How to Lose Weight by Walking: Some Secrets

1. Use your shoes to curb a craving. 

When all you can think of is chocolate, or you're salivating over the thought of a salty snack, get up and take a walk (but not to the convenience store!). Chocoholics experience a major dip in cravings just 15 minutes after a walk, unlike people who don't get up and move around.

2. Start small

Shorter sojourns could be all you need to do to lose weight by walking during your first 3 months. In a 12-week study of significantly overweight women, those who walked for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, lost weight at a rate similar to women who walked twice as long -- 60 minutes, 5 days a week

3. Get speedy every now and then. 

When you’re walking to lose weight, alternate your regular walking pace with intense 1- to 3-minute intervals -- "intense" meaning conversation is tricky but not so hard that you want to stop talking altogether. Then, dial back to your regular pace for a minute or more to recover. Repeat as often as you can for as long as you want. "This isn't an exact science, so don't worry about a magic formula," says Gregory Florez, an American Council on Exercise spokesperson in Salt Lake City. "Play around with it. Walk fast toward the next stop sign, then slow down, repeat. However you do it, varying your intensity and exertion will dramatically increase the calorie burn during your walks."

4. Other times, don't worry about speed

If you just can't go any faster, Florez recommends these other tools to help you lose weight by walking:

  • Frequency: When you think you're not losing, add another session of walking to your week.
  • Intensity: When you've done that, add some hills to make your walk a little harder. You want to be between 12 and 15 on the Borg Perceived Exertion Scale (0 on the scale is sleeping, and 20 is a full-out sprint where you are panting and feel ready to faint). "You should be able to carry on a conversation, but every other sentence you should have to take a deep breath."
  • Time: Just walk a little longer each session. Add 10 minutes to your walk every day and you'll have amassed an extra 70 minutes that week. Easy, no?

Simple Ticks for Outsmart Obesity Genes

Not a lot of size 6's in your family? Well, then, here's the simple trick to outrunning your obesity genes: movement.

In a study of people genetically predisposed to obesity, those who were the most active managed to seriously alter their body's predisposition to gain weight. They were far less likely to pack on pounds over time compared with the least active in the study.

Handling Heavy DNA:

In the study, researchers found 12 genes that increased the risk of obesity. And every obesity gene people had correlated to extra weight gain. Still, although certain genes made them more susceptible to obesity, participants were not slaves to their DNA. Exercising about an hour a day dropped the risk of weight gain about 40 percent, compared with the couch potatoes. 

All in the Family:

You may have the cards stacked against you when it comes to family health history, but nothing is certain. Only about 30 percent of aging is determined by genetic factors. The other 70 percent you control through your behaviors. Here are just a few examples of how you can alter the way your genes affect your health:

Exercise for 30 minutes. 
Cook with olive oil. 
Write a thank-you note. 

Weight Loss with Vitamin D & Calcium

Give yourself the power to say no to waist-padding foods by adding this to your diet: a calcium and vitamin D supplement.

When female dieters did this in one study, they ate fewer fatty foods and lost four times more weight than the women who didn't take the supplement.

Keep the Calcium Coming:

Why might a calcium supplement help? Researchers theorize that when your calcium intake is too low, your body may start craving foods rich in the mineral. And, unfortunately, many foods high in calcium are also high in fat and calories (think ice cream and full-fat cheese). But the women in the study who were getting the least calcium (less than 600 milligrams per day) lost not only more weight but also more body fat while taking a supplement.

Why Both Is Best:

When you take vitamin D with calcium, your body absorbs more of the calcium, so a combo supplement is best. Try these additional tips for slimming down faster:

Have a clear goal. Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 100, setting a goal and tracking your progress will help you get there.

Eat for the right reason. If you're eating because you're depressed rather than hungry, you need to understand yourself in order to stop. Here's more on the chemistry of emotional eating.

Move your feet. A walk every day helps melt the pounds away. Find out how quickly you can walk off the fat.

Gum Problems Might Lead to Cancer !!!

You know flossing is a great way to fend off gum disease. But cancer?

Turns out that there might be a connection. A study of lifestyle habits showed that people with healthy gums also enjoyed a lower risk of developing any type of cancer.

Telling Teeth

In the study, researchers used questionnaires to track the health histories and lifestyle habits of close to 50,000 men for nearly 18 years. Compared with men who had no track record of gum problems, men with a history of gum disease were 14 percent more likely to develop cancer -- any kind, although the link was especially strong for lung and pancreatic cancer. Check out this article for the skinny on how flossing affects your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The Gateway to Good Health

How gum problems might lead to cancer isn't totally clear, but other research indicates that people with gum disease usually have higher blood levels of certain inflammatory markers that are also associated with cancer and other health problems. Yep, healthy teeth may mean more than just a pretty smile. Here are a few more ways to keep your whites pearly:

Increase their wattage with food. These bites can help brighten your smile and shield your teeth from stains.

Put on the kettle for strong teeth. Find out why green tea is good for your gums.

Keep your smile sweet with the right snacks. Here's a treat even your dentist will approve of.

Strategies to Help Reduce Stress


Without some stress, we'd be little more than slugs (minus the motivation to do the things that enrich our lives), but too much stress can affect our health and even contribute to major depression (also known as clinical depression, major depressive disorder, or MDD). "If prolonged, stress can lead to headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal problems," says Simon Rego, PsyD, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y. "It can also affect appetite, sleep, and mood, generating anxiety and depression."

For people predisposed to depression -- especially major depression -- or who are already depressed, stress can be overwhelming, triggering a downward slide. "Depression is like kindling on the forest floor," says Daniel Buccino, MSW, clinical supervisor and assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. "Stressors can sometimes be the spark that ignites the vulnerability to depression."

In part that's because chronic stress may change behavior in ways that fuel clinical depression, Rego says. "For example, people who are stressed tend not to go out as much or sleep as well, or they may overeat or drink too much. Those things can generate symptoms of depression."

Try these strategies to help reduce stress and overcome major depression:

  • Recognize what causes your stress. "Each person needs to know [his or her] particular vulnerabilities to certain kinds of stress," Buccino says. Maybe too little sleep or too many commitments at work put you over the edge. "Figure out your limits and then try to manage them," Buccino says.
  • Exercise. Moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking at talking speed, can help lift people out of anxiety, stress, and depression, Rego says. Exercise isn't a substitute for medical treatment for major depression, but it can help support your recovery.
  • Tap into social support. "People who are stressed and depressed tend not to use social support networks," Rego says. "Reaching out to friends or trusted colleagues can buffer stress and offer an outside opinion on stressors, and connections can create a sense of belonging, which lessens depression." Connections don't always have to be in person: Start out with a text or an e-mail, or Skype.
  • Challenge your perspective. "When people stress, they tend to see only threatening information," Rego says. "Examine your thoughts to see if they're as negative as you think. For instance, if you're stuck in a traffic jam, instead of thinking you'll never arrive on time, ask yourself, 'What's the worst that can happen if I'm late?'"
  • Sign up for therapy. If you have clinical depression, psychotherapy is probably part of your treatment. It's a great tool to treat major depression and address stress, Buccino says. "You're forming a useful working alliance with another person, whether to gain insight or make changes."