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February 22nd, 2020
Healthy Lifestyles

appetiteHunger can be a formidable foe, especially for people attempting to lose weight. When hunger strikes, various appetite-control strategies can help people avoid overeating or eating during those times when boredom is more to blame than an empty belly.

  • • Eat slowly. When a person eats, a series of signals are sent to the brain from digestive hormones secreted by the gastrointestinal tract. These signals produce a feeling of pleasure and satiety in the brain, but it can take awhile for the brain to receive them. By chewing slowly, people can give the signals more time to reach their brains, potentially preventing them from overeating.
  • • Choose the right snacks. The right snacks can make it easier to eat more slowly. Instead of reaching for potato chips or pretzels, both of which can be eaten quickly and picked up by the handful, choose snacks that are both healthy and require a little work. Carrots dipped in hummus or baked tortilla chips with low-fat salsa or bean dip are low-calorie snacks that also require some work between bites. The time it takes to dip between bites affords more time for the digestive tract to release signals to the brain that you’re full.
  • • Reach for fiber first. Another way to conquer hunger without overeating is to reach for fiber before eating other parts of your meal. Vegetables are rich in fiber, but since veggies are often served as side dishes, many people tend to eat them only after they’ve eaten their main courses. That can contribute to overeating. Fiber fills you up, so by eating the high-fiber portions of your meal first, you’re less likely to overeat before your brain receives the signals that your stomach is full. Consider eating vegetables as an appetizer or, if the entire meal is served at once, clear your plate of vegetables before diving into the main course or other side dishes.
  • • Drink water. Perhaps the best, and least expensive, way to control appetite and ensure you don’t overeat is to drink more water. A 2010 study funded by the Institute for Public Health and Water Research that included 48 adults between the ages of 55 and 75 found that people who drank two eight-ounce glasses of water right before a meal consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories during the ensuing meal than study participants who did not consume water prior to their meals. Over the course of 12 weeks, participants who drank water before meals three times per day lost roughly five pounds more than those who did not increase their water intake. 

Controlling appetite does not have to be a complex undertaking. In fact, some of the simplest strategies can be highly effective.

 

 

 

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thyroidPeople diagnosed with an underactive thyroid condition may have to make several changes to their lifestyles to feel well and maintain a healthy weight.

The thyroid is a tiny gland located in the neck that produces a hormone to regulate one’s metabolism, or the process that converts what a person eats and drinks into energy. With hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, production of that thyroid hormone is insignificant, resulting in a dramatically slower metabolism. 

The endocrinology health site Endocrine Web estimates approximately 10 million Americans have hypothyroidism. The reasons the thyroid gland falters vary. But the symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight, hair loss, muscle aches, depression, and irritability. 

Each of the side effects associated with thyroid conditions can be troublesome, but many people with thyroid issues struggle most with weight gain and their inability to keep weight off. The president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, R. Mack Harrell, MD, says to first visit a doctor, who can determine if a synthetic thyroid hormone medication can help. Regular exercise also can be an important part of the strategy to lose weight and manage other hypothyroidism symptoms.

Christian Nasr, MD, an endocrinologist with the Cleveland Clinic, advises his patients to wait a few weeks before exercising so that their condition is controlled with medication. After that waiting period is over, gradually easing back into exercise can help with the fatigue and weight gain that may not abate with thyroid medications.

The online health resource Everyday Health advises a program of low-impact aerobic exercises and strength training. The aerobics will raise the heart rate without putting too much pressure on the joints. These exercises include using a stationary bicycle or a low-impact elliptical machine. Pilates and gentle yoga can improve core muscles and help alleviate joint pain as well.

Incorporating strength training into a workout can help build muscle mass, which burns calories, even when a person is at rest. That can be essential for a person finding it difficult to control his or her weight due to a sluggish metabolism.

Additional benefits of exercising are improved mood and reduced inflammation. Exercising can release endorphins into the body to help fight off depression. Also, researchers from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine found a single 20-minute session of exercise was enough to trigger something called sympathoadrenergic activation, which suppresses the production of monocytic cytokines in the body that produce an inflammatory response in the immune system. That means exercise can keep inflammation in check.

Hypothyroidism is a common condition that produces various unwanted side effects. However, with proper care and exercise, many symptoms can be managed effectively.

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techtimeComputers, tablets, smartphones, and gaming systems have revolutionized popular culture and the way people engage with one another. Devices also have transformed the way people live in their homes.

Cisco’s annual visual networking index forecast indicates there will be four networked devices and connections per person globally by 2020. In North America, there will be 13 networked devices and connections per person by that time. As more people are connected to tech than ever before, many wonder if there’s a healthy amount of time to spend on their devices?

“Screen time” is defined as the amount of time spent each day using devices with screens, such as TVs, gaming consoles, smartphones, and tablets. Although how much screen time people engage in is entirely up to them, there are health risks associated with excessive screen time. 

People may not realize just how much screen time they engage in each day. Nielsen reports that American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to, or simply interacting with media, which is up from nine hours, 32 minutes just four years ago. Common Sense Media’s 2017 report shows American children age eight and under use screens for an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes per day. That time increases as kids age.

In terms of healthy screen time limits, the experts have weighed in.

The latest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that children under 18 months should avoid screen time, other than video chatting. Ages 18 months to two years can use high-quality programs or apps if adults participate with them. Children between the ages of two and five should limit daily screen time to an hour; age six and up should follow consistently imposed limits.

Doctors may be hesitant to prescribe screen limits for adults. But people can use certain health clues to determine if it’s time to cut back. If screens (and their blue light) are adversely affecting sleep, reducing screen time might be necessary to avoid negative side effects. Screen time should not come at the expense of physical activity, as that can contribute to obesity. People are urged to take frequent breaks from screens to mitigate potential eye strain and headaches.

The Department of Health Government of Western Australia recommends adults age 18 and older minimize time spent sitting or lying looking at screens, and to break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

People who routinely use screens for hours each day should weigh the benefits and detriments to the amount of time spent with devices and tailor their usage accordingly.

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