Cinnamon for Weight Loss

Cinnamon is one of those spices that has many health benefits:

cinnamon

  • Helps prevent breast cancer
  • Has a high thermic effect on the body
  • Helps in prolonging the digestion process in the stomach
  • Relieves diarrhea and nausea
  • Aids in peripheral circulation
  • Enhances digestion
  • Promotes the metabolism of fats

Recent studies have shown that cinnamon also affects blood glucose levels. It does this by prolonging the digestion process of the stomach, which helps to reduce spikes in insulin levels after eating a meal.

This effect it has on blood sugar levels helps in weight loss as you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to give into food cravings and you won’t feel so hungry all the time. It also boosts your metabolism and helps to control blood sugar levels.

I use cinnamon on my oatmeal in the morning and on top of yogurt or in my protein shake. I often make a Chai Tea with almond milk and will add a cinnamon stick just for fun and flavor. All you need is just 6 g of cinnamon a day to improve overall health.

 

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Eating Stress-Free Burns more Calories

Having trouble losing weight and can’t figure out why? You might be engaging in stressed-out eating.

eating on the runWhat is stressed-out eating?

If you eat on-the-go while you’re in a hurry or running between meetings or classes, then you’re setting yourself up for extra poundage. The slower you eat, the faster you metabolize the foods you ingest.

It’s time to slow things down, relax and enjoy your food.

Monitoring your eating speed can also help you identify your relationship to food and emotional eating. This is where diet journaling comes in handy. By keeping a journal of your eating habits, you can help re-establish a healthy relationship with food.

You’ve seen those people who just wolf down their food without even tasting it or perhaps, even chewing it. Well, not only do you put an incredible drain on your digestive system and lose some of the nutrients from your food, but you set yourself up for weight gain.

In the 1800s in England, there was a man who developed a dieting system that required its participants to chew each mouthful of food for 40 times before swallowing. Now, this is the extreme, but by chewing your food slowly and thoroughly, you start the digestive process and relax the stomach to receive the food. This helps in the breakdown of the food and ensures you’re getting all the nutrients you can from your meals.

It’s important to be relaxed when you’re eating, because when you’re stressed out, you stimulate the hormone cortisol which is responsible for unsightly and unhealthy midriff weight gain. To your body, stress is stress and when it senses something is wrong, it will secrete cortisol hormone, which slows down your metabolism and tends to store what you’re eating as fat. It senses danger and that means famine. Digestion can even come to a complete stop, resulting in bloating, discomfort and constipation.

Here are some pointers from the book Slow Down Diet from Marc David:

  • Worrying about fat increases fat. Anxiety about weight loss causes your body to put fat on and retain it.
  • Slow down, relax your mind! This will burn food more efficiently if you breathe in more oxygen. So relax and take deep breaths while eating.

Here are some additional tips to help you get in the mood for food:

  • Take a look at the French, who have turned dining into an art form and whose lunches usually last for hours and hours.
  • Try reading a book or sharing your meals with family and friends with some relaxed conversation.
  • Create a comfortable atmosphere by lighting candles, laying the table and maybe even placing a vase of flowers on the table to instil calm.
  • You don’t have to dine out at a fancy restaurant to create the ideal mood for dining, just a few simple things like lighting and music can make all the difference.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV or computer. If you’re watching an intense show, that stress will transfer to your body and it will sense that stress and your metabolism will slow down.
  • Breathe and savor each morsel.

By employing a few of these tips, you will re-establish a healthy relationship towards food and develop healthy habits towards eating.

Combatting Diet Crabbiness

Dieting can wreck havoc on your nerves and cause mood swings, especially in those in-between-meal moments.

diet crabbinessThat is why eating several small meals spread out throughout the day is a good idea to help manage these mood swings and keep your blood sugars level.

Mood swings are caused by fluctuations in serotonin levels in the brain, which often occur when someone hasn’t eaten or is stressed out. Research out of the University of Cambridge is now showing that these same regions of the brain affected by serotonin levels are the same regions of the brain that control anger.

Although reduced serotonin levels have previously been implicated in aggression, this is the first study to show how this chemical helps regulate behavior in the brain as well as why some individuals may be more prone to aggression. The research findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Researchers altered the diets of the people participating in this study from serotonin-depleted days with no tryptophan to placebo days with normal amounts of tryptophan. This protein, tryptophan, is needed for the production of serotonin. Reactions to this manipulated diet were scanned via MRI images and notes were taken on behavioral changes, particularly in facial expressions.

“Using the fMRI, they were able to measure how different brain regions reacted and communicated with one another when the volunteers viewed angry faces, as opposed to sad or neutral faces.”

The MRI showed regions of the brain that were affected by low serotonin levels to experience weaker signals that control emotional responses to anger.

The subjects of this study were pre-screened to determine their normal response to anger and aggression. Those who exhibited higher levels of anger were affected worse by the lower levels of serotonin and the absence of tryptophan in their diets.

Dr Molly Crockett, co-first author who worked on the research while a PhD student at Cambridge’s Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (and currently based at the University of Zurich) said:

“We’ve known for decades that serotonin plays a key role in aggression, but it’s only very recently that we’ve had the technology to look into the brain and examine just how serotonin helps us regulate our emotional impulses. By combining a long tradition in behavioral research with new technology, we were finally able to uncover a mechanism for how serotonin might influence aggression.”

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Weight Loss

Limiting the amount of fructose you eat is one trick that will help you reach your weight loss goal.

Best fruits and vegetables for weight lossAs well as limiting fructose in the form of fruits and fruit juices, it is important to limit your carbohydrate intake and pay particular attention to the source of these carbs. All carbs in the form of sugar and grains promote insulin resistance and this can be harmful to your health and lead to diseases like diabetes.

You should keep your fructose intake between 15 and 25 grams

People who eat clean diets will use fresh vegetables for their optimum source of carbohydrates and will eat an abundance of fresh, leafy greens. However, that doesn’t include all vegetables. Obviously, starchy veg like potatoes and squash should be limited and sugary veg like carrots and beets should also be restricted for their high sugar content.

There are lots of fruits that are low in fructose like raspberries, cantaloupe, plums, apricots, passion fruit, limes and lemons.

Recommended vegetables include:

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Weight Loss

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beet greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Green and red cabbage
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • All kind of lettuce and spring greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini

A healthy diet is one that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. To make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, include a whey protein isolate shake first thing in the morning and again immediately following your workout. You’ll notice more energy, better muscle tone and fewer food cravings.

 

New Year, New You Workout

After indulging in all those yummy foods that make Christmas and the holiday season so memorable, it’s easy to understand why we keep banging on about eating healthy.

New Year, New You WorkoutYou can feel it, can’t you? The difference between eating healthy and not eating healthy by your energy levels – zapped! So, now is the time to get back on track and take the bull by the horns.

If you’re a regular gym-goer, you dread the beginning of the New Year and how crowded your gym gets by all those new hopefuls. This year, why not try being more supportive and encourage those new faces in their fitness endeavors? Who knows – maybe you’ll even meet a new workout partner.

Despite the crowds, you still need to work out and having a plan is the best strategy to have.

This full body workout uses higher reps with moderate weight, which will help burn fat while promoting the growth of lean muscle mass. Each rep count will be set somewhere between 10 to 15 repetitions, depending on the exercise. A key point to remember is that just because the weight is lower than your max, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t struggle at the end of each set. It is imperative that you choose a load weight that pushes you. If you’re not struggling to get those last few reps, then increase the weight. However, make sure you’re sticking to form and not compromising your workout by lifting too heavy. If you’re consistently not making it to the appropriate rep count, you need to decrease the weight.

New Year, New You Workout

Monday – Chest & Triceps

Stability Ball Push-ups – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Perform by placing your hands about a foot apart on a stability ball and then execute a standard push-up. Make sure to concentrate on your motion and balance during each repetition.

Reverse Cable Crosses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Start by positioning the handles so they are at the highest point in which you can reach. Then grasp each cable opposite to the side your hand is on. Simultaneously pull each cable until your arms are fully extended and pointing towards the floor. The cables should cross during the execution of the exercise. Slowly bring the cables back down towards the starting position and repeat.

One-Arm Dumbbell Presses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Start by lying flat on your back, while grasping one dumbbell. Take your other hand and place it on your hip for stability. Position the dumbbell so it is perpendicular with your chest and push upwards. Once you have reached a full extension, bring your arm down and repeat. Switch hands on every other set.

Standing Triceps Presses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip with your hands 8 to 10 inches apart. Stand upright and hold the bar over your head. Lower the weight down while keeping your elbows stationary. Take the weight down as low as possible and then press the weight back up to the starting position and repeat.

Tuesday – Quads and Hamstrings

Dumbbell Squat Press – 4 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly bend your knees until you are in a full squatting position. Then jump as high as possible, upon landing continue to the next rep.

Overhead Squat – 4 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Position one end of the barbell against the wall and stack desired weight on the other end. Grasp the weighted end of the bar with one hand and place your other hand behind your back. Then squat until your hamstrings are parallel with the floor. Rotate your hands with each set.

Jump-Squats – 4 Sets/ 10-15 Reps
Start by standing in a standard squatting position. (Note: You can also position a barbell across your shoulders and upper back, holding it on each end to add more resistance during the exercise.) Then jump from the squatting position, landing with your feet spread at about your shoulder-width apart.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Back and Biceps

Upright Raises – 3 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Start in a standing position while grasping a barbell with an overhand grip. Your hands should be 8 to 10 inches apart. Let the barbell hang in front of you, with your arms fully extended. This is the starting position. Lift the bar straight up until it reaches your chin, and then slowly bring the bar back down. Make sure not to swing your back or cheat during the reps. Your motion should be stabile and controlled.

Two Hand Cable Curls – 3 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Stand upright with your body facing the cable and pulley. Grasp the curl bar while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping your elbows close to your body, curl the weight as high as you can and then slowly bring the bar back to the starting position.

Bent-Arm Pullovers with Barbell – 3 Sets 10-12 Reps
Start by lying on your back along a flat bench. Place a barbell on the floor behind your head. Reach back and grab the bar. Raise the bar while keeping your arms bent. Bring the bar over your head and to your chest. Then lower the bar back down towards the starting position. You should feel a nice stretch in your lats. Make sure to keep the bar from touching the floor.

Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
While standing upright with a dumbbell in each hand, hanging at the side of your body, curl one dumbbell up towards your chest. Alternate as the first dumbbell reaches the starting position and repeat.

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Shoulders and Abs

Seated Twists – 3 Sets/ 75-100 Reps
Perform by sitting on the edge of a bench. Place a light-bar or broom handle across the back of your shoulders. Hold each end of the bar. While keeping your head still, rotate your torso as far as you can in either direction. When reaching the end of your extension, hold for 5-10 seconds. Make sure you don’t swing your body during the exercise.

Variation Dumbbell Raises – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Start with your arms at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand. Then raise your arms to your sides until your elbows are shoulder height. Lower your arms to the starting position. Lift one   arm in front of your body, until your arm is parallel to the floor. Make sure you don’t swing your body during the lifting motion. Bring your arm back down and then rotate arms. This will complete one rep.

Medicine Ball Leg Lifts – 3 Sets/ 15-20 Reps
Start by lying flat on your back with your knees up and your feet flat on the floor. Position a medicine ball between your knees and squeeze to stabilize. Bring your legs up towards your chest. Slowly bring your legs back down towards the starting position, but do not let your feet touch the ground.

Military Presses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Sit at the edge of a bench and then grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Hoist each dumbbell to shoulder height and then press simultaneously until the dumbbells touch each other above your head. Bring the weight down until your arms form a 90-degree angle and then repeat.

Sunday – Rest