Studies have shown that it's not the quality of our diets, but our brains ability to resist cravings and follow a plan that is behind losing weight and living the slim life.
Michael Dansigner, MD, at Tufts-New England Medical Center (Journal of the American Medical
Association, January 2005) concluded in a study that investigated four
commercial diets, that the key to achieving weight loss is not the
differences between the diets, but how well you follow them.
The year long study had 160 overweight adults split into four groups:
- Weight Watchers (low calorie)
- The Zone Diet (low glycemic index)
- The Ornish Diet (low fat)
- The Atkins Diet (low carb)
The findings were just what the docs' suspected -- each of the different
diets were effective at achieving weight loss when they were properly
followed-- but only 25% of participants were able to follow their
assigned diet for a year.
It was also found that "no single diet produced satisfactory adherence rates"-- every diet was a challenge to follow.
What does this study tell us? That we need to stop our search for
the best diet -- stop putting the onus on the diet, stop blaming the
quality of the diet, discard our high hopes that one diet will all of a
sudden make weight loss easy, and start focusing on how to STICK to the
You have to train your mind to feel good without food, you have to give your brain the energy and self control to stick to your plan. Whatever healthy plan you choose, it is likely that you are going to have to:
* Eat less high-fat and high-sugar foods
* Drink more water, as opposed to sodas and drinks that are high in sugar
* Reduce your overall caloric intake
* Exercise each week
* Track your results over time using a method from a professional
* Follow meal plan each day
* Think positively about your self-worth, and celebrate your progress along the way
To do all of these things, you can't just decide to follow the plan and commit with motivation. You've done this before, and you still failed, because you didn't fully manage your mind and the sway it has over your life.
The brain really is the key, but the reason isn't so obvious.
So why is your brain the limiting factor-- why does your mind cause you to veer of course when it comes to dieting?
It has to do with 3 primary factors. The first one is your thoughts-- what you think. Do you doubt yourself? Do you believe you can lose the weight? Chances are, you don't. This doubt and negative outlook causes your brain to want to eat those fatty, sugary foods that are't part of your diet.
Why? Because you hate being wrong, just like everyone else. If you believe something is true then you behave as if it were. If you think you are going to be over weight forever, if you believe that avoiding delicious and fatty foods is terribly stress creating and will make you feel miserable, than your brain will want to make decisions that support that, and the negative cycle of obesity will continue.
The bad news is, changing your outlook by thinking positively, practicing constructive self-talk or hypnotizing yourself into a change of thought isn't easy, nor is it entirely effective when done by itself, and this is simply because their are two other brain factors that are more core to the problem.
Your thoughts are more a symptom of a deeper problem-- and we've learned that it's always more effective to improve the core problem than to simply remedy the symptoms with band-aid approaches.
The core problem that you are facing, in your quest for that "Soap Opera Swimsuit Figure", is tied into the other two factors at work in your brain: your brain fitness and brain state.
What is Brain Fitness?
Your brains physical health and performance levels. Is your brain secreting optimized and balanced levels of neurotransmitters and biochemicals like serotonin, endorphins and dopamine? Does your brain have a healthy level of dendrites and glial cells? If your brain fitness is less than optimal, which is true for most people, than you will feel off center, slightly depressed, anxious, emotionally unhappy, moody and at the mercy to compulsions and addictive habits. Not only will you be more prone to binge eating and snacking to compensate for your lack of complete emotional satisfaction, but you will be just as careless when it comes to exercise.
What is Brain State?
Your brain state determines how you feel during the course of your day. Do you feel tired, scattered, erratic and disconnected for hours at a time, or do you feel energized, focused, sharp and clear? If you feel tired and fatigued during large (or even small) portions of your day, than you are going to be less likely to a) think positively charged thoughts and feel confident about your diet plans and b) have the energy and restrain to resist "foody" temptations, and have the discipline and drive to get yourself in gear for exercise.
It sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?
That's because it is. If you are always tired and often feel a little depressed, rigging yourself to think positively, follow an exercise plan and eat healthy will be the fight of your life. But if you take care of your energy levels, balance your brain and get yourself out of that negative funk by improving your brains core-- then you are on the right track, giving yourself a tremendous edge in the war against calorie . This article has been adapted from the iMusic WeightLoss product.
Well, you can say that fast, loud and danceable tunes give you a lift. It's common sense, right? A dance tune makes one want to dance and the thought itself is associated with fun and celebration. Science, however, tries to explain it a bit further.
In a study reported in ScienceDaily, Daniel Bowling, a neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, compiled around 7500 western classical melodies and Finnish folk tunes. What his team did was measure the distribution of tones in both major and minor keys. What his team found out: the minor thirds (melody note pitched three semitones higher that the tune's keynote) represent 15 percent of the tones in minor pieces, while they are found to be less than 1 percent of tones in major pieces.
These musical intervals, when compared to spoken vowels, show that music in major keys closely match excited speech, e.g., "animated accounts of winning lottery," while music in minor keys match those of sad speech, e.g. failed marriage, etc.
Besides the happy lyrics of "Singin' in the Rain" or the dark and depressing "Gloomy Sunday" by Diamada Galas (or any other song that would make you want to slit your wrists), it's actually the patterns of pitches in major or minor keys that shape the emotion we get from certain musical expressions.
How about a song that takes you "Walking on Sunshine?" Or better still, how about going "Singin' in the Rain"? Go ahead, make your day!
We bet that if you were to inquire with your local health club we would find a rise in the number of patrons' visits. Funny it is that we're so stressed about money and yet go out and spend more money to de-stress.
Zen Habits has an interesting post about 8 Unconventional Ways to De-Stress and Release Tension. Get a load of this: 1. Massage your ears; 2. Finger paint; 3. Strip down your living room; 4. Try laughing yoga; 5. Procrastinate (??!!!); 6. Be brutally honest; 7. Dance in the rain; 8. Enjoy a "staycation."
Side note: Out of curiosity, I tried massaging my ears and it works!
"Start by gently rubbing your earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Then squeeze the outer edges of your ears all the way to the top. .... Finish by using your index fingers and middle fingers to massage behind the ears on the bony part of your skull."
It says that an ear massage makes your brain release endorphins -- your happy hormones. It appears that your ears have tiny reflex points that relax certain parts of your body. Go ahead and try it!
The rest of the tips are also great. Some may sound a bit crazy, e.g. dance in the rain (and singing too, a la Gene Kelly?) but they're actually pretty easy to do. Don't cost you a penny either!
Swedish scientists found out in a study that a wife's intelligence has more to do with a man's long life and good health than on his education. In a study published at PubMed.com, "for men, the wife's education is more important for the mortality risk than his own education when the man's social class is included in the model."
It's easy to see why. Educated women are more likely to share and influence their good lifestyle habits to their family - and husband. Educated women are better at processing advices and knowledge about healthy lifestyles and passing these on to become the couple's general way of living life. You know, they tend to know what healthy foods should be served, what vices to avoid (less alcohol, more exercise, yoga, etc.) better than men would. (Or is it simple because men just wouldn't mind not minding an unhealthy lifestyle?)
Along this line, the phrase "Carla effect" easily comes to mind. Since French President Nicolas Sarkozy was married to Carla Bruni, people say Sarko is better, and that "there is definitely a serenity in his life now."
And oh, an educated woman is not necessarily a domineering know-it-all wife that tends to run your life for you -- whether you boys agree or disagree with this, it's an entirely different matter.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that loneliness is contagious. The study said that loneliness can spread through social networks like a virus. And it is more pervasive among friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends, than among family members. John Cacioppo at the University of Chicago said that like the common cold, you catch loneliness from someone afflicted by it. A person's loneliness projected through his body language, facial expression and the way he speaks, may make those around him feel lonely too.
Loneliness is a subjective measure that researchers define as the degree to which someone feels isolated, or their perceived level of social isolation. Being alone and feelings of isolation go hand in hand.
The lonelier you are, the more chances you'll lose friends over time, which makes you more lonely and isolated. It's a vicious cycle.
The good news is, like the common cold, loneliness can be cured. And you should try to find a way out of loneliness. Studies have shown that lonely people are at a greater risk for mental and physical problems. Depression, alcoholism, obesity, heart disease, and a weakened immune system are just some of the effects you risk having when you suffer from long bouts of loneliness.
We could easily understand a finalist cursing those suits from NBC for coming up with this crazy idea of sending them back home prior to the season finale.
To win The Biggest Loser, you have to have control. And you can't do it alone or else, you would be like a can of gasoline thrown in a barbecue pit.
To win The Biggest Loser, or any other similar struggles in life, you got to have support. Whether you are looking at losing weight, quitting smoking or drinking, getting good grades, or performing well at work, don't do it alone. You got to have support from people around you.
From The Biggest Loser team themselves, here are some of the qualities you should look for in your support person/s:
1. Non-judgmental. What you need is a supporter, no one who would judge and criticize you for every decision you make.
2. Positive and inspiring. If you suffer setbacks, helps you back on track and helps you see how to move forward to your goals.
3. Good listener. Really listens to what you are saying.
4. Altruistic. Really cares about you succeeding and would go out of his way to help you achieve your goal. Last thing he'd do is to do anything that would sabotage your efforts.
5. Reliable. You can count on him whenever you need help.
For support on the fly, you can turn to iMusic's arsenal of products that can be deployed in just 6 minutes - anytime of the day. We recommend IvyFocus, and/or BrainAmp with the FitDrive Suite, and EnergySuite. These additions to anyone's training library trigger peak performance and easily puts you in the "zone." Eliminate pre-exercise mental sluggishness and resistance with just a touch of a button. To find out more, visit us here and click on "key features and benefits"
Dear Joy Pursuer,
Volition has been in business for quite sometime now-- almost 8 years -- and ever since we opened our doors, our passionate focus has been to generate more joy for our clients. Sure, we often call it performance or success, but it all adds up to J-O-Y.
Starting with this first post, we’ll be passing along a little of what we’ve learned over the years. After all, what good is wisdom if you don’t share it!
We have much more to offer than just the tools we provide, so we hope you enjoy this outlet and find it useful.
Recently, one of our team members was indulging their desire for supreme chef status at a school for the culinary arts, when they were told that “life is like a kitchen, it only creates delicious entrees if you choose your ingredients wisely.”
With that being said, you can expect us to send you anything and everything we come across that can make you smarter, stronger, swifter, richer, healthier... and in the end happier!
From around the Interweb
Sciam tells us how forcing a smile on your face will trigger a physical sensation that makes you happier. Psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who get botox and other cosmetic surgeries that make it difficult for them to frown, are happier. Read on yourself
Caffeine is friend and foe. A morning cup of coffee doesn’t just wake you up. According to a study from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, it may also lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by keeping your cholesterol levels in check – which is associated with the disease. That doesn’t mean you should chug coffee all day long. One cup a day helps prevent Alzheimer’s - but more than three cups can result in anxiety, headaches, nausea and sleeplessness. Read more
Lose weight in your sleep. Dr. David Katz is the medical contributor to Good Morning America. And in an interview, he said there’s convincing evidence that getting plenty of sleep can help control weight. How? Well, new studies show that getting less than the recommended 8 hours boosts our levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry. And at the same time, it suppresses another hormone – leptin – that’s the one that makes you feel full. Read more
Are you an optimist? Positivity attracts winners and leaders into your life. Take this survey to see where you stand
Mismanaging your spending might mean Alzheimer's is around the corner. Read on
Do you have sitting disease? You can shop, pay bills, make a living, and with Twitter and Facebook, even catch up with friends without so much as standing up. And the consequences of all that easy living are profound. Read more
Let's Hope These Don't Make You Lose Sleep Some More.
We simply could not overemphasize the importance of sleeping. Especially now that scientists link lack of sleep to Alzheimer's, obesity, heart ailments, and even death, among others.
Check out 5 of the dangers associated with chronic lack of sleep:
1. Alzheimer's Disease - that dreaded ailment anyone approaching the age of 65 starts worrying about. Why, it afflicts 34 million worldwide (Alzheimer's Disease International), and this number could increase by more than 35 million by 2010. To make things worse (and scarier) is that there is still no known cure for this disease. Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia. Those afflicted with it suffer memory loss and confusion. This will worsen to a point the patient will not be able to care for himself, and not know what to do when the urge to go to the bathroom arises.
In a study published by Reuters, scientists discovered that chronic lack of sleep spurs the development of toxic plaques in the brain that destroys neurons.
2. Alters hormones and metabolism - having just four hours of sleep each night can make you look old - after less than a week. Sleeping less than the standard eight-hour sleep produces a significant change in your glucose tolerance and endocrine function. These changes resemble the effects of aging or diabetes in it early stages.
3. Weight gain - the most obvious tie-ins to obesity would be sleep-deprivation and the wooziness that makes exercise a near impossibility. But it's more than that. As cited above, some of the changes include hormonal imbalances involving leptin and ghrelin. Leptin suppresses your appetite so you'll stop eating, and makes you more active so you burn off more energy. Ghrelin, on the other hand, stimulates hunger. You have more ghrelin before meals and it decreases after meals.
When you are sleeping, leptin increases so you don't feel hungry. When you lack sleep, leptin is at a low supply and you have too much ghrelin that tells your brain you are hungry. So you eat. And eat. And eat.
3. Increased susceptibility to common cold - in a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, 153 healthy participants' sleep efficiency were monitored for 14 days. They were then quarantined and administered nasal drops containing rhinovirus, a type of virus that is responsible for common colds in adults and children. Those who had slept less than 7 hours on average were found to be more likely to develop colds compared to those who sleep at an average of 8 hours or more.
4. Heart problems - Time.com reports a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, that "too little sleep can promote calcium buildup in the heart arteries, leading to the plaques that can then break apart and cause heart attacks and strokes."
5. Diabetes - chronic lack of sleep causes hormonal imbalance (there it is again!) that affects glucose regulation. You don't produce enough insulin producing cells that, in turn, cause your glucose levels to rise. Insulin is necessary to keep your blood sugar level in check. If you don't sleep enough (7-8 hours a night) for a whole week, insulin and blood sugar levels in your system mimic those of a diabetic's.
We've just named 5, and there are a lot more. As it weakens your immune system, one possible effect of chronic lack of sleep is death. Continually depriving yourself of enough sleep could lead to long-term changes in the brain or mental disorders such as depression. Sleep is the time when our brain consolidates memory and information, it is needed to regenerate certain parts of the body.
If you think you are being productive when you skip sleep to work, think again. Don't go to bed thinking about this tonight as this could be worrisome. Worry causes stress.
Stress can keep you up at night, sleepless.
A study conducted on (some obviously happy) volunteers showed lower levels of stress hormones in their urine and blood plasma samples after ingesting less than one and a half pounds of dark chocolate. These volunteers were selected for their high stress levels prior to the two-week experiment.
This development is the latest among recent findings about chocolate's benefits like helping prevent blood from clumping up, keeping your heart healthy. Dark chocolate is even reported to provide some anti-cancer benefits.
But hold it! Before you go and splurge on wanton sweetness, the same experts warn about forgetting the word "moderation." Don't forget about the excess fat and sugar that goes with each heavenly bite.
Whether you're singing along Lady Gaga's Paparazzi, or head-banging to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" in your Guitar Hero, you get a certain level of high - no matter how out of tune you may be.
Listen to a Tchaikovsky or a Rachmaninoff, or a Mendelssohn symphony and you will be moved to tears. Listen to Steppenwolf while cruising on a highway, and you'd feel like flooring your gas pedal. For most people, whether it is a melodious melancholic Alicia Keys or the gritty piercing riffs and brute force of a Rush, a Thundermug, or even a Judas Priest, music is an enjoyable form of entertainment.
More health professionals now harness the power of music in hospitals to help patients improve their healing. Linda Fisher at Loyola University in Illinois, who is completing her coursework toward certification as a music-for-healing practitioner, says that music does not need to be something familiar. It is the type of music that puts patients "in a special place of peace" brought about by its rhythm, tonal qualities and melodies.
Studies conducted at Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska and St. Mary's Hospital in Mequon, Wisconsin showed that music helps post-surgery patients by significantly lowering their heart rates, calming and regulating the blood pressures and respiration rates.
A study conducted on 236 pregnant women at the College of Nursing at Kaoshioung Medical University in Taiwan showed that music therapy reduces psychological stress. Lead researcher Chung-Hey Chen said that daily listening for 30 minutes of soothing music significantly reduced stress, anxiety and depression. This was published in the special issue of The Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Music helps stroke patients
A study in Germany found that patients recovering from stroke benefit from music therapy by helping improve their motor skills. Other studies showed that music therapy helps boost immune system, improve mental focus, help control pain, and greatly reduce anxiety associated with pre-surgery stress.
In fact, if you're headed for surgery, take your iPod. LiveScience reports that music during surgery reduces sedation needs. Such is the power of music that not only the patient under the knife benefits from it. Doctors also perform better while listening to music. This study was presented in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.
Music makes you "smarter"
Furthering the notion that music makes you smarter, Lutz Jancke of the Faculty of 1000 Medicine--the expert guide to the most important advances in medicine, is proposing to use music in neuropsychological therapy to improve language skills, memory, or mood. Musicians have been found to have structurally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians. Jancke suggests that since music has such a strong influence on brain plasticity, it can then be used to enhance cognitive performance. This provides even greater validity and support of Volitions' neuro technology and Imagince.
iMusic improves intelligence
There is a significant difference in ordinary music's momentary influence to one's mood or well being, and plasticity (the brain's capacity to change to adapt to new conditions, or improve its neural connections). iMusic is a brainwave training technology that was developed and patented for exactly this purpose. Among other scientific studies in brain training, a study conducted by Dr. Siegfried Othmer, chief scientist of the EEG Institute has proven that brain training like iMusic enhances your brain's cognitive functioning and improves the health of your brain's neurons.
iMusic technology is the product of years of research by world renowned scientists. iMusic is not a fad that was developed and promoted by celebrity gurus, but by real-life neurofeedback practitioners, psychiatrists, physicians, and researchers. This brain training technology is currently used as a creativity enhancing, productivity improving tool by Fortune 50 corporations. Currently, iMusic is at the heart of clinical research and study in the fields of sleep, healing, focus and intelligence.