What Everyone Ought to Know about Diabetes and Sleep

You probably know that watching what you eat is important for managing your diabetes, but you may not realize that how you sleep can have a big impact too. In fact, the relationship between diabetes and sleep runs two ways.

Sleep issues can increase your risk for diabetes, and diabetes can interfere with your sleep.

If you’re living with diabetes, ask yourself whether you’re tossing and turning at night. Learning more about the connection between diabetes and sleep can help you to protect your health.

Diabetes Management Tips for Protecting Your Sleep:

There are several common symptoms of diabetes that are likely to keep you up at night.

Try these strategies for keeping them under control:

1. Eat a balanced diet. When you’re tired, you may be tempted to seek energy from junk food and excess calories, but that backfires by spiking your blood sugar levels, which means you’ll be making frequent trips to the bathroom at night to urinate. Break the cycle by consuming adequate portions of wholesome foods earlier in the day.

2. Stay hydrated. Diabetes can also make you thirsty. Keep a water bottle by your bed in case you need a sip.

3. Treat apnea. Apnea causes pauses in breathing while you sleep, and it’s often associated with diabetes. Masks and other devices are available that can open your airways and provide relief.

4. Attend to RLS. Restless Leg Syndrome is another condition that may accompany diabetes. Massage, exercise, and medication may help if you’re bothered by the urge to move your legs at night.

5. Lose weight. Slimming down can help you to prevent diabetes or reduce the symptoms. It also lowers your risk for apnea.

6. Talk with your doctor. If you’re still up at night, your doctor may suggest a sleep study. Being monitored while you sleep is an effective way to target your individual needs.

Sleeping Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Diabetes:

1. Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal changes similar to diabetes. When you’re short on rest, your body may have trouble using insulin efficiently, so your blood sugar rises. In addition, lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, which is also a risk factor for diabetes.

2. Keep a consistent schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. That includes weekends and holidays.

3. Deal with stress. Knowing how to relax makes it easier to drop off to sleep faster. Develop a daily meditation practice or find a hobby that helps you release tension.

4. Darken your bedroom. Bright lights stimulate your brain. Stay away from television and computer screens for at least a couple of hours before bedtime. Consider installing blackout curtains in your bedroom.

5. Block out noise. If noisy neighbors and car alarms are disrupting your dreams, screen out the background sounds. Use a white noise machine or turn on a fan.

6. Change your bedding. It may be time to replace your mattress if it’s causing discomfort. Strategically placed pillows can help too. For example, support your hips with a small cushion between your knees if you lie on your side.

7. Exercise regularly. Many studies show that adults who exercise report having better sleep. Aim to work out for at least 30 minutes on at least 3 days a week. Find a variety of activities you enjoy and will want to stick with.

More than 30 million Americans are currently living with diabetes, and that number is expected to double or triple by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleeping well can help you to reduce your risk or manage the symptoms of diabetes so you can lead a longer and more active life.

Walking for Weight Loss Made Easy

Walking offers many health benefits, including easy opportunities for weight loss. In fact, walking is one of the few activities where you can double your impact because you can use it as formal exercise, as well as incorporating more steps into your daily routine.

Although you’ve probably been walking since you were a child, there may also be some new techniques you can pick up that will help you burn even more calories. Take a look at these ideas for walking your way to a slimmer you.

Walking Workouts for Weight Loss:

1. Speed it up. Depending on your weight, you can burn about 65 to 100 calories for each mile you walk. If you move faster, you’ll burn more calories covering the same distance.

2. Vary the pace. Studies also show that interval training is an effective way to burn more calories. Alternate between periods of walking briskly and strolling at a more moderate pace.

3. Check your posture. To move efficiently and avoid injuries, ensure you’re using proper form. It’s usually safer to take more steps rather than trying to lengthen your stride. Check that your heels hit the ground first, and use your toes to push you forward. Engage your core muscles to take pressure off your back.

4. Use your arms. Swinging your arms will also increase the intensity. If you want to add props, try walking poles or hand weights.

5. Go backwards. For an extra challenge try walking backwards in a safe area. Climbing up hills is another constructive option.

6. Hit the beach. Just changing surface can power up your workout. Traveling across sand or snow requires more energy than walking on smooth pavement.

7. Listen to music. Playing your favorite tunes can make any workout seem like less effort. Put together a lively soundtrack that will motivate you to keep going.

8. Dress comfortably. You can buy shoes designed specifically for walking or just choose any pair with low heels and firm support. Dressing in protective layers will also help you deal with cold or wet weather.

9. Find a buddy. Walking with others can be fun. Invite family and friends along or join a local hiking group. If you have a dog, you have a companion who would love to join you at the park.

10. Talk with your doctor. Even though walking is a generally safe and low-impact activity, you may want to check with your doctor if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Your physician can help you set goals that are realistic for you.

Incidental Walking for Weight Loss:

1. Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and escalators. Climbing up stairs burns almost 2 calories for each 10 steps.

2. Park further away. Walk or bike to work if possible. If the distance is too far or there’s no safe route, you can still choose a parking space that will enable you to squeeze in a brief hike before arriving at the office.

3. Schedule work breaks. Pause every half hour to stretch and move around. You could also make it a habit to use the restrooms and copy machines on the next floor instead of the ones by your desk.

4. Stand and dial. Think about how many minutes you spend talking on the phone each day. You can easily spend a lot more time on your feet if you pace around while you’re checking on your children or reaching out to clients.

Walking is so simple, but does so much for your health and fitness. In addition to burning more calories, you strengthen your muscles and condition your heart with each extra step you take. Make walking a regular part of your workout program and daily routines.

Top 10 Benefits of a Daily Walk

Are you feeling down, constipated, or overweight? Is your blood pressure or blood sugar a little high? Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? The solution might be as simple as walking for 30 minutes each day.

A walk might seem like child’s play compared to running a marathon or competing in crossfit, but a walk can be a very healthy alternative if you lack the time or interest in exercising intensely.

Humans were built for walking, and some health experts believe that the chair was the worst invention ever created. You can do a lot to enhance your health by standing up and taking a walk.

Enjoy the many benefits of a daily walk:

1. You’ll feel better. If you’re currently not getting enough exercise, a walk is a simple way to fill that void. Getting out of the house and breathing a little fresh air is bound to enhance your mood and outlook on life.

2. Walking is good for your bones. Hip fractures are reduced in postmenopausal women that walk for at least 30 minutes each day.

3. You can expect to sleep better if you walk regularly. Those that walk report a lower incidence of insomnia. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, the solution might be as simple as a daily walk.

4. Your risk of chronic disease is lower if you walk each day. Studies have found that your risk of developing diabetes or suffering a stroke are reduced significantly. Thirty minutes of walking is all you need each day to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%. A stroll can also lower your blood pressure.

5. Walking increases the motility of your bowels. If you suffer from constipation, a walk can work wonders for your issue.

6. You are developing a good habit. Walking can be a positive addition to your routine. The most successful people have routines. You’re more likely to experience success if you can maintain positive routines in your life.

7. You’re likely to lose weight. If you increase your physical activity without increasing your caloric intake, you can expect to drop a few pounds. Even if you don’t lose weight, you may experience a shift in your weight that allows your tight clothing to fit much more comfortably.

8. Walking is good for your brain. Older seniors that walk daily have 50% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

9. Your creativity will increase. More than one study has demonstrated that going for a walk boosts creativity. Those that walk are more creative than those that sit. Having a challenge at work or at home? You’re more likely to find the solution during a nice, long walk.

10. You’ll live longer. Those that spend more time on their feet have been shown to live longer than those that spend too much time sitting each day. Get up on your feet and go for a walk if you want to extend your life. It has been suggested that a daily walk adds 3-7 years of life.

Walking is free, low-impact, and simple to do. There’s no new skill to learn and no equipment to purchase. Unlike many other forms of exercise, walking can be done by those with weight issues and those with no athletic ability whatsoever. Just put on your shoes and get out the door.

Consider the many health benefits that walking provides. Going for a walk can do a lot more for your health and outlook on life than a gym membership that is rarely used. It’s much less expensive, too.

The Harsh Truth about Winter Weight Gain

There are many reasons why you tend to gain weight in the winter, but there’s only one result. You wind up greeting the spring heavier than you were the year before.

In fact, the average adult gains 5 to 7 pounds between December and February, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. When you think about how that adds up from year to year, you can see why you may be in for a shock when you start shedding your bulky coats and sweaters in March.

Make this the year you break the cycle. Consider these tips for upgrading your diet and staying active so you’ll be leaner year-round.

Eating Tips to Fight Winter Weight Gain:

1. Reduce portions. Comfort foods and holiday treats can be hard to resist. Instead of depriving yourself completely, cut down on serving sizes so you can have a taste of your favorite dishes.

2. Load up on produce. Depending on where you live, some fresh fruits and vegetables may be in short supply at your local grocery. Look for winter produce like cabbage, beets, and Brussels sprouts. Try shopping the frozen food aisle for items that freeze well, like spinach and peas.

3. Party wisely. Holidays are prime time for socializing. Focus on conversation and dancing rather than eating and drinking. Take the edge of your hunger with a healthy snack beforehand to avoid going overboard on hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffets.

4. Limit alcohol. Cocktails have undermined many diets. In addition to the empty calories they contain, they tend to weaken your willpower. Restrict yourself to one or two light drinks such as wine or Bloody Mary’s.

5. Bring snacks. Be prepared for shopping expeditions and office food platters by storing wholesome treats in your car and desk drawers. Good choices include nuts, baby carrots, and low-sugar protein bars.

6. Lighten up on coffee. Specialty coffee drinks may contain more sugar and calories than a big meal. Save them for an occasional splurge, and order the smallest size.

7. Eat mindfully. Holidays can be hectic. Pay attention to the quality of your food and how many calories you’re consuming. Otherwise, you may consume large quantities of junk food without thinking, especially while watching TV.

8. Recover quickly. If you do go off your diet, bounce back as soon as possible. Eat a bit less for the next day or two.

Exercise Tips to Fight Winter Weight Gain:

1. Make a commitment. It’s natural to want to stay indoors when it’s cold and wet outside. Advance planning and determination will help you to go running in the morning or visit the gym after work.

2. Bundle up. Layers of warm and insulated clothing can keep you more comfortable outdoors. Remember to keep your face, hands, and feet protected too.

3. Share the fun. Take your mind off the low temperatures by having fun with family and friends. Go ice skating or cross country skiing. Find a workout buddy so you can motivate each other and feel more accountable to show up as planned.

4. Create a home gym. There may be some days when the weather is so extreme that it makes more sense to stay indoors. You can still stick to your workout schedule if you have some equipment at home. Invest in a treadmill or jump rope. Pick up a variety of exercise DVDs or browse online for interesting titles.

Eating less and exercising more can help you to stop winter weight gain in its tracks. When you manage your weight, you lower your risk for many serious health conditions, and give yourself more energy to enjoy the activities you love.

Essential Health Tips for Desk Workers

Working at a desk may look safe, but it can take a toll on your physical and mental health. While the occupational hazards in an office are different from those at a construction site or hospital, it’s still wise to take some precautions.

A growing number of studies have raised concerns about the effects of sitting for long periods, which can include increased risk of heart conditions, diabetes, certain cancers, and weight gain. That’s especially troubling considering that the average American spends more than 10 hours a day sitting.

Add job-related stress to the mixture, and you can see how the consequences can start to add up.

Learn what steps you can take to counteract the downside of your desk job. Start with these ideas for protecting your health and wellbeing.

Tips for Protecting Your Physical Health:

1. Adjust your posture. Slouching can cut off your circulation and make your lower back ache. Try drawing your shoulder blades down and back to open up your chest. A lumbar support pillow may help too.

2. Take frequent breaks. Studies show that moving around about every half hour reduces the negative effects of sitting. In fact, it may be even more effective than regular exercise. Make it a habit to stretch or walk around your office for a few minutes.

3. Align your wrists. Typing with bent wrist could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Rest them occasionally and ensure your workstation is set up ergonomically.

4. Rest your eyes. If your eyes are dry, and your vision is blurred, you may be staring at the computer screen too long. Look away occasionally and do eye exercises like blinking or staring at something in the distance.

5. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps to maintain your body temperature, metabolism, and heart health. Aim for 8 glasses a day.

6. Bring snacks. It’s easier to resist the vending machines when you have a supply of wholesome foods. Good choices include nuts, baby carrots, and hummus.

7. Pack your lunch. Save money and calories by bringing your lunch to work. You can prepare it the night ahead if you tend to run out of time in the morning.

Tips for Protecting Your Mental Health:

1. Make friends. Work buddies increase job satisfaction. Get to know your coworkers and look for common interests. Share stories about your personal life and encourage them to do the same.

2. Connect in person. Face-to-face contact also contributes to stronger relationships. Try dropping by someone’s office instead of sending an email.

3. Wake up early. Do you barely see the sun because you’re inside all day? Rising an hour earlier could enhance your mood and give you more time to work out and eat a hearty breakfast.

4. Use your vacation days. Letting your vacation days go to waste undermines your health and productivity, so time off is beneficial for you and your employer. Even just planning a vacation can lift your spirits, so make a list of your favorite destinations and start researching them.

5. Decorate your space. A cluttered desk can be a source of stress. Find an organizing system that works for you, and put files you rarely use out of sight. While you’re at it, add in a few personal touches and a pretty plant.

6. Focus on helping others. Any job is more meaningful and gratifying if you keep the purpose in mind. When you’re having a rough day, think about the people who benefit from your efforts.

You can stay healthy without giving up your pay check. Adopt some simple habits that will protect your wellbeing, even if you spend many hours a day behind a desk.

A Startling Fact About Diverticulitis

Living with diverticulitis is challenging enough without believing misinformation that could put more obstacles in your way. It turns out that medical experts are now questioning some long-held assumptions about this condition.

As you may know, diverticula are pouches that develop in the large intestine, and they become more common with age. While these growths are often harmless, they can sometimes become inflamed and infected, causing a condition known as diverticulitis. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea.

One of the most surprising revelations comes from a University of Michigan study that found that, while surgery for diverticulitis has increased as much as 30% in recent years, such aggressive treatments are frequently being overused.

Experts now recommend evaluating each case individually, and paying more attention to diet and other lifestyle choices.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diverticulitis, take a look at what you can do to find relief.

New Facts about Diverticulitis:

1. Examine your lifestyle. Antibiotics and surgery may be necessary if you’ve had two or more episodes of diverticulitis in a six-month period or other severe symptoms. Otherwise, modifying your lifestyle and diet may be the most effective course.

2. Know your risks. Diverticulitis may also be less common than previously thought. Recent studies suggest that only about 4% of patients with diverticula will go on to develop diverticulitis, as compared to earlier estimates of 10 to 25%.

3. Go nuts. Doctors used to advise patients to avoid nuts and seeds because they might irritate the intestines. However, research has not supported these warnings, so you may be able to indulge in such healthy treats.

Using Your Diet to Manage Diverticulitis:

1. Eat for recovery. One of the most confusing things about diverticulitis is that after a flare-up, you need to avoid the foods you’re otherwise supposed to eat. Until your intestines heal, your doctor may advise bed rest and a liquid diet, followed by low-fiber fare such as white rice, dairy products, fish, and poultry.

2. Increase fiber. On the other hand, a high-fiber diet is recommended for everyday eating. Good choices include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

3. Limit sugar. Foods high in sugar can also irritate your intestines. You can cut back by avoiding soda and other processed fare, and adding less sweetener to your coffee.

4. Drink water. Staying hydrated will help you to avoid constipation, bloating, and gas while you’re eating all that fiber. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Other Tips:

1. See your doctor. Many adults are unaware that they have diverticula because there usually aren’t any symptoms unless they become infected. Your doctor can diagnose your condition by performing tests such as a CT scan or colonoscopy so you can receive proper treatment.

2. Check your symptoms. At the same time, there are some distinctive signs you can watch out for. Diverticulitis is sometimes accompanied by pain and cramping on the left side of your abdomen that becomes more intense when touched.

3. Consider medication. There are a number of over-the-counter-and prescription drugs that might help with your recovery. In addition to antibiotics, your doctor may prescribe antispasmodics to relieve abdominal distress and cramps. Stool softeners may also be helpful.

4. Manage your weight. Obesity raises your risk of diverticulitis. Lose excess pounds safely with a balanced, low-calorie diet and regular exercise.

While there is no cure for diverticulitis, your chances for making a full recovery are excellent if you receive proper medical attention. Meanwhile, you can stay active and reduce your discomfort by watching your diet and keeping up with the latest recommendations.

11 Ways to Enjoy a Better Night of Sleep

It’s challenging to enjoy your day if you’re not sleeping well at night. A lack of sleep is damaging to both your physical and mental health. You’re a less-capable person when your sleep is off.

While insomnia can be challenging to solve in a few instances, there are often things you can do on your own to enhance the quality of your sleep.

Get a good night’s sleep and be happier and more productive during the day by using these techniques:

1. Avoid daytime naps. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, perhaps your naps are part of the problem. Naps are great if you don’t have time for a full-night’s sleep, but can keep you up at night if overdone.

2. Ensure your room is dark. Way, way back in the day, there were no lights aside from the sun, stars, and moon. Now, there’s all kinds of light pollution from other homes and street lights. A city can light up the entire sky. Make your room as dark as you can.

3. Keep a regular schedule. That means getting up at a certain time, even on the weekends. If you get up at 6 AM each day, but sleep in until 10 AM on the weekends, you’re likely to have sleep quality issues. If you need a little more rest on the weekends, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier.

4. Have a comfortable mattress and pillow. You likely spend more time each week sleeping than you do on any other activity. Now isn’t the time to skimp. Ensure that you have a quality mattress and pillow so you can sleep comfortably.

5. Have an evening ritual. Teach your body that it’s time to sleep. You might end your evening by having a small glass of water and watching the news with the lights turned down. Or you might meditate for a few minutes. Just be consistent and avoid anything that stimulates you.

6. Keep your evening meal light. Or, limit your eating to earlier in the evening. A large meal before bedtime is sure to interfere with your quality of sleep.

7. Avoid lit screens at night. Studies have shown that using backlit e-book readers and cell phones can cause sleep disturbances. Consider using an old fashioned paper book if you want to read.

8. Limit the amount of light in your environment the last hour or two before bed. This will encourage your body to relax and wind down.

9. Get some exercise during the day. While exercise at night can impede sleep, daytime exercise can increase the quality of your sleep. Avoid overtraining, which greatly interferes with sleep.

10. Keep your mind still while lying in bed. The easiest way to keep yourself awake is to think negative, stressful thoughts. You’re in bed, so there’s nothing you can do at the moment to solve any of the challenges in your life. Think happy thoughts, focus on your breathing, or count to yourself.

11. Keep evening drinking to a minimum. That includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Consuming alcohol can interfere with you sleep. Any liquids can create the need to get up in the middle of the night. Consider having a drink of water two hours before bed, or keep the quantity to a minimum.

If you’ve ever had to stay up all night, you know just how important sleep can be. It can be well worth the effort to ensure your sleep each night is tip-top. Avoid the belief that you’re just not a good sleeper and that 5 hours of sleep is all that you require. Take steps to enjoy the best possible night of sleep. You’ll enjoy the difference.

Who Else Wants a Diet That Lowers Your Risk of Cancer?

When you think about preventing cancer, quitting smoking is probably the first thing that comes to mind. In reality, there are many lifestyle choices you can make that affect your risk.

As much as 35% to 50% of cancer cases are related to your diet, according to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. That’s because some foods and drinks tend to inhibit the growth of cancer cells while others may accelerate the process.

Follow these tips to use your diet to cut your risk.

Fighting Cancer with How You Eat:

1. Increase fiber. A diet rich in fiber helps to prevent cancer, possibly by diluting carcinogens. Good choices include any plant products, especially when they’re unrefined and unpeeled. In fact, becoming a vegetarian could cut your risk of cancer in half.

2. Monitor fats. On the other hand, fats seem to to promote the growth of cancer cells, and animal fats are of special concern. While it’s essential to have some healthy fats in your diet, you may want to talk with your doctor about what’s the best level for you.

3. Focus on fruits and vegetables. In addition to providing fiber, most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in antioxidants and many other cancer-fighting substances. Aim for at least 7 servings a day.

4. Avoid processed meat. Many studies support a strong connection between cancer and processed meats like hot dogs and bacon. The same is true for red meat. Some cooking methods, including grilling and barbecuing, can also concentrate carcinogens.

5. Try soy products. Just like other plant foods, soybeans contain anticarcinogens, and they’re packed with protein. Add some tofu and miso to your weekly menu.

Fighting Cancer with How You Drink:

1. Filter your water. Home and office water filters can reduce your exposure to contaminants and help you stay hydrated. Plus, any liquids that increase urination help reduce the risk of bladder cancer.

2. Brew coffee and tea. Different studies have produced mixed results, but there is some evidence that coffee and tea drinkers have lower rates of cancer. Consider it a fortunate side benefit if you enjoy caffeinated beverages.

3. Limit alcohol. Excessive alcohol raises the risk of many cancers, especially when combined with smoking. As a general rule, moderate drinking is defined as up to 2 drinks a day for men, and one for women.

4. Replace soda. Here’s one more good reason to give up soda. The caramel dye in some colas and other darker beverages is considered a known carcinogen by many experts and the State of California.

Additional Ideas:

1. Lose excess weight. Obesity increases the risk of cancer, especially if you tend to accumulate those extra pounds around your waist. While spot reducing is a myth, you can manage your weight with diet and exercise.

2. Stay active. Regular exercise burns fat and calories. Even just 2 hours a week of brisk walking can cut the risk of breast cancer by almost 20%.

3. See your doctor. Following cancer screening guidelines for your age group can help you detect cancer in the early stages when treatment is most effective. Talk with your doctor about what procedures are appropriate for you.

When it comes to cancer, there are some factors beyond your control, such as family history and environmental exposure. However, experts believe that as much as 70% to 80% of cases can be avoided through simple actions, including abstaining from smoking, drinking responsibly, managing your weight, and exercising regularly.

Maximize your odds of staying cancer-free by eating smart and living healthy.

Top Snack Tips from Fitness Gurus

What do fitness gurus eat, and what do they recommend for others?

Fitness gurus have mastered snacking before and after exercise. Just like everyone else, they face cravings throughout the day.

Try their tips the next time you have a long day at the gym or at work:

1. Eggs. Hardboiled eggs are one of the best snacking options. They’re inexpensive and easy to make ahead of time. They’re also filling, so they can satisfy cravings and give you energy.

* Many fitness gurus rely on eggs to get through a busy day.

* Try slicing hard boiled eggs and adding sliced tomatoes or avocados on top. Sprinkling them with a little salt improves the flavor.

2. Precut vegetables. No one wants to gnaw on an entire celery stick or large bell pepper. Try chopped carrots, bell peppers, and celery. Also, consider having small pieces of broccoli or cauliflower. Wash and cut vegetables for a healthier snacking option.

* You can keep the precut vegetables in ziploc bags or small plastic containers. You can also purchase precut veggies in the store, but you save money when make your own.

3. Granola. Instead of buying granola in stores, many fitness gurus make their own version. They prefer the homemade granola because they can control all the ingredients and balance the nutrients.

* A healthy granola mix includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

* Try making your own granola with peanuts, almonds, cashews, raisins, oats, and dried cranberries.

* Another popular granola mix includes sunflower seeds, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, and raisins.

* Experiment with different nuts and seeds to create your favorite.

4. Peanut butter. Peanut butter provides protein and healthy fats that are filling. From adding peanut butter to smoothies to eating it directly from the jar, many fitness gurus include it in their snacks.

* Consider making a bread-free peanut butter sandwich that many fitness gurus adore. Simply slice a banana into long, thin strips and add peanut butter in between.

5. Almonds. Almonds also provide protein and healthy fats. A handful of almonds can stop cravings and provide an energy boost. Many fitness gurus rely on almonds for a quick burst of energy during the day.

* You can buy small bags of almonds, or use ziploc bags to make smaller portions from a bulk bag. Stuff them into a bag or purse that you use during the day and snack on them whenever you get hungry or feel your energy waning.

6. Emergency protein bars. There are many brands of protein bars on the market, and fitness gurus rely on them, although they’re not in agreement about which ones are the best. You’ll have to experiment and find one that you prefer. Focus on finding protein bars that are low in sugar and preservatives.

* Pay attention to the ingredient lists on the back of the package. Try to avoid the ones that have ingredients you can’t pronounce or spell. Simple ingredients are healthier. The healthiest bars will also have a short list.

* Try different flavors to find a favorite. Most energy bars are available in chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, and fruit flavors. They all have different tastes and textures.

* You can also try baking your own energy or protein bars with healthy ingredients.

Fitness gurus know that the fuel you use for the body matters. They understand that snacking is a vital part of a successful diet and exercise regimen. Try their favorite snacking tips before planning your next gym session or long workday.

The Truth About Carb Cycling for Weight Loss

Have you heard about carb cycling to lose weight? Carb cycling is the latest fad for weight loss. It’s a popular diet among body builders and some fitness experts. However, this diet is not a perfect fit for everyone.

Before you jump on this trend, consider the details:

1. What is carb cycling? Carb cycling forces you to alternate between low and high carbohydrate days during each week. Although there are several variations, some of the most popular ones are to eat low carbs five days a week and high carbs two days a week.

* During carb cycling, you may have one day as a reward. Many people choose Sunday as their reward day and eat whatever they want.

* The key is space out your high carb days, so they don’t occur two days in a row. For example, you can have a low carb day on Monday and a high carb day on Tuesday. Wednesday would be a low carb day, and so on.

2. Eat complex carbohydrates. Carb cycling is not about eating junk food to get more carbohydrates. This diet requires eating complex and healthy carbohydrates.

* You can eat brown rice, quinoa, and oats to get more carbs. Avoid foods like white bread and donuts.

* Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, so you have fewer blood sugar spikes. In addition, you have more energy throughout the day. They’re a healthier alternative to simple carbohydrates.

3. During low carb days, it’s important to eat enough protein. Health experts recommend eating lean meats such as chicken and turkey.

* You can also get protein from other sources such as fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and seeds. Variety is important because diets can get boring, so try different proteins.

4. You get reward days. Also called cheat days, reward days can be built into the carb cycling diet. Many people choose to have at least one reward day a week, often on the weekend when they can go out to eat.

* However, you have to be careful with reward days. Moderation is still important on cheat days.

5. Does carb cycling work? Some people report positive results with carb cycling, and others struggle with this diet. Your results will vary based on multiple factors.

* Since this diet restricts carbs, you may lose weight. However, it may not help you lose body fat. It’s also important to realize that your starting weight will have a big impact on how much you’re able to lose.

* Your body may respond to this diet in a unique way, so it’s not possible to predict results.

* Exercise is still important for losing fat and building muscle.

* Carb cycling is unlike other diets because it doesn’t have a true end date. Many people continue this diet for weeks and months. Others give up because they’re not satisfied with the results or find it hard to keep track of everything they eat.

Carb cycling is a popular diet. However, before starting a new diet or changing how you eat, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Discuss all of your health issues, medications, and supplements to see if the diet won’t interfere with them.

Will carb cycling work for you? Maybe. Maybe not. Talk with your doctor and give it a try if you’re intrigued by this process. You might like it.