Want To Make Real Gym Progress? Deload!

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If pushing it to your limits is your M.O., it might be high time for you to back off a bit and deload. By following the “I don’t need no stinkin’ break” approach to lifting, many lifters don’t make room in their program for deloading. That’s a shame because ratcheting back from your max workout can do your body a world of good.

The Lowdown On Deloading

Many lifters organize their workouts based on the principle of overloading, in which you add more and more challenges over time. These challenges can come in the form of progressively more weight, more volume, or less rest. It’s an effective technique but it can torch your body if you don’t occasionally slow down.

A deload is a period of time, usually about a week, when you back off the intensity of your workout after a long phase of overloading. People often do it when they reach—and can’t overcome—a persistent state of fatigue.

Why Slow Down? I’m Doing Great!

Many people think that taking the time to deload will shift their gains into reverse. I mean, why work so hard each day only to let your intensity slide?  You’ll just lose strength, right? In fact, it’s precisely because you’ve been working so hard that you need to deload.

Deloading doesn’t mean you’re stopping. It usually means switching to weights that are about half what you normally lift and cutting your volume in half.  It’ll make your workout feel incredibly easy, but that’s the point. The human body can take only so much stress. Without a break in intensity, you’ll burn yourself out, fatigue your body beyond its ability to recover, become injured, or all three.

Think of deloading as proactive damage control. By making it a regular part of your training program, you can keep progressing—without having to take much longer breaks when your body gives out.

Deloading gives your joints and tendons a chance to heal and your muscles time to fully recover. This will strengthen your body and mind over time. Constantly pushing 100 percent each workout can be psychologically taxing. You might think you are tough and can take it, but this is exactly how burnout takes place.

Making The Most Of Your Deload Period

Do Cardio… Mellow Cardio

During your deload period, add some light to moderate cardio training to your workout. Avoid high intensity training (HIT) or you’ll be swapping one form of strenuous exercise for another. Cardio, done in moderation, helps the recovery process by improving blood circulation to bring more nutrients and oxygen to damaged muscle tissues.[1] It’s also a great way to relieve soreness.

Aim for 20-30 minutes of light cardio training 3-4 times during your week of deloading.

Perfect Your Form

Since you’ll be lifting much lighter weights during this period, use the opportunity to focus on form. Correct any bad habits you notice so you can see better results and avoid injury once you get back to your normal workout.

Also use this time to work on developing a stronger mind-muscle connection. If you’re doing triceps pull-downs, focus on your triceps and make sure they’re doing the work and not your abs. If you’re doing back exercises, tune in to your scapula and keep your arms out of it.

Learn Some New Exercises

Deloading is also a good time to integrate some new exercises into your program. Once you finish the deload, you’ll get back to your regular program and there’s no better way to ensure continued progress than to keep switching up your exercises.

Adding new exercises can cause soreness, so start out with light weights. You don’t want to deal with delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) while you’re deloading—or any other time, for that matter. The deload period is a chance for your muscles to recover, not get damaged. Take it easy and give your body time to learn new movement patterns.

Make More Time For Sleep

Because a deload week is pretty easy, you’re able to combine a few workouts into one, to the point where you can probably do a full-body run-through in an hour or so. This will help you cut back your weekly gym schedule from five days to maybe two days, freeing up big chunks of time for recovery—and for sleep.

Use these extra hours to take naps instead of hitting the gym, or just go to bed earlier. Sleep is when the body heals itself; the more sleep you get during this week, the more effective your deload will be and the stronger you’ll feel when you get back to your program.

Too many of us try to get by on as little sleep as possible. This does your training no favors. Consider eight hours a night an effective minimum to strive for.

Avoid Slashing All Carbs

Deloading isn’t the time to slash carbs. Many people think that since they’re lowering their training intensity they need to lower their calorie and carb intake too, but don’t be so sure.

The purpose of a deload is to help your body recover from intense, challenging physical activity. As you ratchet back your workout, make sure your body is getting all the carbs it needs to restore muscle glycogen and rebuild lean muscle mass tissue.

It might make sense to decrease your carb intake slightly if you were doing a high-volume workout right before you deload.  If that’s the case, don’t decrease your carbs too much or your results will suffer.

The period of deloading might seem like a radical shift from your regular routine, but it’s only for a week or so—just long enough to give your body a chance to gather its strength again before you start piling on the plates.

Reference:

  1. Connolly, D. A., Sayers, S. E., & McHugh, M. P. (2003). Treatment and prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 17(1), 197-208.

Article Source: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/want-to-make-real-gym-progress-deload.html

Written by: Shannon Clark, February 08, 2018

 

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Artificial Sweeteners Linked To Obesity And Diabetes

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People are becoming more health conscious and are bending towards use of artificial sweeteners, especially zero calorie ones. These replacements sugars have been demonstrated to be likely to cause health changes which are associated with obesity and diabetes.

 Worldwide these artificial sweeteners have become one of the most common food additives which are used. They can be found in a wide variety of beverages and food items including diet soda. One of the largest populations was looked at to investigate the effects of these artificial sweeteners and what they are capable of doing within the body, and metabolism of sweeteners and sugar after consumption; and the effects on blood vessel health. Results of this study were presented at the 2018 Experimental Biology Meeting.

 Model rats were fed diets which were high in fructose or glucose or acesulfame potassium, or aspartame; which are natural and zero calorie artificial sweeteners. Differences in concentrations of amino acids, fats, and other blood parameters observed within the animals after 3 weeks of being on the diets, specifically acesulfame potassium was found to be accumulating with in the blood and in higher concentrations damaging the blood vessel wall linings.

There has been a significant rise in diabetes and obesity despite the use of non-caloric artificial sweeteners. Researchers explain that this study shows that both artificial sweeteners and sugar have negative effects on the body which leads to diabetes and obesity, with the mechanisms for the cause of obesity differing for both.

When there was an overload of sugar machinery which handles them breaks down. Non-caloric artificial sweeteners lead to negative changes in metabolism, energy, and fat. More research is required on the subject, but results are enough to show high dietary sugars and artificial sweeteners do have negative health outcomes.

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Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/eb2-wzs041218.php

 

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Do athletes really need protein supplements?

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Protein supplements for athletes are literally sold by the bucketful. The marketing that accompanies them persistently promotes the attainment of buff biceps and six-pack abs.

In 2014, the protein supplement market in Australia was valued at A$545 million dollars, and is predicted to keep growing by about 10% per year. But do athletes really need them?

First, let’s consider what protein is and why we need it. Protein is an essential macronutrient in the diet. This means it provides energy to fuel the body but also has structural properties.

Protein is formed by smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are used by the body to make muscle and other essential body proteins that are used in the immune system, and also to regulate many of the processes in the body.

Protein and amino acids indirectly affect performance by building muscle to improve performance. There is little evidence to suggest consuming extra protein directly aids physical performance in either endurance or resistance exercise.

Protein is fairly ubiquitous in the diet – it can come from animal sources (fish, meat, offal, eggs and dairy), and in smaller amounts from vegetable sources (cereals and legumes).

How much protein do we need?

Protein requirements for Australians are based on our life stage and gender. The estimated average requirement for an adult aged 19-70 is 0.68g per kilo of body weight for women and 0.75g per kilo of body weight for men. This means a 65kg woman will need about 45g of protein per day. An 80kg man will need about 60g a day.

Athletes need more protein as they are building and/or repairing muscle as well as connective tissue. Their requirements are two to three times the amount of protein as normal people, or between 1.4-2g per kilo of body weight per day.

This is a large range, allowing variation for the sort of sport they play. An elite endurance male may be in the lower range, as they have a smaller body frame and less musculature. A power sportsman, such as an AFL player, would require more.

Are we getting enough?

A 2011-12 survey found most Australians were consuming about double the recommended intake of protein per day. Almost all (99%) Australians met or surpassed the required intake.

Evidence also indicates most athletes consume enough, and often more, protein than they require.

But actually it’s the timing of consuming the protein that is most important to building muscle. After any sort of exercise or performance activity that results in muscle resistance, the muscle has to be rebuilt. For maximal synthesis to occur there needs to be adequate levels of amino acids circulating in the blood. It’s been determined that, to achieve this, around 20-30g of protein must be consumed within 1-4 hours after exercise.

This doesn’t mean you need to down a protein shake as soon as you leave the gym. If you’re having a meal within this time frame, you can consume the 20-30g in that meal (which most people would anyway). This amount of protein from animal sources includes enough of the critical amino acid, leucine, that is needed for muscle resynthesis.

This is the equivalent of 120g of beef or chicken, three whole eggs, 70g of reduced fat cheddar cheese or 600ml of skim milk. However if we look at plant-based foods, you would need the equivalent of seven slices of bread, 350g of kidney beans or lentils, or 900ml of soya milk.

So does anyone need protein supplements?

There may be situations where an athlete is travelling or can’t access a meal within a few hours of their training session. So they could either snack on one of the foods listed above, or take a protein supplement. Protein supplements will usually be lower in kilojoules, so if an athlete is on a kilojoule-restricted diet they’ll get more bang for their buck from a protein supplement.

But of course protein supplements don’t have the other nutrients that natural foods contain, such as iron and zinc from red meat, calcium from dairy, or omega-3 fatty acids from fish.

Additionally, one needs to weigh up the risk of potential contamination with banned substances like anabolic agents, stimulants, and diuretics. This may be intentional by the producer (as their product will appear to be more effective in building muscle) or accidental due to an error in the manufacturing process or using ingredients that may have been contaminated.

Analytical studies have also shown there may be contamination with the heavy metals lead, mercury and arsenic. The other consideration for the athlete is the impact on the hip pocket and environment.

Is there any harm in taking extra protein?

The question of “protein overdose” partially depends on exactly how much extra protein is being consumed. We can be reasonably confident levels up to 2-3g per kilo of body weight per day (so around 200g for a 75kg person) have no health risk. But there has always been concern higher levels of protein may accelerate underlying kidney disease (particularly if there is a family history) leading to a progressive loss of kidney capacity.

Athletes and weekend warriors should exercise caution if they’re considering intakes of protein beyond 2-3g per kilo of body weight per day. In these situations, athletes should seek advice from an accredited sports dietitian.

Article Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-athletes-protein-supplements.html

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What Are Normal Testosterone Levels in Men?

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As a society, we tend to place a lot of significance on certain words. The word “normal” is one of them. With that in mind, one of the most often asked questions in the field of men’s health is “what are normal testosterone levels in men?” Both the media and health professionals are capitalizing on this question by talking about “low T” and urging men to turn to hormone replacement therapy to boost their testosterone levels.

But before men should even consider taking steps to raise their testosterone levels (which can be done in a number of natural ways), we return to the basic question: what are normal testosterone levels in men? Here is the not-so-simple answer.

 

What are the forms of testosterone?

First of all, there is more than one form of testosterone:

  • One is bonded with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is the most common type and makes up about 65 percent of total testosterone. The testosterone attached to SHBG typically cannot be separated from the hormone, so this T is not considered to be bioavailable. Testosterone that is bioavailable is the form that is used by the body.
  • One is bonded to the protein albumin, making up about 35 percent of your total testosterone. This testosterone is considered to be potentially bioavailable because it can be “coaxed” away from the protein.
  • One is free, which means it is not attached to any protein. Free testosterone makes up about 2 percent of total T and is the form that is completely bioavailable to be used by the body. Free testosterone travels throughout the bloodstream and can bind to receptors in the muscles, brain, and other organs.

Getting your testosterone levels checked

After you undergo the simple blood test that measures your testosterone levels, your doctor will give you the results represented by three different numbers:

  • Total testosterone. This represents the total amount of testosterone that is circulating throughout your body, so it includes both types of bonded T plus free T
  • Bioavailable T, which consists of testosterone attached to albumin plus free T
  • Free T

Now comes the complicated part. The definition of “normal” testosterone varies, depending on the expert and the testing lab used. The good news is that there are general guidelines for “normal” testosterone. Here are the generally accepted normal ranges of total, free, and bioavailable T, given in nanograms of testosterone per deciliter (ng/dL) for different age groups:

Total T:

  • 240 to 950 ng/dL for men age 19 years and older

Free T:

  • 5.05 to 19.8 ng/dL for men 25 to 29
  • 4.86 to 19.0 ng/dL for ages 30 to 34
  • 4.65 to 18.1 ng/dL for ages 35 to 39
  • 4.46 to 17.1 ng/dL for ages 40 to 44
  • 4.28 to 16.4 ng/dL for ages 45 to 49
  • 4.06 to 15.6 ng/dL for ages 50 to 54
  • 3.87 to 14.7 ng/dL for ages 55 to 59
  • 3.67 to 13.0 ng/dL for ages 60 to 64
  • 3.47 to 13.0 ng/dL for ages 65 to 69
  • 3.28 to 12.2 ng/dL for ages 70 to 74

Bioavailable T:

  • 83 to 257 ng/dL for men 20 to 29
  • 72 to 235 ng/dL for men 30 to 39
  • 61 to 213 ng/dL for men 40 to 49
  • 50 to 190 ng/dL for men 50 to 59
  • 40 to 168 ng/dL for men 60 to 69

No ranges have been determined for men age 70 and older. Clinically low total testosterone levels are recognized as less than 220 to 300 ng/dL.

Bottom line on normal testosterone levels in men

Here is the bottom line when it comes to answering the question, what are normal testosterone levels in men.

  • The range of “normal” is wide, which accommodates the fact that every man’s needs are different.
  • While men’s total testosterone level can be within the normal range, their free T levels can be low, which can result in symptoms of low T.
  • The testosterone level men should be most interested is in the bioavailable number. If men can boost their bioavailable testosterone level, they should expect an increase in energy, sex drive, and muscle strength as well as better mood and well-being.

Article Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-are-normal-testosterone-levels-in-men_us_5968d687e4b06a2c8edb45e9

Written By: Craig Cooper

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Hormone imbalance may explain higher diabetes rates in sleep-deprived men

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Studies have found an association between insufficient sleep and the development of insulin resistance, one of the factors that cause type 2 diabetes, and now researchers have discovered a biological reason for this relationship, at least in men: an imbalance between their testosterone and cortisol hormones. The study results will be presented Sunday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

“Our highly controlled sleep study showed that even one night of restricted sleep can cause insulin resistance and that we can dampen this effect by controlling levels of these two important hormones,” said senior investigator Peter Y. Liu, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., a professor of medicine with the Los Angeles Biomedical (LA BioMed) Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body does not properly use the hormone insulin. Testosterone is the main anabolic, or muscle-building, hormone, whereas cortisol—often called the “stress hormone”—helps catabolism, or breaking down energy and fat stores for use, Liu explained. Past research shows that sleep loss reduces a man’s testosterone levels and increases cortisol levels.

Liu and his fellow researchers conducted five nights of sleep studies in 34 healthy men with an average age of 33. They controlled what the subjects ate and how much they slept, giving them 10 hours of sleep the first night and restricting them to four hours of sleep the remaining nights. The study received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Clinical and Translational Research Center at LA BioMed.

In this “crossover” study, the men served as their own controls. In one series of sleep studies, they received three medications: ketoconazole, which switches off the body’s production of testosterone and cortisol; testosterone gel; and oral hydrocortisone, a synthetic form of cortisol. The doses of testosterone and hydrocortisone were in the midrange of levels that the body normally produces, according to Liu. This arm of the study was called a dual “clamp” because it stopped the body’s production of these two hormones and then gave them a fixed amount of the hormones, thus clamping levels in a normal hormonal balance, he said.

In another set of experiments, the men received inactive placebos that matched the medications. The order of when they received the clamp and the placebo was random, with a two-week interval between the study conditions. The morning after the first and last nights of each part of the study, all men took the oral glucose tolerance test, in which they gave blood samples while fasting and again after drinking a sugary drink. This test result allowed the researchers to calculate each man’s insulin resistance using standard measures, including the Matsuda Index.

After sleep restriction, this index reportedly showed greater insulin resistance with both the clamp and the placebo. However, Liu said this increase was significantly dampened, or less severe, with the dual-clamp, demonstrating that testosterone and cortisol reduced the negative effects of sustained sleep restriction on insulin resistance.

“Maintaining hormonal balance could prevent metabolic ill health occurring in individuals who do not get enough sleep,” he said. “Understanding these hormonal mechanisms could lead to new treatments or strategies to prevent insulin resistance due to insufficient sleep.”

Article Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-03-hormone-imbalance-higher-diabetes-sleep-deprived.html

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Low sperm count not just a problem for fertility

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A man’s semen count is a marker of his general health, according to the largest study to date evaluating semen quality, reproductive function and metabolic risk in men referred for fertility evaluation. The study results, in 5,177 male partners of infertile couples from Italy, will be presented Sunday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

“Our study clearly shows that low sperm count by itself is associated with metabolic alterations, cardiovascular risk and low bone mass,” said the study’s lead investigator, Alberto Ferlin, M.D., Ph.D. He recently moved as associate professor of endocrinology to Italy’s University of Brescia from the University of Padova, where the study took place in collaboration with professor Carlo Foresta, M.D.

“Infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives,” said Ferlin, who is also president of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine. “Fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention.”

Specifically, Ferlin and his colleagues found that about half the men had low sperm counts and were 1.2 times more likely than those with normal sperm counts to have greater body fat (bigger waistline and higher body mass index, or BMI); higher blood pressure (systolic, or top reading), “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides; and lower “good” (HDL) cholesterol. They also had a higher frequency of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of these and other metabolic risk factors that increase the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the investigators reported. A measure of insulin resistance, another problem that can lead to diabetes, also was higher in men with low sperm counts.

Low sperm count was defined as less than 39 million per ejaculate, a value also used in the U.S. All the men in the study had a sperm analysis as part of a comprehensive health evaluation in the university’s fertility clinic, which included measurement of their reproductive hormones and metabolic parameters.

The researchers found a 12-fold increased risk of hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, in men with low sperm counts. Half the men with low testosterone had osteoporosis or low bone mass, a possible precursor to osteoporosis, as found on a bone density scan.

These study findings, according to Ferlin, suggest that low sperm count of itself is associated with poorer measures of cardiometabolic health but that hypogonadism is mainly involved in this association. He cautioned that their study does not prove that low sperm counts cause metabolic derangements, but rather that sperm quality is a mirror of the general male health.

The bottom line, Ferlin stressed, is that treatment of male infertility should not focus only on having a child when diagnostic testing finds other health risks, such as overweight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

“Men of couples having difficulties achieving pregnancy should be correctly diagnosed and followed up by their fertility specialists and primary care doctor because they could have an increased chance of morbidity and mortality,” he said.

Article Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/tes-lsc031418.php

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These two economists used ‘meta rules’ to drop 120 pounds

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“Meta-rules” are a small but powerful way to change your eating habits and keep off unwanted pounds, according to former obese economists Christopher Payne and Robert Barnett. The friends, who once worked together at Bloomberg, used the philosophy to drop a combined 120 pounds.

Payne and Barnett have written a book about their weight loss journey: “The Economists’ Diet.” They say their philosophy, which they adopted from behavioral economist Dan Ariely, applies their knowledge about economics to mindful eating.

“There’s a glut of food, we’re eating too much,” Payne tells NBC News BETTER. “This is how we have to impose eating austerity in order to get our bodies back.”

“META-RULES” ARE SMALL RULES YOU ESTABLISH THAT DICTATE HOW YOU EAT

Whether you make it a rule to only eat dessert once a week, or to ban sugary drinks, “meta-rules” help you lose weight because they reduce decision making about what goes in your stomach, Payne and Barnett say.

“It’s almost like an oath to yourself to take decision and choice out of it,” Payne says. “But in another sense, what we’re talking about is just habits.”

The men give the following tips in addition to applying “meta-rules” to weight loss.

  • Weigh yourself every morning. This will force you to be conscious of how your eating habits are affecting your weight.
  • Never waste calories on food you don’t love.
  • Have two light meals and one square meal per day.
  • If you know you’re going to eat a large meal later, skip a meal earlier in the day.
  • Become calorie conscious. You may even want to keep a food ledger and count your calories.

LOSING WEIGHT TAKES TIME

Payne and Barnett insist “meta-rules” are not a fad diet: they won’t help you lose weight quickly.

“It’s a long-term process about changing behavior for the good,” Payne says.

You do something quick, and then you almost toss it out and go back to your old ways.

You do something quick, and then you almost toss it out and go back to your old ways.

Payne says it took him 18 months to lose 45 pounds, or about 2.5 pounds a month. Barnett says it took him over a year to lose 75 pounds.

“We would generally caution against [losing weight quickly] because we don’t think it gives you enough time to instill the habits you’re going to need to [keep the weight off] for the rest of your life,” says Barnett. “You do something quick, and then you almost toss it out and go back to your old ways.”

DEVELOPING MINDFUL EATING HABITS IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN EXERCISE

You might think that exercise is enough to maintain a healthy weight, the authors say, but developing positive eating habits through “meta-rules” outperforms the gym.

“For many of us, [exercise] is not something we’re going to keep up forever,” Payne says. “You need to be able to keep up the sustainable habits.”

“META-RULES” ARE ABOUT CHANGING YOUR BEHAVIOR FOR THE LONG-HAUL

Both men say “meta-rules” helped them lose weight and keep it off.

“There’s plenty enough to worry about in life, and it just so happens for me the one thing I don’t have to worry about is my weight,” says Payne. “But it’s not that I have some perfect physique — far from it — it’s just good enough, and that’s great.”

Barnett says his blood pressure has gone down and he no longer takes medication.

“I think whenever you can sort of naturally control something like that as opposed to needing a pill, that’s great,” says Barnett. “So hopefully I’ll be around for my children for more years and that kind of thing because of losing weight.”

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS WITH “META-RULES”

  • Make some rules: Creating “meta-rules” for mindful eating will help reduce decision making about what you’re going to eat. For example, you might make a rule that you’re only going to drink your coffee black, or that you will only eat out twice a month.
  • Practice patience: “Meta-rules” are not a fad diet. Losing weight is a slow process. Remember: it’s not about being thin, but rather, changing your behavior, which will help keep the weight off.
  • Eat well first, exercise second: While exercise is great, it probably won’t help you stay in shape if you’re not also watching what goes in your mouth. “Meta-rules” help keep the weight off even when you can’t make it to the gym.
  • You have to be in it to win it: Whether you’re tired of being overweight or just want to be healthier, “meta-rules” will help you develop healthier habits for the rest of your life.

Article Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/these-two-economists-used-meta-rules-drop-120-pounds-ncna855206

by Julie Compton / 

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