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Saturday, August 30, 2014
Health Tips From the Echo Boom Expert
Originally Published on forbes.com on February 18th,2012
Tim Smith has given me some great gust posts about the Echo Boom and now he is asking me to pass on some advice. I get this type of advice all the time from a source close to me and even follow it from time to time. Not often enough, though, I am told.
3 Health Habits to Try (and Maybe Continue) Some friends and I predicted that the gym would be packed for the first three weeks of January, and drop off from there. It didn’t even last two weeks this year. While some may forgo their resolutions of being healthier, losing weight, or having more energy, these all can be achieved without going to the gym (though, that addition can certainly help). Unlike many fitness experts, who’ll list a thousand ways you can be healthier (all of which would deplete your energy levels while you try), I’ll list three health habits to change for the next three months. The key: do only one at a time for a month before moving on to the next. If you try each for three months and you see no results, discontinue it (the try-it method). 1. Give up sugar. Don’t indulge from time to time. Don’t come up with excuses why you’re not going to try. Just give it up. Sugar doesn’t give you more energy; it actually steals energy from you by giving you a short burst of energy with a rush (hello dopamine) and then a crash. But we don’t need a short burst of energy – we need energy that lasts and lasts and lasts. Sugar fails. And the news on grows worse for sugar consumers. Not only does sugar give you a quick rush while taking away your long-term energy, it also tends to increase your calorie consumption (ie: appetite). In other words, sugar addition makes losing weight seem like an impossible goal. 2. Intermittent fasting. To an outside observer, this almost sounds like a religious practice, but it isn’t. Here’s some research on alternate day fasting (ADF): · In male humans only, insulin sensitivity seemed to increase after three weeks (insulin sensitivity makes it easier to lose fat and gain muscle). · In male humans, triacylglycerol concentrations decreased; in female humans, HDL-cholesterol increased. · In animal studies, ADF showed positive effects against cancer. However, the human studies were too short to state either way (this also applies to blood pressure – the study was too short to indicate any long term results). Before anyone cries “correlation is not causation” (for the record, the actual truth regarding correlation is that correlation may or may not be causation), keep in mind that many intermittent fasting studies have lacked significant length. This favors the try-it method: if it works for you, then continue doing it. If it doesn’t, discontinue.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Cliché, right? Except I’m not going to ask that you eat 5-7 servings. Instead, eat one fruit and one vegetable a day and do it for the next three months. You can add more if you want later (and are feeling the results), but setting a small habit of a fruit and vegetable will establish an important routine while adding a nutritious source to yourdaily diet. Also, make things easy on yourself regarding the fruit and vegetable. If you love taste, eat your favorite tasting fruit and vegetable. If you love convenience, eat the most convenient fruit and vegetable to you. If you like nutritional value, eat what you consider to be the most nutritious fruit and vegetable. What you select should reward you. You won’t feel as overwhelmed by doing one of these resolutions for a month before moving on to the next one as you would if you tried going to the gym, eating healthy, and cutting back on food. Meet small goals that equate to large results over the long run (like giving up sugar) and you’ll find that your energy levels increase to where meeting difficult tasks becomes easy. In other words, these are the 20% of solutions that will give you 80% of the results. You can focus on the other 80% later.
Timothy Smith writes about fitness, health and nutrition at the Smashion Babble. He is also an expert on the Millennial generation and writes about them at The Echo Boom Bomb (and written several articles for Peter on Millennials). When he’s not working out, writing about a myriad of topics, and eating healthy, he programs in VB.NET and T-SQL (he’s also learning C#).