8 Sneaky Offenders that Cause Weight Fluctuations

Julia Malacoff, Julia@jmalacoff is a former fashion editor turned health and fitness buff who writes about all things lifestyle—especially workouts and food. Recently she shared with MyFitness Pal that when you’re working toward a weight-loss goal, it’s normal to be watching the number on the scale like a hawk waiting for any changes that might occur. But if you’ve been tracking your weight for even a few weeks, you’ve probably noticed fluctuations are common. Still, they can be frustrating to see when you’re working hard to get into your best shape ever.

Even for those who aren’t actively trying to lose weight, it can be unwelcome to see the scale jump up. Rest assured, weight changes from one day to the next are generally temporary and, according to experts, they don’t mean you’re not making progress.

Here, find eight explanations for why your weight can spike — straight from nutritionists who help people meet their weight-loss goals every day — that have nothing to do with gaining fat.

1. YOU DRANK A TON OF WATER

It’s true that staying well-hydrated is a good move if you’re trying to lose weight, but the first few days of upping your water intake could actually cause the number on the scale to creep up, too. Why? “Let’s break down what weight really is,” says Megan Ware, RDN. “It is not just the measurement of fat in the body. It is the weight of your bones, organs, muscles, fluid and waste. When you’re dehydrated, you actually weigh less, but that doesn’t mean you are healthier. Let’s say you don’t drink much fluid one day, and the next morning you wake up and your weight is down. Then you drink a ton of water and the next day it looks like you gained 2 pounds. That does not mean you gained 2 pounds of fat; it just means that your body was depleted of water the day before.”

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Still Time for Community’s Input

Impact DuPage is a group of community leaders and organizations working together to understand the needs and priorities of DuPage County residents. As part of the Impact DuPage 2018 Community Assessment, we are conducting a survey that asks about community themes and strengths that are important to the individuals in DuPage County. DuPage County resident participation in this survey will help Impact DuPage improve the well-being of the community. The survey is open from February 5, 2018 – March 30, 2018 and takes an estimated 3-5 minutes to complete. This survey is available at the following links:

English: www.surveymonkey.com/r/impactdupage2018

Spanish: www.surveymonkey.com/r/impactdupage2018spanish

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The Syrup World Is So Much Bigger Than Maple

JOHN SHERMAN wrote for Extra Crispy that people get very particular about their maple syrup, particularly people from North America’s so-called “Maple Belt,” a region of northern New England and southeastern Canada known for maple syrup production. Unfortunately for syrup obsessives, at least one study has suggested that milder winters may affect the maple syrup supply in coming years, at least in the Maple Belt’s southern reaches, both in terms of the quantity and quality of syrup produced.

Fans of Mrs. Butterworth’s and Aunt Jemima can rest easy, but maple purists may be in for a tough couple years. One of the effects of a changing climate seems to be a shorter supply of light, “fancy” maple syrup, once known as Grade A Light Amber and Grade A Golden Amber, and now designated as “Grade A Golden Color, Delicate Taste” and “Grade A Golden Color, Rich Taste,” respectively. We may all soon be dousing our waffles in Grade B (Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste), or paying extra for the primo Golden Amber, but [cue infomercial voiceover] there has to be a better way.
As it turns out, maple trees aren’t the only trees that can be tapped for syrup, but for whatever reason when we say “syrup” we almost always mean maple. And when we say “maple,” we almost always mean sugar maple. But sugar maple is just one of many varieties of maple trees that can be tapped to make syrup, including black maple and red maple, as well as at least a half-dozen other maples you’ve never heard of, like silver maple, Norway maple, canyon maple, and Rocky Mountain maple. Other tree species can be tapped as well, but you won’t likely find their syrups at the store. Read more

Easy Christmas Morning Pancakes and more!

Do holiday diet damage control with this outrageously simple (and seriously tasty) banana-based recipes

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SELF (http://www.self.com/)  hopes that things are about to get a little bananas.

While the jury is out regarding the average number of pounds one gains durning the holiday season (The New England Journal of Medicine clocks in between 1-2), it’s a pretty safe assumtion that we’ll all indulge at least once between now and New Years Eve. And by indulge, I mean take an average cheat day and multiply it by 1,000. It’s not going to be pretty.

Don’t sweat it: Just eat pancakes and cookies. Seriously. Both of these completely good-for-you recipes use the potassium-filled fruit as the star of the show so they need none of the ingredients you don’t want—like flour or other kinds of gluten.

Also great news: these recipes are dead simple. The key to success in both of them is to blend the bananas into a smooth puree before combining them with the other ingredients. It will allow for even distribution of the fruit and ensure that each bite tastes fantastic. And that’s the hardest step—well, that and making sure to save some extras for your friends and family.

Go bananas and happy holidays!

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Exercise doesn’t necessarily cancel out risks of drinking

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health and  Elizabeth Ko, M.D., an internist and primary care physician at UCLA Health shared the following question they received :

I just read about a study that says exercise cancels out alcohol’s higher risk of death from cancer. Is it possible that I can walk off the cancer risk of the cocktail I have each night after dinner?

They answered: While we commend your creative thinking, your husband has guessed right. In our opinion, you can’t depend on added exercise to cancel out the increased risk of cancer that can be caused by alcohol consumption. It’s not that we think the study itself is wrong. It’s the way the results have been interpreted in some news stories — as cause and effect — that is, at best, misleading.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Researchers in England looked at a decade of medical data collected from 36,370 women and men, all 40 or older. They sorted the study subjects by how much alcohol they consumed and by how much they exercised.

Not surprisingly, they found a statistical link between “hazardous drinking” and an increased risk of death from all causes, including cancer. In this study, hazardous drinking was defined as 8 to 20 servings of alcohol per week for women, and 21 to 49 servings of alcohol for men.

Then the researchers included exercise as a variable in their calculations. They found that among people who spent at least 150 minutes per week doing moderate aerobic activity, like a brisk walk, the mortality rate due to cancer dropped. This proved to be true even among the heavier drinkers, as long as they exercised. Read more

Is it the holiday blues, or something more?

frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at office

December 02, 2015 | by Erin Terada, PsyD, CEDS wrote for the Edwards Elmhurst Healthy Driven blog that on the outside, the holidays are glitter and lights, parties and gifts, warmth and family get-togethers.

On the inside, for many people, the holidays can be cold and dark, lonely and upsetting.

Grief, isolation from family or friends, bad holiday memories, stress or unrealistic expectations can let the air out of anyone’s holiday. It’s normal to feel down if you are overworked or missing loved ones while the holidays whirl around you.

When you have the holiday blues, you can often feel better with some tweaks to your daily routine:

Make sure stress isn’t weighing you down. Keep your schedule light, get enough sleep and eat well.

Plan something to look forward to. Even if it’s a solo walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday lights.

Get together with a few friends, even if you don’t feel like it. The social connection will give you a boost. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or a toy collection. Helping someone else will lift your spirits.

Exercise, even if it’s dark or cold outside! Moving improves your circulation, gives you energy and boosts your spirits. Even better: exercise with a class. Try yoga, spinning or Zumba.

Spend some time planning the year ahead. Treat the holidays as a time to set goals and get ready for a fabulous new year.

Making these changes may just help you beat the holiday blues. Clinical depression, however, doesn’t come and go with the holidays. It’s much deeper than feeling bummed.

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How to Store And Use Fresh Herbs

Basil – How to store it: At room temperature in a vase of water for up to 1 week.
Use it up: Mince and combine with sugar for an aromatic fruit topping.

Chives – How to store them: In a sealed plastic bag in the crisper for 1 to 2 weeks.
Use it up: Chop and combine with softened unsalted butter; drop chunks on top of just-cooked steaks, pork chops, or fish.

Cilantro or Parsley – How to store it: In the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for up to 5 days.
Use it up: Puree 1 cup leaves with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 clove garlic to make a pesto; use on pasta or as a dip for bread.

Rosemary – How to store it: In the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag for up to 5 days.
Use it up: Whole branches make a perfect bed for roasted vegetables, or tuck them into the cavity of a chicken or other bird before roasting.

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The change of seasons and less sunlight can affect your mood

Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness shared in the Daily Herald that almost all of us feel sad when summer days end and fall makes way for a long and cold winter. But bad weather, cold temperatures and the dark days affect some people more than others.

We all need some sun to absorb vitamin D production, and lack of the vitamin has been proven to negatively affect individuals as it relates to depression and a healthy immune system.

The sudden change in season can actually cause one type of depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which worsens during the winter months and improves with the start of spring.

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health identified patients who experienced regular fall/winter depression. Also known as seasonal adjustment disorder, the condition affects about 10 percent of people in nontropical climates and about 20 percent report a milder form of depression.

“One of the most prevalent symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder is disabling fatigue,” said Dr. Saisha Gupta, chairwoman of psychiatry for Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness.

“A sudden loss of energy, which can be both mental and physical, makes activities that were once fun and easy completely exhausting,” she said. “Another common symptom is alienating one’s self from social activities, hobbies or people that have played a large part in the individual’s personal life.”

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Easy Meal Prepping Ideas and Recipe

College of DuPage Nursing Student  Christine Nwaezeapu knows that  meal prepping can be a daunting task but there are lots of benefits, such as:

  • weight control
  • portion size
  • ingredients
  • a nutritionally balanced diet

So here  are some points to follow prior to beginning the process;

  1. Pick a specific day of the week to cook your meals
  2. Start small e.g. prep only meals for 2-3 days
  3. Use proper storage containers
  4. Create a meal plan with
  • 2-3 vegetable you might like
  • 1-2 proteins
  • 1-2 different Carbs

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5 Ways To Make Your Coffee Healthier

Jennifer Dawson, the Content Manager for a small health and wellness site, shared with Healthy Lombard that coffee remains as America’s favorite beverage. According to a poll, about 83% of American adults are coffee drinkers, consuming an average of three cups a day per person. Indeed, people all over the nation are investing in sophisticated coffee machines to replicate the experience that one can get in any of the coffee shops in the country. For decades, there have been conflicting findings on whether drinking coffee can be beneficial to one’s health. While it’s true that drinking massive amounts of caffeine can have adverse effects on your health and body, there are ways to make your favorite beverage healthier and better for you. Here are 5 simple ways to make your coffee healthier.

Try sparkling coffee

This is a great alternative to your coffee that doesn’t require a coffee maker. To make sparkling coffee or Aqua Java, combine organic coffee, a bit of cane sugar and erythritol (sugar alcohol) in a glass jar or a mason jar. Not only does it have only 20 calories per serving, but it also has less caffeine than ordinary coffee.

Use stevia instead of sugar

Do you take your coffee with sugar? Too much sugar not only wreaks havoc with your blood sugar levels, but it can also cause obesity and certain skin conditions. Instead of sugar, try adding stevia to your cup of joe. Stevia is a natural sweetener that has no calories and it can aid in weight loss and lower blood pressure.

Skip the artificial creamer

Artificial creamer can make your coffee taste great, but it contains lots of extra calories. Instead of powdered creamers, make your coffee healthier by adding rice milk or almond milk to your coffee. Even whole milk is more nutritious than artificial creamer, so skip it the next time you prepare your beverage. If you want to do away with dairy altogether, then add a few drops of pure vanilla extra to your pot for a special, low-calorie drink. Read more