 weight loss plan - The BMJ - The BMJ

Dec 20

What Are the Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting? – AARP

In fact, if anything, intermittent fasting may actually inadvertently sabotage your attempts at weight loss: Weiss study also found that the weight the time-restricted eaters shed was mainly lean mass, including muscle, not body fat. This is more worrisome for people over 50, since maintaining muscle mass as you age gets harder, he explains. Preserving muscle is key in this age group, not only to keep your metabolism percolating (which in turn helps keep weight off) but also because it helps improve balance and reduces risk of falls. Before recommending to my older patients, I would want to see more research on the effects on lean mass, adds Weiss, who had been following time-restricted eating himself since 2014.

One problem his patients run up against with intermittent fasting, says Aronne, is that it's difficult to stick to long term. A 2017 study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that almost 40 percent of people fall off the fasting wagon within six months. Some people find themselves so ravenously hungry after 16 hours of not eating, or a day of fasting, that they end up consuming thousands of calories, which defeats the purpose, he explains. If you have diabetes, you should know that the combination of fasting and the medications you may take could cause your blood glucose levels to get dangerously low.

That's not to say this kind of restricted eating can't have value. Intermittent fasting may in fact work for certain people, Aronne adds, especially if they don't want to be bothered with calorie tracking and food records. It's not my first choice for weight loss, he says, but I have found that in a select group of patients struggling to lose weight, having them eat all their food in an eight-hour period works for them, because it's easy and they don't have to think about it: They just do it.

For everyone, it still makes sense more generally to eat to maximize your circadian rhythms your body's inner clock that guides you to wake and sleep as much as possible, advises Michael Roizen, M.D., chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic and author ofWhat to Eat When. Our bodies evolved to be primed for food during the day, so that we have plenty of energy for survival, he says. As a result, your body is most sensitive to insulin, a hormone that moves glucose from your blood into cells for energy and storage, during the day, and most resistant to it at night. Ignoring these rhythms and eating at the wrong times say, late at night can raise blood sugar, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at Harvard University as well as Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Take an approach instead where you make breakfast (or, if you can't stomach eating a lot that early, lunch) the main meal of the day, and make your last meal a light one after the sun goes down. This carries many of the same benefits of intermittent fasting, since you're generally not eating within a 12-hour window, but it's much easier, explains Roizen.

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