Best Days to Begin a Diet

Have you ever wondered why New Year’s resolutions are successful? Okay, okay, maybe they’re not always successful, but they definitely have a better success rate than changes you make on normal days. Jason Riis says it’s because New Year’s Day is a “temporal landmark;” basically it’s a day we’ve designated in our minds as a milestone. Riis, who recently authored a report about the idea, says that these days affect how we think about our ability to change. “On certain days … you just have a different view of yourself. You become more forward thinking.”

This doesn’t mean that you should put off that new diet or decision to exercise until next January 1st. According to Hengchen Dai, co-author of the report, these temporal landmarks come as often as every Monday. The fresh start to the week can be all the push someone needs to decide that this is the time the diet is going to work, that they really are a new person this week. It really is mind over matter. “It’s changing the perception of the self,” says Dai.

However, some people burn out on a normal week, and by the weekend are back to their old habits. Other temporal landmarks that have a more significant feel (and thus provoke more profound mental change) are birthdays, anniversaries, the first day of a new semester or season, or even the first day of the month. Gyms, whether they’re public or university facilities, are always more busy at the beginning of the month or the semester because people instinctively feel it’s the right time to reinvent themselves. And while some people don’t follow through with that commitment, they are more likely to than if they were simply starting their new routine on a random day.

This means that perception of ourselves and of what it means to have a fresh start are key factors in how successful we are at things like losing weight. So the next time you think it’s silly to wait until a milestone to begin a diet, instead reframe it as waiting for a temporal landmark, when you’ll actually wake up as a new person ready to make a change!

 

Track Calories Better

According to a new study by Stanford University, you may be grossly overestimating the amount of calories you burn in each workout session. Anyone who has tries counting calories as a means to lose weight knows that this can be incredibly frustrating, because if you don’t know how many calories you’ve burned, your whole weight loss plan can be off kilter. But how can the amount be off by an average of 27% (as the study suggests) when we use tech like fitbits and apple watches to track our biometrics?

Anna Scherbina, one of the lead authors of the study, says, “The error depends on the type of activity you’re tracking. For activities like walking and sitting, the results are more accurate than for more intense pursuits, like spinning and running.” This is because when the potential for burning calories goes up, the margin of error does too. The calorie count you get from exercise machines is also off, because they don’t take into account your age, fitness level, or the fact that you may be leaning on the handlebars to (accidentally or otherwise) make the workout easier.

So what’s the best way to continue to lose weight even if your calorie count might be wrong? Scherbina suggests a straightforward, open-eyed approach to eating. Be mindful when you’re eating (so don’t do it in front of the TV or while playing games on your phone), use smaller plates whenever possible, and put away the cookie jar. When snacks aren’t out on the table, they’re harder to reach for. Also, recognize when you’re triggered to snack or overeat. Is it in emotional situations or times of stress, or when you’re bored? Plan for those moments and come up with a game plan to combat them without food and you’re halfway to victory already! And if you have to track what you eat, make sure you look at your daily calorie count skeptically and start paying attention to your overall diet for the day. Did you get enough protein? What about veggies? Counting the things you did and should eat makes watching calories much more enjoyable and successful!

Give Up Coffee and Alcohol … and Your Social Life?

What happens to your life when you give up coffee and alcohol? It’s not something most of us would like to attempt any time soon, and yet we’re strangely fascinated by the idea of giving up our vices – for short periods of time maybe. Well, art director (and epic beard-haver) Tobias von Schneider took that bullet for us and found he actually liked living without booze or coffee in his life. He’s been without either for fifteen months and he recently broke down what changes the experiment has brought to his life… and why he means to continue with it.

The first change is overwhelmingly positive: he immediately started saving $1,000 / month. That might seem excessive, but von Schneider lives in New York, where everything is expensive, especially going out. He says he would pay $10 per cocktail at least (and that’s before tips), plus bar snacks and any booze he’d buy for his home. All of that was instantly back in his pocket once he quit. However, the changes did affect his social life in a negative way. It’s hard to go out for drinks and be the only sober one, so he just stopped going out as much. That saved him even more money, but it also meant he got less social interaction with his friends.

However, what time he still spends with friends is more meaningful and thoughtful because of his soberness. There’s less gossip, von Schneider reports, simply because his threshold for idle chatter is much lower now. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t meet up with friends if they offer to grab coffee, he just orders tea. And he says that it’s made him a much calmer person with less energy swings. He’s also sleeping like a baby. All in all, Tobias loves the changes that giving up coffee and alcohol has brought to his life, and he intends to continue with them. We don’t know that we have that kind of willpower, but hearing about all the benefits have definitely given us pause. What do you think?

Chiropractor Has Life Hack For Parents

New parents are all about simplifying their lives, and with good reason. They now have a whole other life depending on them for every single thing, and that means they don’t have a lot of time (or spare energy) for anything else. Well, a chiropractor (and new mom herself!) from Texas is looking out for new parents everywhere with this new life hack she just shared on youtube!

Dr. Emily Puente specializes in a type of chiropractic specialized for pregnant women called Webster’s Technique, which helps position the woman’s pelvis for optimal comfort while she’s carrying. That, coupled with the fact that Emily has a young family herself, means that she’s been thinking about the needs of pregnant women and young mothers, and the physical challenges they face every day.

And every new parent knows the terrible back pain brought from lugging a car seat from location to location because the baby has fallen asleep in it. They’re awkward, they’re heavy, they have an inconveniently placed handle. Basically they’re the bane of parents everywhere, but Dr. Puente has the ideal solution to carrying the seat in a way that won’t kill your body and allows you to cart other things around as well. It may look a little awkward at first, but the good doctor swears by the method, and you can actually see how much straighter she’s able to stand up in the video. If you have a car seat-bound baby (or one on the way!) check it out! It could be the difference between a happy mamma and one with killer back pain!

Things You Should Never NOT Do When You’re Dieting

Lately it seems like everyone has their own secret to losing weight, something they swear by over all other methods. Whether it’s counting calories meticulously to going paleo to only eating foods that are a certain color (we’re not kidding), every new diet trend promises it’s better and healthier than the rest.

Source: Paleo Leap

While the most sensible advice doctors give is, “Go with what works for you,” there are some pretty generally terrible dieting beliefs out there that should be stopped in their tracks. For example, have you noticed that everyone seems to be asking for gluten-free everything? Gluten is the proteins that are found in wheat based foods like breads and pastas, and while some people can have a gluten allergy (or celiac disease), for most people, gluten is a healthy and necessary part of their diet. Cut out overly processed foods instead, like cakes and cookies, and stick to whole grain breads and pastas.

Source: ArnoldZwicky.org

Another bad piece of advice is to avoid bananas and carrots because they have a lot of carbs and sugar. While they do have slightly more than the average fruit/vegetable, they also contain lots of good vitamins and fiber, and are a much more healthy alternative to the sugars and carbs in processed sweets. All calories are not created equal, and while it’s true that you could lose weight by eating a small amount of junk food, it’s not good the overall well being of your body. A good general rule is to cut back on foods that are made, and eat more foods that are grown.

Source: Diet News

Another one you may have heard is to avoid egg yolks, and only eat the whites. A new study has debunked the idea that the yolks contribute to heart disease, and in fact says that consuming whole eggs could lower the risk of stroke! Similarly, dieting people have been consistently told to avoid fat at all cost. This is flat out wrong. Healthy fats are an important part of a diet and can keep you full so you don’t snack on addicting foods full of sugar and salt between meals. In moderation, nuts and avocados are a good source of healthy fats that make losing weight easy!