New dads struggle with post-baby weight gain

New dads experience weight gain, too
Wikimedia Commons

Welcoming a baby into your family is exciting. The unwanted pounds that often accompany that new bundle of joy? Not so much.

New research indicates it's not just new moms who are at risk of packing on the pounds post baby. According to a study published in the American Journal of Men's Healthnew dads experience an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) following the birth of a child, even if they don't live with their newborns.

It's no wonder. Having a new child is wonderful. It's also stressful, busy beyond comprehension, and mind-numbingly exhausting.

Here are some tips for all you dads who want to beat the baby weight:
  1. Don't forget time for yourself. It's easy to lose oneself in the face of a constantly demanding newborn. Remember that your greatest gift to your child will be a healthy, energetic you. Schedule time to exercise, and do it. The whole family will benefit from your dedicating time to stay in shape.
  2. Buy a jogging stroller and run with your child when she's old enough. If you are friends with other dads who have newborns, schedule time to run around your local park together. Stop the strollers mid-way for some push-ups and sit-ups.
  3. Exhaustion can often lead to unhealthy eating habits. Instead of pizza runs, stock the freezer with healthier, quick options. Grab frozen vegetables, which are just as healthy as fresh ones. Go ahead and get some frozen meals, making sure they include protein and a healthy portion of vegetables. If you're a cook, make double recipes of your favorite dishes and freeze the rest.
  4. A baby's crazy schedule may mean you snack more and eat fewer meals. Make sure you have healthy options for snacking. Generally, this means choosing whole foods over processed, packaged foods. Buy bags of baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, bananas, apples, nuts, dried fruits, yogurt, healthy soups, whole wheat crackers and cheese (in limited quantities). 
  5. Get your wife on board with your plans. Tell her what kind of time you need for exercise and why. Put your exercise time on the family calendar. A supportive wife will make sure you get out the door and meet your healthy living goals.


We can find a cure to Alzheimer's Disease

Scientist Samuel Cohen addresses Alzheimer's disease and lays out why we haven't found a cure and what we need to do about it. 

Some highlights:
1) We've made little advancement in Alzheimer's research since 1901
2) The US spends 10 times more money on cancer research than on Alzheimer's research
3) After age 85, 1 in 2 people will develop Alzheimer's disease
4) In the US alone, Alzheimer's care costs 200 billion dollars each year


How a playlist can boost your exercise regimen

Music increases exercise compliance

Want to get in a great workout? Researchers say you ought to crank up the tunes.

A study published in Sports Medicine-- Open indicates a catchy tune can increase exercise compliance, causing you to exercise both longer and more frequently.

In the study, patients were divided into two groups. The control group got no music. Members of the second group selected their own music, though it had to meet the researchers' tempo criteria. Then, members of the second group were divided in half, and these patients' playlists were enhanced sonically, accentuating the pace of desired exercise.

The result? Patients who listened to their chosen playlists exercised 476 minutes each week, whereas the no music group exercised 370 minutes. More strikingly, though, those who had sonically enhanced playlists exercised an average of 631 minutes.

Music may be just one other tool you can use to get the most out of your workout. Remember to choose songs that will get your body pumped for exercise, and then enjoy moving to the beat as you hit the gym or pound the pavement.


Can a fitness tracker help you lose weight?

Fitness trackers can be powerful weight loss tools
Can the FitBit help you lose weight?

Do you need to lose weight? Do you know someone who's struggling to maintain a healthy weight? I'm betting you do, and that's why I want to talk fitness trackers.

If you love statistics, if you like numbers, if you are competitive, a tracker may be provide you with the perfect nudge toward activity.

How do I know? I bought a FitBit for my husband, whose work keeps him tethered to a chair.

I did not nag. I did not change his diet. I did not do anything out of the ordinary. Yet, this dear man lost 9 pounds in 6 weeks.

How, you ask? It was beautifully simple: he began to walk 10,000 steps a day.

I have to admit it: the power of numbers, statistics, and the use of technology to improve health drastically exceeded my expectations. In fact, I honestly find his weight loss quite shocking.

Will a fitness tracker help you? Will it help your loved one? I'm not certain, but with the overweight/obesity rate hovering at 69%, putting millions at increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and a host of cancers, isn't it worth finding out?


Barefoot running: should you ditch the shoes?

Should you try barefoot running?

I'll admit it. As I watch people in my neighborhood run down the hot, gravel strewn streets of my neighborhood without shoes, I think that barefoot running is one of the craziest trends to hit the fitness world yet.

Not surprisingly, barefoot running remains controversial, and studies on its benefits have been small. But scientists, whose study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise have released another small study that indicates barefoot running may prevent injury in female runners. When women run, they commonly exhibit 3 patterns that lead to knee injuries and IT band issues. These patterns include excessive hip adduction, internal hip rotation, and a pelvic drop, a term used to describe how the hips sway side to side during a run.

Researchers wanted to see if running barefoot impacted female gait and the likelihood of developing these common injuries. 23 women took part in the study. They ran both barefoot and with sneakers on. Researchers analyzed their gait and noticed that they had a forefoot strike when barefoot and a heel strike when wearing sneakers. The difference in gait minimized the commonly seen hip adduction, rotation, and pelvic drop.

Should you ditch your running shoes? Remember, although compelling, this is a small study. Keep your eye out for more research to come, and ask your trusted physician what he or she thinks.


Soy and the aging brain

Try tofu in your next tomato salad

Soy may be protective when it comes to brain health.

In Asia, where people consume up to 40 times more soy than we do, science indicates there is an inverse relationship between soy consumption and brain decline. This relationship prompted researchers to take a closer look at the effects of soy on the aging brain.

In a meta-analysis, scientists found soy's potent antioxidants, isoflavones, and phytoestrogens had a positive effect on brain health for post-menopausal women. Those who took soy isoflavone supplements enjoyed both improved visual memory and overall cognitive function.


A Restaurant quality meal you can make in 10 minutes or less

Quick and easy meal ideas

Meals that look impressive, taste delicious and are a snap to make? You don't come across such miracles often, so I had to share this one.

A couple weeks ago I saw a beautiful brunch dish on Instagram. The poster was dining at a trendy NYC restaurant, and I'm sure her meal was pure perfection. I salivated over her photo, realizing I had an immediate urge to jump into it and take a bite of her rich and crunchy breakfast salad. Since I couldn't do that, though, I thought I'd try to recreate it instead.

What I made is elegant and simple. It is decadent and nutritious. It is delicious and artful, yet inexpensive and easy to make.  It's a poached egg nestled atop greens, and it took me less than 10 minutes to prepare. 

So how did I pull off this magical feat? Fortunately many Americans are lazy cooks, so I bought lots of items at the grocery store, already made. Here's how to make a delicious Caesar salad, topped with a poached egg or two:

  • Washed and cut Romaine lettuce
  • Multi-grain croutons. You can make your own, but these are also available in your grocery store
  • Caesar salad dressing
  • Anchovies, if desired
  • Shaved Parmesan,  Romano, and Asiago
  • Eggs
  • Mix Romaine lettuce, croutons, and salad dressing. Cut anchovies and add, if desired
  • Poach eggs: crack eggs and add to boiling water. Boil for 3 minutes
  • Sprinkle shaved cheese on top of lettuce
  • Place poached egg(s) on top of lettuce and salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve with fresh fruit and a great cup of hot coffee
That was easy, wasn't it? Make it next time your in-laws come over for brunch, and get ready to take in all the compliments. You deserve it.
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