Jan 31

The Small Plate Movement

Smaller plates = smaller portions = smaller waist

Perception of portion size can affect your sense of satiety.

Perception of portion size can affect your sense of satiety.

From his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, author and the founder of The Small Plate Movement, Brian Wansink could have an extra large affect on your health.
Through research, Wansink and his co-authors concluded that “larger packages in grocery stores, larger servings in restaurants, and larger dishware in homes are the key drivers of larger portion size.” They in turn increase the appropriate perceived portion size, and reduce the ability to monitor food intake. This ultimately ends with an increase in the amount of food eaten. These results inspired the group to come up with a way to combat these problems. Thus, The Small Plate Movement was born, and has now been going strong for 10 years and hopes to reach 10 million participants by the end of this year!
People tend to serve themselves, and correspondingly eat, according to their plate size. Unfortunately, since the year 1960, dish sizes have increased 20%! By simply reverting back from a 12 inch plate to a 10 inch plate, one could decrease their caloric intake by the same percentage. Also, by using the smaller plate and filling it accordingly, one will still be under the perception of having a full portion size. With this perception in tow, one’s feeling of satiety or fullness will not be affected by the actual amount of food consumed. Wansink has determined that by using the smaller plates for just your largest meal once per day alone could yield you an 18 pound loss over the course of one year!
For continued research, support, and information about The Small Plate Movement, visit their website at www.smallplatemovement.org.


Nov 25

Thanksgiving Day Tips To Keep The Plump Where It Belongs!

2014_TPC_turkey_finalHere are a few reminders to help you make it through the holiday without adding an extra belt notch!
This is a repost from last year, but always worth remembering.
1. Do some form of exercise before you eat the big meal. The more intense the workout the better! Remember that exercise will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.
2. Exercise as close to the time you are going to eat as possible. I realize this one could be tough for some of you helping in the preparation. Studies show that the first hour after exercising the appetite is usually suppressed, and it will keep you from wanting to eat too much.
3. Drink a full glass of water about 15 min. before your meal. It will make you feel more full.
4. Eat slowly. Enjoy the conversation and let the food settle during the meal. Again you will gain the feeling of fullness and ultimately eat less.
5. Do not take second helpings of anything! One plateful of food will be more than enough. There’ll be plenty of days to enjoy the leftovers.
6. Enjoy the turkey, and minimize the rest. Gravy, biscuits, butter, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are where a lot of the extra and bad calories will come from. The turkey is a low-fat protein source which will bring on satiety [feeling of fullness].
7. Exercise after your meal. A good 15 to 30 min. walk with family would be great to increase your metabolism and aid in your digestion.
8. Be thankful for your health, knowledge, and will power. They will help you get through this day without needing a group of pilgrims to help get up the stairs!

In addition to these tips that you can do on your own, you may also wish to join the many who participate in one of the multiple turkey trots in your area. Starting the morning off with a long walk or jog will pay dividends throughout the day, giving your body something productive to do with your food intake. Just go to runmichigan.com to find out where the closest run is to you. Having done the Detroit turkey trot several times, I can vouch for that one being a fun one. Many people sport Thanksgiving themed costumes and the last section takes place along the parade route where the streets are already lined with people.


Nov 15

Shop Online And Support My Cause At The Same Time!

_MG_7203As I have been informed that the shopping season has already begun, let me remind you of our affiliate program. With just a few extra clicks of your mouse, you can support my cause with no extra cost to you while doing your online shopping. Simply go to (or stay on it since you are already here) our health and fitness blog site, www.mysoslife.com and click on affiliates. From there choose from several companies that have agreed to work with my cause. Amazon, REI, Drugstore.com, and Moose jaw are a few of the big names we have teamed up with. Click on the logo and you will be taken to that company’s site where you just shop as you normally would. By going through our site first, the company will send a small percentage of every purchase back to the website and my charity fund. I am grateful for your continued support!I


Nov 11

Bounce Back To Health With Trampoline Fitness

In my continual quest to find more ways to get people moving, I stumbled upon a newer type of fitness class that seems to be gaining some popularity. Trampoline exercise or what is also known as “rebounding” fitness might be worth adding to your arsenal of ways to stay away from being sedentary. There are clear physical benefits to this activity that most of us think of as something that is just fun to do.
trampoline fitnessMini trampolines have been around for a while as a potential personal exercise tool. It is a little harder to workout on these as they are not large enough to allow one to perform many movements. The rebounding classes however are performed in large facilities [sometimes called trampoline or bounce parks] with the entire area being a giant trampoline. An instructor leads the class through many types of exercises as they would with any other group fitness class. The benefits are very similar. Muscular strength, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance, core strength, and balance can all be included as possible outcomes from participation. In a study done by the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation moving on a trampoline while pumping weights can yield an average heart rate of 156 to 178 bpm. This is a similar exertion rate to that of jogging or swimming.
What separates trampoline fitness from other group exercise classes is the perception of fun associated with it. Even though we are contracting muscles, exerting force, using balance for landing, and increasing our heart rate, we’re doing it on a trampoline! Most of us associate bouncing up and down on a trampoline with something fun we did as children. Certainly this couldn’t be good for us also? Well, it is good for us and yes it is still fun.
Though rebounding or trampoline fitness may not be the answer to all of your exercise needs, it can certainly benefit you. We know it is better for our bodies to have variety in our workouts. Adding one as fun as this is worth a try.
For locals, there is a place called Sky Zone in Canton that offers Skyrobics classes for $10 apiece several days a week.


Aug 08

Made With “Real Sugar!?”

Sugar-boosts-cancer-riskEven though when watching a baseball game I try my best to ignore the everlasting stream of moronic commercials that come on in between innings, the other night I couldn’t help staring in disbelief at the television. The product being advertised claimed that it was made with “real sugar!” This was actually touted as a selling point and positive aspect of said product. Though my mind went straight to questioning many things about our society today, I will only rant to you about this issue of celebrating an item being made with “real sugar” as being really wrong!
We have done a great job of researching and realizing the problems connected with extra chemicals and artificial sweeteners being used in our products. I wrote a previous article in detail about these, but can highlight a few of the major issues. The artificial sweeteners make the body think they are to receive a full sugar but then do not follow up with delivering it. This in turn creates even more craving for sugar and sweets only to be satisfied by eating or drinking more. In addition the chemicals used as artificial sweeteners have been linked to cancers and other diseases. It goes with without saying much more that artificial sweeteners are bad. However, that does not make “real sugar” something good! I credit the company with its marketing strategy. Society has embraced the “all-natural” concept. As usual, our society takes anything that it decides is good or important and overdoes it. As long as it is all-natural, we are made to believe it must be good. Therefore, made with “real sugar” must make it better for us. This is genius marketing. Thankfully, you are not too naïve to fall for this. I will give you a few reminders anyway though. Sugar is not good for you. It is not good for you on a train, is not good for you in the rain, it is not good for you here and there, it is not good for you… Well, you get the idea. Sugar is one of the main causes for us becoming overweight and fat. When sugar enters the body, it must be processed like all other parts of food. The way the body deals with sugar is through the production of insulin. Insulin combines with sugars and must be either used or stored. Since sugar is not a very efficient source of energy, most of these sugar/insulin combinations are stored. When the body doesn’t have any open places to store them it must make new ones. These new storage compartments are fat cells. Thus, though oversimplifying to a degree, even though sugar isn’t fat, it causes fat!
“Real sugar” is still sugar, and is still bad for you. Maybe at the end of the commercial they should just say, “Don’t just get fat, get fat naturally!” I know, I probably won’t be getting a call from them wanting me to come work for the public relations department. Looks like I’ll stick to writing articles for you guys. Stay healthy!


Apr 15

Treadmill Desks – Melt Calories While Meeting Deadlines

uplift-treadmill-desk-reviewProbably the most common excuse I hear from people for their lack of exercise is the absence of time.

 “I just don’t have enough time in the day.”

Of course the first thought that comes into my hard and fitness minded head is, “you need to make time!”

In reality, however, I know that it is easier said than done. Life is busy and complicated. Priorities often push exercise to the bottom of the list where it is probably never reached as much as most of us would like. If only we could exercise at the same time we were doing something else during our day, maybe like work? This may be not as far-fetched an idea as previously thought. A fairly new concept/product I have read about recently called the treadmill desk tries to do just that. Though it is not the perfect answer, and not practical for everyone, it does offer another alternative.

Treadmill desks are exactly that, desks attached to treadmills. You simply adjust the height of the desk to the proper level for you, and start the treadmill. Obviously you would not be able to go too fast and perform desk tasks effectively at the same time, but at low enough speed users have found themselves to be successful at the combined effort. Over several hours, even at low speeds, the miles walked and calories burned add up. According to an article done by Susannah Snyder in the April edition of Kiplinger’s magazine, many treadmill desk users reported to have walked 6 to 7 miles a day! Even if you were to use this desk only part of the time and walk half of that, it would be a significant improvement. Couple the calories burned with the rest of the benefits from exercise that we already know about, and this could be a definite improvement in the quality of your life.

There are several different options available on the market today, and I am sure there will be even more in the future. TrekDesk is a portable workspace/desk that can be placed on top of the arms of many different treadmills and costs about $500. Lifespan also makes a complete treadmill desk called the TR1200–DT5 for $1500. Another version called the Tread Desk easily adjusts, giving you the option to sit, stand, or walk all with the same desk. It is a little more expensive starting out at $1850, but gives you more versatility.

Office space and boss acceptance could become roadblocks to your efforts, but for many this could become a great way to fit fitness back into your life.

tread desk


Mar 02

Chew On This!

Having gone through ileostomy surgery, it goes without saying that I have a compromised digestive system. One of the more important instructions I was given for maintaining proper disposal of food was to chew for a longer nanny-goat-chewing-20118700amount of time before swallowing. If I must suffer, you must suffer! Just kidding of course, but in looking into my new regiment for eating, I found that longer chewing is beneficial to all of us. Here are a few of the advantages from a little extension of your chomping:

·         By breaking your food down into smaller particles it is easier for the nutrients to be absorbed through your intestines. In turn, more nutrients will actually be absorbed.

·         It takes your mind a little longer to register that you have eaten and filled up than the actual process.  By taking more time to finish your food, you will have a better chance of realizing you are full before you overeat.

·         Digestion itself is not the easiest process for your body to go through. By chewing longer you let your saliva do more of its job of breaking down and lubricating your food. Lubricating your food allows it to travel through your system more smoothly.  Then of course by breaking your food down into smaller particles allows your stomach to be more efficient and your intestines to have a much easier job of transportation.

·         It is even better for your teeth. Your jawbones are forced to work a little longer helping keep them strong, and by more repetition, less particles are left on and in between your teeth.

Though each type of food is different, you may find it good to practice counting how many times you chew certain foods. By the time you are ready to swallow, the food should be broken down into almost a paste like material.

Though it may seem like a minor change to the way you eat, the benefits are nothing but.


Jan 13

Foodies Take Note! You Can Retrain Your Taste Buds.

I am often approached by people looking to make changes and eat healthier. People preface their approach with various positions. Some say they will do whatever it takes to lose weight or feel more healthy. While others will start the conversation with a conditional statement like “I’d like to eat healthier but I just love the taste of ‘real’ food too much” or “I can’t eat the way you do, I’m a meat and potatoes kind of person, but I want to lose weight”. Helping these types of people can be very challenging. But with some of the latest research out, there is a new argument to use with the “Foodie Defense” portrayed above. New studies indicate that the more you eat plant-based, healthy foods, the less you crave salt, fat, and sugar. In addition, the healthy food actually begins to taste better and better with each sequential meal. You can literally retrain your taste bud! Self proclaimed foodies can rest easy that their taste buds can still be delighted with healthy foods in place of the high calorie, nutrient deficient foods that proliferate our world. The video below explains this in a quick clip. For a quick way to reboot your taste buds check out our smoothie recipes here.


Nov 25

Support Symbol of Strength on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Last year MySOSlife.com was able to make a $1,000.00 donation to Kirk Pedersen’s HelpHopeLive Recovery Fund for rehabilitation. This donation was made possible by visitors to the website that use the affiliate companies like Amazon.com and Drugstore.com. Each time an item is purchased a small percentage is given to the website at no expense to the customer. Please continue to think of going to MySOSlife.com’s affiliate page first before making a purchase on Amazon.com as every mouse click helps! Especially since Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly upon us. Follow this link for the Affiliate Page.

We look forward to providing helpful tips to lead a healthy life while continually providing the resources necessary for Kirk’s continued battle. Thank you to the many visitors to our web page and continued support. Happy Thanksgiving!


Oct 08

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life

It has been shown that almost half of your day’s activities are done by habit. Meaning you do them without even thinking. Many of these habits have a domino effect on how your day plays out. In his book, The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg shows how habits can be changed, and in turn, alter your entire life for the better!

Habits are formed in the brain, and can be established quickly. Structurally, they can be broken down into three parts; cue, routine, and reward. Duhigg calls it the habit loop. The cue is the trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic or habit mode. The routine can be physical, mental, or emotional and takes place next. It’s what you do. Finally comes the reward, which the brain uses to determine if the loop is worthy of remembering or continuing again. The more often the habit loop is performed, the stronger it becomes and easier it becomes for your brain to make happen. Or in other words, the less you even have to think about it for it to take place. This of course could be a good thing or a bad thing!

chocolate-chip-cookiesIn order to change or stop a bad habit, one must determine all three parts of the habit loop that coincide with the action one wants to stop. The author uses the example of his eating a cookie each day and gaining weight. He first determined what triggered the event, then what action he took, and finally what the reward was for his eating the cookie. He found that he began to get antsy at work around 10 o’clock. He needed a mental break. This was his triggering cue. Then he would get up from his desk and go to the cafeteria, purchase a cookie, visit with coworkers, and then return to his desk. These were his actions. His reward was that he could now return to work refreshed and ready to continue. He then had to determine whether he could use different actions to accomplish the same reward or feeling of re-freshness that would allow him to be ready to work again. He first experimented with different food, and then not even food but simply by visiting with coworkers at their desks. Both of these experiments proved to work, showing him that really all that he needed for his reward was to get up and get away from his desk for 10 minutes or so. He could now change this habit, stop eating cookies, and stop gaining weight. When at 10 o’clock he began to get antsy, he would recognize this triggering cue, get up away from his desk have an apple or not, talk to a coworker for a few minutes and then return to his desk.

This same formula can be used on any of our wonderful bad habits. On the flipside, recognizing and understanding a habit loop can also help us create positive changes in our lives. We can create our own good habits! In creating a good habit we must create our own triggering cue that will lead us into the action we want to take place. We must also then make sure there is a reward in place that will solidify in our brain that this is an action worth repeating. An example for someone trying to go for more walks or runs could play out like this. They could place their walking/running shoes in an area in the house where they would see them right away when they came home from work. The sight of the shoes could be the trigger/reminder that they need to walk or run him off before doing anything else. Then the action could take place and the reward would follow. For some, the reward is simply intrinsic and the good feeling from the endorphins created by the exercise.  For others, they may need an extrinsic reward . That of course must be figured out individually, but once established this process becomes easier and easier to be repeated, creating a good habit!

The bonus of all of this is that by adding a good habit or subtracting a bad habit from your daily regimen, a domino effect takes place on the rest of your actions. Two examples discussed in Duhigg’s book were adding the habit of exercise, and also the habit of making one’s bed in the morning. “According to research, when people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other unrelated patterns in their lives.  Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed.”

Likewise, making one’s bed every morning has also shown to be a keystone habit resulting in a positive improvement elsewhere in lives. It is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget!

Our brains like habits. They like to find similar patterns to help navigate us through our days as efficiently as possible. The problem is that patterns that engage in negative actions are just as easily made habitual to those that are positive. Understanding how to break a habit down into its three-part “loop” can help us not only change the bad ones, but introduce good habits into our life.


Older posts «