How many times have you heard that you need to lose weight to reverse your diabetes? If you’re like many people, you’ve tried and failed at the dieting game many times. While you may start a new diet with a lot of motivation and excitement, it can quickly become easy to get discouraged and give up. Maybe you’ve wondered why you can’t just seem to get it together. Is the problem a lack of willpower and self-discipline? What is it about weight loss that’s so difficult? After all, there are countless dieting “experts”, books, diabetic diet plans, support groups, and pre-packaged food programs that promise to make it easy and effortless. We spill the secrets on why diets fail.
With all of the dieting options available, if you haven’t been able to reach your goal weight the problem must be you, right? While the answer to this is complicated, the short response is: no, your struggles with weight control are not simply due to a lack of willpower. This article will take a look at the many reasons why dieting is a recipe for failure, and will empower you with information and strategies you can use to maintain a healthy weight, cut your risk factors for metabolic disorder and diabetes and feel great.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A HEALTHY DIET
You’re probably already aware of the many reasons why a healthy diet and lifestyle are important. On a personal level, you might be motivated by the possibility of looking better and having more confidence. You may have seen a recent picture of yourself and felt shocked at what the camera says about your appearance. Or maybe your clothes are getting tighter (again) and you can’t bear the thought of buying a new wardrobe of larger clothes.
In addition to looking better, people are commonly motivated by concerns about their health. If you’ve been told at a checkup that you’re at high risk for a heart attack or stroke, or you’ve recently been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, you may be scared for your long-term health. While getting news like this is never easy, it’s important information to have while you can still be proactive about making changes. The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has never been more relevant than in the context of your health.
A healthy diet plan and lifestyle is also about more than looking better and reducing your risk for disease. Not only will you increase your chances of living longer; you’ll start living better right away. Your quality of life will increase ten-fold when you can meet the demands of your day with more energy and fewer aches and pains. Your healthcare costs will go down dramatically, and you’ll be able to enjoy a full, active lifestyle. Whether you want to keep up with your children or grandchildren, travel more, or just have more energy for the activities you enjoy, you’ll be able to immediately reap the benefits of a healthy diet in your everyday life.
THE MANY REASONS WHY DIETS FAIL
The obesity and diabetes epidemic are extremely complicated issues, with many factors contributing to the problem. One of the biggest reasons that diets don’t work is basic human physiology. Humans lived and ate a particular way for tens of thousands of years. For much of that time, people hunted and gathered. They might have eaten a large meal when food was plentiful, but when food wasn’t abundant the body perceived the lack of food as a famine. To cope with this unpredictable food supply, it was a great advantage to consume large amounts of food when it was available. That way the body could use any fat stores left over for survival when food was scarce.
Of course, in modern society the food supply is incredibly abundant and only requires a leisurely car ride to the grocery store or restaurant. This leads to the fundamental issue that plagues many people: overeating. As a “fix”, many people head in the opposite direction with overly restrictive diets that leave their bodies in a state of perceived famine.
THE PITFALLS OF STARVATION DIETS
Researchers have found that when people eat too few calories, they’re prone to several serious problems. One of the most famous studies on this topic is the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, where people were given such a small amount of food for six months that they lost 25% of their body weight, which is relatively drastic. After that time period, it was found that participants suffered from extreme emotional issues and depression. There was also a “preoccupation” with food, the metabolism slowed, and people had socially isolated themselves.
As shown by this classic study, dramatically cutting calories will result in quick weight loss, but ultimately it sets you up for failure. Since your body thinks that you’re starving, it’s designed to “feast after the famine” with a binge. A quote from Geneen Roth, a well-respected author and speaker on the pitfalls of dieting, illustrates this point perfectly: “For every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge.” This is one of the reasons why diets fail.
Unfortunately, many people are desperate for a solution to their weight problem, which makes them easy targets for the multi-billion dollar diet industry. Seductive promises of easy and fast weight loss may work in the short-term, but set you up to fail in the long-term. As a result, many people find themselves on a dieting roller coaster, where they jump from one diet to the next, with periods of bingeing in between.
THE SCAM OF DIET FOODS
Another big reason that dieting doesn’t work is the endless supply of “diet foods” on the market, which actually work against your weight loss efforts. Due to the influence of corporate big business on the food supply, people have been fooled into thinking that a box of processed diet food labeled as low-fat is a healthy choice. These companies aren’t interested in the health of the consumer; they’re interested in making money. Sadly, this “profits before people” approach is making these companies very wealthy, while making the American population fat and sick.
The best advice is to avoid foods with health claims on the label, or better yet avoid foods with labels in the first place.
– Dr Mark Hyman
Instead of choosing diet foods, eating from a well-designed meal plan consisting of mostly whole foods is a much more effective way to go. The reason this is so effective can be linked to the way that we humans have eaten for most of our existence. More and more, studies are backing up what common sense tells us: sticking to a natural way of eating is much better for weight loss and overall health than eating processed diet foods ever could be. Five Hour Diabetic offers easy diabetic recipes from simple whole foods.
Furthermore, a low-fat, high-carb approach simply doesn’t work. Clear and irrefutable data show that Americans began gaining more and more weight at the same time that they were being told to choose low-fat foods. This is because many of the processed diet foods that are low in fat are also high in sugar. As it turns out, sugar is the real culprit behind the obesity and diabetes epidemic.
SUGAR: THE OTHER WHITE DRUG
In the 1700s, widespread sugar cane cultivation was developed, and the shipment and sale of sugar was extremely profitable. Sugar was called “white gold,” and was consumed at an average annual rate of four pounds per person, which is a tiny fraction of what is typically consumed today. Then, around the mid 1800s sugar consumption began to increase sharply. Much of this increase was simply the result of increased availability. Up until sugar was available, people may have used maple syrup, honey, dates, or other fruits to sweeten their foods, but these were available in extremely low supply, if at all.
To make things worse, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was developed about 50 years ago, which spikes blood sugar even faster than regular sugar. HFCS is present in many processed foods, even some of those so-called “diet foods.” It’s very profitable when a company can put high amounts of sugar in their products, as the effect on the brain is like an addictive drug. Even more profitable is when HFCS is added; its addictive qualities are even greater. Sugar that does not get burned immediately is sent to the liver. Here sugar gets changed to body fat for later use that never comes. This is why diets fail that are high in sugar and low in fat.
When fat is taken out of a food, sugar or chemical sweeteners have to be added to make it taste decent enough to eat. Because of the dire and widespread consequences of sugar on human health, some scientists are calling it “the new tobacco.” Before it was a part of our food supply, obesity and diabetes were rare. With increased consumption of sugar, these conditions are now extremely common.
WHAT DOES WORK: GOING BACK TO BASICS
People who are the most successful at weight loss in the long-term haven’t succeeded through dieting. Instead, they’ve changed their habits for life by sticking to meal plans that more closely mirror a natural diet. These types of approaches include those like Paleo, Mediterranean, Slow-Carb, and Ketogenic. The meal plans created at Five Hour Diabetic, for reversing Type 2 diabetes, are similar to ketogenic diets.
Remember that fat and protein were the main constituents of the human diet for tens of thousands of years, along with the fiber, or “roughage” from the various types of vegetables that could be gathered. Carbohydrates were much less available, and were only eaten in small quantities. Even grains weren’t a regular part of the diet until agriculture became common, which happened long after the beginning of human history.
After you’ve begun to focus on healthy meal plans instead of diets, it’s easy to stick to those good habits for life. This way of eating won’t make you crazy like starvation diets will, and it won’t contribute to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity the way that low-fat, high-sugar diets can. Meal plans centered around healthy sources of protein and fat, along with plenty of vegetables, are extremely well supported by science and are nutritionally sound. While this may not be what you see in advertisements, and certainly isn’t what the food industry wants you to believe, it’s clearly one of the best ways to meet your health goals.
You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces just good food from fresh ingredients. – Julia Child
Don’t forget about the importance of exercise in your efforts to meet a healthy lifestyle. The exercise you do can be low-impact and easy to add to your day. You can take a 20-30 minute walk, play a game of basketball with your family or friends, do a 7-minute workout, or even do some gardening or housecleaning. You’ll enjoy a lot of health benefits from simply moving more!
Also remember that many of us need to make a crucial shift in how we think about weight loss. The quick-fix approach that the dieting industry has sold you for decades will not help you. When you begin eating a healthy diet that doesn’t send you into starvation mode, you may not begin to see results for several weeks. In fact, depending on how much weight you have to lose, you may not reach your goal weight for 6-12 months. This can be hard to hear and accept when you just want to be at your goal weight NOW. But what they say is true, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
The good news is that there are meal plans available that take the guesswork out of how to eat healthfully. By making changes to the way you eat that are backed by science, you’ll find be able to lose weight slowly but surely. You’re blood sugar will stabilize, you’ll have more energy, and will look great. Better yet, you’ll maintain your results for life. The easiest way to get started is to let us count your calories and carbs. Every Five Hour Diabetic meal plan tells you the exact amount of ingredients to put into a healing recipe to get the exact calories you need. It has never been easier to make good choices. Better yet, we have some amazing diabetic desserts that will not destroy your blood sugar numbers.
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TRICKING YOUR BRAIN TO CARE FOR YOUR BODY
It is a well-known fact that to reduce your body weight you must decrease your caloric intake. As with nearly everything in life, the extremes of daily calorie intake tend toward failure at both ends of the spectrum – either too little or too much causes problems. Most Americans have had their servings sizes slowly increased over the decades, seemingly unnoticed and mostly driven by restaurants to increase the amount of food sold. The heaping servings of rich foods causes too many calories, from poor quality sources, to be eaten by us everyday. The only outcome from this scenario is obesity and weight gain.
Reducing calorie levels too much (think: 500-1000 calories/day) will cause significant weight loss but at the cost of your sanity. Our primal monkey brains get hyper focused on finding food to eat for keeping us alive at these levels. One rare starvation experiment was conducted back in the 1940’s at the University of Minnesota. It was a clinical study designed to study the effects of severe and prolonged dietary restriction. Their main conclusion was that this induced state of semi-starvation causes significant increases in depression and hysteria. The mainstream diet techniques that some people use which involve very low levels of calories are nearly impossible to keep up – you slowly start to go crazy! Then quit. Keeping your cheat meal to once per week in your meal plan will lessen your chances of quitting your new lifestyle changes.
Change is hard. The longer eating and exercise habits have been in place, the more difficult it can be to change them. When results are not quickly seen, it can be easy to bag it and just quit. But change takes times – up to 6 months to for a new habit to stick and become a common routine. Change is a process that slowly happens over time, it is not a single event. A cheat meal is designed to help make the process of change easier. It allows you to gradually build new habits while maintaining some of your old ways, just at a far fewer intervals.
WHAT’S THE SKINNY ON THE CHEAT MEAL?
Doughnuts are a normal part of a healthy, balanced diet. —Brooke Smith, Krispy Kreme spokeswoman
- Suppress your hunger by inhaling mint. Research has found that inhaling the scent of mint can naturally, and safely, curb your appetite for the near future. The simplest way is to put a few drops of essential oil in your hand to smell. Or use the essential oil with a diffuser.
- Drink an entire glass of water. Filling the stomach can trigger leptin, the hormone that your body produces when it is full of food and done eating.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes. If you do feel like you must have a cookie or slice of cake, just wait. Give it 15 minutes and if you have not fully distracted yourself when the timer rings, eat the cake. Hopefully you will not and the craving will have passed.
- Weight yourself on a scale. If you are trying to reach a target weight, seeing that high number on the scale can be the negative reinforcement that your brain needs.
- Meditate for 5 minutes. The power of meditation is beyond amazing. It can be used to increase your will power and decrease your impulse behavior. Check out calm.com.
- Take a 15 minute walk. Getting active will offer a distraction and give you distance from the box of donuts in the break room or whatever the craving might be.
THE SPECIFICS OF A PROPER CHEAT MEAL
Yes, the nature of a cheat meal is to let loose. Eat what you want to revisit old foods to keep your sanity while embarking on the healthy road to change. But there are ways to use the cheat meal to satisfy indulgence while minimizing the damage it does to your body and waistline. Keep these guidelines handy to optimize your meal:
- Avoid all HFCS and trans fats. There is a direct link between high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and obesity and diabetes. Read all labels closely and chose items without these toxic ingredients. For example, Ritter Sport chocolate uses sugar instead of HFCS and milk, whey instead of trans fat. It is a less worse indulgence.
- Mind the portion size. Restaurants serve cartoon-sized portions these days. Ordering from the kids’ menu, if allowed, will get you the correct amount of fast food. Ask if it is possible to get a half-order of something or split an entrée with someone at your table. Wait at least 20 minutes before taking second servings. There is an approximate delay between you eating and when your body produces leptin, the “I am full hormone” to send to your brain.
- Eat your cheat meals out of the house. It is a bad idea to buy all the ingredients for cooking a cheat meal at home. You are then left with, and tempted, to eat all of it. This effectively turns your cheat meal into a cheat day. Eat out at a restaurant or a friend’s place and do not bring leftovers home!
- Walk for 15 minutes. Eating a cheat meal will most likely result in your highest blood sugar numbers for the week. The best thing to do in this case is some light exercise. Walking around the neighborhood or around the street with the restaurant before driving home can lessen the burden on your body.
- Do not fall immediately asleep. The worst thing to do after a big meal of poor quality ingredients is to fall asleep. This is a guaranteed way to gain weight. Keep active for at least an hour before dozing off. This technique of eating big then sleeping has been dubbed as the Sumo Diet, since this is one of the ways these famous wrestlers increase their size.
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THE POWER OF GOOD SLEEP
The naturally recurring pattern of altered consciousness that is sleep provides us with daily repairs to both our mind and body. Slumber is characterized by a general lack of movement of the physical body and voluntary muscles, but there are countless mechanisms hard at work on the biochemical front. There exists ongoing efforts on the study of sleep and we continue to learn more about this healing process every year through research. In humans (and mammals), the sleep cycle is divided into two modes – REM sleep and non-REM sleep. The acronym REM stands for rapid eye movement. During non-REM sleep the body releases growth hormones for cellular repairs and muscle growth. Also, the brain will replenish its supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during this mode, the transporter of chemical energy for metabolism. When sleep deprivation, or just lack of sleep, occurs these repair mechanisms are greatly reduced and any inflammation or diseases can worsen quicker.
The effects of lack of sleep extend far beyond the diminished bodily repair tasks during your night. Researchers have found a direct link between junk food cravings and sleep deprivation. The participants in this study reported greater hunger the following day after being intentionally deprived of sleep. During follow-up tasks, the researchers noticed a decrease in their cognitive abilities in response time and an increase in desires for junk food. They concluded that sleep deprivation provides “a mechanism through which sleep disturbances may promote obesity development.” Every night of poor sleep you get hedges the bets against you making good food choices the next day. It is speculated that humans have developed this mechanism over thousands of years, but without the presence of junk food. Whatever the stressors might have been to cause our ancestors to lose sleep – flooding, famine, tribal invasions, etc., the body reacted to these times of stress by telling the brain to reach for the most energy dense food possible. This theory seems to make sense. If you found yourself in a famine, nomadically wandering from place to place, eating rich foods would be the best for your survival. In modern times, that theoretical famine never comes, thus weight gain occurs.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe case of a sleeping disorder and is a significant issue that demands prompt medical attention, especially for diabetics. It is estimated that 22 million Americans are afflicted with this disorder, most of whom are left undiagnosed. When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and other cardio vascular diseases. Those people most at risk for sleep apnea are men, people who are overweight or obese and those over the age of 40. However, more cases are being seen in women and younger patients.
Lack of sleep is also linked to depression. A recent study at the University of Adelaide, by Dr Carol Lang, found that men with an undiagnosed sleeping disorder are four times more likely to have depression than those without a sleeping disorder. Dr Lang concluded that “our study found excessive daytime sleepiness and severe obstructive sleep apnea are both associated with the prevalence and onset of depression, and the presence of both is associated with an even greater risk.” Other studies have found that the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can result in a significant improvement of depression.
The main symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, moments of choking or gasping for air, and being tired throughout the day. Apnea means that your body’s breathing is either partially or completed blocked for several seconds. Factors that increase your risk of developing sleep apnea and lack of sleep are:
- Being overweight or obese. The body fat around the neck and breathing passages can exhibit more force causing the blockage of airways.
- Smoking cigarettes. The use of tobacco adversely affects you lung’s capacities. Nicotine can cause mucus to develop in the lungs, making it harder to breathe.
- Neck circumference. Some people with larger necks can have more mass around their airways.
- Being male. Men are twice as likely to develop sleep apnea compared to women. This is due to the physiological differences between the male and female anatomy.
Testing for sleep apnea is painless and straight forward. Ask your medical professional how they diagnose this lack of sleep disorder. The most common method is to do a sleep study, either at home or at a sleep clinic. If you are concerned that you may suffer from this disorder, consider doing an audio recording of your sleep during the night, from a smart phone or digital camera. The loud and frequent gasping episodes can be easily heard on a low-quality recording device. This preliminary test, albeit crude and unscientific, can prove your need for doing a comprehensive sleep study by a sleep clinic. Keep in mind that not everyone that snores has sleep apnea, but nearly all of those with sleep apnea do snore. The difference is that moment when breathing stops and then an audible gasp occurs.
Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together. — Thomas Dekker
Immediate treatment of those diagnosed with sleep apnea typically comes in the form of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This small device produces pressure through a mask worn on the patient’s face. It encourages breathing through the nose instead of the mouth. While no one has ever been excited to wear a CPAP to bed, it does produce remarkable results. It has been shown to greatly limit the progression of Type 2 diabetes. This helpful tool can allow you to make lifestyle changes that could result in weight loss. Dropping several pounds of body weight is one of the most reliable methods to get sleep apnea under control. Consider the CPAP as a temporary solution and a warning sign for the need to make changes to your nutrition and exercise habits.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LACK OF SLEEP
The sleep needs of most adults is between 7-9 hours per night, as reported by the National Sleep Foundation. This is just an average, but listen to your own body. If you need 6 or 10 hours to feel well-rested by all means plan your schedule around that.
Our modern world presents challenges and obstacles to a good night’s sleep. A little planning and the right tools can skew the odds back to your favor for getting proper rest. Here are some of the most reliable means to improving your lack of sleep:
- Keep your bedroom completely dark. Our body is triggered to wake up to the sunrise, so it is sensitive to any residual light throughout the night. Check out our links for blackout curtains, sleep eye-mask and memory pillows in our household resource section.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. If you have suffer from lack of sleep, try eliminating or greatly reducing your coffee and tea intake. Even one glass of coffee in the morning can affect sleep some hours later. Caffeine interferes with your quantity and quality of sleep.
- Eat better quality food. The proper eating of healing, whole foods can make your body function better than poor quality processed foods. It is easier to digest and can lead to improved biochemical functions during sleep. Subscribing to this diabetic meal plan is the easiest way to make sure you are on the right path for nutrition.
- Reduce your screen time. The amount of time our society spends sitting and staring at screens these days is astounding. The stimulation of the blue wavelengths from screens signals daytime to our brains. Reading a conventional book or using a non-backlit reader with eInk eliminates this effect. Limit your screen time for a few hours before going to bed.
- Take melatonin before bedtime. This supplement can help ease you into sleep. Typical dosage 1-3mg. Consult with your doctor beforehand.
- Install f.lux on your computers, tablets, and phones. This free software is one of my favorites. It adjusts the colors on your screen depending on the time of day. It pulls the blue spectrum out at sunset to help you fall asleep easier.
- Use a sunrise simulating alarm clock. This is one of the smartest designed alarm clocks sold in the world today. Instead of that horrible blaring of conventional alarms, this one gradually brightens the room with light to simulate your own personal sunrise. At the end of those 30 minutes, a gentle sounding alarm activates. Check out the Philips Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock in our household resource section.
- Keep your room cool. This tip is more for the summer months or those living in warmer climates. Those hot summer nights can make falling asleep challenging. Your body prefers a cooler temperature when it is not sweating.
- Use your CPAP machine every night. As mentioned above, this helpful device aids greatly in getting diabetes under control. Be diligent about its nightly use and you will be rewarded with years added to your life in the future.
- Buy a great bed and pillow. A bed is where we spend at least a third of our lives, so it makes sense to own one that is in good shape. Poor structure in old beds can result in uncomfortable sleep. The Memory Foam Pillow can help keep your neck and head comfortable and physiologically in the correct place for a good night’s rest.
- Keep your bedroom quiet. If you struggle with loud neighbors or roommates, consider sleeping with ear plugs. Noise, like light, can cause you to waken.
- Put your phone in airplane mode. If you are using your phone for an alarm, keep it from receiving signals that could wake you up. Getting quality sleep is much more important than being alerted by your FarmVille app at 2am.
- Drink some chamomile tea. The essential oil, bisabolol, in the chamomile flower has several helpful properties. The anti-inflammatory and sedative effects of this tea are most important to diabetics.
- Listen to calming music or white noise. It is possible to train yourself to fall asleep to music or white noise. The brain creates a mental connection with sleep to a fan running in the background or a sleep CD.
- Take a relaxing bath. One of the best things to do at the end of a stressful or busy day is to relax with an epsom salt bath. Buy only epsom salts without fragrance and other potential hormone disrupting chemicals. A quick 20 or 30 minute soak before bedtime can reduce stress and slow your heartbeat. Add some lavender essential oil for added natural relaxation effects. The bonus of epsom salts is that it is a great way to get magnesium in your body.
SHARING IS CARING
Has this article helped you learn more about the dangers of the lack of sleep? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
You’ve heard it countless times from many sources: exercise is crucial for reversing diabetes and obesity. And it’s true, but it comes in a close second place to nutrition. Fix your diet first to reap the benefits from an exercise routine. Behavioral research shows that, for those who have lost weight, maintaining a regular exercise regimen is the single largest indicator if they will keep the weight off. Finding an exercise program that meets your needs and desires should be your second focus, after becoming accustomed to the whole food meal plan of Five Hour Diabetic. Diabetes and exercise belong together for wellness.
Exercise, like nutrition, is sweating profusely with confusion about every aspect. How do you properly exercise without hurting yourself? Where should I workout – the gym or home or outside? Does cardio or weight lifting cause the most weight loss? Keep reading for answers to these questions that might surprise you.
“Why should I exercise?” is one of the best places to start this dissection of conventional wisdom (which is often more wrong than right!). The belief of conventional wisdom is that you need to exert as many calories that you take in to maintain your body weight. If you eat more, or exercise less, you gain weight. This is mostly false! A vigorous hour-long workout at the gym, chock full of cardio and weight training, will burn about 400 calories. A professional line-backer could eat 2,500 calories (or more) per day, so where does the remaining 2,100 calories go? You cannot expect that light walking and sleeping would need that much energy. Unfortunately, the body is not such a simple science experiment as conventional wisdom concludes. Your organs, your hormones and cells all play unique, complex and intertwined roles when exercising. When physical activity is present above normal resting rates the sympathetic nervous system produces a signal to your muscles. The result of this signal is that more new mitochondria are produced from burning energy in the form of glucose or body fat. This is key because new mitochondria functions better than old mitochondria to process and consume energy. Newly formed mitochondria improve the performance of insulin sensitivity, which is a good thing for diabetics trying to undo the harmful effect of metabolic syndrome. This effect can last up to 72 hours after exercise has been completed. This is the real reason to get active!
Before we progress, you should know that exercise does come with some side effects. You may or may not want these effects in your life; it’s up to you. Research has demonstrated exercise is beneficial to both your physical and mental health. This includes improved mental focus, cognitive functions and memory. In children, university studies have revealed direct correlations of exercising to increased academic performance. It should be safe to assume that adults should also benefit in academics with regular exercise, too. Exercise is also a natural mechanism for feeling good. You most likely have heard of a runner’s high. This condition occurs after extended cardio exercise where the brain secretes endorphins and opioids. This effect has been documented to also exist from other forms of exercise, not just long distance running. Find your favorite exercise and diabetes will lessen it’s control over your life.
Disclaimer: Please consult with your medical professional before embarking on any intense physical activity. If your body is struggling to find harmony with your current situation, there is no need to over burden yourself. For most diabetics struggling with high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or anything else it can prove best to start by altering your diet. This tends to produce the most dramatic changes that will allow your body do more intense activity.
DIABETES AND EXERCISE SHOULD NOT HURT
Yet another fallacy of conventional wisdom is “no pain, no gain.” As exercise science evolves, researchers are developing a better understanding of what makes a muscle grow or for body fat to be burned and it can be done without “pain.” This catchphrase from Jane Fonda’s workout videos from the 1980’s was meant to sell her videos, not be dogma. It never was based on any credible scientific study and is best deleted from your vocabulary.
Honestly, exercise can feel challenging or even discomforting at times, but true exercise wisdom lies in understanding the difference between mild discomfort and physically hurting yourself. Discomfort is having your heart rate raised and your body covered in sweat, possibly even vomiting. An injury causes sharp pain when experienced during exercise and causes lasting effects for days or weeks. An example of pain is a sprained ankle while running or pulling a muscle during yoga or bench pressing. Find your favorite exercise and diabetes will lessen it’s control over your life.
Slow and low, that is the tempo. – Beastie Boys
Injuries and pain will kill your motivation to exercise faster than any other behavioral mechanism, so it’s best to avoid it. Knowing how to exercise properly will significantly reduce your chances of injury and quitting exercise. Three factors have been identified by professional trainers for injury prevention:
- Reducing Weight – Using a significant amount during weight training causes excessive strain.
- Slowing Speed of Motion – The faster pace of running vs walking or quickly jerking weights at the gym can tear muscles and tendons.
- Minimizing Impacts – Colliding with a linebacker head-on or, more likely, the minor and frequent impacts of running causes injury.
The first two factors probably seem counter intuitive to most people. We see weight lifters adding more and more weight to their exercises to get huge, but it is possible to trigger the same (or more) muscle growth with less weight. The speed of your repetitions during exercise are problematic because that quick motion demands changing direction at dangerous speeds. Yet, nearly everyone you see in a gym does their reps way too fast. Building muscle fibers can occur with slower speeds. The mechanism of why a muscle is triggered to grow is from time under tension. Take a familiar exercise, like bicep curls, for example. If you reduce the normal weight you use, say 50 lbs, by -25%, to 38 lbs and then do your repetition like your are in a slow-motion video, you have the winning combination. Take five seconds to curl up and five seconds to curl down, controlled and slow. Do one set of 5-10 repetitions and you are done (this should take you at least one minute of time). You may get some strange looks at the gym, but rest assured that this technique is used by several NFL teams to keep their expensive employees free from injury and on the field. A quick video of the slow-rep method.
One of the cheapest and readily available exercises to do is running. Unfortunately, this is the knee-jerk reaction to most people for where to start exercising. Running or jogging is a high-impact activity with the chances for injury far exceeding the chance for success. It is of no wonder that so many people quit exercising after their knees, hips, or feet are on fire or an ankle gets twisted. Running long distances is best left to those people in great shape. Slow it down and walk or hike instead of running. Climbing stairs or hiking a steep grade are better options for those suffering from the inflammatory states of metabolic disorder. The exception to running long distances is doing Tabata sprints in 4 minute intervals on a treadmill. But even Tabata sprints should not be attempted by beginners, it is safest to wait until your second or third month of exercising.
For those people who have not exercised in years, it is important to keep the right mindset about exercising. We often view it as work. And that this hard, trying work needs to happen in a gym to make a difference. If you imagine that exercise will hurt or be boring work, it most certainly will manifest as such. But exercise can be fun and you are allowed to enjoy it! Hell, you could even look forward to it after a long sedentary day at your desk. Find the exercise that you consider fun and you will likely make a habit of it. There is no wrong answer here. If you enjoy playing basketball with your son or biking with your niece, keep doing it. Personally, I enjoy hiking with my dog in the woods every weekend, rain notwithstanding. Find your favorite exercise and diabetes will lessen it’s control over your life.
WALK THIS WAY
The most accessible form of exercise to nearly everyone is walking. The barriers to entry are low – you just need a place to safely move your legs and a pair of comfortable shoes. It is one of the best ways for sedentary diabetics to begin getting active. There is some “conventional wisdom” to debunk and some hacks to make walking more effective. If you have suffered the unfortunate reality of many diabetics and lost a limb due to this disease, consider swimming and pool activities. These are discussed further below.
When we eat food our blood sugars naturally rise. In some diabetics their blood sugar levels can sky-rocket to dangerous levels. Regardless of the number on your glucometer, the best thing to do combat this rise is some light exercise, specifically walking. The 25-cent phrase is a post-prandial walk. You have possibly heard that from your medical professional(s) before. Prandial is just a fancy way for saying eating. After lunch and dinner, add in a 15-30 minute walk everyday. This little habit can yield big results. The worst thing to do after a meal is to sit, or worse yet, fall asleep. This is a guaranteed way to gain weight. If you just dined out at a restaurant or grilled out at home, head directly out for a walk afterward. The walk will put those immediate sugars in your blood to good use by being burned in your muscles.
While the post-prandial walk is good for light-duty daily maintenance, but just walking alone is not enough to counteract the effects of metabolic syndrome. We see diabetics fall into this pitfall from time to time. They go out and continuously walk for an hour a day, but never see any weight loss nor improvements in their biomarkers. Walking alone is not enough to count as exercise – you need to do more! Research has come to the same conclusion that walking at a continuous speed will not improve your health. Another research paper did find one type of walking that produces reliable and repeatable improvements to a diabetic’s health. Interval walking is an easy daily exercise for diabetics to do to see quick results. This style of walking involves walking briskly for three minutes, then walking easy for three minutes. Alternate this pattern 10 times to make for a power-hour of walking. This is the bare minimum a diabetic can do to see results. Listen to a quick audio stream on NPR on this topic.
BEST EXERCISE AND DIABETES WORKOUTS
Jumping into just any kind of exercise is a bad idea. Activity varies in intensity and skill-levels, so we have created a list of exercises best for diabetics. Try these for starters and when you find one that you enjoy, stick with it. If you cannot do any group exercises, try to get a workout buddy or friend to help keep each other motivated and on track. It’s easier to make it a successful habit as a team.
- Swimming – The pool is a great place for diabetics. Jumping in the water is a great place to do cardio and strength training in one of the lowest impact settings. The coolness of the water will burn more calories due to the thermal loading to your body. And water also will keep you from overheating. Nearly every pool offers group fitness classes.
- The 7-minute Workout – This popular and effective workout is covered extensively in another article. It can be done at home or when traveling on the road.
- Walking Up Stairs/Hills/Stairmaster – Just continuous walking on a flat surface does not produce enough results (see above). But once you add in the resistance of gravity, it becomes much more intense. If you live in a flat area, climb the stairs in a bleacher for an hour or do the stairmaster at the gym.
- Hiking – Connecting with nature is easy and therapeutic. The fresh air from the trees and the sunlight make it hard to be in a bad mood. Search for a hike with some elevation to it and you could be rewarded with an excellent viewpoint at the top. Search for hikes on Local Hikes. If you are flying solo, consider finding hiking partners or a group on Craigslist.
- Anything Outside – When the weather allows, it is great to get active outside. The vitamin D from the sunshine will make you happy, in addition to the endorphins being released. Fresh air and trees can be a more inviting situation than a stuffy indoor gym.
- Yoga – This time-honored exercise has gotten a lot of traction in the US lately and for good reasons. It is easy to find classes and does not need much equipment, besides a mat. Keep an eye out for a beginner’s class to get started. There are even extensive yoga DVD’s, for all levels, that can be performed at home. Yoga exercises can build strength, focus and cardio areas of your health. Search for a yoga class.
- Any Group or Partner Exercise – The options are endless … biking, interval walking, swimming classes, yoga and more. The power of community extends to exercise, as well as, general health. Group classes can foster relationships with new and friendly people and urge you to keep your attendance.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – This type of workout can be applied to most types of cardio. HIIT walking is excellent, but doing Tabata sprints at a gym or outside will hack your exercise efforts to greatly improved results. The routine is to run as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then walk for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. If you feel like you’re about to puke by the last one, you know that you are doing it intensely enough. Here’s an advanced HIIT workout requiring no equipment.
- Commercial Break Workout – Do you find yourself in front of your TV for several hours per week? If so, you should try to offset the harmful effects of sitting with a workout you can do in your living room. Here are two different routines to try out. Commercial Break Workout #1. Commercial Break Workout #2. You can print these out and leave them on your coffee table as a reminder.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CARDIO AND WEIGHT TRAINING
Questions we often hear from beginners are: What produces the most weight loss – cardio or weight lifting? How much of my exercise time should I split between cardio and weight training? Should I only do cardio if I am short on time? First off, congratulations if you have made it this far along the exercise path. If you are curious about these questions, exercise must be becoming a habit for you. There are no right answers to these questions and they all vary on your own body and personal goals.
Cardio as we call it these days is technically aerobic exercise. It can vary in intensity from low to high, but is best recommended in the medium range. Reference this sheet for the aerobix or weight control definitions. It is best to avoid the high intensity areas of cardio. Too much intense cardio exercise also does not work in your favor, as it depletes glucose stores and can cause excessive inflammation throughout your body. However, extended cardio sessions are excellent for reducing overall body mass, but both fat and muscle can be consumed over time. TV shows such as Biggest Loser rely heavily on cardio to produce those dramatic, albeit rushed results. A moderate exercise program for an obese diabetic should involve 2-3 sessions per week of medium intensity cardio. This will help trigger the weight loss process. Good examples of non-painful cardio are: the stair stepper or elliptical machines, swimming, yoga, quick paced hiking or bike riding.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. – Lao Tzu
Weight lifting is a form of strength training that focuses short, but heavy repetitions to induce muscle growth. This type of training can be done with free weights, dumb bells or dedicated machines. The importance of weight training is to build complete sets of muscle groups. This type of exercise can cut body fat, in addition to, growing muscles. The drawback of strength training is that quick movements with heavy weights often produce injuries. Going slow, with a controlled movement, is the best way to build technique without causing lasting damage.
Most regular sporty people, pro-athletes and beefy gym rats incorporate both cardio and weight training for a well-rounded physique. These two forms of exercise compliment each other and can magnify your efforts when both are incorporated into a routine vs just focusing on weights alone. For those diabetics that need to lose a few pounds, it is best to do more cardio than weight training, as this will encourage weight loss over gaining muscle. Cardio should count for 50-75% of your exercise activities.
A common side-effect of a workout can be soreness or stiffness in your muscles on the following days. This is natural and should be expected after a decent exercise session. This soreness is caused by microtears that occur in the muscle fibers. The input of exercise triggers your muscles to grow and rebuild during the following two to four days. Good news for those starting out at getting active – the soreness of workouts decreases after time. Your tenth workout should not be as painful afterwards as your first. Your body needs time to recover after a workout, so it is actually good not to workout everyday. It is good practice to space your weight training exercise two to three days apart, to let your body heal. The days between weight training can be filled with some medium intensity cardio, such as hiking, stairs or interval walking.
Time is most effective for your body to recover from the strains of exercise. However, there are several other ways to help reduce the discomfort of your body rebuilding itself:
- Take Fish Oil – One of the many benefits of taking this supplement is that it is anti-inflammatory. It can work as well as taking ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Drink Water – Your body needs fluids during the recovery process. Water is preferable over sodas, juice or energy drinks which will cause more inflammation due to the high sugar content.
- Eat Healing Whole Foods – Food is the single largest controllable variable for your health and healing. A great workout followed up by a fast food meal can work to undo your efforts and increase your body’s inflammation. Eating from this meal plan is the easiest way to take the guesswork out of your diet.
- Take an Epsom Salt Bath – The compound of epsom salt is mostly magnesium sulfate. This critical nutrient is needed by your body for several functions. Magnesium is needed by the body for muscle contraction and relaxation. Watch the video above.
- Stretching – Light stretching before bedtime can decrease the tightness caused by soreness.
- Ice First, Heat Later – Any knees or muscles that are warmer than other areas of the body could benefit from a few minutes of icing. The DIY gel packs are easy to make and do not freeze solid. Alternating cold then hot compresses can speed up blood flow to the area.
SHARING IS CARING
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The power of suggestion through marketing materials for the dairy industry is one fit for case studies at business schools. Do you believe that milk is the best source of calcium? Do you believe that your arms might randomly tear from your body if you do not drink enough milk? Is milk bad for you and reversing your diabetes? Are you under the impression that low-fat milk is healthier for you and will help you lose weight? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you have been successfully manipulated that dairy is good for you, courtesy of the Dairy Management, Inc and the dairy lobby to our federal government. Eliminating all dairy from your diet can help you lose weight. Our FiveHourDiabetic.com meal plan uses minimal amounts of dairy. Dropping several pounds from your body weight greatly reduces the effects of diabetes and can lead to a reversal of this metabolic syndrome.
The claims that the dairy industry make through clever advertising are rarely backed up by any scientific studies. The industry funded studies that occasionally surface on nutritional benefits have biases heavily in their favor. This makes sense since the dairy industry is strongly concerned with selling as much of its product as possible. The “Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI) is funded by America’s nearly 47000 dairy farmers, as well as dairy importers” and was “created to help increase sales and demand for dairy products.” The above verbiage was taken directly from their website. DMI has an approximate annual budget of $140 million and that much money buys a lot of catchy prime-time advertising. They are not an independent agency for conducting nutritional research for the betterment of humanity, nor milk nutrition, but rather an organization driven by its capitalistic endeavors of increasing sales through marketing.
On the federal government level, our nutritional guidelines are heavily influenced by special interest lobbyists. Sadly, this is the case for many topics in Washington DC. The dairy lobby spends over $6 million annually to influence public policy. This behavior presents a clear conflict of interest when the companies looking to profit the most from dairy sales get to write our nation’s nutritional guidelines. They are in no way qualified to tell us is milk bad for you. Dr Walter Willett, the Chairman of the Department of Nutrition, at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, had some choice words to say about the USDA’s revised nutritional guidelines:
Also, the recommendation for three servings of milk per day is not justified and is likely to cause harm to some people. The primary justification is bone health and reduction of fractures. However, prospective studies and randomized trials have consistently shown no relation between milk intake and risk of fractures. On the other hand, many studies have shown a relation between high milk intake and risk of fatal or metastatic prostate cancer, and this can be explained by the fact that milk intake increases blood levels of IGF-1, a growth-promoting hormone. The justification for drinking three glasses of milk per day on the basis of increasing potassium intake is also not valid as the extra calories, even with low-fat milk, would easily counterbalance the benefit of the extra potassium. Also, the recommendation for people of all ages to drink three servings of milk per day is very radical and would double dairy production if adopted; this would have huge environmental impacts that would need to be considered. –Dr Walter Willett, the Chairman of the Department of Nutrition, at Harvard University’s School of Public Health
To get an unbiased perspective on milk and dairy it’s helpful to dig into some past research studies. One study on adolescents found that children who drank the most milk, put on the most weight. They continue to conclude “contrary to our hypotheses, dietary calcium and skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not.” Oops. The “conventional” wisdom on drinking low-fat milk is wronger than wrong. Dr Ludwig and Dr Walter Willett expressed a similar recommendation in this article. The belief that milk is good for strong bones does not stand up either. This study found no overall association between milk intake and bone fractures. Another study found the same conclusion. Do not believe everything that you hear on the television without conclusive evidence.
BUT IS MILK BAD FOR YOU?
Dairy has a clearly defined place in our culture. It is part of our nutritional status quo, so it goes against the grain to question its necessity for our species. Stepping back a bit from the gallons of low-fat milk on the shelves, it’s useful to think about this liquid in the scope of our mammalian world. Google defines milk as “an opaque white fluid rich in fat and protein, secreted by female mammals for the nourishment of their young.” All mammals use this dense energy source when their digestive tracts are too immature to chew or process solid foods. Once mammals are old enough, they are all weaned from their mothers’ milk and the activity of the enzyme to digest lactose is dramatically reduced. Humans are no different, in this sense, from whales or dogs or meerkats. So, why are we as a society drinking milk into our adulthood? And why are we drinking milk from a different mammal? No other mammals in the world show such confounding behavior as we do and we should question it as we ask is milk bad for you?
Numerous cultures in Asia and Africa barely consume milk. It’s simply not part of their culture’s diet. Their status quo is one without dairy farms and gallons of milk. China, Laos, Ghana, Togo, Cambodia, etc. consume less than 13 lbs per person per year. The US consumes about 160 lbs per person per year! That’s a lot of dairy and a lot of cows. It is completely possible to eat a healthy meal plan without drinking a drop of milk.
Another interesting subset of our population to look at are bodybuilders. They are usually the proverbial guinea pigs for health and diet, to varied results. For most male bodybuilders they are constantly trying to find affordable and effective ways to gain weight. One popular and effective tactic is GOMAD. It stands for Gallon Of Milk A Day. I get phlegm-y just thinking about it. For the same reason that body builders love to down milk, you should not. Milk encourages weight gain with low-fat, skim or full-fat types. Ditch the dairy to ditch some pounds.
Dairy is one of the main allergens that is actively avoided on this diabetic meal plan. In addition to dairy promoting weight gain, it comes with some potential side effects, too. Dairy can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, hives, runny nose, eczema, and many other non-pleasant conditions.
Dr Hyman has an excellent short video on milk:
THE MILKMAN COMETH
The modern milk on our grocery store shelves has not escaped the pitfalls of large-scale food manufacturing. A while ago, ranchers and dairy farmers realized that their cattle would grow larger quicker if they fed grains to their animals instead of their normal diet of grass. Grains are much cheaper as feed when compared to pastures of healthy grass. Most of the beef and dairy in the US comes from such grain-fed cattle. This creates problems for the animals and for the consumer. Cows literally cannot stomach to eat grains and creates problems that require a constant slurry of antibiotics to resolve. Frankensteer, the documentary dives deep into these problems and is worth your time. When cows eat their natural food source grass, they benefit by living healthy lives and pass on the healthy micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids to you. The constant use of antibiotics and growth hormones that cattle receive get indirectly served to the consumer through milk, beef and cheese. The overuse of antibiotics in any format will undermine their effectiveness over time. Dairy farmers that inject their livestock with artificial growth hormones (rBST and/or rBGH) to increase their milk production put their consumers at risk. The early onset of puberty in children has been correlated to the excessive use of these hormones in livestock. Further research testing is needed to find a causal link. The use of hormones also increases the IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) levels in milk which has been linked to the increased risk of developing cancer. When we are asked “Is milk bad for you?” we always tell our valued subscribers that it mostly certainly is bad for reversing diabetes.
The problems continue for milk after it is captured from the cow. In the 1800’s the French scientist, Louis Pasteur, developed a technique of heating beer and wine to a temperature just high enough to neutralize the bacteria that caused these liquids to spoil. Pasteurization is the process named for this scientist and it was found to also work on milk to extend the shelf-life. Originally, it was meant as a short-term solution for dairy farms that lacked in cleanliness but was quickly adopted as a cheaper way to produce milk. The major drawbacks from pasteurization include killing off the good bacteria in milk and nearly eliminating the micronutrient content. It also changes the structure of the protein molecules to make it harder to digest and increases the IGF-1, promoting cancerous cell growth. Raw milk is sold un-pasteurized. In the US, it is hard to find raw milk for sale due to stiff regulations, but it is widely sold throughout Europe, Africa, India and Asia. In Europe, you can buy raw milk directly from vending machines. It does not have a shelf life as long as pasteurized milk, but buying in smaller quantities and consuming it quickly can avoid this problem. The opponents of raw milk claim that it can be dangerous to drink spoiled milk, but the reality is that a quick smell test can tell if it’s bad or not. This is a good case of the nose knows.
ALTERNATIVES TO COW MILK
The list of reasons to avoid dairy are long, but thankfully there are some easier to digest options. Goat milk is one of the best alternatives to cow, if you can find it. It digests quicker and easier since the fat globules are smaller and the levels of lactose are much lower. Goat milk can be digested by humans in about 30 minutes vs 3 hours for cow milk. Lactose is a form of natural sugar (easy to spot since it ends in –ose) which can spike blood sugar levels so it is not good for diabetics, not to mention being the actual part of what forms a dairy intolerance. Goat milk drinkers can also benefit from getting higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and potassium, an important and necessary mineral.
Several non-animal types of “milk” are gaining shelf space at grocery stores these days. Healthier choices include coconut, hemp or almond milk. These all have labels that need to be read carefully since they all vary in how they are produced. The first thing to look for is the amount of sugar per servings. It should be low to zero. The unsweetened varieties are the best for diabetics. Double check the ingredient list to avoid sugar, honey, agave syrup, corn solids or any other added sugar. These sugars, even though they sound “natural”, can and will spike your blood sugar just as quicker as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Coffee drinkers that like cream have a reason to rejoice. This So Delicious® coconut milk creamer is a great alternative in your daily vice of caffeine. It mixes the best with coffee of any of the non-animal types of milk. While it does have some guar gum in it, the benefits of not consuming cow dairy trump the additives. I was skeptical at first, but now I cannot imagine a cup of coffee without it. This is great to keep in mind when asking if milk is bad for you.
The aisle of non-animal milk does have a few things to intentionally steer clear of. Soy milk can be heavily estrogenic due to the heavy processing it receives and can potentially increase the risk for cancer. Soy does not mix into coffee nor cooking well either. Rice milk should be avoided by diabetics for the same reasons as whole grain rice. It is a grain and will increase blood sugar levels. Some specific brands to avoid include Silk® Soymilk since it has MSG and evaporated cane juice (read: sugar), not to mention it uses a non-organic soy beans. Almond Breeze® almond milk should also be avoided since it also has cane juice and MSG.
All dairy will encourage weight gain and that’s working against your best interests. However, there are some forms of dairy that are less worse. Eating some dairy on an infrequent schedule (think: once per week at the most) can satisfy those with cravings for dairy. It’s helpful to keep dairy limited to your once-per-week cheat meal, if you are doing one.
Some cheese can fall into the “less worse” group for diabetics. The goat milk mentioned above can be made into goat cheese, sometimes called chevre, and easily found at Trader Joe’s. It is great on salads. There even exists a few types of cheese made from cow’s milk that are low in lactose. When these types of cheeses are being made, the majority of the lactose is drained off with the whey (<10mg/100g). If you have to reach for some cheese, choose these first:
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Grana Padano
- Mature Cheddar Cheese
Fermented foods are seldom found in fast food nor the standard American diet. The fermentation process produces beneficial bacteria that can heal your inflamed digestive tract. One of the most familiar forms of fermented dairy is yogurt. Unfortunately, the food manufacturers have managed to make it a toxic food with additives, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Read the labels carefully. The best choices are usually the plain goat yogurt, organic, if available. When buying yogurt from cow sources, try to find one that comes from antibiotic and hormone (rBST and/or rBGH) free cows. Kefir is slowly gaining popularity. It is a type of fermented yogurt-like beverage originating in the mountains of Turkey. Sour cream is widely known in the US, but most people do not realize that it is a fermented food with healing properties. As with all dairy products, only try to buy those without hormones and antibiotics; organic is preferable when available.
SHARING IS CARING
Has this article helped you learn more about whether milk is bad for you? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
Testosterone is a powerful hormone that serves many bodily functions and is secreted by the testicles of men and the ovaries of women. Men with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have low have levels of testosterone. Obese men are over 2.5 times as likely to have low levels of testosterone. This hormone mainly supports proper sexual reproductive needs, but also has a secondary role of promoting healthy hair, muscle, and bone growth. This study concludes a strong link between low testosterone and diabetes. Since low testosterone precedes the diagnosis of diabetes, it can serve as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. While there are a staggering amount of factors that can cause lower testosterone, there is one easily controllable condition that affects us smart phone users. Cell phones dangerous interactions with your body can worsen your health. Getting your testosterone levels tested by your physician is an easy and routine procedure. Your efforts to get your testosterone in the normal range will make muscle growth and weight loss much easier.
Low testosterone is an early indicator for obesity and a few other conditions worth avoiding. From years of studies, experts have concluded these side effects occur when this powerful hormone is low:
- Insulin Resistance – As the body’s testosterone gets lower and lower, the body has a harder time with insulin. Those suffering from prediabetes could be worsening their health by having lower testosterone.
- High Blood Pressure – The influence of testosterone in the blood stream acts on the vessels to increase the risk of hypertension. High blood pressure is one of the factors of metabolic syndrome.
- Erectile Dysfunction – Testosterone is the primary sexual hormone in men and lows levels are the leading cause in erectile dysfunctions. A strong sex life is a sign of good bodily functions and overall health, age notwithstanding.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – Low levels have been linked to developing this neurodegenerative disease. Some doctors have even started labeling Alzheimer’s as type 3 diabetes due to the strong correlation between it and metabolic syndrome.
CELL PHONES DANGEROUS RADIATION
Technology can offer wonderful advancements for humanity. The modern computer has leveraged our human abilities for doing complex math and simulation problems. Telephones now allow the amazing ability to speak directly to nearly anyone on this planet. This was unthinkable a mere century ago. As new technology is developed, we are often unaware on how it will be used or affect our culture and human bodies. The recent invention of the smart phone has changed our behavior – think about how often you see people just looking down and doing the infinite scroll movement with their fingers. We are now a society of hyper-connected, always-on, and dopamine dependent smart phone addicts. Each time you get a notification on your phone, it results in a small increase in dopamine in the brain, the pleasure-seeking hormone. The irregular, albeit nearly constant, stimulating of your dopamine system can be exhausting over time. This behavioral addiction pattern can also be disruptive to productivity. Our mind truly cannot multitask, so it is forced to flip between distractions, one at a time. Cell phones dangerous behavior changing has affected the pleasure centers of our brains.
The behavioral addiction to smart phones is the noticeable effect of this modern technology, but there exists a harder to spot effect from the electromagnetic radiation. Smart phones send a very strong, direct signal to nearby cell towers to make a conversation possible. When not in use during a phone call, a smart phone will continue to send a strong signal, but at intermittent rates, to log GPS data, check for voice-mails and text messages. The number of apps on a smart phone further increase the amount of notifications and data being sent, thus resulting in even more radiation. Cell phones entered the market years ago through a regulatory loophole that only required minimal testing to prove safety to the general population. At that time, there were not rules in place to protect from the unknown effects of cellular radiation. To worsen this situation, the manufacturers of cell phones conduct their own testing. There is a clear conflict of interest since the manufacturers stand to earn great profits, but are left to self-police their interests. Cell phones dangerous consequences are under-reported.
Research studies have been quietly getting published on the adverse effects of cellular use in the recent years. Since it would be considered cruel to subject humans to high levels of radiation to test its effects, most of the testing has been conducted on lab rats. While this is not ideal since humans and rats are not completely the same in biological makeup, it is the only means of conducting a controlled research experiment. A study done outside of the US found that exposure to a mere 30 minutes per day for three months produced significant reductions in serum testosterone. Adding to this finding, they stated: “any change in the normal levels [of testosterone] may be devastating for reproductive and general health.” Another study found that cellular use greatly increases damage to DNA following a call or dialing. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer went so far as stating that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone and other wireless devices makes up a “possible human carcinogen.” Studies in Sweden have concluded that cellular users are four times as likely to develop brain cancer over their lifetime.
MINIMIZING THE DAMAGE
Before throwing your hands up in frustration, understand that some workarounds do exist and they’re relatively easy to carry out in your daily life. By all means, we all need to develop a healthy way to use our smart phones. It is hard to think of going back to an existence without these powerful computers in our convenient grasp.
Airplane mode is not just for flying. The purpose of this mode was to cut the potential electromagnetic effects of phones to the computers used on airplanes. Airplane mode keeps your phone on, but it restricts all the cellular, wi-fi and bluetooth signals from being sent or received. If you keep your phone in your pants pocket, like most people do, it will be next to your ovaries and your testicles. This is where testosterone gets produced, so it is key to prevent your phone from damaging this process. Whenever you do put your phone in your pocket, just put it on airplane mode. It is counter-culture to not be immediately responsive for contact, but most people truly do not have such urgent matters. Your normal levels of testosterone are far more important than immediately getting notified that someone has posted a kitten video on your Facebook timeline.
To lower the effect of cell radiation when talking on your phone, there’s only one case on the market that has been tested by independent labs. The design of these cases reduces the exposure to radiation by 89% below the FCC limit. Pong Cases for iPhone 6 or iPhone 5/5S.
The placement and location of your smart phone will affect how much radiation you get exposed to also. If you’re traveling to work or school, it’s best to have your phone on airplane mode. When you arrive it is advisable to distance yourself from your phone as much as possible. Turning your phone on and putting it two arm distances away (or more) on your desk will make sure that you can stay connected while keeping the radiation at bay. For those who use your phone as an alarm clock next to your bed, consider just keeping it in airplane mode throughout the night. This will reduce any notifications from interrupting your sleep, not to mention give you a break from the seemingly constant cell radiation.
Most states have mandated using a hands-free solution for driving and talking in vehicles. It makes sense to use a bluetooth headset when not driving, too. The electrical radiation from the bluetooth headset is far less than what your phone emits to contact the cell tower. So putting your phone across the room, during a call, and using your bluetooth should decrease the potential for brain tumors and brain cancer later in life.
A sample size of one does not a study make, but there is power in the anecdotal experience. Since testing cell radiation on humans would be a cruel and unusual punishment, arguably our personal experiences could be the best proof we need to limit our smart phone usage.
Several years ago, I read the above study on serum testosterone and cellular radiation and decided to try an experiment on myself. I reasoned that if this was true and the effect was significant enough, that I should feel or notice something. After about two years of having a smart phone constantly on in my pocket, I decided to change my behavior and keep it in airplane mode or off while on my person. In hindsight, I wish I had measured my testosterone before and after this experiment. The first two weeks of not having my phone radiating my cojones, I experienced a strong discomfort in my testicles that I can only attribute to not being radiated directly. They were quite sore but the discomfort lessened by the end of the second week. At month three, I had gained about 10 pounds of muscle, without changing my diet nor exercise. My next dental visit brought much surprise to my dentist. Earlier I had recesses in my gums that were “worth keeping an eye on” but not bad enough to call for a painful and expensive trip to the periodontist. Approximately four months after my cell experiment began, the recesses between my gums and teeth had definitely gotten smaller. Since testosterone plays a vital role in growing muscle mass, it had encouraged my gums to grow back to a level that my dentist declared as both in the safe and normal range for gum health. I will never put my iPhone in my pocket again when it is on and neither should you. Cell phones dangerous effects were too personal for me to ignore.
SHARING IS CARING
Has this article helped you learn more about the dangers of smart phones? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
Do you have 7 minutes to spare? It’s less than the average amount of commercials shown during one half-hour TV show. Most people do have 7 minutes to spare and I bet you do, too. Adding this habit into your regular routine can accelerate your efforts of building muscle, losing weight and, most importantly, managing your diabetes. No gym is needed; just a chair, your body weight and a wall. I bet you have all of these as well as those 7 minutes for a workout to manage your diabetes. Does this workout sound too good to be true? Keep reading to find out why it works and how it’s ideal for those suffering from Type 2 or prediabetes.
First, we should mention the necessary disclaimer about exercising. Please consult with your medical professional before embarking on an intense physical activity. If your body is struggling to find harmony with your current situation, there is no need to over burden yourself. For most diabetics struggling with high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or anything else it can prove best to start by altering your diet. This tends to produce the most dramatic changes that will allow you to ready your body for more intense activity. And for those who have mobility restrictions, this 7-minute workout might not work for you.
WHY DOES THIS WORK?
The background to this workout is what sets it apart from the many other trendy workouts. Two professionals published an article in an issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal that boiled down extensive training guidelines into an efficient high-intensity circuit training routine. It combines the benefits of cardio, weight lifting through body resistance and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). And it’s available on a free website or smart phone app. This is the type of short cut that every diabetic should know about.
One of the two authors of this investigation, Chris Jordan, the director of Exercise Physiology, at the Human Performance Institute, said that “There’s very good evidence many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time.” This statement refers to the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) part of this workout. In recent discoveries, HIIT has been found to improve glucose metabolism and improve fat burning. If you are not familiar with HIIT, it is a type of cardio exercise interval that can be applied to different modes of exercising. It alternates short, intense forms of exercise with rest periods. One session of a HIIT exercise usually last between 4 and 30 minutes. Here is an example of a HIIT workout:
Your waistline is your lifeline.
― Jack LaLanne
While HIIT is just a subset of the 7-minute workout, the entire workout is defined by these professional trainers as high-intensity circuit training (HICT). (I promise that’s the last of the similar looking acronyms!) The modern form of circuit training has been around since the 1950’s, but several researchers have experimented with increasing the intensity with different exercises. Specifically, they picked exercises that greatly raised the heart rate and by varying the rest times to find the ideal for the most gains in the shortest amount of time. This workout is the result of years of scientific work by experienced trainers.
This high-intensity circuit training (HICT) has proven to be a fast, reliable and efficient means to losing body fat while retaining muscle. The exercises use several of the larger muscles with brief periods of rest in between. Researchers have found this combination to evoke both metabolic and aerobic benefits, which can last up to 72 hours after a HICT workout has been completed. HICT has also been proven to decrease insulin resistance over time, which is significant factor in developing Type 2 or prediabetes. Ladies and gentlemen, this is precisely how to exercise smarter and not harder, for greatest benefits with minimal efforts!
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
The common wisdom about exercise is just as flawed in its reasoning as the common wisdom on nutrition. How many times have you heard someone say that eating a 650 calorie hamburger will take 6.5 hours to run it off (assuming a 100 calorie/hour rate)? Or that 250 calorie slice of cake will take you 3 1/3 hours to walk it off (assuming a 75 calorie/hour rate). This broken “logic” comes from the dated medical science of viewing body fat in the same context as the thermodynamic burning of calories. They reasoned that burning 1 gram of fat produced 9 calories of heat. This is true when you burn 1 lb of whale fat in a laboratory and measure the 4,086 calories of heat that it produced. It’s surprising that anyone even attempts to exercise at all with these absurdly high calculations for the time needed.
Unfortunately, the body is not such a simple science experiment as they concluded. Your organs, your hormones and cells all play unique, complex and intertwined roles when exercising, even for a mere 7 minutes. When physical activity is present above normal resting rates the sympathetic nervous system produces a signal to your muscles. The result of this signal is that more new mitochondria are produced from burning energy in the form of glucose or body fat. This is key because new mitochondria functions better than old mitochondria to process and consume energy. To refresh your body sciences knowledge, the mitochondria functions as the powerhouse of the cell because it produces most of the ATP which is used as the source of chemical energy. Newly formed mitochondria improve the performance of insulin sensitivity, which is a good thing for diabetics trying to undo the harmful effect of metabolic syndrome. This is why someone who is hiking Mt Everest or the entire 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail can consume two double bacon cheeseburgers and still manage to lose weight. Their mitochondria is working so efficiently and their caloric output is so high that their body has no chance of converting this energy to storage as body fat for later use.
Some indirect benefits of exercise can also prove helpful long after your 7 minutes of exercise has ended. The beauty of physical activity is that it changes these biochemical processes in our body for up to 72 hours. This is why it is essential for those suffering from diabetes to force yourself to get active and stay active. When you exert yourself, your body releases endorphins from the central nervous system and pituitary gland. These chemicals are that feel good to the brain and produce a similar feeling to other opioids. Another benefit you receive from exercise is the reduction in your cortisol, or stress hormones. This is beneficial since one of the top causes of diabetes is from stress and the resulting stress eating. Exercise has even been studied to show that it can be used to control systemic inflammation, precisely the type of help needed by those suffering metabolic syndrome.
7-MINUTE WORKOUT EXERCISES FOR DIABETES
As the theory behind this workout is very specific, so are the exercises and the order in which they are to be performed. There’s twelve exercises with a quick ten second break in between each. The above website, app or web app can offer the cadence and instruction needed for success.
You will notice the lack of any expensive or complex exercise equipment needed. This makes this routine not only excellent for doing at home, but also if you are travelling and staying in a hotel room. If you are fortunate enough to have an exercise room at work or school, this routine will work there, too. If you make this short workout a daily habit, you should be well on your way to improving your physical health and consequently, reducing the impact diabetes has on your life.
The downfall of having a quick workout means that you might become bored with doing the same exercises over and over. As the mental part of our body can become accustomed and bored with these exercises in due time, so can our physical body. When the body is exposed to the same exercises over and over, the exercises become less effective. Once you reach this level, consider doing the advanced 7-minute workout. A good practice, to keep the exercise effective, is to alternate the standard and advanced, by day, week or month, but not during the same session.
For those desiring more intensity, it is certainly okay to double down (or even triple down, if you dare). Complete the first 7-minute workout, take a five-minute break and then repeat the entire 7-minute workout routine again. Should you ever find yourself training for a 5K or a long backpacking trip, this can prove helpful for training since it tackles both the cardio and muscular development. If you have a month to train for an event, start with doing this workout daily for the first week. Then add two per day for the second week, three per day for the third week and, finally, four per day for the last week.
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Has this article helped you learn more about the ease of a 7-minute workout to combat diabetes? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
This magical compound covers over 70% of our planet Earth, yet most people, diabetics included, do not drink enough of it. Water is so crucial to our survival that we can only live a mere 3 days without it. When water is consumed in the amounts that the body needs its benefits are far-reaching. And drinking water to lose weight can help to potentially cure diabetes. Decreasing your daily soda intake (even diet!) and increasing your water intake will accelerate the process of reversing your diabetes.
Body Weight (in lbs) * ½ = Water (in ounces)
Use the above formula to calculate your approximate daily intake of water. If you’re being active through exercise or live in the desert, your daily minimum water needs will be higher. Likewise, if you are detoxifying from the standard American diet (SAD), your body could need more water to rid it from the toxins.
FINDING CLEAN WATER
Getting a good, clean water source can prove challenging, however. Most tap water is heavily chlorinated and has other chemicals that can make water taste and smell like it came straight from Shamu’s holding tank. It’s no wonder that many prefer the sweet taste of sodas, juice and energy drinks when compared to this fishy alternative. There’s some simple options to help make tap water more appealing.
- Drink cold water. Fill up a pitcher of water and place it in your fridge. Not only will the cold mask some of the smell and taste of tap water, but cold water can speed up your metabolism slightly.
- Add mint and/or lemon to your water. Both of these will make water taste better and come with some added benefits. Lemons can help reduce inflammation, swelling, and is antibacterial. Mint is also antibacterial and can relive irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), soothe upset stomachs and suppress your appetite.
- Add liquid stevia to your water. If your taste buds are used to the sugary sweet nectar of cherry cola, it could be difficult to drink something so neutral. A few guilt-free drops of the natural sweetener stevia can make the transition off of soda somewhat easier. Stevia Extract Clear Liquid
- Use an affordable water filter. This Brita water filter can help reduce odor and taste from tap water. While the Brita will make it easier for you to drink more water, it does not remove a great deal of chemicals from the water, it just neutralizes their taste through a charcoal filter.
- Purchase a dedicate water filtering system. Utilizing a ceramic filter will make sure that chemicals, odors and tastes all get removed from your water. These systems are not cheap but will make the best tasting water you have ever had. Multipure Drinking Water Systems
There are a few things to avoid with water. Avoid bottled water at all costs. It produces an amazing amount of plastic waste, not to mention the fuel costs needed to drive water from the factory to the store to your home. Bottled water can also leach harmful hormone disrupting chemicals into the liquid from the plastic.
Avoid distilled water, also. Water sold at stores as distilled can still suffer from the same problems as mentioned above from the plastic. But distilled water is also void of the good trace minerals that are found in spring water that our bodies need. If you are buying bottle water, choose the spring water over the distilled.
Water is the driving force of all nature.
― Leonardo da Vinci
DRINKING WATER TO LOSE WEIGHT AND OTHER BENEFITS
The human body uses water for nearly every bodily function. It is essential to our existence. When you give the body what it needs it is amazing in how it responds. Here are some of the known benefits to drinking the proper amount of water everyday:
- Reduces food intake by drinking a glass pre-meal. When the stomach is full, we tend to stop eating sooner. The water in your stomach can help curb your appetite. Just like drinking the proper amount of water, eating the proper amount of food can aid in weight loss and reversing your diabetes.
- Boosts metabolism. Drinking 16 oz of cold water first thing in the morning can boost your metabolism slightly. This jump-start on hydration during the day is especially important to those who suffer from sleep apnea. These people tend to lose more moisture throughout the night from heavy mouth breathing.
- Makes skin look younger. The downside of dehydration is that you physical looks suffer from dry skin and wrinkles. Adding water back into your daily diabetic meal plan may clear up your skin and help you look younger longer.
- Reduces headaches. Several doctors that I know have found strong correlations between those who suffer from frequent headaches and dehydration. The brain is composed of about 75% water. When you are dehydrated your grey matter can diminish in size and pull away from your skull. This situation understandably causes discomfort to your head.
- Fights fatigue. One of the major side effects of those suffering from dehydration is a general tiredness. Adding water back into your routine can help you feel more alert and awake.
- Combats constipation. The process of digestion requires a good amount of liquid to work properly. When food passes through the large intestine a large amount of water is also withdrawn. Not surprisingly, the leading cause of chronic constipation is from dehydration.
- Assists your body to detox. The main liquid waste from the body is urine, which has waste from the kidneys. Drinking the proper amount of water means that the kidneys have an easier time doing their job of expelling waste.
TIPS FOR DRINKING MORE WATER
The importance of water in our diet is up there with the quality of food that we consume. If you’re subscribed to our diabetic meal plan, you will be consuming more water inadvertently through whole food ingredients. Good vegetables and fruit contain a significant amount of water in addition to loads of other vitamins and minerals.
Grab yourself a nice water bottle made from inert stainless steel or glass. If you keep this with you throughout the day it will urge you to drink more water. And also prevent you from accidentally ingesting some toxic chemicals from plastic bottles and cups. The Kleen Kanteen makes several affordable shapes and sizes of water bottles. These containers are great for air travel, too. The TSA does not allow fluids to go through security but they do allow containers to go through. Fill it up after security and save yourself the $5 they charge for bottled water.
Check your progress. Make a simple note on your smart phone or on a piece of paper throughout the day with the time and amount of water you drank. By the day’s end you should be close to, or have exceeded, the calculated number above.
As sales of colas are slowly dropping, companies are getting creative with their product offerings to continue making money from sugary beverages. The public is slowly waking up to the fact that colas are bad for your health, hence the drop in sales. Beverages are excellent money makers for companies, yielding about 90% profits over their costs to manufacture. Vitaminwater is one of the latest beverage products to hit the grocery store shelf, along with its deceptive marketing.
What could be wrong with vitamins and water? At first glance it seems like it should be a beverage that offers some health benefits or, at the very least, does not kill you slowly, but unfortunately it is not the case. While it does offer some low-grade vitamins, it also packs a sweet punch of blood sugar spiking carbohydrates. This is precisely what diabetics (and prediabetics) need to avoid, especially those diabetics trying to reverse the damage of this disease. Let’s look at the nutrition label below under a close eye. The first thing to note is how they label a serving. One bottle is not considered a serving, rather 8 oz is or 1/2.5 of the container. I doubt most consumers will only drink 40% of it. This marketing trick will get past most consumers unnoticed. To calculate the total amount of sugar in this bottle you need to multiple the 13 g by 2.5 to get 32.5 g total. To get a good feeling of how much sugar that is, divide by 4.2 g, or the amount of sugar in one teaspoon. This “healthy” vitamin water yields a whopping 7.7 teaspoons of sugar in every bottle, not to mention the 125 empty calories. Another clever marketing trick employed on this label is in the ingredient list. Have you ever heard of crystalline fructose? It is an affordable sweetener that is highly processed and derived from America’s favorite vegetable: corn. It is not good for you at all and about 20% sweeter than conventional table sugar. Crystalline fructose is even 5% sweeter than high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)! Not only is corn one of the top six inflammatory foods that this diabetic meal plan actively avoids, but it also raises your blood sugar and decreases your insulin sensitivity over time.
Vitaminwater was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2007 for over $4 billion to increase their product offerings in the rapidly growing flavored water segment. In 2010, a class action lawsuit was filed against Coca-Cola for misleading consumers on its health benefits. Coca-Cola denies any wrongdoing but settled the lawsuit nonetheless and removed some of the deceptive wording from its labels.
SHARING IS CARING
Has this article helped you learn more about the benefits of drinking water to lose weight? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
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We sit on our commutes. We sit at our work (or our school). We sit some more on our commute home. And then we sit and watch hours of television. All of this sitting is killing you and wreaks havoc on the human body. If you sit for more than 6 hours per day you are 64% more likely to die from heart disease. Sadly, our culture has had an ever-increasing amount of sedentary behavior. More people work at desk jobs in offices than ever before. It takes a concerted effort to keep active both at work (or school) and at home. Thankfully, with some light exercise (think: walking) a few times during your day you can undo most of the effects of sitting and work on reversing your diabetes through weight loss.
HOW SITTING IS KILLING YOU
Our bodies are not designed for extended periods of sitting, even with moderate exercise. Until recently, our civilization has been primarily based on agriculture. Farming without modern machinery is a very active task requiring a taxing amount of physical labor throughout the day. In addition to the bending over, lifting, squatting and the digging required by manual farming our bodies are also designed for walking and running. The early days of hunting most likely involved running after injured or slow animals. Our ancestors did not get long spells of time on their keisters. The concept of commuting and working at a desk are two modern byproducts from the industrial revolution.
Okay, so our bodies are not that of sloths or hibernating bears, by design, but exactly what is so bad about sitting all day at work? When you first sit down the body’s position prevents full electrical activity in the legs. Your metabolism also slows down its calorie burning to a mere 1 calorie per minute, quite possibly the lowest rate of your entire day. Sitting for prolonged periods of time will even drop the effectiveness of your insulin and raise your risk of getting, or maintaining, Type 2 Diabetes. Read more about the pitfalls of sitting on the infographic below.
TAKE A STAND AGAINST SITTING!
As someone important in my childhood once told me, “knowing is half the battle”. Adding in some activity to your day will not only help reduce the harmful effects of sitting but also aid in your battle to reverse your diabetes (or prediabetes).
If you live close enough to work, consider walking or biking instead of driving. This daily activity adds up quickly to get in more activity without having to make a planned effort to drag yourself to the gym. For those out of shape, it’s very important to not give up before getting started. If your commute is easy one way and harder the other, try commuting the easy way leg first then adding in the harder other leg once you can. For example, my office is down a large hill which makes walking or biking to work easy. On the way home, I catch the bus up the hill or grab a ride from a coworker to the top of the hill. There’s a few times in life when it’s okay to half-ass it to start building a habit.
Workdays can get busy and it can be a challenge to stay active during the day. After spending 15+ years in the office world myself, I find myself struggling as well. Some tricks I have fostered to keep my blood flowing during the day are these:
- Take regular walks. Use your smart phone or email calendar to put in a reminder or alarm. I stand at least every hour and/or try to go outside for a 15 minute walk every 1.5 hours. Consider using a pedometer to track your paces throughout the day.
- Walk after lunch. Your blood sugar levels rise after eating. This is one of the best times to take a light walk for 15-30 minutes. Burning the sugar in your bloodstream will prevent your liver from converting it into body fat for use later. Come ready for inclement weather and only stay inside if there’s a weather alert.
- Use a standing desk. The advantages are many and the setup is easy. A bonus of using a standing desk is that you will burn more calories compared to sitting.
- Always use the stairs. We have a few elevators in our 3-story building, but the stairs are the only thing I let myself use. The exception is when you’re injured or carrying something heavy. Stairs are great exercise, too; look below to see the difference in calorie burning.
- Use the farthest away bathroom. We all take many trips to the bathroom throughout the day, so why not add some more steps to it. Figure out the bathroom that requires the most steps and pretend the others do not exist.
- If you drive, park far away. This hack is similar to my bathroom trick above. Find the spot in the parking lot furthest away from the entrance. These small amounts of steps will add up over time.
BEHOLD, THE STANDING DESK
The raised desk has gained in popularity the past few years and with good reason – it works! It’s easy once you find one within your budget that meets your ergonomic needs. It never hurts to discuss this with your facility folks or your boss, whatever the case might be. I was fortunate enough to have one customized to the height that I needed due to my chronic back problems. The first step is to determine your desk height from this handy ergonomic calculator.
There’s two routes to take on this gravity defying endeavor – DIY or store-bought. I’ve seen several coworkers just raise their monitor up on boxes or crates. It’s effective but not the most presentable. Some easier and appearance conscious options are to hack some furniture parts together from Ikea. This worked for me in my home office. I just used a desk that was intended for sitting and swapped the desk for the higher up shelf to my desired height. Here’s a cheaper version of an Ikea hacked solution.
Store bought versions are preferable when you’re at a formal workplace or do not want the hassle of figuring out Ikea cartoon instructions. Ergotron makes some popular models in many different configurations. UpLift makes a slick electronically controlled desk, but it is not cheap. It is the newer version of desks that are being installed in our office space. They do dual duty since they can be lowered to alternate between sitting and standing. And, of course, there are some options on Amazon that arrive with free shipping. The Safco Stand Up workstation is good for those with a desktop or printer. It’s adjustable in height, too. A sleek alternative for those with laptops is the iCraze Adjustable Stand. It’s vented to prevent overheating and works nicely in bed or on top of any table or desk. If the floor under your standing desk is not soft, consider buying a nice standing mat. It does increase your stand time significantly.
SHARING IS CARING
Has this article helped you learn more about how sitting is killing you? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
Photos by Fotolia.