As a psychotherapist, I spend a fair amount of time completing paperwork that convinces insurance companies to pay for someone’s mental health treatment.
In order to help people get their services covered, I have to help patients answer questions like, “How do you hope your life will be different in 90 days?”
Asking people with a mental health problem to look that far ahead can feel like torture. People struggling with depression often can’t see 10 minutes into the future, let alone 3 months down the road.
And individuals experiencing anxiety are often consumed with the future–and they’re usually making catastrophic predictions. They might imagine themselves losing their jobs, becoming homeless, or contracting a rare disease all within the next three months.
But even if you aren’t experiencing a mental health issue, pinpointing how your life will be different 90 days in advance is tough.
Establishing a 30-day challenge can be a more effective way to create positive change. In fact, 30-day challenges (or sometimes 30-day experiments) are how I stay motivated to reach my goals–especially my fitness goals.
Most recently, I set out to see if I could get six-pack abs in 30 days. I hired Robert Brace, a fitness trainer who is known for getting people in shape fast, to help me reach my goal.
And just as he promised, over the course of one month, I saw my formerly flabby stomach morph into a muscular set of abdominal muscles. Almost every day, I could see progress, and it helped me stay on track to reach my goal.
Had I set out to do the same challenge in 90 days, I’m certain it wouldn’t have worked. Having more time would have led to fewer results. Not only do I know this from personal experience and anecdotal evidence from my therapy clients, but science also backs up this notion.
Your Brain Is Designed for 30-Day Challenges
Studies show our brains view time according to either “now deadlines” or “someday deadlines.” And “now deadlines” often fall within this calendar month.
For example, if you have a project due at the end of the month, studies show that you’re likely to start working on it earlier in the month, because your brain tells you that your deadline is looming. You’ll prioritize the project as something that is due “now.”
If however, that same project is due at the beginning of the next month, your brain will categorize it as a “later project”–even if the calendar is set to roll over to the next month within a few days
You’re more likely to procrastinate when it comes to working on the goals you categorize as “later.”
So whether you’re trying to quit smoking, or you want to lose weight, your brain will categorize a 90-day goal as something you can work on later. And if you don’t start out filled with motivation and momentum right from the beginning, you aren’t likely to pick up steam as time passes.
Why 30-Day Challenges Work So Well
Whether your goal is to pay down debt, or you want to start going to the gym, design your own 30-day challenge. In addition to your brain viewing it as a “now” goal, you’re more likely to succeed because:
You won’t have time for excuses. When you have a short-term goal, there isn’t time to take days off because you feel tired. And you don’t have time to make up missed work later. You have be all in if you want to reach your goals.
Fast progress builds momentum. Your hard work will begin to pay off fast. And when you begin to see results, it’s easier to stay motivated. Building momentum early can help you stay on course and finish your month-long challenge strong.
Short-term pain feels tolerable. Working hard to reach a new goal means you’ll have to give something up.It’s easier to give up time with your family or your daily latte when you know there’s an end in sight.
Create Your Own 30-Day Challenge
There are many 30-day challenges that can improve your physical health, mental health, social life, or spiritual life.
And as we approach the beginning of a new year–where many people will be setting gigantic annual goals that they never reach–it’s a great time to launch a 30-day challenge. You might find that a short-term objective is a much more effective way to create big changes in your life.
Every year a new batch of diets become trendy. In the past, the blood group, ketogenic, Pioppi and gluten-free diets were among the most popular. These have made way for the mono diet, charcoal detox, Noom, time-restricted feeding and Fast800.
So what are these new diets and is there any scientific evidence to support them?
The monotrophic or mono diet limits food intake to just one food group such as meat or fruit, or one individual food like potato or chicken, each day.
The mono diet has no scientific basis and no research has been done on it. It’s definitely a fad and should not be followed.
It leads to weight loss because your food intake is so limited (one food per day) that you get sick of that food very quickly and so automatically achieve a reduced kilojoule intake.
If you ate three apples at each main meal and had another three as between-meal snacks then your total kilojoule intake from the 12 apples would be about 4,000 kilojoules (950 calories).
The mono diet is nutritionally inadequate. The nutrients most deficient will depend on the individual foods consumed, but if you follow the mono diet long term, you would eventually develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
2. Charcoal detox
The charcoal detox diet claims to help people lose weight by “detoxing” them. It involves periods of fasting and consumption of tea or juice drinks that contain charcoal.
It is definitely not recommended.
Medical professionals use activated charcoal to treat patients who have been poisoned or have overdosed on specific medications. Charcoal can bind to some compounds and remove them from the body.
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of charcoal as a weight loss strategy.
Charcoal detox plans also include dietary restrictions or fasts, so people might lose weight because they’re consuming fewer kilojoules.
Charcoal is not selective. It can bind to some medications and nutrients, as well as toxic substances, so there is the potential for charcoal to trigger nutrient deficiencies and/or make some medications less effective.
The Noom diet isn’t actually a diet at all. It is a smartphone app called Noom Coach that focuses on behaviour change techniques to assist with weight loss. It allows users to monitor their eating and physical activity, and provides support and feedback.
The Noom diet does not provide a diet plan, but it gets users to record within the app, all foods and drinks consumed. It then uses a traffic light system (red, yellow, green) to indicate how healthy the foods are.
One advantage of Noom is that is doesn’t eliminate any foods or food groups, and it encourages healthy lifestyle behaviour change to assist with weight loss.
A disadvantage is that while you can download the app for a free short-term trial, membership is about A$50 per month for four months. And additional services cost extra. So consider whether this approach suits your budget.
Time-restricted feeding is a type of intermittent fast that involves restricting the time of day that you are “allowed” to eat. This typically means eating in a window lasting four to ten hours.
While energy-restriction during this period is not a specific recommendation, it happens as a consequence of eating only during a shorter period of time than usual.
The difference between time-restricted feeding compared to other intermittent fasting strategies is that recent research suggests some metabolic benefits are initiated following a fasting period that lasts for 16 hours, as opposed to a typical overnight fast of ten to 12 hours.
Further research is required to determine whether any health effects of time-restricted feeding are due to regular 16-hour fasting periods, or simply because eating over a small time window reduces energy intake.
If this approach helps you get started on a healthy lifestyle and your GP gives you the all clear, then try it. You will need to follow up with some permanent changes to your lifestyle so your food and physical activity patterns are improved in the long term.
The Fast800 diet by Dr Michael Mosley encourages a daily intake of just 800 calories (about 3,350 kilojoules) during the initial intensive phase of the Blood Sugar Diet.
This lasts for up to eight weeks and is supposed to help you rapidly lose weight and improve your blood sugar levels. You can buy the book for about A$20 or pay A$175 for a 12-week online program that says it includes a personal assessment, recipes, physical and mindfulness exercises, tools, access to experts, an online community, information for your doctor and advice for long-term healthy living.
Two recent studies provide some evidence that supports these claims: the DiRECT and DROPLET trials.
In these studies, GPs prescribed patients who were obese and/or had type 2 diabetes an initial diet of 800 calories, using formulated meal replacements. This initial phase was followed by a gradual reintroduction of food. Participants also received structured support to help them maintain the weight loss.
Both studies compared the intervention to a control group who received either usual care or treatment using best practice guidelines.
They found participants in the 800 calorie groups lost more weight and more of the adults with type 2 diabetes achieved remission than the control groups.
This is what you would expect, given the intervention was very intensive and included a very low total daily energy intake.
But the low energy intake can make the Fast800 difficult to stick to. It can also be challenging to get enough nutrients, so protocols need to be carefully followed and any recommended nutrient supplements taken.
Fast800 is not suitable for people with a history of eating disorders or health conditions such as liver disease. So if you’re considering it, talk to your GP.
When it comes to weight loss, there are no magic tricks that guarantee success. Have a health check up with your GP, focus on making healthy lifestyle changes and if you need more support, ask to be referred to an accredited practising dietitian.
Clare Collins is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, the University of Newcastle, NSW. She is an NHMRC Senior Research and Gladys M Brawn Research Fellow. She has received research grants from NHMRC, ARC, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Meat and Livestock Australia, Diabetes Australia, Heart Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nib foundation, Rijk Zwaan Australia and Greater Charitable Foundation. She has consulted to SHINE Australia, Novo Nordisk, Quality Bakers, the Sax Institute and the ABC. She was a team member conducting systematic reviews to inform the Australian Dietary Guidelines update and the Heart Foundation evidence reviews on meat and dietary patterns.
Lee Ashton is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
Rebecca Williams is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They’re loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain.Here are 11 health benefits of chia seeds, supported by science.
1. Chia Seeds Deliver a Massive Amount of Nutrients With Very Few Calories
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is related to the mint.
Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day.
They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, chia seeds became recognized as a modern-day superfood only recently.
In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world.
Don’t be fooled by the size — these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.
A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains (1):
Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.
This is particularly impressive considering that this is just a single ounce, equalling 28 grams or about two tablespoons. This small amount supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.
Interestingly, if you subtract the fiber — most of which doesn’t end up as usable calories for your body — chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce (28 grams).
This makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie.
To top things off, chia seeds are a whole-grain food, usually grown organically. Plus, they’re non-GMO and naturally free of gluten.
Summary Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They’re loaded with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.
2. Chia Seeds Are Loaded With Antioxidants
Another area in which chia seeds shine is their high antioxidant content (2Trusted Source, 3).
These antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid (4).
Most importantly, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
Summary Chia seeds are high in antioxidants that help protect the delicate fats in the seeds. They also have various benefits for health.
3. Almost All the Carbs in Them Are Fiber
One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds has 12 grams of carbs. However, 11 of those grams are fiber, which your body doesn’t digest.
Fiber neither raises blood sugar nor requires insulin to be disposed of. Though it belongs to the carbohydrate family, its health effects are drastically different from those of digestible carbs like starch and sugar.
The digestible carb content is only one gram per ounce (28 grams), which is very low. This makes chia a low-carb friendly food.
Because of its high soluble fiber content, chia seeds can absorb up to 10–12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach (8).
Theoretically, this should increase fullness, slow absorption of your food and help you automatically eat fewer calories.
Fiber also feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine, which is important — keeping your gut flora well fed is absolutely crucial for health (9Trusted Source).
Also, the protein in chia seeds could help reduce appetite and food intake.
In fact, one study found that eating chia seeds for breakfast increased satiety and reduced food intake in the short-term (17Trusted Source).
However, studies examining the effectiveness of chia seeds for weight loss have provided rather disappointing results.
In a study in 90 overweight people, 50 grams of chia seeds per day for 12 weeks had no effect on body weight or health markers (18).
In another 10-week study in 62 women, chia seeds had no effect on body weight but did increase the amount of omega-3 fat in the blood (19Trusted Source).
In contrast, a 6-month study in obese people with type 2 diabetes on a reduced-calorie diet found that eating chia seeds daily caused significantly greater weight loss than a placebo (20Trusted Source).
Though adding chia seeds to your diet is unlikely to cause weight loss on its own, many experts believe they can be a useful addition to a weight loss diet.
A weight loss diet is about more than just single foods. The entire diet counts, as well as other lifestyle behaviors like sleep and exercise.
When combined with a real-food based diet and a healthy lifestyle, chia seeds may definitely help promote weight loss.
Summary Chia seeds are high in protein and fiber, both of which have been shown to aid weight loss. However, studies on chia seeds have provided mixed results.
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6. Chia Seeds Are High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Like flaxseeds, chia seeds are very high in omega-3 fatty acids.
In fact, chia seeds contain more omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the omega-3s in them are mostly ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is not as beneficial as you may think.
ALA needs to be converted into the active forms eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) before your body can use it.
Unfortunately, humans are inefficient at converting ALA into these active forms.
Therefore, plant omega-3s tend to be vastly inferior to animal sources like fish oil (21Trusted Source).
A few human studies support this by showing that eating bread that contains chia seeds lowers the post-meal rise in blood sugar compared to bread that doesn’t include any chia (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
Summary Studies show that chia seeds may lower the rise in blood sugar after a high-carb meal, possibly benefiting people with type 2 diabetes.
10. They May Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s normal response to infection or injury. Red and swollen skin is a typical example.
Although inflammation helps your body heal and fight off bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents, it can sometimes cause harm.
This mainly applies to chronic inflammation, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation often doesn’t have any visible signs, but can be assessed by measuring inflammatory markers in your blood.
Various unhealthy lifestyle habits increase your risk of chronic inflammation, including smoking, lack of exercise or a poor diet.
One 3-month study in 20 people with diabetes showed that eating 37 grams of chia seeds daily reduced the inflammatory marker hs-CRP by 40%. In contrast, those who got wheat bran didn’t experience a significant benefit (25Trusted Source).
Other studies on chia seeds have failed to detect any significant effects on inflammatory markers (33Trusted Source).
Summary Limited evidence suggests that eating chia seeds may reduce an inflammatory marker known as hs-CRP. However, the health benefits are uncertain and more studies are needed.
11. Chia Seeds Are Easy to Incorporate Into Your Diet
Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet.
The seeds themselves taste rather bland, so you can add them to pretty much anything.
They also don’t need to be ground like flax seeds, which makes them much easier to prepare.
They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to porridge, pudding, smoothies or added to baked goods.
You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes.
Because of their ability to absorb both water and fat, they can be used to thicken sauces and as egg substitutes in recipes.
They can also be mixed with water and turned into a gel.
Adding chia seeds to recipes will dramatically boost their nutritional value.
If you want to buy chia seeds, there is an excellent selection on Amazon with thousands of customer reviews.
They do also seem to be well tolerated, but if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, then there is a possibility of digestive side effects if you eat too much at a time.
A common dosage recommendation is 20 grams (about 1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds, twice per day.
Summary Chia seeds are easy to prepare and are often added to porridge or smoothies.
The Bottom Line
Chia seeds are not only rich in nutrients, omega-3 fat, antioxidants and fiber but also easy to prepare. People commonly add them to their porridge or smoothies.
Studies suggest that they have various health benefits, ranging from weight loss to reduced inflammation.
If you don’t eat chia seeds already, you should definitely consider adding them to your diet. They’re among the few superfoods worthy of the title.
Are You Tired Of Waking Up To A Body That Now Robs You Daily Of The VITALITY And SENSE OF WELL-BEING That Once Came Without Effort? I’m About To Reveal To You The REALReason That Getting Into Shape Is Near Impossible For Most Of Us – And Then Offer To Show You How To Reliably RESHAPE Your Body, RECLAIM Your Health, And Finally Take Back The Life You DESERVE. The Good News? You’ve Just Stumbled Onto The Culmination Of More Than 30 YEARS Of Experience In The Fitness Profession – Time I Have Spent Teaching Others How To Get Into Peak Physical Shape WITHOUT Having To Diet Or Otherwise Deprive Oneself Of Life’s Simple Pleasures. With “No Excuses” You’ll Discover How To Master Both Your MIND And Your BODY To Achieve A Truly Enviable State Of Health That Most People Will Never Experience In The Latter Part Of Their Lives. But With This Program You’ll Do Exactly That…Read more…
Stop counting calories. It’s the clock that counts.That’s the concept behind time-restricted feeding, or TRF, a strategy increasingly being studied by researchers as a tool for weight-loss, diabetes prevention and even longevity. In TRF, you can eat whatever you want and as much as you want—just not whenever you want. Daily food intake should be limited to a 12-hour window, and ideally cut down to eight to 10 hours. But you can pick the hours you want to eat. (Note: This doesn’t mean you should stuff your face with cupcakes. Experts say you should dine as you normally would. Only noncaloric drinks like water and black coffee are allowed during fasting hours……..
As if there isn’t enough whiplash-inducing nutrition advice out there, now skipping breakfast is being lauded by some as a good thing. The meal has become a casualty of a popular diet called intermittent fasting, which requires going extended periods of time without eating. The diet is such a big trend that, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, Google searches for “intermittent fasting” have increased tenfold over the past three years, to rival the number of searches for the words weight loss……..
Hormones are like music played in a beautiful but sometimes discordant symphony, explains New York City–based holistic ob-gyn Eden Fromberg, D.O., likening the different glands in the endocrine system that produce distinct hormones to an array of musicians that create unique sounds in an orchestra, with each having to listen to the other so to play in progression. “When hormones play too loud or soft, too fast or slow, and don’t coordinate with the others, the sound produced may be jarring to the system………
Growing up, we’ve all heard the saying – “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Famous sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein went so far as to say, “one should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” And he couldn’t be more right. A healthy breakfast doesn’t just provide you energy to seize the day, it jumpstarts your metabolism, balances blood sugar levels, assists in weight management, even promotes heart health and improves cognitive function…….
There have been two main changes in dietary habits from the 1970s (before the obesity epidemic) until today. First, there was the change is what we were recommended to eat. Prior to 1970, there was no official government sanctioned dietary advice. You ate what your mother told you to eat. With the publication of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we were told to cut the fat in our diets way down and replace that with carbohydrates, which might have been OK if it was all broccoli and kale, but might not be OK if it was all white bread and sugar…….
Eggs have been getting a bad rap in the health and fitness community because they are associated with cholesterol and weight gain. Others say they may trigger a heart attack. But you might be missing more benefits than you realized. Bright Side will crack the myths behind eggs, especially the egg yolks and let you know what will happen if you eat 3 eggs a day.
TIMESTAMPS: What an egg contains 1:02 Eggs keep you full and help with weight loss 3:44 Eggs improve eye health 4:16 Eggs keep your bones healthy 4:54 Eggs prevent iron deficiency 5:17 Eggs help with brain development in infants and fetuses 5:42 How to choose the right egg 6:35 What will happen if you eat 3 eggs a day 8:11 Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/… SUMMARY: – Eggs have been getting a bad rap in the health and fitness community because they are associated with cholesterol and weight gain.
Others say they may trigger a heart attack, and people who want to lose weight usually remove eggs from their diet. But what if you tried to eat 3 eggs a day? You might be missing more benefits than you realized. – Egg contain calories, protein, healthy fats, folate, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins A, B5, B12, B2, D, E, K, and B6. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids and dietary cholesterol. – A large egg contains about 6 g of high-quality protein, which may help you eat less for several hours after a meal.
As a result, this helps you lose weight. – Egg yolks contain lutein, which helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. It contains zeaxanthin, which protects you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. – Egg yolks improve bone metabolism and prevent the risk of osteoporosis. They are also a source of iron. – The yolks can also help to prevent birth defects during pregnancy. Vitamin B is important for the development of the spinal cord and fetal nervous system. It also helps prevent breast cancer, according to a study.
– There are 4 types of eggs, and they are organized based on where the hen is raised and fed. Brown and white eggs have the same nutritional value according to the USDA (who debunked all previous myths on this matter). – A study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut revealed that a person who consumes 3 eggs a day may experience more of an increase in good cholesterol and decrease in bad cholesterol than someone who eats the same amount of egg substitute.