Friday, March 28, 2008
Can't get a good night’s sleep? One of these misconceptions may be undermining your efforts.If you can't fall asleep, you need to try harder.
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, you can't force yourself to sleep by spending more time in bed. If you can't fall asleep, you should get out of bed, move to another room, and wait until you’re truly tired to return. And don't even think about counting sheep.Alcohol promotes good sleep.
Fact: Although a few drinks may make you feel drowsy, alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns, causing you to wake up after only three or four hours. It can also make chronic insomnia worse and increase symptoms of sleep deprivation. What's more, alcohol dependence has been linked to insomnia that can persist for months into abstinence and recovery.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
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Monday, March 24, 2008
Love gives meaning to our lives – as do friendship, or art or faith in God. These are factors of true happiness, of inner peace, of feelings of harmony, allowing meaning to our existence.But there is the other side. There is the cruelty of life, the pain, the evil, not to talk of death. They are the hidden tigers, ambushed and ready to attack the imprudent, to use an image present in the Buddhist Scriptures. Is between these pendulums - the positive, the one that gives happiness and meaning, and the negative - that our lives are lived. And when we meditate about all that, we arrive at a diverse and disagreeing set of thoughts about the meaning and purpose of life.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
For many people, losing weight is a source of great pride and accomplishment. After all, dieting can be a grueling endeavor, and the pounds you've shed represent a lot of hard work. Once you've lost the weight, you have both a slimmer body and improved health to show for your efforts.But if weight loss is so satisfying, why is "diet" still considered a four-letter word? Sadly, most dieters' success is fleeting.According to researchers who analyzed 31 long-term diet studies, only a very small percentage of study participants managed to sustain their weight loss, while the vast majority put the weight back on. In some cases, the subjects eventually gained even more weight than they'd initially lost.
The Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting
If any of this sounds familiar, chances are, you're a yo-yo-dieter-and the constant ups and downs are may be undermining your weight-loss efforts and your health. In addition to the discouragement that may accompany rapid weight cycling, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), yo-yo dieting has been linked to long-lasting negative impacts on metabolism.
What's more, a study by the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas showed that men who are yo-yo dieters are more likely to suffer heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetes than non-dieters. Further, yo-yo dieters may experience physical problems such as a decrease of muscular strength and endurance, thinning hair, loss of coordination, fainting, weakness, and slowed heart rates, the NEDA reports.
Stopping the Cycle
Creating a food plan is a great idea-it can help you lead a healthier life and reach your goal weight. But take a closer look. Does yours restrict certain foods completely or promote eating from only certain food groups? Did you find it in a magazine at the grocery-store checkout? Is it really more like a diet than a healthy food plan? If so, it could put you at risk for yo-yo dieting.
Instead, talk with your doctor or nutritionist about finding a meal plan that will meet your long-term dietary needs. In addition, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that you make sure your plan meets the following criteria:
• It enables you to burn at least as many calories as you take in.
• It encourages you to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
• It emphasizes vegetables and fruits, as well as whole-grain, high-fiber foods.
• It includes fish, lean meats, and poultry without skin, cooked without added saturated or trans fats.
• It helps you cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
• It cuts back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable.
In addition to eating a healthy meal plan, you should be sure to combine it with at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Summer is just around the corner, and that means beaches, bikinis, and (almost) bare bodies. If the thought of being seen in a bathing suit seems as frightening as a scene from Jaws, you might be tempted by diets that promise quick and easy weight loss. But will they really work? Here's a look at seven diets that don't live up to their promises
These weight-loss plans promise that you’ll shed pounds by flushing out your system, preventing your body from absorbing fat, or tricking your metabolism. Can you believe their claims?
Detox Diet. A detox diet (also known as the lemonade diet, master cleanser, or maple syrup diet) promises to cleanse your body of toxins and flush out fat. Experts say the diet may cause you to lose weight because of the severe calorie restrictions, but you’re likely to regain it very quickly. It can also cause serious side effects, such as irritability, fatigue, and digestive problems.
Diet Pills. Most diet pills promise extreme weight loss, either by suppressing your appetite or preventing the absorption of fat. Despite the dramatic claims, diet pills are generally ineffective and can have dangerous side effects, most commonly causing digestive problems.
Calorie Shifting. This plan claims that if you restrict calories on some days and eat more on other days, you’ll “trick” your metabolism, losing weight without worries of regaining it later. Calorie shifting may require dieters to eat a dangerously low amount of calories, leading to dizziness and lightheadedness.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I just want to share the story about ur National Flag. How they make it and stuff.I believe sometimes we have forgotten about the things in the Philippines.
The national flag of the Philippines is a horizontal bicolor with equal bands of blue and red, and with a white equilateral triangle based at the hoist side; in the center of the triangle is a golden yellow sun with eight primary rays, each containing three individual rays; and at each corner of the triangle is a five-pointed golden yellow star. The flag is displayed with the blue field on top in times of peace, and with the red field on top in times of war.
The flag was first conceptualized by Emilio Aguinaldo. The first flag was sewn in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza, and Doña Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, niece of José Rizal, the Philippines' national hero.
So you spent your youth smoking, eating doughnuts, or keeping the couch warm. Don't despair.
There are four simple steps middle-aged people can take to lower the risk of death in the ensuing four years by 40 percent -- even if they haven't been a health superstar to date. Live the Good Life
Make these modest changes to start undoing all the unhealthy things you did before:
* Eat more than five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Search for fruit- and veggie-friendly recipes.
* Walk at least 2.5 hours a week. Find a walking buddy on our message boards.
* Shave your BMI to under 30; 24.9 is ideal
* Quit smoking. All Four Is Best
Try to take all four changes to heart -- it's your best shot at lowering your risk of heart disease.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Let's face it -- allergy symptoms are no fun. It can be hard to enjoy life or feel good about yourself when your nose is running, your eyes are itching, and you can't stop sneezing. And you may feel depressed by the thought of giving up things you enjoy -- like hanging out with your pets or spending time in the garden -- just so your allergies don't flare. So maybe it's time to take stock and figure out how bad your allergies really are. You need the big picture in order to know what else you could be doing to keep your allergies under control and get back to doing the things you love to do.
What Kind of Allergies Are They?
To know if you're treating yourself correctly, you need to know what kind of allergies you have. Which statement best describes your symptoms?
A. My allergy symptoms come and go, depending on the time of year.
B. My allergy symptoms are present year-round.
If you answered A, you probably have seasonal allergic rhinitis. This is an allergy that occurs during a specific season or seasons, when the allergen you are sensitive to is most present in the air. You may only need treatment when your specific allergen is in your immediate environment.
If you answered B, you may have perennial allergic rhinitis. This means that your nasal allergy symptoms occur year-round and probably are the result of allergens that are always present, either in your home or outdoors.
How Bad Are They?
Next, you need to be realistic about your current situation. How much do your allergies affect your life? Ask yourself the following questions:
• Do my allergies make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep?
• Do I feel tired during the day because of my allergies?
• Do I sometimes avoid social situations or planned activities because of my allergies?
• Do I feel unwell or unhealthy, in general, because of my allergies?
• Are my allergy symptoms upsetting to me or making me feel unhappy?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider seeing your doctor to review your current allergy management program.
Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a recovering couch potato, nothing can kill your motivation faster than monotony. What’s more, if you do the same old workout for months on end, your body will eventually adapt to it and leave you stuck at a fitness plateau. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to spice up your routine so you can keep boredom at bay and enhance your results.
Try these steps to start recharging your workout today:
Gift Yourself a Gift: Instead of viewing exercise as an obligation, consider it an investment in—and a gift to—yourself. Along those lines, focus on the fact that your fitness regimen will give you more energy for friends and family in the long run.
Go Back to the Future: For an instant motivation boost, think back and remember your best workouts. Recall the aspects of exercising, such as the challenge and the sense of satisfaction, that you enjoyed most.
Ease Back Into Exercise: If you’ve taken a break from fitness, returning at the same pace could undermine your efforts and put you at risk for injuries. Instead, try to start slowly, with less intensity, and increase the pace as your body adapts.
Buddy Up: Friends who exercise at the same pace can keep each other motivated. So ask your friends to partner up with you—who knows, maybe your buddy’s routine has grown stale, too.
Achieve a Balance: One of the biggest fitness mistakes is either expecting an immediate payoff or looking too far ahead. While it’s beneficial to have long-term goals, try to focus on smaller mini-goals and be patient when it comes to seeing results.
Reward Yourself: Once you reach your first set of mini-goals, be sure to reward yourself. Is it a new set of workout clothes? A luxurious massage? A body-hugging dress? Whatever it is, be sure it makes you happy.
Split It Up: If your entire workout routine seems daunting, divide your exercises into smaller, more manageable chunks. That way, it’s more likely that you’ll complete your activities.
Enjoy the Little Things: Instead of concentrating on your exercise objectives, focus on the little things that make fitness worthwhile. Maybe it’s the way you feel after you’ve finished a workout, the extra three minutes you stayed on the treadmill, or the fact that your favorite suit fits better.
Reap the Benefits: If you find yourself losing motivation, stop and think about how your workout will yield specific health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure and reducing your disease risk.
Leave It to the Pros: If you’re having trouble getting back on track, it may be helpful to book a few sessions with a professional trainer. He or she can help you diversify your routine and take it to the next level.
Shop Around: When it comes to shopping for a gym, be a savvy consumer. Consider price, quality, and convenience, and be sure to visit a few facilities before you sign on the dotted line.
Mix It Up: Changing up your routine is a great way to get out of a funk. Try a new class, like spinning or Pilates, or switch from the treadmill to the elliptical machine. In addition, consider a change of atmosphere—instead of doing laps at the gym, grab your hiking boots and hit the trails.
Monday, March 10, 2008
When it comes to decision-making, relationships, and even health, intuition may be one of the greatest tools we have.
Do you trust your gut instead of rationalizing your way through problems? Are you likely to stick with your first instincts about people rather than waiting to make character judgments? Do you ever question the beliefs of others because you had a hunch that you were right?If you answered yes to two or more of the above, chances are, you're an intuitive person. And according to experts, understanding how you use intuition can improve your decision-making skills, enhance your interpersonal relationships, and even boost your health.
What Is Intuition?
Intuition has been linked to a greater psychological awareness and compared to a sixth sense; often, it's something most people feel but frequently ignore. Intuition is that first inkling of doubt, apprehension, or excitement that you can push away or replace with reason. And in some cases, it may provide insight that’s more helpful than the knowledge attained through rational thought.
Anthropologists believe that intuition may have developed as a survival mechanism that enabled humans to survive during prehistoric times; for example, a strong intuition would allow a person to decide at a glance if a stranger was angry or friendly. However, others have spiritual explanations for its existence. Some people think it's a psychic ability. Some believe it's a message from a higher power. Others just chalk it up to gut, instinct, or luck. But whatever the cause, intuition is rooted in the subconscious mind and can be helpful in our daily lives.
The Benefits of Intuition
Several studies have shown that if we deliberately think about our preferences and decisions we can actually make them worse. So while it's good to contemplate choices, it's just as important to trust your inner voice.
Although intuition can help you to see the big picture in situations, experts are quick to point out that this doesn’t mean you should act impulsively. The best approach is to balance your intuition with a healthy dose of reason. To get started, rely on a combination of the two to navigate your way through the following situations:
• Your health: People often visit their physicians knowing that something is wrong, only to have tests results that indicate everything's fine. You know your body better than anyone so if you feel your doctor's assessment is wrong, be proactive and ask for more tests, or seek out a second opinion. According to the study, experienced nurses often use past circumstances and their perception of a current patient's symptoms to help them make split-second, sometimes life-or-death decisions. The nurses didn't have time to a rational decision and had to rely on their intuition to provide appropriate care.
• Your career: Your intuition could help make your career more successful and financially lucrative. In a study conducted by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, hundreds of business managers were tested for intuitive ability. Of the managers who had doubled their company profits in the last five years, more than 90 percent had high intuitive ability. In another study of managers at several leading U.S. corporations, researchers found that top managers in every sample group tested higher in intuitive skill than middle- and lower-level managers.
• Your social life: When it comes to people, it's important to focus not only on what they're saying, but also on body language and other nonverbal clues. If your intuition tells you that something is wrong, proceed with caution—doing so could help you avoid a sticky situation later on. Often our first reaction to someone is indicative of our long-term relationship with that person
Saturday, March 8, 2008
For many couples, having a baby is the ultimate act of emotional fulfillment. Their little bundle of joy is an affirmation of life, and their new role as parents is the beginning of a uniquely rewarding journey. Even the physical pain associated with childbirth is usually viewed as a labor of love. But for an estimated 10 percent of U.S. couples, who struggle with infertility, the road to reproduction is often paved with high hopes, repeated setbacks—and for an increasing number of prospective parents, eventual success. Thanks to innovative medications, surgeries, and assisted reproductive technologies, two-thirds of couples treated for infertility go on to have babies, reports the National Women's Health Information Center. At the same time, the process of trying to become pregnant can be stressful, costly, and time-consuming. For this reason, experts urge prospective patients talk to their doctors to determine the best course of action and to do their research so they can better understand the condition.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs one of the body’s most basic functions: the ability to conceive children. Infertility affects an estimated 6.1 million Americans, or roughly 10 percent of the reproductive-age population, and is generally diagnosed when a couple is unable to become pregnant after a year of trying or after repeated miscarriages.As the ASRM points out, conception is a complicated process. For it to occur, a couple must produce healthy sperm and eggs; the woman’s fallopian tubes must allow the sperm to reach the egg; the sperm must be able to fertilize the egg; and the fertilized egg, or embryo, must be able to implant itself in the uterus. After that point, the embryo must be healthy, and the woman's hormonal environment must be able to adequately provide for its development. If any of these factors is impaired, infertility can occur.
What Causes Infertility?
If a couple is infertile, it’s important to remember that no one is to blame. Infertility is a disease, and just as you wouldn’t blame anyone for having cancer, no one can be faulted for being infertile. Along these lines, there are numerous reasons why a couple may be unable to conceive. About one-third of cases can be attributed to male factors, another third can be attributed to female factors, and the remaining third are the result of a combination of those factors or may be unexplained. Infertility in men may be caused by azoospermia, when no sperm cells are produced, or oligospermia, where too few sperm are produced. In some cases, sperm may be malformed or die before reaching the egg, or a genetic disease, such as cystic fibrosis, could be the cause. In women, infertility may be the result of ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, or uterine abnormalities. In addition, infertility rates in women increase significantly with age. According to the ASRM, while infertility impacts only 7 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24, it affects 22 and 29 percent of women from ages 35 to 39 and 40 to 44, respectively.
If you think you or your partner may be infertile—and you’ve already tried at-home remedies, such as charting basal body temperature and administrating ovulation tests—experts recommend that you see your physician. He or she can conduct a physical examination, analyze your medical history, and advise on lifestyle factors, such as dietary changes or quitting smoking. In addition, your doctor can conduct tests to look for hormone imbalances and to determine sperm quality. According to the American Pregnancy Association, a fertility specialist can administer more sophisticated exams, such as cervical mucus tests, ultrasounds, hysterosalpingograms, and endometrial biopsies.Treating Infertility If you are infertile, there may be ways to give nature a helping hand, and experts recommend that couples start with the least invasive options first. When hormones are the culprit or the cause is unknown, medications may be helpful. If the sperm is simply having difficulty meeting the egg, artificial insemination may do the trick. And in cases of blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, fibroids, or ovarian cysts, surgery may be appropriate.
For some couples, though, getting pregnant requires more state-of-the-art techniques, collectively known as assisted reproductive technology (ART).
According to the American Pregnancy Association, such techniques include:
• In vitro fertilization (IVF): The most common of all ART techniques, IVF manually combines an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. When successful, the procedure is combined with embryo transfer, which physically implants the embryo in the uterus.
• Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSL): This procedure involves the direct injection of sperm into eggs obtained from in vitro fertilization. Again, when successful, it is combined with embryo transfer. ICSL may be indicated when male fertility is a factor.
• Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT): GIFT involves removing a woman’s eggs, mixing them with sperm, and immediately placing them into the fallopian tube. Unlike with IVF and ICSL, fertilization takes place inside the fallopian tubes, and as such, a woman must have healthy tubes for GIFT to work.
• Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT): This technique, also known as tubal embryo transfer (TET), is similar to GIFT, but in this case, the sperm and egg are given time to fertilize in the lab before being placed in the fallopian tubes. In addition, some couples may find success with intrauterine insemination (IUI), a procedure that places sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization but does not manipulate the actual eggs. In other cases, an egg donor or gestational carrier (better known as a surrogate mother) may be suitable.Risks vs. Rewards In all of these cases, experts urge prospective parents to talk with their doctors about not only the potential rewards of treatment, but also the possible risks. Be sure to find an experienced doctor who is willing to answer all your questions, and ask for extensive information about the procedure, including:
• the pregnancy rate;
• the success, or live birth, rate;
• the miscarriage rate;
• the rate of ectopic pregnancy (when the egg attaches itself to a place other than inside the uterus);
the number of attempts couples usually have to make;
• your chances of multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets); and
• other medical risk factors and side effects.
Your Financial Options
Although fertility treatments may assist couples in their quest to have a baby, these therapies can be quite expensive. According to the ASRM, one cycle of in vitro fertilization costs an average of $12,440, and it generally takes two to three cycles for conception to occur. What’s more, this amount may or may not include all of the costs associated with blood monitoring, ultrasound, anesthesia, and other related fees. Since most health insurance companies don’t cover fertility treatments, or cover only limited procedures or techniques, it’s important to check your policy. If your insurance company does not cover the costs, take a realistic look at your finances to determine what you can afford. Also keep in mind that there may be other options available. Financial institutions, such as Capital One, offer health-care loans specifically designed for couples seeking fertility treatments. Once you’ve found a doctor to perform the procedure, be sure to ask about the cancellation policy so you don’t have to pay for services that aren’t performed. And finally, be wary of any clinic or doctor offering a money-back guarantee. While thousands of couples have had success with these techniques, there are no guarantees, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.