Sunday, January 29, 2012

From MSN Health

Skimping on sleep stalls your calorie-burning
You'd think that more hours awake means more opportunities to sizzle calories, but the truth is that more sleep makes for a quicker metab. In fact, a single sleepless night reduces your resting metabolic rate by about 5 percent several hours into the next day, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. What's more, the morning after skipping sleep you burn 20 percent fewer calories from diet-induced thermogenesis — —the number of calories your body uses to break down and digest food.
As if that wasn't enough to encourage you to power down your iPad early, scientists have found that women consume 329 more calories, on average, after snoozing for four hours than they do when they sleep for nine. To keep your cravings in check while preventing your engine from sputtering, try to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

Metabolism slows with age, but there's plenty you can do about it
It's hardly a myth that many women pack on pounds after age 40. Although experts have attributed the average annual one- to two-pound weight gain to perimenopause and menopause, they really didn't know why it was happening—until now.
A new study in Cell Metabolism reports that the dip in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause reduces activity in important estrogen receptors in the brain that control how many calories you burn. Less estrogen, it turns out, equals a sluggish metabolism— — you burn 50 fewer calories a day. Your first line of defense: Hit the weight room. Regular weight-lifting (three sets of 10–12 reps of 8–10 exercises three times per week for 12 weeks) adds enough muscle mass to burn an extra 45 calories per day. That basically makes up for the hit your metabolism takes at menopause.

When you eat affects whether you're a super burner
Ideally, you want to keep your internal fat-blasting machine running all day long. So what makes it idle? Drops in blood sugar.
"The primary fuel for the brain is blood sugar, so when it drops, the brain takes steps to sustain sugar delivery so it can maintain normal function," says Dan Benardot, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Georgia State University. "The body releases the hormone cortisol to break down tissue, including muscle, and turns it into glucose to feed your brain." In other words, low blood sugar leaves you with less muscle, which makes your metabolism drag. The fix? Eat smaller meals with 100- to 200-calorie snacks in between to keep blood-sugar levels even.
Final tip: Have a light bite before bed. It's a myth that you should never eat after dinner, Benardot says: "Blood sugar fluxes about every three hours, so if you eat dinner at 6 p.m., blood-sugar levels are getting below normal at 9 p.m." Keep your metabolism cranking with a pre-bed snack— — such as peanut butter on a graham cracker— — and you'll be living the dream: burning calories while you sleep.

I am an absolute genius at coming up with good ideas and a total dunce at following through. OK. Post it notes are needed for this one-to remind me to exercise. I used to lift weights when I was young. I didn't do it to the point of growing muscle. But now, my metabolism is moving at a snail's pace and I am going even slower. So I must do something. I have never been this fat. I have never been this unhappy about the way I look. I know that after losing some weight the skin will sag and I'll look older. But I won't be couchbound. I'll be more able to get out and not be in pain. I've got to do this. I have got to.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Look your best-at any age


I am often torn about how I look. I don't remember a single time when I wasn't dissatisfied about my looks. From the time I was aware that there was more than one body style, fashion style, makeup style, etc, I have felt as if I were not doing something right. So I have decided as I prepare to turn 67 at my next birthday that I'll just try anything I want to do, wear, say, see, or feel. I've earned it.

I have a 41 year old significant other. He is a nice looking man who is more aware of the things I do than the way I look. Yep, I look old enough to be his mother. And I am old enough to be his mother. But I don't want to look old enough to be everyone's mother. So this post. I am suggesting a group of things that will be fun for me to try. And they will be useful for my self acceptance.

First. I need makeup. I have found that my skin has not weathered the vagaries of time very well. I have blotches, and splotches, brown spots and lumps and bumps. All on my face, chest, arms, legs, etc. Basically, anywhere the sun has touched. My excess weight has created folds and bulges. So now I'm back to makeup. Obviously I can't cover everything. But I think I can create a simple canvas. I've pored over the Advanced Style blog. I really envy women who have been able to extablish a style and enhance it all throughout their lives. Either my attention span is too short or I have listened to too many ugly messages. So, as an artist, I am approaching makeup as if I were a canvas. First I make myself look bland. Beige makeup to go with my pale eyes, brows, lashes, and hair. But I saw a woman on TV who has white hair with pinkish skin and she is beautiful. Once again I want to try things. But one step at a time. Beige skin. My eyes are often red and I am going to try to find a light eye pencil for the inner rim so I don't look so tired.

Makeup artists suggest pink lipsticks, pink blush, soft edges, etc for us older ladies. Well, if I look at fashionable older women, many still wear red lipstick, heavy eye makeup, etc. Tammy Faye Messner was one of my favorite women and she had a good sense of humor about her mascara fixation. I don't intend to emulate her but I have to say, her sense of comfort with herself is attractive to me. So I'll use some of the makeup tips from the makeup artists. And some things that just feel like fun to me.

I have also discovered that reminding myself of my blessings is a really good piece of makeup. The smiles of the pictured couple trump any makeup available. Happiness is the best revenge for a life of hardships. I don't think anyone can get to my age without hardships happening. Because of that I don't smile enough. I've never been a smiler. I don't know if it is inherited. Probably. But I think looking your best, at any age, has a lot to do with how hard you work to smile.