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Are Nocebos Harming Your Health and Fitness Efforts?

What the heck are nocebos you are probably wondering and what do they have to do with your health and fitness? They are the evil cousin of placebos. You know that placebos are used quite a bit in testing of drugs and supplements.The test is set up so that one half of a group gets the actual drug and the other half gets a placebo. The placebo is usually some kind of sugar water and it doesn’t have any of the drugs in it. In a double blind study neither the participants nor the researchers know which group gets the drug and which group gets the placebo.The idea of the placebo is that it isn’t the real drug and that it is not harmful in any way. This way the researchers can get an accurate measurement of what effects the drug actually has. An interesting thing happened during testing. Both groups responded to the drug.This shows the power of the mind. If you think you are getting a drug that is going to help you, you respond as though you are getting the drug and that it is helping you, even if you are in the placebo group and only getting sugar water.This effect is called the placebo effect. Many people have taken this placebo effect and used it in a not so positive manner. The nocebo effect as mentioned before is the evil cousin of placebo. It is when someone tries to affect a negative and harmful effect in you by using the power of the mind to control your response.This might make more sense if you think of a witch doctor. There have been many documented cases of where witch doctors have actually killed people just by using the power of suggestion.They do their incantations on someone and that person, because they believe the witch doctor, fall violently and sometimes fatally ill. That is the nocebo effect taken to the extreme.So what does this have to do with you and your health or fitness goals?Plenty. How many times have you said you are going on a diet, or going to start eating healthy or start going to the gym only to be met with a round of laughter and put downs from your friends and family?That is a milder form of the nocebo effect. And it does affect you. Very few people are able to overcome such negative and harmful statements.It has taken a lot of strength for you to admit you need to change your lifestyle to become healthier. It takes even more strength to admit it to others.When that strength is met with derision, scorn and laughter, it is like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.It is almost too much to overcome. Does that mean you shouldn’t tell anyone? Well, maybe. Or maybe you need to be pickier in who you tell. One of the best things you can do to help you in your health and fitness goals is to find others that are trying to reach the same goals. You can go to a gym or you can go for walks in the park. You will see and meet others doing the same thing you are doing.Surround yourself with other like minded people and you will be able to easily overcome the nocebos in your life. One place where you won’t meet any nocebos is at Val’s health and fitness site. Check it out – see below.

Useful Paraguay Travel Tips

Paraguay is the second poorest country after Bolivia in South America. The people are friendly and the pace is slow. The country has about 6.7 million people and 2.3 million of them live in the capital city, Asuncion.Here are 18 tips on traveling to Paraguay:1. Spanish and Guarani are widely spoken in Paraguay.2. Summer is extremely hot and can be up to 40 degrees Celsius according to the locals. Our visit was in winter. You do need a light jacket at night and early morning. Trinidad was extremely cold at night and early morning. You need winter clothes in this part of Paraguay, bordering Argentina in the northwest.3. Time zone in Paraguay is the same as US Eastern Time.4. Electricity is 220 volts.5. Official currency is Guaraní. During our visit it was US$1 to 4400 Guaranis.6. You can withdraw US dollars or local guaranis in major bank ATMs in Paraguay. We withdrew ours at HSBC bank along Calle Palma.7. Money exchange can be made at the border town of Cuidad del Este if you are traveling by a local or tour bus from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.8. Most shops prefer cash in Paraguay and do not accept credit cards.9. If you need to consult with a bank official, banking hours are between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.10. Tipping is 10% in restaurants and bars.11. You can travel cheaply by bus from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil to Paraguay. I do not have the experience but I’ve seen bus ticket counters in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay that sells tickets to Asuncion, Paraguay. You will have to be aware of the need to go through immigration and customs on your own.12. Americans need Paraguayan visas. It costs US$160 per person and lasts until the passport expires.13. There are American fast food restaurants in Asuncion like McDonald’s and Burger King.14. We were careful with fruit juices and salads while eating in Paraguay. On our first night in Asuncion we asked for stir-fried vegetables instead of salad. BAD choice… we were given fried salad (tomatoes, shredded carrots and lettuce).15. Services at restaurants are slower than expected. So be patient.16. Get a hair cut in Asuncion. It is cheap. My son got one at Ayala, across the Grand Palace Hotel for USD4.50 by a barber who has 40 years of experience. He paid US$25 in Florida, US$10 in Mendoza, US$15 in Montevideo and US$13 in Sao Paulo.17. Tap water is drinkable in Paraguay according to the Paraguay Tourism Board. We bought bottled water.18. Airport tax is US$31.Do you have any travel tips to Paraguay?