Dr Akilah El – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

The Natural Health and Holistic World According to Dr Akilah El

Category Archives: Weight Loss

The 10 Most Misleading Food Labels

0ghhBy Healthy Living

1. All Natural 
In theory, the term “all natural” should convey a glowing halo of wholesome goodness, with quality ingredients sourced straight from Mother Nature. In some cases, yes, this absolutely applies (like when we’re talking about asparagus or apples). But far too often, “natural” has less than zero meaning, and the number of lawsuits against food companies proves it. The FDA has yet to define “all natural,” so companies can slap it on anything from potato chips to corn oil, even if preservatives or genetically modified ingredients were used. When in doubt, double check ingredient lists and lean toward using whole ingredients you recognize…like asparagus and apples, no labels necessary.

2. Zero Trans Fats 
You’d think zero means nothing, nil, nada, right? Think again. There’s a lovely sneaky clause that allows food companies to weasel in up to 0.5 grams of trans fat, and still market it as containing “zero” trans fats. May not sound like a lot, but serving after serving adds up. And when trans fats are clear culprits in raising “bad” cholesterol and lowering “good” cholesterol, that’s a definite problem. So re-read that nutrition label and make sure that “0″ really is listed in the trans-fat line, and watch out for red flag words like “hydrogenated” in ingredient lists.

3. Sugar-Free & No Sugar Added 
Knocking sugar out of our diets is something most of us have attempted at one point or another. And yes, it’s a good idea to keep added sugar to a minimum and look to nature-made sources of sweetness. Too bad products claiming they’re sugar-free or have “no sugar added” are generally loaded with non-natural artificial sweeteners or man-made (manipulated) sugar alcohols, which can wreak havoc on a sensitive digestive system. The word “artificial” says it all. Choose the real deal when it comes to sugar or sweeteners (or treats that include them) like honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, and fresh fruit juices and purees…and keep their amounts on the lighter side.

4. High-Protein
Myth: Bulking up on protein will help you get into buff shape and melt away excess fat. Fact: Too much of anything, even if it’s healthy, isn’t always good. Too many calories overall, and you can kiss that buff shape goodbye; too much protein, and your kidneys can go into overdrive. When it comes to food products touting “high-protein,” the source of protein is often from a manipulated, processed form of an ingredient, like soy protein isolate. Most of us get more than enough protein in our diets, so stick with simple sources like fish, eggs, nuts, organic tofu, beans, and quinoa.

5. High-Fiber 
Somewhat like “high-protein,” high-fiber products are often boosted with doses of processed forms of fiber. Added “functional” fibers like chicory root fiber, polydextrose, and oat fiber don’t necessarily have the same impact as naturally occurring fiber in foods, and may cause bloating and gas. Look to fruit, vegetables, seeds, beans, and whole grains for your fiber intake and you’ll hit your recommended 25-35 grams per day without thinking about it, and without the stomach upset.

6. Low-Carb
The fear and loathing of carbohydrates that has taken hold of health-minded individuals has allowed food companies to run rampant with new “low-carb” products like bagels, brownies, muffins, and more. Most of these items however, contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners and/or processed sources of fiber–which isn’t exactly health-minded. The thing with carbs isn’t to demonize them. It’s about eating them in smart quantities and from quality sources. You’ll fill up faster on less, and will be more satisfied and happier.

7. Gluten-Free
This might just be the “health claim” of the moment right now. Food items that are marketed as “gluten-free” are by law void of gluten or wheat, any ingredient that would potentially cause digestive harm to someone with Celiac disease or a severe wheat/gluten allergy. What these products aren’t free of, however, are calories, and they often contain quite a lot of them. If you don’t have a specific condition, like Celiac, going gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose weight. That said, lowering the amount of gluten or wheat you consume may increase your energy levels or help you feel better digestively, but keep an eye on how much gluten-free bread, cookies, cakes, and chips you eat. Just because they’re sans gluten, that doesn’t give you license to eat with abandon. Look for healthy carbohydrates that are naturally gluten-free, like rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and quinoa.

8. Organic
Grabbing an “organic” item in the grocery store doesn’t mean you’ve hit a pot of calorie-free gold. Organic cheese puffs, ice cream, and chocolate-creme cookies do not a balanced diet make. Organic is defined as any item with at least 95 percent organic ingredients–no hormones, genetically modified ingredients, additives, antibiotics, or radiation. But aim to focus your “organic” attention on items that should appear in your diet frequently, like grains, fruits and vegetables, specifically those with permeable skins.

9. Fat-Free
“Free” isn’t always a bargain. Fat-free items are typically full of empty, unfulfilling calories and may leave you hungry. Surprising as it may be, we need fat (the healthy kind) in order to fill up. Fat-free products often leave eaters scrambling for other foods because they’re just not satisfied. Healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats and omega-6 and omega-3 fats help lower cholesterol and heart disease risk, and they delay signs of aging and mental decline, and help boost mood. Choose excellent sources like olive oil, nuts and nut butters, avocado, flaxseeds, and coconuts

10. Omega 3′s
By no means are we aiming to slam amazing-for-you heart-healthy omega-3 fats. What we are trying to call out are all the excessive claims on products with “added” omegas, from tortilla chips to eggs and yogurt. If it doesn’t come inherently from nature, it’s still unclear how our bodies will respond and metabolize it. And if you’ve got a tortilla chip rich in omega-3s thanks to whole flaxseeds, unfortunately, you’re not getting very far. Flaxseeds need to be ground in order to reap all the benefits. Look for naturally occurring omega-3 fat sources like avocado, ground flaxseed, walnuts and other nuts, and olive oil.

 

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10 Tricks That’ll Motivate You to Work Out

work-out-Groupby FitSugar

It’s true what they say: 80 percent of success is just showing up. Once you’re there – you’re there. This advice can be hard to take when, after a late night of fun, your alarm goes off before the sun is up. Propelling yourself to the gym, pool, mat, or trail can feel like a hurdle in its own right, but it’s always one worth jumping. If you’ve resolved to work out more this year and get fit for 2013, motivate yourself to keep on sweating with these tricks. 

  • Channel that glorious post-workout feeling. Whenever you feel the instinct to skip a sweat session, imagine how accomplished and energized you feel after just 30 minutes or an hour of exercise. Just get there already.
  • Make a date with a friend or fitness trainer. If you set a time to meet someone, you’ll feel obligated to go, even when your mind and body are telling you otherwise. If you’re looking to get your sweat on outside of the gym, here are some of our favorite ideas for fitness dates, from rock climbing to ice skating.
  • Create a healthy post-workout routine and make time for it, too. Reward yourself after a workout by scheduling extra moments to relax in the steam room, blow out your hair to perfection, or get a hot coffee or a protein-rich smoothie.
  • This is the simplest, and possibly hardest, piece of advice to follow: schedule your workout early in the morning before the day’s distractions detour you from lofty intentions.
  • Carry a motivational token or photo with you. Beyoncé keeps a painting of an Oscar at the gym, so she’s literally running toward her next goal. Instead of commissioning a masterpiece, snap a shot of the dress you want to wear on your next date, a beautiful beach you hope to visit this year, or even yourself at your best, and make it the wallpaper on your phone. When you feel like caving, look at it.
  • Instead of going home to watch your favorite show on the couch, suit up and watch it on the treadmill. If your gym doesn’t have TVs on each machine, load up your iPod or iPhone.
  • Try something new. Sign up for an exercise class you’ve never taken before, take a hike to a vista point, ride your bike to a new trail, or work out at a different time of day.
  • Throw on your favorite workout wear and some lip gloss. Kelly Osbourne admits to dolling up so she feels positive and pretty when she sees her reflection working out.
  • Avoid taking a physical dip by fueling your body with a healthy pre-workout snack. You’ll have something to burn and a boost of protein to keep your eye on the prize.
  • Give yourself a gold star. Plot out a reward system and treat yourself when you hit your goal of workouts per week, weight loss, or the finish line. Wouldn’t a massage or a pedicure feel great after all your hard work?

 

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Use Visualization to Achieve Weight Loss Success – It Works!

successWEIGHTlossby Remez Sasson

Creative visualization is a great tool for losing weight. By visualizing your body as you want it to be, you induce your subconscious mind to shape your body to look as close to your mental image as possible.

This does not mean that creative visualization will completely change the shape of your body. It means that if you visualize in accordance with the laws of visualization, you will improve the way it looks and reduce its weight.

It is a known fact that thoughts and emotions affect the body for better or worse, depending on your predominant thoughts and emotions. Negative thinking, stress, fear, excitement, worry and anger hurt the body. Under these conditions the body releases toxins into the blood, which affect it adversely.

Positive thinking, happiness, love and confidence heal, strengthen and energize the body.

You can use the connection between the mind and the body to your advantage. The subconscious mind accepts and treats both real conditions and mentally imagined conditions as real. This means that if you visualize yourself as being slim, your subconscious mind will accept what you visualize as true, and will act to make your body conform to your mental image.

Losing weight with the help of creative visualization can be termed as a “mental diet”. Of course, the chances of success will be greater, if in addition to visualization you reduce the amount of food you eat, follow a diet and exercise your body.

Tips for losing weight through visualization:

- Two or three times a day, sit down for several minutes in a quiet place, and visualize your body as you wish it to be. Leave your worries, doubts and other thoughts behind, and concentrate on what you are doing. Use Dr Akilah’s FREE success scale by clicking here. You can print it out or download it to your computer. 

- See yourself slim and beautiful, with your ideal weight. Forget how you look now. You are creating a new reality. See yourself at the beach or pool wearing a swimming suit. See how gorgeous you look. Imagine yourself wearing all those tight clothing that you have always wanted to wear.

- Visualize your family and friends complimenting you about how gorgeous your body looks and how slim you look now. Look at the whole scene as real, and as happening right now at the present moment, not in the future.

- You can construct in your mind any other scene you wish. You can see yourself exercising, dancing, with friends, with your husband or wife, at work, etc. See yourself moving and in action. Hear people complimenting you about your slim body, and see their admiring glances. In short, make the mental image as real as possible.

- Construct in your mind images that ignite your emotions. Make them alive and colorful. Make the scenes in your mind interesting and real, and see yourself in each scene as slim, the way you will look after you lose weight.

- Never visualize that you are disgusted with food or with eating, and do not develop a loathing for any kind of food. By visualizing your body as you wish it to look, your subconscious mind will direct you to eat the appropriate food in the right quantities.

- While visualizing, and after finishing your visualization session, don’t tell yourself: “well, it is all nonsense, I cannot lose weight”. If you say these words you destroy all the work you have done. When thoughts of disbelief crawl into your mind do not listen to them. Let only thoughts of your ideal body shape enter and pass through your mind.

As in everything else in life, persistence is required.

Tips and Warnings

  • Think positive Create positive habits to replace the negative ones Tell friends and family about what you are doing Keep a journal of how you feel and results you see According to the author of the book “Creative Visualization,” “create an ideal scene in your mind and keep it in a notebook where you can read it often.” Your brain listens to what you are saying and thinking, therefore negative thoughts produce negative outcomes. Take charge of your mind and think yourself to a new slimmer you. Count your blessings each day and think of everything that you have to be grateful for. Think of good memories and the feelings surrounding these thoughts. This will keep you on track to main a positive outlook each day while working on your visualization techniques.

Click Here to use this free visual aid tool to program your subconscious mind to help your body lose lots of weight fast. This simple mind trick can help melt pounds of excess fat off your body.

How to Stop Emotional Eating

By Denise Foley

Did you buy six boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year because you couldn’t say no to the world’s cutest 7-year-old in a Brownie uniform? Did you take that extra helping of your sister-in-law’s whole wheat carob cake because you didn’t want to hurt her feelings? When your BFF is waffling over ordering dessert, do you agree to share it with her even though you don’t want it – and then match her bite for bite?

If you could answer yes to any of these questions, you may suffer from sociotropy – the scientific term for having the need to please others. While that might make you the right candidate to broker peace in the Mideast, excessive niceness is a recipe for excessive girth. And it’s only one of the character traits that can lead to unhappy mornings on the scale.

We all know the major triggers of emotional eating: anger, loneliness, rejection, guilt. Most of us, at one time or another, have taken out our fury on a bag of crunchy corn chips or tried to beat the blues with a pint of cookie-dough ice cream. But new research shows that certain personality types are also prone to making a frosted donut a chosen alternative to therapy. Besides the sociotrope, there’s the thrill seeker and the worka-choco-holic – and each type needs different strategies for coping without the extra calories.

The People Pleaser: You Eat for One, But It’s Not You

In a recent experiment at Case Western Reserve University, researchers screened volunteers for their “gotta be nice” qualities, then invited them to a meeting with a staff member (actually an actor) who casually passed around a bowl of M&M’s. When the bowl came their way, students who’d scored higher on the sociotropy scale dug in, taking more than the students who were less concerned with others’ comfort or with matching how many the actor ate. “They didn’t want him to feel bad by eating fewer,” explains study head Julie Exline, Ph.D.

We often eat more when we’re around those who are eating a lot – that’s one reason studies show that people whose friends are overweight are more likely to be heavy themselves. “Then, if you have a people-pleasing thing going on top of that, you’ll feel even more pressured to follow others,” says Exline.

After overeating comes depression, and not just because you can’t zip your jeans. “When your motivation is to please other people, you’re letting them tell you what’s important to you,” says Exline. “I describe it as ‘silencing your own voice.’ ” The goal, then, to avoid piling on those unpleasing pounds, is to find that voice.

1. First, Consider What You Want 
If you’re not truly hungry, “Lay on praise, then state your boundary,” suggests Karen R. Koenig, a psychotherapist and author of Nice Girls Finish Fat. You might say, “Those pastries look delicious, but I’m so stuffed from lunch that I’m going to take a pass.” You can smile at that cute Brownie, give her the money for two boxes of cookies, then ask her to donate them to troops overseas. 

2. De-nice Yourself…A Little 
Of course, you’re going to be fighting an enemy that has outposts in your head, as writer Sally Kempton famously said. Even if you were the biggest tomboy on the block, you probably grew up believing that caretaking was in your future, if not somewhere in your genes. “But changing isn’t as hard as you may think,” says Koenig. “It’s really about learning a new life skill.”

Practice saying a (polite) no to the salesperson on the phone (start with the robocaller if you’re a tough case), then work your way up to strangers offering samples in a store and coworkers tempting you with holiday goodies. After that, you’ll be ready to take on your cousin when she pushes a second helping of pie at you.

Are you eating out of boredom? The Thrill Seeker: You’re Bored and Want Candy

What you probably want is a jolt of dopamine, says Susan Carnell, Ph.D., research associate at New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. That’s the brain chemical that drives excitement, pleasure, and motivation – including the motivation to eat. “The dopamine system evolved with the very purpose of making adaptive things like eating feel rewarding so we wouldn’t forget to do them.”

These days, says Carnell, drugs, thrill seeking, and food cravings have hijacked the brain’s reward system, leading to addiction, accidents, and overeating. Recent studies have found that ingesting sugary, fatty foods sparks dopamine production in the brain in much the same way drugs like heroin do, lighting up the neural reward center in imaging studies. “It’s just a matter of degree,” says Carnell. “Food gives a relatively mild high compared to skydiving and heroin. But it’s the easiest route to reward.”

Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of research on boredom eating, but a small 2011 Bowling Green State University study hints at how prevalent it is. In the study, 139 young men and women reported eating out of boredom more than out of other states of emotion linked to overindulging, such as anxiety or depression.

Older studies, approaching boredom from a slightly different direction, have suggested a connection between having what scientists call a “novelty-seeking personality” and being overweight. In a review from Washington University in St. Louis, obese people were more likely than thinner folks to be novelty seekers; they also had great trouble dropping pounds. One reason: Being high in novelty-seeking can make you more likely to overeat as well as to try and enjoy drugs. Cocaine, a cupcake – it’s all the same when you’re looking for a kick.

Joking aside, if your life seems like one big yawn, there are things to do other than hitting the fridge.

1. Seek Out a Thrill 
Make a list of activities that can fill in the boring blanks. “To stimulate your neural circuitry, it has to be something that makes you feel excited and motivated,” says Carnell. You could, for example, take a class. Dopamine is the chemical that fosters learning and memory, so the novelty of doing something new scatters the chemical throughout your brain. Whether it’s knitting or scuba diving depends on you and the level of excitement you think you need.

2. Shake Up Your Life Regularly 
Get off the bus at a different stop and hoof it the rest of the way to work, checking out the sights you’ve only seen from a window. Plan your dream vacation or home-remodeling project in detail, as if you’re doing it soon. Need to lose weight? A single program may not help you, particularly if you get bored counting calories, carbs, or points. So try one and, after the thrill’s gone, try another. Likewise, alternate physical activity – walking one day, Zumba the next.

Busy lives can contribute to weight gainThe Worka-choco-holic: You’re Overworked, Overwhelmed – and Overeating

Those are the “three O’s” that are the downfall of driven women, says psychologist Melissa McCreery, Ph.D., which explores how women’s busy lives contribute to emotional eating and weight gain. The “O’s” can all lead to stress eating. “But there’s more to it than stress,” says McCreery. “Women who balance many responsibilities struggle with putting themselves first. It takes time. Food is an easy Band-Aid, while real self-care can be more time-intensive.”

But solutions come in many sizes – and even small changes may be enough to avoid the extra pounds that can come with extra work.

1. Think “Doable” 
You don’t want to add more stress to your life. For example, take five minutes to transition between work and home. If you know you won’t find quiet – everyone will be “starving” or clamoring to tell you about his or her day – sit in the car and listen to music or meditate before going into the house.

2. Connect With Yourself 
When you’re stressed, take five again – five seconds – before digging into the Nutella. “Ask yourself what’s going on and if there’s anything else you want to do besides eat,” says McCreery.

Make a list of small breaks that don’t involve chewing: calling a friend; playing a game on your cell phone; tossing a toy for your dog.

3. Say It Out Loud 
A recently published Greek study found that people who were trying to learn a new skill did better when they spoke to themselves using cue words. When you’re stressed, voicing your plan to do something other than eat – “I’m going to sit down and read for five minutes” – will change the direction of your thoughts, says McCreery. “It takes you off autopilot and puts you more in control.”

If that doesn’t work, instead of blaming yourself, be curious. Think about what went wrong and what you could do next time. Overachievers are smart; harness your own wisdom, and you’ll find your answers there.

Getting enough sleep can deter emotional eatingGo to the Mattress

No matter what your personality, if you’re tired, you’ll be tempted to look for a quick hit of energy – the kind that lives in vending machines or behind drive-through windows. Many of us know this from life experience, but now, using brain-imaging technology, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have confirmed that people who have been sleep-deprived suffer impairment in the parts of the brain involved in making appropriate food choices. The solution: Make sleep time sacrosanct. When you can’t log enough hours, try these next-day tricks: Give your brain a rest every 45 minutes or so. “No matter how busy you are, you’ll be more productive if you take breaks,” says psychologist Melissa McCreery, Ph.D. And find other quick ways to boost energy – move around, go outside for some fresh air, or listen to upbeat music on your iPod.

15 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Whether you’re trying to shed some lbs or just stay fit, these tricks to increase your metabolism from Heather Bauer, RD,CDN, will help you reach the finish line even faster. 

1. Keep Hydrated I’m sure the general population thinks dieticians sound like a broken record when it comes to the whole water thing, but it really is important. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day will help your body function at peak performance levels. 

2. Ditch the Drinks Happy hours and late night cocktails can do a number on your metabolism the next day. Research shows that the day after a night of drinking, there is a significant dip in your metabolic rate. Combine this with hangover cravings, and you’ve got a double disaster. 

3. Destress Yourself Stress raises the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a hormone that tells the body to hold onto fat in case of a stressful situation (think more natural disaster-level stress, not a bad day at work-level). Experiment with yoga or meditation as ways to lower stress levels and clear your mind. 

4. Decrease Diet Soda Although it’s low in calories and seems like an easy swap for high calorie beverages, diet soda may actually have adverse effects on your metabolism. Water and seltzer are better options.. 

5. Don’t Forget Your ZZZ’s Getting a least seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial to a healthy metabolism. Anything less can adversely affect your body’s ability to burn calories. Surprisingly, excess sleep may do the same thing. It’s best to keep a consistent bedtime and wake up close to the same time every morning 

6. Soak Up the Sun Research shows that when a person spends long periods of time in a darkened, dull environment, it stimulates the same physiological functions in the body as gaining weight and sleep. The best daylight hours are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so make it a point to get up from your desk and take a brisk walk outside. Aside from soaking up rays, you’ll rev up your heart rate and benefit from the fresh air. 

7. Work Out in the Cold Doing any type of cardio exercise in the cold can increase the ability of brown fat in the body to work at maximum capacity. Newly published research indicates that brown fat helps efficiently burn the white fat in your body, which is the considered that “bad fat.” 

8. Drink Kombucha Tea This tea, which is made from the Kombucha black mushroom, has racked up accolades in almost every health area-claims range from easing arthritis to detoxifying the liver. The detoxifying nature of this beverage may help your body function at an optimal level, which means a healthy metabolism. 

9. Increase Weight-Bearing Exercises One pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories, while one pound of fat burns a measly 5 to 10 calories. Turning fat into muscle can increase your body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) by up to 40%. There’s no need to hit the weights hard, either, simply using light weights at high repetition has been proven to tone muscle and burn fat 

10. Up Your Vitamin C Vitamin C and calcium are partners in crime when it comes to your metabolic rate. Calcium speeds up metabolism, while vitamin C helps the body absorb this mineral, creating an overall win-win situation. 

11. Vitamin B is Key Getting in all over your vitamin B, which you can do by incorporating small amounts of nuts, seeds, lean chicken, beef, and fish into your diet, helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Legumes are also a great source of B vitamins; plus they’re chock-full of fiber. 

12. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup It’s one of the most controversial issues in nutrition: Studies show that HFCS can make the body insulin-resistant. Also, when given the choice, the body stores fructose as fat before it does glucose. 

13. Try Interval Training Aside from curing workout boredom, interval training allows you to burn more calories in less time. This is a great way for busy people with less time to get in a maximum workout. 

14. Spicy Peppers Take your pick: Jalapenos, chili, cayenne, habanero, etc.. These fiery little guys contain capsaicin, which is why you get a burning sensation in your mouth when you eat them. This same effect is created internally, causing a calorie burn for about 30 minutes afterward. 

15. Go Ginger The latest craze is to add ginger shots to juice, but if you’re not into juicing, it also pairs nicely with veggies in a stir-fry. In addition to aiding digestion, it can speed up the body’s digestion process by as much as twenty percent. 

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