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The Weight Loss Motivation Bible: How To Program Your Mind For Sustainable Fat Loss

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5 Healthy Travel Hacks to Help You Stay on Track

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Traveling isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds. Long drives, cab rides, flights, hours in terminals, and the occasional jaunt through a train station can result in major stress — on the body and mind. For me, travel is a fact of my everyday life. The benefit of that, beyond frequent flyer miles and knowing how to pack very quickly, is knowing the simple tricks to staying healthy while on the go.

So how do you make sure your traveling doesn’t interfere with your healthy habits? Here are my five best tips that you can start today to get back on track!

1. Bring Healthy Snacks With You
The stress of traveling can make you hungry, so it’s a good idea to keep something on hand that will satisfy you. Let’s be honest here, there aren’t many healthy options on an airplane, so packing healthy snacks is your best bet. According to Toronto-based culinary nutritionist Keisha Luke, “Try to bring along some mixed nuts, low-sugar or naturally sweetened with raw honey, maple syrup, agave, or even dried fruit granola, protein balls (natural peanut butter, oatmeal, honey, and nuts), fruits, and opt for water when offered a beverage.”

2. Wear Your Exercise Shoes
Heck, wear your sweats, too! Why? Because exercise clothes and shoes are never out of style, plus dressing for fitness means that you’ll be more likely to walk to your destinations. You’re also more likely to go check out the city, the gym, or the mall a few blocks away without calling a cab.

The more you walk during your time away from home, the better you will feel. Take the long way, take the stairs, whatever you’ve gotta do to keep moving, do it.

3. Order à la Carte
Most meals are already put together for you on many menus, and most of the time you’ll have no idea what the calorie content is. Luke told us to keep it simple: “Order things you know are healthy. For dinners, pick a lean cut of meat and choose sides that are as simple as possible such as steamed veggies, brown rice, quinoa, or a side salad.”

For lunches, choose turkey wraps, salads, or other lighter fare and opt for more simple dressings. Say no to fries as a side, and choose sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, or even a small salad instead. Remember: there’s no law that says you have to finish everything they put in front of you. We won’t tell your mom, honest!

Breakfast can be tricky with all the sweet treats offered such as pancakes, french toast, and more, so choose wisely and go for good old eggs and oatmeal if you have to. Even a cup of yogurt can be a great option here.

For drinks, stick to water or unsweetened tea. If you drink alcohol, keep it to a minimum and choose wisely. No cola in your mixed drinks; go for unsweetened grapefruit juice or seltzer and lime as a mixer.

4. Bring Your Personal Trainer and Nutritionist With You
Literally! With today’s technology making it possible, you can still travel and complete your sessions with a personal trainer or fitness apps. Either plan ahead with your trainer for some Skype sessions to stay on track, or as certified personal trainer Heather Neff told us, “Use LiftSession.com; all you need is a laptop or tablet and some WiFi (which is usually available and free at hotels) to get in a great workout.”

Mobile personal trainer apps and sites allow you to connect with a live online personal trainer and never miss a workout while you are traveling. You can do it from the comfort of your own hotel room (or mom’s guest bedroom).

You can do the same thing with your nutrition. Either seek out food delivery services that will get your meals to you no matter where you are, or seek out a culinary nutritionist in the city you plan on visiting to give your diet a new kick.

5. Do Your Best and Don’t Dwell on a Mistake
You’re traveling, after all. This is supposed to be an exciting time where you get to try new things and let loose a little. My best advice would be to never eat two bad meals in a row, keep moving as much as you can, and enjoy your time away. In addition to that, try to de-stress and have a little fun. You deserve it.

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Newsweek Writer Says Tweet Caused Epileptic Seizure

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There's no question certain tweets can throw you for a loop. But can a tweet actually cause a seizure?

Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald—who has publicly revealed that he has epilepsy—says a troll sent him a malicious tweet meant to do exactly that, and it worked.

After Eichenwald appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight last Thursday, he wrote a series of tweets referencing his acrimonious interview with the Fox News anchor. Apparently the seizure occurred later that night: Newsweek reports that another user sent Eichenwald an image of a strobe light with the message, "You deserve a seizure for your postings." 

On Friday, Eichenwald announced that he would be taking a break from the social media platform: "I will be spending that time with my lawyers &  law enforcement going after 1 of u…" 

"This not going to happen again," he wrote in another tweet. "My wife is terrified. I am … disgusted."

According to Newsweek, Eichenwald's lawyer has filed a criminal assault complaint with the Dallas Police Department, and plans to file a similar complaint in the jurisdiction of the user once that person is identified.

RELATED: 6 Things That Can Trigger a Seizure Even If You Don't Have Epilepsy

So how could a tweet trigger an epileptic seizure? We asked Derek Chong, MD, director of the epilepsy program and vice chair of neurology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, to explain: "There are some people who are very susceptible to strobes and flashing lights. If you open the message and it automatically plays and you’re really susceptible to it, you could potentially have a seizure." (Dr. Chong is not familiar with the specifics of Eichenwald's experience.)

This would fall into the category of photosensitive epilepsy, one of several reflex epilepsies—epiliepsies where an outside stimulus brings on seizures, Dr. Chong explains. The stimulus can be something in the environment, like a certain smell or noise, or can involve more complex behaviors such as reading, bathing, eating, doing math, or even thinking about certain topics. (Sometimes, a specific type of music can trigger seizures—one woman on Long Island had seizures whenever she heard Sean Hall on the radio, says Dr. Chong.) Reflex epilepsies account for about 5% of all cases of epilepsy; photosensitive epilepsy comprises 3% of total cases. Flashing lights are "a well-known trigger," says Dr. Chong. 

RELATED: 9 Foods That May Help Save Your Memory

Other factors besides an outside stimulus can trigger a seizure. If Eichenwald had already had a stressful day, for instance, and the level of excitability in his brain was already pushed very high, then "this could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Dr. Chong explains. 

Fortunately, Eichenwald seems to be okay. Earlier today, he reiterated his outrage on Twitter, and tried to put the seriousness of the attack in context: "Folks, if a blind man says things you don't like politically, it is not okay to direct him toward the edge of a cliff. Find some humanity."

The writer's metaphor is no exaggeration. Each year, some 50,000 people in the United States die as a result of seizures. In general, people with seizures have up to triple the risk of dying than someone without.

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9 Health Editors Share How They Practice Self Care

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Between long hours at work, weekend chores, dinner plans with friends, and time for your family, your calendar is overflowing. But can you remember the last time you took an hour, maybe even two, for yourself? If you had to think longer than a few seconds, you may want to consider taking a step back and reevaluating your schedule. Prioritizing everyone else in your life may seem honorable, but the reality is, totally neglecting yourself isn’t good for anyone. In order to take care of others, you first need to take care of yourself. (It's kind of like the safety messages on airplanes: "In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.”) So whether you’re facing a rough patch or simply going through the day-to-day grind, self-care should always be on your agenda. Need some inspiration on how to spend your me-time? Here are some self-care practices the editors at Health swear by.

RELATED: 5 Powerful Mantras to Help You Quiet Anxiety, Beat Self-Doubt, Manage Stress, and More

Sweat it out

"It’s the answer you always hear, but making time every day to exercise is my form of self-care. I’m a firm believer in that saying, ‘You’re only one workout away from a good mood.’ In particular, boxing is a huge physical and mental release for me, and barre classes take me back to my ballet days, which feels especially therapeutic. My other self-care move is curling up in my giant fuzzy blanket and watching Sex and the City reruns. It’s mindless and relaxing and just feels great sometimes." —Jacqueline Andriakos, associate editor

Tune in to YouTube

"When I’m feeling down, I typically turn to my favorite form of escapism: YouTube videos. Having a moment when I can just veg out, slap on a calming sheet mask, and watch a video by one of my favorite YouTubers (looking at you, Estée Lalonde and SoothingSista), allows me to momentarily get out of my own head. It might sound silly, but just like reading a good book, watching a good YouTube video takes me out of my own world and into someone else’s, even if just for 10 minutes. It’s enough time for me to put my thoughts and feelings into perspective and luckily, if I need more than 10 minutes of down time, there’s a whole YouTube world out there waiting for me to enjoy."—Julia Naftulin, editorial assistant

RELATED: 8 Relaxing Gift Ideas for a Friend Who's Stressed to the Max

Create a relaxing routine

"I’ve recently started a new nighttime self-care routine that I think has been helping me de-stress and fall asleep a little more easily. Step 1: Turn off the TV around 10 p.m. and force myself to stop refreshing my Facebook feed. Step 2: Make a cup of chamomile tea. Step 3: Turn off all lights in my bedroom, light a few candles, and set up my yoga mat. Step 4: Do the “Bedtime Yoga” sequence from Yoga by Adriene. It’s a 36-minute gentle yoga routine that includes moves to help you unwind and relax muscles, plus a short meditation to set your intentions for the following day." —Kathleen Mulpeeter, senior editor

Grab some knitting needles

"Lately I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. At first it was for practical reasons (I’m making my husband a scarf for Christmas), but I’ve found it has emotional benefits too. The repetitive motion is super soothing, almost meditative—it’s a great before-bed wind-down activity. I’m just bad enough a knitter that I have to concentrate a little on what I’m doing—I can’t knit on autopilot—so it’s very absorbing. I can be sitting on the couch or at the sidelines during my kids’ sports activities and find that 30 minutes has gone by without my even noticing. There’s the satisfaction of having something real and tactile to show for my time. Best of all, it keeps both hands busy so I stay off my phone!" —Jeannie Kim, executive deputy editor

"A few years ago I was going through a rough period in my life and I decided to take up knitting at night when I was having a hard time sleeping. My aunt had taught me the basic stitch when I was a teenager, so I went to my local Michael’s store and bought a bright chunky ball of yarn and got started. Since then, I’ve knit scarves for everyone I love, and this winter I’m planning on paying it forward with a knitting circle making scarves for homeless people in NYC." —MaryAnn Barone, social media editor

RELATED: A Meditation for Dealing With Conflict

Escape with Friends

"There is nothing better than coming home after a long day, lighting some great smelling candles, having a cup of tea and reading a good book in my bed. If I’m not in the mood to focus on a book, I’ll instead put on Friends or some other happy, funny TV show in the background and play games on my iPad. I could do that for days." —Chelsey Hamilton, editorial assistant

Pound the pavement

"If I can, I head out for a run. Especially in the cold weather, a run is very meditative for me—hearing each foot strike and a steady breath can be extremely grounding. And as someone who can’t sit still, classic meditation/breathing exercises do almost nothing for me to relax. Running is also a huge confidence boost—I feel powerful and in control of my body and mind. In training for races, I’ve forgotten how much a run can absolutely turn around my perspective. When you’re going out for a predetermined amount of miles, at a certain pace, on already tired legs, it can feel like such a chore. But last week, when I was feeling stressed and antsy, I decided to head out the door and run for however long I felt like. I came back feeling relaxed and re-centered." —Alison Mango, editorial producer

Pick up a good read

"I know it sounds cliché, but getting lost in a book is my favorite form of self-care. With a two-year-old at home, I don’t have that much time to read. But I sneak in 10 minutes here and there—on the bus, while my son naps, before bed. Right now I’m halfway through Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, and it is exactly the escape I need." —Catherine Di Benedetto, features director

RELATED: 7 Health Truths We Wish We Knew In Our 20s

Laugh at what you know

"For me, self-care is curling up on the couch and watching a TV show that makes me laugh. When I’m feeling stressed, my go-tos are reruns of Seinfeld, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, and The Office—I’ve seen all the episodes more times than I can count, but that’s the beauty of it. Watching them helps shut off the negative part of my brain for a while." —Christine Mattheis, deputy editor

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Sitting in Traffic is Bad for Your Health

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If you’ll be driving on busy roads this holiday weekend, you might want to take note of a new study about traffic and air pollution: The research, conducted by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, suggests that keeping car windows closed and fans switched off while stuck in slow-moving traffic jams can reduce your risk of exposure to toxic fumes by up to 76 percent.

Using the fan’s or air conditioner’s “recirculate” option ranked second best when researchers tested five different ventilation settings, and they say that this can also be a good choice for reducing exposure to pollutants.

The findings aren’t just applicable to weekend or vacation driving; in their paper, the study authors note that daily commuting time has increased over the years in Britain, where people spent about an hour each day driving to and from work in 2013. The numbers are similar in the United States: Americans spend an average of nearly 52 minutes on their round-trip commutes, according to 2013 government data.

RELATED: The Psychology of Road Rage

Air pollution is considered among the top 10 health risks faced by humans by the World Health Organization, which attributes it to 7 million premature deaths a year. It’s an especially big problem in urban cities, the study authors write, where traffic-light intersections are known as “pollution hotspots that contribute disproportionately higher to overall commuting exposure.” Last year, the same researchers showed that drivers stuck at traffic lights were exposed to up to 29 times more harmful pollution particles than those driving in free-flowing traffic.

In London, they note, air pollution is estimated to kill more than 10 times the amount of people as automobile accidents.  And in the United States, exposure to ambient particulate matter is the eighth leading cause of death.

The researchers wanted to study the effects of different vehicle ventilation systems on a driver’s or passenger’s exposure to both fine and coarse particulate matter—two types of pollution consisting of vehicle exhaust, ozone, and other toxins prevalent the air. So they performed readings both inside and outside a 2002 Ford Fiesta in Guildford, a “typical UK town” of about 137,000 residents, at busy three- and four-way traffic intersections during winter-season rush hours.

RELATED: 15 Small Changes for a Leaner, Healthier You

Five scenarios were studied, with different combinations of windows (open or closed), fan (off, partial speed, or full speed), and heat (off, low temperature, or high temperature). When it came to pollution exposure, results varied widely depending on the ventilation.

When driving with the windows open, particulate matter readings in the car were equal to those outside of the car. When the windows were rolled up and the fan was switched off, however, exposure to particulate matter was reduced by up to 76 percent.

"Where possible and with weather conditions allowing, it is one of the best ways to limit your exposure by keeping windows shut, fans turned off and to try and increase the distance between you and the car in front while in traffic jams or stationary at traffic lights,” said lead author Prashant Kumar, Ph.D., in a press release. “If the fan or heater needs to be on, the best setting would be to have the air re-circulating within the car without drawing in air from outdoors."

RELATED: How to (Safely) Share the Road With Bad Drivers

Kumar’s study isn’t the first to suggest that hitting the recirculate button is a good option while stuck in traffic; a 2013 study from University of California researchers also came to similar conclusions. This was, however one of the first studies to test several different ventilation options head-to-head at busy urban intersections, specifically.

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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How to Break a Bad Habit in 3 Steps

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You're a nail biter. Spend too much time on the couch watching TV. A chip fiend and chronic late-night snacker. But here's some good news if you have a weakness you just can't seem to shake: Research is shedding light on the most effective ways to break a habit for good. Here, three simple tactics to help you quit once and for all.

Tune in to the urge

One study of smokers found that mindfulness training was twice as effective at helping people quit as a more standard, behavior-based cessation program. The researchers believe mindfulness can work for any type of pattern you're trying to fix. Plugging into the feelings associated with a craving helps you become less in thrall to it, so you can learn to let it go. 

RELATED: Women Feel Better About Their Bodies Than They Used To

Change your environment 

Your surroundings can encourage a bad habit or facilitate a good one. Practical pointers: To stave off autopilot snacking on sweets, for example, swap the cookie jar with a fruit bowl. Or, if you need to stop checking your phone at red lights, move it from the cup holder to your zipped handbag. 

Replace that habit with a healthier one

Bad habits tend to have triggers (like stress) that prompt you to engage in them. So come up with a plan ahead of time for how you will respond to those cues: If you, say, chew your nails when you get frazzled at work, start practicing deep breathing each time you feel overwhelmed. 

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