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Dec 28

Happiness hacks: Here are three ways to a happier you – The Dallas Morning News

Resolve to rephrase

Swedish researchers say that New Years resolutions rooted in starting or adopting new habits are more likely to succeed than those that take away, avoid or quit something. In a December study published in scientific journal PLOS ONE, Stockholm University and Linkping University researchers suggest that simply rephrasing your resolution can lead to lasting change. For example, if your goal is to stop eating sweets in order to lose weight, you will most likely be more successful if you say, I will eat fruit several times a day instead, the researchers wrote. You then replace sweets with something healthier, which probably means you will lose weight and also keep your resolution. The study analyzed resolutions made by 1,066 people, following up each month over one year.

Scientific studies have shown that plants improve indoor air quality, boost creativity and reduce our stress. Some easy-to-care-for indoor plants include lucky bamboo, succulents, aloe vera, peace lily, snake, jade and ZZ plants. And like everything these days, help with plant care is just an app away. To start your plant-parenting journey, consider apps Planta, Blossom, PlantSnap or Vera by Bloomscape.

Behavioral scientist Ashley Whillans of Harvard Business School estimates that eight in 10 of us chronically feel pressed for time, making now a great time for a reset. People who value and make the most of their time are healthier, happier, less stressed and more productive, Whillans writes in her new book, Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life (Harvard Business Review Press, $28). The secret to happier time starts with small, deliberate daily steps to prioritize what brings you joy reading or savoring a home-cooked meal with family, for instance, and minimizing time wasters, such as doomscrolling our phones or checking work email late at night. Whillans will offer a virtual presentation on the topic on Jan. 13 at noon. Registration is required to receive the Zoom link at

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Happiness hacks: Here are three ways to a happier you - The Dallas Morning News

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Dec 28

How to Make Healthy, Attainable New Year’s Resolutions During COVID-19 – Healthline

Its safe to say that most people wont be sad to leave 2020 behind.

As we prepare to ring in 2021 and look forward to a new year, its a natural time to reflect on our lives and what we might want to change.

But after a year thats been anything but normal, its fair to expect that many of our New Years resolutions will look different this year, too.

Previously, many of us looked to the new year with traditional resolutions like losing weight or quitting smoking, said Jane Pernotto Ehrman, a behavioral health therapist at the Cleveland Clinic. This year has been like no other, and it provides an opportunity to reflect and move forward in a new way.

Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people have realized the importance of relationships and connections with family and friends, while others are coming to terms with being stretched too thin and arent caring for themselves properly.

Of course, collective and personal losses have taken their toll, too.

There is the grief and loss we have experienced with so much change to our routines and daily life, Pernotto Ehrman said.

For many, family and friends have been gravely ill or died from the virus. Perhaps the frenzy of having or getting stuff now isnt quite so important as appreciating our health, home, family, time together, and time alone, she said.

Taking all of this into account, its probably a good idea to rethink some of the traditional resolutions we tend to make.

If you have one of the seven common goals below for the new year, heres how mental health experts suggest you approach them differently in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a year as stressful as 2020, its natural that many people may have put on a few extra pounds.

Sheltering in place has made it easier for us to eat our way to comfort, snooze instead of move, and numb out with sitcoms, movies, alcohol, or other substances, Pernotto Ehrman said.

But rather than beating yourself up and committing to a strict diet and exercise regimen as soon as the clock strikes midnight Jan. 1, she suggests a different approach.

Given all the stress and challenges of this year, perhaps a better way to approach and live in 2021 is with kindness and compassion toward ourselves as well as others, Pernotto Ehrman said.

What does that actually look like in practice?

First, it means acknowledging that everyone is stressed and hurting. Then, rather than using on food or substances for comfort, look for healthier ways to cope.

Pernotto Ehrman recommends journaling, talking with a friend, engaging in physical activity, or watching a movie or reading a book that will help you laugh, cry, motivate, or inspire you.

It will also be beneficial to prioritize sleep, healthy eating, and making space for calm and quiet time to breathe, self-reflect, and meditate.

Most importantly, though, go easy on yourself, and go at your own pace.

Maybe youll decide that youre going to exercise 1 day per week in January and slowly build so that youre regularly exercising by the end of the year, or maybe youll stick to 1 day per week for the year because thats enough for you, said Paraskevi Noulas, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Health. It really is up to you and your personal wishes for your future.

Given all thats happened this year, its easy to lean on unhealthy coping mechanisms that may temporarily ease stress, such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or even biting your nails.

Whether its a bad habit you picked up this year or one youve been dealing with for longer, the ability to change your ways is always readily available to you, Noulas said.

There is never a better time than the present to set an intention to improve your life and learn to manage stress in a healthier way, she said.

One of the most successful ways to eliminate these types of coping mechanisms is to replace them with healthier ones.

So, instead of biting your nails when youre anxious, practice diaphragmatic breathing instead, Noulas said. Or, drink water or tea throughout the day so you have a physical object to hold on to rather than bite your nails.

Instead of having that extra drink after work, go for a 15-minute walk to clear your head and if need be, keep walking until the urge passes, she said.

Another technique is to gradually reduce the behavior you wish to change. For instance, cut down on the number of cigarettes or alcoholic drinks you have by one or two per day or week, and continue each week until you eliminate the substance.

If the addiction is significant enough that titrating on your own isnt possible, turn to professional help for support, Noulas said.

Finally, stay accountable to someone, whether its a friend checking in on your progress or a weekly session with a therapist.

Let it be known that youre working on changing your ways, Noulas said. It makes the goal more real and gives you more of an incentive and motivation to succeed.

This is an especially tricky resolution given that the pandemic has forced many to stay separated from loved ones.

Still, there are ways to stay connected even while physically apart.

Have a board game night together on video chat platforms, Pernotto Ehrman said. One person or family has the board and pieces, and facilitates the movements for all. Or try charades or a family scavenger hunt. Be creative.

Other ways to stay connected include reading the same book or watching the same TV show and discussing it, sending one another care packages, and communicating by old-fashioned means, like writing a letter or talking on the phone.

If there were ever a year for us to value and respect our mental health, this is it, Noulas said.

One way to improve mental health, she said, is to focus on self-awareness and being as present as possible so that at any given moment, youre able to check in with yourself and know what youre feeling, thinking, and experiencing physically.

If youre anxious about a work project, for example, you may have trouble focusing. Your chest might feel tight, or your breathing rate may increase.

Be aware of the connection between the three: feeling, thought, and body sensation, Noulas said.

Reach out to a trusted family member or friend for support, and partake in activities that make you feel good.

If youre struggling emotionally to the point where its affecting your physical health and personal and professional life, seek help.

Virtual mental health and substance use treatments are available now, so typical barriers to seek professional help like time off from work, commuting, and weather are minimal at this point, Noulas said.

If insurance is an issue, other resources are available, such as hotlines, peer support groups, and organizations, as well as doctoral and resident training clinics where patients can often be seen on a sliding scale, she continued. There is no shame in asking for support when youre struggling.

Traveling for pleasure may not be accessible for most people in the near future, but there are plenty of ways you can stay connected to the idea of travel and look forward to future trips.

Many popular destinations are offering virtual tours of local museums, zoos, animal sanctuaries, and parks that you can take now and look forward to physically visiting when youre actually there.

Now is also a great time to strive toward becoming a more socially conscious traveler by reading up on the history and culture of a country youve always wanted to visit, learning conversational phrases of a new language, and supporting the local businesses of places youve loved traveling to.

Noulas recommends seeking out a pen pal.

I find the best vacations are those when you know a local who can show you the sights and the real aspects of the city or country that one rarely sees as a tourist, she said.

Just like we used to when we were children, people could connect with locals in a country theyd like to visit and strike up conversations to learn more about the country and local regions firsthand, she said.

Reflecting on the traumas of 2020 might lead us to a desire to reach out to a friend or family member we have a strained relationship with, or with whom weve fallen out of touch.

However, its important to be honest with yourself and only do so if you have the time and energy.

One has to go into a process like that knowing and understanding that you cant control or predict the outcome, Noulas said. So, you have to be ready to be disappointed, to understand that the relationship may not improve.

She recommends starting slowly and connecting in a way that youre accustomed to, be it by phone, in person, or through email.

Keep your language simple, clear, and direct, Noulas said. Set your intention and know what your goal is. Give the person time and space to respond. If they dont respond the first time you reach out, give it another couple of tries.

After that, it may be time to let it go, at least for the time being.

Even if they are not ready at this moment to reconnect, youve now opened the door, so when theyre ready theyll know they can circle back to connect with you in the future, Noulas said.

Whether its a big project like learning to play a musical instrument or a less intense one like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, doing something new can do wonders for your mental health.

Any new hobby you pick up is incredibly helpful, and particularly so at this time when were quarantining at home, Noulas said.

The monotony of this year with most people working and living in the same space makes it feel like Groundhog Day at times. So, anything new you can add to the routine makes a huge difference, she said.

And at the end of the day, if youre not up to making a resolution this year, dont feel pressured.

Setting an intention to change can and should be made at any time of the year, Noulas said.

If you want to set a goal on January 15 to lose weight, there shouldnt be any reason to feel guilty about that, she said. Your resolutions are yours alone, but they dont need to be limited to January 1.

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How to Make Healthy, Attainable New Year's Resolutions During COVID-19 - Healthline

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Dec 28

This Popular Baking Ingredient Can Fight Inflammation, Study Finds – Eat This, Not That

When you think of anti-inflammatory foods, olive oil, salmon, and various vegetables are likely some of the first things to come to mindnot baking soda.

According to a 2018 study published in theJournal of Immunology, baking soda may play a role in fostering an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. However, this doesn't mean you should head to the kitchen and bake cakes and cookies from scratch in an attempt to eat more of the ingredient. (Related: 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.)

In fact, researchers found that regularly drinking a mixture of baking soda and water over a period of time helped to reduce inflammation associated with certain conditions and even autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Scientists tested this theory out on both rats and humans and found that after two weeks of drinking the concoction, the baking soda directed immune cells (known as macrophages) to work on reducing inflammation. This indicated that the baking ingredient helped the body promote anti-inflammatory responses.

Enabling the body to release this calming signalas opposed to one that's equivalent to an emergency attackcould be a huge breakthrough for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system regularly attacks the body's joints and tissues by mistake.

Not to mention, baking soda has also been shown to help manage other symptoms such as heartburn, upset stomach, and canker sores, and may even help to delay the onset of kidney disease. Of course, it shouldn't be used in place of other medications (especially ones prescribed by your doctor) and may not have the same effects on everyone.

Interested in testing it out? In the study, researchers combined 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 20 ounces of water which was sipped throughout the day. Halving that amount may be best to start out, which is why experts suggest mixing 1/8 teaspoon baking soda into a glass of water a few times a week. Consider keeping this routine up for two weeks, but no longer than one month.

You could experience side effects, such as stomach discomfort, so try to avoid drinking the tonic on an empty stomach.

For more tips on how to fight inflammation, be sure to read14 Tips to Reduce Inflammation to Lose Weight Faster, According to RDs.

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This Popular Baking Ingredient Can Fight Inflammation, Study Finds - Eat This, Not That

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Dec 28

Celebrity Fitness, Nutrition Expert and Best-Selling Author Autumn Calabrese Challenges People to Say No to Resolutions for 2021 – Business Wire

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After what has been an unprecedented year of quarantine, gym closures and mounting fatigue and stress as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, manifesting for many in Covid 15 weight gain, fitness and nutrition expert Autumn Calabrese is striking back at the annual resolution tradition that kicks off the wave of fad diets and fitness gimmicks every January. Autumns new initiative #NoResolutions2021 encourages people to join her, in partnership with leading digital health and fitness platform Beachbody On Demand, to take control in 2021.

In the challenge, which kicked off the day after Christmas, Calabrese and Beachbody are encouraging everyone to take a pledge at to NOT set a New Years resolution, and instead to take control of their well-being for the long term. For some that will mean being steadfast with whatever fitness and nutrition lifestyle changes they choose to make, and for others it will mean committing to Autumns newest fitness program on Beachbody On Demand, 9 Week Control Freak. As of today, Autumn has motivated over 6,000 individuals to sign the No Resolutions For 2021 Pledge.

One of the biggest obstacles to achieving long-term weight loss results is the diet mentality, which strikes tens of millions of people every New Years Day and lasts only a week or two, said Autumn Calabrese, best-selling author of this years Lose Weight Like Crazy Even If You Have A Crazy Life and Beachbody Super Trainer. The fitness and diet industry feeds off this ritual each year, but its just not healthy. Thats why I was so excited that Beachbody accepted my challenge to encourage every person to approach change with real commitment and a sense of purpose this year, and most importantly, to take back control.

Calabrese has made a career out of helping people get results without deprivation, and preaches the exact opposite of the New Years resolution mentality. She and Beachbody have dedicated this New Year to fighting the Resolution fairytale by helping people get ahead of the quick fix mentality.

Our goal is to help everyone take control of their mindset, fitness, nutrition and even their sleep, starting today, and ending never, Calabrese said. There will be lapses and struggles, but if you go into a lifestyle change with that expectation, you never have a moment of well there it is, another failed New Years Resolution because you didnt expect it to be easy or perfect from day one. You made it a lifestyle which can accommodate real life.

Calabreses commitment doesnt stop at the pledge website. On her podcast, social media and namesake website, Autumn is urging her fans to, Set a series of goals - big ones that will take some time to achieve and small ones that will ladder up to help you reach the overarching one. Its vital to start now to break the habit of waiting for a trigger date like the first of the year. Today is your trigger date and we need to expect there to be triumphs and setbacks. If youre truly serious and playing to win a healthy life, you dont wait.

#NoResolutions2021 comes on the heels of the launch of Calabreses newest program for Beachbody On Demand, 9 Week Control Freak. As the tenth program she has created for Beachbody, 9 Week Control Freak offers a revolutionary and comprehensive approach to taking control of key components that can truly dictate quality of life, such as strength, stamina, nutrition and sleep, and even a tolerance for imperfection. At its core, 9 Week Control Freak acts as more than just a fitness program by giving participants an opportunity to take back control of their life after what has been a chaotic year full of anxiety and uncertainty for many.

9 Week Control Freak arms participants with the tools to take complete control of the mental and physical aspects of their lives through innovative workouts, proven nutrition, and a proactive approach to rest, said Calabrese. We are all yearning for a better New Year, and this program in conjunction with the #NoResolutions2021 pledge gives us the chance to put the craziness of 2020 in the past and kick-off 2021 with a refreshing approach to regain control just not a superficial one like most resolutions. Beware of the advertisement that says, New Year, New You. Its just not that easy so we wanted to help people stop acting like it is.

The 9 Week Control Freak program consists of five days of exercise per week around a half hour day, using unique, yet affordable equipment to optimally trigger more muscle growth, burn more calories and reduce excess fat at a healthy pace. Calabrese designed the program with density training to build strength and stamina by amplifying intensity as you move through sets of the same exercise. Then, the strength training complexes shift muscle building into overdrive by increasing time under tension. As a first for Beachbody, Calabrese created the Controlled Stretch series to help participants sleep each night and prepare for the workout the next day. These short nighttime routines help clear the mind, relax muscles and promote a good nights sleep to make this comprehensive in-home health and wellness program a real innovation.

To learn more and take Autumns #NoResolutions2021 pledge, visit

About Beachbody

Beachbody, a worldwide leader in health and fitness headquartered in Santa Monica, California, was founded in 1998 by Carl Daikeler and Jon Congdon and continues its mission to help people achieve their goals and enjoy healthy, fulfilling lives. Beachbody's formula of world-class fitness, nutrition, motivation and support has proven again and again to deliver results for its customers. For more information, please visit or

About Autumn Calabrese

Beachbody Super Trainer and nutrition expert Autumn Calabrese is the creator of the breakthrough fitness programs 9 Week Control Freak, 21 Day Fix, 80 Day Obsession, and others, and the portion-control weight-loss system Ultimate Portion Fix, which has helped millions of people gain control of their food. Shes also the author of the bestselling FIXATE cookbooks and her latest Lose Weight Like Crazy, Even If You Have a Crazy Life!, and shes the host of the FIXATE healthy cooking show with her brother, Bobby Calabrese, on Beachbody On Demand. Autumn is a certified holistic health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and has held certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), as well as the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA).

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Celebrity Fitness, Nutrition Expert and Best-Selling Author Autumn Calabrese Challenges People to Say No to Resolutions for 2021 - Business Wire

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Dec 28

Caffeine: Is it safe to consume it everyday? Find out – TheHealthSite

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. But that doesnt make it a healthy drink! We understand that giving it up can be difficult, especially when you have a habit of waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Also Read - Diabetes diet: Does caffeine in coffee and tea affect your blood sugar levels?

Some of you might be thinking about what could be so wrong about coffee when it makes you feel energetic and well-stimulated, well you will be surprised. But dont worry, we are not asking you to go anti on your favourite beverage we will leave that up to you. You can decide that after going through the article. Also Read - Study: Coffee addicts are more sensitive to the smell of coffee

Just like anything, coffee too has its own disadvantages and advantages. So, here are all the facts about caffeine to help you decide if you should continue drinking it or give it a miss. Also Read - Dalgona coffee: This all-too-popular quarantine beverage helps you lose weight too!

So, caffeine is not all bad for your system. It can be beneficial as well if consumed in moderation, so some of the benefits of caffeine include:

Clearly, the side effects of caffeine outweigh the benefits of the ingredient. From disturbances in your blood sugar levels to weight gain to heart diseases, there are many demerits of the foods high in caffeine. It is better to find healthy alternatives to replace the beverage. But if you cant give it up, the least you should do is drink it in moderation.

Published : December 28, 2020 5:38 pm | Updated:December 28, 2020 5:44 pm

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Dec 28

In brief: Dean’s list, networking and more in the Carnegie, Bridgeville area – TribLIVE

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Dec 28

Change your diet with change of weather – Hindustan Times

Snuggled inside the blanket or soaking the winter sun with a cuppa hot chai or cappuccino us a must. Those honey smeared peanuts and sesame pattis are also a must-have in this season. But as you gorge onto mouth-watering and addictive delicacies, they not only affecting your weight but also your overall health. Experts list a few tips to follow in winters to keep safe from the pollution, the novel virus and adapt healthy eating:

Jaggery is a winter vitamin shot, with best warming ingredients its loaded with iron and other minerals which fortify the body against the winter chills. It is great for people with high blood pressure and helps in digestion, boosting haemoglobin and cleaning the body from within to breathe easy in this pollution. A small piece of jaggery in any form must be included to the diet in winters.

Intake of vitamin D as we have less exposure to sunlight is very important to keeps the bones strong and prevent dryness of skin. Vitamin D is also known for its effective immune strengthening benefits.

The immune system is constantly overburdened with toxins from fried food in winters thus it is advisable to detoxify the body by keeping a fast once a week or using herbs like cilantro in green smoothies or juices.

Garlic contains compounds that fight germs and helps to boost the immunity. Sulphur present in the garlic boosts the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when it comes in contact with any kind of viruses, which causes common cold and flu.

The active compound curcumin in turmeric fights infection and inflammation by preventing damage caused by free radicals. And to improve the bioavailability of turmeric dont forget to add black pepper which contains a compound called piperine, which when combined with turmeric, increases the absorption of curcumin by upto an astonishing 2000%.

Dry and sweet snacks such as panjeeri prepared during winters in the northern parts of our country is very warming and believed to help relieve body pains and opens up muscles and joints. One can make different versions of this using whole wheat, millets, sattu, or moong dal flour and to this, add ghee, nuts, dry fruits, and spices like cardamom, fennel seeds, saffron, and nutmeg.

Include green leafy and root vegetable like sarson, bathua, methi, palak(spinach), sweet potato, yam, carrots etc as they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Some common vitamins found in these vegetables are beta-carotene that can be converted in the body to vitamin A, B-vitamins, folate and vitamin C. They are also rich in magnesium, potassium and other minerals found in the local soil. When we eat whats in season we are not only helping the local agriculture but we are also eating food when it has its peak nutrient values, leading to overall health.

Winter millets like bajra, ragi and makai as they are good quality starch, high in protein and fibre. Also they are good for maintaining cholesterol levels and energy.

Citrus fruits like lemon, alma, orange and grapefruit are the juiciest and are loaded with vitamin C which help in boosting immunity and keeps the cough and cold away.

Kahwa green tea acts as an immunity drink, which helps to fight the winter by keeping us warm and free from any infection due to its ingredients like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, almonds and bay leaves which are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.

Good quality pure ghee generates instant heat and energy for the body to help keep the body warm and cleanse the body from inside. Ghee should be used instead of oils to make every day sabzi and roti.

Fresh turmeric root should be consumed in hot water or hot milk before sleeping as it is an Ayurvedic adaptogen and helps to keep the body immune and healthy.

Relax, enjoy and sleep well! Chronic stress, depression due to darkness weakens the immune system so enjoy life and sleep for 6-7 hours a day.

Inputs by Nutritionist Harleen Gulati and Clinical Nutritionist Ridhima Batra

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Change your diet with change of weather - Hindustan Times

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Dec 28

2021 New Years resolutions: Heres the lowdown on the most popular diet trends – Atlanta Journal Constitution

What you dont eat is also important, Ahmed said. Large amounts of refined carbohydrates [such as sweets and white bread] can cause blood sugar spikes, which prompt the body to store fat in a different way and can lead to obesity and diabetes.


Youve heard of probiotics and prebiotics but postbiotics are probiotics end products of the fermentation that occurs in the gut. These metabolites are being examined for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, reported. Its possible that they may aid in supporting the immune system, too.

Additionally, studies show that postbiotics could help leaky gut and may aid in preventing Type 2 diabetes.

Intermittent Fasting

Prevention reported that this diet trend, which focuses on cycling between patterns of fasting and eating, is one of the best ones to use to lose weight in 2021.

Registered dietitian Meridan Zerner of Dallas, Texas Cooper Clinic told the publication that theres some evidence that intermittent fasting can increase your metabolism rate.


Kale was all the rage around five years ago, but next year, its fresh kelp that will take the glory. The seaweed is filled with minerals including calcium, and offers B vitamins in each serving, reported. WebMD reported it could aid in diabetes control and help with thyroid health and prevent anemia.

Carnivore Diet

People who follow this diet are required to eat mostly meat as well as fat and some eggs. Despite its growing popularity, its not recommended by all experts.

This is not a healthy or sustainable diet, and there are healthier ways to lose weight, Amy Gorin, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of New York Citys Amy Gorin Nutrition told Everyday Health.

Keto Diet

A popular way to drop weight fast, this diet, which involves consuming lots of calories from fat and drastically reducing carbs, doesnt have substantive research behind it to support its safety and effectiveness in the long term.

Some negative side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet have been suggested, including increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, and increased blood levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout), a diet review from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health noted. Possible nutrient deficiencies may arise if a variety of recommended foods on the ketogenic diet are not included.

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2021 New Years resolutions: Heres the lowdown on the most popular diet trends - Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Dec 28

Resolutions: Small, steady change to lifestyle is better than dieting, expert says – The Augusta Chronicle

Tom Corwin|Augusta Chronicle

Usually when Lizzie Keen is seeing patients at Doctors Hospital of Augusta, their chronic conditions have already worsened and the registered dietitian is trying to help themget things under control. For those who will be making a New Year's resolution to lose weight and get healthier, however, she thinks small and steady change is better.

Vowing to lose weight in the new year is always a top resolution people make: 65% of men in a survey of those ages 30-65 were making a resolution to lose weight next year, according to the telehealth company Vault Health.

For many it is more of an ongoing resolution.The number of adults age 20 and older who are following a special diet in the U.S. increased from 14.3% in 2007-08 to 17.4% in 2017-18, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Those rates increase with age, with those age 20-39 reporting 13.3% on a special diet compared with 19.3% for those 60 and older, according to a recent report from the center.

The biggest mistake people make, however, is in thinking of it as a diet, Keen said.

"Probably the first mistake people make is saying, 'I am going to go on a diet' vs. 'I am going to make some healthy lifestyle changes to manage my chronic disease,'"she said. "Saying you are on a diet constitutes restriction."

A better word is moderation. Too often people are focused on rapid weight loss when the goal should be no more than two pounds a week, Keen said.

"More than that, it is unhealthy and it can be attributed to fluid loss, which is not good because obviously you want to stay hydrated," she said. "Also the faster you lose weight, the sooner you plateau. Then people might not be seeing results as quickly, get frustrated and go to more drastic measures, which arenot sustainable in the long run."

As a better way to set goals, Keen offers the acronym SMART:Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound or Timely.

"If you can set your goals up that way, it just overall makes it more sustainable," she said. "If you create small goals, they are a lot easier to meet, you are a lot more likely to keep yourself accountable and they are a lot more likely to turn into lifestyle changes versus just a temporary diet. If you make too many changes at once, it can be overwhelming, it can be unmanageable, and difficult to adhere to."

Also, think about other areas that will help promote better health, such as exercise, getting an adequate amount of sleep, stress management and hydration, Keen said. Often when one area is out of balance, it can throw the others off as well, she said.

"If you dont get enough sleep, you tend to overeat," Keen said. "If you dont get enough sleep, you tend to be more stressed. If you are more stressed, you tend not to sleep as well" and then it becomes a vicious cycle.

Also, think about stretching more, she said.

"Alot of of people dont think about that, but that plays into exercise," Keen said. "Just daily stretching can provide you with a lot of benefits."

That could be particularly true this year, she said.

"A lot of people are working from home now, sitting in a chair for a majority of the day, not getting up and walking around as much as they might in a work setting," Keen said. "(Stretching) is a great way to relieve joint pain, get the body moving, get a little bit of exercise into your sedentary workday, and it just makes you feel better all over."

Ultimately,it might be better to start off with one healthy change, stickwith that for a month until it becomes a habit,thenadd a new goal for the next month, she said.

"Think tortoise, not hare," Keen said. "Slow and steady is going to win the race when it comes to lifestyle choices."

Resolutions: Small, steady change to lifestyle is better than dieting, expert says - The Augusta Chronicle

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Dec 28

Fast after 50: Nutrition and Recovery – VeloNews

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One of the most important components of recovery is nutrition. Over the past 20 years of my life, between ages 50 and 70, Ive made some significant changes to my diet. Until I was 50, though, I ate much the same diet during and after college. As I look back, Im appalled by all of the junk food in my daily dietcookies, potato chips, pastries, soft drinks, and more. The list is almost endless. I suppose I was just being a typical young American male. Yet despite the poor average quality of my diet, I still managed to train and race well. Could I have been a better athlete? Possibly, although there is something about being young that allows us to get away with a lot of dietary mistakes. Ive watched my son, Dirk, go through the same process as a road cyclist. Now that hes in his mid-40s, he is beginning to make adjustments to his diet in order to perform better after 30 years of top-level racing. Hes fixing his diet at a younger age than I did, and hell probably benefit from the change sooner than I did, too.

While what you eat is important to recovery, whatever foods and eating patterns you find work well for you shouldnt be compromised as you get older as long as you are getting good results. If you are seeing a decline in performance, though, you should look at your diet. A diet based largely on junk food will catch up with you at some point in the aging process. Its not a matter of if but rather when.

I expect youve already discovered that food quality has something to do with your recovery and performance. By age 50 its generally becoming apparent to most. Only a few, truly unique aging athletes can continue eating lots of junk food and still perform at a high level well into their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Most certainly cannot.

But simply eliminating junk food isnt the full story. If one source of energy is eliminated, some other source must take its place. So what should you eat more of after cutting out the junk? And of nearly equal importance, when should you eat it? If you havent discovered what foods and eating patterns work best for your recovery and training, then you may get some ideas in this section.

The two most common diets chosen by endurance athletes are high-carbohydrate and high-fat diets. By high I mean a chronic (daily) diet in which at least half of ones calories come from either carbs or fat. High-protein diets are rare, but protein plays an important and unique role in the recovery of senior athletes, so well examine that macronutrient in a separate section.

Our purpose is not to take your chronic diet in a new direction but rather to better understand how you can eat to speed recovery. Well do that by examining the types of foods you can choose at various times in order to produce the fastest and most complete recovery for you given the normal diet that you already eat. Were thinking only in terms of eating for recovery from exercise.

As mentioned, the chronic diets we are considering are those made up primarily of either carbohydrate or fat. For most athletes, a high-fat diet is hard to comprehend because it doesnt follow the normal set of nutritional rules for exercise and recovery. For example, the primary rule that most athletes accept at face value is that fuel must be frequently ingested during long exercise and in the hours afterward in order to produce movement and physical recovery. Another rule is that the tank must be topped off before starting to exercise. But the high-fat diet doesnt follow these rules. How can that be?

The starting point for understanding the high-fat diet is that the body has different sources of fuel that it can call on to produce energy. The two most common sources are carbohydrate and fat. (Protein is also a potential fuel source but is used in comparatively minute amounts.) Without going into all of the physiology behind the fueling of exercise, well condense the explanation to say that when eating the typical high-carb diet, the body relies heavily on glucose, a sugar, for fuel. Even when the tank is full, glucose is quite limited in the athletes body; depending on body size, high-carb athletes store around 1,500 to 2,000 calories of glucose in their bodies (most of it in the muscles). Thats enough to last perhaps 2 to 3 hours at a duration-specific, high-intensity effort. So fuel must be ingested before starting exercise in order to top off the limited levels. More fuel must be taken in during exercise to keep the muscles functioning, and carbohydrate also needs to be replaced soon after exercise to restock the depleted tank. These are the rules that most endurance athletes are used to following.

When fat is the primary macronutrient in the daily diet, however, ketones, not glucose, are the primary energy source. Ketones are produced by the liver from fat. For the athlete on a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet, there is little in the way of glucose available; ketone production increases, and the athlete is said to be in a state of ketosis (not to be confused with ketoacidosis, which is a serious medical condition sometimes experienced by type 1 diabetics). The skeletal muscles along with the heart, brain, and other vital organs function normally on ketones once the body adapts, which can take a few weeks.

Since even the skinniest athlete has plenty of stored body fat, the source of energy is unlikely to run out during endurance events lasting even several hours. So in-race refueling is not an issue, as it is when eating a high-carb diet. For example, many ultramarathon runners follow a high-fat diet and take in little or no fuel during events of 50 kilometers (31 miles) or more.

Recovery is also simple on a high-fat diet. Normal meals and snacks, made up primarily of fat, are eaten after workouts with no need to consume extra fat. Theres also no need for loading before a long race.

You cant mix the two dietsits either a high-carb or a high-fat diet if you are to perform well. The body preferentially depends on either fat or sugar for fueling your aerobic exercise based on which it receives the most of on a daily basis. Eat a lot of carbohydrate, and the body burns a lot of sugar. Eat mostly fat, and the body is fueled mostly with fat. You also must follow the standard rules for recovery on your chosen diet. Eating a high-fat diet but recovering with lots of sugar is counterproductive, and recovering with fat on a high-carb diet wont cut it, either. Lets look into the role of protein in recovery and its implications for the senior athlete.

While the number of studies on the topics of food, recovery, and aging is small, all of those studies seem to indicate that older athletes need more protein, especially during recovery, than younger athletes do. There is evidence to suggest that we dont synthesizemeaning process in order to rebuild tissuesprotein as well as we get older, especially for the restructuring of the slow-twitch endurance muscles. The older athlete, therefore, needs more protein to ensure that there is enough to help with the rebuilding that takes place during sleep. It also appears that on the days of strength training and intervals, eating some protein about 30 minutes before going to bed helps to stimulate muscle building, at least in young athletes. This dovetails very nicely with what you read earlier regarding the University of North Dakota study on macronutrient choices late in the day to improve sleep. But bear in mind that a large late-evening snack may conflict with falling asleep, as we saw earlier.

Since simply eating more total calories in order to take in additional protein isnt a good way to increase this food type, it implies that there is a reduced need for either carbohydrate or fat with aging.

Protein has other benefits for the aging athlete when it comes to recovery. A 2014 review of the scientific literature related to protein intake and exercise by Stuart Phillips of McMaster University in Canada showed that when and how much protein you take in after a workout, especially a strength-building session such as lifting weights, has a lot to do with how beneficial the workout is for the muscles. To build or even just to maintain muscle mass, the rate of muscle protein synthesis must be greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown as it happens during and after a strength workout. Fortunately, strength training stimulates muscle protein synthesis. But without adequate dietary protein to support this rebuilding process, the body is forced to cannibalize itself by taking protein from lightly used muscles to rebuild the highly stressed muscles. This suggests the need to take in protein after workouts to meet the bodys needs.

And it just so happens that eating protein also increases the rate of muscle rebuilding, especially if its eaten immediately after exercise. The benefit decreases the longer you wait. So I recommend that after a strength workout or any session that is highly stressful to the muscles, such as aerobic-capacity or lactate-threshold intervals, you eat some protein within 30 minutes of finishing. How much?

In reviewing the research on how much protein should be eaten, Dr. Phillips found that older athletes need a lot. While a young athlete benefits from eating 20 to 25 grams (about 80 to 100 calories) of protein after a workout, older athletes may need 40 grams (about 160 calories) to achieve the same level of muscle protein synthesis.37 Consuming 160 calories from protein is equivalent to eating about six boiled eggs (with 6.29 g of protein per egg) after a workout. Thats a lot of eggs. It may be less difficult to get your protein by also including protein powder in your postworkout recovery drink. In that case Id recommend using egg- or whey-based protein powder.

There are several amino acids in foods that together make up what we call protein. The individual amino acid that has been shown to be the most beneficial for muscle rebuilding during recovery is leucine, which has many good sources including whole eggs, egg whites, egg protein powder, and whey protein. Egg protein powder, however, can be quite expensive. Besides eggs, other common foods relatively high in leucine are most all dairy products, all animal products, dried figs, pasta, spinach, buttermilk, most nuts, most seeds, coconut milk and cream, avocado, most beans, corn, peas, spirulina, and succotash. These are good food choices for your postworkout recovery snack and the next meal after a hard workout to boost protein and leucine intake and muscle rebuilding.

Adapted fromFast After 50by Joe Friel, with permission of VeloPress.

Fast After 50

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Fast after 50: Nutrition and Recovery - VeloNews

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