Mother’s Day Sweets

800px-Chocolate_Cake_Flourless_(1) Living a  healthy lifestyle and eating healthy food doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional sweet indulgence. It’s Mother’s Day! That box of chocolates is calling your name! Can you eat sweets and still manage your diet? Yes, you can. As long as you eat sweets in moderation and occasionally, you can enjoy decadent chocolates, cakes, and cookies.

Dark chocolate is not only a decadent treat; it’s a healthy one too. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids can help improve your heart health and decrease your blood pressure. Walnuts increase the heart health power of this sweet by adding beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Yes, you can have 2 or 3 of those delicious dark chocolate-covered walnut treats.

Love milkshakes and ice cream? You know milkshakes are loaded with calories and fat. You can enjoy all the delicious flavors of a milkshake but with far fewer calories by substituting regular milk with 1 percent milk. Add some plain low-fat yogurt and your favorite fresh fruit, such as blueberries or strawberries, for a fruity flavor explosion. You will also benefit from the antioxidants found in fresh fruits and get a good dose of your daily vitamin and fiber requirements.

If you are going out to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day, many restaurants offer low-fat treats. If you must have that slice of chocolate cake, forego the ice cream and whipped topping. Take small bites and savor each one. You don’t have to finish that dessert either. Share it with that special someone who is treating you to dinner.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Restorative Yoga Benefits for Mothers

Yoga can provide mothers with obvious and unexpected benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. One of the main reasons every mom should do yoga is that it offers them emotional and physical balance and self-acceptance. There are several different types of yoga, but today, we will focus on restorative yoga.

What is restorative yoga? It’s a therapeutic style of yoga that revolves around using props in order to get into certain poses in an easier way, thus enabling you to completely surrender to the pose. This practice is not physically challenging and doesn’t require you to switch from one position to another quickly, but rather encourages you to stay in a certain pose for an extended time period.

This form of yoga will encourage busy moms to slow down, heal, and reflect. Instead of focusing on physically challenging poses, restorative yoga emphasizes simple stretches. You will learn to practice stillness, center your breath and body, and hold certain poses for extended periods. Staying in a certain pose for as long as you are comfortable will help you achieve a state of relaxation.

Like any type of yoga, you can choose to work either your entire body or a specific area. You can achieve restorative yoga poses by using many different props, such as pillows, blankets, chairs, straps, blocks, and bolsters. By using these props, you’ll allow your body to relax and stretch with support.

Restorative yoga isn’t as popular as other yoga techniques since most people opt for something more physically challenging. Nevertheless, restorative yoga is far from easy (even though it might not look that way) and offers many different health benefits.

Aids Weight Loss

You might be thinking that there’s no way restorative yoga could help you lose weight since it isn’t an aerobic style of yoga, such as the fast-paced vinyasa flow. Or maybe you’ve learned that you can lose weight only by taking part in strenuous exercise and keeping a healthy diet. Although this is true, there are other ways to lose weight effectively. By practicing one of the calmest forms of yoga, you can lose significant weight by reducing the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with too much stress and excess belly fat. The National Institutes of Health study, led by researcher Maria G. Araneta, PhD, MPH, of the University of California, San Diego, found that it also helps people get rid of subcutaneous fat.

Restorative Yoga for Menopause

Restorative yoga will help reduce the effect of hormonal changes associated with menopause by balancing your endocrine system. Your poses in a therapeutic yoga class will stimulate all your body’s organs, glands, tissues, and cells, significantly affecting your neuroendocrine system. As a result, it will also increase oxygenated blood flow to the glands in your head and neck.

Calm the Nervous System

Stress and anxiety cause our nervous system to move into fight or flight mode. On the other hand, restorative yoga can help bring back balance and calm to the nervous system. Practicing simple yoga stretches for just an hour a day will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and get your body into a more balanced rest and digest state. You should feel a sense of calmness and rejuvenation when finished.

Increase Flexibility

Yoga is probably best known for increasing flexibility. However, restorative yoga isn’t about how bendy you can get, like some of the other more popular forms of yoga. Instead, it focuses on simply teaching you how to release tension in your body, especially in tight areas. Because of this, restorative yoga may be the fastest way for you to learn how to increase your flexibility.

Injury and Illness Recovery

Restorative yoga is excellent for all people recovering from a particular illness or who are partially immobile and unable to take part in more strenuous workouts. This form of yoga allows people with depleted strength and low energy levels to enjoy some exercise. Engaging in this form of exercise will help you become more active. You’ll also experience a faster recovery, seeing how restorative yoga will help you rest, relax, and fight stress.

Restorative Yoga for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer

According to a study published by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, restorative yoga may help slow down the development of breast and ovarian cancer in patients suffering from these conditions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18544284

Strengthen Mind and Body

By strengthening your mind-body connection, you’ll deepen your self-awareness and introspection and experience a heightened body awareness. With a solid mind-body connection, you’ll be able to access certain parts of your body and relieve those areas of tension very quickly.

Try these 7 easy-to-follow poses to relax the mind and body:

Restorative Yoga Sequence to Relax the Mind and Body – Yoga Rove

Why the Role of Exercise in a Ketogenic Diet Succeeds

Exercise is vital whether following a low-carb, ketogenic lifestyle, or another health plan. However, regular physical activity can act more efficiently following a ketogenic diet.

Let’s face it- the primary reason you exercise is to look good, period. Sure, health benefits are a nice secondary benefit, but if we are brutally honest, it’s because looks matter to almost everyone.

A mere diet can never help you achieve the body you want, even though diet is essential in supplying the building blocks and setting the stage for your desired outcome.

Do you want to know exactly how exercise can help you while on the ketogenic diet? Read on and find out!

Combine the ketogenic diet and exercise for maximum results.

Exercise Improves Insulin Sensitivity

In many people, insulin sensitivity decreases with age, along with the level of physical activity. Sedentary persons are much more likely to have elevated blood glucose levels, record a higher level of insulin secretion over the day, retain excess body fat, and may likely pave the way to pre-diabetes. 

Exercise, especially weight-bearing, anaerobic activity, has been shown to improve the efficiency of insulin in response to blood glucose or amino acid levels and promotes the absorption of nutrients. 

When following the ketogenic diet, blood glucose levels are lowered, along with muscle glycogen stores, making the body more efficient at handling small bursts of glucose either ingested or produced via the Krebs cycle. 

Fat Burning Is Amplified

One of the most sought-after benefits of low-carb diets, specifically the ketogenic diet, is its marked effect on fat metabolism. In the absence of carbohydrates, insulin’s activity decreases markedly, paving the way for significantly increased levels of lipolysis. Excess insulin caused by eating too many carbs, for instance, can hinder fat burning and increase fat storage, which is a terrible scenario if you are trying to lose weight. So, be sure to choose keto-friendly foods that can help stabilize insulin and get regular exercise.

Are you not following a strict ketogenic diet? That’s fine. There are many variations of the ketogenic diet that are not as strict, but which still reap many of the benefits associated with it. For example, exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach place the body in a position to burn fat for energy, as glucose levels are depleted following 8 hours of fasting. Many athletes prefer to work out in the morning, which is the best time to amplify fat metabolism.

Exercise Promotes Muscle Gain

Well, this depends mainly on the type of exercise; weight-bearing, anaerobic types supply significantly more onus for muscle growth than steady-state aerobic varieties. 

Why is muscle growth significant? Muscle is the “powerhouse” in our bodies, better known as the mitochondria, and handles the literal burning and oxidation of ATP. The more muscle we have, either the more of these power units we have or, the larger they are. The result? Greater caloric burn while doing absolutely nothing, including enhanced fat burning. It is also crucial for you to keep exercising, as the adage, “use it or lose it,” is very much true.

Tweaking Keto

There are keto adaptions for bodybuilders, athletes, and others who perform intense exercise, where carb intake revolves around training. 

  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet – Athletes, bodybuilders, weightlifters, and anyone taking part in high-intensity exercise use this plan, and it features short periods of high carb intake. Typically, five keto days are followed by two high-carb intake days. 
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet – Bodybuilders also use this plan, athletes, and those who work out regularly to fuel intense workouts. Features high-load carb intake based on activities.

Exercise is a mandatory addition if you’re trying to extract maximum benefit from the ketogenic lifestyle. Your health will significantly improve, including your glucose and lipid profile, but so will your overall body composition. If you genuinely want to look your best, you will not reach it unless you incorporate aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (weight-bearing) sessions. 

Exercise may seem difficult during the first two or three weeks of adapting to the ketogenic lifestyle, but once your body efficiently produces ketones, fat loss, strength, and muscle gains will ensue.

How Plank Exercises Can Transform Your Body Shape Quickly

With so many complex exercise routines out there, it can be hard to find one that isn’t too complicated, time-consuming, or requires a lot of equipment. Ideally, it would be best if you tried doing exercises that will focus on a few muscle groups at once and that will help you achieve both your performance and aesthetic goals.

When it comes to functional bodyweight exercises, planks are the ideal choice. They are practical and efficient total body exercises that you can do anywhere. On top of that, it will transform your body shape no matter how fit you are.

When most people see someone doing planks, they think it’s strictly an ab exercise. Plank exercises do target your abs but also work many more muscles. When performed correctly, planks will create tension throughout your whole body, thus activating all your core muscles.

Since all major core muscle groups are engaged when doing a plank, you will see your athletic performance improve. 

Performing planks will activate essential muscle groups and significantly improve your physical abilities:

  • Transverse abdominis – Helps you lift heavier weights.
  • Oblique muscles – Increases your ability for stable waist-twisting and side-bending.
  • Rectus abdominis – Responsible for helping you have that stunning six-pack look and can improve your athletic performance, especially when it comes to jumping.
  • Glutes – Provides you with a strong, well-shaped backside and a supported back.

Primary benefits that you can experience from doing planks:

You will reduce the risk of experiencing an injury in your spinal and back column since it’s an exercise that will allow you to build muscle without putting a lot of pressure on your hips or spine. Planks not only reduce back pain but also strengthen your muscles and support your entire back.

You will improve your posture. Most people don’t have a straight and stable posture these days. Doing plank exercises can help you keep proper posture by working your abdomen, which significantly affects the condition of your shoulders, back, chest, and neck.

You will boost your metabolism. By doing this, you will ensure that you burn calories even when you’re resting. Planks are much more effective when losing weight than traditional ab exercises, such as sit-ups or crunches. 

Doing 5–10-minute plank workouts at home before going to work in the morning will keep your metabolic rate high throughout the day.

You will become more flexible as this exercise stretches and expands all your posterior muscle groups while also stretching your toes, arches of your feet, and hamstrings.

You will improve your mental health. Planks stretch out muscle groups that contribute to tension and stress in your body, which relaxes your nerves and improves your overall mood. If you’re sitting in your chair for most of the day, tension will build up in your muscles. However, doing planks has a calming effect on all those muscles, and may even help alleviate anxiety!

The greatest thing about planks is that you can see tremendous results by doing them in 10 minutes or less every day.

Setting Your Mind Towards a Healthy Lifestyle

Good health begins in our mind.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy asserts that our actions and behaviors are a product of our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, if we want to change our actions and behavior, we must change our thoughts and feelings. 

Does that make sense?  

Indeed, it does, especially in the health and fitness field — for the road to health, fitness, and well-being begins in the mind.

It starts as a feeling.

We often feel dissatisfied by our body shape – especially when we reach a certain age when what used to be lean and mean becomes rounded and saggy. 

We often feel dissatisfied with our energy level or the decreasing amount of work we can do before we feel tired. We begin to ask ourselves what happened and why.

Sometimes, we don’t notice the subtle yet dangerous changes in our body and our physiological responses to stimuli until we end up in the emergency room or the doctor’s office. Then, when the blood chemistry or scan reveals what is wrong, we get scared and anxious.

People try to ignore these feelings of discontent, frustration, fear, and anxiety about the state of their health. Some deny that they have these feelings.  

But, these feelings are essential.  

They can bog us down with self-pity and paralyze us in hopelessness, or they can be the stimuli for positive action. These can be feelings we don’t want to feel ever again. So, we do all that is in our power to get back into shape and live a healthier lifestyle to prolong the days of our enjoyment of life and all it offers.

If you are concerned about your health and lifespan, are thinking about chronic illnesses, and are at risk for such, you are not alone.

Maybe you have been diagnosed with a lifestyle-related medical condition or know someone who has, causing you to re-examine your health status.

At some point, all of us begin to consider such issues seriously, and good for you! It can motivate you to take action. Once you’re on the edge of action, go further and set your mind and behaviors to a healthy lifestyle.

Step 1: Let your fingers do the walking! 

Get on your smartphone or tablet PC and start browsing the internet for information. Be careful, though; many sites out there can scare you with disinformation and leave your pockets bleeding.  

Go to trusted sites and get relevant and accurate information about healthy diet and fitness. Read all you can to find out what that looks like, and then take action. 

Step 2: Make a choice! 

Armed with your education from step one, you can now examine all unhealthy aspects of your life and make a list of goals with specific action steps to reach them. 

Step 3: Get moving! 

Join a gym, follow a healthy eating plan, hire a personal trainer, or attend an aerobics class at a nearby community center. Ask your doctor for advice. 

Make small changes that will result in significant changes in time.  

Want to lose 100 pounds? Begin with losing 100 ounces. Begin by shaving off 100 calories from your diet by skipping your usual glass of soda, candy bar, or bag of chips.  

If you drink 3 cups of coffee daily, try cutting it to two. If you take sugar and cream with your coffee, cut the cream and sugar in half or strive for black.  

Skip the cake, choose an apple or an orange for dessert three times a week, and build up from there.

The power of visualization.

If and when you are trying to lose weight, it helps if you visualize your goals. By visualizing yourself reaching a goal, you’re actually training your brain to interpret that imagery as reality—and creates new neural pathways to support that reality.

  • Create an image of what healthy looks and feels like in your mind. Find short phrases, written words, or find a picture.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding at your goal. You might picture yourself crossing the finish line of your first 5k, or stepping on the scale 20 lbs lighter.
  • Create a vision board of images of your goal body, and put it somewhere so you can see it daily.
  • What is your favorite thing to do in the world?  Is it carrying your kids? Is it playing basketball or football with them? Is it driving your car? Is it going camping or traveling? Imagine how you are going to do those things (if you can still do those things) if you’ve lost the use of half of your body because you’ve had a stroke.  Sobering visions, aren’t they? And they work. They stop your cravings! They distract your mind from unhealthy desires and sway you towards a healthy mindset.

The battle is in the mind.

The mind is a powerful thing. It can make you do certain things that you would otherwise not do. A man diagnosed to be in the initial stages of coronary artery disease – his arteries were narrowing because of arterial plaque, which motivated him to go on a diet and exercise.  

He took pictures of his kids and put them in front of him every time he ate. Each mouthful of vegetable and fruit meant that much more time that he would be around to watch them grow.   

Whenever he felt like skipping his morning walk, he would imagine his kids living without his support and love. Immediately, he’d get up and walk like his life depended upon it – and it did. Happily, he was able to reverse the coronary artery disease through small lifestyle changes – his kids are now in college.

Use your mind to be informed. Use your mind to choose what is good for your health. Use your mind’s eye to motivate you toward your health and fitness goals. It all begins in the mind.

Does Walking Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat?

Getting regular exercise is essential if you want to stay fit and healthy. Walking is an ideal form of physical activity that is low risk and won’t cost you a penny. Walking is easy to do and it can be done anywhere. No equipment is needed. You just put on your sneakers and head outside.

You probably think an exercise so simple couldn’t possibly help you lose weight and belly fat. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Walking actually has a ton of really great health benefits. Too many to name in this one article. However, I will focus on a few I know you will love.

Benefits of Walking

Walking helps improve overall health. You don’t have to walk hours a day to reap the numerous health benefits of walking. Just 10-minutes every day can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier. It can also help ward off diseases and improve your overall health and well-being.

According to the American Heart Association, walking can help reduce the risk of both breast and colon cancer. It can also help reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

Walking helps lower blood pressure. According to webmd.com, a Korean study shows that walking just 40 minutes a day lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension. If you don’t have time to do the full 40 minutes, you can break it up into 10-minute sessions throughout the day and reap the same health benefits, according to ACSM guidelines.

A brisk 30-minute walk a day is all it takes to shed pounds, tone your muscles and improve your health. If you haven’t worked out in a while, it’s okay to start off slow. Walking just 5- minutes a day is a great start. As you get stronger, you can increase the time to 10-minutes, 20- minutes, 30-minutes, and so on.

When you walk, or do any type of exercise for that manner, you release what is commonly referred to as feel good hormones. The technical term for these feel good hormones is endorphins. Working up a good sweat causes your body to release endorphins, which will give you an immediate boost in your mood. So, if you’ve had a stressful day at work, go out for a brisk walk and activate those happy hormones.

How Many Calories Can You Burn Walking?

Every person is different and will burn a different number of calories from walking. The number of calories you burn will depend on three main factors: your current weight, the intensity of your walk, and the duration of your walk.

Someone who weighs 150 pounds and walks a normal pace for 60 minutes can burn as much as 250 calories.

A 200-pound person, on the other hand, can burn as much as 330 calories. The average person will burn up to 140 calories per mile walked.

To burn more calories and fat, simply walk more often and/or add in some hills to increase the intensity when you’re physically ready to do so.

You can also add in some strength training during your walk by incorporating exercises like push-ups, lunges, and squats every five minutes. Do each exercise for one minute, then continue walking until you’re ready to do the next group of strength exercises.

Another idea is to bring a resistance band along to target more muscle groups and add more variety to your walking workout.

By combining walking and strength training, you will burn more fat and calories long after you’ve finished exercising.

How to Achieve the Best Results

To get the most out of your walking, you should focus on walking with good posture and letting your arms swing slightly as you walk.

Engage your abdominal muscles with every stride. This will build up your core strength and protect your spine.

To help you stay on track, consider asking a friend or family member to go along with you on your walks.

Purchase a pedometer so you can track your steps throughout the day.

For best results, aim to walk at least 30-minutes a day. However, remember to start off slow if you are just getting back into the swing of things.

As you get stronger, you can increase the amount of time and intensity of your walks.

Making Sense of Macronutrients: A Brief Look at the Ketogenic Diet

Photo credit: Kjokkenutstyr [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Macronutrients are the building blocks needed to maintain health. The seemingly simple concept is the source of debate among scientists, nutritionists, celebrities, and laypeople. The question of ratio, quantity, and combination of macronutrients is not new. At different points in recent years, we have seen advocates for a surplus of one over the other in most fad diets—making it nearly impossible to know what to eat.

One diet currently gaining popularity was created to treat childhood epilepsy in the early twentieth century. A ketogenic diet, recently rebranded as a “bio-hack,” has been proven to be effective in the treatment of childhood epilepsy—but is it safe for everyone?

Following a ketogenic diet means strictly limiting carbohydrates—starchy vegetables, grains, and fruits—that convert to sugar during digestion and are used to power the body. Instead of being fueled by sugar, the body is forced to burn fat for energy. The body enters a state of ketosis, a similar effect to fasting in which the presence of both acetone and beta-hydroxybutyric acid appear. Followers of ketogenic diets get up to 75 percent of their daily calories from fat, 5 to 10 percent from carbs. Remaining calories come from protein, typically 1 gram per kilogram of body weight.

In addition to epilepsy, researchers have studied the therapeutic effects of a ketogenic diet on obesity, headaches, neurodegenerative diseases, and endocrine, sleep, and psychiatric disorders. One study shows that benefits in obese patients included decreased body mass index, total cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose.

The ketogenic diet differs from other low-carb diets, like Atkins, because it is not broken up into phases. Unlike Atkins, carbohydrates are not slowly reintroduced to the diet; practitioners just continue with the drastically reduced carb consumption. Unfortunately, a prolonged sense of deprivation can lead to significant overindulgence.

One feared consequence of maintaining ketosis for a prolonged period is ketoacidosis, a state in which the blood acidifies from high-levels of ketones. So far, the level of ketones necessary to reach ketoacidosis has not been possible in nutritive ketosis. There are several real side-effects to consider, however, including digestive issues, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and micronutrient deficiencies. When choosing the ketogenic diet, it’s important to discuss supplementation with your doctor or nutritionist to avoid these types of issues.

With trends shifting from low-fat to low-carb/high-fat, high-protein to moderate-protein, deciding what to eat is challenging. If you grew up during the low-fat craze of the 1990s, you may find it difficult to add healthy fats to your diet. One benefit of a short-term ketogenic diet or a “low-ketogenic” plan is that it allows a higher number of carbohydrates and can act as a reset for the sugar-filled Standard American Diet. Once the curve from high to low blood sugar is stabilized, it can be easier to make choices based on true, biological hunger instead of cravings.

Ultimately, a balance of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and animal or plant protein provide an accessible middle ground for most. By eating a varied diet, you are more likely to get all of the necessary nutrients without supplementation, and you are less likely to binge on forbidden food categories. If you have been limiting caloric intake for weight loss, adding a slice of avocado can be profoundly satisfying.

Resources

Scientific American

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/the-fat-fueled-brain-unnatural-or-advantageous/

Women’s Health Magazine

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/high-protein-diets

Scientific American

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/the-fat-fueled-brain-unnatural-or-advantageous/

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/

 

 

Can a 10 Minute Workout Be Effective?

Many people find it very difficult to find time to work out, especially for 30 to 60 minutes or more. If this describes you, then you will be pleased to know that you can break up your exercise sessions into 10-minute segments and still receive the same or even greater health benefits than a longer, moderate session.

To achieve optimal results from a shorter workout, you need to increase your exercise intensity. Many studies have shown that shorter, higher intensity workouts are actually better than long, slow endurance exercises at the gym because you can burn more total calories in less time, according to the American Council on Exercise. However, shorter exercise sessions of 20 minutes or less are only more effective than longer workouts when the intensity is high enough. Meaning, your maximum heart rate is equal to or greater than 70 percent during high intensity exercise.

Ideally, you should try to squeeze in at least two to three 10 minute workouts every day. For example, you could workout 10 minutes before work, one on your lunch break and one after work. Or, you might be able to take 10 minutes off to do your routine during your work day and possibly squeeze in two separate sessions or more if time permits.

Your 10-minute workouts should be based on your health goals. Some people may start with one or two cardio-based workouts, such as jogging for 10 minutes in the middle of the day for a mental boost and then maybe do a 10-minute invisible jump rope session in your office in the afternoon when you are running low on energy.

To burn even more calories in less time, add in some interval training. A 10 minute interval workout might look something like this: jog for one minute, push-ups for one minute, jump rope for one minute, squats for one minute, plank for one minute, burpees for one minute, alternating lunges for one minute, chair dips for one minute, jumping jacks for one minute, and then finish with bicycle crunches for one minute. Above all, make sure you do a thorough warm-up and cool-down to avoid injury and improve flexibility.

Now if your health goal is to develop firmer abs or to tone up your whole body, then starting with one or two sessions of muscle toning work would be ideal. You may choose to use an exercise band or do simple, yet challenging body weight exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, planks, squats, lunges and tricep dips. Throwing in your favorite 10 to 20 minute workout video is another good option. The key is to keep your workouts intense and fun to eliminate boredom and get better results.

The only way to know for sure if working out for 10 minutes, up to three times a day, will work for you is to try it for 30 days consistently and see how it affects you. You should also keep a journal and write down how you feel, as well as your eating habits and how your body is changing. For instance, make a note of how you feel mentally, emotionally and energetically after roughly two weeks of doing these workouts. Also, keep track of how fast you get out of breath. Do you find that you can push yourself further over time? Do you feel like you’re getting healthier, and are your clothes fitting better? After 30 days, check your weight to see what these 10 minute workouts have done for you. More than likely, you’ll find that it was a success.

6 Tips to Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

friendsWe all desire to be healthier and every year we make a resolution to do just that, but making a resolution is much easier than keeping it.

Have you recently made a resolution to be healthier?

Would you like some great tips to help you reach your New Year’s resolution goals?

Well, if you do, then you have come to the right place to do just that! The more you know, the easier it will be to stay focused and consistent, so you can become a healthier you for the long term.

Resolution

The key to keeping your resolution is to start with goals that you can keep. Start with a small resolution and work your way up to bigger ones.

Instead of deciding to workout every day, resolve to work out two times a week. After you accomplish that, then you can add another day to your workout routine.

Each time you keep a resolution, you will gain momentum to help you accomplish your next goal. Before you realize it, working out on a regular basis will come naturally to you.

Rewards

Set up a rewards system to help you stick to your health resolutions. If you have something to look forward to, it is much easier to stay focused on what you want.

When you do reward yourself, remember to make it a non-food reward! Choose something that will inspire you like donating all your too-big clothes to charity, or go for a relaxing spa session.

Your reward can be almost anything as long as it doesn’t undermine your efforts and motivates you to accomplish your health and fitness goals. Your reward should also fit into your budget.

Friends

A goal is always easier to accomplish with help from your friends. When we stumble and fall, our friends will be there to help us back up. Find other like-minded people that also want to be healthy and start a group so that you can all support each other.

Join a group workout class. Classes are an ideal way to stay motivated and healthy. With the right support, you will find that keeping your resolution is much easier!

Reaffirm Your Resolution

Stay focused on your goals. Set aside time each day to contemplate and to reaffirm your resolution.

Ask yourself… What can I do today to reach and keep my health and fitness goals?

The more you think about your goals, the more likely you are to keep those goals. You can even create a vision board dedicated to your resolution to be healthy.

Take a poster board and fill it with images that remind will remind you of being healthy. Hang it where you will see it every day and be reminded to stay focused on your goals.

Lifestyle Choices

Being healthy is a lifestyle choice. We make choices every day that impact our life and our health. Keeping your resolution to be healthy will be influenced by those choices.

Examine your choices carefully and ask yourself if this will hinder you or help you in keeping your goals.

When you become more aware of your choices, you will find it easier to stay focused on keeping your resolution to be healthy.

Accountability

Keep yourself accountable for your actions.

Before you skip your workout or eat that slice of pie, ask yourself…Will I regret this decision? Will your decision leave you feeling guilty?

Deep inside, you know if what you are doing is healthy or not. Thinking about the consequences may help you make the right decision. Exercise and eating right is a choice, not a jail sentence. Healthy lifestyle changes should be fun, not a chore! YOU are in charge of your life. No one can do it for you.

Stay focused on what you want and don’t let anything stop you from getting it. When you truly decide that you will keep your resolution to be healthy, then you will.

Another way to become accountable is by telling someone or multiple important people in your life about the resolution you have made. Ask them for help in checking in with you as to its progress. This can help you because you will be anticipating having to discuss your progress with another person.

 

 

3 Healthy Substitutes for Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo credit: Public Domain

Thanksgiving is a day when we eat a lot of food. Sure, spending time with the family is wonderful, and catching up with old friends is great. But then again, there’s nothing quite like Thanksgiving dinner topped off with pumpkin pie.

Food Network (foodnetwork.com) is one of many sites that offer numerous healthy recipes to introduce to your Thanksgiving table. If there’s one food that everyone’s Thanksgiving has in common, it’s potatoes. Sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, candied yams and roast potatoes. These are the easier substitutions you can make.

Candied yams are integral to any Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s packed with sugar and it’s not great for the diet. Consider opting for glazed sweet potatoes instead.

Say Goodbye to Candied Yams

Rather than layering your sweet potatoes with marshmallows, choose honey, cinnamon, and walnuts. For every 5 sweet potatoes, use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ cup of honey, 2/3 cup of apricot nectar, and a tablespoon of cornstarch.

Boil your sweet potatoes and slice when tender, cook the rest of the ingredients over a high heat and bring them to a boil.

Once the mixture thickens, pour it over the yams and then top with a ½ cup of chopped nuts. Bake for half an hour at 350 degrees.

Mashed Potatoes Are a Thing of the Past

Mashed potatoes are a must, but instead try mashed butternut casserole.

You’ll need 8 cups of butternut squash cut into cubes, 1.5 cups of diced sweet onion, an 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of chopped garlic, a tablespoon of light butter, a ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, ¾ of a teaspoon of salt, 3 wedges of laughing cow cheese and 3 slices of turkey bacon.

Cook the bacon till it’s crispy, then crumble it and set aside for later use. Add the onion, butter, cayenne pepper and a ¼ teaspoon of salt to a pan and stir for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir until caramelized. Remove from heat.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the squash and cook until tender. Drain it and mash it in a large bowl, add the garlic, salt, cheese and pepper and mix it well Spread the mixture into an 8×8 baking pan and top with the caramelized onions and the crumbled bacon. Bake it for around 15 minutes.

Boxed Stuffing Isn’t a Necessity

Instead, consider making a vegetarian cornbread stuffing.

You’ll need 2 diced leeks, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, finely chopped celery stalks (8), cored and diced apples (3), a cup of chopped pecans, a tablespoon of poultry seasoning, one large beaten egg, 4 cups of gluten-free cornbread (crumbled), a quart cup of port/sherry, plus pepper and salt to taste.

Start by heating the olive oil over medium heat and add leeks to sauté till slightly golden. Add the apple and celery one at a time and cook for three minutes after each new ingredient is introduced.

Add the pecans and seasonings and sauté for another two minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Add 2 tablespoons of port/sherry and cook for a minute. Set the mixture aside and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.

Put the cornbread in a large bowl and mix in the remaining port/sherry, egg, and veggies in the bowl and mix. Transfer it to a baking dish and cover, place it in a preheated oven (350 F) and bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes for browning.

Thanksgiving can be healthy and delicious without much more effort!