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Doing Life Together

coldTemperatures are expected to plummet to single digits again tonight. But is there an upside to all this cold weather when it comes to weight loss?

As they say in frigid Minnesota, “You betcha!”

It has something to do with brown fat deposits in our bodies.

According to Dr. Aaron Cypess of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston:

Most fat is  “white fat” used to store excess energy and insulate us in the cold. Too much is a problem.

Brown fat is mostly found in newborns, but adults have small deposits of brown fat that carries over from infancy.

Brown fat is the superhero because it burns fat, not stores it!

A chilly room can activate brown fat.

A study  by researchers in the Netherlands says lowering the temperature of your environment could help you lose weight. When you are exposed to the cold, your body goes to work by trying to balance your thermostat. Heat is generated from those brown fat tissues trying to generate energy. Your body burns calories to keep you warm. So turning down your thermostat from 72 to 62 degrees, for example,  could do the trick. Not only will you be green, but you could also lose weight!

Go outside in the cold and let the brown fat go to work! Use those dumb bells but add temperature training to the mix. See if you can tolerate more cold and let your body work out!

Forget that warm, cozy office with the heater at your feet! Turn it off and keep it chilly. Shiver and produce some heat! Make your work out a walk in brisk weather (not sub zero!) and train your body to tolerate colder air! Its temperature training time!

 

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thinkWe know that when we feel negative towards someone, the relationship suffers and is difficult to turn around. So try these few ideas to think more positively.

Some one I know does loving kindness meditations. She thinks about the good qualities of people she knows. Actually, she is engaging in a biblical practice and doesn’t know it. Philippians 4: 8 and 9 says, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

We can choose to think about others in a positive light. When we do, we end up happier.

In fact, University of Texas researchers found that when people wrote about their relationships for 20 minutes a day, for three days, they had a better chance of staying together. And when they expressed positive emotions in instant messages, they felt more positive.

If you need to feel more positive towards another, try writing positive things. Then engage in a few acts of kindness like filling up the gas tank, making coffee, or picking up the dry cleaning. Meditate on the good qualities of that person. It will boost your mood and build positive connections. A quick hug, a short back rub… do little things to make the relationship happier.

All of this is simple, but powerful.

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When our President said that marijuana is no more dangerous to a person’s health than alcohol, not everyone agreed. Consider these 1o points:

1) The American Medical Association opposes marijuana legalization and continues to see it as a public health concern.

2) Stuart Gitlow, director of the Annenberg Physician Training Program in Addictive Disease at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, says that marihuana use can cause a loss of productivity.

3) Gitlow also notes that in 1% of heavy users, psychosis is possible. And marijuana use impairs perception, judgment, thinking, memory, and learning.

4) Marijuana can be addictive, even though fewer than 10% of uses become dependent.

5) Marijuana does contain carcinogens, including tar and other toxins. That said, people don’t tend to smoke marijuana in the same quantities as cigarettes.

6) Today’s marijuana is more potent than days gone by. It contains a higher concentration in THC.  Here is the science: “The human brain’s cannabinoid receptors are typically activated by naturally occurring chemicals in the body called endocannabinoids, which are similar to THC. There is a high density of cannabinoid receptors in parts of the brain that affect pleasure, memory and concentration. Some research suggests that these areas continue to be affected by marijuana use even after the “high” dissipates” (Quote from Well by Roni Rabin, Jan 17, 2014). Memory defects may persist six weeks after last use.

7)  According to Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens who start smoking at an early age tend to smoke more and more often, heightening their risk of addiction.

8) Those with an addiction, have withdrawal of anxiety, sleep problems, appetite and mood changes, irritability and depression.

9) Brain scans show that people who start smoking before 16 may lose cognitive function later in their brains.

10) A regular habit can take a toll on the lungs.

The greatest concern is adding another health risk to the teen population. Smoking pot impacts the developing brain and we don’t have enough long term data to know the extent of that impact. We do know that smoking marijuana affects health, brain function and memory. This is based on science, not someone’s opinion.

 

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talkingJack and Kirsten are out to dinner. Kirsten begins the conversation.

“How was your day?”

“Fine.”

That was it. Jack stopped talking. Kirsten was frustrated. Kirsten is thinking that a little more detail would be nice.

Let’s say Kirsten began the conversation, it might go more like this.

“I had a crazy day at the office. Joyce got mad at our boss and lost it. Everyone was upset, but afraid to say anything. It was a nightmare. What was your day like?” 

“Actually good.”

The men reading this are thinking, good grief, too much information!

But are Jack and Kirsten’s answers a function of the different social behaviors between men and women?

Studies have shown the differences in men and women’s brains to be more of a matter of degree, not of kind, meaning the two genders are more alike than different.

But a study at the University of Pennsylvania says that the different brain wiring in men and women may account for this difference. According to the researchers, gender differences in brain wiring begin to be seen in adolescence. Images of male brains show more connections WITHIN hemispheres. Women’s brains show more BETWEEN hemispheres. This means that women are more suited to multitasking and analytical thought; they express themselves using emotional states  and are more socialized towards emotions from an early age. Yes men, this might be why you find us overwhelming at times.

Men are better at linear tasks that require attending to one thing at a time. They too feel things deeply, but  don’t process things as quickly as women or put those feeling into words.

Furthermore, when an argument happens, women may stay upset longer. This is possibly due to the enhancing effects of estrogen that can prolong the secretion of the stress hormone. So when a man says, “Let it go, get over it. He already has!”

We know that sharing emotions does help relationships. So men, take a deep breath and think about what you might be feeling.

Ladies, don’t ask men “to talk” when they are watching football or fixing the sink. When you do “talk,” edit your speech and tell him what you need.

Men, pay attention to your physical body and verbalize what you are feeling. Share a few more thoughts than a one word answer.

In other words, let’s become more fluent in each other’s language.

 

Reference: Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Co-authors  Madhura Ingalhalikar, Alex Smith, Drew Parker, Theodore D. Satterthwaite, Mark A. Elliott, Kosha Ruparel, and Hakon Hakonarson of the Section of Biomedical Image Analysis and the Center for Biomedical Image Computing and Analytics.

 

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