Thursday, November 27, 2008

12 Tips to Staying Motivated

treadmill

Keeping up the day to day of working out can be tough. Motivation is key, but keeping up that motivation, particularly if you don't like working out, can be just as difficult as saying no to that extra piece of cake. Well The Health and Fitness Guide offers 12 Keys to Staying Motivated:


# 1. Vary your routine every so often to prevent boredom and provide enhanced benefits by working different muscle fibers within the same broad muscle groups. Try different exercises; try doing more reps and lighter weights one day; more weight and less reps another day, etc.
#2. A little bit is much better than nothing and in fact goes a long way. While an hour or so 3 to 4 times a week is great, exercising for 15 to 20 minutes once or twice a week is much better than no exercise.
#3. Work with a trainer when bored or discouraged– even if it is just for a few sessions - to get you back on the right track, learn some new things and rejuvenate your workout.
#4. View work-out time as “your time” to escape from the demands placed on you from others and take care of yourself. Get in a “zone” by focusing on the music you’re listening to, the results you will achieve or how good you will feel after your workout.
#5. Write down your goals – You are more likely to remain committed to them. Also, keep a diary of your workouts and your progress – what gets recorded and measured gets improved.
#6. Workout with a friend – you will push each other and time will go by faster.
Keep Reading Black Women's Health and Fitness Blog

Saturday, November 22, 2008




Me - Before in June 08 and After in Nov. 08!!

Hey All!!

Well,I have been having a really good turn as of late..I have lost a total of 26 pounds as of today! I can honestly say that I LOVE this Weight Watcher thing! I am not starving, I am getting plenty of proteins,veggies and even some chocolate on the side and I am still losing! Again, I have picked up on my exercising, walking up to 4 miles per day, and it is even getting to the point that if I don't exercise, I don't feel right and feel all sluggish.

As a matter of fact, recently I have noticed that I can't eat fried foods like I used to. My "weigh in day " treat is to go to a fast food joint and get a nice big Tenderloin and fries! Hey, I get up at 5 am to go walking everyday, I deserve it ;)!

So anyhoo, I go last Monday, order my food, sit down and start munching. I'm not sure if I bit into a piece of gristle or a side that they didn't drain well enough, but I almost lost my cookies!! I did the same thing trying to eat KFC the next day!

Sooo, I guess this is one of those blessing/curse things! But if it messes with my Thanksgiving, I am not going to be a happy camper!

Til next time! Happy Thanksgiving to you all! You can do it!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes!! We Did!!!

Hey All!!

New Day, New President, New Hope!

Now, I know this is a fitness blog, but I gotta shout just one more time for our new President, Barack Hussein Obama!! Yess! Happy dance for the next six months at least!!

Now that the election is over, I have time to pick up where we left off! Since my last entry, I have lost 3.4 more pounds bringing my total pounds lost to 20!! It hasn't been effortless - I have been working my butt off, literally!

Which brings me to today's topic - Want Results? Ya Gotta Do the Work!

Folks, Healthy eating (notice that I didn't say Diet) and exercise go hand in hand. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in- simple.

Yes, yes, I know about your cousin Pookey that just ate less , laid around on the couch all day and then the pounds just magically dropped off. First off, Pooky is throwing you a load of b.s. When you are not around, she's sweating to the oldies and doing the thighmaster. She never liked you so she is trying to keep you fat...

Secondly, on the slim chance that she does have that lucky metabolism, I think that we can safely assume that you don't. You can test this theory by eating and laying about. If your backside is getting bigger, well, sorry you aren't one of the chosen ones.

Look, I hate exercising too. And to add to my misery, studies have shown that to effectively lose weight, you have to do at least 90 minutes of moderate exercise (that means sweating after 10 minutes and being able to barely hold a conversation while working out) A DAY!! I break mine up by power walking in the wee hours of the morning before work and 30 min of ergo-biking at nite. So far, except for a period when I was building muscle, the weight and the clothes sizes keep dropping!

As I stated in an earlier post, find what you like and do it! Or suck it up and just do it, but do it! Your heart, your body and your back fat will thank you for it!

I'm a little keyed up tonite, but I am so inspired! I gave myself a goal (again) to be at goal weight by the end of next summer. That is realistic and very do-able! Can I do it this time? YES I CAN!! And you can too!

Til next time! Keep sweating!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Homecoming Workout Plan - Day 21 "The Pants II"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homecoming Workout Plan - Day 15

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weight Training Tips!

Hey All!

Well, I am happy to report that as of my weigh in tonite, I have lost a total of - 16 POUNDS!! Happy Dance! So far for this month, I have lost a total of seven pounds. I would like to take off another three pounds before the end of the month. According to my online trainer Grant, (yep the same one!) 10 lbs a month for the first few months is a do - able month. Now, he didn't say that it would be easy - apparently it involves a lot of sweating - but still an attainable goal. Next week, I start in with the weights! Oh Joy!


Because Mr. Grant has helped me in my greatest hour of need, and also cuz I am lazy and can't think of anything funny tonite, I am going pass along some information that he gave me about weight training! Enjoy!



When do I add weights and how much? I'm glad you asked that question! Use the following guidelines: when you are able to do the scheduled number of sets and reps in a given exercise, increase the weight by the smallest increment possible, e.g., on the bench press if you can do all 3x15 with the weight of the bar only, add a 2.5lb weight to each side and use that until you can again do 3x15, then take the 2.5lb weights off and use two 5lb weights and start the whole process over again, and on and on. You will probably reach a point that you think you will never get beyond, but keep at it and you WILL eventually get to the next level.

Machines are a little more difficult, because the weight increments are usually in 10-20lb increases. In this case, again increase by the smallest amount of weight you can but you will probably have to reduce the number of reps you do because of the large increase in weight, e.g., on the wide grip pulldown, the lowest weight is probably 20 lbs and the next jump would be 40lbs-that's a pretty big step so instead of doing 3x15-or 12 or whatever was specified, do 3x12, if that is still too much try 3x10 until you reach a spot where you can do at least two full sets and have to struggle to finish the last 2-3 reps of the last set. Make sense? By going in small increments and slowly you are less likely to injure yourself or to overtrain and get mentally and physically burned out.

The mental part of lifting is very important, it's not just about beating your way through the next weight plateau, mentally push yourself along the lines that focus on the muscle that you are using to lift as well as the lift itself. For instance, when you are doing tricep kickbacks really concentrate on the contraction of the muscle all the way through the range of motion and also watching yourself in the mirror to make sure that you are moving the weight in a steady and controlled method-no swinging the weights and basically just flailing away-I'm sure you've seen some people doing that from time to time in your gym. Another thing, do not worry about how awkward you may feel when you first start doing and exercise or how much weight you are doing compared to what others may be doing-you have your own schedule and your own pace, concentrate on that-focus, focus, focus.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, my guess is that you will be pretty sore in the beginning-maybe even a little sore at me too, HAHA-that is to be expected and with time it will become less and less intense (but it ain't never gonna go away, so get over it!!). Having said that however, as I said in my email, if you feel pain that is not muscle related stop the exercise immediately -ankles, knees, hips, elbows, necks, etc. Remember death is nature's way of telling you to slow down when you don't listen. And we don't want that now do we?


Thanks Grant! Til next time, you can do it!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sweet Links for 101408

P.O.S.H. gives you cheap workout and fitness tips. Nubian Fitness Goddess profiles Jennifer hudson as a Fiat and Fabulous Woman. 55kg is keeping up with the weight-loss. Pinch and think your cravings away...so says Health Nut Wannabe Mom.

Shrink that belly fat with fun and easy cardio exercises form Conquer Weight Loss. 7 super foods that promote better health from Making Mommy Hot. Healthhabits is asking if your brain is making you eat.

Tighten That Tummy, Wittle That Waist

Oh the belly battle. Keeping a nice, flat, toned tummy is the holy grail of many women's fitness goals. Big thighs? No problem. Big butt? Great! Big Belly? Not so great. As my mother likes to say when I get a little chunky - You can't stick out from both ends. You look like you're coming and going.

As Black women, if we're honest with ourselves, then we know having a big belly and a big butt is not the business. And I know some of you are sacrificing getting rid of that stomach to hold on to the bootie. This is not a healthy (or aesthetically pleasing) strategy. We have discussed time and time again on this blog that while but fat won't kill you, belly fat will.

So what are the best exercises to get the tight, toned belly and little waist we all craves? Well with a combination of 30 minutes of intense cardio and these 5 exercises you should be getting your Beyonce on in no time:

Bicycle Exercise

1.1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.
3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion for 12-16 reps.

Reverse Crunch

1. Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed.
3. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling.
4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.
5. It's a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.

Exercise Ball Crunch
1.Sit on a stability ball and place your legs shoulder width apart on the floor.
2. Walk your feet out as you roll yourself down until the lower part of your back is on the ball.
3. With your elbows wide and chin off the chest, lift the upper part of your back off the stability ball (like a floor crunch).
4. Slowly lower yourself back onto the ball. Be sure to control any movement with the stability ball. Focus on proper breathing and do not hold your breath.

Plank
1. Start by lying face down on the ground or use an exercise mat. Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest.
2. Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes and forearms
3. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground.
4. Hold this position *focusing on tightening your abs* until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge. For beginners, start with 10 seconds
5. Return to start position.

Vertical Leg Crunch

1. Lay on the floor, an exercise mat with your legs bent 90 degrees at the hip.
2. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and towards the ceiling. Hold 5 seconds.
3. Lower hips to floor to starting position.

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Make Change Slowly. Unless you are excited to be following a very specific diet and exercise plan, do not try and change too much too fast. If you have been eating poorly and not exercising, both your body and your mind will have a lot of adjusting to do.


Source

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Homecoming Workout Plan - Day 6 "The Pants"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Just say no to white bread. Did you know that white bread isn’t good for you? Oh, it’s true - just ask any diabetic. Research has shown that people who eat more refined products (like white bread) are more likely to have belly fat. Why? It’s simple: your body isn’t getting what it needs. The food industry isn’t the health industry, okay? You can’t trust that they’ve got your best interests at heart (despite all their marketing efforts). If you want the flavor of white bread, please eat the whole grain white bread instead? Sara lee makes a wonderful loaf, as I can personally attest (even though I like rye more than white or wheat). Repeat after me: whole grain white bread, whole grain white bread.

Source

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Cut 100 calories a day from your diet. Replace your daily bar of chocolate with a banana or an orange. These 100 calories a day sum up to 1 pound a month. Just by giving up that one bar of chocolate, you can lose 1 pound of weight in one month!

Source

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip and Homecoming Workoust Plan - Day 2

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sweet Links for 100708


It's high in fiber, low in calories, has 55 grams of protein and Mike says you will lose weight. When juice fasting goes very wrong...for the other spouse. Using silver as a dietary supplement from Chronic Chick Talk.

Tight Ass Tuesday...think that's self explanatory. Caffeine and the Blood Brain Barrier from Top Form Secrets. Healthy Food Pick of the Week - Kefir. Why the High Fructose Corn Syrup ad campaign is full of ish.

Nutrition Energy and Weight Loss from Diet Healthy. The Truth About Protein and Your Body from The P.O.S.H Life. Breaking the Chains of Food Addiction, apparently it requires more fasting...ick.

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Make a Plan. So often folk say they want to lose weight but they don't have a plan on how their going to accomplish their weight loss goals. Having a solid plan can act as a road map to your goal weight and give you a visual to tweak as needed if you're not seeing the results you want.

Homecoming Workout Plan Day 1

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sweet Links for 100408


Three annoying things about fitness. Only 3? According to Cranky fitness one has to call the inner babysitter to work the issues out. We're raising a nation of fatties so says The Fitness Diva. Get the kiddies off their asses and outside playing!

Cardio Kills. Or so goes the teachings of one Jim Karas, but Nubian Fitness Goddess ain't buying it. Hit that infamous plateau? Well P.O.S.H. has just the plan to get you losing weight again.

After all the running, grunting and sweating...breath smells a litle funky. No problem! Just freshen it up a bit with some green tea. Need healthy recopies? Well just figure out why the chicken salad crossed the road and you'll be there.

Daily Weight Loss Tips

Find an online weight-loss buddy. A University of Vermont study found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off. The researchers followed volunteers for 18 months. Those assigned to an Internet-based weight maintenance program sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face in a support group.

Source

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cam Thursdays: Massage Therapy


Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is one of the most practiced of the manipulative and body based practices. It is also one of the few CAM treatments that is also used as a conventional medical treatment. Massage therapy has been around since ancient times. You can find references to it in ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek texts. Today massage therapy is used for a host of health-related issues:

• Pain relief
• Stress relief
• Depression
• Rehabilitate sports injuries
• Increase relaxations
• Maintain health and general wellness

Types of Massage
There are 80 types of massage therapy, and in each one, some form of manipulation of the body is done using hands, fingers, elbows, forearms, and even feet. Some of the more popular forms of massage therapy include the following:

• Swedish massage is the most common of the CAM massage therapy techniques. The massage therapist will use friction of the muscles, kneading, long strokes and manipulation of the joints in treating a patient.
• Trigger point massage applies concentrated pressure on knots that form in the muscles, cause pain, and can cause problems in other areas of the body if left untreated.
• Deep tissue massage involves uses various strokes and pressure applied with the fingers to focus on tightened muscles while also focusing on layers of muscles that are deep under the skin.
• Shiatsu massage is Japanese in origin and sometimes associated with TCM. Practitioners use their fingers to apply pressure to parts of the body that are blocking the energy flow of the body also known as Qi.

Risks
There are very few risks associated with massage therapy when practiced by a licensed professional. Some risks and side effects associate with massage therapy include the following:

• Temporary pain or discomfort
• Swelling
• Bruising
• An allergic reaction to massage oils

When Not to Use Massage Therapy
There are several instances when massage therapy isn’t recommended or requires consulting your healthcare provider before you proceed. These include pre-existing conditions and various health related issues like the following:

• Deep vein thrombosis
• A fever
• Weakened bones
• Osteoporosis
• Bleeding disorders
• Damaged blood vessels
• Cancer
• Pregnancy
• Heart problems
• Fragile skin
• Dermatomyositis

Costs
Costs of massage therapy vary greatly. The price depends largely on the experience of your massage therapists and the location where the massage will be administered. A massage therapist trained in several types of massage who works in a spa will likely charge more than one who is only trained in Swedish massage and works from home. It’s best to compare prices and experiences of various massage therapists in your area to determine the best solution for you.

Like chiropractic and (to a lesser extent) acupuncture, massage therapy is often covered by insurance when it involves treatment for certain health problems. Contact your insurer before seeking treatment and see if massage therapy is one of procedures they cover.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Defense of Monique: The Connection Between Abuse and Obesity


Hey All!

Well, in spite of the old hormones, I have some good news to report - I lost another 2.4 lbs. bringing my total lost so far to (drum roll please) 9lbs.!! Not bad for September, baby steps....

I'm gonna take it down and be serious this post - don't worry, the funny will be back next time, but I needed to have a chat with y'all about something that has been bothering me for quite some time. Thanks to all of you for letting me vent (especially you Ms. Johnson).

Recently, the actress and comedienne Monique was featured on a special issue of Essence magazine. The issue was spotlighting full figured women, and there was an in-depth interview with her about her life struggles and issues that she has had to deal with. Ladies, if you get a chance, read the interview, I cried..

Anyhoo, a few of the blogs that I frequent made mention of Monique, the Essence cover, and how she is FINALLY starting to lose some weight. And then the comments rolled in.....

I am not quoting verbatim, but the gist of it was "She is too fat, it is not cute, how dare she make fun of skinny women, oh and did I mention that she is fat, 'bout time she did something about that fat" you get the idea.

I sat back and thought "Dang, where is the love?" Now, I could have been a troll and shook some thangs up on behalf of the big sistahs, but those people are kind of sad, and in the end, its just words on a page...But I do want to make mention of this one thing..

The article on Monique was not about her losing weight...It was about her ordeal as a victim of sexual abuse. The weight loss was a result of her finally coming to terms and dealing with what happened to her.

I tried to google "black women sexual abuse overweight" and surprisingly, nothing that I needed popped up, so I am making a guesstimation here until I can get some concrete numbers, but I would say that a good number of overweight sisters have been thru some kind of trauma or abuse at some point in their lives. And...I am including myself in that "good number".

Being overweight is not all about eating too much, being greedy, lack of self control, portion control, being lazy etc. If it were that simple, then there wouldn't be yo yo dieting and relapsing. I have been a "professional" dieter for almost 25 years now. Losing weight is easy - maintaining is the hard part.

See, I never could understand how I could lose the weight, look good and then pile it all back on within a matter of months. My last foray with my struggle, coupled with the fact that I am now over 40 and single, made me take a good long look at myself. Why was I still doing this dance, when so many others just lose and go on with their lives? I was truly sick of being big, and making excuses and, quite frankly FAILING at this game. Yeah, I tried to do the usual pep talk, "oh girl you allright, you got God, family, and the whole enchilada" but I knew that it wasn't going to work this time.

So, I took that leap, went back to my doctor (who was none too happy with me), and got a referral for counseling. It was time to deal with what I had been pushing back for years. It was (and still is) the most terrifying thing to have to regurgitate everything that I went thru. Some days, I had to talk myself out of bed, into the shower, out of the door and into my car, but I made it. I am not nearly out of the woods yet, but I can see the sun from where I am. And now, after almost five months of therapy, when I say that what happened to me was not my fault, I can truly believe it. And I can move on....

I guess the point to all of this rambling is this: None of the bloggers or commenters that I read mentioned Monique's revelation about her abuse and how she dealt with it. It seems that we are still sweeping the abuse of our sisters under the rug. I cannot stress this enough: We will not be able to deal with the obesity epidemic until we deal with its causes. We need to break down the myths and stigmatisms about getting professional help . And most of all , we need to be there for each other, not just lip service, but be that shoulder or that backbone.

I don't have all of the pieces to the puzzle yet, some days I cry tears that should have been shed long ago. But, I am starting to get some kind of clarity about my situation and I am ready to take the next baby step....

Well, thanks for letting me rant a bit - if anyone has any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you! We are in this together!

Next time: Tracy and Deb - The Scale Wars! Oh, and Grant is back too, with helpful hints on how to lift weights without having a coronary!

Til next time, You can do it!

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Take Control of What You Eat. There are few things that we have complete control over, but what we put in our mouths is one of them. We don't have to lose control in a restaurant or a friend's home, and we don't have to eat everything that's put in front of us.

Source

Friday, September 26, 2008

Daily Weihgt Loss Tips

NEVER skip your meals. NEVER!
Skipping a meal might seem like cutting on calories but thats not the case. You are basically starving yourself which is very wrong. The next meal that you eat will be converted to pure fat. This will eventually cause you to gain weight rather than losing any.

Source

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

OK Let's try this again....

Hey All!!

Well, fall is upon us once again, and you know what that means!! For me, anyway, it means another fitness challenge!

....I don't know why I dont start these things in the summer..oh I know: Bratwurst, Ribs and Beer. And 105 degree weather. Yeah that's it...so anyhoo on to another seasonal round of: TRACY'S WEIGHT LOSS ADVENTURE!!!!


For those of you just tuning in, last August I made my first appearance here on the now famous SWEET POTATO PIE BLOG. I had joined a weight loss contest and tracked my ups and downs , successes and ultimate failure (damn those Christmas cookies!!) with the weight loss game. But, never one to quit, I'm back at it again with a vengence. This time, I am in it to win it and I am not stopping till I have reached my goal!

.......I see you rolling your eyes, that's not polite!

THIS TIME (famous last words, I know) I am taking a different approach - I found a buddy and as of September 5th, we have joined Weight Watchers. It is so nice to have the support of my bud (Deb, you will be hearing from her too!) plus the support of complete strangers who look like they are scared of you...our group is a little dry.
The first meeting that we went to, the group counselor asked why we joined and we told her - in unison - "Cuz we're fat!!" I think I added a "Duh". It's been downhill ever since, BUT I have lost a total of 6.6 pounds so far. Yay! I can do it!

I have also made a few major changes this year that I will go into more detail later!Stick around, I am bringing the drama! I will talk about my new eating plan (Hey, this isn't so bad!), my new exercise plan (Hey, this still sucks!!) and my new dating plan (Hey, men are complete idiots!).

This year, no matter what happens, will be a year of firsts for America. We are seeing things happen that we didn't think that we would see in our lifetimes. For the first time, everyone will be counted. If that doesn't motivate you to strive for something more physically and mentally, well you must have a lifetime coupon
for free Krispy Kremes...and if you do, please share.

So let's get ready ladies - Pal up with someone and let's whip this obesity thing!

YOU CAN DO IT!!

Til next time! I'm baaack!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's Keeping You Fat?


What are your demons?

What's keeping the weight on?

Why did you gain the weight to begin with?

Until you can answer those three questions I doubt seriously you will be able to keep the weight off even if you manage to lose it. Black women are still much more overweight than other groups of women in this country, even when you control for education and socio-economic status.

Since there are not a lot of studies that look at Black women and their weight issues, there isn't a lot of hard evidence as to the why we are so overweight, especially for college educated Black women.

There are all the normal answers:

  1. Soul Food
  2. Black men
  3. Lousy food options in Black neighborhoods
  4. Poverty
  5. Hair

I don't think any of those answers get at the heart of the matter however. I suspect (and it's just my opinion) many Black women are using food to substitute for any number of things in they feel is missing in their lives: love, sex, money, companionship, friendship, etc. And that as Black folks (in general) we use food as a way to show and express love...so the "Baby are you hungry," that you here when you venture to your grandma's (or any older Black woman's house) house is her way of saying, "I love you so let me feed you."

But goodness, we're "loving" ourselves into an early grave. Black women are more likely to die or suffer from just about everything from cancer to high blood pressure to diabetes, then any other group of women in the country. I keep writing about it, but I really feel this is something we have to get under control...TODAY...not tomorrow, not next month or next year but today.

So once you've answered the questions...what can you do to start making the necessary changes to get your health in order?

Today is a new day. So what are you waiting for?

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Replace a meal with cereal. Studies have shown that people who replace either lunch or dinner with cereal, lose more weight over the long haul then those who don't. People who use cereal as a meal replacement eat fewer calories and learn portion control as well.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip

After breakfast, make water your primary drink. At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That's nearly 90,000 calories a year -- or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don't trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.

Source

10 Steps to Lasting Weight Loss


BlackDoctor.org has an interesting list of 10 simple things you can do to lose and maintain your weight loss:

1. WEIGH YOURSELF OFTEN

Once upon a time, experts said to stay off the scale—it can be discouraging. But after studying 3,500 individuals from the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) who've maintained 60 or more pounds of weight loss for at least a year, researchers found that 44 percent weighed themselves daily. Unhealthy obsession? No. They use it as an early warning system for preventing weight regain. If your goal is to keep your weight at a certain level, you have to have feedback to see whether you're successful.

2. TURN OFF THE TV

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York recently determined that simply seeing food can trigger a physiological "feed me" response. In the study, visual food cues caused brain activity to jump by 24 percent—mostly in the orbitofrontal cortex, the area of the brain that is related to drive and acquisition. So a constant barrage of pizza-delivery ads on TV could test your limits. And don't get us started on the Food Network.

3. PRAY THE FAT AWAY

Christian men who report feeling greater intimacy with God through prayer are more likely to be physically active than other men, according to research from Cornell University. Studies have shown that those who have more social support move more, and being closer to God may give men that support. Another possible reason: General religion in the United States encompasses theological teachings about the body as a temple, which may also lead to the consumption of a healthier diet and increased physical activity. Amen to that.

4. BEWARE OF TASTEBUD BETRAYAL

Hunger increases healthy men's taste sensitivity to sweet and salty substances. This means vending-machine snacks (which come in two flavors: sweet or salty—coincidence?) will taste even better when you're hungry. You could trust that you'd savor the flavor by eating only a small amount. (Right.) Or you could sidestep this land mine altogether. Eat offensively. Eat regularly during the day to stave off cravings and the bingeing that can result.

5. SNACK ON ALMONDS

Seventy per day, to be exact. That's the number that people in a City of Hope National Medical Center experiment ate daily for 6 months, in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet, to drop 18 percent of their body weight. Almonds are a nutrient-dense food that provides healthful monounsaturated fat, protein, and fiber, which together contribute to feeling full. Go for whole almonds in their unsalted, raw, or dry-roasted state. Fifteen to 20 will do the trick for a quick snack. Try 50 as a meal replacement.


You can read the rest of the article here.

I think for me one of the most important ones on the list is the "weight yourself often" step. I wrote about it in, "Be a Slave to the Scale.". It's easy to notice that your pants are getting tight or your belly is getting a little bigger but to dismiss and say, "Oh it's only a couple of punds," and before you know it a couple of pounds turns into 20.

If you have a constant reminder of where you are weight wise, you will be able to make the necessary changes to your diet/exercise regime early enough to prevent your weight gain from getting out of hand and having to start again from square one.

Friday, September 12, 2008

S.O.S: Hips, Butt and Thighs...OH MY!


Hips, Butts and Thighs...the Black woman trifecta.

If you're like me, you carry your weight primarily in your hips, butt and thighs. The good news is: Butt fat won't kill you. The bad news is: It will just make life feel longer.

So if you're staring in the mirror and trying to figure out how you're gonna fit your ample behind into your version of the skinny jean, here's a list of the 5 best lower body exercises around. Add in at least 30 minutes of cardio and you will be in those jeans in no time:

Chair Squats

1. Place a chair just behind you and stand in front of it with feet about hip- or shoulder-width apart.
2. Contract the abs and keep them tight as you bend the knees and slowly squat towards the chair.
3. Keep the knees behind the toes as you sit down on the chair for a few seconds.
4. Contract the glutes and hamstrings to lift up out of the chair and begin extending the legs.
5. Fully extend the legs until you're back to standing position.
6. Repeat this for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
7. To progress, squat down until you're just hovering over the chair, but not sitting all the way down.
8. Always keep the knees in line with the toes!

Ball Squats

  1. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, place a stability ball between your lower back and a wall, hands on hips.
  2. Bend your knees 90 degrees, making sure they don't go past your toes.
  3. Return to start and complete 12 times.
Lunges
  1. Stand in a split stance, with feet about 3 feet apart. You want both knees to be at about 90-degree angles at the bottom of the movement, so adjust accordingly.
  2. Hold weights in each hand (or place a barbell behind the neck) for added intensity.
  3. Bend the knees and lower the back knee towards the floor, keeping the front heel down and the knee directly over the center of the foot.
  4. Keep the torso straight and abs in as you push through the front heel and back to starting position.
  5. Don't lock the knees at the top of the movement.
  6. Perform 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps according to your fitness level and goals.
Bridge
  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor, hip width apart.
  2. Beginning with a pelvic tilt (tucking the hips), peel the spine off the floor one vertebrae at a time until you've created a diagonal line from the shoulders to the knees. (The heels should be directly under the knees at the highest point.)
  3. Hold for a few counts, then slowly lower spine squeezing the butt so it is the last thing to touch the ground. Repeat 10-15 times.
Dumbell Stiffed Legged Deadlifts
  1. Beginners start with a light weight (or no weights) until you can perform this exercise with correct form.
  2. Stand with your feet only slightly apart. With a dumbbell in each hand at arms length, bend over from your hips so that your dumbbells are in front of your ankles, beginners - have your dumbbells at your shins.
  3. Your palms should now be facing your lower legs. Keep your body stable with your chest out, midsection firm, knees slightly bent for beginners and legs straight for advanced.
  4. Squeezing your butt and hamstrings raise your body back up to standing position, while also keeping your chest out, midsection firm and shoulders back. Keep the dumbbells at arms length so when returning to starting position the dumbbells should be in front of your thighs.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

S.O.S. Links to Fitness

It's week 5 of the Save Our Sister Fitness Challenge (S.O.S.) ! If you still need to join click here.
It's very important that we continue to motivate each other. So ask a friend to join you in your daily exercise, today!

Sweet Potato Pie and Nubian Fitness Goddess will continue to provide with the best resources and tips.

Get Motivated!
A new study show that keeping a food Diary can double your weight loss. It sounds really tedious by I'm motivated to give it a try. Click here for more.

Food diary Resources:
My Food Diary.com
Spark People

Get Active!
Make a small change and change your life! Taking the stairs decreases your chances of dying prematurely by 15%. Check out the article at fitsugar.com here!


Get Moving!

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Build Your own Workout Video at Fitness Magazine's site

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After spending 4 years on the East Coast and coming back to the MidWest I found mine self missing the Reggae music. I like dancehall and it's great to workout to, especially the fast songs.
So here is my reggae playlist from my favorite musice playlist site www.inthegym.net

Keep Reading

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Find an online weight-loss buddy. A University of Vermont study found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off. The researchers followed volunteers for 18 months. Those assigned to an Internet-based weight maintenance program sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face in a support group.

Source

Monday, September 8, 2008

S.O.S: Save Our Sisters Fitness Challenge

What are you doing to save your sister, friend, co-worker, or any other black woman struggling with health issues? When was the last time you encouraged a friend to join you in the gym?
What are you doing to save yourself?


We are in a state of emergency and something has to be done A.S.A.P. You can no longer sit back and watch your Sister or yourself increase their risk for disease because of lack of exercise and healthy eating . We have to take responsibility for each other and fight obesity together!

Nubian Fitness Goddess and Sweet Potato Pie have joined forces to bring you the S.O.S. Fitness Challenge. Our sites have combined to bring the you best motivation, tips, and support for the S.O.S.

To join the S.O.S. Challenge you must agree to encourage at least of one your friends or family members to join you in the gym or wherever you workout. If you don't have access to the gym get together and do a workout DVD together or go for a walk. The goal is to build a support network around you so invite as many women as you can. This will support you in your efforts to stay healthy and it will also benefit the people you are encouraging.

Ladies that are new to exercise this challenge is perfect for you as well. If it's your first time going to the gym you can still take a friend with you, get FIT together!

The S.O.S challenge will last 3 months. For the next 3 months we will be providing tips, encouragement, posting success stories and struggles that women have encountered. We hope that this fitness challenge will strengthen your own commitment to your heath as well strengthen your friends/family's members commitment.

Sweet Potato Pie and Nubian Fitness Goddess are excited about this challenge. Check back regularly for updates about S.O.S! We will constantly be adding tips and more details about the Challenge.


Tell us if you're joining S.O.S. What are your thoughts about the Challenge? Do you believe you can convince your friends and family to commit to exercise with you?

Spread the Word, tell your friends and family about S.O.S.


Don't forget to check out Nubian Fitness Goddess

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Stay focused on being healthy, not on being thin. Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motivation changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mindset to think about selecting foods that will help your body's health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body's weight. The Food Pyramid offers a basic outline of the types and amounts of food you should eat each day to give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health.

Source

Monday, August 18, 2008

Need a Good Night's Sleep - Got Milk?

As we've already established, sleep is one of the easiest things you can do to aid in your weight loss. But with the extremely busy, stressful lives many of us lead, a good night's sleep can be as elusive as the rumored pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

While there are many sleep aids, many can become addictive and have unpleasant side effects. One of the most natural and cheapest sleep aids is a glass of warm milk. Milk helps promote better sleep and tastes pretty good to boot. Yes, the simple remedy your momma gave you as a child can still work for you as an adult.

Not realizing that her goal was to put me to bed quick, my mother used to give me warm milk and cookies at bed time just about every night. And yes - I slept like the baby I was. So if you want to sleep like a baby - drink up - 'cause that good night sleep could turn into a great day on the scale.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You Can be Thick and Healthy

There's been a lot of talk around the blogsphere as late on Black women and their thickness and how aspiring to be thick causes women to be unhealthy, overweight and obese.

Well, in my opinion, there is a very big difference between being thick and fat. If you're confused the following is easy to remember: Beyonce = Thick. Monique = Fat. Simple.

You can be thick and healthy. Contrary to popular belief ass and thigh fat won't kill you, but belly fat will. As women we should keep our waist under 31.5 inches for optimal health and to fight against common illnesses among Black women such as diabetes, heart disease and hyper tension.

Let's be clear, Black women are naturally curvy, "thick" women. There is nothing wrong with that. You don't have to lose your curves just because you're trying to be healthy. But health should be your number one priority above all else. I assure you, if you're a naturally big butt/big hip woman that's not going to disappear because you hit the treadmill or the Starimaster several times a week. As I like to say this isn't about being a size 6 . It is about being a healthier, happier you. So keep that in mind...and hit the gym.

Today is a new day. So what are you waiting for.

Related Posts
Big Butts = Good Health?
Motivation to Get Fit
Thick vs. Fat: A Black Man's Take

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All African-American Women Could be Overweight by 2034

From Yahoo News:

If the trends of those years continue, the researchers estimate that 86 percent of American adults will be overweight by 2030, with an obesity rate of 51 percent. By 2048, all U.S. adults could be at least mildly overweight.

Weight problems will be most acute among African-Americans and Mexican- Americans, the study projects. All black women could be overweight by 2034, according to the researchers, as could more than 90 percent of Mexican-American men.

All of this rests on the "big assumption" that the trends of recent decades will march on unabated, Liang acknowledged.

"This is really intended as a wake-up call to show what could happen if nothing changes," she said.

Waistlines aren't the only thing poised to balloon in the future, according to Liang and her colleagues. They estimate that the healthcare costs directly related to excess pounds will double each decade, reaching $957 billion in 2030 -- accounting for one of every six healthcare dollars spent in the U.S.


America in general is fat, but Black America is even fatter. This something we MUST get under control. Some tips on making sure you don't continue to be a statistic:

  1. 90 minutes a day. Scientifically that's what it takes to lose the weight and keep it off.
  2. Water is your friend. Bump 8oz, try a liter. Water flushes all the impurities out of your system and prevents you from being bloated and fills you up. Often when people think they are hungry, they are really dehydrated.
  3. Watch those portions. Portion control is an easy and effective way to get the weight off. I've lost 15lbs by drinking lots of water and reducing my portion sizes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Don’t compare yourself to others. Every body is different. It stands to reason that everybody will lose weight differently. Even if you do the exact same things that I do, you won’t lose weight at the same rate. The key is in finding your triggers. Keep your goal in sight, and do whatever you have to do to meet that goal. When you start looking at someone else’s habits, you’re only going to become discouraged and quit without even realizing that it’s physically impossible to be anybody but yourself.

Source

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Weigh Yourself Everyday. I know many nutritionists, dietitians and what not say "Don't be a slave to the scale." And that's good advice for when you first start losing weight. Those first couple of weeks of weight loss can be frustrating. You can go up and down, or not move at all. It is easy to get discouraged. So yes, during those early weeks of weight loss I would (if you can) keep your weigh-ins to once a week.

However, once you lose the weight, weighing yourself everyday becomes a necessity. Some of us become slack once we reach are goal weight. We go back to our bad habits that made us fat to begin with. We don't notice how our skinny jeans are getting tighter, or how are middle tends to be expanding, and the next thing we know what was probably a five pound gain turns into a twenty pound gain and we're right back where we started.

For some of us, without a constant reminder of our weight, we will always put the weight back on. Weighing yourself everyday will help you maintain your weight. If you see the scale creeping up then you know you need to makes some changes either by exercising more or eating less. If hitting your goal weight and maintaining your goal weight is a priority to you then becoming cozy with your scale is the best way to make that happen.

Five Domains of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Five Domains of CAM
Complimentary and alternative medicine is split into five domains, all of which have some overlap.

Whole Medical Systems

Whole medical systems are medical systems built upon a complete set of theories and practices that have developed independently of or parallel to conventional medical systems. Most whole medical systems are culture specific and developed much earlier than medical practices in the US. Major eastern whole medical systems include the following:

• Traditional Chinese medicine
• Ayuvreda
While major western whole medical systems include other types of medicine:
• Homeopathic medicine
• Naturopathic medicine

Other whole medical systems include Native American and Tibetan systems as well as ones that originate in Africa and South and Central America.

Mind Body Medicine
Mind body medicine seeks to use the mind’s capacity to affect physical change in a patient. Mind body medicine seeks to emphasize a person’s overall wellness in the treating of whatever physical ailment they may have. It focuses on teaching the patient how to be more self-aware, provides the tools necessary for self-care, and promotes techniques that will enhance those goals. The most popular mind body practices include the following:

• Meditation
• Yoga
• Tai chi
• Qi-qong
• Visual imagery
• Art, music, and dance therapy
• Hypnosis
• Cognitive behavior therapies
• Spirituality

Mind body medicine takes its cues from Eastern whole medical systems, like TCM and Ayurveda, that stress the importance of the mind and body being in harmony and looks at the mind and the body as one (not separate entities like much of Western medicine).

Biologically Based Practices

Biologically based practices treats disease with various chemicals or substances. The idea behind biological CAM methods is that whatever is wrong with the body can be treated by taking a certain dose of a particular substance. CAM biological practices include the use of, but are not limited to, the following:

• Proteins
• Prebiotics
• Fatty acids
• Probiotics
• Amino acids
• Botanicals
• Animal delivered extracts
• Vitamins
• Minerals
• Whole diets and functional foods

Dietary supplements are a subset of biologically based CAM procedures. Dietary supplements have always been a part of man’s practices to heal himself. They represent a multi-billion dollar industry that hasn’t been able to justify its success through scientific research and data. Researching dietary supplements has been difficult because of the lack of clinical trial material. According to the NCCAM, several difficulties exist:

• Influences of climate and soil
• Use of different parts of the plants
• Use of different cultivars and species
• Optimal growing, harvesting, and storage conditions
• Use of the whole extract or a specific fraction
• Method of extraction
• Chemical standardization of the product
• Bioavailability of the formulation
• Dose and length of administration

While there have been studies conducted on the effectiveness of dietary supplements, none of them have found any supplement that has proven effective in any concrete way. There are often vast differences between observable effects and what the data often show when the supplement is subject to clinical trials.

Manipulative and Body Based Practices
Manipulative and body based practices include CAM practices that involve manipulation or movement of the bodies structures, such as bones, joints, the lymphatic and circulatory systems as well as the soft tissues. Common manipulative and body based practices include the following:

• Acupressure
• Alexander Technique
• Chiropractic
• Feldenkrais Method
• Massage therapy
• Osteopathy
• Reflexology
• Rolfing
• Therapeutic Touch
• Trager Approach
• Bowen Technique
• Tui Na

Many manipulative and body based practices are based on ancient Chinese, Egyptian or Indian practices. Others, such as chiropractic and osteopathy, were created in the last 150 years. Procedures differ greatly based on the technique chosen. Massages concentrate on slow, focused movements, while chiropractic uses quick movements to manipulate areas of the spine. While their tactics may differ, manipulative and body based practitioners share the same belief that the body is self-regulating and has the ability to heal itself.

Energy Medicine

Energy medicine uses energy fields to treat illness. There are two kinds:

1. Veritable energies, such as electro-magnetic fields, use mechanical vibrations with specific wavelengths and frequencies to treat patients. Electromagnetic fields include the following:

• Pulsed fields
• Magnetic fields
• Alternating current fields
• Direct current fields
• Laser beams
• Visible light

2. Putative energies include biofields which can’t be measured. No scientific study has been able to verify the existence of biofields. CAM practices that involve biofields believe that the human body is full of a certain of energy that has to keep flowing for the body to function properly. Qi in TCM is an example of just such an energy. Ayurvedic medicine also believes that an energy called doshas are coursing through the body and must be maintained to maintain health. Even though these biofields have yet to be scientifically verified, therapists who use biofields to treat their patients say they can see and feel the energy and manipulate it to affect the health of their patients.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The "Easiest" Thing I Can Do Tonight To Help Manage My Weight



Last week I stepped off the curb and into the path of oncoming traffic.

Fortunately, I made it across the street okay, but it was definitely a wake up call. I was essentially sleepwalking through my day on about 4-5 hours of sleep.

Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence for me. I get in bed somewhere between 2-3:30am and am up at around 7:30am. Most days I think I "manage" it well but others, like that day, I know it's a problem.

I've always known about the link between lack of sleep and weight gain. I have a friend who recently lost a good amount of weight and credits his success in part to always getting a good night's sleep - at least 7 hours. With my average of 4 hours of sleep, I am missing out on one of the most crucial phases of the sleep process.

Phase 1: During this phase, a person is in between wake and sleep. The person can be awakened easily.

Phase 2: This is a period of light sleep during which body temperature drops.

Phase 3 and Phase 4: These are the phases during which a person experiences an increasingly deeper stage of sleep called delta sleep. During this restorative stage, the body is repairing itself, building bone and muscle and releasing certain hormones.

I know better than to think that I can just go home tonight, firmly pledging to sleep a minimum of 7 hours a night. I need to take small steps to change my habits.

Here a few tips from the article, "Sleep Your Way To Slim:"

  • Instead of trying to adhere to a strict lights-out policy every night, aim to get in bed early at least one night per week.
  • Ease yourself into your slumber session with a bath.
  • Eating a carb-based mini-meal of no more than 200 calories 45 minutes before drifting off can raise serotonin levels, helping you relax and sleep well. Try a whole-wheat English muffin with a tablespoon of honey or a cup of instant oatmeal with 1/4 cup of chopped apple.

How many hours of sleep are you getting on average each night?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Need Exercise Motivation?

It's been a struggle lately to find the motivation to move my body. Cookouts, happy hour cocktails, and general hot fun in the summertime have easily diverted my attention away from the elliptical.

Apparently, I'm not alone.

So when an e-mail showed up in my inbox titled, "11 Great Ways To Get Movitvated," it seemed like divine intervention.

11 Great Ways To Get Motivated

You know you've got to get moving. You resolve to park the car a few blocks from work, take the stairs and hit the gym after work. But a few weeks pass and before you know it parking spots start opening up right in front of the building, the elevator is already in the lobby, and you've worked late every night that week. It's not that you don't know how to get fit, you just can't seem to stay motivated. We all know people who are religious with their workouts. So, what's their secret?

We asked fitness experts and regular Joes alike how they stick with their routine. These methods keep them moving; maybe one will work for you.

1. Embarrass Yourself
Make a mark on your calendar every time you make it to the gym or park. Seeing your motivation, (or lack thereof) in black and white helps keep you going. Suzanne Schlosberg and Liz Neporent, authors of Fitness for Dummies, Second Edition (IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 2000) suggest "whether you write your goals on the side of your shoe or in your training diary, glancing at them on a daily basis will help keep you focused and motivated. Some people tape their goals to their bathroom mirror or refrigerators." Do whatever works to make you remember what you promised yourself.

2. Join a Plan That Wouldn't Have You for a Member
So you're not Steffi Graf. That doesn't mean you can't join a tennis team. Richard Cotton, chief exercise physiologist for MyExercisePlan.com, says "joining a club, team, or finding an exercise partner…provides a support system and someone to simply share the experience with. Often times just knowing someone will be asking you 'How's it going?' can be the difference between exercise success and failure."

3. Love Thy Neighbor and Love Thyself
You can't leave a neighbor standing on the corner checking her watch. She knows where you live. Miriam Nelson, Director of the Center for Physical Fitness at Tufts University, and the author of Strong Women Stay Young and Strong Women Stay Slim (Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1999) says, "When I make a date with a neighbor to go for a run I keep it, and we have a great time." She also plans a regular appointment with her neighbors. "Saturday mornings several of my neighbors come over and we lift weights together; it's a great way to start the weekend," she says.

Read the other 8 here.

Let me know in the comments how you stay motivated when the going gets rough.



Vivrant Thang writes about life, love and the pursuit of good music over at http://www.songsinthekeyoflife.wordpress.com/.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Introducing T-Time

t-time-photo.jpg

Greetings,

Too often, when asked how they are doing, too many Black women say they are "surviving," or they are "making it." Well it is high time that we stop, "surviving" and "making it" and start thriving and living well. To that end T-Time seeks to inform and educate Black women on the many ways they can make their lives better, as well as entertain them a bit in the process.

T-Time is a web portal for black women that features the best the web has to offer on Sex, Dating and Relationships, Health, Fashion and Beauty, Business, and Entertainment, all from a Black woman's perspective.

Outside of featuring posts from my blogs Sweet Potato Pie and Brown Sugar, as well as creating original content for the T-Time Blog , I scour the web every day to find what other Black women are talking about regarding issues that affect Black women throughout the diaspora. From beauty tips to marketing advice, T-Time seeks to be the premiere place for useful, timely, information, tips and tricks that will improve the lives of everyday Black women.

I am excited about the possibilities that T-Time offers and I hope you are too.

Welcome,

T.S. Johnson
T-Time
The Black Woman's Guide to Living Well

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lalah Hathaway, Angie Stone, Mary Mary To Perform at SPA Health Conference


The first annual Meharry/Heart & Soul SPA (Sisters Partnering All Together) will be held October 16-19 in Nashville, TN. It's a retreat for women looking for quality health and wellness information, a pampering and networking experience shared with like-minded women and a celebration of distinguished individuals for their work performed to eliminate health disparities.
Meharry Medical College and Heart & Soul have teamed up to provide a platform for women across the country to gather in Nashville to encounter the rich history of the Meharry Medical College legacy, raise awareness of the health disparities that disproportionately affect women of color and promote healthy lifestyle choices that will improve the quality of women’s lives and their families.
Highlights over the 4-day weekend getaway include:
  • Early Bird Fitness Workouts
  • Free Health Screenings
  • Healthy, Wealthy, Wise Expo
  • Healthy, Wealthy, Wise Workshops
  • Pamper With a Purpose (Spa pampering services)
  • Divas Against Disparities Benefit Concert

For more information and conference registration, visit http://www.spahealthconference.com/.
Vivrant Thang writes about life, love and the pursuit of good music at Songs In The Key Of Life.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

CAM Thursdays: Ayurveda


About Ayurveda
Ayurveda means “the science of life” and is a natural healing system that has its roots in India. As one of the whole medical systems, Aruyveda has gained popularity in the United States due to Dr. Deepak Chopra, an Indian-born doctor who uses a combination of Aruyveda and conventional medicine to treat his patients in the US.

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to medicine that seeks to integrate the mind, body and spirit to achieve overall health. Keeping the body in balance is believed to lead to overall health and contentment. One of the main principles of Ayurveda is the belief that to keep the body free of illness and disease, it must be regularly cleansed. Ayureda modalities include the following:

1. Herbs and food
2. Massage
3. Meditation
4. Yoga

Used separately or in combination, these therapies seek to restore balance to the body. Ayurveda also treats specific health problems, whether they are physical or mental in nature.

History
Ayurveda has evolved over thousands of years in India. It is based primarily on ideas from Hinduism but also shares its origin from ancient Persian beliefs regarding health and healing.

The first texts of Ayurveda were penned some 2000 years ago on palm leaves. These texts, the Caraka Samhita and the Sustruta Samhita, covered topics such as the following:

• Pathology
• Diagnosis
• Treatment
• Lifestyle
• Advice for practitioners, including medical ethics
• Philosophy

Ayurveda is still the main medical system used in India today. Western medicine is prevalent there as well, but Ayurveda remains the main medical treatment used by India’s rural population who make up 70% of the country.

Basic Tenets of Ayurveda
Ayurveda’s belief about health revolves around the idea of the three Doshas: Vata doha, Pitta dosha and Aapha dosha.

About the Doshas
• Each dosha is made up of the combination of space, air, fire, water, and earth.
• Each dosha has its weaknesses and strengths and can be put out of balance for any reason.
• Each person is a combination of the three doshas and has his or her own dominant dosha. One’s dosha is constantly being reformed due to lifestyle and diet.
• Each dosha represents a certain body type, personality, and has its own risks of various illnesses.
• Imbalances in a dosha can occur because of stress, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and other lifestyle choices and bodily processes.

The Vata dosha is considered the combination between space and air. Vata dosha is the most powerful of the doshas. It controls the heart, breathing, the mind, and cell division. Staying up too late, eating before your previous meal is digested, or eating dried fruit can upset Vata. People whose main dosha is vata are thought to be susceptible to mental, skin, and neurological diseases

The Pitta dosha is represented by fire and water. Pitta is said to control the digestive system and hormones. When Pita is out of balance people may experience negative emotions and digestive problems. People whose primary dosha is pitta may have higher risk of arthritis and heart disease.

The Kapha dosha combines water and earth. Kapha controls growth, helps with immunity, and keeps up one’s strength. Kapha is put out of balance by eating when one is full, eating too many sweets, and eating and drinking foods with too much salt. A person whose primary dosha is kapha is believed to be susceptible to stomach ulcers, diabetes, gallbladder problems, and respiratory illnesses.

Treatment
The ayurvedic practitioner will develop a plan for the patient to follow that will work to get his doshas back in synch. Ayuverdic treatments take a comprehensive approach. They involve family and friends to help the person with their treatment plan and may require substantial changes in lifestyle, diet, and exercise regimes.
An Ayurvedic treatment will consist of four parts:

1. Eliminate impurities. The process of eliminating impurities is called panchakarma which focuses on cleansing of the digestive tract. The cleansing of the digestive system is usually accomplished with fasting, enemas, or special diets. To eliminate worms or other disease causing agents, practitioners might prescribe nasal sprays or inhalers filled with medicated oils.

2. Reduce symptoms. This is where the practitioner may suggest significant lifestyle changes. A patient may be asked to perform yoga exercises, meditation, and stretching. Various foods and herbs may be prescribed, and they may be mixed with small doses of metals believed to protect the patient from harm.

3. Reduce stress. Increase harmony and contentment in the patient’s life with the use of yoga, meditation, and other therapies.

4. Help rid the patient of psychological and physical problems. Massage or vital points therapy may be used to reduce pain and improve circulation. Ayurveda teaches that there are 107 vital points on the body that can be manipulated to bring about better physical and mental health.

Risks
The biggest risk with Ayurvedic procedures is toxicity. Some of the herbs and medicines used have been shown to have potentially dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, and other harmful metals. In 2004 the Centers for Disease Control received reports of 12 cases where people had lead poisoning because of an Ayurvedic treatment.

There haven’t been many clinical trials of Ayurvedic practices and those that have taken place have been small and had problems with research and design that made it difficult to rely on the results generated for any definitive answers on the efficacy of Ayurvedic treatment.

Ultimately the best way to avoid complications is to seek out a fully trained and licensed Ayurveda practitioner. While there are schools opening in the U.S., the best Ayurveda schools are located in India, so it would best to find a practitioner who has studied overseas as they would have the most rigorous training. Also, don’t rely on a Ayurvedic practitioner for your diagnosis. Use your primary healthcare provider for an initial diagnosis and seek out an ayurvedic practitioner to treat your illness in conjunction with your primary physician.


Related Posts
Introduction to Complementary and ALternative Medicine (CAM)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why You Just Can't Lose Weight




You step on the scale and groan at the number peeking between your toes. "I'll go on a diet today!" you think. Not so fast. Unless you are mentally ready to lose weight, any diet you try is likely doomed to failure.


In a widely accepted model of behavioral change, there are five stages of motivational readiness. If you're stuck in an early stage, your diet won't work, says registered dietician Karen Collins. Studies suggest that people may feel ready to lose weight, but if they are unprepared to alter their behavior, they'll fail, reports the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. in a column titled "Nutrition Notes."

The five stages of motivational readiness that can be applied to dieting, exercise, or just about anything in your life:

Stage One: Precontemplation


A person has no intention of changing.


Stage Two: Contemplation


A person intends to change--later.


Read the rest of the stages here.
Vivrant Thang blogs about live, love and music over at Songs In The Key Of Life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Afrobella Celebrates "Beautiful Big Girls Working It Out"


Afrobella, one of my favorite blogs that hopefully you are reading as well, is celebrating the beauty of the full-figured form, particularly Toccara Jones. As you may remember, Toccara was a contestant on America's Next Top Model and is now featured in the first issue of Vogue Italy to showcase all black models.
She talks about inspirational it is to seeTocarra and other full-figured Bellas like Missy and Queen Latifah slimming down for their health as opposed to trying to fit society's ideal of what a woman should look like.

Watching women like Toccara become fitter while still maintaining their curves
is inspiring to a bella who is trying to improve her health and shed some weight
by way of diet and exercise. For me, looking at photoshopped images of
Mariah, Janet, or insert-hypersexed-scantily-clad-pop star here has never worked as inspiration. Instead, I look to celebs who I can identify with, who I know must work consistently hard and sweat to achieve their goals. Read more...



Here here Bella!

Ironically, as I was losing weight I had a picture of Tocarra and Queen Latifah up as my "ideal." I never wanted to be thin and waifish. I embrace my curves and celebrate those that have them.

Kudos to those bellas working hard to regain their health and truly feel beautiful - whatever that may look like to them.


Vivrant Thang blogs about live, love and music over at Songs In The Key Of Life.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The 20 Healthiest Foods for Under $1



I don't know about you all, but a trip to the grocery store puts me in a major funk these days. The prices on some basic items such as bread and milk are just unreasonable compared to what they were just a year ago. I can't imagine what families with growing children are going through. Forget about shopping much at my favorite store, Whole Foods.

We won't even talk about the cost of meat. I'm a hearty carnivore and fish lover but now it's a treat to have a piece of steak, pork chops or salmon.

In my quest for alternatives, I've started going to farmers markets for fresh produce and fruit and Amish markets for meats and fresh juices. It's been a good thing as I've been rediscovering what fresh food really is.

It's never been cheap to eat healthy, but this is even more true in this economy. I fear that if we continue on this way, the obesity epidemic will get even more out of control. McDonald's Dollar Menu hasn't been affected by the economy.

Tell us about some of your cost-saving solutions for healthy eating in the comments.

Get some ideas from this article, The 20 Healthiest Foods Under $1

1. Oats
High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have also been shown to lower cholesterol. And they sure are cheap—a dollar will buy you more than a week’s worth of hearty breakfasts.
Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with nuts and fruit in the morning, make oatmeal cookies for dessert.

2. Eggs
You can get about a half dozen of eggs for a dollar, making them one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein. They are also a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may ward off age-related eye problems.

Serving suggestions: Huevos rancheros for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and frittatas for dinner.

3. Kale
This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Like most greens, it is usually a dollar a bunch.

Serving suggestions: Chop up some kale and add to your favorite stir-fry; try German-Style Kale or traditional Irish Colcannon.
Vivrant Thang blogs about live, love and music over at Songs In The Key Of Life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

AMA Apologizes to Black Doctors


From MSNBC:

CHICAGO - The American Medical Association is issuing a formal apology for more than a century of discriminatory policies that excluded blacks from participating in a group long considered the voice of U.S. doctors.

It comes more than 40 years after AMA delegates denounced policies at state and local medical societies dating to the 1800s that barred blacks. For decades, AMA delegates resisted efforts to get them to speak out forcefully against discrimination or to condemn the smaller medical groups that historically have had a big role in shaping AMA policy.

The apology might seem belated, but it isn't the AMA's first for its discriminatory history. Dr. John Nelson, then AMA's president, offered a similar apology at a 2005 meeting on improving health care and eliminating disparities, sponsored by the government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

That came a year after the AMA joined the National Medical Association, a black doctors' group, and other minority doctors' groups in forming the Commission to End Health Care Disparities.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

SPP Links


1. Money won't make you skinny (Revenge of the Curves)
2. Just in case you're still hung over from the 4th (The P.O.S.H. Life)
3. Keep it Right, Keep it Tight, Ladies (Nubian Fitness Goddess)
4. To sun or to supplement (Cranky Fitness)