Why Your Weight Loss Plan Is Not Working

Brooklyn Bridge

There’s the case of the college guy who wants to look chiseled for Spring break. But no hard how he tries, the scale won’t move.

There’s the other case of the busy professional who’s seen a series of specialists, nutritionists, doctors, consulted with fitness trainers. She has wonderful meal plans, and a training plan customized to her needs, but she can’t shed a pound.

The two cases above are real, and the issues are common. Here’s what I’ve found after lengthy discussions.

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OutcomeReference.com : Linking Nutrition, Exercise and life choices to Health Outcomes

 

What is the ideal diet? What types of exercise should you do? What should you undertake to prevent mental disease? Those are common questions asked by millions of blogs and even more people every day, worldwide.

Unlike mathematics, there is no single answer. Delving into scientific studies such as those aggregated on pubmed help to separate the good from the bad. You type a keyword such as “diabetes” and it will show papers studying diabetes. However, this is not easy:

  • Health studies are published for scientists. Readability is low and challenging for those without relevant education
  • The vast majority of health studies are behind a “pay-wall”
  • There are different types of trial designs, from meta-analysis, double-blind randomized trials, cohort studies etc. Furthermore, the number of subjects vary wildly between studies, as well as age, weight range, athleticism of subjects, or study length. It takes a good eye to know which study has a better design and which ones are relevant to your case.
  • Studies on the same subject can use different metrics or biomarkers, making direct comparisons difficult
  • Studies on the same subject and with the same methodology can have conflicting results
  • Health studies, especially in nutrition, can be funded by corporations and have bias.

All these contribute to confusion. Media and bloggers then interpret findings to their likings, further increasing confusion.

Because of these issues, I have developed a reference portal OutcomeReference

OutcomeReference is a FREE, easy-to-use reference website aiming to show clearly the outcome of your health choices. 

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Accepting Imperfection

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One of my training goal is to be able to run 5 km in less than 20 minutes before the end of 2016.

I like a lot the idea of this goal. During the day, I would already imagine my legs powering me forward, the wind flowing, and the constant battle against the watch. I was already eager on sharing my success everywhere.

Recently, it started snowing. Sidewalks become a sliding game, shoes become soggy and fingers are frozen. And what was once beautiful green trails become cold, dark and snow paths like above. Result: I loose half of my speed!

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The Science of Sleep and Creativity

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Digital painting by Cyril Rolando

Studies link poor sleep with poor health : higher risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer and poor immune system. It’s also associated with poor mental health: sleep deprivation disturbs emotional regulation and increases anxiety. It also leads to unhealthy weight gain, poor food intake and increased risk for metabolic diseases.

Good health simply means good sleep. Read more on this.

There is still research however on how sleep is linked to creativity. How can sleep helps us think of new ideas, perceive the world in new ways, or generate solutions to new problems?

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Synchronizing with our biological clock

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Biological Human Clock

The 24-hour light–dark cycle is a fundamental characteristic of Earth’s environment and profoundly influences the behaviour and physiology of animals and humans.

The illustration above highlight how hormone production and vital signs fluctuate during the day. This is called the circadian rhythm.

And it can be an important tool to help you schedule tasks and daily routine!

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Apple Watch as a health tracker : 6 months review

How does the Apple Watch compare to other devices as a health and fitness tracker?

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Tracking exercise, calories and standing hours with the Apple Watch

I had and used the Apple Watch series 1 for six months before writing this review. I don’t have any relationship with Apple so I consider this as a fair review.

In summary, the Apple Watch opens up exciting opportunities for health tracking for most of us. It’s beautiful, integrates nicely with the Apple ecosystem, and can be augmented in powerful ways with third-party apps.

The Apple Watch is not by any means perfect. There are devices with more functionalities. But it might just be good enough if you are planning to track your overall health and activity.

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Familiar, repetitive sounds induce sleep

Have soft, familiar and repetitive sound when you sleep

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Ocean sunset

As mentioned earlier, investing in quality sleep is one of the safest and and most durable health strategy.

Smooth, familiar and repetitive sounds produce drowsiness and sleep. Conversely, the lack of these tend to produce alertness and wakefulness.

Research shows sounds which effect a individual are dependent upon his environment. A city dweller may sleep with the steady rumble of traffic but he might find the sound of crickets to be too noisy. Someone who lives in the countryside might respond better to sounds of leaves stirred by gentle wind.

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