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The Facts on Fasting for Your Health


Fans of periodic fasting say the practice can help with everything from allergies to weight loss. Are they right? Here, the good, the bad, and the hungry on fasting to feel better.

Ritual fasting has been part of religious traditions for thousands of years, from Muslims who fast during daylight hours in the month of Ramadan to Mormons who take a regular break from food the first Sunday of each month. But a recent growing body of research shows that abstaining from food intermittently may have physical as well as spiritual benefits — the latest, a study from Utah researchers that found that occasional fasts (defined as extended periods of time in which people generally abstain from all food and drink except for water) may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Google “fasting for health” and you’ll get more than 7 million hits, ranging from doctors who recommend it in their practices to treat a range of diseases, spas that promise detoxifying food-free vacations, and message board postings from devotees who say that fasting makes them feel clearer mentally and more fit. “I fast whenever my body feels like it needs a reboot,” says Yoli Ouiya, 31, a New York City blogger who writes about eco-friendly living. She fasts once every few months. 
But is fasting a good idea for your health? Possibly, says David Katz, MD, MPH, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University. Every day, organs such as the liver, kidney, and spleen work to remove and neutralize toxins from the body to keep our cells healthy. “When you fast, you eliminate input of additional toxins from food,” says Dr. Katz, “and there is a potential biological benefit to that.”
Leading researchers and experts share the details you need to know before you forgo food:
Your Body on a Fast 
Thanks to our history as hunter-gatherers, human bodies are equipped to handle periods of not eating, says Benjamin D. Horne, PhD, MD, author of the Utah study and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City. And since the ancestors who made it through those lean times are the ones who survived, Horne suggests that our DNA may actually be coded to receive a benefit from fasting.
Here’s how your body reacts when you stop feeding it:
  • When you eat, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into the sugar glucose, the body’s major source of energy. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood, which then travels to your body’s cells to provide them with fuel.
  • If you haven’t eaten recently, the supply of glucose in your blood drops and your body turns to stored glucose, called glycogen, for energy.
  • Once the glycogen is used up, your body begins to burn fat and muscle stores to make its own glucose to fuel your cells.
  • After a few days without eating (which experts don’t recommend) your body kicks into ketosis mode, meaning you burn fat as the primary source of fuel, in order to spare muscle. You will lose weight in the form of body fat. However, ketosis also makes your blood will also become more acidic, and can cause bad breath, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms; long-term, it can lead to kidney and liver damage.

What Fasting Can and Can't Do for Your Health

  • Fasting may help your heart.
Fasting for a day once a month may prevent heart disease and insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes, according to two studies from Utah’s Intermountain Medical Center presented recently at the American College of Cardiology’s scientific sessions. When researchers looked at the habits of 200 men and women, they found that those who fasted once a month were 58 percent less likely to have heart disease than those who didn’t (after they controlled for factors such as age, smoking status, and high blood pressure). They then set out to understand why.
In a smaller study, the scientists measured various blood levels in 30 healthy adults after one day when they fasted and one day when they ate normally. After they fasted, participants had huge increases in human growth hormone (HGH) — 13-fold in women and 20-fold in men, among other changes. HGH protects lean muscle mass and encourages the body to burn fat stores instead. “During fasting, your fat cells are being metabolized and used as fuel,” says Horne. “If fat is being used for fuel, in the long run you have fewer fat cells in your body.” This may mean less insulin resistance and a lower risk of heart disease later in life.
  • There’s a chance fasting can cut cancer risk.
Periods of fasting did slow the rate of cell division (a measure of cancer risk) in mice, according to an American Journal of Physiology study. The researchers aren’t sure why, but say it may result from a decrease in growth factors that results from nutrient deprivation. But since the science is preliminary, you shouldn’t fast solely for cancer-prevention purposes until there is more definitive research on humans, says study author Marc Hellerstein, PhD, MD, professor of human nutrition at University of California, Berkeley
  • The jury's still out on fasting for other ailments.
In fact, one small Iranian study of 40 adults with multiple sclerosis found that there were no negative effects from fasting during the month of Ramadan compared with a group who didn’t fast. "If you’re not on prescription medicine, generally in good health, and want to fast periodically because you feel you get a health benefit from it, we don't have evidence that this would be harmful," says Katz.
  • Fasting won’t help you lose — and keep off — weight.
“Fasting for weight loss is just another form of yo-yo dieting,” says Joel Fuhrman, MD, board certified family physician specializing in nutritional lifestyle medicine and author of Fasting and Eating for Health. While you may see a small drop in the scale, don’t expect the weight loss to last.
“The pounds that come off on a short-term fast are mainly water and stored carbohydrates, which will come back as soon as you start eating again,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of the bestselling book Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches
And if you’re tempted to fast one day as a green light to eat whatever you want the next, think again. “Weight loss is about energy balance — if you have consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight,” Katz. “On the days you fast you have a calorie deficit. But what really comes into play is what you do on the other days.” In other words, you can negate the potential health effects of a fast by binging afterward.
Bottom line: True weight-loss success involves healthy eating (along with exercise habits) that you are committed to and can maintain over time.
  • Fasting can’t take the place of a healthy diet.
While there may be health perks to intermittent fasting, the research is still preliminary. Horne’s lab is currently working on studies that will evaluate how often and for how long people need to fast to see health benefits. One thing we know for sure about health: Eating well every day plays a major role in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. “Focusing on consistently eating enough nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains snowballs into proven powerful benefits over time,” says Sass.

Another important thing to keep in mind: Just as fasting gives your body a break from toxins, it also saps your body of vital nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. “With fasting, you risk throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” says Katz. “As you create nutrient deficits on fast days, it may be difficult to compensate on the days you do eat.”

So if you choose to fast, you have to pack your diet with nutritious foods. “Fasting is not a way of fixing an otherwise broken diet,” says Katz. “It should be used only as a way of helping you establish a healthy way of eating, rebooting your body to focus on what’s important.”
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The Keys to Successful Weight Loss

One of the keys to successful weight loss is to have realistic goals. 

The treatment for obesity is weight loss, and there are a number of ways to achieve that, including:
  • Diet and lifestyle changes
  • Prescription medicines
  • Weight-loss surgery
For adults, particularly those using diet and lifestyle modifications to lose weight, the following are generally considered realistic goals:
  • Aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight over six months.
  • Lose weight slowly, at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
  • Once you've lost 10 percent of your body weight, focus your efforts on keeping it off before attempting further weight loss.

Obesity and Lifestyle Modifications

Overeating is a major contributor to obesity, and some of the most common reasons for overeating include:
  • Fatigue
  • Boredom
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Feeling happy or wanting to celebrate
  • Eating too fast
  • Eating mindlessly, or without paying attention to what you're eating
  • Eating to please someone else or to fit in with a social group
  • Trying to follow a too-strict diet
  • Going too long between meals and getting overly hungry
Lifestyle modifications that can help to address these reasons and help with weight loss include:
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Becoming aware of the habits and/or emotions that lead you to overeat
  • Being mindful of how hungry or how full you are before, during, and after you eat
  • Following a healthy diet that provides enough calories and enough variety
  • Choosing foods that are high in water and/or fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  • Engaging in regular physical activity
  • Joining an in-person or online weight-loss support organization

Obesity Medications

Only a few prescription drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the long-term treatment of obesity.

Xenical is approved for use in adolescents and adults; the other three drugs are approved for use in adults only.
Each of these drugs works differently and has different side effects. Choosing which to try is a decision best made with input from your doctor.

The average amount of weight lost as a consequence of using one of these drugs ranges from 3 to 9 percent of body weight.
In studies, use of Qsymia results in more weight loss than any of the other three.
In all cases, weight-loss medications are intended to be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, and their effects stop when the drug is stopped.
Some other weight-loss drugs are approved for short-term use, but their usefulness is limited, because most people regain the weight they lost when they stop using the drugs.

Obesity Surgery

Surgery for weight loss, called bariatric surgery, can result in significantly more weight loss than medications, but results vary from person to person.
There are several forms of bariatric surgery, including the following:
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: This is the most common type of gastric bypass surgery.
In it, the size of the stomach is reduced to about the size of a walnut, and the middle portion of the intestine is attached directly to the stomach.
This limits the amount of food you can eat and reduces the amount of nutrients absorbed into the body.
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding: This procedure involves positioning an inflatable band around the stomach and effectively dividing the stomach into a small upper pouch and a larger lower portion.
The pouch limits how much you can eat at one time, and the band can be tightened to further reduce the size of the upper stomach.
Sleeve gastrectomy: This is a newer type of surgery in which about 80 percent of the stomach is removed.
This creates a tube-shaped stomach, which limits how much food you can eat.

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The Dangers of Obesity

Obesity can lead to a host of physical and social ailments. Why are obesity rates rising, and what is considered obese anyway?

It seems everywhere we turn we hear about obesity. The statistics. The dangers. The effect it has on all areas of one’s life. The annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey released this week, which tracks respondents' self-reported height and weight data, revealed that its tracked national obesity rate has risen to 27.7 percent — up from 25.5 in 2008. Mississippi has the highest obesity rate at 35.2 percent, while Hawaii is the only state where fewer than 1 in 5 residents are obese. And for the first time since 2008, there has been a sharp increase in the number of obese Americans ages 65 and older.

We know weight gain — especially excessive weight gain — is bad, but when you’re surrounded by all-you-can-eat buffets and communities not designed for walking, is there any hope of winning the battle of the bulge? The answer is a resounding yes, and the first step is knowing what obesity is and how it affects all of us.

Obesity: What Is It?

Over the last 25 years, obesity rates have been climbing steadily. While the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index finds 27.7 percent of Americans are obese, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that nearly 35 percent of adults and 18 to 21 percent of children are obese.

In layman’s terms, obesity is carrying enough body fat to put an individual at risk for a variety of ailments including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, reproductive disorders, osteoarthritis, and cancer, among others. “In short, obesity can affect functioning of all major body organ systems,” says Jennifer Nasser, RD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Obesity is typically determined by figuring out an individual’s body mass index (BMI) using a formula that includes his or her height and weight. For an adult, a number of 25 or larger falls in the overweight category, while a value of 30 or more is considered obese.

This formula is not appropriate for children and teens, however. “BMIs for children and teens are age- and gender-specific because the amount of body fat changes with age and growth and differs between boys and girls,” says Rose Clifford, RD, clinical dietitian in the department of pharmacy services at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. The CDC offers an accurate BMI calculator for those under age 20 with their Child and Teen BMI Calculator.

Obesity: What Causes It?

A variety of factors are converging to cause the current obesity epidemic. “More people are becoming obese because of the foods that are available and inexpensive,” says Caroline M. Apovian, MD, director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at the Boston Medical Center. “We are eating 200 more calories per day than we did 50 years ago.”

Technology has made our lives easier, yet also more sedentary as we drive instead of walk and e-mail instead of wandering by a colleague’s desk. The environment, too, can be causing us to add extra pounds. “Weight gain results from the interaction between genes and environment,” says Linda Bacon, PhD, associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis. “Environmental conditions are changing and some people’s genes make them susceptible to gaining weight in the current environmental conditions.” Bacon says that these include increased toxins in the environment, some of which cause changes in hormones which lead us to store fat, and changes in our eating habits — some of the nutrients more common today don’t trigger our internal weight regulation mechanisms as readily as foods from nature do.

Obesity: What Are Its Effects?

Besides health dangers, obesity can cause economic hardships and psychological effects including depression and self-esteem issues. Perhaps worst of all is the discrimination suffered by those who are obese. “Discrimination against larger people now exceeds that based on race and gender,” says Bacon.

And the effects don't stop there. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index also asked respondents to rate their overall well-being. The survey defines well-being through five key areas: purpose (liking what you do each day), social (relationships), financial, community (liking where you live), and physical (having good health and energy to get things done). The survey found that obese Americans are more likely to suffer in these key areas than those who are not obese.

While obesity can be affected by genetics and the environment, there is still plenty you can do to fight it. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss which weight-loss and treatment options are right for you. Stay active by scheduling exercise into your routine and avoid spending too much time on sedentary activities like TV-watching. And make healthy diet choices — with correct portion sizes and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
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Must Read Facts about Diabetes

We often hear people asking how to cure diabetes, and medical doctors’ usual answers is –there is no cure for diabetes. Then people will be saddened by this fact, but they should not be because there are wide varieties of treatments available for them. With the world’s present technologies, it is not impossible that one day, our industrious scientists and researches will be able to find or even developed a real cure for diabetes.

Here are some facts that you should know about diabetes:
  • Global epidemic emergence of diabetes can be associated with the rapid increases of obesity, physical inactivity and overweight.
  • In year 2030, diabetes will be the 7th leading causes of deaths according to World Health Organization.
  • 80% of World Health Organization documented deaths from diabetes came from the developing countries.
  • Every second, one out of ten individuals with diabetes dies.
  • Type I Diabetes is formerly known as Juvenile diabetes.
  • An individual with type I diabetes are not capable of producing insulin.
  • Type II diabetes can produce insulin, only that it is insufficient for the human body requirements.
  • Type II diabetes are more common case than of Type I diabetes.
  • Children with type II diabetes are now emerging worldwide.
  • There is another type of diabetes known today as gestational diabetes.
  • Person with diabetes do not actually die because of the disease. They died because of the complications associated with their current condition.
  • Prevention of diabetes to occur in an individual with diabetic blood line is possible.
  • Few minutes of drastic exercise or physical activities daily can help reduce the threat of having type II diabetes.
  • Well balanced diet is vital for individual with diabetes.
  • Almost 30% of the populations are not aware that they actually have onset diabetes.
  • Type I diabetes cases are lower than type II diabetes cases.
  • Symptoms of type I and type II diabetes are almost the same.
  • Person with diabetes should have a daily meal plan.
  • Person with Insulin dependent diabetes should not be involved in long and drastic activities. The human body needs energy from the glucose breakdown.
  • Diabetes can also be associated with blindness that occurs in working adults.
  • Individual with diabetes have high risk of developing heart diseases.
  • Having diabetes is more costly than having tuberculosis.
  • Diabetes needs lifetime treatment.
  • Diabetic person should avoid intake of starchy foods like pasta, bread, rice potatoes and other root crops.
  • Insulin is the prime responsible to transfer glucose from the blood to the human cells.
  • Not all persons with diabetes are fat.
  • Both Type I and Type II diabetes is a lifetime condition that have serious impending life threatening risk.
  • Genital itching is possible symptoms of diabetes.
  • Drastic weight loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.
  • Slow wound healing is a concrete symptom of high glucose in blood.
  • Diabetes can cause kidney failure that may lead to human death.
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What is Asthma ? Facts and Fiction

Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, and the number of people with the condition has steadily risen since the 1980s among all age and racial groups, according to statistics compiled by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Every day over 44,000 Americans suffer an asthma attack, and nearly 5,000 people need to visit an emergency room in order to deal with an attack. Unfortunately some people never receive the care they need to overcome an attack, as the condition kills nine people a day in the U.S. The number of individuals asthma kills each year has increased by 50 percent in the last 30 years, with African Americans being three times more likely to die from the condition than other racial groups.

Asthma also takes its toll on the economy, as each year over $18 billion is spent either on treatment or lost due to missed work. Understanding your asthma can help you deal with the disease on a daily basis so you can live a healthy and full life.

What is Asthma?
A lung condition that impede with a person’s ability to breath, asthma stems from a chronic inflammation in the tubes that carry air into the lungs. Asthma can cause serious, recurring episodes of breathlessness and wheezing, known as asthma attacks, which can lead to a shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and an inability to stop coughing. In extreme cases, an asthma attack cuts off the amount of oxygen the body is receiving, requiring emergency treatment to help reopen airways and restore oxygen levels in the body. While asthma cannot be cured, it can be successfully managed.

What Causes an Attack?
Individuals with asthma experience constantly inflamed airway. Specific triggers can cause this inflammation to become worse and lead to a narrowing of the airways in the lungs. These triggers can also cause the body to simultaneously produce excess mucus that further closes the airways and reduces the amount of oxygen your body receives. When working together, the mucus and inflammation restrict the amount of air your lungs receive, and as too little air gets through, wheezing and breathlessness occur.

Asthma Allergens
A variety of allergens can trigger an asthma attack, including mold, cockroaches, dust mites, tree or flower pollen, and foods such as eggs, fish, or peanuts. Knowing what your asthma triggers are can help you reduce the number of asthma attacks you experience.

Here are some of the more common causes of asthma attacks:

Pets - Allergies to pets, or more specifically pet dander, is a common asthma trigger. The dead skin cells that collect on fur, clothing, and furniture, dander can cause an asthma attack in as little as 15 minutes after being inhaled. Individuals with cat allergies also react negative to the protein found in a cat’s skin, saliva, and urine. This protein can gather in the air and triggers asthma attacks in between 20 to 30 percent of all people with asthma.

Air Pollution - Whether you’re outdoors or in, air pollution can play havoc with your asthma. Smog, cigarette smoke, hairspray, and paint fumes are some of the many non-allergic triggers that can cause an asthma attack. These triggers cause attacks by irritating the airways in the lungs.

Exercise - Despite the many health benefits associated with exercise, physical activity can cause exercised-induced asthma attacks in many people. Fortunately this type of asthma attack can be control so it won’t interfere with your ability to stay fit.

Weather- Changes in weather, such as a drop in temperature, change in humidity, or extremely arid conditions, can lead to a asthma attack.
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5 Weight Loss Tips to Help You Avoid Junk Food

Is it accurate to say that you are having some difficulty maintaining a strategic distance from the urge to consume less than great nourishment? Regularly when you are attempting to attain your weight reduction objectives, the requirement for order is key.
Some individuals can oppose the allurement to consume garbage nourishment, yet in the event that you're not taught, then you need to expel them from your vicinity. On the off chance that you are the sort of individual that can walk away, see yourself as fortunate, in light of the fact that most individuals can't.

Stay Strong in Your Weight Loss Efforts

Everybody has minutes of shortcoming. Whether you're pushed, occupied with work, have an occasion, or are a casualty of our loved ones that frequently attack our endeavors without knowing it, there are going to be times when you are enticed on your way to weight reduction. It is vital at these times to utilize a mate framework to help you stay inspired. Fortunately, these 5 tips will help you to accomplish your weight reduction simpler with just a tad bit of order.

5 Tips to Avoid Temptation

Here are 5 tips to help you stay solid and abstain from consuming garbage sustenance while you attain your weight reduction objectives:

1) Keep garbage sustenance out of your house and far from your work area at work.

2) Never go staple shopping hungry, you'll wind up in the chip path in a matter of seconds. I generally advise my patients to adhere to the edge in the market, where the solid nourishment is. The greater part of the garbage sustenance is found in the center paths.

3) Always have solid nourishment or a sound nibble accessible to you so you're not starving and arriving at for a cheeseburger.

4) Remember a glass of water will go far in these circumstances and can control your yearning until you can consume something solid.

5) If you're focused on, attempt to quiet around striving for a walk. Activity builds your endorphin levels and will permit you to refocus.

You Can Do It!

Attaining your weight reduction objectives is not going to happen overnight and you're not going to constantly succeed, however recall — this is a lifestyle change. In the event that you tumble off the wagon, simply get right once more on. Utilizing these systems reliably will lead you to a healthier you and really soon consuming sound nourishment will get to be some piece of your every day existence without actually considering i
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How Does Cancer Impact Reproductive Health In Women ?

Suffering from cancer is one of the toughest ordeals for any person; however to be unable to rear a child after cancer can be even tougher for a woman. Women who have suffered from cancer are at a juncture of life where although they have survived their disease, they are unable to reproduce. The thoughts of not being able to be a parent are harrowing; however the right knowledge will help you overcome the problem. There exist many misconceptions surrounding the issue, which will be discussed further in the article.
Cancer Impact On Women

Getting Pregnant

After you have finished your cancer treatment, most oncologists suggest waiting 2 to 4 years before planning parenthood. This is because majority of recurrence occurs within this time frame; therefore it is to ensure that you are healthy enough to support yourself as well as the growing fetus. However, every person’s medical situation is different, thus your healthcare provider will be able to guide you properly.
As a woman, treatment via chemotherapy and radiation, may cause your eggs to be genetically damaged, it is thus advisable to wait until those eggs leave your body and are replaced by better ones.


There is a misconception that women who reach their menopause cannot conceive; in reality even if you have hit your menopause, you have the ability to get pregnant. You may not be able to get pregnant the natural way, but you can use the frozen eggs, frozen tissues or embryos. While in menopause, you may require hormonal injections in order to prepare your body for the pregnancy. If your uterus is healthy, you should not face any difficulties.


There is an increased risk of miscarriage in those women who have received radiation to their pelvic region. Miscarriage, low birth weight and preterm delivery are some of the common problems faced by women who have received radiation to their uterus. A specialist will evaluate your uterus and guide you regarding which is the right time to conceive.
Complications are also common if you have had fertility sparing gynecological surgeries. For example, those who have had a radical trachelectomy, continuous monitoring is required during the course of pregnancy and the delivery too is usually a cesarean-section birth. Also, if your cervix was removed, you have higher chances of miscarriage and preterm delivery. You must be in consultation with your oncologist in order to assess the risks. You can also consult a high risk obstetrician before trying to get pregnant.

Health Risks

Radiation and chemotherapy can cure you of cancer, but also cause long-term health risks. Some of these risks may cause damage to your heart or lungs which in turn make it difficult to carry a pregnancy. It is therefore important that you consult your oncologist for the long-term risks associated with your treatment plan. For example, many patients during pregnancy are recommended regular echocardiograms in order to ensure that their heart functions normally during the pregnancy term.
Children at Risk
Most cancer survivors worry whether their children too will be susceptible to cancer. But it is an unwarranted worry as research shows that a parent with cancer does not cause the child to be susceptible. The child is at the same risk as that of the general population. However the risk may increase if the cancer is genetically linked; but a small percentage of cancer are known to be genetically linked. Thus the risks are not higher, as is the preconceived notion amongst cancer survivors.
As a woman cancer survivor, you will have to assess the various risks especially that of recurrence and decide as there are chances that you may not be around after your child is bought into the world. Although it may be highly emotional, it is necessary to weigh all the options and address the problems before conceiving a child as the child’s future depends upon your present decisions.Get relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease.
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What is the Best Time for Exercise ?

There are many claims and counter claims regarding the best time to exercise. Conflicting research studies point to greater benefits for morning, afternoon or evening exercise regimes. In reality the best time to exercise is the time that suits you and your lifestyle best. The most important factor in choosing a time to exercise is to choose a time that you can commit to, will stick with and which can become an automatic and habitual part in your day. Exercising consistently is key to achieving the health benefits of exercise.

Studies have found that people who exercised in the morning were more likely to persist with their exercise routine. They found it easier to stick with the program before the distractions of the day began to intrude. There are also claims that exercising in the morning is more effective for weight loss as it gave a kick start to the metabolism. Blood sugar levels are low so the body converts fat to fuel to meet its energy needs. In addition fat burning hormones are at higher levels earlier in the day. Many people report benefits to their levels of concentration during the day and many super high achievers exercise before 6 am.

What is the Best Time for Exercise?

Studies also found that morning exercisers were more successful in adjusting their circadian rhythms than evening exercisers in resetting their sleep and waking cycles and establishing a rhythm which left the body most ready to exercise at that same point of each day. That means that the bodies of people who establish a pattern of waking and exercising wake ready and expecting to exercise.

If struggling out of bed when the alarm sounds is a chore you are unlikely to persevere with your exercise program. Morning exercise is not for everyone. High levels of exercise intensity before breakfast could be counter-productive forcing the body to burn muscle instead of fat in search of fuel. Because body temperature is low morning exercisers should avoid injury by warming muscles up slowly.

Lunchtime is often a good option for busy people to fit a workout or run into a hectic lifestyle. It can also help people who struggle with motivation to exercise if it is included as a social activity over a work lunch break. Walking, running or taking a class is sometimes easier with an exercise buddy to encourage you and compete with you keeping you on task and on target. Also it has been reported that strength is nearly 5% higher around mid-day. It is important to eat after exercising rather than before.

Proponents of afternoon exercise claim that exercising between 4pm and 5pm is the optimal exercising time from a physiological point of view. The body temperature is at its highest and the risk of injury is at its lowest. You are fully alert and your muscles are warm and relaxed. It has been reported that anaerobic performance (for example sprinting) can improve by around 5% in the afternoon. The pressures of modern lifestyles can impact however and afternoon exercisers were found to be less consistent than their morning counterparts.

Fans of evening exercise suggest it helps them to get a good night's sleep. There appears to be little evidence to support theories that exercising very late in the evening can adversely effect sleep. It may be difficult to commit to an exercise regime however at the end of a busy and stressful day and many people simply find themselves too tired to workout.

The good news is that regardless of the time they choose to do so anyone can experience real benefits from exercising. Guidelines recommend a minimum of 150 minutes weekly moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes vigorous activity. Moderate and vigorous activity can be combined and should be spread out over the full week. The trick is picking something which you enjoy doing at a time when it is convenient for you and maintaining a consistent program and a daily exercise schedule.
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10 High-Protein Power Snacks

With dieting’s emphasis on low-fat, low-carb, and low-calorie, one essential ingredient for weight loss is often left out of the mix: protein. Numerous studies, including one recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown that skipping high-protein foods may lead to overeating and is often one of the biggest causes of excess weight gain. And as any devoted exerciser knows, protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscle and organs, especially after a hard workout.
When planning your healthy meals, keep in mind that 10 to 35 percent of your daily food intake should be lean protein. For women, that’s 46 grams a day; for men, 56 grams. If you make the right choices throughout the day, you can easily hit your protein targets. To get started, try these high-protein choices for healthy snacking.

High-Protein Snack 1: Eggs

For years, eggs have been getting a bad rap for their cholesterol content. But now, even the American Heart Association has come around and acknowledged that the benefits of eggs might outweigh the cholesterol risks when eaten in moderation (less than six whole eggs per week). After all, one large egg contains 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories. If you’re concerned about cholesterol, many egg substitutes on the market offer lower-cholesterol alternatives that still pack a protein punch.
One of the best ways to eat eggs is hard-boiled. Keep a bowl of them in your home fridge for an instant healthy snack or addition to a larger meal.

High-Protein Snack 2: Nuts 

Whether you go for cashews, walnuts, pistachios, or any of the other varieties, whole, raw nuts are a healthy high-protein snack choice. If you're concerned about calories, limit your nut intake to a handful or two, and remember that though nuts are high in fat, it's healthy monounsaturated fat, which doesn't clog arteries and is an essential part of a healthy diet. Plus, nuts are high in fiber, which when paired with their protein content, keeps you feeling full longer.
It doesn't matter which nut you go nuts for — they all have health benefits — but research consistently indicates that almonds might be the best of the bunch. Numerous studies have found that almonds can help lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. They are also extremely high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and have been shown to help manage weight.

High-Protein Snack 3: Greek Yogurt

Not so long ago, Greek yogurt took up only a tiny portion of the supermarket dairy section. But in just a few years, it has earned its place among supermarket superfood staples. Greek yogurt, which is strained to remove whey, is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, making it a healthful stand-alone snack, a great mixer for fresh fruit, cereal, or nuts, and a healthy swap for fattier dairy products such as sour cream or cream cheese. The yogurt’s power comes from its protein — Greek yogurt contains 15 to 20 grams of protein in a 6-ounce serving versus 9 grams in regular yogurt.

High-Protein Snack 4: Turkey

When you’re going for lean protein, nothing beats low-calorie turkey — 3 ounces of turkey provides a whopping 25 grams of protein for only 140 calories. Deli slices might be the fastest form of turkey to grab for a snack, but they can be high in sodium. Skip the excess sodium by roasting a small bird for dinner and using the leftover slices as nutritious snacks.

High-Protein Snack 5: Protein Shakes

Homemade protein shakes can be a delicious way to add protein to your diet. Melissa Dobbins, RD, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends adding whey protein to your blender because it’s a high-quality, complete protein. This means it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build and maintain muscle, and it provides a feeling of fullness, she adds. Simply combine whey protein with nonfat milk, frozen fruit, all-natural nut butter, or whatever other healthful ingredients sound good to you, and you have a healthy meal replacement or snack. Because you control the ingredients, homemade shakes let you skip the added sugar that often comes with store-bought protein bars and shakes.

High-Protein Snack 6: Cottage Cheese

Diet staple cottage cheese is an excellent protein source, with a half-cup of low-fat cottage cheese providing 14 grams of protein for only 81 calories. Paired with fruit or plain, it makes a terrific snack when you want to stay full between meals or can even be a satisfying meal all on its own.

High-Protein Snack 7: Lentils

As vegans and vegetarians know, lentils pack a powerful punch of protein, fiber, and minerals while containing comparatively few calories and almost no fat. A cup of cooked lentils offers 22 grams of protein, about 300 calories, and less than 1 gram of fat. Lentils are also relatively quick to prepare for a meal or snack, and because they soak up the flavors of whatever they’re cooked with, they can make a tasty base for many dishes.

High-Protein Snack 8: Tofu

Tofu or soy bean curd is another excellent high-protein meal base and source of healthy fats and nutrients. Because it absorbs flavors so well and can be cut into cubes, strips, or chunks, it can be prepared in a variety of ways. Plus, some research has shown that soy consumption can reduce risk of breast or prostate cancer, thanks to its high levels of phytoestrogens, though that link is still being studied.

High-Protein Snack 9: Nut Butter

Chances are, you loved peanut butter as a kid, but you may have shied away from this traditional treat as an adult because of concerns about fat. Well, it’s time to head back to the jar for healthy snacking — with moderation, of course. Peanut, almond, cashew, and other nut butters are high-protein foods, with about two tablespoons providing 7 grams of protein. And though nut butter does contain fat and saturated fat, it can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in small amounts. Just remember not to slather it on crackers — instead, spread it on carrot or celery sticks for healthy snacking.

High-Protein Snack 10: Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins are full of fiber, vitamins, and body-boosting carotenoids, but it turns out tiny pumpkin seeds might pack even more of a nutritional punch. With 8 grams of protein in just one ounce, pumpkin seeds or pepitas are also very rich in minerals, including potassium, manganese, and iron. Just take heed: Pumpkin seeds are calorie-dense, so do your healthy snacking in moderation.
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6 Ways Quitting Smoking Is Good for Your Heart

One of the most important things you can do to keep your heart healthy — and to keep it beating for as long as possible — is to avoid or quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, kicking the habit can heal the damage nicotine inflicts on your heart and on your longevity in several striking ways.
As important as quitting smoking is to having a healthier heart, finding the most effective ways to quit isn’t easy. Here are six ways quitting smoking benefits your heart health, as well as advice from top smoking cessation experts:

1. Health benefits start right away. 

 “Within hours of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop, and can often revert to a normal range,” says Michael Miller, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine, epidemiology, and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “On your first anniversary of quitting, you can celebrate the fact that you’ve slashed your heart attack risk by about 50 percent,” adds Dr. Miller, whose book, Heal Your Heart, was published last year.

2. If you’re a woman, quitting has especially important benefits. 

 That’s because women typically have smaller bodies than men, so the ill effects of smoking on women’s hearts tend to be more concentrated and dangerous, says C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director, Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center and director of the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. There’s another reason why quitting is so essential for women: Female smokers under the age of 60 are more likely than males to experience cholesterol plaque erosion, a potentially deadly blood vessel condition, says Miller. “Woman smokers under the age of 45 are seven times more likely to have heart attacks than male smokers of the same age,” he says.

3. When you quit, you stop exposing your heart to poisonous chemicals.

 The toxins contained in cigarette smoke include arsenic, benzene, and formaldehyde, to name just a few noted by the American Lung Association. These chemicals can wreak havoc on the blood vessels throughout your body, lessen blood flow to the heart, and damage your heart muscle, says David Harris, MD, a cardiologist and assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio.

4. Quitting smoking doesn’t just benefit your heart — it protects children’s hearts, too. 

When children are exposed to their parents’ tobacco smoke, kids’ risks for developing plaque in their hearts’ arteries (which can lead to stroke) jumps four times higher than children of non-smokers, according to a study published in the March 2015 American Heart Association journal Circulation. Even children whose parents try to limit smoking around them are at nearly twice the risk for developing carotid artery plaque than children of non-smokers, researchers found.

5. Putting down the butts reduces your chances of being hospitalized. 

If you’re a smoker, your risk of being hospitalized for congestive heart failure, diabetic complications, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or angina is nearly twice that of a non-smoker, according to a study published in March 2015 involving 267,000 men and women over the age of 45. The good news is that your risk for being hospitalized for COPD drops within five years after you’ve quit. After 15 years of not smoking, your hospitalization risk goes down for heart failure, diabetic complications, and angina — even for older adults.

6. Stopping smoking lowers your risk for atherosclerosis. 

Your grandmother may have called this “hardening of the arteries.” In reality, it’s a blood vessel disease caused by body-wide inflammation that thickens and stiffens your arteries, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Recently, researchers who examined data from 6,814 heart-healthy people revealed that smokers have three times the risk of heart disease as people who never smoked. The researchers published their findings in March 2015.

Finding the Help You Need to Quit for Good

“The evidence is clear: the most effective way to quit smoking is to combine behavioral support with medication,” says J. Taylor Hays, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center. People who use this multi-treatment approach are three times more likely to become successful quitters than smokers who try going cold turkey, he says.
Start by making an appointment with a specialist certified in tobacco treatment. Dr. Hays recommends contacting the Association for Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD), where you can find certified, smoking cessation counselors in your area.
The specialist will likely use a three-pronged approach to help you quit — for good. The plan will probably include behavioral counseling, appropriate medications, and nicotine replacement therapy.

3 Top Tips for Successful Quitters

  • Clean your house of all smoking paraphernalia and don’t let anyone smoke around you, Miller says.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol — it’s the most common reason for relapse.
  • Stress management techniques can help during your first month or so.
“If you can quit for one day, you can quit for two days — your chemical dependence to cigarettes only lasts a couple of days,” says Dr. Harris.
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5 Tips for a Super-Healthy Smoothie

Smoothies are an easy and tasty way to incorporate more produce and other healthful ingredients into your diet, and they offer a lot of benefits that trendy juices don’t. By blending whole fruits and vegetables rather than extracting the juice, you get the full dose of heart-healthy fiber, and you waste less of your pricey produce. If you choose your ingredients carefully, smoothies can deliver a balanced blend of protein, fat, and carbs, making them a suitable substitute for meals. Juices, on the other hand, are mostly carbohydrate, and if they’re primarily fruit-based, they can be a concentrated source of sugar.
That said, smoothies aren’t always a healthy choice. Store-bought smoothies can contain more than 15 teaspoons of sugar from syrups and juices, and homemade smoothies can trip you up, too. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re dumping a little of this and a little of that into a pitcher-sized blender (I fall into this trap myself). Even if you’re being careful to use only nutritious, whole food ingredients, the calories can be excessive. To create a well-balanced beverage that won’t weigh you down, consider these suggestions.
  1. Limit added sweeteners. I recommend using whole fruit as the only sweetener in smoothies if at all possible. Unlike added sweeteners like maple syrup and honey, which supply only sugar, fruit provides fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial phytonutrients along with natural sweetness.Try using about a cup of fresh or frozen fruit as the base of your smoothie. Incorporate bananas, mango, pineapple, or orange slices for a sweeter profile, but steer clear of fruit juice, which is more concentrated in sugar and calories than whole fruit. To keep added sugar under control, you’ll also want to choose plain, unsweetened yogurt and milks (many non-dairy milks like almond and coconut contain added sweeteners). When you’re finished blending, taste the final product. If — and only if — it’s still not sweet enough for your liking, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of your preferred sweetener (or, add 1 to 2 dates in place of sweetener).
  2. Add some veggies to the mix. For an extra shot of vitamins and minerals, try to incorporate a vegetable into your drink. My go-to is a handful of baby spinach leaves, but you can also blend in carrots, beets, or canned pureed pumpkin. Celery and cucumbers are also smoothie-friendly, but they aren’t as nutrient-dense as deeply colored varieties. I like to combine leafy greens with berries, since the purple and blue hues mask the green color best.
  3. Puree in protein. Adding at least one protein-rich ingredient makes your smoothie more filling and substantial, which is especially important you’re relying on it to stand in as a complete breakfast. Good options include plain low-fat yogurt, skim or 1% milk, soy milk, and silken tofu. Keep in mind that many non-dairy milks, including almond and coconut, provide minimal protein.   
  4. Watch the extras. You can enhance your drink’s nutritional profile by adding nuts and nut butters, avocado, chia or flax seeds, cocoa powder or cacao nibs, wheat germ, oats, and other healthful ingredients, but you’ll also be increasing the calorie count. For example, each tablespoon of nut butter tacks on another 100 calories, and you could easily add 2 to 3 times that amount if you’re scooping freehand from the jar. With high-cal ingredients, you may need to get out the measuring spoons to make sure you’re not going overboard with portions. Which brings us to tip #5…
  5. Do a rough calorie count. I recommend doing some quick math to make sure you’re not sipping more calories than you think, especially if you’re watching your weight. If you’re drinking a smoothie as your breakfast meal, 400 calories is a reasonable limit (men and active women can be more liberal). For a snack-sized smoothie, stick to around 200 calories.
One last tip: If you end up making more smoothie than you bargained for, pour the leftover mixture into ice pop molds. Your breakfast becomes a fruity frozen dessert to enjoy later in the week!
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8 High-Sugar Foods You're Eating Every Day

You Might Be Eating More Than You Realize

The World Health Organization recently recommended that adults and children reduce their sugar intake to less than 10% of total calorie consumption. “Cut back on sugar” seems to be the diet advice du jour, but there's more to it than just banning candy, soda, and cake from your diet and skipping sweetener in your coffee. “The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sweetener per day and men no more than 9 teaspoons,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD. “If you don't add sugar to food, you may think you're in the clear, but on average, most of us consume as much as 20 teaspoons of sweetener per day,” a huge amount of empty calories that can lead to weight gain and increase your risk for disease. How can you make sure you're not packing in any hidden sugar? “Be a label detective,” advises Palinski-Wade. “Read the ingredients. If sugar is in the top 3 ingredients, leave the item on the self.” Find out what else to watch out for in these eight common sugar bombs.

Yogurt With Fruit

Shouldn't yogurt be on the “good” foods list? Well, it is — but the varieties with added fruit on the bottom usually contain a high amount of sugar — up to a whopping 19 grams per cup. A much better choice: Opt for plain yogurt and add your own sliced fruit, plus a drop of honey for an all-natural sweetener.

Canned Soup

You've heard about canned soups being high in sodium, but did you know it’s also chock full of the sweet stuff? It’s true: Sugar is added as a preservative to many canned soups to extend their shelf life — and you can find up to 15 grams of sugar per 1.5 cups in certain varieties, so check labels carefully before you buy.

Salad Dressing

Dressing is one of the biggest ways a seemingly-healthy salad can go from health food to diet buster in seconds, with some dressings containing up to 4 grams per tablespoon of dressing. Pay particular attention to light or fat-free varieties, which use sugar to make up for the flavor lost by cutting out fat. Your best bet? Eat your salad with a light and easy dressing made from a dash of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice instead.

Tomato Sauce

Store-bought tomato sauces in jars are convenient — but can be sneaky sources of sugar, as it's often added to cut the acidic taste of tomatoes and to keep jarred sauces fresh for a longer period. You might find up to 12 grams hiding in a half-cup (though it may be called “corn syrup” in the ingredient list).


Sugar can sneak up on you in bread, with some varieties containing up to 2 grams of sugar per slice (and that includes some brands of whole wheat bread). But you don't have to give up having sandwiches; just look for breads with little or no added sugar, and whole wheat flour listed in the ingredients.

Granola Bars

Have you been eating a glorified candy bar for breakfast? Granola bars sound a heck of a lot healthier than they actually are; some brands contain up to 9 grams of sugar per bar, and you're likely to find unhealthy enriched white flour and corn syrup in the ingredient list. Look for bars that contain less than 35 percent calories from sugar, or consider snacking on a piece of fruit and a handful of whole nuts instead.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit tends to sound a lot healthier than it is. Just a handful of dried cranberries, for instance, can contain up to 29 grams of sugar. Play it safe: Look for all-natural options that list only the fruit as the ingredient and no added sugars. Since those can be difficult to find, make it your general rule of thumb to opt for the whole fruit whenever you can.

Orange Juice

This breakfast favorite doesn't contain added sugars, but you can find up to 9 grams of sugar in one glass of orange juice — almost as much as a glass of soda! The USDA recommends eating a whole orange instead, to get the added benefit of dietary fiber; studies also show that choosing whole fruits, like apples and grapes, over their juice counterparts can help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes.
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9 Ways to Get Your Energy Back

Fatigue is a common complaint, especially after people hit middle age. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to boost energy. Some even slow the aging process.

Here’s how to refill your tank when your energy levels sputter.

1. Rule out health problems .

Fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anemia, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor if you feel unusually tired.
Many medications can contribute to fatigue. These include some blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, diuretics, and other drugs. If you begin to experience fatigue after starting a new medication, tell your doctor.

2. Get moving .

The last thing you may feel like doing when you’re tired is exercising. But many studies show that physical activity boosts energy levels.
“Exercise has consistently been linked to improved vigor and overall quality of life,” says Kerry J. Stewart, professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “People who become active have a greater sense of self-confidence. But exercise also improves the working efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles,” Stewart says. “That’s the equivalent of improving the fuel efficiency of a car. It gives you more energy for any kind of activity.”

3. Strike a pose .

Although almost any exercise is good, yoga may be especially effective for boosting energy. After six weeks of once-a-week yoga classes, volunteers in a British study reported improvements in clear-mindedness, energy, and confidence.
It’s never too late to try, either. University of Oregon researchers offered yoga instruction to 135 men and women ages 65 to 85. At the end of six months, participants reported an increased sense of well-being and a boost in overall energy.

4. Drink plenty of water .

Dehydration zaps energy and impairs physical performance. “Our research shows that dehydration makes it harder for athletes to complete a weight lifting workout,” says Dan Judelson, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University at Fullerton. "It’s reasonable to think that dehydration causes fatigue even for people who are just doing chores."
Dehydration has also been shown to decrease alertness and concentration.
How to know if you’re drinking enough water?“Urine should be pale yellow or straw colored,” Judelson says. “If it’s darker than that, you need to drink water.”

5. Get to bed early .

Lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents and is one of the leading causes of daytime fatigue. The solution: Get to bed early enough for a full night’s sleep.
When people enrolled in a 2004 Stanford University study were allowed to sleep as long as they wanted, they reported more vigor and less fatigue. Good sleep habits may also have important health benefits. Centenarians report better than average sleep.
If you do fall short on shut-eye, take a brief afternoon nap. Napping restores wakefulness and promotes performance and learning. A 10-minute nap is usually enough to boost energy. Don’t nap longer than 30 minutes, though, or you may have trouble sleeping that night. A nap followed by a cup of coffee may provide an even bigger energy boost, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

6. Go fish .

Good for your heart, omega-3 oils may also boost alertness. According to a 2009 study by scientists at Italy’s University of Siena, volunteers who took a fish oil capsule for 21 days demonstrated faster mental reaction times. They also reported feeling more vigorous.

7. Keep time with your body clock .

Some people get a burst of energy first thing in the morning. They're often called morning larks. Night owls are people who are at their best at the end of the day.
These individual differences in daily energy patterns are determined by brain structure and genetics, so they can be tough to change. Instead, become aware of your own circadian rhythms. Then schedule demanding activities when your energy levels are typically at their peak.

8. Shed extra weight .

Losing extra weight can provide a powerful energy boost, says Stewart, of Johns Hopkins University. Even small reductions in body fat improve mood, vigor, and quality of life.
Most weight loss experts recommend cutting back on portion sizes, eating balanced meals, and increasing physical activity.

9. Eat more often .

Some people may benefit by eating smaller meals more frequently during the day. This may help to steady your blood sugar level.
Favor whole grains and other complex carbohydrates. These take longer than refined carbohydrates to digest, preventing fluctuations of blood sugar.
If you start eating more often, watch your portion sizes to avoid weight gain.

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10 Forgotten Truths to Help You Get Through Hard Times

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

The wisest, most loving, and well rounded people you have ever met are likely those who have known misery, known defeat, known the heartbreak of losing something or someone they loved, and have found their way out of the depths of their own despair.  These people have experienced many ups and downs, and have gained an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, understanding and a deep loving wisdom.  People like this aren’t born; they develop slowly over the course of time.
Angel and I have worked with thousands of these incredible people over the past decade, both online and offline, through various forms of coaching.  In many cases they came to us feeling stuck and lost, unaware of their own brilliance, blind to the fact that their struggles have strengthened them and given them an upper hand in this crazy world.
Truth be told, when hard times hit, and the challenges you face are great, you can either let your situation define you, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you.  The choice is yours to make.
In today’s article I want to remind you of a few powerful, yet easily forgotten truths that will help you choose wisely and grow stronger even through the hardest times…

1.  Pain is part of life and love, and it helps you grow.

So many of us are afraid of ourselves, of our own truth, and our feelings most of all.  We talk about how great the concepts of life and love are, but then we hide from both every day.  We hide from our truest feelings.  Because the truth is life and love hurt sometimes, and the feelings this brings disturbs us.
We are taught at an early age that all pain is evil and harmful.  Yet, how can weever deal with real life and true love if we’re afraid to feel what we really feel?  We need to feel pain, just as we need to feel alive and loved.  Pain is meant to wake us up.  Yet we try to hide our pain.  Realize this.  Pain is something to carry willingly, just like good sense.  Because you can only learn how strong you are when being strong is the only choice you have.
It’s all in how you carry the things that don’t go your way.  That’s what matters in the end.  Pain is a feeling.  Your feelings are a part of you – your own reality.  If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting the lies of insecurity destroy your reality.  You should stand up for your right to feel pain – to endure it – to own your scars – to deal with the realities of life and love, as you grow into the strongest, wisest, truest version of yourself.

2.  Mindset is half the battle.

It’s okay to have down days and tough times.  Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise up and never come crashing down.  However, when you recognize that the rising and crashing waves are part of the exact same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs.  It becomes clear that life’s ups require life’s downs.
In other words, life isn’t perfect, but it sure is good.  Our goal shouldn’t be to create a perfect life, but to live an imperfect life in radical amazement.  To get up every morning and take a good look around in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is extraordinary.  Every day is a gift.  Never treat life casually.  To be spiritual in any way is to be amazed in every way.
Do not let the pain of a situation make you hopeless.  Do not let negativity wear off on you.  Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.  Even though others may disagree with you, take pride in the fact that you still know the world to be a beautiful place.  Change your thoughts and you change your reality.
And mindset is especially powerful when it comes to accepting that…

3.  Your biggest fears don’t really exist.

When times are hard it can be difficult to follow your heart and take another step, but it’s a tragedy to let the lies of fear stop you.  Although fear can feel overwhelming, and defeats more people than any other force in the world, it’s not as powerful as it seems.  Fear is only as deep as your mind allows.  You are still in control.  So take control!
The key is to acknowledge your fear and directly address it.  Fight hard to shine the light of your words upon it.  Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless, obscure darkness that you avoid, and perhaps even manage to briefly forget, you open yourself to future attacks from fear when you least expect it.  Because you never truly faced the opponent who defeated you.
You CAN beat fear if you face it.  Be courageous!  And remember that courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid; courage means you don’t let fear stop you from moving forward with your life.

4.  You are growing through experience.

Over time you will find that life isn’t necessarily any easier or harder than you thought it was going to be; it’s just that the easy and the hard aren’t exactly the way you had anticipated, and don’t always occur when you expect them to.  This isn’t a bad thing; it makes life interesting.  With a positive attitude you will always be pleasantly surprised.
When you stop expecting things to be a certain way, you can appreciate them for what they are.  Ultimately you will realize that life’s greatest gifts are rarely wrapped the way you expected.
Experience is what you get when your plans don’t go as planned, and experience is the most valuable commodity you own – it builds your strength.
You have the power to turn your wounds and worries into wisdom; you just have to do something about them.  You have to accept what has happened and use what you’ve learned to step forward.  Everything you’ve experienced has given you the upper hand for dealing with everything you have yet to experience.  Realize this and set yourself free.

5.  You can’t change situations you don’t take responsibility for.

Sigmund Freud once said, “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”  Don’t let this be you.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you surrender power over that part of your life.
Make no mistake, in the end, the price of happiness IS responsibility.  As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be.  If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault.
Ultimately, your happiness depends on your self-reliance – your unshakable willingness to take responsibility for your life from this moment forward, regardless of who had a hand in making it the way it is now.  It’s about taking control of your present circumstances, thinking for yourself, and making a firm choice to choose differently.  It’s about being the hero of your life, not the victim.

6.  The present is all you really have to deal with.

Life is not lived in some distant, imagined land of someday where everything is perfect.  It is lived here and now, with the reality of the way things are.  Yes, by all means you can work toward an idealized tomorrow.  Yet to do so, you must successfully deal with the world as it is today.
Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on past experiences, that it is not where we should be or want to be.  But the truth is, where you are now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow.  So appreciate where you are.
Your friends and family are too beautiful to ignore.  Take a moment to remember how fortunate you are to be breathing.  Take a look around, with your eyes earnestly open to the possibilities before you.  Much of what you fear does not exist.  Much of what you love is closer than you realize.  You are just one brief thought away from understanding the blessing that is your life.
Happiness is a mindset that can only be designed into the present.  It’s not a point in the future or a moment from the past; yet sadly, this misconception hurts the masses.  So many young people seem to think all their happiness awaits them in the years ahead, while so many older people believe their best moments are behind them.  Don’t be either of them.  Don’t let the past and the future steal your present.

7.  There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

Life is better when you’re smiling.  Being positive in a negative situation is not naive; it’s a sign of leadership and strength.  You’re doing it right when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.
What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were thankful for today?
Think of all the beauty that remains around you, see it and smile.  Be thankful for all the small things in your life, because when you put them all together you will see just how significant they are.  At the end of the day, it’s not happiness that makes us thankful, but thankfulness that makes us happy.

8.  Great things take time.

Instant results are rarely the best results.  With patience, you can greatly expand your potential.  If your desires were always fulfilled immediately, you would have nothing to look forward to.  You would miss out on the joys of anticipation and progress.
Remember, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  It’s the willingness to stay focused, confidently staking one small step at a time, knowing that the way you move a mountain is by moving one stone at a time.  Every stone you move, no matter how small, is progress.
Bottom line:  You deserve more than mere instant gratification.  Value that arrives in an instant is often gone in an instant.  Value that takes time and commitment to create often outlives its creator – YOU.

9.  Other people cannot validate you.

When we’re struggling to achieve something important, sometimes we look to others to validate our progress.  But the truth is, they can’t…
You are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others, nor should you feel that others are here to live up to yours.  Pave your own unique path.  What success means to each of us is totally different.  Success is ultimately about spending your life happily in your own way.
You don’t have to be flashy to be impressive.  You don’t have to be famous to be significant.  You don’t have to be a celebrity to be successful.  You don’t need to be validated by anyone else.  You are already valuable.  You just need to believe in yourself and what you wish to achieve.
You can be quietly humble and still be amazingly effective.  Just because people don’t fall at your feet and worship you, doesn’t mean you are a failure.  Quiet success is just as sweet as loud, flamboyant success, and usually far more real.  Success is how you define it, not what everyone else says it must be for you.

10.  You are not alone.

In the midst of hard times, it’s easy to look around and see a bunch of people who seem to be doing just fine.  But they’re not.  We’re all struggling in our own way.  And if we could just be brave enough to open up about it, and talk to each other, we’d realize that we are not alone in feeling lost and alone.
So many of us are fighting the same exact battle alongside you.  We are all in this together.  So no matter how embarrassed or pathetic you feel about your own situation, know that there are others out there experiencing the same emotions.  When you hear yourself say, “I am all alone,” it’s just your worried mind trying to sell you a lie.  There’s always someone who can relate to you.  Perhaps you can’t immediately talk to them, but they are out there.
If you’re feeling desperate right now, hear me:  I often feel and think and struggle much like you do.  I care about many of the things you care about, just in my own way.  And although some people do not understand us, we understand each other.  YOU are not alone!


One of life’s greatest gifts is the fact that life is difficult.  Because in dealing with life’s difficulties, we build invaluable strength.  This strength enables us to successfully fulfill our deepest, most meaningful purposes.  It is precisely because life is difficult that we are able to make it great.  It is because life is difficult that we are able to rise above the difficulties.  We are able to make a difference and we are able to truly matter.
So remember this…
When times are tough, you must be tougher.  Don’t pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a tough one that leads to greatness.
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