Author Archives: admin

Apple Cider Vinegar for weight loss

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from either cider or apple must. Used as a dressing and in all the usual ways you might expect a vinegar to be used, it has long been reputed to have weight loss benefits. But is it true?

Recent research indicates that it may be true after all. In mice, it has been shown that consuming acetic acid causes a reduction in the amount of body fat stored – and acetic acid is the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar.

In humans, a Japanese experiment showed that drinking 30ml of apple cider vinegar a day caused a weight reduction of around 4lbs compared to a control group. While not a great loss, a proportion of this was visceral fat reduction with minimal exercise.

It seems as though apple cider vinegar is not a magic bullet and will not make you drop 50lbs in a week, but it may give you a little help. If the 4lb loss above repeated over further 12 week periods, it would result in a loss of over 16lbs in a year with no discernible change in your eating habits (other than an extra drink a day) and no extra exercise.

It is worth bearing in mind that the human body has a certain tolerance for such acidic drinks – high consumption of vinegar can cause osteoporosis among other problems, and it may affect insulin levels – if you are diabetic, consult a doctor before trying apple cider vinegar. You may also want to remember the effect that acid has on your teeth, too!

Using bottled vinegar is also deemed to be more effective than usings tablets. The tablets vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and contain different amounts of vinegar – while you may want one tablet from one manufacturer, you might need ten from another. Additionally, a study by the FDA in 2005 discovered that several brands of apple cider vinegar supplements contained…absolutely no apple cider vinegar!

As always, cooking and drinking home made fresh food and drink is probably your best chance at achieving sustainable weight loss.

Acupuncture for weight loss

Obesity rates are rising across the country (and the world) at an alarming pace. Not only that, they are increasing rapidly in my general area. In this very seat. But hey, are you currently overweight and long to lose your excess weight? Have you gotten discouraged from rigid diet restrictions and exhausting exercise regimens? Most overweight individuals – and that includes you, Slackernaut – usually give up before they see any weight loss. The internet says that more and more people are opting to get acupuncture for weight loss. Ha. What?

Acupuncture is apparently an ancient remedy for many health problems. This ancient Asian weight loss treatment has allegedly helped countless people going back thousands of years. This ancient art is now commonly practiced in the western world. If you are overweight and want an easy way to shed those excess pounds, consider consulting with a chiropractor or licensed acupuncture specialist to learn more specific acupuncture details. Note: they don’t poke you with needles and suck out the fat through the hole. Or so I’m told.

Benefits of Using Acupuncture for Weight Loss

The causes of being overweight are numerous. Most of them are down to sitting on your ass and stuffing your face. Deal with it. Certain medicines are known to cause weight gain, but let’s be honest, certain donuts are too. Endocrine issues sometimes result in weight problems, as do nugget issues. This is especially true with some thyroid disorders, and drive-thrus. This neck gland controls the secretion of different hormones, and when its function is out of whack, people may notice unwanted extra pounds. Or sometimes they don’t notice, but they have the extra pounds anyway. Chinese healers developed acupuncture treatments that many claim are still very effective. Usually, the acupuncturist inserts tiny needles just under the skin surface, and the patient can just relax for 30 minutes after needle insertion.

Acupuncture targets many root causes of obesity. Generally, these needles are strategically places on the ear, specifically on four ear points – the stomach point, hunger point, endocrine point and the Shen Men point. Acupuncture is thought to strengthen and correct body energy disturbances that may cause illness, pain, stress and extreme fatigue. Life energy is called Qi, which is a bit like Spanish for “what?”, and acupuncture seeks to harness this energy and improve body system energy flow. When acupuncture is used for weight reduction, the needle targeted area is thought to influence the hypothalamus. This is located in the brain, and it regulates hormones, the endocrine system and more. Acupuncture seeks to balance the body systems that have been unbalanced before.

Reasons to Choose Acupuncture as a Weight Loss Treatment

Having acupuncture sessions is much easier than other weight loss plans. It can actually be relaxing to undergo this treatment, but it seems weird to even be sat in the waiting room. I’m here to get a needle stuck in me so I can get smaller…what am I, a balloon? But this is a terrific weight loss method for busy/lazy individuals that don’t have a lot of extra time. It is also fantastic for individuals that hate normal dieting and hard exercise routines – that means you, Slackernauts. Acupuncture is alleged to work even when other weight loss remedies have failed. If you are one of the scores of people either too busy, not motivated enough or have failed at traditional diet programs and various exercise workouts, acupuncture could be the exact weight loss treatment program that your body craves. These acupuncture sessions are only approximately one hour long. Thirty minutes of that time will be spent just unwinding, staying still. Anyone can work this easy weight loss treatment schedule into their slack lifestyles. It is usually recommended to keep regular weekly sessions for about 10 weeks.

This simple but effective weight loss treatment, targets obesity hormones and neuro-chemicals that cause hunger pangs, food initiation response, appetite and those processing nutrient chemicals responsible for digesting and breaking down fats. There are also natural hormones like ghrelin and leptin that acupuncture affects. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for your meal initiation prompts, while leptin is the hormone directly responsible for metabolism and fat storage. These triggers are what cause people to desire food, and unchecked appetite response cravings cause individuals to eat more. If the metabolism drive is low, the body will store the excess fat by way of leptin.

Recommended Guide to Losing Weight by Utilizing Acupuncture

Complete the full recommended acupuncture sessions for the best overall weight loss results. Typically, these short sessions are scheduled once a week for ten weeks. This time-frame enables the effective body responses necessary for a healthy weight loss outcome. Individuals wanting acupuncture should seek a qualified acupuncturist. Most acupuncturists that perform this weight loss treatment will encourage their clients to modify their lifestyle habits. When acupuncture is paired with healthy meals in moderate proportions, the results are quicker and will be longer lasting as well. It doesn’t hurt to add some regular exercise program into your acupuncture weight loss plan, but I don’t feel it’s necessary. Do you?

The reasons that acupuncture works are that this procedure is a multi-level approach to safe, easy and impressively effective weight loss. If you are a person with an endocrine issue like thyroid problems or diabetes, acupuncture may improve the symptoms associated with these conditions. It doesn’t cure thyroid disorders or diabetes, but acupuncture has been known to increase energy and curbs hunger pangs that tend to cause overeating that results in obesity. Opening up the body energy flow with acupuncture has been reported to make people feel healthier overall.

What to Expect from Acupuncture Treatments

When performed by a qualified acupuncture specialist, this weight loss regime is far simpler than other weight loss options. You can expect a boost of your natural metabolism which generally leads to the body’s normal response of breaking down and excreting excess fat build up. Most acupuncture patients do not mind the needle insertion process at all. Many patients say that this treatment is unbelievably relaxing. While some individuals think that the session costs are too expensive, most feel the fantastic results outweighs any cost concerns. Many diet programs and intensive exercise classes cost a lot more that these 10 sessions of acupuncture therapy. Since hunger pangs are targeted, individuals can expect to not feel hungry all of the time. Many patients also report increased alertness and higher energy after acupuncture treatments.

Many doctors are recommending Acupuncture therapy for their obese patients. If you are looking for a holistic weight loss regimen that does not require strenuous exercise, or ineffective diet plans, then acupuncture is likely a good fit for your weight loss needs. There are no preparations for the treatments, and individuals that utilize acupuncture lose weight without undue stress.

Two week update

Nah, I’ve not even booked a session yet. Just don’t like the idea of some guy sticking me with a needle. You might like it thought. Let me know if it is a success for you.

Low Sodium Diet…or Not?

A pinch of salt closer to tastiness. But just how much salt is enough? The recommended sodium intake per day is between 1500mg and 2300mg depending on your health status. People with conditions such as diabetes should limit their sodium intake to 1500mg a day or three-quarters of a teaspoon.

Why it is essential to regulate sodium intake

Surprisingly, most people consume more than the recommended level of sodium per day. Sodium is a necessary component of a diet, but consumption should be in moderation. I sometimes have bags of chips and pizza on the same night. As a result, my body craves for more water than usual. Typically, I take about 6 liters of water spread out throughout the day. On nights like this, I take close to 3 liters within the same hour. A high sodium diet messes with the fluid balance of the body. Raging thirst is the body’s way of responding to the high level of sodium and restoring salt balance.

Another consequence of high sodium diets is waking up with bloated stomachs or swelling. Edema or swelling due to extra fluid in the body is an indication that the sodium intake is more than required.

The two main components of salt are sodium and chloride often referred to as electrolytes. Taking in large quantities of sodium leads to electrolyte imbalance and hence salt retention in the body. Excess fluids then accumulate in the spaces within the tissues under the skin. Swelling is common in the hands, legs, and ankles.

The body gets rid of unwanted fluids through the kidneys. For kidneys to perform this function, there should be a balance of potassium and sodium to enable the flow of water across the body. When I consume excess sodium, I tamper with the balance in the body inhibiting the kidneys’ ability to remove toxic wastes and excess water. In the long run, I am more exposed to kidney stones and kidney damage.

I also risk high blood pressure as the blood vessels connected to the kidneys become burdened by the extra fluid and strain. The arteries also become strained disrupting the flow of blood to the brain and functioning of the heart. Also, excess sodium can increase the possibilities of cognitive disorder.

A study published in the 2006 Journal of American College of Nutrition, June issue, shows a link between sodium consumption and osteoporosis. The research primarily focuses on salt consumption, linking it to the excretion of calcium, an element that is important to the growth and development of bones. Some studies also suggest that high sodium intake could lead to stomach and gastric ulcers. However, there is no conclusive evidence to link the two as research is still ongoing.

The consequences stated above are enough reason to opt for low sodium diets. Doctors often recommend low sodium diets for high blood pressure patients. I made some small adjustments to my lifestyle and the foods I take. Here are some of the low sodium diet guidelines I follow.

Avoid Processed and Fast Foods

While I enjoy the convenience of fast and processed foods, I am aware of the adverse health effects. The extra sodium, or as others would call it, the additional cost of fast food, is harmful to the body. Other than the sodium portion, these foods are high in calories and have low nutritional values. Processed foods high in sodium include cold cuts, baked goods, gravies, meats, pizza, soups, processed cheese, and sauces. Unfortunately, these are all my favorites.

Since it acts as a food preservative, sodium may be present in foods that are not as salty. Sodium controls water activity of foods preventing the growth of bacteria or chemical reactions. Salt also kills bacteria by drawing out water from them. As a flavor enhancer, sodium is an ingredient in some snacks including crisps, chips, and popcorns. Sodium also masks the metallic tastes of some of the products. Again, these are my favorites. Except the metal ones.

Check for sodium content when shopping

When shopping I check the nutrition labels on packaged foods and prepared ones as often the sodium I consume is hidden in them. I use the percent daily value indicated on the label as a tool to find out the sodium content per serving. 5% daily value or less per serving is low while 20% daily value or more is high. I also pay attention to serving sizes to ensure the amount I consume meets the daily percentage value I desire.

Avoid dining Out

If I prepare foods on my own, I can keep tabs of my daily sodium intake. Unfortunately, I’m too much of a slacker to do this, so I either go out or order in. Even in these instances, I try to inquire about the nutritional values in the food. Well, I read the info on the websites. Some restaurants allow customers to choose the amount of salt used in cooking, but I feel that’s really going overboard. Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re really trying to control your sodium intake, make your own damn food.

Choose fresh and whole foods

Most processed foods have a high sodium content; therefore, I try to consume whole foods such as corn on the cob and fresh fruits as much as possible. OK, now my mom is satisfied, let me say that was a complete lie. I love processed foods. Fresh and whole foods would enable me to prepare low sodium dishes such as skinless chicken and help me track my sodium intake, but that’s not a thing I do. I’m just being honest here.

Avoid salt at the table

At the dinner table, try to keep away the salt shaker or any other seasonings that have high sodium content like ketchup, mustard, or soy sauce. Instead, I use black pepper to spice up my food while at the table. It’s actually a fantastic flavor, and has many health benefits, none of which I can remember.

Use alternative seasoning

I use different natural flavorings, herbs, and spices such as rosemary, salsa, chutney, vinegar, onions, garlic, and lemon juice to season foods. Such seasonings help make food tasty even without salt and therefore enable me to avoid using salt to season food. Alternative seasonings go a long way in reducing salt intake.

Advantages of low sodium diets

Low sodium intake has a lot of proven health benefits. Low sodium diets are essential for the health of the heart, the kidney, and the whole-body system. Reducing sodium intake helps lower blood pressure. High sodium intake is the primary cause of hypertension which is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

A low sodium diet, therefore, lowers the risk of heart diseases. Low sodium diets also help reduce the risk of swelling of externalities such as the legs. Excess sodium causes retention of fluids as the body tries to maintain a consistent water to sodium ratio; a low sodium diet is therefore essential in reducing water weight. Most low sodium diets necessitate whole foods which contain a wide range of nutrients. Whole foods benefit the overall health and help maintain a healthy body weight.

Disadvantages of low sodium diets

Low sodium diets lead to insufficient sodium intake which could have serious health repercussions. Sodium is vital to the survival of humans because of the role sodium chloride plays in keeping the brain functioning, the nerves system, regulation of blood pressure, and muscle strength. Since the human body cannot produce sodium, hence its obtained through food only.

Salt is also essential for hydration and is vital for the fortification of other minerals such as iodine. A low sodium diet with a sodium content of below 3000 mg per day is harmful considering the various benefits of sodium. Low sodium intake can cause dehydration and possible insulin resistance leading to higher blood sugar levels. Low sodium diets also increase the risk of death from heart failure and raise the risk of hyponatremia, low blood levels of sodium.

Sodium is an essential mineral, however, too little or too much may affect the body. Foods rich in potassium are beneficial for people on low sodium diet for high blood pressure or any other condition. Always remember to take enough water.

The Protein Shake Diet

You know what? I am tired of riding the weight loss roller coaster. My weight has been all over the place, from phenomenal lows to highs that make me want to throw that scale out the window. I have tried every diet supplement under the sun. I have gone with low carbs, no carbs, low fat, and high protein. I thought loading up on fresh veggies and fruit might be the answer. I ended up in the bathroom. I have cleansed and gone through detoxification to kick start my quest for my ideal body. My efforts have only left me feeling deprived and discouraged. I can’t take the diets for long before I start to binge. That’s when the pounds start packing on and I feel like I am headed for the point of no return. I am not a fitness fanatic – far from it. My ideal day is sitting on the couch, channel hopping. Anytime that I have made an attempt at a more active lifestyle, it has blown up in my face. I have either hurt myself or stuck with the program for about a month before I began to slide into old habits. I am ready for a change.

I Need Something Easy

So, my Slackernauts, I have decided to have a go with the protein shake diet. I have tried weight loss shakes in the past, but I thought this would be the way to go because it emphasizes giving me the protein that my body needs. If I embrace a simple exercise plan that alternates cardio and strength training, I can start to build muscle while I burn fat. Protein is the way to go. Actually, bed is the way to go, but I guess I’ve got to make the effort. I have done my homework (odd for a slacker, I know) and I’ve figured out that protein shakes are simple, easy for when I am on the go (hah – as if!), and it’s not rocket science. Protein shakes are better than weight loss shakes because they aren’t filled with empty calories or additives. Best of all, they are mainly protein. Other types of shakes only have a small amount of protein. I need to be a powerhouse. A bodybuilder but without the effort. When I get my protein from a good source like a special shake, I avoid the fat and excess calories that come with other sources of protein. I can reap the benefits of something that will give my body what it needs and lose weight.

Why Choose Protein Shakes for Weight Loss?

If I go with protein shakes and the protein shake diet, I can cut back on those carbs. While carbs will give me instant bursts of energy, they also tend to turn to sugar, then fat. I want something that will take a little longer to kick in for an energy source, have staying power, and help me to stay more active. The more active I am and the more protein I have, the more weight I will lose while my muscles work more effectively. This go around, I am dieting smarter, not harder. I have learned that the right kind of protein, like whey protein, will burn through calories and that’s exactly what I want. Even when I am at rest, my body will be working off those pounds.
Best of all, I don’t have to sit and worry about meal preparation. A quick pour and a shake is all I need to have my protein substitute at the ready. It will curb my appetite so that I don’t indulge in all of those temptations that are usually my downfall.

Finding the Right Formula

It has taken a bit of experimentation to find that protein shake that is right for me. It has to be tasty or forget about it. I found one on Amazon, apple crumble and custard flavor. It kinda tasted like I’d already drank it and it was coming back up again. That’s not the taste I’m looking for. Give me chocolate or give me death…well…chocolate will be fin. I have learned that my shake should include about thirty grams of protein. It’s also good to blend about twenty-five grams of fiber with my shake. Water should be the base when I get started. In time, I may be able to use low fat or skim milk instead of water, because that’s a better taste. I have had to think about how protein shakes can work best for me. I can use a shake before or after a workout, and by workout I mean that sweat I built up trying to find the remote. It can be a snack when I have cravings or I can have one before I turn in for the night to keep me feeling satisfied while I am sleeping. The other option is a meal replacement plan. I have decided this is the best alternative for me since I am not planning on going over the top with exercise. Or doing any, for that matter. I need something that is going to get results. Once the weight starts coming off, I will be able to stick with the program. I have chosen to have two shakes a day. I’ll start my day with a shake in the morning and have another for lunch. I am also supplementing my shakes with healthy snacks mid-morning and in the afternoon. A low calorie dinner will complete my day, unless I really need a cheeseburger. Hey man, everything in moderation, including moderation, right?

What are the Drawbacks of Protein Shakes for a Diet?

I can’t stick with protein shakes alone or my diet will fail. I have to include real food. Most importantly of all, I need to train myself to be active and have portion control so that I will continue to stay at my ideal weight when this journey is over. I have to be careful with the protein shake that I choose to make sure I am getting the proper nutrition. My shakes should include healthy fats, some carbs, minerals, and vitamins. I need to make sure that rounding out my diet with fresh, whole foods that are rich in the nutrients I need. I am going to really need to take my time as I choose what I will eat when I grocery shop, staying away from processed foods and that kind of junk. Who am I trying to kid? At the same time, I can’t deny myself completely. It’s okay to have a treat from time to time. I’ll think about how often I indulge in something I really enjoy, making sure that I exercise and limit what I eat. I have heard that it is possible to develop kidney problems or heart issues if I go overboard on the protein, so that’s kind of off-putting. Oh well, here goes…

What happened after two weeks?

Two and a half pounds. That’s it. It’s like slacker weight loss for slackers…it’s not an instant fix. I mean, nothing is going to be an instant fix, but this is like margin-of-error changes…man, I can’t eat like this. I’m too much a fan of pizza.

Slacker Ratings:
Slackness: 5 out of 5 – can’t fault it. Make a shake, drink it. Easy.
Effectiveness: 2 out of 5 – headed in the right direction, but slower than a slacker taking a walk
Arnieness: 0 out of 5 – I’m still a chubby slacker. The only thing that makes me look like Lord Schwarzenegger is that we both have ears. And a six pack. But mine is in the cooler.