Tag Archives: Weight loss

Easy Steps To Get Closer To Your Health Goal…aside from diet and exercise

Healthy eating and increased physical activity play a major role in optimal wellness. And getting there can take some major effort and dedication. But when you’re not used to hitting the gym most days of the week or cutting a chunk out of your daily calories, getting to that goal can seem rather intimidating and nearly impossible. Here are some simple lifestyle changes you can easily take on to get you closer to a healthier you, no treadmill or food scale needed.

  1. Eat slowly

Chew, like really really chew your food. We’re so go-go-go throughout the day, that we tend to get to mealtime and…welp, that took 5 minutes…on with our day! Give our body some time to enjoy getting the nourishment. This will help us to not over-indulge and to better digest what we’re eating. Do something between bites, like talk or listen for a minute if with company, walk around the room, or count 20 breaths before taking the next bite.

  1. Drink more water

 

I’ve written about it before and I’ll say it again, water can really do the body a lot of good and is crucial in getting the body to its optimal stage of wellness. Check out my article on the benefits of water:

The Benefits of Water 

 

  1. Sleep

 

Sleep plays an important role in body performance throughout the day. If sleep is a difficult thing to come by for you, try some methods to help relax your body at night like meditation, chamomile tea, or lavender inscense.

 

  1. Deep breathing

 

The chaos of our day can easily and often lead us to stress, mindless eating, fatigue, bad posture, and decreased focus. By simply doing two minutes of slow, deep breathing, it helps us become more in tune with our body, bringing us awareness to how it feels inside and out. This will help us to become more inclined to continue bettering it as we go forth with our day. How often do we ignore our bodies and not realize it? Mentally counting down the tasks on our to do list throughout the day, all while having poor posture, overstuffed tummies, tight facial muscles, or what-have-you. But hey, we got all of our tasks done for the day, right!? But at what cost to our body? Take two minutes a few times a day to breathe deep and pull your focus inward. You owe yourself at least that.

 

  1. Stretch

 

Ever notice how a morning stretch before getting out of bed or stretching your neck side to side gives you that ‘okay, now I’m ready’ feeling? Get some light body stretches in throughout the day. Reach as high as you can while sitting in a chair and slowly tilt your upper body side to side. It’ll help loosen your muscles all while helping your posture and circulation.

 

  1. Fidget

 

Keep Moving! Not only does this keep the muscles active and burn some calories, but it actually helps keep our focus and energy up. While sitting, bounce your heel up and down, or back and forth between heels as if climbing stairs toes planted in the ground. Touch each fingertip to your thumb pointer finger to pinky and back. Whatever small movement it may be, keep your body moving.

 

  1. Surround yourself with motivation

 

Take a few steps to change your surroundings to health conscious ones. I noticed that when I did, I became more motivated to eat healthy and be more active. For example:

  • Change the background on your computer and your phone to a fitness motivation (it can be a picture or a quote, whatever helps motivate you)
  • ‘Friend’ others that have a healthy lifestyle on social media. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat on the couch ready to indulge in a not-so-healthy snack or got home after a long day and decided not to go to the gym, just to grab my phone to check Facebook or Snapchat, and a famous fitness/yoga/nutrition icon pops up sharing a post-workout pic or healthy meal picture, and my next actions changed because of it.
  • Wear gym shoes to run your errands instead of dress flats or sandals. It may help you expend more energy in your running around, and heck, you’re already ready for a workout!

When you see ‘healthy’ surrounding you throughout the day, you’re more inclined to make your actions comparable.

 

Just these small changes can get you closer to your health goals. Try to incorporate these into your day and see how it makes a difference.

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Healthy Eating Travel Tips

Life happens, and not always in the most convenient of ways. Here are some tips to stay on track no matter where or how you’re traveling!

Airport:

  • If eating at the airport, opt for choices like salad with lean un-breaded protein or a vegetable stir fry
  • Monitor spreads, sauces, creams, etc.(ask for them on the side)
  • Cut cravings for flavor while walking past all the food court options by bringing a water bottle with cucumber, lemon, or mint sprigs
  • Low carb, low calorie protein bars work great for non-perishable snacks

Road Trip:

  • Try low sodium turkey jerky for an easy non-perishable protein option on the go
  • Prepare some pre-portioned baggies such as trail mix with nuts and dried fruit or low-fat string cheese and celery/carrot sticks
  • Protein bars work great for non-perishable snacks, or bring a cooler for deli meat, yogurt, string cheese and water bottles
  • Preplan at restaurants you’ll be dining at- most restaurants will have their nutritionals online
  • Split portions at restaurants with someone else (they’re typically double the appropriate portion size)
  • “Would you like ‘fries’ with that?”- many fast food places offer the unhealthy option instead of asking ‘Would you like a side”. This is a marketing tactic to sell what is cheapest for them and usually the most unhealthy. Instead, opt for a side salad or fruit, not fried or fatty sides

Hotel Stay:

  • Preplan at restaurants you’ll be dining at- most restaurants will have their nutritionals online
  • Split portions at restaurant with someone else (they’re typically double the appropriate portion size)
  • Ask for a to-go container before even starting your meal and put half in the container to later refrigerate in the room
  • Make a stop at the local grocery store for healthy staples for your hotel mini fridge
  • Try to at least have breakfast in the hotel room; that way you have one healthy meal down to start your day
  • Make use of your coffee maker to heat water for Instant Oatmeal
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Why Breakfast Is So Beneficial

This one’s for my non-breakfast-eating sister (she’s trying though!!) as well as all you other non-breakfast-eaters out there:

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day? Well, let’s just say they’re all very important, but there is enough research out there that may make you take a second look on skipping breakfast. It’s easy to forget breakfast when we hit the snooze button three times and bombard ourselves with an hour worth of morning tasks squeezed into thirty minutes. Who has time to prepare a meal? And how can you even be hungry when you’re running around trying to prepare yourself for the next 12 hours? Believe it or not, that one choice of breakfast or no breakfast has more of an effect on those next 12 hours than you may think. And to clarify, no, a giant cup o’ joe does not constitute as breakfast, sorry.

It’s time to put an end to this breakfast boycotting once and for all. Eating breakfast can have a drastic effect on your whole day. Here are some reasons:

-When we sleep, our bodies fast and our metabolism begins to slow down when we are not fueling it with food. The first meal of the day, breakfast (break + fast) is a means to help kick start our metabolism again for the day. Eating breakfast gives us the energy we need to get us through the morning until our next meal or snack. Without breakfast, we’re going sometimes 10+ hours before we fuel our bodies from the night before.

– Breakfast skipping has been shown to have the largest effect on children, causing uncontrolled appetite throughout the day, a harder time staying focused on tasks and schoolwork, and a harder time retaining the information given. This can be due to the fact that our bellies growling at is can be very distracting as well as the fact that even our brain requires calories in order to function properly. It is thought that children’s small stature may be the biggest culprit to their higher susceptibility.

– When our bodies are in a state of hunger, we tend to crave carbs, and not necessarily the healthy ones, like fruit. Ever notice that once you eat a healthy, filling meal, you no longer really want that plate full of pasta or cookies or whatever else looks fat and delicious? When our bodies go too long without fuel, it knows it needs calories, so it seeks calories and a lot of them, as quickly as possible. This leads to eating unhealthier options and overeating.

– Many people cut out breakfast as a means to burn up any fat when their body is showing them signs to hunger. What I always tell my clients is the best thing to do is listen to your body. When it’s hungry, give it nutrients (NUTRIENTS though, not doughnuts). When it’s full, give it a break. The best way to learn what’s best for our body is to be completely in tune with it. When we feel sluggish after a meal or our stomach is crying out for help, chances are, what we ate wasn’t all that healthy. When we cut out breakfast in order for our body to “eat what fat it has”, we’re actually just the opposite of what we intend. Our bodies sometimes aren’t on the same page as our minds. What our bodies try to do best? Protect us. When we starve it and don’t listen to its hunger cues, it starts to go into survival mode, spiking blood sugars and storing any sugars we take in(almost everything has some amount of sugar in it) as fat instead of using it as energy. Calories are actually called “energy” in other countries, because, guess what, that’s what it is. When we don’t take in any calories for a period of time, we break down that muscle before we get to the fat store. survival mechanism at its finest…or worst in this case. We also make it more difficult to fuel our lean muscle when depleting it of nutrients. And lean muscles, sirs and madams, helps to burn fat. So, in fact, skipping a healthy breakfast is rather counterproductive in this attempt.  Which brings me to my next point…

– Skipping breakfast will not cause you to get diabetes, but keep in mind that it will spike your blood sugar, making you more insulin resistant. For the average healthy person, this is a risk because we’re not metabolizing the sugar we’re eating properly. For the already diabetic person, this is a greater risk when they already have issues with blood sugar. This is why it’s best for diabetics to eat every couple hours, to keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

Mood swings and irritability are a common symptom of low blood sugar. An unhappy belly can easily lead to an unhappy person. The sun is up and it’s a new day for new adventures. Start it off on a happy note. 

Robin LeAnne, a highly recognized blogger who writes about everything from a healthy lifestyle to fashion advice, recently did a “90 days to a new me” article where she made breakfast (something infrequent in her daily routine) a priority. Check out how much it has made a significant effect on her day and her health in just 90 days at http://francescasflops.wordpress.com

Breakfast should always include a fruit/vegetables and protein. Protein should of course be with every meal, because it wards off hunger the strongest and the longest. And as mentioned before, protein is needed for those strong muscles that help us bust fat easier. Protein can be anything from egg whites to tofu to yogurt or meats. Fruit and yogurt smoothie or veggie omelet anyone?

Please keep in mind that we’re not doing our body significant damage by skipping a meal every once in a while, but making a habit of it can start having detrimental effects. Hopefully these points can convince you to bust that breakfast boycotting now.

 

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The Benefits of Water

                Everyone knows that drinking water is good for you. Sure, it’s a great zero-calorie thirst quencher, but this free beverage can do much more for your health than hydrate. Here are ten surprising benefits of water.

  1. Skin: Water, good ol’ H2O (O standing for oxygen, my friends), hydrates your body and brings oxygen to all of your organs. This includes your biggest organ, your skin. Water naturally plumps skin. This means firming fine lines and wrinkles, hydrating dullness, and even helping to conceal cellulite. Overall, your complexion will improve greatly, guaranteed.  
  2. Weight: Just because it plumps your skin, doesn’t mean it makes you plump. In fact, it’s quite the contraire m’dear. If you’re not drinking enough water, your body actually starts retaining water as a survival mechanism. This, in turn, leads to bloating. To eliminate fluid retention, drink more water, not less. And FYI, there’s a reason Gatorade is advertised for athletes. It contains a high amount of sodium, helping you hold on to fluid in your body when you’re expelling so much through sweat. Gatorade is not meant to be a tasty replacement for water, it’s meant to keep water in your body. Also, water in between meals helps to suppress appetite and fill you up. Plus it’s 0 calories!
  3. Muscles: As mentioned before, water brings oxygen to all of your organs. This means your muscles, too. The more oxygen you bring to your muscles, the longer and harder you can work them. Up the water, up the endurance. You get the idea.
  4. Energy: It has been medically proven that just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in the average person.
  5. Mood: Many studies have shown that drinking water improves mood and eases stress. A bottle for your blues?
  6. Brain: Brain tissue is 85% water. With dehydration, the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. This is why when we have a headache, sometimes just drinking water will help alleviate it. It could just be a symptom of slight dehydration. Heading in for an exam? Don’t forget your water bottle to keep that oxygen going to your brain.
  7. Breakouts: Hot lemon water is said to reduce bacteria internally, lessening breakouts. Hot steam (water in gas form, if you were unaware) helps open your pores, and a splash of cold water helps to close them.
  8. Toxins: Water flushes toxins out of your system and carries nutrients to your cells. Your kidneys rid your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is enough. If you don’t drink enough water, you’re at higher risk of developing kidney stones. And toxins staying in your system can lead to illnesses and diseases like cancer. When you’re well hydrated, your urine is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine is darker and concentrated because your body is trying to hold on to as much liquid as it can.
  9. Constipation: Adequate hydration keeps the gastrointestinal tract working the way it should. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration, resulting in constipation.
  10. Joint Health: Water lubricates our joints. Cartilage holds a lot of water, which serves as a lubricant during the movement of the joint. If the cartilage is dehydrated, the abrasion can cause damage, resulting in joint deterioration and increased pain. Rheumatoid joint pain and back pain is often alleviated or decreased with a little bit of hydration.

I noticed several of my nutritionist coworkers bringing giant jugs of ice water to work every day…so I followed suit; and boy am I glad I did. Not only does it help energize me for the work day, but I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin. Caffeinated beverages as well as alcoholic beverages act as diuretics and increase fluid loss, so they actually make you lose more water. For every glass of coffee or alcohol you have, try to have a glass of water too. Ever wonder why the feeling of a hangover often includes a headache…? Your body might be full of liquid, but not the right kind. A heavy night of drinking, followed by a morning of excessive coffee is the worst thing you can do. Your body is in a state of dehydration, not just tiredness. I’ll drink to that! Water, that is.

You’ve probably heard the common recommendation to drink eight full glasses of water a day. The recommendation seems to change constantly. And of course your recommended water intake will increase if you’re an avid exerciser, breastfeeding mom, or live in a hotter climate. I say just keep drinking instead of keeping track of how much you drink. It’s not likely you’ll over-hydrate yourself. If water is a little too boring and bland for you, try adding some mint, lemon slices, or cucumber to a pitcher of water.  

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Uh Oh! Did these pants shrink?

Looking for a fabulous fat figher? Fiber! Say that five times fast. Fiber helps to bind to cholesterol and makes you feel fuller longer. On top of helping with weight loss, it also helps to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower blood sugar levels. Foods with excellent fiber content include beans, rice, bran cereals, walnuts, almonds, oranges, apples, berries, oatmeal, and vegetables. Shoot for 25-35 grams a day to start seeing the benefits!

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