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The Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel and Juice

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How Lack of Sleep Makes You Gain Weight

You stayed up too late last night, so you grab a latte on your way into work. When you feel yourself slump at 3 p.m., you raid the vending machine. You’re so tired at the end of the day, you can barely get home for dinner, let alone make a trip to the gym.

Sound familiar? Many sleep-deprived people drag themselves through the day, skipping physical activity and relying on sugary pick-me-ups. But these habits don’t fight off sleepiness for long. And even worse? Over time, they can contribute to weight gain or, at the very least, sabotage your efforts to lose those last few pounds.

Lack of sleep changes your appetite
“We have very substantial research that shows if you shorten or disturb sleep, you increase your appetite for high-calorie dense foods,” says Charles Samuels, MD, medical director of the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary, Alberta. “On a simplistic level, your appetite changes.”

Two hormones in your body play an important role in controlling appetite and satiety. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, causing you to eat; leptin suppresses appetite—so you’ll stop eating—and stimulates energy expenditure. In a properly functioning brain, the two hormones are released on and off to regulate normal feelings of hunger. But research has shown that sleep deprivation can alter ghrelin and leptin levels.

“When sleep is restricted to four hours a night, ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels go down,” says National Sleep Foundation spokesperson William Orr, PhD, president and CEO of the Lynn Health Science Institute in Oklahoma City. “So you have a greater amount of appetite and a greater amount of intake.”

Belly fat raises your diabetes risk
If you’re chronically sleep-deprived and consume more high-calorie foods, it’s likely those calories will be deposited around your middle, forming fat deposits that are especially dangerous for raising your risk of type II diabetes. “It’s known as visceral fat deposition,” says Dr. Samuels. “Sleep-deprived individuals’ ability to respond to a glucose load and release insulin is altered.”

In one oft-cited study, he adds, healthy people whose sleep was restricted for six nights showed impaired glucose tolerance, which is a prediabetic condition. When they then got enough sleep, about nine hours a night over the next six nights, their glucose responses returned to normal.

There’s not enough evidence to claim that lack of sleep could cause diabetes, but research has found a connection between the two. At the very least, getting enough sleep can help regulate energy levels—eliminating the need to rely on sugar or carbs for a boost—whether you have diabetes or not.

If you sleep less, you may weigh more
Countering an occasional sleepless night with chocolate the next day won’t set you back too far, but research suggests you may gain weight if sleep deprivation and overeating become routine. “Individuals who are obese tend to sleep less,” says Orr. “There’s been a marked increase in obesity over the last 10 years, and over the last 50 years, there’s been a marked reduction in average sleep time for the average American—which suggests a link between sleep, appetite regulation, and obesity.”

The trouble doesn’t necessarily end if you watch what you eat. Cheat sleep and you may have more trouble losing weight, even if you have a healthy diet. If two women are the same age and weight, both eating healthy meals and walking five hours a week, but one isn’t losing weight, “the first thing we’d ask is if she’s getting enough sleep,” says Dr. Samuels. “With weight control, we look at physical activity, movement, food intake, and recovery, and you have to focus on sleep and where it fits into this context. The fundamental foundation of recovery is sleep.”

Kids and teens also may have problems if they skimp on sleep. Studies have shown that short sleep time in children and adolescents is associated with being overweight. One recent study also suggests a possible link between decreased REM sleep and an increased risk of being overweight.

To fight sleep-deprivation-related weight gain and help make weight loss easier, try the following:

  • Rest. “Get the sleep you need, end of story,” says Dr. Samuels. “People always want some magic answer beyond that, but you’ve got to get your sleep. My biggest issue is people who wake up at 4 to go to the gym. People should focus on sleep first, to get to their goal from the weight perspective.”
  • Work out early in the day. “Exercise can aid sleep, but not right before bedtime,” says American Dietetic Association spokesperson Jim White, RD, an American College of Sports Medicine–certified fitness instructor in Virginia Beach, Va. After working out, “adrenaline hormones and body temperature are up, which can keep you from falling asleep,” he says.
  • Eat right. “Protein is a critical factor for alertness, but people eat carbs when they’re tired,” says Dr. Samuels. “Instead, eat a handful of unsalted mixed nuts.” Whole grains with fiber are also good, says White. “Sugary foods will give you an instant energy buzz for 30 to 45 minutes, but you’ll see a big crash after that; whole grains will fuel you for a longer time.”
  • Avoid alcohol. Even if you think it relaxes you, don’t turn to alcohol to calm down in the evening. “People don’t realize that alcohol has nearly the same amount of calories per gram as fat,” says Dr. Samuels. “When men stop drinking, boy, do they lose weight fast.” Additionally, drinking alcohol close to bedtime can disrupt sleep: You may fall asleep more quickly after a few drinks, but you’ll likely wake up more frequently during the night, and research indicates you’ll get less REM sleep during the first half of the night.

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10 Tips To Prevent Stomach Bloat For a Flatter Tummy

10 tips to prevent stomach bloat

You’d love to have a flat belly for the party tonight, but thanks to one too many sodas or that basket of tortilla chips, zipping your pants is a real struggle. Abdominal bloating not only looks bad, but can cause physical discomfort. The good news? Experts say stomach bloating is a condition you can avoid pretty easily.

We’re not talking about extra pounds of stomach fat here, but the temporary abdominal distention that plagues most everyone from time to time. Unless your stomach bloating is because of a medical condition, such as liver or heart disease, the only real cause is intestinal gas – not “water weight,” says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrinologist and obesity researcher at Mayo Clinic.

It is a myth that bloating in the stomach is from fluid accumulation in healthy adults, because the abdomen is not a place where fluids accumulate first,” Jensen says. “Instead, you would see it in your feet or ankles as long as you are upright.”

So what causes gas to accumulate and wreak havoc on how you feel and look? Experts say there are several causes, from food intolerances to constipation.

 Flat Belly Tip No. 1: Avoid Constipation.

Too little fiber, fluids, and physical activity can lead to constipation, which can result in bloating, Jensen says.

To avoid this, eat a diet high in fiber (25 daily grams for women and 38 for men) from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Also, drink plenty of fluids (aim for 6-8 glasses a day) and aim for physical activity for at least 30 minutes, five times a week.

If you’re eating a low-fiber diet, gradually bump up the fiber level, making sure you also drink plenty of fluids for better tolerance.

Flat Belly Tip No. 2: Rule Out Wheat Allergies or Lactose Intolerance.

Food allergies and intolerances can cause gas and bloating, but these need to be confirmed by your doctor. Many people self-diagnose these conditions and unnecessarily eliminate healthy dairy and whole grains from their diets. If you suspect you have an allergy or intolerance, see your doctor for tests.

You may benefit from reducing the amount of the suspected food and/or eating it with other foods. In the case of dairy, it can help to choose aged cheeses and yogurts, which are lower in lactose.

Flat Belly Tip No. 3: Don’t Eat Too Fast.

Eating quickly and not chewing your food well can cause air swallowing that leads to bloating, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

So slow down and enjoy your food. Your meals should last at least 30 minutes. Also, keep in mind that digestion begins in the mouth, and you can decrease bloating just by chewing your food more, Blatner says.

There’s another benefit to slowing things down: When you take your time to thoroughly chew and taste your food, your snack or meal becomes more satisfying. And studies have shown that if you eat more slowly, you may end up eating less.

Flat Belly Tip No. 4: Don’t Overdo Carbonated Drinks.

The fizz in carbonated drinks (even diet ones) can cause gas to get trapped in your belly, Blatner says.

Instead, drink water flavored with lemon, lime, or cucumber. Or just reduce the number of fizzy drinks you consume each day. Try some peppermint tea for a soothing beverage that may help reduce bloat.

Flat Belly Tip No. 5: Don’t Overdo Chewing Gum.

Chewing gum can also lead to swallowing air, which can cause bloating.

If you’ve got a gum habit, alternate chewing gum with sucking on a piece of hard candy or eating a healthy, high-fiber snack like fruit, vegetables, or lower-fat popcorn.

Flat Belly Tip No. 6: Watch Out for Sugar-Free Foods.

“Many of my patients suffer from bloating because they consume too much sugar alcohol in artificially sweetened foods and drinks,” which can lead to bloating, Blatner says.

Experts recommend consuming no more than 2-3 servings per day of artificially sweetened foods and drinks.

Flat Belly Tip No. 7: Limit Sodium.

Highly processed foods tend to be high in sodium and low in fiber, both of which can contribute to that bloated feeling, Jensen says.

Get in the habit of reading food labels, Blatner advises. When buying processed, canned, or frozen foods, shoot for no more than 500 mg of sodium per serving in any product — or a total of 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Look for labels that say “sodium free,” ” low sodium,” or “very low sodium.”

Flat Belly Tip No. 8: Go Slow with Beans and Gassy Vegetables.

If you’re not used to eating beans, they can cause that gassy feeling. So can the cruciferous family of vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on these super-nutritious, high-fiber vegetables.

“Don’t be nervous about beans,” Blatner says. “Just work them into your diet slowly until your body adjusts to the compounds that can initially cause gas.”

Or, you can take an anti-gas product, which can help reduce gas from beans or vegetables.

Flat Belly Tip No. 9: Eat Smaller Meals More Often

Instead of three big meals per day, try eating smaller meals more often. This can keep you free of the bloated feeling that often follows large meals (think Thanksgiving). Eating more frequently can also help control blood sugar and manage hunger.

So go for five to six small meals each day, but make sure the quantity of food and calories are proportionate to your needs. To create a daily meal plan that includes the recommended amounts of all major nutrients, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “mypyramid” web site.

Flat Belly Tip No. 10: Try Anti-Bloating Foods and Drinks.

A few studies suggest that peppermint tea, ginger, pineapple, parsley, and yogurts containing probiotics (“good” bacteria) may help reduce bloating.

“These are safe foods that are good for you when used appropriately, so why not try them and see if they help you de-bloat?” says Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet.

A Final Word About Stomach Fat

Experts agree that laxatives, water pills, fasting, and skipping meals are not recommended, either to help you de-bloat or lose weight.

If you’re looking to flatten your belly for the long term, there’s no substitute for losing a few pounds, Jensen says.

“For most everyone, when you lose total body fat, your body reduces belly fat preferentially,” he says. “Even though people lose weight differently, there is a little more lost in the abdominal region than elsewhere.”

Experts also say that doing ab exercises all day long won’t get rid of the excess belly. Although you can’t necessarily spot reduce, you can strengthen abdominal muscles with routines like Pilates and exercise ball workouts. And, stronger muscles can help your belly appear flatter.

“Toning and strengthening the abdominal muscles can help you look less fat [and] improve your appearance, muscle tone, and posture, which is also very good for your back,” Jensen says.

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Need help creating a workout plan for your specific weight goals and health needs? Consult with DrAkilah El and get your new Calorie Burning Workout Regimen TODAY!!! http://www.celestialhealing.net/weightlossintro.htm

The Reason Why Gastric Bypass Surgery Doesn’t Work

Why gastric bypass surgery doesn't work

by Lisa Tisdall

Gastric bypass surgeries are temporary physical fixes to a long term mental/emotional problem! If you think the surgery is a cure-all, think again. The crazy thing is some people are gaining more weight on purpose so they can qualify to even be considered for the surgery. How sick is that?

My aunt had gastric bypass surgery last year. She was so excited about the new body she was going to have after the surgery. She just couldn’t wait for her new life to begin. This was an answer to her prayers. So she thought!

Up until then, my aunt had not exercised a day in her life. She never followed a sensible eating plan, nor did she want to. By the looks of them, none of my family had ever sacrificed anything in the way of food. The doctors had filled her head with “results” that were only possible, not even probable. Her children were totally delusional about their mom’s weight and had danced around the issue so much that my aunt was in total denial. And guess what? True to form, she gained the weight back in eight months. Why?

The answer: you can’t build a house on a foundation made of sand. If you don’t deal with what is underneath the surface of your emotional behavior toward eating and exercise, you will go right back to the beginning, no matter what you take out or do to your body. Surgery or no surgery, there is no cure-all for being overweight. However, there is a solution — do you want to hear it? Here it is:

  1. Decide how you are motivated.
  2. Determine your underlying reasons for your eating and exercise behaviors or lack thereof.
  3. Develop the best support system to promote your own personal success.
  4. Deal with the emotions behind your eating patterns.
  5. Dedicate yourself to an exercise program.

Maybe the surgery works in the short run. And maybe that will buy you some time and give you some inspiration to start exercising and eating better. However, surgery is not a means to an end! It doesn’t change your head; it only changes your stomach. If you do decide to have the surgery, please understand that without deep changes in your thought process and exercise habits, the gastric bypass surgery “results” will not stick.

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Need help creating a workout plan for your specific weight goals and health needs? Consult with DrAkilah El and get your new Calorie Burning Workout Regimen TODAY!!! http://www.celestialhealing.net/weightlossintro.htm

What is the best time to exercise?

The Best Time to ExerciseBy Leanna Skarnulis

Some people swear by a 6 a.m. jog to get their hearts racing and get them psyched up for the day. Others wouldn’t dream of breaking a sweat before noon, preferring a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. But is any one time of day the best time to exercise?

The truth is that there’s no reliable evidence to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day. But the time of day can influence how you feel when exercising.

The most important thing, experts say, is to choose a time of day you can stick with, so that exercise becomes a habit.

Your Body Clock

Your body’s circadian rhythm determines whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, and there’s not much you can do to alter it.

Circadian rhythm is governed by the 24-hour pattern of the earth’s rotation. These rhythms influence body functions such as blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels, and heart rate, all of which play a role in your body’s readiness for exercise.

Using your body clock as a guide to when to go for a walk or hit the gym might seem like a good idea. But, of course, there are other important considerations, such as family and work schedules, or a friend’s availability to walk with you.

The Perks of Morning Exercise

If you have trouble with consistency, morning may be your best time to exercise, experts say.
“Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego.

The best time to exercise

“The thinking is that they get their exercise in before other time pressures interfere,” Bryant says. “I usually exercise at 6 a.m., because no matter how well-intentioned I am, if I don’t exercise in the morning, other things will squeeze it out.”

He recommends that if you exercise in the morning, when body temperature is lower, you should allow more time to warm up than you would later in the day.

When Insomnia Interferes

Unfortunately, hitting the snooze button repeatedly isn’t exercise. But, if you’ve suffered insomnia the night before, it can seem a lot more appealing than jumping out of bed and hitting the treadmill.

Good, regular bedtime habits can help you beat insomnia. They include winding down before bedtime.
“Your body needs to get ready for sleep,” says Sally A. White, PhD, dean and professor in the College of Education at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.”You want your heart rate and body temperature in a rest zone. It starts the body getting into a habit of sleep.”

Exercising or eating too late sabotages your body’s urge to sleep.
“Both exercise and eating raise your heart rate and temperature,” White tells WebMD. “That’s not conducive to sleeping.”

When Later Is Better

White, who studies achievement motivation in exercise and other areas, says that in spite of good intentions to get up early and get her exercise over with, she is more likely to exercise after work.
“It’s easier to get my body into a rhythm because I’m not fighting my body the way I do in the morning,” she says.

For some people, lunchtime is the best time to exercise, especially if co-workers keep you company. Just be sure to eat after you work out, not before.

“Don’t exercise immediately following a meal,” says Bryant, who lectures internationally on exercise, fitness and nutrition. “The blood that needs to go to your muscles is going to your digestive tract. Give yourself 90 minutes after a heavy meal.”

Finding Your Own Best Time to Exercise

You don’t have to be an expert on circadian rhythms to determine the best time to exercise. Steven Aldana, PhD, advises trying different times of the day.

Work out in the morning for a few weeks, then try noon, then early evening. Which do you enjoy most and which makes you feel best afterward? Also, consider the type of exercise, and other daily commitments.
“Most of all, find a time that helps you make your exercise a regular, consistent part of your life,” says Aldana, a professor of lifestyle medicine in the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “This is more important than the time of day.”

Establishing the Exercise Habit

One day, you’ll reach a point where daily exercise comes as naturally as breathing. At that point, you may want variety.

“In an effort to stay regularly active, some people change the type of exercise they do and the time of day they do it,” says Aldana, author of The Stop & Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide.  “Keeping it fresh makes it more enjoyable and more likely to be continued.”

But if you’re still at the point where exercise is hit or miss, scheduling it for the same time each day will help you make it a habit. Whether you choose morning, lunchtime, or after work to exercise, make it part of your routine.

“People who are just starting out and who exercise randomly are more likely to drop out,” White says.
She adds that starting out can be as simple as changing the route you come home from work so that you drive by a gym.  “Get into the habit of going that way, and keep a bag of exercise gear in your car or at work,” she says.

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Dr Akilah El  is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritionist  and also holds a PhD degree in Naturopathic Medicine. She has been helping people all lover the world successfully achieve their weight loss and fitness goals for over 10 years. To learn more about how you can benefit from her easy to use weight loss and fitness programs go to:http://www.celestialhealing.net/weightlossintro.htm