Who are Your People? (Or, Creating Your Own Microculture)

Who is Your Tribe?

"You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with."

This quote has been attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, and I believe there is a truth to it. The people you spend time with greatly influence your behavior - both in positive ways as well as negative ones. Your sister who always seems to say the right thing when you are down, to help you get back on your feet, that is positive. Your brother-in-law who keeps encouraging you to eat one more hotdog after you already declined ("C'mon, it's the weekend, live a little") is a negative influence.

So what does this have to do with health? Stay with me for just a moment.

Your World

Culture can be defined as "the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group." We can think of human culture, American culture, or even culture built around sports teams or dog breeds. Any time a group of people like to spend time together and have a...

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How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Metabolism

Sleep is Important for Your Metabolism

It might not be a shock to hear this, as the importance of sleep has been in the news more frequently, but proper sleep is important for your metabolism. Short sleep makes it harder for you to lose weight, and can increase insulin resistance and cause glucose levels to rise. This week I'll highlight two hormonal changes that occur when you don't get enough sleep - increases in ghrelin and decreases in leptin.

Ghrelin and Leptin

Ghrelin and leptin are two hormones discovered since 1994 which have important effects on metabolism. For our discussion, think of leptin as a hormone that signals when you have sufficient energy - caloric intake and fat stores - and works to decrease appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone secreted by the stomach and is known to increase hunger.

In a classic study, researchers studied 12 healthy young men, and found that when they slept 4 hours nightly for 2 nights, compared with sleeping 10 hours, they had decreased...

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It's the People Who Follow the Program Who Get The Results...

The Gap

Knowing what to do is only part of the solution when it comes to making healthy choices. Do you ever feel like you know what you're supposed to be doing, but find it's just really hard to stick to your plan? Rest assured, you are not alone.

For almost all of us, there is a gap between what we know we should do and what we actually do. Closing this "brain-behavior gap" is crucial for making progress with your health.

It's hard to stay with the program

Let me tell you about a interesting study that compared 4 different weight loss plans. The researchers looked at how much weight people lost on 4 different plans - Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers, and Ornish - and the results were not super impressive. Each group lost about 5 pounds after one year.

But they did something really interesting in this study. Every month, they asked people, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how well did you follow the program?" You can see those results below. You'll notice each group started at...

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The World Needs You to Be a Hero

Everyone loves a hero

When I was a kid, every week I could not wait for Saturday morning cartoons. I would get up, race downstairs with my sister, and spend the next 2-3 hours watching the week's new shows.

My favorite cartoon was Super Friends, which brought together all the superheroes from the Justice League - Superman, Batman & Robin, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman - who would use their superpowers to battle the forces of evil. 

While watching Saturday morning cartoons is no longer a childhood ritual, I believe most children still dream of using their special gifts to save others, fight for justice, and bring goodness into the world.

What is a hero?

he·ro /ˈhirō/
noun: A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities
 
These days I think of heroes a bit differently than when I was a child, and I'm drawn to the phrase "noble qualities" from the definition above. I'm thinking of someone who shows up...
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