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Relax Your Way To Weight Loss and Good Health
By: Thom King

I want to talk about the effect that stress and sleep deprivation may have on your weight. I spent the last six years of my life in Los Angeles partaking in the “Rat Race”. Two things I discovered: only rats win the rat race and stress can play havoc on you emotionally, spiritually and physically. This stress can lead to weight gain and what is worse if you are trying to lose weight while you are stressed out or fatigued you will not gain any ground.

The reason is a little stress chemical called Cortisol. Cortisol aids the body in recovering from the effects of stressful experiences. Cortisol instructs the liver to release sugar into the blood and triggers the body to release storehouses of fat and muscle so the body can use it for energy. There is another piece to the cortisol puzzle and that is is also slows everything down so the body can replenish energy stores.

We all have cortisol circulating in the blood at all times. But after stressful situations our cortisol levels increase dramatically. So let’s say for instance you are experiencing a constant stream of stressful situations. After enough of these episodes, the body adjusts its control mechanism in the pituitary gland to maintain a higher constant amount of cortisol in the body. Continually elevated levels of cortisol can have long-term health effects including but not limited to weight gain, heart disease, ulcers, insulin resistance, and hypertension. While cortisol may have served us well while we were a bunch of knuckle dragging Neanderthals fighting for our lives, 21st century living for the most part has kept us from facing daily life threatening situations. Unfortunately for most of us we have replaced those threats of the past with screaming bosses, unruly children and unreasonable partners all which can cause elevated levels of cortisol to be delivered into our bodies.

Stress is determined by what an individual perceives as stressful. The answer to balance lies in not taking things personally and finding ways to relax the mind and body. There have been many infomercials and advertisements touting the benefits of their “snake oil” to lower cortisol levels. Let me assure you, none of these claims are true and some of these marketers of these products are now facing indictments and large civil lawsuits. After talking with several physicians the answer is always the same, manage your physical and emotional stress levels. This can be achieved through, meditation, massage, long walks, deep breathing exercises, Yoga, Tai Chi, basically anything relaxing and of course spending time with people who comfort you. By practicing these relaxation methods you will be able to bring your cortisol levels down. This coupled with a healthy balanced diet and exercise will result in a long life and slim physique.

About the Author

Thom King is the President of Steviva Brands, Inc. Steviva manufactures and distributes Stevia powder, Stevia blend, Stevia leaves and Yerba Mate. Subscribe to King's newsletters, Mind, Body and Spirit and Low Carb Living Go to for more information.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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