Thursday, November 26, 2009

Junk Food May Be as Addictive as Heroin

I don't think anyone wants to be told they're an addict — the word conjures up images of drugs, uncontrollable needs, and interventions. Oh, and add to that potato chips, cookies, and candy bars. Sound odd? A new study says that eating junk food can fuel an addiction that is on par with what a cocaine or heroin junkie feels.

The study, conducted by the Scripps Research Institute, followed the behavioral patterns of lab rats that were given an unlimited supply of junk food. Over time, the rats had less sensitivity in their brain's pleasure centers and needed to up the amount of high-fat and high-calorie foods they were eating, in effect, to get high. Not surprisingly, the rats got really fat too — doubling their initial weight.

To find out what this study means for people, read more.

To see how dependent the rats became on junk food, the scientists decided to punish them with an electric shock whenever they ate foods high in fat. The rats who had been eating the junk food for at least five days chowed down despite the electric shocks, and rats not exposed to junk food quickly stopped. I can't imagine any kind of food that's good enough to get electrocuted over!

Perhaps the biggest telltale sign happened when the rats were deprived of junk food. Instead of eating the healthy food replacement, they stopped eating altogether, and some went two weeks without food — can you say withdrawals? In the end, scientists concluded that the brain responds to junk food in the same way it responds to drugs.

Obviously, rats aren't people, but scientists say the study may be extremely telling about the effect a person's diet has on their brain. The fear is that a continuous diet high in fat and calories can permanently alter how a person responds to food. Just another reason to put down the doughnuts.

Source: Getty

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Release Yourself; Be Free

How to Free Yourself From Limiting Beliefs

“From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.” - Stoic philosopher Epictetus

Whether you want to believe this or not, we all have the capacity to be extraordinary, to live our passion, to realize our full potential. When you get right down to it, what holds us back are limiting beliefs that run through our minds. These are mental habits repeating in an endless loop, making us believe that we are incapable and that our dreams are impossible to achieve. They trick us into thinking we are less than we actually are.

It is absolutely the case that when these beliefs are seen in the light of day and put to rest, our lives begin to soar. Whatever is in us that is begging to be expressed finally has a conduit into the world.

When you are free of limiting beliefs, you experience the following:
  • Space for creativity to flow through you
  • Clarity about your everyday decisions as well as your life path
  • Happiness and confidence
  • Energy for the activities and people that bring you fulfillment
  • Greater ability to focus
Sounds great, right? So how do we free ourselves from these beliefs once and for all? The two-part answer is:
  1. Identify the beliefs that hold you back.

  2. Break up with these beliefs. That's right – let them go, it's time to walk away.
Step #1: Identify the beliefs that hold you back
We all have our version of limiting beliefs that creeps into our minds and keeps us small and constrained. To help you identify your mental habits, see if you recognize yourself in any of these common patterns:
  • The perfection-seeker is hard-driving, critical, and pushy. The tone of this inner voice can be very harsh as it tries to motivate you through judgment and ridicule. It starts sentences with, “you should...,” “you really need to...,” “you have to...,” “you better...,” “if you don't...”

  • The naysayer is negative about everything – you, your abilities, your ideas. It's signature phrase is, “I can't.” It tells you you are worthless or stupid and finds every reason in the book for you not to be succeed. It says your ideas are too difficult to carry out, they cost too much, you will have to work too hard, other people will think you are crazy, and on and on.

  • The doubter is full of worry and mistrust. It incessantly questions everything, as in, What if I fail?...Should I do it this way or that way?...What will they think?...What do I think?...I should have...I shouldn't have... The doubter second-guesses so much that you are paralyzed to take any action.

  • The procrastinator's favorite word is maƱana, tomorrow. It constantly encourages you to put off taking action until another time that never comes. The procrastinator can be seductive because it loves watching TV, surfing the internet, and having a few beers. It also turns dreams into chores, as in, “Do I have to join the networking group?”

  • The blamer holds other people and circumstances responsible for your failure to shine. Everyone and everything else is at fault, while the blamer feels victimized and powerless. The blamer says, “If only...” - if only someone or some situation were different, then you would be able to move forward.
Step #2: Break up with the beliefs.
These limiting beliefs have incorrectly defined who you are. If you give them attention, they will continue; if you disregard them, they will eventually lose their power over you. You have had a relationship with them for a long time, and now that relationship is coming to an end. Make it a gracious breakup. Thank these thought patterns for trying to protect you, for that is why they have been present in you. Let them know they don't serve you anymore, then move your attention away. This is the key. Tell yourself:
  • They are not true;
  • I don't need them;
  • They hold me back;
  • They bring me unhappiness;
  • They are distortions of reality;
  • They keep me from realizing my potential.
Here is a technique that can sometimes help. I'd like you to stand up and feel the full effect of these limiting beliefs on you. Now, take a step to the right, and as you do, leave all of these unwanted beliefs behind. You are standing in a fresh place unencumbered by old stories of inadequacy and negativity. See how this is possible?

You may find a resurgence in your inner voices when you begin to walk away. Know that this is just more limiting mind activity that doesn't deserve your attention. Recommit to the freedom you truly long for, and politely turn from these beliefs – every single time. I promise you that you will be liberated from them once and for all. Break up with these beliefs, and watch your life sparkle.

Can you identify your own limiting beliefs? Have you been able to let them go? I'd love to hear your stories, insights, and questions.

Written on 10/27/2009 by Gail Brenner, Ph.D. Gail offers practical wisdom for clarity, freedom, and happiness on her blog, A Flourishing Life, focusing on real solutions for self-defeating habits.Photo Credit: zakulaan@zainiabdullahpjk

Friday, July 10, 2009

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Perfect You - By Ariel and Shya Kane

Where did you learn what is beautiful? Where did you learn what is ugly? Where did you learn what a perfect body looks like? And how old were you when you came to these conclusions?

A few years ago when walking down the street in Paris we found ourselves taken by the body image represented as "beautiful" by the street lamps in front of the Paris Opera House. Built in the mid-1800's, those lamps are supported by statues of naked women. These castings done in the Neo-Baroque style are curvy, with rounded bellies and by today's standards they all need to go on Weight Watchers, visit Jenny Craig or at very least tighten their abs with a good dose of Pilates.

Our idea of a beautiful body was given to us by the culture we grew up in. By the time we reach puberty we each have decided what we need to be like in order to have the perfect body and by that time, we knew we never would.

One year the two of us led 6 weeks of consecutive courses at a conference center on Maui. The course room had an entire wall of mirrors so we became comfortable seeing ourselves daily in shorts and even from time-to-time in our bikini and swim suit. However when we completed the groups and went to a hotel down near the beach for a bit of R&R, we were surprised to discover that when looking in those mirrors our bodies appeared sadly lacking. It was a lesson, never forgotten, that the culture we are surrounded by can make a direct and immediate impact on our self-perceptions.

If you want to know your body image, begin by paying attention to your internal conversation without taking it personally.

"What?" you might say, "How can I possibly not take how I look and feel personally?"

It is easy once your realize that your thoughts about yourself and how you look are a collection of recordings stored in your internal Jukebox or MP3 player and when the circumstances apply a little pressure you play a familiar tune.

The key to creating something new rather than playing an oldie-but-not-so-goody is awareness. Learning the art of awareness, or self-observation without self-reproach, is a skill-set that can be learned. Like exercising a muscle, the more you simply see things without judging what you see, the more you discover how to neutrally observe yourself. As you discover how to be kind to yourself rather than berate yourself for the body you have, it certainly sets you up to find motivation for living a healthy lifestyle. If every time you step on a scale or go to the gym it is reinforcement that you are "fat," sooner or later you are going to want to quit on yourself.

Want to know a great secret for dissolving a negative body image? Take an anthropological approach. Pretend you are a scientist, observing a culture of one -- yourself. The trick is not to judge what you see but to neutrally observe how you function, including your thought processes. Awareness and kindness is key.

Be kind to yourself right now, not when you lose the weight and not when you continue the exercise routine that you promised yourself you would.

In this moment you are a perfect you. And if you gain or lose some weight, then you will still be you. But if you are kind to yourself right now, and just notice how you are without beating on yourself for what you see, then regardless of your weight, shape or size you will feel satisfied.

Most people are afraid that if they aren't hard on themselves then there will be no motivation to improve, no reason to move and that they will then turn into the world's largest couch potato. Not true. When you are feeling satisfied, and good in your own skin, there is no need to turn to comfort food. That extra cookie isn't a reward when living your life is its own reward. Don't you feel more like moving out into the world and being active in your life when you aren't being hard on yourself? Oddly enough, when you don't pick on yourself, your actions will tend to support a healthy lifestyle and your body is sure to follow.

About the Authors:

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. To find out more about the Kanes and their Transformational Community or to sign up to receive their article of the month, visit their website at


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

By Karen Wright

This riddle keeps our minds wrapped in a never-ending search for truth. You can't have an egg without first having a chicken... but then, where did the chicken come from? It's a conundrum that might also apply to a more elemental issue: who are we and what are we doing?

Do we become what we do... or do we do who we are? You could easily argue either side - depending upon your experience. You might even determine that it's a little of both.

There may not be a single correct answer to this dilemma, but even unsolvable problems offer significant insights into how our minds work and, consequently, how our lives look.

Take this example: how long have you been trying to figure out how to have the life you really want to live? Forever? How many times have you changed relationships, jobs, hair styles, residences - all in pursuit of the wondrous image you have of the perfect life? And where has that gotten you?

If insanity is the belief that you can get a different result from doing the same ineffective thing over and over again, then may I offer a bit of sanity? Rather than pursuing your dream life, become the person that dream life was built for.

Who would you need to BE to live the life you want? Face it, right now you are perfectly suited to the life you have. It fits like a glove. Now, you might not like that fact, but there it is. If you were a different person, you'd be living different life.

So, if you want a different life from what you now have - become the person who has that kind of life. Work on the inside first and the outside will be drawn to you like flies to honey. It will be a natural extension of who you have become. There will be no struggle.

Our problem is that we want a different life, but we don't want to change. There's that definition of insanity again. Or, perhaps we're not sure how to change. One of my favorite book titles is The Answer to How is Yes

(2003, Peter Block). He posits that we ask how as a means to avoid responsibility. Huh? When we're afraid, or confused, or uncertain, or don't want to risk failure, we stop ourselves with one question, "Yea, but how?" The reasoning goes: "If I don't know how I can't possibly be held accountable for doing it." So, we wipe our mental hands of seeking the answer and grudgingly settle back into the life we know.

Your mind is a miracle of life. It has the power to imagine and create anything. Yes, even yours! But, the question how jams a wrench in its gears and it just stops considering a solution. It already knows you don't expect to find an answer, so it doesn't chase that goose.

You already know how to live the life you want to live. But, from your current state of being, that life isn't possible. Become the person that that life fits. What would you need to believe to have that life? What would you need to read, see, eat, do? What we believe and what we receive are very predictable. Look at the people who are living the life you want. Who are they, really?

If you want to have career success, become who successful people are. If you want to have loving relationships, become who those with loving relationships are. If you want well-being in body and mind, become who those with well-being are.

It's not enough just to DO what people do who are living the life you want. It begins with being first. When what you do is a natural extension of who you are, life flows. Who do you need to BE to live the life you want? How tragic it would be to have your dream life show up and you aren't yet person enough to handle it!

Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are
, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life. Waking Up
, the free bi-monthly ezine, was created to help you activate your natural motivation to move beyond mere existence and to really LIVE your dreams. Contact by tel: 509... or email.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Too Poignant Not To Share!!!

The Speech That Never Was: This Is It

Posted: 25 May 2009 03:00 AM PDT

Something many of you will know about me by now is that I really try to make the most of life and take advantage of this opportunity I have on earth. Part of making the most of life, to me, is facing your fears and really going for what you want, even if it scares you. That is something I did around 6 months ago when I joined a public speaking club


A meeting at the club usually involves 4 people each giving an 8 minute speech and then 4 other members evaluating them. After that, everyone else who would like to speak is given a random topic which they have to speak about for 2 minutes.

Photo Credit

Being quite new to the club I had yet to make a longer speech, but my chance came when I was asked to put together a talk for the next meeting. Originally, I had written a speech about making goals and being able to achieve them; something I like to think I’ve been successful at. Within a few days I had put the whole thing together and just needed to start practicing it.

Around four days before the event, I was putting the finishing touches to my presentation and recording my efforts. It was at this time that I received a phone call to let me know that my gran, who had been in hospital for a few weeks, had sadly passed away.

It was at that moment that I decided to change the topic of my speech, aptly entitled: This is it. The meeting where I was supposed to give my talk ended up being cancelled so I never had the chance to present it. Therefore I’ve decided to share the talk with you all in this blog post in the hope that each of you can take something from it.

I have modified the speech slightly as text for a speech is quite different to text for a reader, but the main messages should still come across clearly.

Without further ado, here is the speech just after I had explained about my choice of topic

I didn’t want to speak about death for 8 minutes; instead, I want to focus on problems - the things that usually seem so small in times of serious matters.

In order to talk about problems effectively, I decided to look at the three phases of time that our perceived problems come in: the past, the future, and the present.

The Past

Something highly obvious, but often forgotten about the past is that it is nothing more than a memory in your imagination. You can only ‘relive’ the past by thinking about it; you can’t go there, you can’t change it, and it will always be as it is.

Yet, while the past is nothing more than part of our imagination, it still has a strong hold on people in this present moment.

First of all, people define themselves by their past. Someone might say: “people made fun of me at school so I must be a loser now” or “I’ve never had a boyfriend or girlfriend so why should I be able to get one now” or even “I’ve had no lucky breaks come my way so why would that change”. We use the past to create limiting beliefs thinking that we can’t do such and such now because we’ve never done it before, and so on.

Secondly, we hold on to problems of the past. Some people who have had a hard childhood never seem be able to forget about the struggle that they’ve went through and it makes them miserable. Even something more recent, like having an argument with a colleague a few days ago, can still bring us down in this moment. This happens simply because we’re thinking about it and those thoughts can bring the exact same emotions as the actual event.

Thinking about the past or letting the past control our present isn’t the only thing that holds people back. There’s also the future.

The Future

If the past is nothing more than a memory of what has happened, then the future is nothing more than some projected thought of what might or should happen.

There are two aspects to ‘future’ thinking that people allow to control them and create problems in their lives. The first is that we worry about a possible event. When I had finished my speech I was getting worried about the possible reactions and how well it would go. I was comfortable and in my home, with nothing bad going on, yet there I was creating negative future projections and letting them bring my mood down in that moment. I was getting stressed at nothing more than mind made projections.

Secondly, we hope for salvation in the future. We tell ourselves that the future will bring happiness and wealth and fulfilment or anything else we desire. We use the future as some kind of scapegoat. Thinking that as soon as a certain event happens that we can be at peace or start enjoying life and being happy. We spend this moment now waiting for good things to happen in some other moment.

The Present

Photo Credit

If we cling to the problems of our past, and worry about what might be in the future, where do we find happiness and live problem free? That’s simple…this moment, right here, right now.

Before I get into that, I want to look at our tendency as humans to label and react to things. Without trying to cause too much controversy, my personal view is that every situation is completely neutral.

To help you understand that, let me ask you a question:

If a young girl gets hit by a car, is that positive, negative or neutral (neutral meaning it is what it is) ? The obvious response to that is that it’s negative, the girl should not get hit by the car, it just shouldn’t happen. Now what if the girl getting hit by a car allowed doctors to find a tumour that they would haven’t of otherwise found out about and managed to save her life. Is the car crash still negative, is it positive, or is it…what it is.

Regardless of your answers to that, what I’m getting at is that it’s completely up to you how you look at and react to things. You can see things negatively, which we tend to do, we can see things positively, or we can accept things as they are, and deal with the things we can deal with.

Even today, there are probably so many irrelevant little incidents that got each of us in a bad mood. The learner driver in front of you was going too slowly, your boss gave you a task to do that you didn’t like, your child made a mess when making breakfast and so on. We resist these things, we resent people and we constantly complain internally because we’ve already labelled the thing or person as ‘bad’.

Did you know, most car accidents aren’t caused by drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most car accidents are caused by drivers in emotionally charged states. For example, their football team may have just lost, they might have had an argument with their partner or something else that gets their adrenaline pumping before stepping into a car. They can’t let go of what has happened and be in the moment and instead hold onto their problems.

It is this kind of holding on to the past which causes fatal accidents.

Instead of holding on to incidents and let them control you, try to be here in the moment, as often as possible. Take in this situation, this moment, right now. You’re safe, you’re probably indoors and there are no problems you can have right now. You might think you had one 2 minutes ago, or you might think something will come up in 10 minutes, but right now, there are no problems. (See post

for more info)

What eastern philosophy and spiritual teachers have been trying to tell us for a long time is pretty simple: now is all there ever is. Now is the only constant, it is never not now. I have practically eliminated “problems” from my life by trying to live in the moment as often as possible and not letting my thoughts bring me down.

Instead of holding onto problems of the past, instead of disregarding this moment because you think happiness is found in some perfect future - come back to this moment. Take in your environment, be in it, soak it all up. You’ll be surprised when you find peace and happiness in the most simple of situations.

Just like with my gran, we never know when our time is up. Make the most of this opportunity that we call life: this is it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Do You Criticize Your Own Self As Well?

Dealing with Criticism

Written by Chuck Gallozzi

Any Fool can Criticize, and Most Fools Do

The Harm We Do

Imagine stabbing a friend in a fit of anger. As the knife blade sinks into his chest, your friend gasps in astonishment. Bewildered, his face contorts in excruciating pain. Losing blood and succumbing to shock, he collapses. Fortunately, someone called an ambulance, which soon arrives and rushes your friend to the hospital. Although he recovers, his chest is marred for life by an ugly scar.

Hard to imagine you would do that, isn't it? And if you did, I am sure after realizing the harm you have done, you would never repeat such an act. Yet, many of us, almost daily, stab the ones we love. We use invisible knives that do not draw blood. The weapon of choice is CRITICISM. The harm we do is just as vile as that produced by a real knife.

Our criticism tears down their self-esteem. They feel unloved and experience self-doubt. Before their wounds have time to heal, we stab them again and again in the same place. How can we be so cruel? Perhaps we are deceived because our weapon and the victim's wounds are invisible. Why are we so vicious? Because of our own insecurities.

How can we improve? The next time you feel like butchering someone with caustic words, pause for a moment, and in your imagination, make your knife visible. Once you realize the harm you are about to do, I'm sure you will stop.

Sometimes the harm we inflict is so subtle, we are unaware of it. An example is combining praise with the word "but." For example, Johnny says, "Look, mom, I got an 'A' on my report card." Mom replies, "That's wonderful, Johnny, BUT you have a 'C' in math." The use of the word 'but' cancels the praise that preceded it. With this is mind, let's 'translate' the above conversation to see what we arrive at. Johnny: "Look, mom, I'm doing well at school." Mom: "No, you're not!"

Compare the possible outcomes of the conversation between Johnny and his mother. What would have happened if his mother had said, "That's wonderful, Johnny. I'm going to tell Daddy how clever you are. Keep up the good work." Wouldn't that have inspired Johnny to work harder on his math, earning more praise in the future? Instead, Johnny feels that his hard work is not appreciated because his mom said, ". . . BUT you have a 'C' in math." Not much incentive for Johnny to try harder, is there?

What to Do When Criticized

What should you do when you are the victim of criticism? Here are some tips.

1. Use the criticism as a learning experience. That is, REMEMBER THE PAIN you feel, and vow not to do the same to others.

2. REMEMBER THEY ARE USING INVISIBLE WEAPONS, so are unaware of the pain they are causing. Forgive them.

3. REMEMBER THEIR PAIN. What do I mean by that? Here's an explanation by someone who's used to receiving criticism, Boy George, "When folks is mean, it ain't that they hate you personal. It's more likely because they are miserable about something in their inside. You got to remember how most of the time when they yell at you or get after you, it ain't you they are yelling at but something inside themselves you never even heard tell of, like some other person has been mean to them, or something they hoped for didn't come true, or they done something they are shamed even to think of, so they get mad at you just to keep their minds off it."

4. REMEMBER NOT EVERYONE IS EQUALLY ENLIGHTENED, or as John Wanamaker said, "I learned 30 years ago that it is foolish to scold. I have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting over the fact that God has not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of intelligence."

5. After being criticized, THANK THEM FOR THEIR ADVICE and promise to take it into consideration. By thanking them, you are disarming their antagonism and ending the conversation peacefully.

6. CONSIDER THE SOURCE. The person criticizing you may be incompetent, envious, or jealous. If so, after thanking them for their advice, just brush it off.

7. EVALUATE THE CRITICISM. Although the complaint is probably not objective, there still may be some truth to what they say. Try to use this as an opportunity to grow. Remember, you are imperfect and others may see your flaws more clearly. Learn from them whenever you can, but don't return the favor by criticizing others!

Final Thoughts

Here's a valuable point made by Judge Harold Medina, "Criticizing others is a dangerous thing, not so much because you may make mistakes about them, but because you may be revealing the truth about yourself." Also, Samuel Johnson said, "God Himself, sir, does not propose to judge a man until his life is over. Why should you and I?" Finally, be patient with the faults of others; they have to be patient with yours.

© Chuck Gallozzi
For more articles and contact information,

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Truth Is Coming Out....Finally

Study blames over-eating, not poor exercise for US obesity

AMSTERDAM (AFP) – Over-eating, not a lack of exercise, is to blame for the American obesity epidemic, a new study claimed Friday, warning that physical activity could not fully compensate for excess calories.

"There is no evidence that a marked reduction in physical activity has been a contributor to this epidemic in the United States," study leader Boyd Swinburn told AFP on the sidelines of an international obesity conference in Amsterdam, where the research was unveiled.

"The increase in energy intake... virtually explained all of the weight gain."

Swinburn, a professor at the health faculty of Australia's Deakin University, said American children had grown on average four kilogrammes (nine pounds) heavier over the past three decades with adults putting on an extra eight kgs (17 pounds).

The study calculated what Americans should weigh today based on their current, higher food intake, and comparing this to their actual weight.

If they weighed more than projected, this would suggest a drop in physical activity.

In fact, researchers found that American adults weighed less than could be expected from their diet, "which means that if anything over that period of time, the adults had been increasing their physical activity, not decreasing," said Swinburn.

Among children, the tests yielded a 100 percent match, leading researchers to conclude that changes in physical activity had had no impact whatsoever on America's children growing fatter.

The findings would "probably be similar" for other developed countries, Swinburn said.

For the US population to return to its leaner, 1970s self, children would have to cut their intake by about 350 calories a day -- equal to one can of fizzy drink and a small portion of French fries, and adults by about 500 calories -- the equivalent of a Big Mac burger.

Alternatively, children would have to walk for an extra two-and-a-half hours a day, and adults for nearly two hours, said Swinburn.

"Getting everybody to walk an extra two hours a day is not really a feasible option for countering the epidemic," he said.

"We need to limit our expectations of what an increase in physical activity can achieve."

Swinburn stressed that the findings did not seek to negate the value of physical activity for weight control and overall health.

"But if we want to influence the underlying drivers (behind obesity), we have to have our eye much more on the energy intake side than on the physical activity side."

In short, Americans must eat less, he said.

The World Health Organisation estimates that in 2005, about 1.6 billion adults were overweight, of which at least 400 million were obese.

The conference was organised by the European Association for the Study of Obesity.


Well, didn't we all grow up with being told to clean our plates or no dessert??? I still hear and see this cultural activity going on today. Children, usually, innately know when they are full and will stop. But those in authority will always override that behavior.

Parents, teachers, grandparents....your little kids know more than you about their own bodies. Feed them healthy foods and let them tell YOU when they are done and full.

Monday, May 4, 2009

See What I Mean!!??!!


Hydoxycut Products Recalled

K. Aleisha Fetters

Put down the Hydroxycut.

On Friday, the FDA recalled 14 Hydroxycut products that were linked to cases of serious liver damage and at least one death.

The dietary supplement, sold in grocery stores and pharmacies, is advertised as being made from natural ingredients.

The company has received 23 reports of liver problems, including the death of a 19-year-old boy. Other patients experienced symptoms ranging from jaundice to liver failure.

At least 9 million packages of Hydroxycut products were sold last year, according to the FDA. So if you own any, report any serious side effects to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. And make sure yours isn’t on the list:

Hydroxycut Regular Rapid Release Caplets
Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Rapid Release Caplets
Hydroxycut Hardcore Liquid Caplets
Hydroxycut Max Liquid Caplets
Hydroxycut Regular Drink Packets
Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Drink Packets
Hydroxycut Hardcore Drink Packets (Ignition Stix)
Hydroxycut Max Drink Packets
Hydroxycut Liquid Shots
Hydroxycut Hardcore RTDs (Ready-to-Drink)
Hydroxycut Max Aqua Shed
Hydroxycut 24 Hydroxycut Carb Control
Hydroxycut Natural

After you step away from the pills, take a step toward slimming down the safe way. We know you know, but regular exercise and smart eating strategies are the best way to get fit (and healthy).

Lisa Drayer, R.D., says, "Find an exercise program that works and restrict your calories, focusing on low-fat yogurt, lean meats, whole grains, and vegetables."

From Online Womens' Health Magazine

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Can Yoga Prevent Osteoporosis? 72 Seconds Is the Magic Number

by Jill Miller

I remember getting the call from my mom a few years ago; at age 58, she had been diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis. “And your aunt has it too … you better watch out,” she warned. There are many factors that contribute to the weakening of our bones as we age: poor nutrition, genetics, smoking and lack of exercise, to name a few. But a new study tells us that a yoga practice can not only help prevent these crippling conditions — it actually builds the bones back up! Here’s how to use the 72-second rule plus photo and video how-to’s for two yoga moves to help you build bone density.

In early March, I attended a Yoga Therapy conference in Los Angeles, Dr. Loren Fishman and his study partner Ellen Saltonsall presented the most compelling information about this killer disease. They emphasized that bones need STRESS (no, not the anxiety building kind) to maintain strength. Yoga poses act on the bones by “applying forces of opposing muscle groups to them that greatly exceed gravity, stimulating bone cells (osteocytes) to create more bone.” They also suggest that yoga greatly improves arthritic joints by circulating synovial fluid, and stimulating all of the connective tissues around the joints, helping to mobilize these stagnant tissues.

The 72 Second Rule

Fishman then said that there is a magic number to initiate this process of new bone growth. 72 seconds. Yes, you must hold your pose for 1 minute and 12 seconds to reap the benefits. This should be approached gradually, as building up the strength to maintain a pose for 72 seconds may take months — but it will be well worth it. Plus, you will be rewarded with less stress (the anxiety-producing kind) and improved breathing, sleep and coordination. You have nothing to lose … and you can gain bone density!

Before she began studying Yoga Tune Up® with me at Equinox in Santa Monica, 57-year-old Judy came to me with doctors’ orders to begin practicing yoga because of her newly diagnosed condition: osteopoenia. In a year, she made significant changes in her posture and health. Although Judy’s progress came to a screeching halt in February when she suffered a terrible skiing accident and fractured her pelvis and collar bone, her improved bone condition has helped her heal quickly from what could have been tragic.

“My recovery from the multiple pelvic fractures has been remarkable,” Judy says. “I attribute this to my ‘core strength’ that has improved a lot from taking your classes. I was able to get in and out of bed on my own four days after I fell, and was able to drive after two weeks. Each day I had so much more strength and mobility than the day before, and I was dancing after four weeks! I also think that I am much more aware of my body and how to isolate and work different parts of it which has helped in my physical therapy.”

Judy’s progress has been off the charts in part because she has “banked” a lot of new bone in her body over the course of the past year, priming her tissue to quickly and easily repair the damage caused by the accident. In this picture, she is performing a supported version of “Leg Stretch #2″ at the wall, where she can push her strong legs into the wall for 72 seconds without placing too much undo stress on other parts of her body. Voila!

Hey Mom, this Stretch Is for You! Safe Spinal Therapy

Try this gentle seated side bend from my new Yoga for Weight Loss DVD. It has all of the components of a healthy stretch for the spine. This will lubricate your vertebrae and tone the finer muscles of your spine, as well as open the ribs and abdominal obliques. This is a perfect stretch to begin a safe therapeutic exercise practice that can help you keep your bones healthy for a lifetime, and it can also be included as one alternative therapy for arthritis sufferers.

When beginning any type of physical practice, please always consult your personal physician. For more info on Dr. Loren Fishman see And for superior care of any related injuries or conditions that need some extra attention, please visit my favorite Physical Therapists: in Los Angeles, Sean Hampton of ADI Rehab, and in NYC, Shmuel Tatz, creator of Bodytuning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Are You Breaking the ‘Rules’ on the Best Time to Exercise?

Chris Freytag by Chris Freytag

Is there a best time of day to work out? I get this question a lot — and an article in The New York Times earlier this month validated my opinion: Exercise at any time of day beats no exercise at all.

Studies show that 4 to 7 p.m. is slightly better than morning, the article reports, because “the body’s temperature and hormone levels peak in late afternoon, making muscles more flexible and producing the best ratio of testosterone (the muscle-building hormone) to cortisol (the hormone that does the reverse).” But these advantages are slight, and the human body can adapt to working out at any time of the day.

I must once again stand on my soapbox and say — a calorie burned at 6 a.m. is the same calorie burned at 6 p.m.! So don’t let research or news reports sabotage your efforts. Too often we force ourselves to follow the rules for diet and exercise, even if they don’t work in our lives. If that’s the case, we may be better off making our own rules. I remind my clients all the time that even if you are a rule follower by nature, when it comes to exercise you may have to break some of the “scientific” rules and just get it done!

There are plenty of rules for exercise that we follow because they make sense. We have heart rate training zones to guide us so we burn fat and don’t overdo it. We have strength training rules that tell us how much and how often to lift and how to do the moves safely. We have guidelines for stretching to reduce injury and muscle soreness. And when I’m training an athlete or someone who is working toward a serious goal like a marathon, rules and schedules are important to their outcome.

But if you’re just trying to just lose a few pounds, feel better, have more energy or stop being cranky … BEND THE RULES to work for you, not against youespecially if you’re currently doing nothing (or very little) because you can’t do it by the rules!

Bottom line: The best time of day to work out is the time that you personally will be able to complete a workout consistently over time. Many people swear by starting their day out with exercise, and many others use physical activity as a way to wind down from the stress of a hectic work day in the evenings. Personally, I love morning exercise; but when I find a client who won’t go for top o’ the mornin’ workouts, I suggest another time of day that works. Be true to yourself — so you do something.

Stay Healthy,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Forget Cardio, Do Kettlebells?

Forget Cardio, Do Kettlebells?

One of the questions that comes up often, is whether one still has to ‘do cardio’ when training with kettlebells.

Are kettlebells as effective as running, sprinting, jogging and other cardio activities when it comes to developing cardiovascular capacity?

The short answer is “kettlebells are on par with running”, long answer is… well, keep on reading for the long answer :-)

Kettlebells are great for improving cardiovascular capacity. It works, there is no argument.

I would even recommend kettlebells over any other cardio activity like running, jogging or aerobics class (I apologize to all the aerobic class enthusiasts - you’ll have to give your stretchy pants a rest…)


Kettlebells are much safer on joints than any other kind of activity.


It’s true.

The exercise that (in my opinion, anyway) is one of the best exercises for improving strength and cardiovascular endurance and capacity is kettlebell swings.

[Why swings and not snatches or jerks or cleans?]

  • While swinging kettlebells there is no resting point, the bell is always moving, demanding attention and cardiovascular output
  • Kettlebell swings is a foundational movement that is simple. Everyone, including beginners, can benefit from it
  • All major joints (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders) are moving and engaged through proper planes of motion
  • Back muscles are engaged (usually a major weak point in most people) and strengthened

For an average person, should swings replace running?


Keep in mind that an average person is a dis-functional person containing many muscular imbalances and suffering from numerous postural deviations.

Now take this off-balance, mis-aligned body and make it run. What do you think will happen? Compensations leading to pain and injury are inevitable.

Kettlebell swings, on the other hand, will move all joints in proper planes through proper range of movements and help muscles find the much desired balance.

Does that mean that you should never run? Nonsense!

Humans are made for movement, running and walking and not sitting (shocking!). So if you are consistent in your kettlebell training you can attempt running but be careful and listen to what your body tells you afterward. If you experience any pain (soreness does not count as pain) you may want to put running on a shelve until your body is more ‘connected’.

This came from But it didn't give the author's name.

Do You Think About Eating Kiddie Cereals After Your Workouts?

Excellent article next time you think about eating Cocoa Pebbles!!!

Considering ‘Kiddie” Cereals Post-Workout

By Shannon Clark

Many people, when thinking back to their childhood, have one or two favorite ‘kiddie' type of cereals that bring back all the good memories.

Whether it's Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Corn Pops, Sugar Crisp, you loved them.

As an adult though, these have no doubt been removed from your diet and replaced by the more ‘mature' alternatives of Bran Flakes, Raisin Bran, or Shredded Wheat - and with good reason.

Many of those kiddie cereals are filled with sugar and don't offer much in terms of fiber or protein, thus not exactly making them the best choice to start your day off - unless of course you are looking for a mid-morning crash.

BUT, there is one time when these kiddie cereals are actually preferable.


That's right, if you've been grocery shopping lately and have picked up one of your old favorites for your kids recently, don't be so fast to shun them out of your diet.

These cereals actually make for a really great post-workout food, due to their nutritional consistency.

Goals of Post-Workout

Consider for a second the goals of your post-workout meal - to get your muscle glycogen stores filled as quickly as humanly possible. This will help to enhance recovery, build new muscle, and mean you'll have less downtime until your next workout.

How do you get carbohydrates into the muscle cells as quick as possible? Cause a skyrocket in insulin levels - along with pairing this with amino acids (for the ‘raw' building blocks for actual muscle tissue).

When insulin levels are high, this means the body is eagerly taking in excess blood sugar into the cells.

Since you have just finished a workout, the cells it is primarily concerned with at this moment in time are your muscle cells.

And...there you have it. Sugar goes directly into the muscle cells.

Since these kiddie cereals are so high in sugar and contain little fiber or dietary fat, this is precisely what they do.

They cause that insulin spike, and then get shuttled into the muscle cells.

If you would have chosen something that was higher in fiber, this would have slowed down the digestion process which is not what you want at all.

It should be noted though that obviously after you have this cereal and protein, you will want to follow that with a solid meal that does contain some slower digesting carbs so that you don't stay with this elevated insulin level (which will then cause a resulting crash a short time later).

Specifically, have your cereal immediately after the workout is finished, then about an hour later have another meal with a good carb source such as oats, potatoes, or whole grain bread.

Also be sure to measure out the cereal, as while it is a good post-workout food, if you eat four cups of it, you may start to gain weight due to so many calories being taken in.

So, next time you're on the hunt for a post-workout food, consider that cereal that's been looking back at you in the cupboard that you've desperately been avoiding.

Treating yourself to this not only will kill cravings but also actually increase the results you'll get from your gym efforts.

12 Ways to Spot a Fad Diet

This is what this whole blog is about, folks. There's so much stuff out there to trick you to empty your wallets and sell you the Brooklyn bridge. Of course, you want it to be true 'this time.' However, they haven't found anything that works besides 1) clean eating (almost every single time), 2) moving your body in a way that someone would look at you and say 'you are exercising!' and 3) rinse, repeat daily.

Don't give up on some of the infomercials that have exercise programs. Most of them do work. I have been doing 'The Firm' workouts for over 6 years. However, I DID do the consistently and I outgrew most of them. I went on to harder things like the P90X and Cathe's STS. See...when you workout consistently, you get stronger and stronger and then you have to look for more challenging workouts.

As far as any of the food programs, naw. Who wants to eat pre-processed foods for the rest of their life that taste pretty icky. I never tried them because, well, I knew they were set up to make me come back again and again. I'll save my money and buy bananas and raw almonds and stuff like that.

READ ON.............

12 Ways to Spot a Fad Diet

Identifying Weight Loss Scams

-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
The next time you watch an infomercial, read an advertisement, or spot a new supplement reporting miraculous weight loss results, we wouldn’t blame you for cocking a wary eyebrow. When evaluating claims for weight loss products, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends a healthy portion of skepticism; most don’t come close to fulfilling their claims. And in the rare cases where a product might result in some temporary weight loss, it is almost never a permanent solution and is usually unsafe.

Before you spend money on products that promise fast and easy results, weigh the claims carefully. You might even consider contacting the FTC directly for more information or if you have concerns.

These 12 tips will help you critique and evaluate weight loss claims and spot a scam before it’s too late:

1. "It’s so easy to lose weight without dieting or exercising!" Face it—permanent weight loss takes work, effort and time. Pass on any products that promise miraculous results without the effort. Buy one and the only things you’ll lose are money and confidence.

2. "Eat whatever you want and still lose weight!" Losing weight requires sensible food choices, not overloading on high-fat, high calorie foods.

3. "Lose weight forever…you’ll never need to diet again!" For weight loss to be permanent, it requires lifestyle changes. On-going maintenance is always a must.

4. "Block the digestion and absorption of fat, carbs, or calories!" There is no magic potion that will allow you to block the digestion and absorption of fat, carbs, or calories. A little pill to curb cravings and suppress appetite just doesn’t exist.

5. "Rapid weight loss: Lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks!" Looking to lose weight rapidly for your high school reunion or wedding? Products that safely produce lightning-fast weight loss just don’t exist. A weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is the safest and most effective way to take off weight and keep it off.

6. "Finally, a weight loss formula for everyone!" A diet that claims to be perfect for all is erroneous. One-size-fits-all just doesn’t work. Your lifestyle habits and health concerns are unique. That’s why SparkPeople helps you design your own personalized nutrition and exercise programs to suit your particular lifestyle needs.

7. "Lose weight with this miracle diet patch, cream or gel!" You’ve heard it all before—"Apply and watch the fat melt away!" But truthfully, all that melts away is your hard earned money.

8. "Scientifically Proven! Doctor Endorsed!" Where is the proof and how was the research conducted? Were people studied, or rodents? Were there 3 subjects in the study or 3,000? Has the research been published in a medical journal and reviewed by peers? A doctor of what profession? Or is the "professional" as purely fictitious as your weight loss will be? Be sure to check the details.

9. "Money-back guarantee!" It may make you feel safer to give the product a try, but realize that many companies do not follow through with this promise. You’re left holding an empty promise and an empty pocketbook.

10. "100% safe!" Just another attempt, trying to get you hooked with a meaningless phrase. Think of it this way – if there were no reason to doubt, why would they need to make this claim at all? Many products have been removed from the market due to safety issues, but not until too many lives were already destroyed or lost. Does ephedra ring a bell?

11. Those convincing testimonials: We can all look 10 pounds slimmer by: standing up straight, shoulders back, and stomach in; having a good hair day; applying the right make-up; and hiring a professional photographer. Remember, just because you recognize the actor or actress doesn’t make the product any more reliable. They are now just a little richer and you a little poorer.

12. "A miraculous breakthrough!" Turn and run the other direction when extravagant claims make the product sound to good to be true.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Getting In Once a Day Can Be Hard Enough, Charley!!

“Two-A-Day” Training: Can It Work For You?

March 16th, 2009 by Charles Staley
Posted in General Brinkzone Stuff

A lot has been written about the idea of training twice a day, and the practice has both scientific as well as historical justification. Despite this, many people who attempt two-a-days tend to quickly burn out and dismiss the idea altogether.

To better understand the applicability of this method to your own situation, it’s helpful to first delineate between the physiological versus the practical realities of two-a-days.
First, the physiology: Noted strength training authority Vladimir Zatsiorsky has observed that, in order to get strong, you should life “as heavy as possible, as often as possible, while staying as fresh as possible.” This statement can certainly be used to justify the idea of two-a-days. After all, if forced to choose between a single session lasting 90 minutes, or two daily sessions lasting 45 minutes each, it’s clear that you’ll be in a fresher state using the latter method…at least from a physiological point of view.

Now, the practicality: Unfortunately, life can sometimes get in the way of the best-laid plans. Most people obviously work for a living, they have stresses and responsibilities, and in general, “stuff” tends to get in the way. And certainly, for some people, two-a-days are not a practical option. However, by employing a few simple guidelines, the two-a-day method can become a useful training method.

Here then, are my guidelines for successful two-a-day training:

  • Instead of dividing your current workouts into two equal halves performed at different times of the day, think about having a “main” workout and then a second, shorter, second workout.
  • Ideally, the main workout will involve “core” lifts that stress the nervous system and large amounts of muscle. In other words, maximum strength and/or speed-strength parameters applied to full-body compound lifts.

The second workout should ideally involve less stressful loading parameters applied to “smaller” exercises that don’t require extensive warm-ups.

  • Further, if possible, the second workout should be such that it can be performed with little to no equipment, specialized facilities, or equipment. I like some of the strongman-inspired events for this, such as vehicle-pushing, sled-dragging, or carrying heavy objects. Personally, I like to walk my dog while wearing an X-Vest and listening to audio-books on my iPod.

The overriding idea is that the second workout should be short, uncomplicated, relatively less stressful than the main workout performed earlier that day. Also remember that you don’t need two-a-days to be the mainstay of your training schedule- if you work a normal 40-hour week for example, you might train once a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then a two-a-day on Saturday, when you’re not as busy.

I’m always interested in hearing your questions, suggestions, and experiences, so don’t be a stranger- let’s have your comments!

Would a friend find this interesting ? e-mail this post to them:
Charles Staley's biography:

Charles Staley, B.Sc., MSS: His colleagues call him an iconoclast, a visionary, a rule-breaker. His clients call him “The Secret Weapon” for his ability to see what other coaches miss. Charles calls himself a “geek” who struggled in Phys Ed throughout school. Whatever you call him, Charles' methods are ahead of their time and quickly produce serious results. His counter-intuitive approach and self-effacing demeanor have lead to appearances on NBC’s The TODAY Show and The CBS Early Show. Learn more about Charles’ Escalating Density Training program online at

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Difference Between Expectations And Desires

You May Know What You Want, But What Do You Expect?

Why Your Desire Will Trip You Up - Every Time

By Joshua Wayne, MA
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I was working with a new client recently and she asked me an interesting question. She said,

“Why do I have such trouble following through on my weight loss plan? I really want to lose weight. In fact, I desperately want to lose 30 pounds! I start out doing very well, and lose 5-10 pounds in the first couple weeks, but then I lose my focus. I can’t even tell you why… something always comes up and I fall off course. Am I sabotaging my success?”

Does this sound at all familiar? Do you have a strong desire to lose weight, and yet for some reason the motivation necessary to follow through is difficult to generate or sustain?

If so, I have a little ‘secret’ I’d like to share with you. As common sense as it will sound, I can tell you from many years of experience that most people miss it entirely. I learned it myself from one of my mentors, Joseph Riggio.

Once you get this simple principle, it can revolutionize the way you think about your weight loss goals forever:

We always live up to our expectations, not our desires!

Let’s go back to my conversation with the client I was just telling you about. Hearing her frustration, I questioned her a bit further and she told me she wanted to lose 30 pounds in 6 months. On the surface, a very reasonable goal, and with a good plan it should be very attainable.

Knowing the ‘secret’ I just shared with you, I said,

“So I hear that you want to lose 30 pounds in 6 months and that sounds great, but what do you actually expect is going to happen?

She was quiet for a good while as she thought about it and finally said, as if a light bulb had gone off in her head,

“If I’m completely honest with myself here, what I really expect to happen is that I’ll do good for about 6 weeks…I’ll eat well and get to the gym and lose about 10 pounds or so…but then something will happen. For instance, I’ll have a difficult situation at work, and I’ll be there late and end up eating pizza at 10 o’clock at night…and pretzels and whatever else is around. I’ll tell myself that I’ll get back on track tomorrow, but something else will come up… and before I know it a month has passed and I’m right back where I started!”

Again, sound familiar?

Maybe for you it’s a mother-in-law coming to town for a visit, and that creates a lot of stress.

Or maybe you expect that one night you’ll just feel particularly lonely, and those cookies and ice cream really seem like they’d be a nice companion for the evening.

So what is happening here? My client, and perhaps you as well, actually expects to get off track. She expects to only lose 10 pounds instead of her desired 30. Maybe she, or you, will manage to keep that 10 pounds off…maybe not. Again, this largely depends on your expectations.

The point is, regardless of what you think you want, where your expectation lies is where you will wind up. The trick, then, is to begin working with your expectations, not your desires.

When you begin working with your expectations rather than your desires:

➢ Your plan won’t get derailed
➢ You won’t be setting yourself up for failure
➢ You won’t keep resurrecting the same frustrations over and over again

Now, it’s possible that your expectations already match what you desire. If this is the case then good for you! You will find yourself making great progress with relative ease.

If they are not matched, however, then you first have to honestly look at where your expectations lie. So the first thing to do is get yourself in a clear, calm state of mind. Go take a quick brisk walk or just take some deep breaths to focus your mind. Turn off the phone and television and just sit with yourself for a minute, and fill in the blanks to the following question:

What I want is _______; what I truly expect is _______.

Be brutally honest. It doesn’t matter what the answer is. You have to start where you’re honestly at. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, break down your desire into smaller increments of expectation. If you realize that your expectation is to only lose 3 pounds instead of 30, that’s okay. Start there! Make this your goal for now. It’s still a very good goal.
When you have achieved it, celebrate that success and decide what is next. Perhaps you will then find that you genuinely expect to lose 5 more pounds- or even 10. The more you succeed, the more you will expect of yourself. Success breeds success.

What if you realize that ultimately you truly expect to fail? If you find yourself in a situation where your expectation is endless self-sabotage and more of the same, don’t worry. Hope is not lost! You need to learn new skills that will strengthen your relationship to yourself, your body and food. As you practice these skills, stronger, healthier expectations will form. So stay tuned, because I will be introducing these tools in future articles that will be sent out to the Tip Of The Day email list and also the list you join when you sign up for PEERtrainer.

To Your Health and Happiness,

Joshua Wayne, MA

Joshua Wayne, MA is a Personal Development Coach and trained psychotherapist with an emphasis on weight loss motivation and mind/body wellness.

In his private practice Joshua has helped his clients achieve their weight loss goals, shape their life direction and resolve a wide range of family problems from relationship difficulties to out of control teenagers.

Joshua has a Masters Degree in Counseling, is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Consulting Hypnotist (CH) through the National Guild of Hypnotists. He has also been intensely interested in and studying personal development, fitness and spirituality for close to 20 years.

To learn more about Joshua’s work visit healthy body, happy life where you can get a FREE copy of his report (valued at $27). Joshua also heads up the PEERtrainer 12 Week "Point Of No Return" Coaching Program.

If you would like to ask Joshua a question about weight loss, motivation or personal development, please email him. He can’t always respond to each one individually, but will incorporate the answers into future articles and blog posts.