We all do it: Texting while walking, sending emails during meetings, chatting on the phone while cooking dinner. In today's society, doing just one thing at a time seems downright luxurious, even wasteful. But chances are, you're not doing yourself (or your boss, or your friends and family) any favors by multitasking your way through the day. Research shows that it's not nearly as efficient as we like to believe, and can even be harmful to our health. Here are 12 reasons why you should stop everything you're doing—well, all but one thing—and rethink the way you work, socialize, and live your life. You're not really multitasking What you call multitasking is really task-switching, said Guy Winch, author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries. “When it comes to attention and productivity, our brains have a finite amount,” he says. “It's like a pie chart, and whatever we're working on is going to take up the majority of that pie. There's not a lot left over for other things, with the exception of automatic behaviors like walking or chewing gum.” Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity, he says, because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears—plus, you never get fully “in the zone” for either activity. Health.com: 10 Tricks for Paying Attention It's slowing you down Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn't save time. In fact, it will probably take you longer to finish two projects when you're jumping back and forth than it would to finish each one separately. The same is true even for behaviors as seemingly automatic as driving: In a 2008 University of Utah study, drivers took longer to reach their destinations when they chatted on cell phones. “What tends to save the most time is to do things in batches,” said Winch. “Pay your bills all at once, then send your emails all at once. Each task requires a specific mindset, and once you get in a groove you should stay there and finish.” You're making mistakes Experts estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40 percent loss in productivity. It can also cause you to introduce errors into whatever you're working on, especially if one or more of your activities involves a lot of critical thinking. A 2010 French study found that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks without too much trouble, because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. Add a third task, however, and it can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase the number of mistakes you make. Health.com: 15 Signs You May Have Adult ADHD It's stressing you out When University of California Irvine researchers measured the heart rates of employees with and without constant access to office email, they found that those who received a steady stream of messages stayed in a perpetual “high alert” mode with higher heart rates. Those without constant email access did less multitasking and were less stressed because of it. And it's not only the physical act of multitasking that causes stress; it's the consequences, as well, says Winch. “If you do poorly on an exam because you studied while watching a baseball game on TV, that can certainly trigger a lot of stress—even self-esteem issues and depression.” You're missing out on life Forget seeing the forest for the trees or the glass half full—people who are busy doing two things at once don't even see obvious things right in front of them, according to a 2009 study from Western Washington University. Specifically, 75 percent of college students who walked across a campus square while talking on their cell phones did not notice a clown riding a unicycle nearby. The researchers call this “inattentional blindness,” saying that even though the cell-phone talkers were technically looking at their surroundings, none of it was actually registering in their brains. Your memory may suffer It makes sense that if you try to do two things at once—read a book and watch television, for example—that you're going to miss important details of one or both. But even interrupting one task to suddenly focus on another can be enough to disrupt short term memory, according to a 2011 study. When University of California San Francisco researchers asked participants to study one scene, but then abruptly switched to a different image, people ages 60 to 80 had a harder time than those in their 20s and 30s disengaging from the second picture and remembering details about the first. As the brain ages, researchers say, it has a harder time getting back on track after even a brief detour. Health.com: 7 Ways to Protect Your Memory It's hurting your relationships “This is an area where I think multitasking has a much bigger effect than most people realize,” said Winch. “A couple is having a serious talk and the wife says 'Oh, let me just check this message.' Then the husband gets mad, and then he decides to check his messages, and communication just shuts down.” One recent study from the University of Essex even shows that just having a cell phone nearby during personal conversations—even if neither of you are using it—can cause friction and trust issues. “Do your relationship a favor and pay your partner some exclusive attention for 10 minutes,” said Winch. “It can make a big difference.” It can make you overeat Being distracted during mealtime can prevent your brain from fully processing what you've eaten, according to a 2013 review of 24 previous studies. Because of that, you won't feel as full, and may be tempted to keep eating—and to eat again a short time later. Experts recommend that even people who eat alone should refrain from turning on the television while eating, and to truly pay attention to their food. Eating lunch at your computer? Slow down and take a break from the screen to focus on each bite. Health.com: Little Daily Tricks to Wake Up Slimmer You're not actually good at it Yes, you. You may think you're a master multitasker, but, according to a 2013 University of Utah study, that probably means you're actually among the worst. The research focused specifically on cell phone use behind the wheel, and it found that people who scored highest on multitasking tests do not frequently engage in simultaneous driving and cell-phone use—probably because they can better focus on one thing at a time. Those who do talk and drive regularly, however, scored worse on the tests, even though most described themselves as having above average multitasking skills. It's dampening your creativity Multitasking requires a lot of what's known as “working memory,” or temporary brain storage, in layman's terms. And when working memory's all used up, it can take away from our ability to think creatively, according to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Too much focus can actually harm performance on creative problem-solving tasks,” the authors wrote in their 2010 study. With so much already going on in their heads, they suggest, multitaskers often find it harder to daydream and generate spontaneous “a ha moments.” Health.com: New Ways to Boost Your Brain Power You can't OHIO No, not the state&#33; Psychiatrists and productivity experts often recommend OHIO: Only Handle It Once. “This is a rule of thumb for many people with ADHD, but it can also be practiced by anyone who wants to be more organized,” says Winch. “It basically means if you take something on, don't stop until you've finished it.” The problem with multitasking, though, is that it makes Only Handling It Once a near impossibility—instead, you're handling it five or six times, says Winch. “If you're going to stick to this principle, you need to be disciplined and plan out your day so that when a distraction arises or a brilliant idea occurs to you, you know that there will be time for it later.” It can be dangerous Texting or talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, is as dangerous as driving drunk—yet that doesn't stop many adults from doing it, even while they have their own children in the car. It's not just driving that puts you at risk for the consequences of multitasking, either. Research also shows that people who use mobile devices while walking are less likely to look before stepping into a crosswalk. And in one study, one in five teenagers who went to the emergency room after being hit by a car admitted they were using a smartphone at the time of the accident. This article originally appeared on Health.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/18/12-reasons-to-stop-multitasking-now/
We all fib a little, but telling your co-worker her new haircut looks great (when what you're really thinking is “oh my&#33;”) is pretty harmless. Lying to yourself about your own eating habits on the other hand, can wreak some real mental and physical havoc; and a new study shows it may be pretty common. In my private practice, I make it very clear to my clients that my role is not to scold, berate, or act like a food cop. In fact, it's just the opposite, because fostering an open, non-judgmental dialogue about your relationship with food is the only way to uncover some truths you may be pushing under the rug. And until they're exposed, they're pretty impossible to change. Here are five many of my clients reveal, and why coming clean with yourself can be the answer to finally losing weight—for good. 'I eat when I'm hungry, and stop when I'm full' When reviewing my clients' food diaries, I often see snacks, driven by hunger, just an hour or two after fairly substantial meals–generally a sign that something is out of sync. When I ask, “What did the hunger feel like?” it often turns out to be emotional or social, rather than physical in nature. In other words, there are no bodily symptoms that signaled a need for energy or nourishment, and in truth, many clients know this to be true. One once said, “I realize it's not really hunger, but I fool myself into thinking it is, because I don't know what else to do.” Alternative: The toughest part of recognizing that you want to eat, but not because your body is telling you to, is acknowledging that what you really need has nothing to do with food. But once you do just that, and find other healthy ways to cope with what's really going on (anxiety, relationship issuesâ€¦), the weight may effortlessly fall off (day after day after day, just 200 surplus calories can keep you 20 pounds heavier). If you don't keep a food diary already, start one, and include not just what you eat and how much, but also your hunger level before and after meals, in addition to your emotions. The revelations may allow you to break the pattern. Health.com: 20 Snacks That Burn Fat 'I'm not a big drinker' I've heard this from many clients who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, are chronic binge drinkers (consuming four or more drinks in a two hour period for women, five for men). For some, the self-categorization is justified, because they don't drink during the week, have already cut back, or are comparing themselves to friends who drink a whole lot more. But after some reflection, I often hear sentiments like, “I know polishing off a bottle of wine by myself isn't good, even if it's only on the weekends.” Alternative: For most of my clients, drinking has a domino effect that travels in both directions. Knocking a few back drinks on Saturday night often leads to eating more at dinner, followed by going out to brunch on Sunday, skipping the gym Monday morning, and giving into the office candy dish Monday afternoon.&#160; On the flip side, cutting back on booze often leads to feeling “cleaner,” more in control, and motivated to eat healthier and be more active—changes that can be transformative for both your waistline and health. If you're using alcohol as an emotional crutch, or it's integral to your social scene, reach out to someone you trust. I've had clients break out of this pattern simply by connecting with a close friend or family member who supported their decision to cut back, or stop drinking all together. Health.com: How to Drink Alcohol Without Gaining Weight 'I eat really healthfully most of the time' I often hear this statement right after a client tells me about a decadent vacation, dinner out, or holiday that involved overeating. And while some believe it to be true, many know that on a day-to-day basis, while they don't pig out, they're not exactly earning gold stars, especially when it comes to hitting the mark for veggies, or reaching for whole, rather than refined grains. After acknowledging that she was looking at her diet through rose-colored glasses, one client said, “I think I was giving myself an A when what I really earned was more like a B-.” Alternative: It's OK to admit that you're not perfect, even if you're not perfect most of the time&#33; You can't set concrete goals that will improve your eating habits without coming to terms with how you really eat. For example, if you realize that you eat too much rice and not enough veggies at dinner, flip-flopping the portions (e.g. a half cup of brown rice and one cup of broccoli, instead of the reverse) shaves 20 grams of carbs from your meal. At one meal a day, that's a savings equivalent to walking on a treadmill at four miles per hour for 85 hours. Health.com: Best Superfoods for Weight Loss 'I eat 5 or 6 small meals a day' The operative word here is “small.” Many of my clients who say this are actually eating five full meals, which by today's portion distortion standards, may seem small, but are actually far more than their bodies need. Admitting to this, one client said, “I think I've just gotten used to eating every few hours, or I thought it was the best thing to do, but it's clearly not working for me.” Alternative: Long stretches without eating can lead to rebound overeating, so well timed meals are key. But whether you eat four, five, or six times a day, your body's needs remain the same, which means if you want to eat more often, you must eat less each time you chow. For example, if you need 1,600 calories a day, you can eat: four 400 calorie meals; five 320 calorie meals; or six 266 calorie meals. The latter is a real challenge, because the meals end up being so mini, they don't feel like meals, leading to extra nibbles, which wind up feeding your fat cells. I don't advocate calorie counting, but if you think that too-frequent eating may be an issue, take inventory for a day or two, to gain some perspective. Health.com: 25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories A Day 'I can eat more because I work out a lot' I work with pro athletes and performers, but most of my clients work full time, on top of juggling family and social responsibilities, which often leads to fitting in far fewer workouts than they'd like. When they do hit the gym, they hit it hard, but many get there three days a week, while continuing to eat as if they're starting every day with a workout. One client confessed, “I think of myself as such an active person, but the truth is, it's more wishful thinking than reality.” Alternative: Rather than following the same routine every day of the week, establish a “baseline” eating plan, for non-exercise days, and add to it on the days you workout. Mentally, it's much easier to add to your plate, rather than take foods away, and with a daily regime that doesn't factor in fitness, if you just can't make it happen, you won't stick yourself with a surplus. Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's Health's contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S&#33; Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. This article originally appeared on Health.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/13/5-white-lies-that-stall-weight-loss/
It's officially the season of flip flops, swimsuits, and lots of summer traditions that revolve aroundâ€¦food&#33; From going out for ice cream to munching on popcorn while taking in a blockbuster film, the weeks between now and Labor Day can present some major nutritional hurdles. Here's how to sidestep seven classic calorie bombs, and seriously upgrade your health. Trade ice cream for frozen treats Many of my clients crack open a pint of ice cream, with every intention of stopping at one serving, only to wind up polishing off the whole thing. Switching to frozen yogurt shaves off some calories, but a pint can still cost you 800, twice as much as a slice of cheesecake. The swap: Nix store bought pints, and make your own novelty treats. Whip up a smoothie in the blender, pour it into popsicle molds and freeze. One cup of unsweetened almond milk, combined with one cup of frozen pitted cherries and one tablespoon each almond butter and dark chocolate chips will make four to six pops for just 280 total calories. Or whip up a batch of frozen bananas—dip mini naners into organic nonfat Greek yogurt seasoned with cinnamon or vanilla (or a plant-based alternative like coconut milk yogurt), sprinkle with oats and nuts, wrap in wax paper, and freeze. Health.com: Supercool Low-Cal Frozen Treats Lighten up your umbrella drinks A piÃ±a colada is the quintessential summer cocktail, but a 12-ounce portion packs 600 calories, the amount in an entire six pack of light beer. The swap: Rather than giving up those fun frou frou drinks, whip up your own tropical concoction. Combine a shot of rum with 4 ounces of 100 percent pineapple juice, a quarter cup of frozen banana slices, a quarter cup of unsweetened coconut milk, and a handful of ice. A refreshing, and much slimmer substitute, at just 175 calories. Reassess your sushi Old school sushi rolls, made with steamed rice, lean seafood, and veggies provide about 200 calories each, but many “new wave” sushis are loaded with creamy sauces, fatty meats, fried ingredients, and cream cheese, which can tack on at least a few hundred more. A dragon roll, for example, can pack 500 calories, more than a quarter pound burger. The swap: Ditch the white rice, which is soaked in water with sugar to make it sticky, and order appetizers and side dishes. All together, seared tuna, edamame and seaweed salad add up to less than 350 calories. Health.com: How to Order Healthy Asian Takeout Rethink your thirst quenchers There's nothing like a tall glass of ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day, but most are made from water, sweetener, and lemon flavoring (not fresh fruit), and a lot more sugar than you might think. Sixteen ounces of standard lemonade contains the equivalent of fourteen cubes of sugar, about same amount as soda, with absolutely zero vitamin C. The swap: Make your own. Just a quarter cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice provides over 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, a nutrient linked in research to less body fat and smaller waist measurements. For extra flavor, aroma, color, and an antioxidant boost, add sprigs of fresh mint. And if you need a little sweetener, add a splash of a pure fruit juice, rather than sugar. At just 40 calories per quarter cup, 100 percent white grape juice is a good option, but mashing a little fresh fruit in the bottom of the pitcher, like juicy strawberries (6 calories each), will also do the trick. Order your movie popcorn naked I absolutely cannot go to the movies and not get popcorn; it's one of my totally worth it splurges. Fortunately popcorn itself is actually a member of the whole grain family, an important food group most Americans fall short on, that's linked to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity. And because “popped corn” is fluffy, it's far lower in carbs than dense pretzels, chips, nachos, or candy. The secret to keeping it light is passing on the buttery topping. The swap: In this case, it's more of a strategy than a swap. A small order can contain 225-400 calories, but going bare (sans butter), saves 130 calories per tablespoon (about the size of your thumb, from where it bends to the tip). Health.com: Best and Worst Movie Foods Remodel your munchies Chips and dip are staples at summer get-togethers, but they're a real recipe for waistline disaster. A handful of potato chips and a golf ball sized portion of French onion dip add up to 375 calories, about as much as a medium order of fast food fries. The swap: Upgrade to hummus and veggies, and instead of pre-packaged, blend your own batch. A serving made from a half cup chickpeas, a half teaspoon of minced garlic, and tablespoon each of water, fresh squeezed lemon and extra virgin olive oil, provides less than 250 calories, but is packed with 6 grams of satisfying protein, 7 grams of filling fiber, good-for-you fat, and a spectrum of antioxidants. Scoop it up with low cal, nutrient-rich veggies, like fresh broccoli florets, grape tomatoes, and sliced cucumber. Deflate your buns Whether you grill up turkey, salmon, or black bean burgers, one of the savviest ways to slash excess calories is to get rid of the bun, especially if you'll be indulging in any other starchy sides, like potato salad. You probably won't miss it (I've never had a client who included hamburger buns on his or her can't-live-without food list), and replacing it can instantly save you 150-300 calories. The swap: Seventy five percent of Americans fail to fit in the recommended minimum three daily veggie servings, and one of the best ways to fill the gap is to wrap your protein of choice in either crisp lettuce leaves, or two grilled Portobello mushroom caps. The latter provide just 30 calories each, along with fiber, plenty of antioxidants, vitamin D, and a little bonus protein. Outer leaves of romaine, or bibb lettuce are virtually calorie free, and great sources of immune-supporting vitamin A. And while veggies may be a little messier than a bun, the nutritional trade offs are well worth the extra effort&#33; Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's Health's contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S&#33; Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. This article originally appeared on Health.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/04/7-ways-to-avoid-worst-summer-calorie-bombs/
Whether you earn your living working up a sweat, or squeeze in workouts when you can, it's easy to fall prey to eating errors that unintentionally hold you back from getting the most out of your workouts. Here are five common missteps I see, and how to correct them to reap the rewards of your hard work. Eating too little fat Despite my recommendations to include good fats at every meal, like avocado, nuts, seeds, and coconut oil, some of my clients remain fat phobic, and will scale back, fearing that fat is “fattening.” But the truth is, getting enough fat is a smart strategy for both sports nutrition and weight control, because fat: delays stomach emptying, so you feel fuller longer; increases satiety, to shut off hunger hormones; boosts antioxidant absorption, which in emerging research is related to leanness; and ups metabolic rate, to help you burn more calories. In fact, fat is one of the most vital nutrients in your diet, because it's a structural part of your cells, which means you can't heal a cell or construct a new one without enough fat to perform these important jobs. Cutting back too much can result in fatigue, chronic hunger, or a lack of satiety, irritability, depression, a weaker immune system, and an increased injury risk. So even if you're trying to reduce your body fat percentage, don't be afraid to add almond butter to a smoothie, top your salad with avocado, and sautÃ© your veggies in extra virgin olive oil. Filling the fat gap can be the key to finally seeing results. Health.com: &#160;Are You Making These Dieting Mistakes?
What if you had the ability to heal your body just by changing how you think and feel? I know it sounds radical, coming from a doctor. When people are doing everything “right”—eating veggies, avoiding red meat and processed foods, exercising, sleeping well and so forth—we should expect them to live long, prosperous lives and die of old age while peacefully slumbering, right? So why is it that so many health nuts are sicker than other people who pig out, guzzle beer and park in front of the TV…
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know to apply sunscreen. There's a lifesaving reason to: About 3.5 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year. “The incidence of skin cancer, including melanoma—the deadliest kind—is going up, and wearing sunscreen is one of the best ways to prevent it,” said Dr. Ronald Moy, a dermatologist and spokesperson for the Skin Cancer Foundation. Stick with these smart tips—and check out our product picks—to make sure you're as protected as you can possibly be. Select a sunscreen you love Finding your sunscreen soul mate is the key motivating factor for using it regularly, experts agree. “If you think your sunscreen is pasty, thick or smelly, you have the wrong kind,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dover, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Yale University. “It may make you less likely to put it on, or to reapply when you do.” Happily, there are plenty of lightweight, sheer formulas, like Vichy Capital Soleil Foaming lotion SPF 50 ($29; vichyusa.com) and La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light sunscreen fluid for face SPF 60 with Cell-Ox Shield XL ($30; laroche-posay.us). Health.com: Which Sunscreen Is Best For You? Remember, SPF 30 is the new 15 As a general rule, SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. Doctors now typically recommend at least SPF 30—at least being the key words. If you have a family history of skin cancer or are vacationing in a tropical spot (where the sun is especially intense), go for 50 or even 70. Just keep in mind: No sunscreen provides 100 percent protection. So to be as safe as possible, you still need to reapply every two hours and after a swim, even if you used the water-resistant kind, said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Try Neutrogena Beach Defense sunscreen spray broad-spectrum SPF 30 ($11; at mass retailers). FYI, sunscreen becomes less effective about three years after you open the container. Check labels for the term broad-spectrum It means the sunscreen provides protection against both UVA (wrinkle- and cancer-causing) and UVB (burning) rays. Problem is, that labeling rule only went into effect in December and stores still sell inventory made prior to it, noted Dr. Steven Wang, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, N.J.&#160; So if you're shopping and there's no broad-spectrum mention, check the ingredients for zinc or avobenzone, the only two that provide top-notch UVA coverage, he says. Coola Mineral Sport broad-spectrum SPF 35 Citrus Mimosa ($36; coolasuncare.com) contains zinc, and L'OrÃ©al Paris Sublime Sun Liquid Silk Sunshield for face broad-spectrum SPF 30 ($10; at mass retailers) has avobenzone. Health.com: 7 Ways You're Aging Your Skin Layer it on Think you apply enough