This could be sabotaging your metabolism without you knowing it

What if—no matter how much kale and how many avocados you ate—your mental state was actually undermining all your healthy habits?

According to a new study in Molecular Psychiatry, that could be exactly what’s happening. The study shows that stress can counteract your nutritious, superfood-packed diet—seemingly putting all of those good food choices to waste (and making the case for a unplug-from-the-whirl bath, stat).

The double-blinded, randomized trial had 58 women first eat a meal high in saturated fats (think heavy hitters like meat and butter). Then one to two weeks later, they each ate a nutritionally identical meal—but this one was low in saturated fats, the New York Times reports.

To measure the impact of stress on participants’ metabolism, each woman filled out a questionnaire (which addressed symptoms of depression as well as daily triggers) before each meal, and had her blood tested before and after eating.

“Stress made the healthier-fat meal look like a saturated-fat meal.”

The findings? First off, inflammation was higher after eating the high-fat meal, compared with the low-fat meal—not a shock. But the data did reveal something interesting: For women who had high stress levels, inflammation was high after both meals.

“Stress made the healthier-fat meal look like a saturated-fat meal,” says lead author Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser. “Stress is doing things with the metabolism that we really didn’t know about before.”

So now we know—the everyday evil of stress is doing more than wrecking your skin and inhibiting your ability to function at your highest level. It can sabotage your metabolism as well, despite how healthy you eat. Time to jump-start your meditation practice?

To handle stress, you could also view it in a different way—here are six mindset-resets so you can harness it in a positive way. If you’re more into managing it through meditation, this five-minute sequence will seriously de-stress your mind

How Top Chef’s Gail Simmons stays healthy, no matter what’s served up at work

For the last 15 years, Gail Simmons has worked on the food front lines—from assisting Vogue’s head food critic being a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. 

But even though she’s all about the envelope-pushing combinations and unique ingredients when she’s deciding who has to pack up their knives and go, open her refrigerator at home and you’ll find that the Canadian-born Brooklyn-based foodie is all about simple, fresh ingredients in her own life.

“When I was younger, I used to eat out for most of my meals, but now that I have a daughter, I’m all about cooking at home and spending time creating things for our family,” she says. “And shockingly, my two year old doesn’t love crazy, complex meals.” (She’s possibly the only person in the world who would turn down free gourmet meals from Simmons—but, hey, she’s young.)

Instead, Simmons is all about farmers’ markets and smaller, local supermarkets, where she stocks up on spices, sauces, and the freshest fruits and veggies of the season. “I usually stick to a veggie-heavy diet, since I tend to eat so richly and heavily for work—whether for Top Chef or recipe testing for my upcoming cookbook,” she explains. Her favorite go-to meal for dinner? Tons of roasted veggies with some kind of farro or quinoa on the side.

And don’t think that this Top Chef is above a little week-long meal prep: “I’m a huge believer in leftovers,” Simmons says. “I think it really says something about who you are as a person if you don’t like leftovers.”

Luckily for Simmons, her next project is a little less focused on eating on-camera—this time she’s behind it, as the producer of a new show called Star Plates. On the Cooking Channel show, which debuts September 27, super-famous female celebs taking on the role of line cook at their favorite restaurants (think Mindy Kaling taking on orders at the Red Rooster in Harlem).

Wondering what the ultimate Top Chef always keeps stocked? Keep reading to take a peek inside Gail Simmons’ refrigerator.

Continue reading How Top Chef’s Gail Simmons stays healthy, no matter what’s served up at work →

Here’s why you should care what socks you’re working out in

Bombas-RibbonFrom your super cute cross-back sports bra to those color-blocked leggings you just had to have, socks are probably the last thing on your mind when you suit up for the studio or a post-work run.

But as the key factor working in tandem with your sneakers to support your feet (and, by extension, overall form), should they be? And are all pairs really created equal? (We’re looking at you, six-pack from the drugstore.)

Bombas spent two years doing research and development coming up with the answer—and solved all the annoying problems you’ve always begrudgingly accepted (like constantly falling down as you’re jogging, and creating the worst blisters ever). Basically, they’ll make you care more about what’s inside your running shoes than you previously thought possible.

Scroll down to see why these are the only socks you’ll ever want to wear again (besides the fact that they’re hella cute).

Continue reading Here’s why you should care what socks you’re working out in →

How to reach the finish line stronger at your next race (and win free sneakers!)

When running a marathon, it’s important to set goals that motivate you to run your best. Sure, running as if Ryan Gosling is at the finish line could get you there faster. But chances are—unless you’re Eva Mendes—that particular hunk won’t be there as you impressively sprint (or jog) your last mile. (Cue sad face when you should be high-fiving a million angels.)

But Strava, a workout-based social network, and New Balance have partnered up to give you a motivation that comes in as a close second to a Gosling sighting.

Beginning on October 9, through December 6, Strava is giving everyone who registers on their site as a runner in a qualifying race a free pair of New Balance sneakers.

The catch? You have to run the second half of the race faster than the first half. (Sounded too good to be true, right?)

This technique, called negative splitting, is a widely recommended race strategy—and is generally how people win races, FYI—but only 13 percent of marathoners actually complete the race this way. (Many runners go all out in the beginning and then burn themselves out by the end.)

Enter the Strava Back Half Challenge—which hopes to inspire runners to run strong and steady in the beginning and crush the second half of the race. To enter, you must complete a submission form on the Strava blog after completing a qualifying race. 

It’s no Ryan Gosling, but hey, free sneakers and goal-crushing—we’ll take it.

Here’s some intel to help you step up your race game: the ultimate guide to breathing properly during your workout and the intervals you should add to your race training plan.