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Slim for Life: What to Eat in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s

slim4LIFE

By Nicole Yorio Jurick

For many of us, getting older and wider go hand in hand: Most adults pack on an average of 3.4 pounds every four years. “But weight gain isn’t inevitable if you arm yourself with age-specific strategies to prevent it,” says Elisa Zied, RD, the author of Younger Next Week. (Famous bodies of evidence: Christie Brinkley, Sandra Bullock and Halle Berry.) To help you stay trim, we zeroed in on the fat traps specific to each decade, then tapped the experts for the best ways to avoid them.

 

Your 20s 

Fat trap: Drinking
Blame it on the alcohol. Happy hour, boozy brunches and girls’ nights galore add up to lots of empty calories and late-night pizza.

Fat zap: ”Most of us wouldn’t drink several sodas in a row, but we’ll order multiple cocktails — even though a mojito is more caloric than a cola,” says Alice Domar, PhD, a coauthor of Live a Little! A shot of liquor has about 100 calories, a five-ounce glass of wine contains 120 and a 12-ounce beer has around 150.

Keep liquid calories low by alternating each drink with a glass of water or seltzer. Since many restaurants dole out double portions of wine, pour yourself five ounces at home (that’s about two-thirds of a cup) so you’ll know if you’ve been served extra, suggests Heather Mangieri, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And to prevent your willpower from drowning in pinot noir, “decide what you’re going to eat before you sip,” she says.

Fat trap: Eating out
Restaurant portions are huge (the average meal packs 1,495 calories), and you’re more likely to polish them off. People who dine in a group consume 18 percent more calories than they do when they’re alone, according to a study in Physiology & Behavior.

Fat zap: ”I’m going out to dinner, so I’ll have a light lunch.” Sound familiar? “Though it seems logical to save up your calories, people often end up consuming more in the end,” Domar says. Instead of showing up starving, eat a small serving of filling protein, such as a hard-boiled egg or a carton of Greek yogurt, to help tame your appetite before you head to the restaurant.

Once there, be the first at your table to order, because research shows that your dinner companions’ food selection can influence yours. An easy way to order right: “Pick an upgradedversion of something that you might make at home,” Mangieri suggests. So instead of a boring grilled-chicken salad, try the baby greens with roast chicken, walnuts and pears, for example. “This naturally helps you gravitate toward healthier options without making you feel as if you’re depriving yourself.”

Fat trap: Coupling up
No one is safe from love chub: Women who are dating gain an average of 15 pounds over five years, those who live with their guy gain 18, and newly married women gain 24, according to research from the University of North Carolina. “People in relationships subconsciously mirror each other’s food choices and eating pace,” explains Susan Albers, a psychologist and the author ofEating Mindfully. That’s dangerous, because men can generally get away with consuming more calories a day than women can.

Fat zap: If you keep picking grilled fish over burgers, chances are he’ll start doing the same. “When one person makes healthy choices, the other is likely to follow,” Albers says. Make healthy un-boring by buying exotic vegetables at the farmers’ market, experimenting with a lower-calorie version of chili or mac and cheese, or browsing cooking blogs for recipes you can make together. Then dish out your portion onto a smaller plate and intentionally slow your pace.

On date night, don’t default to dinner and a movie. Instead, try taking a new class at the gym, exploring a nearby city, or hiking in a local park together. Not only will you torch calories instead of taking them in, but you’ll also feel friskier; couples who share new activities report having better chemistry than those who stick to a routine.

 

Your 30s 

Fat trap: Baby weight
Princess Kate’s bump may have disappeared seemingly days after delivery, but nearly 60 percent of moms of 1- to 2-year-olds still haven’t lost the baby weight, according to a BabyCenter.com poll.

Fat zap: The sleep deprivation that comes with caring for a newborn increases levels of hunger hormones as well as cravings for fat and sugar, sonew moms tend to reach for junk food. The work-around is to stock up on healthy, convenient options, like rotisserie chicken with steam-in-the-bag vegetables and microwavable brown rice.

Be sure to fit fish into your diet twice a week. New moms who struggle with the blues are more likely to retain the baby weight after one year, a Harvard study showed, and DHA — a type of omega-3 found in salmon and tuna — has been linked to having fewer symptoms of postpartum depression.

Fat trap: Stress
Gen Xers are more stressed-out than Boomers, according to a study from the American Psychological Association. “Stress spikes levels of the hormone cortisol, which is a triple threat for weight gain,” says Scott Isaacs, MD, an endocrinologist and the author of Beat Overeating Now!“Cortisol not only increases your appetite, it also slows your metabolism and prompts your body to store fat.”

Fat zap: Resist working lunches, because scarfing food at your desk instead of taking a break makes you more frazzled, German researchers say. And because the caffeine in coffee can signal the adrenal gland to pump out cortisol, limit yourself to two grande coffees a day instead of fueling up on it every few hours, Dr. Isaacs recommends. Or switch to Earl Grey: Tea drinkers reported feeling calmer and had lower cortisol levels than coffee drinkers did after stressful situations, a British study found.

Eat oranges, red peppers, and sweet potatoes, which are all high in cortisol-lowering vitamin C. And dehydration increases levels of this hormone, so drink plenty of water and buy lower-sodium canned soups and bread, because the regular versions tend to be salty.

Fat trap: Crazy-busy everything
You’re climbing the corporate ladder, caring for a family and still trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. It’s no wonder healthy eating keeps dropping off your mile-long to-do list.

Fat zap: Most days you’re so slammed that by the time you realize you need food, you’re ravenous, and baby carrots or grilled chicken just won’t cut it. “Eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day can help you resist fattening temptations,” Domar says. The proof: Women who skipped meals lost almost eight pounds less than women who didn’t, according to a study in theJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

To make breakfast happen on hectic mornings, stash granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit in your car or office, Domar says. Then add a lunch reminder to your calendar. And instead of succumbing to greasy takeout dinners, prep a couple of meals over the weekend that you can eat throughout the week, like a big pot of soup or a huge stir-fry, Mangieri suggests.

 

Your 40s 

Fat trap: Kid-friendly food
Macaroni and cheese is practically a food group in your household, and pizza and cake at parties is a given.

Fat zap: ”A few bites of your child’s leftovers can add up to hundreds of extra calories over the course of a week,” Domar says. Make the kids responsible for putting their plates in the dishwasher to lessen the chances that you’ll go to town on whatever they didn’t eat.

If snacks are your downfall, stock up on ones that your kids love but you don’t, Mangieri says, like fruit snacks or frozen waffles. And when you’re at the umpteenth birthday party, eat only when you’re sitting at a table, not standing by the bouncy castle. “It makes you more mindful of what’s going into your mouth,” Albers says.

Fat trap: Perimenopause
Estrogen helps insulin metabolize blood sugar. So when your levels of the hormone naturally begin to drop as you head toward menopause, this estrogen deficiency increases your insulin resistance, “a condition that causes your body to store the food you eat as fat instead of burning it as energy,” Dr. Isaacs explains.

Fat zap: Cut refined carbohydrates from your diet. “White bread, white rice and sugar cause an insulin surge, which contributes to insulin resistance,” Dr. Isaacs says. “The majority of your carbohydrates should come from vegetables, fruits and whole grains, which your body digests more slowly.”

Hormonal changes can also throw your thyroid out of whack, resulting in weight gain, says Lyn-Genet Recitas, a nutritionist and the author of The Plan. And low levels of vitamin B12, which about 40 percent of people have, can make this worse. Get the recommended daily 2.4 micrograms of B12 by loading up on salmon, low-fat yogurt, and eggs.

Fat trap: A slower metabolism
You can begin to lose muscle mass at a rate of up to 5 percent a decade starting now, which means you’re burning 100 fewer calories a day, Mangieri says.

Fat zap: ”Strength-train twice a week to build new muscle and preserve what you have,” Zied says. Eating protein also helps. “Just spread out your intake, because our bodies most efficiently use 20 to 30 grams at a time for muscle building,” Mangieri says.

Turn the heat up in the kitchen and down on the thermostat. Eating spicy foods and living in cooler temperatures revs up your metabolism and helps you torch more fat, recentstudies found. “Spending a couple of hours in a 63-degree home is enough to burn an extra 50 to 100 calories a day,” Dr. Isaacs says.

 

Your 50s 

Fat trap: Menopause
As your level of estrogen continues to decline, your body converts more calories into fat, which contains the hormone. The results: less muscle mass and an even slower metabolism. Studies have also linked lower estrogen levels with increased abdominal fat, aka middle-aged spread.

Fat zap: Eat more fiber. For every 10 extra grams people took in each day, they reduced their amount of visceral fat, the dangerous belly kind that can lead to heart disease and diabetes, by 3.7 percent over a five-year period, according to researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Dairy, which is a good source of calcium, protein and vitamin D, can also help reduce belly fat, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition.

Fat trap: Pulling double duty
The pressure of paying for your children’s college tuition while caring for your aging parents can leave you feeling worried and worn-out.

Fat zap: Magnesium helps reduce stress by suppressing the release of cortisol, but most women don’t get the recommended 310 to 320 milligrams a day. Up your intake by eating spinach, almonds and black beans, all of which contain 50 milligrams or more per serving.

Also, choose foods rich in vitamin B6, which gives you extra energy by carrying oxygen to your cells during the day and helping you sleep better at night, Dr. Isaacs says. Get it from chicken, turkey, and bananas; a serving of each contains about a quarter of your recommended daily amount.

Fat trap: Depression
Your risk of depression can increase during menopause, and women who are depressed have a higher BMI and waist circumference than those who aren’t, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Fat zap: Sadness can trigger cravings for refined carbs, which cause the brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, says Vandana Sheth, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “But it’s a temporary rush,” she explains. “Once your blood sugar crashes, it leads to an even lower low, setting you up for a constant cycle of cravings.” To boost your mood, space meals and snacks no more than five hours apart and make sure they contain a filling mix ofcomplex carbohydrates, like whole-grain crackers or fruit, plus lean protein.

Foods high in folate — beans and lentils are the best sources — may also help relieve depression, because the brain needs that vitamin to function. “And working up a sweat provides a rush of feel-good endorphins that can lift your spirits,” Sheth says.

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The Health Benefits of Distilled Water

The Importance of Pure Water:

Only oxygen is more essential than water in sustaining the life of all living organisms. Human beings can live for several weeks without food, but only a few days without water. The quality of your tissues, their performance, and their resistance to disease and injury are linked to the quality and quantity of water you drink. Experts agree that in order to maintain optimum health one needs to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. The daily cleansing of wastes from each cell, the flushing of the alimentary canal and the purifying of the blood are all dependent on our water consumption.

The Present Condition of Water:

Most people get their water from the household tap. This water originates from lakes, rivers, streams, and underground sources. The majority of water goes through a cleaning system at a local water treatment plant. However, many harmful pollutants and water borne diseases are present in the finished treated water

Fifty percent of the US population uses water that, in part, is made up of recently discharged wastewater. And like the treatments for drinking water, wastewater treatments do not remove many of the toxic substances. Prevention Magazine

According to scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it has been estimated that between 60 to 80 percent of all cancer is caused by chemicals in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. The NCI expressed concern over 20 years ago that increases in carcinogens in water and our inability to remove them could result in serious exposure of the general population.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water which has been heated to the boiling point so that impurities are separated from the water which itself becomes vapor or steam. It is then condensed back into pure liquid form. The impurities remain in the residue which is simply thrown away. Distilled water contains no solids, minerals or trace elements, and has no taste. Distillation removes the debris, bacteria, and other contaminants.

Distilled Water and Your Health:

“Do I need to tell you why drinking plenty of good quality water is as essential to health as eating properly? In a nutshell: one of the main activities of the body’s self-healing system is filtration of the blood, a job performed mostly by the kidneys which a little help from the mechanism of perspiration. Kidneys are such efficient, compact and miraculous filters that they put to shame the dialysis machines used the maintain the patients with renal failure. T he heart, blood, and kidneys are a single functional unit the constantly cleanses and purifies itself, removing all the toxic wastes of metabolism and the breakdown products of harmful substances that get onto our bodies one way or another. This purification system can operate efficiently only if the volume of water flowing through it is sufficient to carry away the waste. Further, as good quality steam distilled water enters the body, it has the ability to pick-up mineral deposits accumulated in cells, joints, artery walls, or wherever such deposits occur and begin to carry them out. Gallstones and kidney stores then decrease, and it also lessens arthritic pain as joints become more supple and movable.” Dr. Andrew Weil, Natural Health, Natural Medicine

What about minerals?

There are two forms of minerals, organic and inorganic. Inorganic minerals refers to non-vegetable or non-animal matter, i.e. not living. This includes carbonate and lime compounds, calcium, iron and magnesium. Because these components are non-living, our bodies can no make use of these minerals and our cells reject them. The result of ingesting these minerals is an accumulation of debris in our bodies. Organic minerals living and are found in vegetables, fruit, seeds, grains, meats, and nuts. These are easily assimilated by our cells and are essential for good health. If your rely on water as the source of your required minerals, you are sadly lacking. T he minerals in water are inorganic, and the body cannot make use of them. The body continually assimilates the much needed minerals from the food we eat.

Does distilled water rob the body of essential minerals?

No, this is physiologically impossible. Some have been lead to believe that because distilled water is so pure, it will leach healthy minerals and trace elements from the body. In our bodies distilled water cleans out our impurities and replenishes the essential nutrient required for human life: pure, clean, healthy water. Our cells use the organic minerals for body growth and maintenance; however, the impurities that the body cannot make us of are flushed out with distilled water. Distilled water flushes out all the inorganic minerals and pollutants which would otherwise be retained in the body and accumulate in vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and intestines. These minerals and pollutants are gradually increased by drinking impure water. A continuous or prolonged exposure to these minerals and pollutants may cause carcinogens to form within tissues. The cancer may only manifest itself months, years or even decades after such contacts have ceased. And often the causative agents may have totally disappeared from the tissues.

Distilled Water and Disease:

It has become apparent that pollution and contamination exist within our drinking water. With the amount of sewage dumped into drinking water sources, many water borne diseases are present in the so-called “treated” drinking water. This leaves our bodies vulnerable to infection and disease.

The viruses of major concern in relation to drinking water are those of intestinal origin, excreted by infected animals or humans, which reach water sources by way of the soils unlimited potential for serious disease and contamination of the human body. Canadian Nutrition Guide

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The Real Reason For Weight Gain

Over the past several decades Americans have steadily gotten fatter. Although our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are partly to blame, a big reason for our national weight gain is that we’re simply eating more.

In the mid-2000s, government surveys show, the average American adult ate about 2,375 calories per day, nearly one-third more than he (or she) did in the late 1970s. What accounts for all those added calories?

According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day. Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average—a 29 percent increase.

The average portion size has increased, too, but only by about 12 percent. And, surprisingly, the average number of calories per 1-gram serving of food (known as “energy density”) actually declined slightly over that period, which suggests that calorie-rich food has played a relatively minor role in our expanding waistlines.

“The real reason we seem to be eating more [calories] is we’re eating often,” says the lead author of the study, Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “The frequency of eating is probably, for the average overweight adult, becoming a huge issue.”

Popkin blames food advertising and other marketing for the shift from three square meals a day to near-constant eating.

“It’s all about making people think they want to have something in their hands all the time,” he says. “Why are we snacking all the time and munching all the time? [Food] is there, it’s available all the time, it’s tasty. It’s not very healthy, but it’s tasty. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s fatty—it’s all the things we love.”

Lisa Young, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and the author of The Portion Teller, agrees that the ubiquity of snack foods has helped drive overeating.

“You never used to see food staring you in the face when you went to…a drugstore,” says Young, who was not involved in the new research. “It’s in your face and it’s cheap. You go get a magazine, you can get a candy bar.”

To tease apart how eating habits have shaped calorie intake, Popkin and a coauthor analyzed data from four nationally representative food surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1977 and 2006. Their analysis, which appears in the June issue of the journal PLoS Medicine, was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

The findings weren’t entirely unexpected. In a previous study, Popkin and his coauthor found that the amount of time between snacks and meals has shrunk substantially since 1977, while the amount of calories consumed from snacks has risen dramatically.

Christopher Gardner, PhD, the director of nutrition studies at Stanford University’s Prevention Research Center, in Palo Alto, Calif., says that although the new findings ring true, the survey-based approach Popkin and his colleague used has some inherent limitations.

Despite being nationally representative, the surveys didn’t follow the same individuals over time, and in some cases also used different questions and methods, Gardner points out. Moreover, they relied on the participants’ memory of what they’d eaten in the previous 24 hours, which can be unreliable.

“When people try to describe the portion sizes they are consuming, they are often inaccurate,” Gardner says, adding that similar inaccuracies may crop up when recalling and calculating the energy density of specific foods. In fact, he says, the number of meals and snacks may be easiest of all to remember and track, which may have somewhat exaggerated its importance to total calorie intake.

But Gardner, too, says that frequent—and often mindless—snacking has come to seem normal.

In our food-filled environment, Young says, “We need to be conscious of when we eat, how much we eat, and what we eat.”

Young recommends sticking with three meals a day and choosing healthy snacks (such as fruits and vegetables) rather than processed foods. “And keep your portions in check,” she says.

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5 Ways You Can Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Cancer is one of the leading killers among women after cardiovascular related incidents. Many of the cancers diagnosed can be prevented through very simple lifestyle changes. Here are five easy ways that you can begin to reduce your cancer risk today!

 

Keep Your Weight In a Healthy Range
Sometimes when we’re at the doctor’s office and we look at ‘ideal’ weights, it can be a bit discouraging because you may not necessarily fall into that range even though you are leading an active lifestyle. Instead, focus on having a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. Anything above 24.9 can result in hormone fluctuations and insulin markers that can trigger cancers in the body.

Watch How Much You Consume Alcohol
Too much alcohol can result in an increased risk of both breast and colon cancers in women. The alcohol triggers hormonal changes and can lead to poor nutrient absorption in the colon. Keep your intake of alcoholic beverages to just one a day to avoid these complications.

Exercise!
Cancer hates nothing more than an active lifestyle. The American Cancer Society says that exercise alone can decrease your chances of colon cancer by 30%. Their suggestion is at least 30 minutes a day; five days a week to reap the cancer fighting rewards.

Eat As Little Processed Food As Possible
The chemicals used in today’s food processing can trigger hormonal and digestive responses in the body as well as the processed food tends to lack important nutrients needed to keep your healthy. Aim to eat as fresh and natural as possible to avoid these chemicals and hormones, and get all of the nutrients your body needs.

Quit Smoking!
According to The American Cancer Society, over 30% of deaths from cancer related illnesses are cigarette smoking related. Not just lung cancer, but bladder, kidney, mouth, esophageal, and other cancers are related to cigarette smoking. But if you make the commitment to quit today, your cancer risk will be cut in half in as little as ten years.

So there you have it. By making these five lifestyle changes you can start today, your chances of getting cancer are greatly reduced. When you think about it, seems pretty minor to make these little adjustments to give you a better quality of life for many years to come. Personally, I have some risk factors for certain cancers in my family, so when I heard that there were simple things I could do to minimize my risk, I jumped at the chance to give them a try. Which one are you going to try first?

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What Kind of Eater Are You?

by Alice Greene

There are so many different reasons why we struggle with food, and it isn’t black or white. Many of the reasons stem from what we’ve been told, the way we’ve been raised and the way we feel on a given day. It is liberating to know that the struggle isn’t just because we are bad when it comes to eating well.

In the book on Intuitive Eating, written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, they recognized that there are many types of eaters, and most of us are dealing with a combination of these types. I have found this to be true in my own work, and I’ll start with the most common ones that I see with people. They are the chaotic eater, unconscious eater and emotional eater.

A chaotic eater

has no routine to their eating and has a tendency to skip meals, over schedule themselves and eat on the run. They really have no idea what they have just eaten or how much they’ve eaten. They just eat what is available and deal with food the next time it is available. They are completely out of touch with their eating habits and choices. Is this you? How can you be less chaotic this week?

An unconscious eater

is similar to a chaotic eater. They are not tuned into what or how much they are eating, because they eat while doing other things – like working, reading, talking, driving, watching TV or cooking. They will eat whatever is available and have no idea when they are hungry or if they have exceeded their fullness level. Are you conscious of your hunger or fullness levels? Try paying attention to them this week.

An emotional eater

uses food to cope with their feelings and they may not even realize they are doing this. What they do know is that they eat too much, often eating an entire package of something before they realize it. They are numb when they eat and feel powerless around food. Emotional eaters use food to avoid facing their feelings – even though they do not seem to feel anything. When was the last time you think you did this? Watch for emotional eating and see what you are feeling. The next two types are often linked to how we were raised. These are the waste-not and refuse-not eaters.

The waste-not eater

is someone who hates to see food go to waste and believes that it’s a deal to get lots of food for their money. They will overeat when food is in abundance because they hate to see it wasted. What they don’t realize is that by overeating it IS being wasted – literally. And it is going to cost them more money than they think they saved when their health is affected by overeating, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure and coronary artery disease. How often do you eat things for fear they will go to waste? The next time you feel this urge, consider the real cost.

The refuse-not eater

is a person that can’t refuse food. They can’t say no when someone invites them to have food or encourages them to have more food than they need or want. They feel they have to eat for fear of disappointing or hurting the other person. As a result, they give that person power over how much food they eat. Did you eat something you didn’t want over the holidays because you felt you needed to make someone else feel good? It is ok to say I’ve had enough, no thanks, or thank you but I’m full.

Then there are the restrictive eaters.

These are people that are always going on the next diet or that follow a restricted eating plan with vigilance. The chronic dieter is constantly trying the latest diet, striving to lose a specific amount of weight, and creating new good and bad food lists they try to adhere to, but in the end they vacillate between under eating, over eating and bingeing. The careful eater scrutinizes labels and foods, weighs and measures all their food, writes every morsel down and tracks every gram against their narrow and very specific daily goals. For them there is little pleasure in eating. This was me for many years. Are you restrictive and struggling to enjoy your food? To gain a healthy view of food you may want to try intuitive eating.

An intuitive eater

is conscious of their body’s hunger signals. They eat to feel satisfied. They don’t fear overeating – instead they trust themselves to eat exactly what they need and have no guilt about eating foods they enjoy. This type of eater is conscious of their food choices and tends to want foods that honor their health and are balanced to meet their physical requirements. How does this sound to you? People who try it say it is a way to achieve freedom with food while achieving healthy eating habits.

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