Jawbone UP

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For months I had been talking about this Jawbone UP and constantly going back to the website to see if it would be worth purchasing. With a tagline of: Know Yourself. Live Better, you wonder, do I really know how healthy I am? So, one day I came home and there was a Jawbone UP sitting right next to my phone. “Someone” had enough of me talking about it that they went and purchased it for me. 🙂

So far, I have had the UP for about two weeks and I do feel better and have lost some weight, but not because the band did it, rather because I did it. Because I was able to see what I ate, how idle or active I was and maybe I am a bit of a carb lover, I was able to live a little healthier. I like to call my UP band my reminder. Yes you have to manually log in your food intake and some workouts, like weight lifting, but they have designed it to be soooooo easy. Also, it is very detailed so you don’t feel like you are getting a completely inaccurate reading.  In order for the entire UP system to work you need: a Jawbone UP band, the UP app, and of course yourself.

Here is a list of what the Jawbone UP helps you track:

Sleep and Nap Tracking

24/7 Activity Tracking

Food & Drink Tracking

Mood Tracking

Insight Engine

Idle Alert

Smart Alarm

10-Day Battery

Water Resistant Design

Day and Night Form Factor

Power Nap

Simple Sync

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This is what your home screen will look like on your UP App. This image was taken at the end of one of my days so that you can see how it logs everything in a simple chart. The purple column represents the amount of sleep I got, the orange represents my activity, and the green is my food and water. See how the orange column says 122%? I have a goal programmed into the program of reaching 10,000 steps a day, which can be difficult considering I am at a desk all day. I exceeded my goal this day and so the app lets me know!

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By clicking on the orange (active) column, it will give you the specifics on your entire day. Now, you don’t have to wait until the end of the day to see all of your stats, you can plug in your UP band to your phone, computer, or iPad, at any time and it will five you a reading up to the time you plugged it in.

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When clicking on the purple (sleep) column, this lets you know way more than many think they could know about their sleep.

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The green (nutritional) column, shows you if exactly what you ate. I obviously ate too many carbs and protein that day, but I’m not going to cry about it. It’s a real eye opener to see where you are getting your nutrition from.

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This is the screen that comes up when you are entering your food. Beyond Breakfast & Pastries, there are 7 more categories to choose from. Each category has a wide range of items to select from. In fact, there hasn’t been one food that I have not found. Better yet, at the top of the screen there is a scan button. You click on that and scan the barcode of the item you are consuming and all the info comes up, you just have to adjust how many servings you had. You can also take a photo of the food you ate, just in case you want to recreate it again.

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This image shows the more manual side of things, where you would log in anything that you did. Just like the nutritional part, there are a wide range of activities and you can adjust the intensity of your workout, the duration, etc.

Being active all my life and then becoming accustomed to being sedentary has been a hard transition for me. The Jawbone UP has helped me to remind myself that it is important for me to be healthy and not to just completely veg out. I would recommend this product for anyone who has enough drive to living a healthy lifestyle themselves, but needs just a little something to keep it up.

 

 

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Why So Villainous?

Artwork by Wendy Chew, http://mashi.deviantart.com/

There are days when I think, “Man, I’m surprised someone hasn’t slapped me!” just because for some odd reason, I am cranky. I constantly wonder if it’s sleep, that time of the month, stress, the outfit I am wearing, whatever, that is causing me to lash out. My usual solution is to keep my mouth shut until the day is over with, but after doing some perusing, I found an article on the Dr. Oz website that was all about crankiness and supposedly 6 reasons as to why you feel like a villain!

Ever feel like you hate everything and everyone? Or you reach your boiling point so quickly that chemists should study you? You’re not alone – more and more women are finding themselves extra cranky. Luckily, science has some explanations and solutions to offer. Learn the most common causes of crankiness and how to fight off your bad mood.

 1. Your Hormones

If you’ve noticed that your bad moods occur around the same time every month, the culprit could be your hormones. As women move through their monthly cycle, their ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. One week before your period, your progesterone levels are at their peak and then they suddenly drop, which triggers crankiness.

PMS, short for premenstrual syndrome, is thought to be caused by these fluctuating hormone levels. Another change in hormone levels occurs during menopause, where your progesterone drops down to zero. This fluctuation can also lead to irritability.

 Solution: If you experience crankiness around these times, you have to build up your defenses. Studies have found that omega-3s can help prevent the symptoms of PMS and menopause. Take 600 mg of DHA omega-3s daily.

 

2. Caffeine

Consuming caffeine, even in moderation, can cause anxiety. Caffeine stimulates the brain, which makes it addictive. When people become addicted to caffeine, they may experience symptoms of withdrawal including headaches, fatigue and moodiness.

 Solution: You should only consume 200 mg or 2 (8 oz) cups of caffeinated beverages a day.

3. Not Eating Enough

Your brain needs glucose for energy. If your blood sugar levels are too low, you might feel sluggish, irritable and experience difficulty concentrating.

 Solution: To prevent low blood sugar, eat healthy snacks every 3 hours.

4. Your Bedroom

The correlation between sleep and your mood is no secret. But you could still be tired and cranky regardless of how early you hit the hay. Studies have shown that even dim light, for example the glow from your TV, reading lamp or even your alarm clock, in the bedroom may increases cases of depression. This light decreases the production of the hormone melatonin. Without steady levels of melatonin, your normal sleep patterns can become disturbed. Think about this the next time you wake up on the wrong side of bed.

 Solution: Do a lights-out check before bed. Turn off all the lights and try setting a sleep timer on the TV if that helps you fall asleep. Turn your alarm clock away from you.

5. Your Diet

The comfort food you grab when you’re in a bad mood could actually be the cause of your bad mood in the first place. Diets rich in trans and saturated fats have been linked to increased depression. Additionally, new studies indicate that these diets can negatively affect cognition. Junk food and fast food negatively affect the connections between your brain cells called synapses.

Solution: Look for foods packed with vitamins and minerals that will sustain you throughout the day instead of the fatty, sugary processed foods that may taste good, but leave you with no energy.

6. Your Thyroid

Your thyroid is a gland that makes the hormones that help to regulate your metabolism. In a condition called hypothyroidism, you experience a deficiency of thyroid hormone that leaves you fatigued, sluggish and depressed. The condition has other symptoms including weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold, pale dry skin, constipation, and brittle nails and hair.

 Solution: If these symptoms apply to you, see your doctor and get your thyroid levels checked. Hypothyroidism is treatable.

So, after reading all this, do you think Dr. Oz is onto something or do you think there are other reasons why we get villainous, like someone didn’t tell you that there wasn’t any milk left? Let Polkadot Tango know what you think causes people to be cranky, whether it’s legitimate or hilarious, we want to know!

Wellness Wednesday: Fast Food Sucks!!!

Every corner there seems to be a fast food restaurant and at times you can’t help but pull into the drive-thru. Schedules can become busy and the first thing most people seem to do is put a healthy diet on the back burner. Doing some research on the internet, I found a website that lists some of the effects that fast food may put on not only your body but also your mind.  Next Wednesday, we will have quick healthy snacks that you can make so that you can drive past the drive-thru!! Take a look at what fitbodylife had to say about fast food and the yuck that comes with it!!

The ill effect of fast food and the potential danger that it possesses by its regular consumption is shocking. Obesity, increase in cholesterol levels, nutritional deficiencies, cardiac disorders, loss of muscle mass, depression and even sexual dysfunction, can all be caused by eating fast food on a regular basis. Soaked in trans fat and loaded with calories, fast foods are labeled as ‘health hazards’ by many leading medical professionals. Listed below are some of hazardous health effects of fast food consumption.

10 Negative Health Effects of Fast Food

#1 – Headaches
The processed meat used in fast food contain nitrates, nitrites, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate which increase blood flow and can trigger a migraine attack. Additives are used to keep the meat fresh and to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum the bacteria which causes food poisoning. The increased blood flow can cause excessive pressure to build up in the head and can lead to headaches or a feeling of a hangover.

#2 – Collection of Trans Fat
The processed food used in the fast food industry is loaded with trans fat, which not only increases the ‘bad cholesterol’ (Low Density Lipoprotein) levels but also reduces the ‘good cholesterol’ (High Density Lipoprotein) levels. Processed meat used by fast food industries can sometimes have 45% more trans fat than their natural counterparts.

#3 – Increased Cholesterol Levels
Consuming fast foods leads to an increased intake of cholesterol which is highly dangerous for humans. The cholesterol molecules attach themselves to the arteries which leads to their thickening or clogging. This can cause obstructed blood flow which can lead to high blood pressure. If cholesterol accumulates in one of the main arteries it can lead to a blockage, when an artery is completely blocked it can lead to heart attacks or complete heart failure.

#4 – Depression
Depression is one of the many negative effects of fast food. This emotional condition has been linked to regular consumption of fast foods by a study done by the University College of London. According to the study, people who indulge in fast foods regularly are 58% more likely to suffer from depression. Fast foods do not contain antioxidants, foliate and omega -3s which is necessary for good mental health. Fast foods contain preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilizers and flavor enhancers which can affect the mental well being of the person.

#5 – Excessive Sodium Intake
Fast foods contain high amounts of sodium which can lead to hypertension and high blood pressure. Although small amounts of sodium is needed for bodily functions, consuming too much can lead to not just high blood pressure, but build up of fluids in people who are suffering from liver cirrhosis, congestive heart failures or kidney ailments.

#6 – Sexual Dysfunction
What we eat affects our physical, mental, and sexual health. Fatty acids found in fast foods are a major contributor to sexual dysfunction, not only does it cause weight gain but can trigger biochemical changes which effect libido, sperm count and female ovulation.

#7 – Food Poisoning
Even if we overlook the dangers posed by low fiber, trans fat and high calories, fast food pose another problem, food poisoning. The processed meat is many times contaminated with manure which contains Escherichia Coli and Salmonella. E.Coli is considered very difficult to treat and sometimes referred to as the worst sort of food poisoning. Even after antibiotics kill the bacteria, the toxins released by it can produce harmful effects. This disease is usually spread through undercooked hamburgers and is a leading cause of renal failure among American kids.

#8 – Addictive Nature of Fast Foods
According to the Science Daily, high levels of sugar and fat can cause blood sugar to spike and then crash suddenly. The patrons of fast food feel a sudden rush of euphoria when this happens making them dependent on the euphoric effects of insulin surges. Therefore one of the harmful effects of fast food consumption is the addiction or the incessant craving it causes among people.

#9 – PFCA Contamination
The wrappers used in the fast food industry are coated with perfluoroalkyls (PAC) which prevents the grease from leaving through. These have been proven to get inside the human body and change into more harmful forms which can lead to many health complications. The wrappings used in fast food industry are a significant and indirect source of PFCA contamination.

#10 – Weight Gain
Studies have found a direct link between fast food consumption and weight gain and increased Body Mass Index (BMI). The high levels of trans fat and calories present in fast foods leads to accumulation of abdominal fat and even insulin resistance which is an early indicator of diabetes. Obesity has been ranked the number one health threat for Americans; it is also the second leading cause of preventable death in United States which claims up to 400,000 lives a year. Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart problems, hyper tension, blocked arteries, increase in cholesterol levels, malnutrition, loss of muscle mass and depression.

Fast food addiction can lead to an unhealthy and depressive sedentary lifestyle, to prevent this it’s recommended to switch to a healthy and balanced diet along with regular exercise. Hopefully, this article on the health effects of fast food consumption has been informative. Remember the key to happiness is a healthy lifestyle.