A Point to Ponder:
The first half of the year has come and gone. Many of you are likely experiencing success in keeping a new year's weight loss resolution. If this is the case, try not to reward your efforts by splurging with unhealthy foods that are high in fat and sugar. Using food as a reward feeds the notion that dietary discipline is a temporary behavior rather than a lifestyle change. Try choosing other methods for rewarding your success like getting a massage or shopping for a new outfit.
Excessive stress promotes poor health and disease. In stressful situations, your body responds by releasing a hormone called cortisol. Long-term exposure to cortisol has devastating consequences that include:
1. Increases in the amount of sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides (fat) in your bloodstream, which promotes type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.
2. Retention of salt and water, which leads to high blood pressure and unnecessary weight gain.
3. Breaking down of muscle tissue protein and decreases in the uptake of essential amino acids by muscle tissue, which leads to dramatic losses in strength and tone.
4. Increases in visceral fat accumulation, which shows up on your waistline.
If you are often exposed to stress due to work or school, conflicts with family or friends, or even while sitting impatiently in a traffic jam you may be at risk. It is important to find productive ways of coping with your stress. Exercise and meditation are great for countering stress.
Did You Know?
Regular exercise can beneficially alter cholesterol by reducing triglycerides (fat in the blood) and increasing HDLs (good cholesterol) which are responsible for removing LDLs (bad cholesterol) from arterial walls. Buildup of LDLs and triglycerides lead to plaque formations that cause heart attacks and strokes. If you haven't done so already, now is the time to get tested for high cholesterol? All it takes is a simple blood test called a lipid profile. Ideal levels for each component of the lipid profile are as follows:
Total Cholesterol: <200 mg/dL
Improving your muscle tone and strength does not require a complicated weight training program. Here are 3 steps that you can implement today:
1. Invest in a set of adjustable dumbbells and a stability ball.
2. Perform 1 to 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of 8 to 10 exercises with enough weight to cause fatigue.
3. Commit to executing Step #2 again on Wednesday and/or Friday (2 to 3 non-consecutive days of the week).
Written by Nina Cherie Franklin