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What Is the Keto Flu and How Do You Avoid It?

What Is the Keto Flu and How Do You Avoid It?

The keto diet is an amazing diet that can help you lose weight fast and keep it off for the long-term. However, there is something associated with the initial phase of this diet that strikes some users.

It’s called the keto flu. This side effect can make you feel like you have the flu. It’s brought on by your body’s adjustment period when you switch from eating a lot of carbs to not consuming as many.

As your body begins to burn fat, it’s a big change from getting the majority of energy from carbs. The symptoms of the keto flu can vary, but there are several common ones. You might experience nausea or upset stomach.

Some people go through brain fog and feel like they have trouble making sense of things or can’t focus. You may go through bouts of diarrhea or have constipation. This flu can cause muscle pain as well as mood changes such as anger or irritability.

While it can feel like the symptoms will never end, they will, once your body has had time to adjust in a couple of days. Even knowing that eating healthy is better for your body and how much the keto diet can help you, no one wants to go through the keto flu.

It’s best to avoid this side effect and you can, if you practice a few precautions. The withdrawal of your regular eating habits suddenly switched to eating keto is the cause of the keto flu.

Some people develop keto flu because they’re not drinking enough fluids and it throws off their electrolytes. You have to be sure that you’re drinking enough water. If you get dehydrated, it can cause the keto flu.

You have to make sure that you have the right minerals in your diet to ward off the side effects of the flu. One of the reasons that some people get dehydrated and end up with the keto flu is because the lower carb amount cuts out too much of their salt intake.

To remedy this, make sure you’re sipping on a nice bone broth such as chicken broth. This will make you feel much better, and the broth is soothing if you begin suffering from any physical ailments.

Also, check your calories to make sure that you haven’t accidentally dropped the amount you’re eating too low. If you have, increasing the calorie count a bit will help treat the symptoms of the keto flu.

What Should Your Macros Be on a Keto Diet?

What Should Your Macros Be on a Keto Diet?

Macros are the nutrient ratios that you adhere to whenever you get on a low carb or keto diet. Typically, most keto dieters follow a plan that allows between 60-75% fat grams, between 15-30% protein grams and between 5-10% grams of carbs according to the total number of calories consumed.

One thing you need to know is that most people track their net carbs, not their total carbs. Tools like MyFitnessPal will automatically track your total carbs, but you can use Chrome Extensions like Tamper Monkey to get the net carbs calculated within MyFitnessPal.

Net carbs are when you take the total carbs and subtract the dietary fiber from it. The fiber won’t negatively affect you, so it’s a non issue when calculating your macros to track.

If you buy low carb packaged foods, they’ll often have the net carbs listed on the front of the package. Slim Fast High Protein shakes, for example, have 6 total carbs. But when you subtract the 5 grams of dietary fiber, it means the drink has a total of 1 net carb.

If you’re extremely athletic, then you might want to go on the higher end of the carb intake – the 30 grams, as opposed to 20. But that’s only because your body needs more fuel, so if you’re sedentary, stick to the 20 grams instead.

When you calculate the macro nutrients, you’ll want to think of the micronutrients that could impact your health, too. These are the vitamins and minerals you need to ensure you get plenty of for your meals.

You can ensure this by choosing the right carbohydrates for your diet. Carbs are what your body uses for fuel, until you go into a state of ketosis and it begins burning fat instead.

You’d probably be shocked if you tallied up how many carbs you normally consume on a regular basis. It’s not just sitting down with a bag of potato chips – it’s the hidden carbs found in ketchup, for example, that send your numbers soaring. Choose leafy greens as your carbs so that you enjoy plenty of vitamins and minerals with your keto diet.

Don’t overload on the protein, because it can negatively impact your kidneys. Stay at the right macro levels that allow your body the necessary protein to grow and heal tissue in the body.

The fats you choose will help energize your body and use the vitamins you take in. It will keep your hair and skin balanced and contribute to healthy cells. Avoid trans fats and focus on healthy ones, like those found in avocados and salmon.

What’s the Difference Between Keto and Low Carb?

What’s the Difference Between Keto and Low Carb?

Within every weight loss plan, there are often little variations that can turn the plan into a whole new type of diet. That’s the way it is with low carb and ketogenics. Whenever you begin cutting carbs, your body doesn’t store them as fat and uses body fat instead as your fuel!

The more you cut down, the faster the weight melts off. There comes a point when you get to the ketogenic phase – which, for some people means 30 carbs or less, and for others, means 20 carbs or less.

During the ketogenic phase, your body is burning lots of fat as fuel. Every time you add more carbs, it gives the body carbs to burn instead of fat. So you’ll want to manage your carb intake according to however much weight you have to lose, and how fast you want to lose it.

With low carb, you have more freedom and flexibility to have some of the foods you want – such as fruit or starchy carbs like potatoes. But you’ll still want to be vigilant about the maximum number of carbs you allow into your diet.

With keto dieting, the number gets slashed, so you’ll have to be pickier about where your carbs come from. For example, you might really want bar-b-que chicken, but you’ll get sugar free sauce to coat it with so that you don’t blow all your carbs on a few chicken tenderloins.

If you know you want to enjoy tacos, you can shop for things that allow you to cut down on carbs and stay within a low carb or keto diet plan. Instead of taco shells made from corn, you could choose a Carb Balance tortilla with just 4 net carbs.

Low carb is a bit easier for most people to pursue, but it doesn’t help you shed the weight as fast. You also might experience more cravings for things like sugar, because a keto diet tends to eliminate them due to the satiety of the full fat you enjoy.

Because every person is different when it comes to what puts their body into ketosis, you’ll need to track your body to see if you get into ketosis at different levels of carb intake. That way, you’ll know what amount of carbs would kick you out of ketosis, too.

You can measure using keto trackers that use your urine sample, blood or even your breath. You’ll have to get into ketosis little by little to see what level it takes to get you there and then add a bit here and there to see how many carbs your body will allow and still have you in ketosis.

Why Tracking Is So Important on a Keto Diet

Why Tracking Is So Important on a Keto Diet

When you begin the keto diet, you’ll shed some of the pounds fast. Usually within 5 to 14 days, you’ll notice a huge change in your weight when you step on the scale. This fast weight loss helps inspire participants to want to continue the diet.

But then all of a sudden, the weight loss just stops and it baffles dieters since they’re still doing what they think they’re supposed to be doing. The problem is that if you don’t carefully track what you’re eating on a keto diet, you can end up with more calories and more carbs than what you should consume and you boot yourself out of ketosis.

So that leads to weight loss either getting off track or lost pounds showing back up.

When you don’t track what you’re eating, even though a keto diet is good for both weight and fat loss, you’ll experience trouble losing momentum and staying motivated.

It’s just like any other diet. If you’re not following what you should do and you’re eating more than you should, you don’t get the results that you want. Tracking isn’t hard. It just requires a little effort so you can know the truth about what you’re actually consuming.

You have to know what your food consumption is. That means you have to be aware of the portion sizes. Those should be written down along with weighing out the foods that should be weighed on a kitchen scale.

Simply “eyeballing” the amount of any food isn’t accurate enough. You’ll always end up underestimating what you’re eating and you’re more than likely getting a lot more calories or carbs than you think you are.

Tracking your food helps you make sure that your portion sizes are correct. When you study the labels on foods, you’ll often see a total calorie and carb count. But then when you check serving sizes, you’ll see that the item contains two or more servings.

You have to track your carbs using the right method. When something calls for a cup and gives the carb amount based on that, you need to use a cup that’s either a dry or liquid measure, whatever the food type is, to get the most accurate measurement. Otherwise, you can end up with more.

Use a keto or general diet tracking app that you can add to your mobile phone. These apps let you find foods, count your net carbs and more so that you stay on track with your keto diet.

Success Mindset for Achieving Your Goals in Life

Success Mindset for Achieving Your Goals in Life

The world is made up of three kinds of people. Those who are successful, those who are not yet successful and those who will never be successful. You can see this simply by looking at people who try and try and just never seem to make it even though it’s clear that they possess the knowledge they need.

So why are there people in this world who dream big and have hopes for a successful future, but it all comes to nothing? The answer is that their mindset held them back just like the mindset of the successful propelled them to greater heights and the achievements of their dreams. If you want to make it in anything, you must have a success mindset.

Why a Successful Mindset Makes Your Goals Achievable

Having a success mindset is an important tool because what you think is in control of what you’ll do. If you think you can’t, you won’t. If you think you’re a failure, you are. If you think dreams come true for other people and not for you, then you’re right.

You’re creating your own version of mental roadblocks that then lead to physical roadblocks because you develop the mindset of “Why bother to try when you’re only going to end up failing?”

 

You think this way because you haven’t yet realized the power of mindset. It can guide or affect everything you do in your personal or professional life. The reason that it has this power is because you are the fuel that feeds into the belief.

Then you will act according to your mindset. You’ll act like a failure or you’ll act like a winner. You’ll act defeated or you’ll act triumphant. You might not have the same education as the next person.

You might not have the same level of talent. You might not have a lot of money. You might not have the same outgoing personality. But that doesn’t mean that your chances of success are any lower, because your mindset will determine that, not your station in life.

If you don’t believe that, do a quick search on people who became millionaires or who build a successful business from nothing. Your circumstances aren’t the chains that hold you back.

Your mindset is. But it doesn’t have to be. Only you can give it that authority. Once you step up and take control of your mindset, your days feeling like and acting like a failure are over.

Developing a success mindset leads to a change in how you see yourself. You’ll stop having a negative attitude about who you are and what you’re capable of. You’ll stop the thought track in your mind that tells you that you can’t succeed, that you don’t have what it takes.

Stopping that track then boosts your self-esteem. Whatever negative thought or belief that you allow to grow within your mind will grow and flourish like weeds choking out even the tiniest speck of good that you might believe about yourself.

When you develop a success mindset, it allows you to overcome self-criticism. This enables how you view everything to change. It changes your perspective, your ideas, bolsters your goals and gives new and fresh meaning to what you want to achieve.

How do you know if you have a success mindset? You view any failures as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than as stopping points. Every success that you want is doable by having a success mindset.

When you have that, your perspective shifts. You see obstacles as challenges. You believe you can overcome whatever obstacle is thrown at you. When you view problems, you might not automatically know the answer to them, but you believe that you’ll get the answer.

The vision that you have for your life shifts when you have a success mindset. It creates a determination within you that propels you forward and allows you to succeed regardless of the effort it takes.

You don’t quit until your goals are accomplished. With a success mindset, you don’t see circumstances that hold you back. You see chances to grow. You develop a strong can do attitude that allows you try where previously you might have allowed circumstances to keep you stuck at the starting line.

You have to remember that a success mindset envisions triumph, which improves your ability to reach the goals that you set for yourself. Think of your mindset as a gate that either opens for opportunities or closes to them.

Change Hopeless Negativity to an Optimistic Success Mindset

One of the reasons that people develop a sense of hopeless negativity is because they view their life goals, their relationships, their dreams and their needs in light of what should have been instead of what is.

They feel a sense of disappointment that things haven’t worked out the way that they want, so they begin to close ranks around possibilities. People with hopeless negativity fail to see life as it can be and only focus on the bad or what’s prevented them from succeeding.

People who think this way don’t see their situation as ever improving. Their belief is that everything is bad. They live day to day expecting the worst to happen. It usually does because mindset leads to behaviors or habits that create the existence they believe.

So they end up not trying and they settle for the kind of life they don’t want, failing to see that the one they do want is only a mindset change away. Changing your hopeless negativity to an optimistic success mindset isn’t difficult.

It just takes some practice. Learn to view every situation though a positive lens. You can do this by seeking the positive in the situation, in the person or in your thoughts. What happens when you do this is it shifts your mindset away from what’s not good and puts it on what is.

Take the time every single day to reflect on the good that you experienced. If you look for the positive, you will find it regardless of whatever is going on - regardless of what did or didn’t happen.

You have to stop dwelling on the immediate and keep your view settled on the outcome. Every positive journey will have negative parts to it. If you stay focused on the negative, you can miss the bigger picture.

Your mindset can get so clouded over by the negative that you completely miss the good things that are waiting for you to take hold and move you ahead toward your success.

You can change hopeless negativity, but not holding onto those thoughts or attitudes. These are things that you usually dwell on. And wherever your attention is, your mindset follows.

For example, if you continually dwell on all that needs repairing in your home, you’ll start to dislike where you live. You’ll feel miserable and start wishing you could move. Then you’ll start thinking about how you can’t afford to move and you’ll feel trapped.

So the one negative thought mushrooms and becomes this huge thing that makes you feel hopeless. Then you feel helpless to change your situation - all because your mind says there’s nothing you can do.

But if you look at the repairs in your home as an opportunity to fix it up the way you want it to be, or to make improvements that you like better, you’ll notice that your attitude has changed about it.

The attitude changed because the mindset did. Examine any negative or hopeless thought that comes into your mind. Take charge of it and ask yourself what opportunities are hidden in the situation.

Then find them and focus on those instead. Make it a habit to seek the positive and let it be how you start and end your day. Begin your day by thinking a positive thought. It can be something about it being a beautiful day or something like you get to have your favorite cup of coffee.

End your day the same way. Start a habit of writing down at least 3 good things that happened to you that day, that you learned, that you accomplished. This habit is what teaches you to notice what’s good.

When you look for the positive, it makes you feel better and it changes your perspective from one that life is happening to – to something that you’re in control of. You discover that you make your own happiness and that it’s not determined by external haves or have nots.

You must keep in mind that whichever mindset you feed is the one that grows. If you feed the negative mindset, it blooms into something that can easily overwhelm the good. If you feed the good mindset, it blooms and gains control rather than the negative side.

Becoming Sure of Your Success Mindset Until You Follow Through

It’s one thing to talk about a success mindset. Another to live it. You might want a success mindset but not be sure about your ability to achieve it or unsure if you can carry on until you do follow through and reach your goals.

Your environment can often determine your ability to follow through. The rule of thumb is always negative in, negative out. Spend enough time in a negative environment and you’ll end up affected.

If all the people you have in your circle practice a negative mindset and they seem to see the problems instead of the hope in even trying, before long, you’ll be spouting the same words they’re speaking.

You’ll see gloom and doom. You’ll see all the reasons why you can’t accomplish your dreams. You’ll think about how success is for others, not you. You’ll look at their lives and see how they too, are just like you.

They didn’t succeed, so what makes you think you can? Everyone has their own personality. They’re the sum parts of the way they were raised, the friends they have, the habits they perform.

But what carries the a lot of weight in anyone’s life are the people that you hang with. These are the people that you look to for advice. They’re the ones that you complain to on the phone.

They’re the ones that influence your decisions. If your environment is made up of negative influences, it has to change in order for you to succeed. You can become sure of your success mindset by reframing what you’re up against.

You might feel that there’s no way you can succeed. So reframe that what you’re up against isn’t something insurmountable. Instead, it’s something that’s going to offer you a learning experience.

What this does is take you out of your comfort zone and allow you to push beyond self-imposed mindset limitations. You’ll be able to see the accomplishments rather than the failures.

You must push past the limits that you’ve set for yourself in the past. As you stretch your mindset, it lets go of the mental blocks that hold your success hostage. It frees you up to take risks, to step beyond what you thought you were capable of.

Instead of thinking that there’s no way you can succeed, you’ll begin to view yourself as someone who’s in control of his success. You follow through by welcoming mistakes as an opportunity to learn and rise above the issues.

When you practice a success mindset, it lets you choose to move. It also lets you acknowledge that you need to learn with grace rather than allowing it to be the thing that holds you back.

You become sure of your success mindset when you change your thought processes. When you stop going through life saying, “I can’t” or “I might fail” and instead saying, “Good things are going to happen for me,” then by your actions, you make that positive outcome a reality.

Action Steps You Can Take to Develop a Success Mindset

Practice positive affirmations. Doing this will help you realize that you’re good enough and that what you need to succeed, you already possess. Positive affirmations can help you see yourself as worthy and strong as well as capable.

These affirmations can help you break free from a negative mindset that leads to self sabotaging behavior such as not even trying to go after success. Your brain reacts to repeated positive affirmations and accepts them as truth.

When you speak them, use the present tense. Choose affirmations such as, “I am successful and talented. I recognize my abilities and other people recognize my abilities.”

Your brain then begins to create positive thoughts based on that affirmation. Your body and your attitude then follow along. Your action steps will be based in the belief that you can achieve your goals.

Follow success stories. Find the stories that motivate and inspire you. Watch documentaries of people that have similar goals that you also want to reach. Study what they did and how they overcame obstacles.

Watching other successful people in action fills you with a can-do attitude. You start thinking that if that person can do it, then so can you. Create a vision board. When you create a board that uses a selection of images representing what your success is, it creates an image of what can be.

The board is a tangible view of what you want to achieve. When you have a vision board, you use the power of visualization to prompt a success mindset. The board sinks into your subconscious mind and lets you see things you may not have realized before.

A vision board acts as a reminder that success is yours. Having one can help you choose action when fear creeps in. It can also help you remember to believe in yourself and to keep your brain focused on the positive, which is the outcome of your goals.

The board should be a visual representation of your success story unfolding. Practice the law of attraction. Know what it is that you want to attract to your life. Believe that you have it in you to make all your dreams come true.

A Dozen Ways to Successfully Deal with Stress

A Dozen Ways to Successfully Deal with Stress

Stress is what happens when you have so much to deal with emotionally or physically, and the burdens overwhelms you. This is why you can deal with many stressors and then all of a sudden something minor like dropping a glass of milk makes you start crying or feels like the final straw.

When you let stress build, it can feel as if it’s all too much to handle so you end up doing nothing. Or worse, you start trying to deal with the stress by using alcohol or other unhealthy coping mechanisms. Dealing with stress head on is always best and here are a dozen ways that you can effectively do that.

Use Meditation

By using visualization or other forms of meditation, it can help relieve the pressure of stress building up. You don’t have to be an expert to get started with meditation, either. You can use self-help books, online tutorials, guided imagery podcasts or other means.

Meditation takes your mind out of the middle of the stress and allows you to focus your thoughts. While you’re meditating, the constant badgering you sometimes get from stress will be eliminated because it won’t have center stage in your thoughts.

This practice can be done anywhere at any time and it doesn’t take long to reap the benefits of using meditation to deal with stress. Your mind and body will align and relax while using meditation.

It helps you let go of the negativity brought on by stress and instead keep your mind set on what’s good, what’s peaceful and what’s helpful to you. Meditation gives you a coping skill that helps you eliminate the effects of the flight or fight response that occurs when you’re under stress. You’ll be able to lower your blood pressure and feel the weight of your stressors lift from your shoulders.

Know Your Stressors

Sometimes people aren’t prepared for handling stress because they don’t know exactly what it is about their life that’s causing the stress reaction. By understanding what causes you stress, you can manage and eliminate it.

Fear and anxiety is a stressor. You can feel this kind of stress when you start playing the what if game - what if you lose your job, what if you can’t your bills, what if your partner breaks up with you, what if you get sick, etc.

This is projection thinking that takes you out of the present day and causes your mind to live in a state of what “could” happen in the future. It’s worrying about something that hasn’t happened and may never happen.

Issues with relatives can also be a stressor. You could have people in your life that you simply don’t get along with. Or you could have family members who are involved in situations that are bad and you feel the stress from that.

Leaving your normal way of life can be a stressor. This includes things like taking on a new job or leaving one, moving to a new home or new state, ending a relationship or starting one, going to college or graduating or having a child or having a child move out.

It’s anything that shakes up how you routinely live your life. Health issues can be a stressor. Whenever you not feeling well or you’re dealing with a chronic health problem, it can cause stress.

You feel the stress more when the health issue gets in the way of you being able to handle your day to day activities or your job. Job performance, both good and bad, can be a stressor.

When you do well at work, you may feel the stress and pressure to continually outdo yourself. When you do poorly, you may fear the boss’s reaction or the loss of your job.

Work and family balance is another stressor.

You can feel pulled in two directions and feel like your life isn’t balanced. This can cause you to feel stressed that you’re not able to do your best at work or at home because your time is being stretched too thin.

Track Your Stressors

You can’t fight what you can’t see coming. But when you write down what you’re going to be handling that day, it helps you deal with stress. It does this because you’ll be identifying all the situations for that day and what the potential stressors are going to be.

Identify what it is about the situation (or the person) that’s going to be in your day that’s causing you to feel the stress. For example, if you have to attend your child’s school for an event and the ex you don’t get along with is going to be there, you should know ahead of time how to handle the negative emotions that will rise up.

Maybe you can strategize a way to minimize interaction, too. Know ahead of time that when you feel the anger, you’ll practice meditation deep breathing exercises – because this can help you keep the situation and yourself calm.

Discover the Power of No

One common cause of stress is being too busy saying yes to others that you end up saying no to yourself. Know your limitations and don’t exceed them. Every day you’re going to be bombarded with people and situations that want you to say yes and give your time and energy.

But being a consistent “yes” person is the road to stress. You can’t take time for yourself or what you really want to do if you don’t practice using the power of no. Most people refrain from saying no out of fear that they’ll appear selfish, but saying no to someone isn’t selfish.

It’s practicing the art of self care. When you have a problem telling other people no, or even telling yourself no to things, you add to your workload and can over-do what you’re capable of.

You’ll end up - not only stressed - but your immune system can take a hit as well since stress lowers your body’s immune system defenses. Learning to say no can free you from the guilt that comes along with saying yes.

Many people only agree to something because they feel guilted into it or they guilt themselves into it. Just keep in mind that by saying no, you’re taking care of your body and that’s a good thing.

When you say no, let that be your one word explanation. If someone asks, “why not” in response to your no, recognize that as a boundary issue. You don’t owe anyone a reason. By saying no, you free yourself from overextending your own time and causing yourself unnecessary stress.

Get Enough Sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause a delayed reaction time in situations such as driving or trying to do your job. It also causes memory problems, weight gain, and can lead to serious health issues.

But not getting the right amount of sleep can cause stress and worsen the stress you may already have. A lack of sleep causes your decision making ability to be affected and you end up making poor choices that increase your stress.

This happens when you get tired and you end up not really wanting to deal with whatever you’re trying to handle. So you end up saying no to good opportunities and yes to bad ones.

The lack of sleep can cause a cycle. When you don’t get enough rest, it causes stress, which in turn causes insomnia. With each feeding into the other, it can make your stress level increase and reach the point where you find it difficult to deal with even minor problems.

Stop Ignoring Problems

You might believe that it’s better not to deal with an issue that’s causing you stress - that if you don’t handle it, you’re protecting yourself. But what you’re doing is actually making your stress worse.

Common problems that people don’t like to deal with yet cause stress are: home repairs, car repairs, financial problems, children or teenage behavior, arguments/issues with your spouse, family problems, environmental problems or fear of world problems.

When a problem arises, deal with it as soon as possible. If you put it off, the problem can only get bigger and when it grows, it’ll take more of your energy and resources to fix.

Problems don’t ride off into the sunset just because they aren’t dealt with. They linger, quietly nagging at the back of your mind even while you’re trying to ignore them. This internal nagging is at work building your stress. Face your problems, deal with them head on, and free yourself from stress.

Lower Your Expectations

One of the reasons that people have stress is because their expectations are out of whack. They have high expectations for other people and for themselves. So when things don’t work out as they expected, they feel not only disappointed, but stressed as well.

You can tell if your expectations are causing you stress if you think that your life wasn’t supposed to turn out the way that it has - or if you think your partner wasn’t supposed to behave the way he or she did.

It causes you stress because you were expecting something you didn’t receive. You feel disappointment that the picture in your mind wasn’t painted correctly in reality. Relief from stress is found by having realistic expectations for yourself and for the others in your life as well.

Learn to accept yourself for who you are, and others for who they are. When you consider your life, rather than feeling stressed for what hasn’t worked out, focus on the good that has. Stop putting the pressure and stress on yourself to do more or to be more.

Find a Hobby You Enjoy

When you find something you like doing, it acts as a stress reliever because it gives you an outlet.  A hobby can be a way for you to release the anxiety and pent up emotions that go along with dealing with stress.

You can get involved in music such as finding new songs or new bands. You can check out the local music scene where you live and attend free music festivals or shows for singers and bands just getting started.

Painting and other creative things such as sketching or coloring can be a hobby that works as a stress outlet. There’s also journaling. You don’t have to be good at writing to journal.

It’s just putting words down that are talking about how you’re feeling or what’s gone on during your day. Some people get into gardening. You can do vegetable and fruit or flowering gardening.

You can do a mixture of all three. Taking up knitting or crocheting is a great hobby that can help you deal with stress. You can learn a new skill such as a second language. Or you can learn how to play an instrument.

You can get involved in community theater or take acting classes. Going for regular hikes to explore new places is a great way to deal with stress. So is volunteering. By investing yourself in someone else, it successfully manages stress.

Create a To-Do List

You might wonder why creating a to-do list can help you manage stress. The answer is because when stress hits, you feel like everything is going wrong. You feel like nothing is within your ability to cope.

This feeling of being out of control can increase your stress level. Sometimes stress develops because people feel like they have so much to do or to overcome that it causes action paralysis, which then worsens stress.

By creating a to-do list, it helps a person prioritize the important things and they’re able to focus on getting one thing at a time accomplished. Rather than focusing on what they have to do in its entirety, which can make stress rise, they’re able to get through the day by choosing bite size action steps.

When you have a step-by- step to-do list it allows you to feel like you’re in control. This works well even if you don’t necessarily have a lot on your plate to handle. A physical list takes the pressure off your mental checklist.

Find Your Support System

One of the worst things about stress is when you try to keep it all inside. When your job isn’t working out well, your partner isn’t being helpful, and your kids are constantly pushing your buttons, you need a way to come to terms with the stress that you’re feeling.

If you don’t let it out, the stress pressure builds. You need to have someone to talk to about what you’re going through. This someone may not be able to do anything to change your situation.

But by simply being there to listen, it relieves you of the buildup you’re feeling. Talking through what’s happening with you and what’s causing your stress makes you feel better even if the situation is still present.

Your support can be a trusted friend, a relative, a romantic partner or a trained counselor. Sharing how you’re feeling relieves the emotional toll such as anxiety and depression that are often linked to stress.

Create a Strategy

Every single bit of stress in your life can be traced back to a trigger. It’s always cause and effect. Something happens and there’s a mental, emotional or physical reaction. There are consequences or changes that led to the stress.

For example, your boss gives you a better position. You make more money. Now you’re stressed. Not because you got the position that you wanted, but because there are more responsibilities.

It might be more time away from home. You might feel worried that you’re not up to par.

What you have to do when stress hits is trace backward to get to the root of your stress. When you find that, you can create a strategy to eliminate the stress.

If you take the new position at work, have a plan to enlist more help at home or hire outside help. If you’re worried you’re not knowledgeable enough about the new position, ask for help such as more training or take a course. Your strategy should make you proactive and show you what you need to do to help you deal with your stress.

Let Go

You must reach the place where you realize that despite how hard you try, there are some things you just can’t solve. By wasting time worrying and trying to find a fix for the unfixable, you’re just creating stress.

You can’t fix a coworker who’s lazy or is a jerk. You can’t force a loved one not to break up with you. You can’t order every event in your life to be as you wish it to be. You don’t have any control over things that are outside your ability to change.

What you have to do is accept what you can’t change and make peace with it. When you waste energy striving to try to force things to happen that are beyond your scope, you end up frustrated and stressed.

Accepting that you’re powerless to change everything that affects you is a hard thing to do but it’s necessary in order to deal with stress. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re strong enough to move on with your life rather than remaining stuck.

Nutrition for Fitness

Nutrition for Fitness

Losing weight usually begins in most people’s minds with them figuring out when and where to start exercising and being more active. In reality, the first place they should be looking is in the kitchen

It’s this room of the house that will determine your progress when it comes to achieving your most pressing fitness goals of losing weight. For some people, exercising alone will do next to nothing when it comes to seeing results on the scale, if their diet is very poor.

A few others could get away with a little bit of progress if they have better nutrition. Even those who saw a little bit of progress just from added exercise, will eventually realize that sooner or later they will have to change what they eat and drink if they want to continue making progress.

There are many approaches - both extreme and easier methods - to adapt healthier eating habits. Before even beginning any exercise, this could be a great place to start when you begin to map out your weight loss and fitness goals.

A few important factors must be considered when creating a game plan for a new healthy lifestyle - such as your budget, mindset, support system, and body goals. Once you have closely looked at each of these four areas, you will have a better understanding of where you should begin to take your first step into a healthy lifestyle.

Keep in mind that your nutrition doesn’t just come into play when you’re talking about whittling your waist. It’s also fuel for the right kinds of workouts, so even if you’re at or close to your weight goal, you still need to be armed with the right nutritional advice to help you power through your workouts.

Nutrition for Lack of Control

Obesity is an ever-growing epidemic around the world, along with the disease and health implications that follow, and many of these cases can be chalked up to very little self-discipline.

Willpower is one of the most important aspects of achieving the body you want. Unfortunately, it’s also what most people blame whenever they fail to accomplish their goals.

There are occasions where weight gain is situational - such as hormones, stress, medical conditions and medications. However, even these factors can be reduced with effort.

Trying to begin a diet or healthy habits can be a challenge to anyone with little control over moods or cravings towards foods, so it’s important to start small, and begin training your mindset.

A great place to start is to throw out or hide larger sized plates, cups, and bowls, and replace them with smaller to moderate sized plates so that you can still fill them up with whatever you’d like.

Plates used to be 8-9 inches, and now, consumers purchase enormous plates that rival the large dinner portions found in restaurants. These portions are actually not single sized, but enough food for 3-4 people.

This approach slowly teaches us portion control, and this process can still take a few weeks to get used to. While adjusting to slightly smaller portions, put some time off to the side daily - even ten minutes - to consider your goals, barriers and solutions for any situation you might face down the road.

Listen or read motivating and uplifting encouragement over and over, ten minutes a day every day. These two tasks will get your body adjusted to smaller portions, and continue to train your brain’s all without zapping too much of your day worrying about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and all of the other factors that stress many people out, causing them to quit their diet after only a couple of days.

The idea here is to start slow and build momentum, because when momentum is built, it’s very difficult to stop. Once you have adjusted to smaller portions and have a healthier mindset than you used to, it’s time to add an extra step or two.

Maybe you choose drinking more water and walking for 30 minutes a day as your two additional steps. The power of a bunch of smaller tasks being completed will quickly stack up over the course of a few months.

Then you will be easily implementing healthier habits whereas others will try to everything all at once in a couple of days, causing them stress and defeat. Take your health journey one day at a time.

Stay committed to yourself, and focus on what happened today and what’s to come tomorrow, rather than sizing up a whole year and before you know it you will be unstoppable.

Nutrition for the Dedicated

Having the mental capacity to stick to a strict nutrition plan can greatly increase the speed at which you see results in your fitness progress. If this is your cup of tea, that’s great!

Now it’s just about finding where to begin and what steps to take to get you there. First, you have to realize exactly how many calories that you need to consume to gain or lose weight - depending on your goal.

To do this, there are many caloric intake calculators online for use free. However, there are some tests such as the Resting Metabolic Assessment that can be performed by professionals to find out specifically how many calories are required for your individual lifestyle.

Once you know exactly how many calories you should consume on a daily basis, it’s time to begin planning out how you would like to consume those calories. The calories for weight gain or loss will also be different, because you need to be at a 500 caloric surplus to gain lean muscle, while you need to be at a 500 caloric deficit to lose body fat.

If your goal is to just gain lean muscle mass, you will need to have a higher protein diet, and consume both carbs and protein before bed to help with recovery of muscle tissue after hard workouts.

However, if your goal is to lose weight, it is best to consume carbohydrates in the morning, eating a dinner mostly comprised of lean proteins and vegetables. Tracking calories is also crucial to sticking to a strict regimen for optimal results.

Tracking tools can be downloaded through apps on your phone, by using Excel spreadsheets or simply with a pen and paper. Whatever is going to help you remember to keep track of how many calories you consume for the day in the easiest and best way should be the method you pick.

If, at any point during your nutrition progress, you begin to fall off your program, seek professional help with an online or in person nutrition specialist or registered dietitian. These resources will help you stay on track and keep you accountable to your goals.

Staying accountable to goals can also be much easier with the help of meal prepping your calories out beforehand. Meal prepping, if done right, can take a matter of 30 minutes and you can prepare all of your lunches or dinners for the entire week - making it easier on you to keep track of your daily intake.

Planning your nutrition journey out thoroughly before even starting is the key to overcoming obstacles and barriers to ensure you have a plan to keep yourself accountable, too.

Supplementation and Nutrition

In a culture focused on fixing problems quickly and easier, billions of dollars are generated from the supplementation industry. What many people have a hard time understanding is that “supplementation” is simply meant to replace the missing gaps in your established nutrition plan – not replace food completely.

More of your dollars should be spent on wholesome foods rather than tubs of powder and bottles of vitamins. Having a better diet can go a longer way towards your health than a poorly regulated quick fix industry.

Not all vitamins and powdered supplements are bad, but many people spend too much money for the little benefits, if any, that they receive from supplementing. A great place to start when deciding which supplements to invest in is to look at what your current needs are.

Tracking your basic calories and macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are a great way to figure out if there are any extra protein needs you might have. A good rule of thumb is to eat the number in grams of protein for every pound of your ideal bodyweight.

If your goal is to weigh 150, then try aiming for a daily intake of 150 grams of protein daily. It’s optimal to eat your protein if possible, but if eating 150 grams of protein is difficult to achieve, then supplementing with a protein powder is a great way to sneak in extra protein calories.

There are also symptom quizzes online that you can take to give you a better recommendation of whatever supplements are on the market to improve the way that you feel – or, better yet - a physician can make professional recommendations based on findings in your bloodwork.

Typically, the bulk of any supplements you may need will include a multivitamin, fish oils, and possibly a protein. Keeping costs low on supplements will allow you to budget for more important factors such as wholesome foods and exercise expenses such as home equipment or a gym membership.

Make sure that whatever supplements you do decide to invest in, they’re third party tested for purity, and be sure to look into the company reviews to make sure that the supplements come from a reputable source.

Habits, Not Quick Fixes

A much healthier way to ensure that you lose the weight and the weight stays off is to focus your energy on building small, healthy diet habits. There are an abundance of companies promoting quick weight loss in a matter of weeks.

However, many of them fail their consumers for a couple of reasons. First, a majority of people shopping for diet pills, promising fast weight loss programs and other lucrative advertisements are not mentally strong enough to maintain that regimen on their own.

Some of these products and services can be very taxing on your mental health, stress levels, and they can easily be compromised - which will cause a sense of defeat. Keto diets are a great example of these extreme programs that a majority of people start off strong with, but end up failing within a matter of a few weeks to months.

The second problem with promising programs is that they may actually work in the short term - but in the end, the consumer didn’t learn how to maintain that progress on their own.

Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and other programs are great at getting people to their results by limiting caloric intake, and creating nutrition plans for them. Shortly after the goal has been reached, or the program has been completed, a lot of people end up going back to their old nutrition ways, then gaining back the lost weight.

The idea of quick weight-loss is tempting enough to keep people coming back to these programs over and over again – even after consistent regain of the weight, causing you to spend thousands of dollars just to be stuck in a yo-yo effect.

Yo-yo dieting is the process of starting and completing nutrition programs, to only regain the weight, causing your body to be unable to maintain homeostasis and wreaking havoc on your metabolism.

Yo Yo dieting doesn’t just affect your metabolism. New research shows that the process can contribute to an early death because of the damage it does to your entire body, in addition to your mind.

Save yourself from being stuck in this cycle, and take nutrition slowly one day at a time so that you can stay fit and healthy long term. Regardless of your dietary needs, coming up with a solid game-plan that will work best for you, and planning out any obstacles that lay ahead will give you a much better chance at staying successful with your fitness and weight goals.

Prepare for your nutrition journey to be more of a long term lifestyle change, rather than a three-month quick fix. The progress may take twice as long to complete, but in the end, you won’t spend years going back and forth between quick weight loss schemes.

You’ll simply lose the weight, achieve your fitness goals and be able to effortlessly maintain the body you’ve worked hard to achieve over time. If you thought about it consciously, chances are you’d choose long-term, permanent fitness rather than a quick fix that evaporates after only a few months.

 

New Year – Fit Year

New Year - Fit Year

The holidays are almost over, and for many, this is a great time to start fresh and being to adopt healthier habits to change their lives. Starting a new fitness journey in January is popular because it allows everyone to start breaking down calories that were gained from the carb-heavy holidays where most of us indulge in big meals after stressful moments of shopping and preparing for family visits.

New Year’s resolutions are also created for mindful goal setting, pairing up with workout friends to get healthy with, and preparing the mind for the journey ahead. Most of the people starting New Year’s resolutions are aware that they need and want to make a change.

However, getting started and knowing what to do requires a little bit more knowledge in order to be efficient and see results. Here are several ways you can make the most of your resolution to change your life and get fit this coming year!

How to Dress Properly for Your New Fitness Journey

To most people, finding something to wear before starting a workout is not much of a priority, however, the clothes that you wear can, in fact, impact your workout. Not only can they alter the way you feel physically as you work out, but it can get so bad that you begin dreading the workouts.

You’ll need to do a head to toe evaluation of your gear to see what needs updating. If you haven’t ever given it any thought, a great place to start with workout attire is the setting in which you plan on performing your exercise regimen.

For the most part, if you plan on working out indoors at either a house or gym setting, you can get away with almost anything from sweats to tank tops because the air conditioning will allow for optimal temperatures.

The only aspect you really need to consider when indoor training is to know if you’re planning for an intense, high cardiac output workout like HIIT training or something slower paced.

HIIT workouts, or High Intensity Interval Training, can be very taxing on the human body, raising your  blood pressure, heart-rate, and body temperature, which can be overbearing to some.

Dressing too warm for these workouts can cause someone new to pass out or feel very light headed, so be sure to bring a layer of clothing that you can remove if you begin to feel too hot at any point.

A similar method of wearing layers can be beneficial to anyone who likes to train outdoors at parks, participate in boot camps or go on long runs. Depending on the exercises, the same situation of increasing body temperature can happen outdoors, which makes wearing layers more beneficial when it comes to keeping body temperature lower. 

Shoes are also important - even as important as the bed you sleep on, which means making sure you have the right ones for your body are essential for your joint health. Wearing the wrong type of shoes for long periods of time can cause damage to your ankle complex, which can also affect the rest of the joints in your body through its kinetic chain, affecting posture.

There are specialty shoe stores that can run foot assessments in which they assess how you walk and refer you to the best possible shoe and insole that can help correct your footstep to better improve your walking, posture, and the way you feel.

In addition to shoes and layering, you also have to consider things such as sports bras, sweat bands, hats to protect yourself from the sun if you’re working out outdoors, and more.

There are many technological gadgets you can get for your attire, too. From heart rate monitors that you wear to simple step counters that assist you in setting and achieving cardio goals, there’s something for everyone.

Home vs Gym Memberships

In order to start the New Year’s resolution journey into fitness off right, you will need an appropriate setting to perform exercises that are geared towards your specific goals. The first step in making the decision to get a gym membership vs working out at the house is to consider your budget for your health.

If your wallet is running slim after the holidays, it’s perfectly fine to start doing workouts at your home if there is space available to do so, or at a local park. Although your home is limited compared to the exercise equipment offered in a gym environment, there are still a lot of exercises that you can do with no equipment at all.

Thanks to sources like the Internet and YouTube in particular, there are tons of workout plans with structured regimens for the house or outdoors. If having a little extra cash to invest in a gym membership is within your budget, you will find that having more equipment, like-minded people, and fitness professionals around are definitely perks of this option.

A few other decisions to think about when deciding if you’d like to work out at home vs the gym is your discipline to keep yourself accountable to show up at the gym, or even remember to work out at the house.

Some people may be more introverted and may not wish to see others as they’re working out, while others may find it more encouraging to be around people with similar goals and build a network of people who can hold them more accountable.

A great way to go about making a decision is to work out at your house first for a month in order to build consistency, habits and foundational strength, and then join a gym trial during February after the gym is less crowded in order to see if a gym setting is more appropriate for your goals.

Regardless of the setting you choose to work out in, the most important piece to the puzzle is to find your preference in which you can stay more committed and build a strong consistency with exercise and fitness.

Cardio vs Strength

A common question when it comes to starting a new workout plan is whether or not to incorporate more cardio or strength workouts throughout the week. One of the biggest misconceptions is that strength training will lead to bulky muscles and even weight gain, which usually acts a deterrent to those unsure about which route to take.

The problem with that concept is that it’s simply not true. Muscle takes much longer to gain, which means you won’t turn into the Hulk in a year, and strength workouts have even been proven to speed your metabolism up so that you can burn fat as a fuel source more efficiently.

It takes your body more calories per hour to maintain muscle mass than it does body fat, which means the more muscle your body has will result in more calories per hour to be burned.

Strength workouts can also improve bone density, release endorphins to make you feel better, and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis. Strength training is a great place for anyone to start, but what about the cardio side of workouts?

Cardiovascular training is also an important piece to look over when considering workout because many benefits can come from it that don’t come from strength workouts alone.

Training your body’s cardiovascular system can build your aerobic base to burn fat efficiently, improve lung health, and can make for great recovery days between strength workouts.

If you do any sort of cardiovascular workouts, be sure to invest in a heart-rate monitor and learn about the heart-rate zones that allow your body to burn fat efficiently. There are many online calculators that will give you a guestimate to what heart-rate your body will burn fat vs burning carbs and sugars. 

If your heart-rate goes too high, then you are no longer burning fat cells, so without a heart-rate monitor, it is very difficult to determine what it is exactly you are using as your energy source when doing any sort of cardio.

When considering cardio vs strength, don’t leave one completely out. Both types of workouts complement each other and both play an important role when it comes to fat burning.

Feel free to do light to moderate cardio just about any day of the week, but a good place to start with strength training is two full body workouts per week, with adequate rest between each strength training day.

Find a form of cardio that you love. You don’t have to commit to a daily 5-mile run. You can do water aerobics or something else you consider fun. The same goes for strength training.

You’re not relegated to using dumbbells. You can use bodyweight exercises or kettlebells or any number of methods to get strength built over time. Make sure you switch things up so that your body can’t acclimate to your routines.

Workout Efficiency and Weight Loss

Hardly anyone ever enjoys going on a restricted diet or adopting healthier eating habits while starting an exercise regimen at the same time. Making your time more efficient will not only help you see results faster, but could also prevent plateaus and save a lot of time and stress as well.

The first step in your New Year’s resolution plan should be to find a way to assess yourself regularly. This could be done through progress photos, biometric scales, or any method of training body fat progress such as tape measurers or calipers.

If you aren’t assessing your progress you’re guessing, and guessing could waste your time, diminish results, and make you lose track of accountability. After you find a way that you prefer to measure your progress, make a commitment to yourself to check weekly on your progress.

A common term used in gyms among staff is “Weigh-in Wednesday” for example, where every Wednesday at the same time you check your progress. Starting off, you will most likely see changes in your measurements and the way you feel, just based off picking up healthier nutrition habits, which makes nutrition goals a great place to start.

Slowly, you may notice the progress begin to slow down, which means it’s time to change something in your current plan, such as adding in cardio a few times a week so that your body now has to adapt to a new method, resulting in more progress being shown on the scale.

If cardio and nutrition aren’t cutting it for the type of results you’d like to see, try adding two strength workouts into your week to help build more muscle fiber and speed up your metabolism.

Be sure to track how much cardio and strength training you’re doing consistently, then be patient for a couple of weeks to see how your assessments result from your changed program.

Eventually, everyone who eats better, and does a little cardio with strength will begin to notice their progress begins to slow down. This is where you can begin to make minor changes for even more results, forcing the body to adapt in new ways to a healthier lifestyle.

Some changes could be investing in a heart-rate monitor and knowing at what heart-rate your body burns fat the best when doing cardio. Adding in better sleep for recovery and stress or applying a yoga workout once a week can also go a long way in seeing different results on the scale.

Regardless of which habit you’d like to tweak to overcome slow results, it’s important to track your progress continually so that you know when and how you need to change what you’re currently doing to continue seeing progress.

The human body tries its hardest to maintain homeostasis so that your body can regularly maintain its current situation, which is why it’s so important to track when your body is no longer seeing changes from your program, and find that next aspect to change.

The holiday season at the end of the year is the worst season to gain weight. You feel lethargic from a carb heavy time of year, and this a better reason to start fresh in January and get back to being the you that feels and looks your best.

There will be many people stating that this is the year they get fit once and for all. But the reality is, most of them will quit. What makes you any different? The fact that you’re preparing for your journey instantly makes you more credible because you’re taking this seriously.

Continue moving on that path and educating yourself about how to gain momentum, rather than lose it as you work toward your goals. Set yourself up ahead of time for success and plan out any roadblocks that might get in the way so that when the time does come, you won’t be defeated, but instead rise up to continue making the body slowly adapt to a healthier lifestyle.

Important Tests Your Doctor Can Run to Determine Your State of Health

Important Tests Your Doctor Can Run to Determine Your State of Health

Going to the doctor is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. By getting some fairly simple tests done, it can help your doctor determine whether or not you’re as healthy as you should be. You can avoid many common issues that can hurt your long term health if you know how to take care of them now.

Checking Blood Pressure

Having your blood pressure tested at your doctor’s office is a fairly routine test. But it’s an important one. Your blood pressure can be one of the determining factors to your heart health.

However, it can also be an indication of something much simpler and far less dangerous than a problem with your heart. High blood pressure can mean a variety of things. When it’s elevated, it can mean that your diet consists of foods that contain too much salt.

Overuse of salt makes your body hold onto fluids. That raises your blood pressure. If your doctor catches this and you reduce your salt intake, it’s better for your heart in the years to come.

Your doctor can do a blood pressure check and compare it to other blood pressure tests that you’ve had done in the past. This will give him an overall picture of how well (or not) you’re doing physically.

Some things can make your blood pressure go up besides salt. One of these is smoking. When you smoke, it increases your chances of having a heart related health problem.

It might surprise you to discover that drinking too much alcohol can also make your blood pressure rise, too. Not getting the right amount sleep can cause a rise in blood pressure and so can sleep problems such as sleep apnea.

If you don’t exercise regularly or if you’re carrying more weight than you should, these can also make your blood pressure abnormal. Both short term and chronic stress can give you an elevated reading and so can crossing your legs while your pressure is being checked.

If you’re relatively healthy, there’s not a problem with an elevated reading every now and then. It’s only when the pressure reads high on a consistent basis that it can mean something more serious is going on.

Since a higher blood pressure has been linked to kidney, adrenal and thyroid malfunction, as well, it’s always best to make sure you get it checked regularly and maybe even get a small machine at home to check at various times.

Why Your Doctor Needs to Check Your Eyes and Ears

Your family physician will routinely exam your eyes when you come in for a visit. The test he’s performing is a simple one to determine if any potential health issues are being revealed through your eyes.

When he looks into your eyes, if he notices that your inner eyelids are more pale than pink that’s a clue that you could have anemia. Blurred vision, a heavy feeling in your eyes, and chronic irritation can be a sign that your glucose level is out of control.

Heaviness and itching can be a sign of chronic dry eye. Your doctor checks for this because chronic dry eye can lead to corneal scarring. The doctor checks your eyes to look for things like signs of STD or ocular herpes, which can be visible as redness and irritation on the eye.

Many people mistakenly assume redness, irritation or itching is simply allergies. Since herpes can cause blindness, it’s important that your doctor checks your eyes. Your doctor checks your ears because sometimes you can get a wax build up and may not realize it.

Some of the signs of that are ringing in the ears, itching and dizziness. The reason that the doctor checks your ears when you go in for treatment for a cough is because that’s also one of the signs of earwax build up.

He also checks for any problems with the ear - such as fluid or changes in your hearing.

Besides checking things such as your blood pressure, eyes and ears, the doctor will check your blood to see what’s going on inside your body.

The CBC and Other Blood Tests

A complete blood count or CBC test can tell you a lot about your overall health. Even when you feel great, you might have some issues going on. Checking your blood is one of the quickest and easiest ways for your doctor to have a peek at what’s going on inside your body.

Most CBC tests are done for preventative reasons. The faster the doctor picks up on anything that’s off, the faster you can get treated for it. This test will check your platelets and your red and white blood cells.

The results can show the condition of your blood cells. The doctor looks for things like inflammation, infections, anemia and sometimes he can check to see if there are certain antibodies present.

When you have this test done, it can show if you’re dealing with something that’s easy to fix such as dehydration or a vitamin deficiency. But it an also show if you’re dealing with something more serious.

This blood test will let him know what your cholesterol range is as well. It’ll show the level of your good cholesterol as well as your bad cholesterol. This can help him see if you need to change the way that you eat to either lower the bad or raise the good cholesterol.

Some people think this is a test for those who are 40 and over, but you should get this test done in your 20s in order to determine your health. Your doctor will also know when he looks at the range of your blood test results how your overall health is doing.

Changes in your blood cells that are outside the normal range would mean you’d have to have more testing. Usually, what the doctor is looking are noticeable cell changes such as the production of too many red blood cells - which can signify a problem with the heart.

Your doctor may also check your A1C. This would be done if you’re having symptoms of diabetes, such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, sores that are slow to heal or numbness in your fingers or lips.

Routine checks of your A1C can often head off diabetes before it develops if it’s caught in the pre-diabetic stage. A blood test your doctor may conduct is a thyroid stimulating test to see how your thyroid is functioning.

Sometimes doctors routinely order a liver panel if you’re taking medication that can impact the health of your liver. If you’re a woman and have reached a certain age, your doctor might do a blood test to see if you’re in menopause.

The reason for this is because menopause can mimic other health conditions. When menopause hits, you may experience weight gain, thinning hair, skin dryness and moodiness. Those symptoms are also related to thyroid problems, so to rule out one or the other, your doctor may routinely test for this.

Important Medical Tests for Women

Starting at a certain age, your doctor should routinely examine you for certain health issues that need to be checked. For women, this means having a pap smear done. While some women use an OB/GYN, your family doctor can also perform this test if you feel comfortable.

This test is one that checks to make sure that you don’t have any issues with your cervix and other issues involving your reproductive health. This test should be performed when you become sexually active.

Guidelines recommend that women have this test done every 3 years until they reach the age of 65. During the pap smear exam, the doctor will check to make sure that there are no signs of an STD since some people are asymptomatic.

When you have a pap smear done, your doctor can also check your breast health. In addition to self exam, getting doctor screened breast exams may help them spot any changes quicker.

While the recommended screening for getting a mammogram done starts at the age of 50, if you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may order one sooner. A common test for women that your doctor may do is an abdominal check.

This involves the doctor gently pushing down on your abdomen. He’s checking for anything out of the ordinary. This might be something like a hard abdomen versus a soft one or lumps that could be ovarian cysts. You may also get a routine urinalysis. This test can check for urinary tract infections as well as the performance of your kidneys.

Important Medical Tests for Men

Getting these routine tests done can help your doctor understand your current health as well as determine the possible implications to your health if a problem is uncovered. Your doctor will want to perform certain tests that can pinpoint possible health conditions that are more common among men.

He’ll want to check your heart health because men are twice as likely as women are to develop health problems with the heart. And they’re twice as likely to die of a heart attack than women are.

The doctor may want you to have a blood pressure check sitting, standing and lying down. He may also test your blood pressure readings more often if you have borderline readings.

Blood tests to check your cholesterol level as well as one to test for diabetes may also be ordered. More often than not, these are simply screening tests. Your doctor is trying to be proactive in order to get ahead of any potential problems.

If you’re overweight and a smoker, your doctor may also perform an EKG. This test will determine the performance of your heart. It can show what your heart rhythm is as well as point out anything that’s abnormal with your heart.

If there is a problem, your doctor may order a prolonged EKG which is known as a Holter Monitor. For any test results that show you’re at risk for heart health problems, your doctor might prescribe a change in habits for you.

He may suggest that you give up smoking and change the way you eat if your diet isn’t one that’s heart healthy. Another common test for men that your doctor may run is a DRE - also known as a digital rectal exam.

This is a routine test that checks men for prostate cancer. He may also perform a test for testicle lumps or ask you if you’ve noticed any during self exams. Because it’s a fact that men are more likely than women to have health issues with their lungs, your doctor will listen to your breathing through the stethoscope.

If he hears anything out of the ordinary, he may send you for a lung x-ray - especially if you smoke. A urinalysis done for men is performed to check for the bacteria that can cause urethritis. Though it’s less common in men than among women, a man can still get UTIs. Screening through urinalysis can help the doctor work to prevent future health problems.

BMI Test

Your doctor may perform a BMI test. This is a screening that checks body mass index. By determining what your BMI is, your doctor can tell how healthy you currently are and what your odds of developing future health problems will be.

If your test is higher than 24.9, you’re considered overweight. If your BMI results show that you’re at 30 or over, you’re considered obese. The higher your BMI, the higher your disease risk is.

When you have a high BMI result, it can affect your entire body, which is one reason many doctors calculate a patient’s range. It can cause problems with your blood pressure.

A high BMI can mean that your heart health is at risk. Many people who have a BMI that’s out of the normal range also have high cholesterol, which can lead to the narrowing of blockages in the arteries.

It also means that you’re at a higher risk for developing diabetes. When you have an unhealthy BMI, it can also cause issues such as back and joint pain. It may also mean that you’re getting less than the best sleep.

Being overweight often causes insomnia - plus it can impact your immune system. When you carry more weight than you should, it can make your endocrine system work harder than it should. You may also experience problems with things like rashes and skin inflammations due to moisture build up in areas where there is excess skin.

Testing Your Skin

One of the tests that a doctor may run to determine your state of health is to check your skin. There’s a good reason for this. Your skin is often the first outward sign that there may be health issues going on.

Most people think that skin cancer is a condition that only occurs when you’re older. But thanks to unprotected time spent in the sun as well as use of tanning beds, skin cancer has become more common in people as early as in their twenties.

More men than women will have an occurrence of skin cancer. They’re also less likely than women to seek early intervention when a spot occurs on the skin or a mole changes color or consistency.

Your family doctor can often be the first person to notice unusual changes on your skin that may be cancerous. Another thing the health of your skin might point to is diabetes. People who have diabetes can often have changes in their skin’s texture.

There can be rashes around the ankles or a rash than rings around the neck. Excessive skin tags can also be a sign of diabetes - so can itchy skin, frequent skin infections and numerous raised, red bumps.

Your doctor will check your skin for signs of darkening. This can be a sign that there’s a problem with your adrenal function. Another reason the doctor performs skin examinations is because swollen blood vessels with a noticeable center can be an indication of liver problems.

It’s always good to have your doctor run the various tests that not only confirm whether or not there’s a problem going on, but also gives them a base line to gauge future test results against to see how your body is changing over time.

The Simplest Way to Drastically Improve Your Life: More Sleep

Sleep deprivation is the invisible ceiling to how good life can be

Imagine this: Someone walks up to you and pitches you on a brand-new, magical pill.

This pill can measurably improve your memory, overall cognitive performance, ability to learn new information, receptivity to facial cues, mood, ability to handle problems, metabolism, risk for heart disease and immune system.

Would you buy it?

Yeah, yeah, you saw this coming: That pill exists, but not in pill form. You can have all of those benefits cost-free, and all it takes is going to bed a little bit earlier. That’s it.

Yeah, yeah, you saw this coming: That pill exists, but not in pill form. You can have all of those benefits cost-free, and all it takes is going to bed a little bit earlier. That’s it.

And yet! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called sleep deprivation a public health crisis, saying that one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep. Some 80 percent of people report sleep problems at least once per week, and according to a 2016 study, sleep deprivation “causes more than $400 billion in economic losses annually in the United States and results in 1.23 million lost days of work each year.”

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