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Daily Archives: November 4, 2016

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Roasted Gnocchi & Brussels Sprouts with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

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Roasted Gnocchi & Brussels Sprouts with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe
Roasted Gnocchi & Brussels Sprouts with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
In this quick vegetarian dinner recipe, you can skip boiling the gnocchi—they’ll cook through while roasting on the sheet pan with the rest of the ingredients. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, use 1 small regular lemon in Step 2 and use 4 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons orange juice in Step 4.

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Why Songs Get Stuck In Your Head—and How to Get Them Out 

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Why do some songs stick in our heads for infuriatingly long periods of time? According to the first large-scale study of its kind, it’s all about their combination of upbeat tempos, easy-to-remember melodies, and a little something unexpected. The new research looked at some of the most popular songs with this “stick factor"—and gives advice for how to get them unstuck, as well.

Tunes that we can’t seem to shake are sometimes known as earworms, or referred to in the scientific community as involuntary musical imagery. It makes sense that recent chart-toppers that get lots of radio play are more likely to find their place deep in our brains, but that theory—and the reasoning why some songs are catchier (and stickier) than others—has not been widely examined in a scientific way.

So Kelly Jakubowski, PhD, a former psychology teaching fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, set out to do just that. Between 2010 and 2013, she and and her fellow researchers asked 3,000 people about their most frequent earworm, and compared those tunes' melodic features to other songs that were just as popular during the same time period (based on U.K. music charts), but were not named in the survey.

They found that the songs commonly cited as earworms were more likely to have fast tempos and, overall, fairly generic melodic contours. An example of a common contour pattern can be heard in Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, where the first phrase rises in pitch and the second falls, Jakubowski noted in a press release.

This rising-and-falling pitch pattern is followed in other nursery rhymes, as well, which makes them easy for young children to remember. And it's used in plenty of pop music, too, she says—like the beginning of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” one of the most common earworms named in the study.

But earworms also tend to have some unique and unusual intervals, such as musical leaps or repeated notes, that set them apart from the average pop song. Jakubowski cites the opening notes of “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple, the chorus of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” or the instrumental riffs of “My Sharona” by the Knack as examples.

"Our findings show that you can to some extent predict which songs are going to get stuck in people's heads based on the song's melodic content,” said Jakubowski, who’s now a research assistant in the Department of Music at Durham University. “This could help aspiring songwriters or advertisers write a jingle everyone will remember for days or months afterwards.”

The study confirmed the idea that frequent and recent exposure to a song make it more likely to become an earworm, and that people who sing and listen to music often tend to experience this phenomenon more than others. It also found that words, images, and other associations can bring songs to mind, often from deep in our memories.

"We now also know that, regardless of the chart success of a song, there are certain features of the melody that make it more prone to getting stuck in people's heads like some sort of private musical screensaver,” said Jakubowski.

But here’s the part of the study you’ve probably been waiting for: what to do about it when it happens to you. Based on survey responses of what’s worked for other people, the authors make three recommendations:

1. Engage with the song. Many people said that listening to a song all the way through helps quiet the constant loop in their heads.

2. Distract yourself. Thinking about or listening to another song helps some people, too. In the study—which surveyed Brits—the top-named “cure song” was “God Save the Queen.” (Maybe the U.S. equivalent is the “Star Spangled Banner?”)

3. Let it be. Other people reported that the best way to get rid of an earworm was to just try not to think about it, and let it fade away naturally on its own.

Jakubowski says that 90 percent of us get songs stuck in our heads at least once a week, normally when the brain is not doing much—while we’re in the shower, walking, or doing mindless chores, for example. Further research on this topic could potentially help scientists understand how brain networks involved in perception, emotion, memory, and spontaneous thought behave in different people, she says.

The study, which was published today in the academic journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, lists the following as the most frequently named earworms. (Remember, the survey was done between 2010 and 2013.) We apologize in advance for bringing them up, as we know you’ll be humming them all week long.

Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Can't Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue
Don't Stop Believing – Journey
Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
California Gurls – Katy Perry
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Alejandro – Lady Gaga
Poker Face – Lady Gaga

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

 

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The fit lifestyle with Cassey Ho

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The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

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Tired of starting a diet every summer of every other Monday? We chat to blogger Cassey Ho about how she stays fit and healthy all year round. Take note.

Aim for balance with food: I allow myself a YOLO (you only live once) meal once or twice a week. But the rest of the time I eat clean, enjoying lots of plant foods, fresh produce, grass-fed meats, wholegrains and unsweetened beverages. I try to eat carbs, protein and healthy fats at every meal to keep me full and energised. The one thing I minimise is dairy – it makes my skin break out. I also avoid foods high in sodium, saturated or unhealthy fats, chemicals and preservatives, additives and colours.

Lose the rules: Going on diets or strict meal plans just doesn’t work for me. I always crave the foods I’m missing out on, and once that ‘diet’ is over, I want to binge on the foods I was restricting. Over time, I’ve learned to eat in a balanced way – that way I no longer have crazy cravings for junk food that cause me to binge and feel guilty.

Avoid extremes: When I was prepping for my bikini competition several years ago, I was put on this crazy diet of only eating about 1000-to-1200 calories (around 4, 200kJ) a day while I was working out for four hours a day! As a result I felt tired, irritable, angry and frustrated. My mind was foggy and I couldn’t concentrate. I was labelling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and felt like I was trapped in food jail. For eight to 10 weeks I endured this crazy plan. I did the bikini competition with my new, lean body, and then I decided to go back to ‘normal-healthy’. But when I tried to introduce a variety of foods back into my diet, like brown rice, quinoa and different types of protein, my body did not like that at all. It acted like a sponge, soaking everything up. 

For the next three years, I gradually gained weight. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. During this time, I was still working out really hard for about one hour a day, but my body just didn’t respond. It rebelled. It was seriously frustrating because in my mind, I was doing everything right. Diet and exercise should equal weight loss or at least weight maintenance. But because of the damage and stress that I put my body under during that bikini prep, my hormones became unbalanced and I am still getting back to normal.

Aim for more sleep and less stress: I learned a lot from my bikini comp experience. Cortisol, the stress hormone, increases when you significantly lower your kilojoules, over-exercise and/or don’t have enough sleep. And cortisol plays a role in increasing abdominal fat, more specifically, lower-belly fat. This stress also decreases leptin, the hormone that controls your appetite. So you feel extra hungry all the time and it’s likely that you may crave those carbs and high-fat foods. That’s exactly what happened to me. Getting enough sleep, eating sufficient kilojoules and taking time to de-stress and relax are really important for your waistline and wellbeing.

Treat yourself: When you deprive yourself of cake or ice-cream, you start to think about them all the time and that leads to bingeing. Instead, I allow myself treats – in moderation. And because I know I can have them from time to time, I don’t crave them or eat more of them than I should.

Focus on health, not weight: I rarely step on the scales anymore because I know that my weight does not tell me how strong or fast I am. When I’m at my healthiest, I can tell by how I feel. When I am consistent with my diet and workouts, I am happy, motivated and energised. When I start to feel sluggish and drained, I know that my eating habits may be off and my workouts aren’t as routine – so I address that.

Use the seasons: What I love about the changing seasons is that they allow me to prepare myself for fresh beginnings four times a year. So with each season I see a chance to refocus and find a new rhythm and routine to optimise my health goals. I also try to rediscover delicious seasonal flavours to keep my clean-eating habits on track.

Keep exercise simple: You don’t need big shiny equipment to work out. Simply walking or taking the stairs can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy body. There are also endless exercises you can perform at home to sculpt your best body. For my POP Pilates exercise I just use a yoga mat to cushion my body against the floor. Then all the exercises use my own body weight to stay fit. If you’re not enjoying your exercise routine, try something else. Exercise should never be a chore – it should be something you always look forward to and then you don’t want to skip it. You shouldn’t have to work for hours a day to enjoy results. When I started combining HIIT with POP Pilates in my new PIIT (Pilates intense interval training) program my body strengthened and increased endurance like never before – and it’s only 28 minutes a day!

Head over to Cassey Ho’s Instagram for more!

 

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