The nearly uncontrollable urge to put unhealthy food in your mouth is physiological in nature, and it has toWoman Craving Chocolate do with the reward system in our brains.

The moment you pop the food you’re craving for into your mouth, your brain releases the chemical dopamine, which is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter.

Upon its release, a feeling of satisfaction and happiness is experienced.

This is why we’ve heard of psychologists wanting to treat obesity at the root, which is first finding out why patients are depressed or stressed out.

Patients tend to deal with their problems by giving in to their cravings – and worse, gorging – and end up gaining weight uncontrollably or contracting diseases in the process.

Cravings In Pregnant Women:

In a survey conducted by the site, www.babycenter.com.uk, it was found that 40% of the respondents yearned for sweets, 33% chose salty food, 17% wanted to get a fill of things spicy, while the rest had a hankering for sour stuff.

There are theories linking pregnant women’s cravings for what their body needs at the time.

For instance, they say that chocolate cravings are to fill the need for B vitamins, red meat cravings are to satisfy the need for protein, and one who can’t get enough of peaches may be running low on beta-carotene.

Still, if this theories were true, then all pregnant women should be craving fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, shouldn’t they?

The physiology of cravings and their origin in pregnant women, therefore, is still largely unexplained, but because they almost always disappear after childbirth, it’s the everyday cravings that concern researchers more.

Why Cravings Can Be Harmful:

Studies have shown that women are twice more likely to be affected by food cravings than men, and these are usually preceeded by feelings of depression or ennui.

Men, on the other hand, tended to crave certain types of food when they’re happy – think celebrating after a won game or a promotion!

The implication here is that when women diet, they tend to become depressed about the minuscule portions they are allotted and their desire to eat the foods they miss becomes so intense.

In relation to the theory on cravings in pregnant women discussed above, it’s also possible that a woman on a crash diet who has become deficient in sugar glucose will binge on foods considered unhealthy because of their high sugar content.

Most crash diets, therefore, rarely succeed because once a dieter had gone through the requisite duration, they inevitably give in to all the cravings they have held back for so long.

Simple Ways To Curb Cravings:Do You Crave IceCream

  1. Acknowledge the craving and “partly” give in.Experts from Tufts University believe that rather than ignore it, it’s better to give in – with a little control.

    Say, for instance, you can’t help yearning for a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia before watching a new DVD release, indulge in a cone serving instead of buying a tub.

    Don’t buy a tub and leave the rest in your freezer – it will only call out to you in the middle of the night.

    Practice restraint, not deprivation.

  2. Think of other happy thoughts.Craved food isn’t the only dopamine releaser.

    You also stimulate feel-good hormones when you exercise. While exercising strenuously, you can experience a stage known as runner’s high – when you’re taken to a point beyond a threshold which activates the production of feel-good hormones.

    You can also imagine a relaxing day at the beach and enjoy a fruit shake instead.

  3. Learn to substitute. Speaking of swapping overly sweet or salty foods for healthy shakes, you can curb cravings effectively by looking for food items that may taste the same but are less harmful to your body.

    Instead of a tub of richly buttered caramel popcorn, for instance, you can go for Lesser Evil “SinNamon” kettle corn or pop your own kernels at home using some olive oil and just a touch of kosher salt.

Finally, never discount the power of suggestion.

Perhaps just by reading the food items in this article, your cravings had just become worse!

This means that you should avoid watching the Lifestyle Channel with all those cooking shows, if you can help it. Keep away from magazines plastered with advertisements of luscious desserts.

And if you can’t avoid the wonderful smells of that corner bakeshop on your way to work every day, always have a muesli or granola bar ready in your jacket pocket.

M. Jamal

P.S. Talking about the ‘partly give in’ concept, have you tried substituting raisins for chocolate? I tend to do this on those nights when I’m working late and just have to get some sweets.

Cherries work nicely too. I tend to grab a bunch, close the fridge… eat ’em… and… somehow restrain myself from going to back to the fridge right away. (Well, it’s more like promising myself NOT to open the fridge after one minute)

I’d give myself some 15 minutes or so and then decide if I really need a second serving. Usually that doesn’t happen.

What’s your food cravings like? Sweet? Salty? And… have you figured out any tips that help you avoid over-indulging? Would love to hear your thoughts…

Posted in Other at 12:28 am | Comments (3)

They’ve been called The Bikini Of Footwear. They’re simple, cool, comfy, rather cheap and in-style for summer… yet they can cause a lot of havoc on your foot if over-used!lady wearing flip flops

Wearing flip-flops feels like giving your feet a break (especially on a warm summer day)… yet it can be quite the opposite if you plan on doing a lot of walking.

They offer little if any support (no arch support, heel cushioning, or shock absorption)… and… some Doctors have gone as far as saying, “Flip-flops have single handedly caused more problems with people’s feet in the last couple years than probably any other type of shoe”

Hmm, are they really that bad?

It all comes down to flat flip-flops having no support for your foot. Especially those slip-on, toe-thonged flip flops. This means your foot can slip in any direction which in turn reduces the efficiency of its ‘shock absorption’ function.

I’ll get to an interesting University study in a moment, first here’s an illustration from a forbes.com article:

“Flip-flops don’t really hold on the foot like most shoes do, so we use the tendons and muscles to hold them on,” says Dr. Greg Cohen, a podiatrist at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y.

During the summer, Cohen also tends to see a lot of ankle sprains–another result of flip-flop use. “When a person steps off the stairs or a curb wrong, there’s nothing there to hold or support the foot or ankle.”


Another article in USA Today lists the following as “Possible Consequences” of wearing flip-flops as everyday shoes:

  • Sore arches and heels, which can progress to chronic conditions, including inflamed Achilles tendons and plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the connective tissue between the heel bone and the toes.
  • Heel calluses (from the pounding).
  • Hammer toes (from the gripping).
  • Irritation between the toes (from the toe thongs), which can lead to nasty fungal infections.

How The Foot Hits The Ground:

When one professor at University of Auburn noticed an increase in lower leg pain as students came back from summer… (the same students who would’ve likely slipped into flip-flops all summer)… she setup an interesting experiment.

She lined up 39 students and setup to analyze how they walk. Participants switched between thong flip-flops and sneakers.

Analyzing the data revealed a hidden behavior…

Walking in flip-flops alters the mechanics of every step.

For example, flip-flop wearers take shorter steps! In other words, it leads to an unnatural, toe-gripping, foot-slapping gait.

What else did the study reveal? Well, for that I recommend checking out this blog post by Maggie West. (Actually, I think she gives this topic better coverage than ABC News)

M. JamalFancy Lady Sandals

P.S. So, does this mean you should drop your beloved flip-flops this summer? The phrase we ought to remember is “moderation” and “the right footwear for the right activity”.

I wouldn’t dream of going on a long walks in flip-flops.

Yep, at one point I’ve tried that and it wasn’t a pleasant experience – especially when you’re pounding hard ground. It felt like foot abuse and I was literally running for a foot massage later that evening.

Personally, I’m not into thong styled flip-flops. I usually slip into light strappy sandals if I’m gonn’a spend some time by the pool or beach. I’ve generally found it ok as it’s softer ground and I’m not doing flip-flop marathon walks anymore! Only one problem I’ve encountered; watching out for slippery spots.

Have you experienced foot pain in the past from flip-flops?
Do you see it as fashionable, all-day footwear?
And… What’s your footwear gonn’a be this summer? Love to hear your thoughts.

It’s estimated that nurses walk 986 steps an hour while lawyers take 633 steps per hour. And secretaries would put in some 4,327 steps a day (that’s 2.7 km, 1.6 miles).

So, how many calories can you expect to burn?lady walking shoes

Well, that depends on your walking speed, intensity, weight, whether you’re walking up an incline and so forth. It’s not an exact science, yet it’s estimated that an average person burns around 100 calories per 2,000 steps (that’s 1.6 km, 1 mile)

And… when you consider that typing and e-main and hitting send is estimated to burn around 9.5 calories… versus 19 calories for walking to a co-worker’s office and handing him documents… it’s easy to see that walking is one of the simplest ways to get “Active”.

I mean, you can always step it up into a jog, rope skipping (or even a full blown fitness program) in a few weeks.

I’ve personally known lots of women who cringe at the thought of joining a gym yet won’t mind spending an hour walking outdoors in a pleasant environment. (Have you noticed this as well?)

And… what’s the most important item to consider before walking?

Yep, a good pair of shoes.

It’s estimated that you’ve got to replace sneakers after running 300 to 500 miles or doing 300 hours of aerobic activities.

Yet… what else should you look for in a good pair of walking shoes?

Well, here’s two useful resources to check out:

M. Jamal

P.S. Shoe technology that rolls through your foot!
If you’re on your foot all day here’s an interesting kind of shoe worth a look. (Have you seen these?)

This video runs through:

  • How this kind of shoe relieves strains on joints by simulating walking barefoot on sand.
  • How conventional shoes and striking heal-toe causes an unnatural forwarded tilted stance eventually causing back and joint problems.
  • How it gets more muscles engaged.
  • How pressure distribution across the sole of the foot is maximized.

If you feel that you’re not burning enough calories when walking, don’t be discouraged.Walking Woman

Walking is not meant to burn as much fat as, say circuit training or contact sports would. It’s recommended, though, for people who are new at fitness, those recuperating from an illness or those with mild ailments, and almost every individual who wants to meet the minimum workout in a day.

You can also get the most out of walking by following these three simple but useful tips:

1) When:

Don’t dismiss walking as a type of workout that you can take up anytime you want.

When you devote as much time and effort to walking as you would to your other workout programs, you’ll begin to see wonderful results in terms of cardiovascular health and muscle tone.

To motivate you to make fitness walking a regular part of your schedule, jot down your walking exercises on a journal.

The optimum frequency is three to five times a week for about 15 minutes to an hour. Keep a record of your heart rate target zone and try to achieve that each time.

If you can’t do more than 15 minutes per session, increase the frequency to about 2-3 sessions of 15 minutes each. Don’t just squeeze your walking exercise in; try to schedule it in advance to give it some priority.

2) Where:

There are certain places that are not conducive to walking for fitness.

For instance, people who live in highly urbanized areas where parks or safe walking paths are few and far between may find it difficult to stick to a schedule. European cities, for instance, are more welcoming to “walkers” because of the vast plazas and less polluted city streets.

You can ask around your area about joggers and try to find the places they frequent.

High school tracks are a good alternative. Industrial parks are also conducive for walking because of their wide, well-paved, and flat streets and sidewalks.

You might also be able to find a golf course near your place, and though it may not be flat, it’s highly beneficial if you want to improve your fitness levels.

Walking uphill can build leg muscles and make you stronger.

One extra benefit is you’ll get to enjoy the wonderful landscape while you’re walking. If you find the inclines too steep, try zigzagging up or down the paths.

Don’t discount the benefit of mall-walking either – you won’t feel forced into exercising if you’re window shopping at the same time. You’ll be surprised at how much distance you’ll get to cover in an afternoon of walking around the mall!

The best thing is you’re also moving around in a pollution-free environment.

3) How:Lady Warming Up

Dr. Suki Munsell, developer of the Dynamic Walking technique, recommends the “shirt pull,” which stretches your spine to keep you from slouching.

While you’re walking, cross both of your arms in front of you at the waist level.

Next, raise both arms in a movement simulating the pulling up of a shirt and lift arms e them over your head. Extend your torso and your arms, as if trying to reach for something overhead. Lower your arms and allow your shoulders drop into their normal position. Repeat this often in the course of your walk.

Try to follow the correct posture, too. To avoid an unnatural arch in the back known as the “sway back,” pull in your abs and squeeze your buns at the same time. Breathe better by sticking your chest out while walking.

Sway your hips while walking.

Since hips are usually unwieldy, it would help if you improve their flexibility by regularly stretching your lower back muscles and hip flexors. Keep your head up and assume a slightly forward lean from the ankles.

Swing your arms naturally with relaxed shoulders. Don’t draw up your shoulders toward your ears. Your arms should be bent at the elbows at an approximately 90-degree angle.

M. Jamal

P.S. How about a few more tips… things like: When’s the best time to buy walking shoes? What to look for in walking shoes? Should you use or skip weights when walking?

Sure, it’s all in this video. Check it out: