Saturday, December 03, 2011
Today's SP "31 Days To Healthier Holidays" tip is,
"Splurge wisely. The holidays only come once a year, but the parties, events, and gifts of food never seem to end! Decide which ones are really worth splurging for, and leave the other foods on the table."
ionarticles/nut314.htm gives us updated "Holiday Eating Strategies" that can bring success as we face the holiday feasts in the weeks to come.
•BE REALISTIC - DON'T FOCUS ON LOSING WEIGHT DURING THE HOLIDAYS.
Focus on maintaining your current weight. You can get back on track with weight loss when the diet danger zones of November and December have passed. Also, don’t let yourself justify binge eating during the holidays because you expect to restrict food after January 1. Plan in advance to eat a little more when you face holiday temptations. This way you can enjoy treats more often, and you’ll be less likely to binge.
•DON'T GO TO A HOLIDAY EVEN HUNGRY.
It is not a good idea to starve yourself all day so that you can indulge at one meal. We just eat more and faster when we’re hungry. You need to eat healthy throughout the day to keep glucose levels stable and to boost metabolism; this will work to reduce hunger for an evening event. Choose a high-protein snack before an event such as an apple with peanut butter, yogurt, unsalted almonds or walnuts, hardboiled egg or nonfat mozzarella cheese.
•WATCH YOUR PORTIONS.
Treat yourself to a nice drink, sweets or creamy dips without guilt, but keep portion sizes under control. This is a great way to sample different foods. Commit to the mantra “small plate, no piling.”
•SURVEY PARTY BUFFETS BEFORE FILLING PLATE.
Decide what you’re going to eat in advance, and make only one trip to the buffet. Make a small plate that is ½ vegetables, ¼ lean meat and ¼ starches.
•AVOID RECREATIONAL EATING.
It takes about 30 minutes for the message that it’s full to get from the stomach to the brain. During this time you can pile on the calories from “social eating” — food is there, and everyone else is eating. Enjoy your choices and then wait at least 30 minutes before deciding if you would like a bit more.
•MAKE SURE WHATEVER YOU'RE OFFERED IS SPLURGE-WORTHY.
We all have some favorites that we look forward to during this time of year. Why waste calories on foods you can have anytime (chips, salted mixed nuts, dip, etc)? Try rating food options on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is best) and have a bit more of the foods that are truly special and unique to the season.
•MAKE A CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO LIMIT HIGH-FAT ITEMS.
If it’s creamy, fried or cheese-filled, it’s going to be loaded with calories. Commit to tasting portions. Low-fat, high-fiber foods allow you to eat a larger amount for fewer calories and not feel deprived.
•USE STRONG, INTENSE MINTS, GUMS & STRIPSs.
These dull the taste buds and also trigger satiety messages to the brain. So use one when you arrive and use it again when you find yourself wanting to nibble.
•CHOOSE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WISELY.
Alcohol is high in calories — liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks may contain up to 450 calories per six ounces! Calories from alcohol tend to be stored in the abdomen. Also, alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating. If you choose to drink, select light wines and beers, and use non-alcoholic mixers such as water and diet soda. Ask for your drink in a tall, slender glass — you actually receive less while giving the illusion of more!
•GO EASY ON EGGNOG & PUNCH.
Many holiday beverages are packed with calories. Choose calorie-free water or diet sodas to help fill your stomach and keep you hydrated.
Overeating one day won’t make or break your eating plan. It certainly won’t make you gain weight. It takes days and days of overeating to gain weight. If you do overindulge, don’t just give up. Plan to get back on track the next day. There are going to be a few bumps on the road to healthier eating and we have to acknowledge this to avoid guilt and despair.
"At a dinner-party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely." ~ W. Somerset Maugham
Friday, December 02, 2011
Today's SP "31 Days To Healthier Holidays" tip is,
"Stay active. Don't mistake being "busy" for being "active". You still need to exercise at least 30 minutes each day. Break it up into a few smaller sessions throughout the day if you're pressed for time."
olidayexercise.htm points out that it's hard enough to exercise when little is going on, but add holidays to the mix and many of us find exercise moving to the bottom of lengthy to-do lists. One thing you don't want is to add more stress by trying to maintain your regular exercise schedule. At the same time, staying active in some way will give you energy, help lessen holiday tension and, of course, help mitigate some of the extra calories you may be eating.
So, how do you find that balance? These quick tips will help you plan ahead, prepare yourself for any eventuality and provide workouts to help you stay active this holiday season.
If you're traveling, planning ahead can make all the difference. Take some time to figure out what your options are so you're ready for anything. Just a few ideas:
•Search for walking, running or park trails nearby.
•Look up information about the hotel you're staying at and find out if they have an exercise room.
•If you're staying with family, ask if they have any fitness equipment.
•If that's not an option, find any nearby gyms and ask if they let guests use their facility.
•Talk to your family in advance and suggest taking a walk or doing something active together.
•If they aren't into fitness, call them before you visit to tell them you want to squeeze in a workout. Ask what they recommend so that you don't interfere with family plans or hurt their feelings if you take time away from them for a workout.
Try to plan your workout schedule beforehand. Even if you have to change it (which is likely when you're traveling), you've already made a commitment to exercise. It's easier to stick with it when you have it planned than to squeeze it in later.
If you're not sure about your schedule or whether you'll even have time to get in a workout, plan for the worst-case scenario. That may be staying in grandma's basement with no equipment and only 10 or 15 minutes to yourself.
Try these quick tips for squeezing in a workout even when you only have minutes to spare:
•Bring a workout plan with you. Plan a 10-minute routine you could do right in your bedroom. For example, you could choose 10 exercises and do each for 1 minute (squats, lunges, pushups, jumping jacks) or check out the holiday workouts below for other ideas.
•Bring resistance bands. They travel well and you can use them for quick strength exercises whenever you catch a few minutes.
•If you have a laptop, bring along a workout DVD or try streaming workouts online such as those offered by demandFitness.
•If guests are staying with you, move your equipment (weights or bands) into your bedroom so you can sneak in some exercise at night or in the morning.
•Wear your running or walking shoes as much as you can. You may find a 20-minute window when people are napping or before dinner for a quick walk or run.
You may even want to invite some family members for a walk. Sometimes there are others who'd love to workout, but they're just waiting for someone else to step up first.
USE EVERY OPPORTUNITY
Planning and preparing are nice, but even the best-laid plans get derailed, especially during the holidays. If you find there's just no way to get in a workout, get creative and find ways to move your body any way you can:
•Walk as much as possible. Take extra laps at the mall, use the stairs, volunteer to walk the dog.
•If you're hanging out with kids, set up a game of football, tag or hide and seek.
•Offer to help with the housework, shoveling snow or raking leaves.
•If everybody's sitting around watching football, get on the floor for some situps or pushups. If that's too weird, try isometric exercises -- squeeze and hold the abs, the glutes or even press the hands together to engage the chest.
•If you don't have equipment, pick up some full water bottles or soup cans for quick lateral raises or overhead presses. Something is always better than nothing.
The most important thing is to be realistic and go easy on yourself. You aren't always in charge of your schedule during the holidays so you can only do your best. Remind yourself that you can get back to your routine when you're back home.
"Exercise - you don't have time not to!" ~ Author Unknown
Thursday, December 01, 2011
SP points out that, "Gathering with close friends and family members during the holidays creates lasting joy and memories. But with so many parties, celebrations and errands to run, it can be hard to keep up with your healthy lifestyle! Here are 31 daily tips that will help you make healthy choices throughout the holiday season." Sooooo let's get started ...
Today's SP "31 Days To Healthier Holidays" tip is,
"Take inventory. Identify all the situations (office parties, mall food courts, family gatherings) that make it difficult for you to eat healthy during the holiday season. Make a plan for staying on track in every situation."
vereatholidays.htm tells us that if you eat just one extra cookie a day over the holidays you'll put on a lb. Now that may not sound like much, but in 10 years you would weigh 10 lbs. more than you do right now -- that is, if you keep the rest of your diet the same, and that is asking a lot during the holiday season. Many people gain 4 - 5 lbs. this time of year because of the temptation of delicious treats and extravagant dinners.
The holiday season is a time filled with parties, family gatherings and lots of food, but with a little help, you can keep from eating too much during the holidays. If you continue to eat a healthy and nutritious diet, you will feel better and have more energy to enjoy the season.
DON'T SKIP MEALS
Many people believe that if they skip breakfast or lunch, they can save up all of those calories for the holiday party that night. That sounds like a good idea, but skipping meals can make you crabby, tired and maybe even leave you with a headache that just might ruin your evening festivities. Plus, when you are really hungry and surrounded by high-calorie holiday treats, you may very easily turn into a raving eating-machine and consume many more calories than the ones you skipped earlier in the day.
Don't skip meals; just eat sensibly. A bowl of whole grain cereal and low-fat milk for breakfast, a mid-morning snack of raisins and nuts, followed by a healthy lunch with a big salad or a sandwich made with whole grain bread will keep your body and your brain fueled throughout the day.
EAT HIGH-FIBRE FOODS BEFORE THE PARTY
When you have a party to attend, snack on some fiber-filled foods just before you go. Fiber helps you to feel full, and if you aren't feeling so hungry, you might not eat so much at the party. Choose foods like low-calorie vegetables, a small salad, a piece of fresh fruit, or a small bowl of oatmeal.
EAT SMALL AMOUNTS OF THE FOODS YOU LOVE
No one wants to feel deprived, so go ahead and take a small piece of pie or one cookie -- but not both. Look over the buffet or the serving table, and pick out one thing that you really would love to enjoy. The rest of your plate can be filled with healthy vegetables and fruits, whole grain crackers, cheese and lean meats.
DON'T HANG AROUND THE BUFFET
It isn't easy to resist the delicious foods you find on a buffet at a party, so get away from the table. Choose your foods and your drink and move to a different part of the room. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. At the very least you will have to think about what you are doing before filling your plate again and again.
When friends and family gather at a meal, the food is usually piled high on most everyone's plate. You wolf down the first plate and pick out more of your favorites to gobble down as second helpings.
Slow down. It takes a few minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is getting full, and you can eat a lot of extra food in those few minutes. You don't need a giant mound of food, so place small portions on your plate. Set your fork down between bites and sip some water. Relax and enjoy the flavor of each mouthful. Chew each bite thoroughly before you swallow. Savor each moment with your friends, your family and this wonderful food, but remember it is a meal, not a race to see who can eat the fastest.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Many people believe that mild dehydration may feel like hunger, and the best way to avoid becoming dehydrated to drink plenty of water. You can also use water to slow down your eating by taking a sip or two between bites. Have a glass or two of water before you start drinking alcoholic beverages, and have one in between drinks to slow down your alcohol consumption as well. (Not only can cocktails be high in calories, but overindulging in alcohol can lower your awareness of how much you're eating.)
KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS AT WORK
Keep some healthy snacks on hand when coworkers start bringing in holiday treats. These treats are always tasty but rarely healthy. Snack on nuts, raisins, fresh fruit or energy bars instead so that your snack calories provide you with good nutrition. If you are going to indulge in a holiday goody, make sure it's not an everyday add-on.
"If you can half-it, you can have it." ~ Author Unknown
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Today's "30 Days To Greater Happiness" SP tip is,
"Ask for help - if you need it. If you feel unhappy most of the time, talk to a therapist, career counselor, or spiritual advisor to help you find what makes you unhappy."
5-ways-to-be-happy-when-you-feel-unhappy tells us sometimes when you feel unhappy it can seem like the feeling will never go away. You may feel trapped in negative thoughts and it can be hard to imagine life any other way. You may also get down on yourself for feeling sad, like something is wrong with you.
But feeling down doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you are weak, unlovable or broken. It just means you have some feelings right now that are difficult or overwhelming for you. It’s normal for you to have periods of feeling sad and periods of feeling happy. Everyone goes through ups and downs with their feelings and it doesn’t mean you are defective. The following are some helpful tips and things to remember when you have sad feelings. Reminding yourself of these things can help you keep perspective on your feelings and hopefully lift you out of the negative thoughts.
1. Know that your emotions are not permanent. For most of us, emotions can be like a rollercoaster - they go up and they go down. Sometimes they are smooth and straight, and sometimes they twist and turn. Rarely do they ever stay in the same position for long. It is normal to be sad sometimes and to be happy others. It’s all a normal part of life.
2. Spend time with friends – social connection is one of the strongest ways to get out of a funk. Being alone can cause you to get stuck in your negative emotions. Isolation can lead to more distress. Engaging in the world around you with friends can help you feel connected and loved.
3. Do things you enjoy. By spending time doing something you enjoy, it can help you feel more fulfilled and help you feel that you have more purpose in your life. Feeling fulfilled and connecting with your purpose can help reduce negative thoughts.
4. Try to figure out what your emotional triggers are. Do you know what sets you off when feel down? It can be helpful to notice when you are set off on the emotional rollercoaster. Try to notice who were you with, what were you doing, what were you thinking? Paying attention to these things can help you avoid some of those situations in the future. If you can minimize your exposure to the things that trigger negative feelings for you, you may feel better
5. Avoid drugs and alcohol – sad or negative feelings can be amplified by drugs or alcohol and make a situation seem worse than it actually is.
6. Avoid caffeine – caffeine can increase nervousness and make you feel more jittery or anxious. It can also make it harder for you to sleep, which can make negative feelings worse. Keep in mind that caffeine isn’t only in coffee, it’s also in a number of soft drinks.
7. Practice gratitude -appreciate the things that you do have. When you are feeling down it can be hard to see the beauty or joy in things, but these are just the moments when you need that joy and beauty the most. Here are more tips on how to be grateful.
8. When you are feeling sad, think about someone who cares about you and what they would say to you to help you feel better. Maybe it was a teacher you had in grade school, or maybe it’s a family relative – imagine them being compassionate and encouraging towards you when you are feeling down. What would they say to help you feel better? Now that you’ve thought of it, tell it to yourself.
9. Learn to manage your negative thoughts. You can do this in a number of different ways. The next numbers 10 - 13 are some suggestions on how to manage your negative thoughts.
10. Notice when a negative thought comes up. Don’t judge it or judge yourself for having the thought, just notice that it’s there. As quickly as it arises, think that it can float away. Think of your thoughts as coming as going, just like the clouds in the sky. You can’t hold onto a cloud or grab it. If you do, it will just evaporate. Clouds float away, just like your thoughts. Your thoughts are ever changing, like the clouds in the sky.
11. See if it helps to replace a negative thought with the opposite thought. For example, if you think “I will never find a job and will always be unhappy” replace it with the thought “I will find a job and find happiness”. Keep doing this over and over when the negative thought comes up.
12. Stop yourself from thinking in extremes – such as “I should” or “I must”. This type of extreme thinking is unrealistic and impossible to live up to. It sets up an unrealistic expectation that you cannot live up to and can be a set up for failure. More on thinking in extremes here.
13. Stop thinking “it’s all my fault”. Challenge yourself and challenge that thought when it comes up. You can challenge it by asking yourself, “Is it really my fault? Was this situation totally within my control?” If it was within your control, then think what you can do differently next time. If it wasn’t within your control, give yourself a break! Remember that it’s okay, and that everyone makes mistakes. Life isn’t about the mistakes we make. Life is s all about how we recover from those mistakes and that is what really defines us.
14. Life is not perfect. Understand that we all make mistakes, it is normal. That’s why there are erasers on pencils, for our mistakes! No one is perfect. Get that? No one. Don’t try to be perfect because it’s impossible.
15. Forgive yourself and give yourself permission to not be perfect. You can learn how to do things differently from situations that didn’t work out. Instead of beating yourself up in your mind, just tell yourself that it’s normal to make mistakes and that it’s okay.
Everyone goes through feeling up and feeling down. Usually these feelings can last from a couple of hours to a few days. If you notice that you are feeling down for more than just a few days, you may want to talk to a mental health professional and seek out some help. It is often necessary to try many different things before you can find a way to feel better. Know that there is hope and feelings do change. It is possible to reduce the negative thoughts you are having, and you can change the way you think. Also, there are people who are willing to listen to you and help you. You are not alone, and often times change is possible.
"Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it." ~ Jacques Prévert
"You cannot always have happiness, but you can always give happiness." ~ Author Unknown
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Today's "30 Days To Greater Happiness" SP tip is,
"Laugh out loud. Visit a comedy club or watch a funny show. Laughing makes you feel good, so make time for fun and humour every day."
r_health.htm tells us that laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.
* Laughter relaxes the whole body.
A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
* Laughter boosts the immune system.
Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
* Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
* Laughter protects the heart.
Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.
More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in on the fun.
* Laughter dissolves distressing emotions.
You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
* Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
* Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing builds strong and lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter and play adds joy, vitality, and resilience. And humor is a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times.
Using humor and laughter in relationships allows you to:
* Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
* Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
* Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
* Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.
Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.
Begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.
TAKE YOURSELF LESS SERIOUSLY
One essential characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all known the classic tight-jawed sourpuss who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there!
Some events are clearly sad and not occasions for laughter. But most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either sadness or delight. They fall into the gray zone of ordinary life–giving you the choice to laugh or not.
Ways to help yourself see the lighter side of life:
* Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.
* Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
* Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
* Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond our control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical.
* Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
* Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.
"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." ~ Yiddish Proverb
"A good, real, unrestrained, hearty laugh is a sort of glorified internal massage, performed rapidly and automatically. It manipulates and revitalizes corners and unexplored crannies of the system that are unresponsive to most other exercise methods." ~ Author unknown, from an editorial in New York Tribune, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren
"Seven days without laughter makes one weak." ~ Mort Walker
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