All Entries For tips
Summer provides a perfect opportunity to get a healthy dose of the sunshine vitamin that many of us need. At the same time, we are mindful of the damaging effects of the sun's UV rays we have heard so much about over the years. We look for tips that make applying sunscreen easier and more fun for kids while not always wearing it ourselves.
Last summer the FDA unveiled new rules related to sunscreen claims to help reduce consumer confusion about UV protection and claims related to being waterproof or sweatproof. The new rules would have gone into effect June 17, 2012 were it not for an FDA issued delay last month that provided a six-month extension.
With all the confusion regarding when and how the guidelines will change, it can be difficult to know how to protect your skin against the sun at the beach or during outdoor workouts. Here are some useful tips to help you have a skin safe summer.
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Q: I've heard that artificial sweeteners can make you crave more sweets. So why do weight loss plans encourage eating foods—like yogurt—with artificial sweeteners? —HILARY SHEFFLER HOWARD, ATHOL, ID
A: Diet sodas get more negative attention because they have zero nutrition. Yogurt, however, has some positives (protein and calcium) along with the artificial sweeteners. My advice is to limit your intake of artificially sweetened foods and drinks to two a day, because they keep the sweet taste on your mind and taste buds, which can make it harder to beat sugar cravings. As for yogurts, I prefer those with a little real sugar. Look for flavored ones with no more than 14 g sugar per 4-oz container and no more than 20 g per 6-oz. (This includes the sugar that's naturally found in yogurt from lactose and from fruit purée, honey or other added sweeteners.) Of course, less is best! Most flavored nonfat Greek yogurts meet my cutoff.
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When you read the ingredient listing on a nutrition label, do the sugar terms jump out at you? Perhaps listings like sugar, brown sugar, or honey cause you to pause. What about listings such as evaporated cane juice, malt or turbinado sugar? Do they register as sources of added sugar?
Sugar has been in the news quite a bit recently. Learning ZoneXpress, a USDA national strategic partner, announced a new educational poster highlighting the sugar content found in popular beverages. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) just released a newly updated position paper regarding full-calorie and low-calorie sweeteners. Why is there so much attention on sugar?
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Many things have changed since 1971. Back then, there were no cell phones, personal computers, or the internet. There was also no satellite TV, music came from 45 records or albums, and you couldn't find online dining guides to make wise choices for the rare occasion when you would eat away from home. What has also changed is the rate of obesity in young people.
Researchers have recently analyzed historical height and weight data from 1971 to 2008 for U.S. children between the ages of two and 19. Evaluating the trends during that time led researchers to project an increase in childhood obesity to 21 percent by the year 2020 compared to today's rate of almost 17 percent. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to see the obesity rate decline to 14.6 percent instead.
Unfortunately, since so many Americans are overweight, many parents have a hard time taking a good look at their children's weight. A new study estimates children need to begin creating a 64 calorie energy gap (aka calories in vs. calories out) each day through diet and/or exercise to reach the 2020 childhood obesity goals. Here are some substitution ideas to cut these calories through diet.
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What's the No. 1 excuse for not working out? Lack of time. Sure, we're all busy handling multiple priorities and rushing around from here and there every day. However, I promise that no matter how busy you are, someone even busier than you are is working out right now. If you look closer, you'll discover that you do have the time to work out—and you deserve to use that time for yourself.
Squeezing in just a few minutes of physical exercise a day has huge benefits on your health, gives you energy and perks up your mood. In fact, a new study published by The Lancet found that if inactive people increased their physical activity by just 15 minutes per day, they could reduce their risk of premature death by 14% and increase their life expectancy by three years. Also, remember that "working out" doesn't have to happen in the gym or last for an hour! Short 10-minute bursts of exercise, accumulated over the course of the day, can add up to big fitness and health gains, too.
Still not convinced that you have the time to exercise? Here's how to start fitting fitness into your busy life today!
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As some of you may remember, I have a yellow lab named Zoe (along with a new puppy adopted from the shelter and three cats). When my husband and I brought Zoe home though, our lives changed forever! She is full of character and enthusiasm, to say the least. While I’ve been taking her to obedience training classes to get her to learn how to behave well, she is not the only one that has been learning new things. Zoe has taught me some very valuable life lessons that I think may help others too.
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Since 1937, we've spoken to thousands of healthcare experts to get the best, most timely advice (and so much of it still applies today). Here, the top tips you need to protect the well-being of everyone you love—including your pet!
You know how they say you can't love anyone else unless you love yourself? Same goes for your health. If you want the rest of your family to take care of themselves, you have to lead by example. Here's how:
Work out three to four times a week. Exercise counters the drop of HDL ("good") cholesterol levels that can happen as you get older.
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As my kids get older, I find myself focusing even more on meal planning. I want my kids to try a wide variety of foods. I don’t expect them to like everything I cook, but I want home cooked, healthy meals to be second-nature to them. Growing up, my mom was (and still is) a great cook. She was always trying new recipes, and now I’ve become just like her. My husband commented the other day that “you never know what we’re going to be having for dinner” because I’m constantly mixing things up. Granted, I’m just like my mom in that I don’t deviate from recipes. Someday I’d love to learn to really cook, where I can throw together a bunch of random ingredients in my refrigerator to create a delicious meal. But I’m not at that point yet. Read More ›
I used to weigh 460 pounds. Because of that, I have degenerative disease, herniated disks, pinched nerve bundles, arthritis, bad knees, and the list goes on. As a result of these things, I used to be the depression queen. My daily mantra was "I can’t”. The truth is, I felt hopeless in my world of pain and weight issues. I thought nothing could save me. Now I am at a nearly 200 pound weight loss, thanks to SparkPeople and Sparkers like you!
But what about my pain? Is it gone? No, sadly, but it has become much more manageable with a few wonderful techniques I’ve discovered along my journey.
After starting SparkPeople, I fired every doctor I had and got new ones. I explained my needs and desire to get better, but I refused to put up with any form of ridicule. (Example: One doctor grabbed my stomach and called it "This thing.") I needed advice and direction, not judgment. So I found a new doctor who set me up with in-home physical therapy to address my specific needs. Your specific needs may be different, so it is always best to start with a knowledgeable, yet understanding doctor. Read More ›
You might think it’s what you eat off your fork—not the size of your utensil—that’s causing you to pack on the pounds. But new research suggests otherwise. Read on to get the scoop on this and other eating habits that can tip the scale.
1. You drink a lot of diet soda.
Yes, it’s calorie-free, but it might lead to an expanding waistline. People who drink even one diet soda a day have larger waist circumferences compared with non–soda drinkers, according to research from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. One possible reason: “People think that they’re ‘saving’ calories by choosing diet soda, so they eat more to make up for it,” says study coauthor Sharon Fowler, MPH. Another theory: Artificial sweeteners may increase your cravings for other sweet foods like candy.
Either way, the calories can really add up, so try to quit the diet soda and reach for water or seltzer instead. If going cold turkey is too difficult, limit yourself to one soda just two or three times a week.
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Do you find yourself doing great with your healthy lifestyle habits during the week, only to find that you lose your motivation to stick to those healthy habits during the weekend? Don't worry, you are not the only one! I see numerous SparkPeople members say something similar to this somewhat often. You work so hard during the week for your job and/or school, your family, doing various tasks, changing various lifestyle habits, etc., and perhaps you feel you need a break from it all at the end of the week. However, by making some small adjustments you can change that all around and make your weekends healthier too! We have rounded up a variety of resources to help you get through the weekends with more motivation to stick to your healthy lifestyle habits.
"You can't change what was in the past…not by worrying about it, complaining about it, dwelling in it. You also can't build the future. You can impact the now…today….this moment. By impacting your now, you have the best possibility of impacting your future." ~Author Unknown
That quotation routinely brings me back to thinking about living in the now, the present moment, and making the most of it:
For me, part of trying to live a life of successful maintenance has to be based on understanding what I can truly impact. Can I impact the consequences of my food choices yesterday? No, not really. Those calories are already in my body. Does wasting the day away regretting, fretting, or languishing in a downer mood help? No! If I do drop into one of those moods, and I'm sure you know the one I'm talking about, I'm thankful for one of my teenage daughters. She'll remind me not to be a "Debbie Downer." That's a name she got from a Saturday Night Live skit where Debbie is always focusing on the negative no matter what else is going on. She will remind me that I've told her that in any given moment you can choose to change your mood and your mindset, and that I'm not allowed to disregard my own advice. I think I might have to set up a text code with her for when she goes off to college. I'll send her #DDM for Debbie Downer Mood, and she'll help me out of it! Read More ›
I recently came across a quote that read, "Healthy living is a life sentence, you will never be pararoled or pardoned." What I love about this quote is that healthy living is a way of living. It is not something that can be measured by a number on the scale. It is the actions we take every day that allow us to leave the diet mentality behind.
Having worked for SparkPeople for over three years now, I have seen many common concerns on the message boards. One of the most common themes is the fear that when a member starts integrating healththy habits into his/her life and the the results aren't as quick as they should be, the member is convinced something is wrong. The member is either eating too much, not exercising enough or for many, they are convinced the program does not work. For many long term dieters, like myself, we are convinced that we may have even permanently destroyed our metabolsim (which is not the case).
I am here to put the record straight that with time and patience the changes will happen, but you must utilize the tools in order to see the success. These changes can take as long as six to eight weeks to show up on the scale, but when a member doesn't get the results he/she expects to see on the scale, the fear is that they must be doing something wrong.
This journey isn't a sprint to see how quickly you can get the weight off only to go back to your unhealthy ways. I view this healthy living journey much like I do my training for an event. I can't slack on my training if I expect to reach my goal. I can't expect to go from the couch to a marathon without going through days, weeks and months of training. Just like adaptation to exercise takes time, so does weight loss.
Midway through my weight loss journey, I went through a very long nine month plateau where no matter how hard I felt I was doing everything right, that doggone number on the scale would not move. At the time I was working with a running coach/trainer who insisted that I throw the scale away. I reluctantly gave my scale away. Now I am not saying that is what YOU should do, but my coach could tell I was putting too much emphasis on the scale and not on all the changes that were happening within my body.
One of my assignments was to compile a list of changes that were happening to my body that had nothing to do with the scale. Almost five years later I still have that list and add to it as I come across the new research as to how healthy living can impact our life, even if the scale is not moving. Read More ›
Often I hear people complain that they just don’t have time to exercise. It’s no surprise, with all of the demands on our time these days- work, family, friends, etc. Being busy is a standard way of life for most of us. But honestly, I’ve never met someone who’s really too busy to exercise. You might not have a daily hour of uninterrupted time for working out, but you probably have more time than you think. It all comes down to priorities and a little creativity. Read More ›