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11/9/19 8:35 P

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Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

Linda Kay


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11/9/19 3:47 P

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How to Exercise Your Resiliency Muscle
emoticon 6 Ways to Deal with the Ups and Downs of Weight Loss (without Giving Up)

By Ellen G. Goldman, Health & Wellness Coach

If you are thinking resiliency is an innate strength of a lucky few, the good news is you can definitely strengthen your resiliency muscle. Here's how to become more resilient in the journey of weight loss—and in life.

emoticon SIX Keys to Resiliency:

emoticon 1. Accept and face difficult situations head on. Anticipate in advance that challenging situations will arise all the time. Almost every week is marked with a birthday party, unhealthy temptations or busy workdays at home or the office. Be proactive rather than reactive, and plan how you will handle the challenge. Learn more about developing a Plan B to stick to your goals.

emoticon 2. Believe in your own inner strengths. Take time to remind yourself of past successes in other challenging areas of your life. Identify the strengths you used then, and apply those strengths to your weight loss journey. This is a good exercise to try in the beginning of your journey. Write down those successes in a blog post or a journal. When you start doubting yourself, return to them for motivation.

emoticon 3. Reframe your thinking. Tell yourself that setbacks are temporary, not permanent. Focus on what is still working, rather than the area where you lapsed. Remind yourself of all the things you did well before that small setback, then celebrate the next thing you did well, like getting up for your morning workout the next day rather than beating yourself up over the thing you did wrong.

emoticon 4. Talk back to your inner critic. Despite a difficult week, it doesn't mean you are a failure, you'll never lose weight, or all is lost. It only means you had a difficult week, and you have the opportunity to do better in the upcoming one.

5 emoticon . Try to learn from your setbacks. Mistakes and slip-ups aren't failures; they are learning experiences. Gather data to help you move forward in the future and avoid a similar issue. Treat them as learning opportunities.

emoticon 6. Find a cheerleader. Children who grow up to be resilient and highly successful adults report there was one person in their life who never stopped believing in them. Brooks refers to these individuals as "charismatic adults." When it comes to weight loss, having just one supportive, significant person in your life is essential. Whether it's a coach, your trainer, spouse or best friend—even your mom—hearing from, remembering, and receiving encouragement from someone who believes in you will help you achieve your goals and strengthen your resiliency muscle. If you're not sure where to start or don't have a cheerleader in your real life, you'll find plenty of support in the SparkPeople Community.



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


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11/1/19 7:30 P

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Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

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11/1/19 11:28 A

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Good article by Coach Nicole to remind us of priorities this upcoming holiday season!


25 Ways to Get Back on Track Today
Don't Give Up on Your Goals!

By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator

emoticon Not long ago, you were energetic and determined to start your healthy lifestyle. Starting with enthusiasm and hope, you watched your food intake diligently, exercised like it was going out of style, and even avoided the temptation that seemed to lurk around every corner. You were confident that you were going to reach your goals once and for all!

emoticon Then certain tragedy struck! You ate an extra piece of birthday cake. Realizing you had “blown” your diet, you ate another and another and couldn’t get it together the next day either. Or worse, you missed one workout, and that turned into a whole week away from the gym. After that, your momentum to start over again was gone, and your gym bag hasn’t left the closet since.

emoticon Every time you misstep on your healthy journey, you have two choices: to keep walking backwards, which will surely take you even further away from your goals; or to accept your lack of perfection as normal and forgivable, and take not one, but two positive steps down the path that brings your closer to the future you want.

emoticon If you’re reading this, you might have been walking backwards for a while. But instead of waiting for the next day, week, month or even year to overhaul your habits, start TODAY. And start small. You can’t go from the recliner to running or from burgers to Brussels sprouts in an afternoon. But you can do one, two or even a handful of small things that will help you regain your momentum for healthy living.

emoticon When you feel like getting back on track is overwhelming, try one (or more) of these small steps each day.

emoticon 1. Try a short workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. For ideas browse our video library or workout generator. [Note from Krys: this link might give you some ideas!
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_artic
les.asp?id=1596&page=2]


emoticon 2. Try a new recipe. Cooking healthy foods can be fun and it never has to be bland. [another helpful link:
recipes.sparkpeople.com/home
.asp


emoticon 3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day, so start if off right! Get lots of breakfast ideas here. www.sparkpeople.com/resource
/nutrition
_articles.asp?id=64


emoticon 4. Drink your water. Try to aim for 8 cups each day and you’ll feel the difference!

emoticon 5. Look at Motivational SparkPages. Seeing how others overcome similar struggles and obstacles can be a great source of motivation. [Some great quotes: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/quotes.asp? ]

emoticon 6. Track your food today. No matter how it adds up, you’ll learn from it.

emoticon 7. Update your SparkPage. It’s a visual way to track your ups and downs, but also your progress.

emoticon 8. Share your goals. Whether you post them on the Message Boards or share them with a friend, you’ll be more accountable.

emoticon 9. Exercise for 10 minutes. Jump rope, march in place, or do some crunches. Small amounts do add up to something big!

emoticon 10. Find a buddy. Get support from friends, whether you need someone to listen or a mentor to give you ideas and encouragement.

emoticon 11. Take a walk. Don’t worry about how long or far you go—just get out there!

emoticon 12. Create a motivational collage. Include pictures of your goal and reasons why you want to get there.

emoticon 13. Go shopping for some healthy foods. Use a shopping list for ideas. [Here are are some suggestions: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_art
icles.asp?id=1001&page=2
]

emoticon 14. Check the nutrition facts before you go out to eat. That way, you can make an informed choice.

emoticon 15. Ride your bike. Even a leisurely ride has benefits for your body and mind.

emoticon 16. Work in the yard. Gardening and yard work is a great way to add activity to your day.

emoticon 17. Take the stairs. Even if this is the only thing you do all day, you’ll feel stronger for it.

emoticon 18. Rack up those SparkPoints! You earn them for every healthy task you do on the site—talk about motivating! Aim for a certain milestone, such as 100 points, and then reward yourself with a SparkGoodie!

emoticon 19. Listen to an inspirational song. Better yet, make a playlist of them so you can turn to it whenever you need a boost.

emoticon 20. Re-start your SparkPeople program. Sometimes it’s easier to get back on track when you have a clean slate. [Tips on restarting: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_arti
cles.asp?id=269
]

emoticon 21. Measure your portions. It’s a simple way to learn how much you’re eating.

emoticon 22. Eat a piece of fruit. Even if 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables sounds impossible to you, one is doable.

emoticon 23. Slow down during meals. You’ll be less likely to overeat and more likely to enjoy your meal.

emoticon 24. Play! What kids call “play,” we often call “exercise.” Play a sport, a game, or use the playground equipment to bring the fun back into fitness.

emoticon 25. Learn something new. Sometimes simply taking a quiz or reading an article about nutrition, fitness, or health can change your mindset and get you back on track.

emoticon In tennis, losing one point isn’t the end of the world. It happens to the best of them. In fact, if you can consistently win a few more points that you lose, you may end up in the hall of fame. With healthy eating and exercising, as long as you’re consistently out-stepping your steps back, you’re ahead of the game. If you expect perfection (and many of us do), you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and guilt.



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
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312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
LKWQUILTER's Photo LKWQUILTER SparkPoints: (581,440)
Fitness Minutes: (356,789)
Posts: 147,558
10/26/19 7:03 P

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Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

Linda Kay


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10/26/19 3:27 P

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Change is hard; excuses are easy. This article can help you shy away from excuses and make changes that are good for you.


Don't Fall Victim to These Common Excuse Traps

By Melissa Rudy, Staff Writer

emoticon Wouldn't it be nice if you woke up every morning with plenty of time, energy, stamina and confidence to tackle a kick-butt workout? Or, if you could stop into the gym on the way home from work, bag fully packed with workout gear, fueled from a healthy lunch, ready to tackle that Zumba class? In the real world, your best intentions could be sidelined by the snooze button, countless kids’ activities or late nights at the office. That’s when the excuses start to creep in, effectively pushing your exercise ambitions to the back burner.

In most cases, the unhealthier path is the one of least resistance. It's almost always easier to come up with reasons to skip the workout and order the takeout—but those choices don't come with the rewards.

In a blog post by neuroscientist and mind-body expert Dr. Claudia Aguirre, she discusses the psychology behind excuse-making: “It serves as a distraction of sorts that prevents us from achieving the task, but it stems from a deeper, unconscious desire to protect ourselves...against anxiety and shame.” It’s like a vicious cycle; the more anxiety and shame we feel, the more likely we’ll be to keep coming up with fresh excuses to progress toward our goals. “In a way, this self-protective mechanism works,” says Aguirre. “You feel less burdened, less anxious and…off the hook. But is this a good thing?”

Every lifestyle is vulnerable to its own particular set of excuses. For instance, the busy parents hustling kids from one school meeting to the next activity can't fathom setting aside time for themselves, while the workaholic values deadlines over deadlifts. Even if you're in one of the common high-excuse groups, you are stronger than the excuses that threaten to derail your progress—no matter how persuasive they may seem. With these slight mindset adjustments and some smart planning, you can keep fitness on your calendar and bust those exercise odds.

emoticon The Busy Moms & Dads emoticon

During those rare times when you're not changing a diaper, commandeering a carpool or refereeing homework hour, a catnap probably seems a lot more appealing than a boot camp. Sure, parenting is all about putting the kiddos first, but that doesn't have to mean sacrificing your own health or strength.

Why it's important: Children are like sponges, absorbing everything from your speech and moods to your diet and exercise habits. According to a study by the American Dietetic Association Foundation, kids under age 12 cited their parents as their top nutritional role models, and were also more likely to mimic mom's or dad's sedentary lifestyle. Every time you choose to walk around the block instead of snacking in front of the TV, you're setting a healthy example for your kids to follow. Plus, studies have shown that exercise can be an effective, natural way to treat and prevent postpartum depression.

How to work it in: If you have a baby or toddler, catching an hour of exercise can seem as likely as winning the lottery, but a few smart workout tips for new parents can work wonders. Consider investing in a jogging stroller or front carrier so you can bring your little one along on workouts, choose a gym that offers child care or enroll in a parent-baby yoga class. While your baby is napping at home, exercise in the comfort of your living room with a SparkPeople.TV video. If you have older children, bring them along on your runs, walks or bike rides to combine fitness and family bonding.

emoticon The Workaholics emoticon

Your career may be on the fast track, but is it slowing down your fitness goals? With Americans spending an average of almost 9 hours a day at the office—and many professions far exceeding that number—it's easy to see how a demanding job can make it difficult to stay in shape.

Why it's important: Stress is a fact of modern life, and work is a major contributing factor. Studies have shown that exercise can be instrumental in reducing stress and anxiety. It also helps to boost mental health and sharpen your problem-solving and decision-making skills, which can improve your productivity in the workplace.

How to work it in: You don't have to spend your whole evening at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. According to the CDC, just 30 to 60 minutes of activity (cardio, strength or a combination), three to five times a week will have an impact. After a long day of meetings and emails, a walk around the block or a yoga video can help bust stress while boosting your health. Can't squeeze it in after work? Try sprinkling multiple mini-sessions of exercise in throughout the day, like walking during conference calls or trading the elevator for the stairs. If you live close enough, consider starting the day on the right foot by walking to work or opting for a parking spot farther away.



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
LKWQUILTER's Photo LKWQUILTER SparkPoints: (581,440)
Fitness Minutes: (356,789)
Posts: 147,558
10/19/19 1:58 P

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Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

Linda Kay


 current weight: 201.8 
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
10/19/19 1:45 P

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Is your kitchen full of temptations instead of healthy items, especially with the holidays coming up? This article might help!


emoticon Is Your Kitchen Due for a Makeover?
Clean up your Kitchen to Straighten Your Diet

By Mike Kramer, Staff Writer

emoticon Is your kitchen less attractive than it used to be? Do you find yourself spending less time with it? Has your kitchen held up as a healthy haven that encourages nutritional eating and smart choices? Or has it sagged into a calorie-packed danger zone that uses up space and heat so you can reach in and grab whatever food you find in its depths?

emoticon It’s time for a Kitchen Makeover!

You can restore the healthy magic back into your kitchen. Thankfully, no walls need to be knocked down and you can keep that lime green paint you’ve enjoyed for the past 10 years.

This makeover will transform parts of your kitchen that you can’t see right away. Like you’ve always heard, it’s what’s inside that counts. In this case, it's what’s inside your drawers, cabinets, freezer, fridge and pantry. Following these simple strategies, you can bring life and luster back to what should be the healthiest room in the house.

emoticon Build For Speed
We’re all pressed for time. Kitchens often go unused because it can simply take too long to cook, and seems more like a hassle than a help. In this hurry-up world, a clean, organized kitchen will get more use than a cluttered mess that’s difficult to use. Creating an efficient workspace makes for healthier, faster and more enjoyable meal preparation.

emoticon Clean and organize your pantry and cupboards. Throw out the old stuff and move the commonly used items to the front. Group together canned fruits, canned vegetables, tomato products, pasta items, canned meats, cereals, etc.

emoticon Clean and organize the refrigerator and freezer. Then designate a specific shelf, drawer and area for your commonly used items. Make a special place just for leftovers! Do the same in your freezer, with a section for meats, vegetables, entree dinners, pizza. Don't pack the fridge tight; air needs to circulate to keep things fresh. Store meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Label shelves so you know exactly where all your ingredients are and grocery storage is a snap – so even the kids can help!

emoticon Make sure all of your small appliances – crockpot, toaster oven, mixer, blender, dicer, can opener, pasta maker, wok – are easily accessible, clean, and in working order.
Create a leftover storage system. Have freezer bags, plastic storage containers, labels and markers handy. Label and date everything that gets stored in your freezer or fridge.
Untangle that jammed utensil drawer! You should be able to put your hand on just the right tool in 2 seconds flat. This includes the spatula, measuring spoons, measuring cups, ladle, can opener, knifes, pastry blender, etc. Hang frequently-used items on the wall, or store them in an open container on the counter for easy access.

emoticon Place a recipe box and cookbooks in full view, not stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

emoticon In With The Good, Out With The Bad
Food substitution and sifting is the name of the kitchen makeover game.

emoticon Throw out: Thick dressings, creamers, chips, dips, soda, pudding and just say no to Twinkies!

emoticon Keep: Vinaigrettes, spinach, nuts, tomatoes, oatmeal, carrots, salsa, yogurt, natural applesauce.

emoticon Take a close look at the calories on your condiment shelf. Mustard can be a low-calorie, tasty alternative to mayonnaise; barbecue is a nice substitute for sweet and sour; soy sauce and teriyaki sauce are loaded with sodium, an oyster sauce or some spicy mustard may be a better choice; hot sauces are usually low in calories and can spice up just about anything.

emoticon Pay particular attention to carbohydrates. Whenever you see refined products like white rice, white pasta, plain bagels or white bread, replace them with more natural choices, like whole grain (brown) rice, whole wheat pasta or whole grain bread.

Load up your kitchen with as many Super Foods as you possibly can. Learn more about these nutrient-packed powerhouses.* www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_art
icles.asp?id=307


emoticon Have a can of nonstick cooking spray on hand. Use instead of higher calorie oils or butter.

emoticon Load up on fresh produce. Canned and frozen varieties can keep well and be nearly as nutritious as fresh, if not packed in syrup. But they also often come with a lot of sodium, and anytime you eat fresh, you know you’re doing well.

emoticon Special Item Checklist
Beyond the fridge and the pantry, a healthy kitchen involves a number of other items and a lot of smart organization. See how many of these you have right now, and then see how you can slowly add more over time.

emoticon Picture of your goal on the fridge
Healthy cookbooks
Very visible grocery list
Coupon envelope or storage system
NO pizza coupons
Cutting board
Easy-to-read and categorized recipe box or book
Full set of measuring cups and spoons
NO television in the kitchen or eating area (distractions can cause overeating)
Usable kitchen table – free of clutter, bills, book-bags and projects
Spice rack and spices
Water bottles (preferably reusable ones) in the fridge
Water filter
Snack bowl on the counter, for all of those fresh fruits and healthy snacks you’ll have




Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
LKWQUILTER's Photo LKWQUILTER SparkPoints: (581,440)
Fitness Minutes: (356,789)
Posts: 147,558
10/12/19 1:46 P

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Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

Linda Kay


 current weight: 201.8 
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
10/12/19 12:37 P

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100 Reasons You Should Work Out Today

~By: Nicole Nichols, SparkPeople Blogger~

emoticon We all have those days that we don't want to work out even though we know we should. When you need a little motivation, look no further.

emoticon Here are 100 reasons you shouldn't skip your workout today.


100 Reasons to Exercise Now


Because it makes you feel confident
Because it helps you get stronger
Because exercise helps combat depression
Because you'll feel proud of yourself
Because you have goals you want to reach
Because you'll feel bad if you don't
Because you want to move forward, not backward
Because it burns more calories than not working out
Because it improves your heart health
Because you want a great butt
Because it prevents diabetes
Because you want to be a good example to your kids
Because you want to feel good in your clothes
Because it reduces your risk of cancer
Because your body was made to move
Because you want to be an athlete
Because you want to look better
Because it lifts your mood
Because you want to stand taller
Because it reduces back pain
Because it feels good
Because it makes you feel accomplished
Because you spend most of your day on your butt
Because swimsuit season is always coming
Because strong is the new skinny
Because dieting only works so much
Because it strengthens your bones, too
Because it helps you lose weight
Because it allows you to eat more food
Because it's the best way to spend "me" time
Because it helps you de-stress
Because it's cheaper than therapy
Because you want a strong core
Because you want to take care for yourself
Because you take pride in your body
Because it strengthens your legs
Because it helps your clothes fit better
Because you want to push yourself
Because you are capable of more than you ever imagined
Because moving your body feels good
Because it keeps your mind sharp
Because it helps you beat belly bloat
Because it helps you sleep better at night
Because it gives you energy
Because you want to stay healthy as you age
Because you want to look younger
Because you want toned arms
Because it improves your balance
Because it burns off last night's dessert
Because it boosts your immune system
Because sweat is sexy
Because you want to live longer
Because you want to get better at your game
Because you want to catch someone's eye
Because exercisers earn more money
Because you're more likely to eat better when you exercise
Because you want to shave time off your running pace
Because you want to breathe easier
Because you want to see the scale drop
Because exercise improves your sex life
Because you are worth it
Because being fit makes everything in life better
Because you promised yourself that you would
Because you deserve a better life
Because it'll help you drink more water
Because you want to do real push-ups
Because it reduces your health care costs
Because you'll miss fewer days of work
Because you want to create a new future for yourself
Because it'll help you like what you see in the mirror
Because it makes clothing shopping more fun
Because you want to look and feel incredible
Because exercising can be fun
Because it'll give your skin a glow
Because it's a good way to spend time with your friends
Because it'll help you prevent the middle-age spread
Because it reduces your blood pressure
Because you don't want to let yourself go
Because you don't want to squeeze into an airplane or rollercoaster seat
Because it strengthens your spirit
Because it's a cheap way to entertain yourself
Because you'll be able to reward yourself
Because you need a reason to wear those new workout clothes
Because you're tired of being tired
Because not working out is not going to get you very far
Because it's a great way to spend time outside
Because you made a commitment to yourself
Because you're tired of starting over
Because there will always be another wedding, vacation or reunion
Because you're not a quitter
Because it improves your cholesterol
Because it boosts your metabolism
Because it prevents age-related muscle loss
Because if you can do this, you can do anything
Because a fit body is a healthy body
Because it beats sitting on the couch
Because everyone has at least 10 minutes to spare
Because you want to be stronger than your excuses
Because not working out isn't working out for you
emoticon Because the only workout you ever regret is the one you skip

Hope this helps you get moving! Remember even 10 minutes 3 times a day is a great way to get some movement included in your daily schedule!




Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
LKWQUILTER's Photo LKWQUILTER SparkPoints: (581,440)
Fitness Minutes: (356,789)
Posts: 147,558
9/22/19 4:59 P

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Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

Linda Kay


 current weight: 201.8 
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9/22/19 2:33 P

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Fall is officially here in the Northern Hemisphere! Here are some good tips to make it the best Autumn yet!

Start Fresh for Fall: 50 Ways to Turn Over a New Leaf

By: Melissa Rudy, SparkPeople Blogger

emoticon December 31st might have a monopoly on noisemakers and “Auld Lang Syne,” but for parents and students, September marks the season of fresh starts. There's something about the flurry of back-to-school preparations and return to routine that feels like a clean slate, even for those of us who aren't boarding the school bus. In many ways, fall is an even better time to embark on a health and fitness journey—the crisp, cool weather is perfect for exercise, and the upcoming winter holidays serve as the perfect incentive.

Need some inspiration for self-improvement? We've gathered 50 ideas to give you a head start.

emoticon Make It an Active Autumn emoticon

1. For every hour of sitting, do one minute of cardio. This can be walking, running in place, jumping jacks or whatever gets your heart pumping. (This should be in addition to your regular workouts.)
2. Extend every workout by 10 minutes. After a month, gauge the results.
3. Do two workout videos each week. Choose one from your favorites, and one you've never tried before.
4. When you're watching TV, do stretches or exercises. Netflix binging has never been so good for you.
5. Set three new SMART goals. These kind of goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For instance, one might be to go to a fitness class twice a week, or to only eat takeout once a week. Assess your progress each month.
6. Rake your own leaves. Not only will you have a shipshape lawn and a feeling of accomplishment, a 150-pound person will burn more than 260 calories in one hour of raking.
7. Sign up for a charity event that's near and dear. If you're an avid animal lover, register for a local race that supports the humane society, for example. You'll be more motivated if your efforts are going toward a good cause.
8. Turn kids' practices into workouts. Instead of sitting on the sidelines or in the car during soccer or baseball practices, use that time to walk, jog or stretch.
9. Try a standing desk. Get work done while burning calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
10. Go on a foliage walk. Take a stroll through a park or around your neighborhood to soak in the resplendent fall colors while you can.


emoticon Fall into Healthier Eating Habits emoticon

11. Set a limit for your vice. At SparkPeople, we believe in the value of moderation. Whether you love chocolate, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese or another "guilty pleasure," decide that you'll only indulge in that item once a week.
12. Stop punishing yourself for setbacks. Ate too much pizza? Don't sentence yourself to an extra hour on the elliptical or a day of self-starvation. Move forward, stay focused on your goals and don't dwell on your moment of weakness.
13. Resolve to eat meals screen-free. Distracted dining can lead to overeating, as well as disconnection from companions. Log off before digging in.
14. Host a healthy fall potluck. Ask everyone to bring along copies of recipes to share with the group.
15. Do a processed purge. Go through your pantry, fridge and freezer and get rid of highly processed foods, like packaged snacks and frozen dinners. Replace them with real foods—the fewer the ingredients, the better.
16. Start tracking your food. The results will surprise you—and motivate you to make positive changes.
17. Take a cooking class. Feeling clueless in the kitchen? Consider taking a class to learn the basics.
18. Learn to decipher food labels. And then read the label of every item before placing it in your grocery cart.
19. Before eating something, ask yourself if it will benefit your body. If the answer is no, put it down (or indulge thoughtfully and sparingly).
20. Swap out white breads and pastas for brown. Whole grains are packed with more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals than refined grains.


emoticon Create a Harvest-worthy Home emoticon

21. Bring fall kitchen essentials front and center. It's time to swap out the lemonade pitcher and smoothie machine for the slow cooker, stock pot, casserole dish and other autumn cookware.
22. Paint a room. Painting can be a tedious process, but it comes with some perks. As you move items to paint, you'll naturally do some purging and organizing. And when the project is complete, you'll have a newly energized and rejuvenated space. (Plus, you'll burn more than 130 calories an hour.)
23. Plant a fall herb garden. It's easier than you think. Not only will it provide delicious, healthy produce for meals and snacks, it will also save on buying these items at the grocery.
24. De-clutter one mini-space per day. This could be a junk drawer, an office bookshelf or that entry table where everyone tosses mail and miscellany. Just five or 10 minutes a day can add up to a more organized household.
25. Get your spice rack in season. Do a quick inventory and stock up on any fall flavors that are low or missing (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and other autumnal essences).
26. Designate a screen-free zone. Choose a space—whether it's family room, the kitchen or the covered porch—where phones or computers are never allowed. This will eventually become the area where family members gravitate when they want to connect.
27. Implement a "one in, three out rule." For every one new item that you bring into your home, purge (sell, donate or toss) three items you don't need or use.
28. On busy days, get a piecemeal workout. 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes in the evening will be just as effective as 30 minutes of exercise.
29. Check your home's air quality. Pollution doesn't just happen outside. Do an indoor air check to make sure your family is breathing clean, healthy air. For peace of mind, consider using a portable air cleaner.
30. Give the house a bath. Rent or borrow a pressure washer to remove built-up dirt and debris from siding, decks, patios and driveways. In addition to improving curb appeal, it doubles as an arm-strengthening and cardio-boosting workout.


emoticon Make it the Autumn of YOU emoticon

31. Swap "yes" for "no"—and vice versa—once a week. Accept that interesting invitation you'd usually bypass, and skip the umpteenth PTO meeting that interferes with yoga class. You may be surprised by the rewards of switching up your knee-jerk responses.
32. Reset your internal clock. If you're struggling to wake up in the mornings and find yourself wide-eyed at midnight, you may need to reset your circadian rhythm. Create a restful sleeping environment and turn in an hour earlier than normal.
33. Toss out that old sports bra. (Or that tired tank top, or pair of saggy-kneed leggings.) You know the one we're talking about. Next, treat yourself to a brand-new replacement.
34. Throw away negative thoughts. Literally. Next time you're obsessing about what you perceive as too-big thighs or flabby arms, write down those thoughts on a piece of paper, crumble it up and toss it in the trash. At the same time, write down the same number of positive comments in a notebook—those you can keep.
35. Stop mindless surfing. When you find yourself getting sucked into a website that doesn't improve your productivity, wellness or self-worth, close the browser or shut down the computer. Your time and energy is better served elsewhere.
36. Pick a hobby and attack it like an Olympian would. Whether it's sewing, spinning or skydiving, turning a pastime into a passion makes life richer, and your body and mind healthier.
37. Make a list of 10 time suckers. You may be surprised by how easy it is to come up with them. The harder (but oh-so-rewarding) part is purging them from your life.
38. When stress strikes, breathe. Proper breathing exercises serve as mini-meditation sessions, while also increasing oxygen flow and helping to eliminate toxins.
39. Purge ill-fitting clothing. Life is too short, and your closet is too small, to keep apparel that doesn't flatter your figure and make you feel good about yourself.
40. Learn to accept compliments graciously. Not only is it polite, it's good for your health (and the health of the giver).


emoticon Make It the Fall of Family emoticon emoticon

41. Reconnect with your partner. After a summer filled with family vacations, kids' sports and camps and loosey-goosey schedules, your relationship with your significant other may have been shoved to the back burner. Set aside time for a date night, a joint trip to the gym or just a movie night at home.
42. Start a family journal. It doesn't have to be anything fancy—just a spiral-bound notebook where everyone can record their thoughts, feelings, goals and funny moments. Keep it in a common area where family members can easily find it when inspiration strikes.
43. Take a field trip to an apple orchard. The whole family can get in on the harvesting action, and then you can find creative ways to cook them.
44. Hug more often, and hold on longer. Not only do embraces show loved ones you care, they could help keep you from getting sick.
45. Schedule a regular family game night. Don't let anything interfere with this sacred time to reconnect, blow off steam and laugh with your loved ones.
46. Respect routines. From breakfasts and bus stops to dinners and bedtimes, kids thrive when following a regular routine.
47. Practice an open door, open ears policy. Encourage kids to come to you with their problems and questions, listen without judgment and offer advice only if they seek it.
48. Celebrate failure. It's easy to applaud achievements, but it's with the blunders where the real lessons lie. Each day, encourage everyone to share a so-called "failure" and what they learned from it.
49. Resurrect the family dinner. It's good for your budget, your waistlines and your relationships.
50. Get outside together. Make time for picnics in the park, bike rides, leaf pile jumping, trail hikes or any activity that brings you closer to nature and each other.

Hope you found some helpful tips so you don't "fall" into bad habits!


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Krys (EST)
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What makes you happy? If you need some help with this emotion, perhaps this article can help.

51 Things Happy People Do Differently
How to Become a Happier Person

-- - By Stepfanie Romine, Certified Yoga Teacher-- -


emoticon You probably know people who always seem happy. They greet the day with a smile on their face. They see the bright side of any situation. They believe that people are inherently good.

I, Stepfanie, consider myself to be one of those people.

I haven't always been this way. I struggled with depression and anxiety in adolescence and my early 20s, and I had a hard time learning to be optimistic and happy. I looked at other people and wondered how they did it. How could they be happy, with seemingly no effort whatsoever? I thought they must have had perfect lives--so unlike mine. How could I possibly be happy when all these things kept happening to me?

emoticon Later I learned that being happy takes work, but the work is worth it. Just as I didn't lose 50 pounds overnight, I certainly didn't change my mindset immediately. I worked on it, setting goals and changing behaviors. These days, I'm happy to say that I, too, am now a happy person. And I'm not afraid to say that it still takes work to feel that way.

Despite my rosy outlook, my life is not all kittens, rainbows and sunshine—nor should anyone expect a "happy" life to be that way all the time. Positive thinking doesn't mean you'll have endless cheer or optimism, but rather that you've shifted your behavior and your perspective. Since taking up a yoga practice in 2006 and especially since becoming a yoga teacher in 2009, I've done a lot of reading (and thinking) about happiness. What makes a person happy? What makes me happy? How can I help others be happy? And what is happiness, really?

Happiness research has become a popular area of psychology in the last 20 years, and today positive psychology is among the most popular classes at Harvard University. Experts agree that there are several things happy people have in common. These aren't inherent traits that you were either born with or not. They are habits that you can begin to integrate into your life. Here are 51 habits of happy people, gleaned from experts and experience.

emoticon Happy People…

1. Believe they can be happy. About 40% of our happiness is based on intentional behavior.

2. Change up their routine to consciously vary what they do. Though some people do thrive on routine, it can lead to monotony and boredom, whereas variety and novelty can lead to greater happiness.

3. Don't blame genetics. Only 50% of our happiness is linked to our genes.

4. Accept that change is imminent and one of the only certainties in life.

5. Exercise! Cardiovascular activity is among the best releases of dopamine, the "happy hormone." They have fun while they exercise, too.

6. Spend time in "real life," and they keep their online "life" in perspective. They take time to cultivate relationships outside of social media.

7. Recognize that you can get "stuck" in positive habits, just as you can in negative ones. Whether you struggle with emotional eating, fat talk or a general sense of pessimism, you can change your habits and increase your happiness.

8. Accept that building happier habits takes time. William James, the renowned Harvard University psychology professor, said that it takes 21 days to create a habit for life.

9. Understand that joy—from adopting a new puppy, reaching a goal weight or getting a raise—eventually dissipates, but it can be renewed again and again.

10. Accept that bad things happen, but bad things won't affect their lives for as long as they think they will. Happy people know that no matter what happens in their lives, they will survive and thrive.

11. Know that good things will also happen—-and that even good things affect our lives less in the long run than we think they will.

12. Know happiness isn't based on social status, a job or even health. These things account for only 10% in people's differences in happiness, experts say.

13. Do things for themselves, not just for others. "Happiness does not consist in things themselves but in the relish we have of them; and a man has attained it when he enjoys what he loves and desires himself, and not what other people think lovely and desirable." —La Rochefoucauld

14. Understand that when things go really, really wrong, people often thrive. They suffer, yes, but they react, take action, and move on.

15. See misfortune not as something they deserve due to a past transgression, but as just another part of life. A crisis becomes an opportunity for growth or significant change.

16. Know that focusing on extrinsic factors like money and success often leads to anxiety and depression, not happiness.

17. Don't sit back and wait for happiness to happen. "The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." —Benjamin Franklin

18. Are grateful. A University of Pennsylvania professor taught a single happiness-enhancing strategy to a group of severely depressed people: Log on to a website and write down three good things that happened to them that day, no matter how simple or trivial they seemed. Within 15 days, depression levels went from severe to mildly/moderately depressed, and 94% experienced relief.

19. Say nice things about other people. They limit gossip, avoid name calling and understand that words can wound as deeply as a sword.

20. Laugh—even at themselves—and they find humor in most situations, when appropriate.

21. Don't worry about what other people think. They do their best to cultivate self-confidence.

22. Know that happiness isn't commensurate with one's income. Studies have found that those earning tens of millions of dollars are only slightly happier than those who are in the working class.

23. Understand that no other person will increase their happiness. Married people are only slightly happier than single people, according to one study.

24. Believe in themselves, which can increase life satisfaction by about 40%.

25. Watch less TV. Tuning in has been linked to an increased desire for material possessions, and every hour you watch leads to a lower level of contentment.

26. Know what happiness is not. According to Buddhist philosophy, happiness is not dependent on an object or events, which eventually go away and replace a happy feeling with a sad one. It depends on a state of mind that feels those transitory emotions but also understands that change is life's only certainty.

27. Can differentiate between pleasure and happiness. In his book "The Art of Happiness," His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains the difference between happiness and pleasure, which are easily confused: "True happiness relates more to the mind and heart. Happiness that depends on physical pleasure is unstable; one day it's there, the next day it may not be."

28. Question their intentions when faced with a dilemma. They ask themselves, "Will this bring me pleasure, or will it bring me happiness?"

29. Spend time with family and friends whenever possible.

30. Understand karma not to be punishment for one wrong decision. If they choose to believe in it, they understand it to be the sum of your actions and not the universe seeking revenge.

31. Are as optimistic as possible, while still being realistic.

32. Cultivate a sense of purpose, whether through religion or spirituality, a hobby family, or a career that satisfies them.

33. Live in the present, not dwelling too much on the past or worrying about the future.

34. Appreciate what they have and don't worry about what is lacking.

35. Don't compare themselves to others, and they accept that they are unique.

36. Don't hold grudges, but instead choose to forgive.

37. Are not jealous of what others have, and they feel joy for the success and prosperity of those they hold dear.

38. Spend time in nature. A 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science found that spending even a short amount of time in nature, such as visiting a city park, improved people's moods and mental well-being.

39. Tell others how they feel and are not afraid to express their emotions.

40. Appreciate life and retain a "beginner's mind," meaning they don't lose sight of the wonderment of life, and they aren't afraid to show excitement, be it a brilliant sunset or a random encounter with a loved one.

41. Take part in something they believe in, whether it's a church activity, a social club or a group that shares their passion for a certain cause.

42. Surround themselves with happy people. Joy begets joy. By sharing their bliss and surrounding themselves with other happy people, they create a virtuous cycle of happiness.

43. Get creative with problem solving. They don't get defeated by life's problems, and they don't wait around for someone else to solve their problems.

44. Invest in relationships, even when times are tough. They help their loved ones through rough patches, just as they support them when things are going well.

45. Eat well, choosing healthful foods that nourish their body and fuel them through their daily lives. They indulge in moderation, and they try not to use food as a way to cope with emotions.

46. Take responsibility for their successes and their mistakes.

47. Don't sweat the small stuff. They pause and reflect before reacting to situations that might not matter in a day, a month, or even a year.

48. Take pride in their work, but they also strike a balance. Japan, for example, is the least happy of wealthy industrialized nations but its citizens work among the longest hours.

49. Meditate. Meditation can help you increase your happiness level and for longer periods of time. (Some studies have shown it can help even more than taking anti-depressants for some people.)

50. Apply a Goldilocks philosophy to life. “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” —Socrates

51. Never stop learning—about themselves and about topics that interest them.

emoticon There is no place for perfection in happiness, nor is there a single version that works for everyone. Happiness is a journey, and it's a learning experience. Happy people still get mad, cry and employ sarcasm. They don't follow all 51 of these habits every day of their lives. What sets them apart from unhappy people is their mindset and their behavior. It's never too late to change your outlook on life. Start today with one small step, and see where it takes you!


Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
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8/31/19 6:30 P

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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
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Two great articles to help us keep our focus on our continued balanced (food & fitness) lifestyle


emoticon Tip #1
5 Diet Mistakes That Derail Your Workouts
These Food Flubs Affect Athletic Performance

-- By Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian


Your diet may be the missing link in your training plan. Here are some common nutrition mistakes that many athletes and exercise enthusiasts make that can negatively affect performance. (Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with the solutions, too!)

emoticon #1: You Eat Too Little (or Too Much) Protein
Some athletes eat too little protein; others eat too much. Too little protein and your muscles can’t recover, repair and strengthen properly from hard training. Too much protein taxes your kidneys, leads to an excessive calorie intake (which can result in excess body fat), or replaces the other equally important foods and nutrients that are needed for optimal performance.

*Solution: Determine your daily protein needs and develop the meal plans that will deliver the appropriate amount for your exercise level. And remember: Don't overdo it on the protein shakes, either. Not every athlete really needs these supplements, and they can contribute to excessive protein intake.

emoticon #2: You're Skimping on Iron
Iron deficiency causes needless fatigue and reduced performance and is particularly common among women who have heavy periods, participate in endurance events, and rarely or never eat red meat or iron-enriched foods (like breakfast cereals).

*Solution: If you feel needlessly tired, get your blood tested by your doctor, and be sure to get your serum ferritin measured. Don’t take an iron supplement without confirmation of low iron or advice from your doctor.

To help prevent anemia, strive to eat an iron-rich diet featuring:

Beef, pork, lamb, dark-meat chicken or turkey, salmon and tuna
Beans (black, kidney, garbanzo, navy, great Northern, etc.)
Iron-fortified cereals and iron-fortified whole grain breads, pasta and brown rice

To enhance iron absorption, have a vitamin-C rich food at every meal such as orange juice, berries, kiwi, broccoli, tomato, potato and sweet bell peppers.

emoticon #3: You Don't Have Time to Eat after Working Out
At the end of a hard workout, remember that you haven't finished your training until you have refueled. Ideally, this should happen within the 30 minutes to 2 hours after your workout ends. Don't rush off to work or school, using the "no time to eat" excuse.

*Solution: Plan ahead so you have recovery foods readily available. Even in a time crunch, you should be able to refuel your muscles properly. Post-workout nutrition doesn't have to be complicated. Think yogurt-fruit smoothie, a large glass of chocolate milk, or English muffin with peanut butter. "No time" is no excuse.

emoticon #4: You Skimp on Carbs
Recovery foods should offer a foundation of carbohydrates with protein as the accompaniment—not the other way around. The complete package is needed. You need to fill those glycogen (energy) stores with carbohydrates to fuel future workouts and repair your hard-working muscles with a little protein. One or the other won't cut it.

*Solution: A reasonable target is to consume about 180-240 calories of carbohydrates (45-60 grams) and about 65-80 calories (15-20 grams) of protein after a high-intensity workout. Standard food fare works fine (no shakes, supplements or specialty bars needed). Some popular choices include Greek yogurt with fruit and honey, pasta with meat sauce, or chicken and veggies over rice. IF you are diabetic, please consult your doctor about carb intake.
emoticon #5: You're Not Drinking Enough
To train harder and perform better, you need to stay well-hydrated. Losing just one percent of your body weight in sweat causes your heart to beat three to five more times per minute, thus creating even more fatigue during your workout or event.

*Solution: If you are well-hydrated, you will need to urinate every two to four hours, and your urine will be a light color. If you sweat heavily, you need to learn how much fluid you lose (and thereby need to replace) during a workout. Do this by weighing yourself naked before and after exercise. For each pound lost, you should drink at least 16 to 24 ounces of fluid. Be sure to drink adequately all day, not just during or after your workouts.


emoticon Tip #2
7 Secrets to Outsmart Your Supermarket
Look Past the Super Marketing to Protect Your Wallet and Your Waistline

-- By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian

emoticon Conniving. Manipulative. Scheming. I’m not talking about your ex; I’m talking about your grocery store. On your next trip, be prepared to fight back against the tactics most supermarket chains use to get you to spend more money on "extras" that you don't really need—tactics that affect your wallet and your health.

emoticon You’re on your weekly grocery trip. You’ve got your list in hand, and you're ready to purchase the items you need for your healthy, pre-planned meals. You walk through the supermarket doors and…oh! Look at the Fourth of July decorations! Visions of cookouts, party favors and kids with sparklers are now dancing through your head. You hang around the display, pick up a "two-for" deal on red, white and blue wrapped chocolates, and grab streamers and balloons because your sister-in-law might have forgotten supplies to jazz up the kids table for the party next week. 2,549 calories and at least $10 unplanned dollars later, you’ve been the victim of a grocery store plot.

emoticon Distractions at the grocery store happen, and that's no accident. Strategic product placements purposely distract you from your well-intended list and entice you to purchase those little extras. Supermarket chains spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to know exactly how, where, when, and why you shop. They use this information to get you to linger longer, fill your basket—make that your cart—to the brim, and spend more of your hard-earned cash than you intended to spend. But your grocer may be hurting more than just your wallet with these marketing maneuvers.

emoticon Let’s put on our spy gear and take a mental tour through the supermarket to investigate the nooks and crannies where stores hide their tricks. Take note so the next time you head to the grocery, you’ll have a plan of attack.

emoticon End the End Cap Enticement
Conveniently placed on the end of every aisle, "end caps" are home to sale items and seasonal kits that may not have been on your list but look oh-so-inviting when you see them. Items for s’mores, pumpkin pie, or green bean casserole are often creativity combined on these aisle ends. Foods on end caps are generally low in nutrients and high in added fat and sugar.
Battle plan: If it’s on your list for greater health, you just saved a trip down the aisle. If it’s not, smile, but keep walking past the pretty display and find your next listed item.

emoticon Shelve Your Impulses
Major brands pay grocers to shelve their top-selling items at eye level. They even go so far as to place products geared toward children right within their little paws’ reach—cartoon characters, bright colors and all are low to the ground or cart-level for wee ones who sit in the seat of your shopping cart.
Battle plan: Make an educated decision. Glance up and down before choosing an item (less inexpensive generic items, often the same nutritionally, might be lower or higher on the shelf than more expensive brand named products). And always check out the nutrition facts label. Also, if you are shopping with the kiddies, ask them to help you find healthful foods in the store. Turn your grocery list into a scavenger hunt checklist to play as you shop.

emoticon Show Seasonal Spirit Who's Boss
Memorial Day (Super Bowl Sunday, Thanksgiving, or really, any other holiday) is right around the corner and you can bet your buttons the local grocer won’t let you forget it! Decorations, party favors and supplies are mixed in with fat- and sugar-laden desserts and snacks, all in one convenient center aisle display. Grocery stores play on your holiday spirit, enticing you to pick up extra goodies on a whim! These add-ons amp up your bill at the check out and can add loads of calories to your stash very quickly.
Battle plan: Plan your celebration, complete with healthy snacks and recipes, and stick to it. Ditch the “we just might need” mentality. Simplicity is best (and healthiest) during these times of year!

emoticon Boycott the Bakery
The smell of fresh bread, cinnamon rolls and apple pie is wafting through the baked goods area as you’re picking up your whole-grain bread this week. Your senses are begging you to bring some home; it just smells too good! Many grocery stores strategically plan their baking times during the busiest hour of the day. It has been proved that shoppers pick up more items when the luscious smells are present in the store.
Battle plan: You've heard this one before. Never shop on an empty stomach. Shopping after a meal can help stave off cravings and keep you focused on the task at hand. Think about the delicious meals you are shopping for and don't let distraction get the best of you. If you must, send in the troops to grab your items and avoid any too-tempting aisles altogether!

emoticon Bust by Bargains
You see the signs: 5 for $10! Buy two get one FREE! 2 for the price of 1! These "bargains" can seem like a great idea , but consider the product you’re saving on. If it’s on your list of super-healthy, nutritious foods, go for it! You’ve helped your health AND your pocketbook. However, consider the product—healthfulness should trump a bargain every time. Do you really need five rolls of cookie dough or a free box of pastries? It's not likely.
Battle plan: If you’re only getting it because it’s on sale, you probably don’t need it. The same rule goes for non-food items like toiletries, cleaning products and household items. No excuses here.

emoticon Free Yourself from Free Samples
When you see little carts set up with mini toasters and microwaves handing out bits and pieces of goodies, you’ve entered the realm of free samples. This tactic is widely implemented by grocers to increase products sales because it works wonderfully. Free sample stations are great ways to demonstrate the versatility of certain products, but how often are the featured foods healthful or nutrient-dense? How often are they full of vitamins, minerals, lean protein, healthy fats and fiber? How often do they feature whole, unprocessed foods that are naturally good for you? The products grocers generally hand out to promote sales are convenience items, ones that shouldn’t be on your shopping list if you're trying to eat healthier.
Battle plan: If the product is free of trans fats, made with whole grains or free of added sweeteners, enjoy a little nibble. Use your label-reading skills to determine if it’s a healthful item you can pick up during your next grocery trip. Look at the amount of protein, calories, fiber, added sugars, salt, and types of fats to assess how healthful the food might be.

emoticon Outsmart Checkout Impulses
And the last, but certainly not least dangerous contact point between you and your supermarket's products is the checkout lane. Fully stocked with sugary, salty and saturated fatty snacks, these grab-n-go items can pack a punch when it comes to piling on empty calories. Along with the plethora of candy situated in the checkout aisle are cold sodas, foamy fountain drinks, salty trail mixes and magazines touting the latest weight-loss craze. You can easily add hundreds of calories and a few extra bucks to your bill in the minutes you spend checking out.
Battle plan: Flip through a magazine you know you won't buy, chat with the person standing behind you in line, organize your groceries perfectly on the conveyor belt—anything to keep your hand from wandering to those impulse purchases. If you haven’t eaten in hours and you don’t think you can make it home, plan ahead and purchase an extra piece of fruit to eat on your ride home.

emoticon Focus first when it comes to grocery shopping. Be mindful and make your moves with intention to keep impulses at bay. Many times, our habits drive our purchase decisions and "wants" trump "needs." Making a list, sticking to it, and questioning yourself each time an "extra" almost lands in your cart will not only save you a pretty penny, but will also keep your healthy living habits on track.





Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
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8/17/19 1:31 P

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8 Aisles to Avoid at the Grocery Store

By Melissa Rudy, Staff Writer


emoticon You've said farewell to fast food and are committed to using your own kitchen more often, which entails spending more time shopping for ingredients at the grocery store. While you’re on the right track, simply becoming a familiar fixture at the supermarket doesn't mean your meals will automatically qualify as healthy and diet-friendly.

emoticon While the grocery store has far healthier options than the drive-thru, not all aisles are created equal. In fact, the layout is specifically designed to entice shoppers to succumb to their cravings with their wallets, which usually means putting the sugary, high-fat, high-calorie options in prominent places. Even the experts have their weaknesses: "I definitely find that there are certain aisles where I can’t help but grab unhealthy choices, or at least more than my fair share," says registered dietitian Toby Amidor.

emoticon Steer the Cart Clear of These 8 Calorie Traps

To ensure that you're making smart selections, try to avoid these potential pitfalls:

emoticon 1. Soft Drink Aisle: Don't be tempted by all those colorful stacks of fizzy, sugary sodas. "This aisle definitely provides more calories than nutrition," says Judy Barbe, registered dietitian and author of "Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being." She recommends sticking to water or flavored seltzers instead.

emoticon 2. Chip and Packaged Snacks Aisle: Although she teaches her clients to live by an "all foods fit" mentality, there are some aisles of the supermarket that registered dietitian Chelsey Amer prefers to avoid, starting with packaged snacks. "A smart snack contains a combination of protein and fiber, and most of the heavily processed and packaged foods don't provide this important combination to keep you full in between meals," she says. Many of these crunchy snacks are also "trigger" foods for weight-loss clients, meaning they can cause people to go overboard. If you can’t keep that salty craving at bay, consider swapping your regular indulgence for the DIY variety.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/smart-snackin
g-center.asp


emoticon 3. Candy Aisle: There are far healthier ways to satisfy sugar cravings, such as fresh or dried fruit, whole-grain popcorn with some chocolate bits, roasted nuts with honey or oatmeal with a sprinkling of brown sugar or cinnamon.
www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=hab
its_of_healthy_eaters_shop_the_perimeter


emoticon 4. Cereal Aisle: Liza Baker, health coach with Simply: Health Coaching and author of the "Fl!p Your K!tchen" cookbook, says this is an especially pernicious place to be in a grocery store. "Cereals are full of artificial colors and flavorings, overdoses of sweeteners (regardless of the origin), white or refined carbs, and preservatives." Instead, shop for ingredients to make one of these healthy (yet quick and easy) breakfast ideas.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_art
icles.asp?id=64


emoticon 5. Bread and Baked Goods Aisles: According to Ken Immer, president of Culinary Health Solutions, these are places where you will find some of the least nutrient-dense foods, and plenty of preservatives. "These foods are what we like to call 'fractionated,' where the macronutrients of carbs, fats, proteins and fiber are separated in order to extend the shelf life," he says. "Even if they're touted as 'whole grain' or 'made with natural ingredients,' when you take the foods apart, the body cannot use them as effectively, so any remaining nutrition is not as valuable."

emoticon 6. Bulk Foods Aisle: Baker compares bulk foods aisles to salad bars—many are lured in by their "health halo" and then end up overindulging. Avoid stocking up on the wrong bulk foods by focusing on whole grains, dried beans and peas, spices, herbs, nuts, seeds and dried fruits (in moderation). Ignore the chocolate- and yogurt-covered snacks and snack mixes.

emoticon 7. The Bakery: Muffins and cookies and cakes, oh my! These freshly-baked pastries and confections may not be quite as processed as some of the packaged goods, but most are loaded with calories and sugar. Steer clear of the area before you're seduced by the appetizing aromas.

emoticon 8. The Checkout Lane: Okay, so this one is impossible to avoid (unless you opt for the self-checkout), but do your best to keep your blinders on. Checkout is the store's last-ditch attempt to wheedle you into grabbing some sugary impulse purchases. Stay focused on unloading your groceries, and if you must indulge in a treat, choose low-calorie mints or chewing gum.

emoticon 7 Smart Grocery Shopping Strategies

emoticon Shop like you eat. Here's one trick Amer recommends to her clients: Fill your grocery cart similar to how you'd fill your plate at meals—half veggies, one-quarter whole grains and one-quarter protein. "This will almost always guarantee that you can create well-balanced, properly portioned meals at home," she says.

emoticon Downsize your cart. When you're pushing around a full-size buggy, it's easy to fall into the trap of tossing in "just one more thing"—multiple times. Amidor suggests using a smaller cart or hand-held basket, which only has room for the essentials.

emoticon Hug the perimeter. Baker reiterates the common advice to avoid the middle aisles. "Most of the whole, close-to-the-source foods that nourish us deeply are found on the periphery of a traditionally laid-out grocery store: produce, dairy, meats, bulk whole grains and dried beans," she says. "The closer you get to the middle, the more processed the food." That said, Amidor points out that the middle's not all bad—the inside aisles offer some healthy options like olive oil, canned beans, canned tomato products, some whole grains and frozen fruit, so when you do venture to the middle, be sure to grab only what you need and keep your eye on the healthy living prize.

emoticon Pick produce first. "Many grocery store layouts propel you to the produce department upon entry," says Barbe. "Take the hint and fill up on colorful vegetables and fruits. Remember, if it’s not in your kitchen, there is no way it will end up on your fork." Although fresh is usually best, frozen or canned veggies are also good choices—just be sure to opt for the plain frozen veggies and not the ones in creamy sauces.

emoticon Choose smart snacks. If you do find yourself wandering down the snack aisle, look for an option with as few ingredients as possible—and ones that you recognize. Among Amer's favorites are roasted chickpeas, edamame or popcorn made with just kernels, oil and salt.

emoticon Get on the whole-grain train. Whole grains add texture and flavor while also delivering a boost of health benefits. Plus, studies have suggested that eating whole grains can help to increase metabolism and calorie burning, and other research has linked them to a healthier gut. Instead of refined white breads and pastas, Barbe suggests swapping for brown rice, whole-grain pasta or bulgur.

emoticon Never shop hungry. Grocery shopping with a rumbling tummy is a recipe for unhealthy impulse purchases. "You don’t have to eat a huge meal, but even a little something satisfying to fill your belly can be good enough for a quick shopping trip," says Immer. "An apple or even a full bottle of water, can put hunger on hold while you shop."

emoticon Shopping for ingredients and cooking at home is the best way to improve the quality of your diet, but the supermarket has some sinister spots. With some smart planning and proper preparation, you can tackle your grocery list while keeping the calorie-packed culprits at a safe distance from your cart and your kitchen.




Krys (EST)
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5 Emotional Roadblocks That Are Keeping You Fat
Are Your Weight-Loss Efforts Being Derailed by Years of Baggage?

-- By Ellen G. Goldman, Health & Wellness Coach-

Eat less, move more is the advice touted to the overweight ad nauseam, as if it were really that simple.

Ellen G. Goldman has been in the business of helping individuals take off unwanted pounds for more than 30 years. Although success usually does include cutting back on unnecessary calories and moving more, there are a myriad of other factors that are part of the equation. Sleep, stress, metabolic factors, genetics and body type can all affect how quickly or easily you lose weight. And, without a doubt, emotional factors have a huge impact as well.

She states: I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and I would never attempt to analyze or prescribe solutions to a person who might have an emotional roadblock interfering with his or her weight loss goals. However, I can share with you some of the patterns and hindrances I've come across over many years of training and coaching my overweight clients. Perhaps a glimpse into these themes will help open your eyes to some hidden obstacles that have been holding you back.

emoticon Case #1: Whom would I be if I weren't the fat, funny one?
As long as John could remember, he was overweight. However, it never stood in the way of him having loads of friends and being happy. He could remember his elementary school teachers telling his parents how enjoyable it was to have him in the classroom; he knew how to be funny without being disruptive. His parents would beam with pride as they shared the feedback with friends and family. In high school and college, he had loads of friends. The girls adored him and thought of him as their trusted buddy and confidant. When broken-hearted by some other boy, they relied on John to cheer them up using his sense of humor.

Now, happily married with two kids, he loves overhearing their friends say, "Your dad is so funny!" When John's doctor told him he needed to lose weight to control his rising blood pressure and elevated glucose levels, he hired me to help him. Having made several failed weight-loss attempts in the past, he seriously doubted his ability to succeed. Each week he would set goals around sensible eating and making time for evening walks after dinner. The week would start off great, but by Wednesday, he was slipping back into old unhealthy eating habits and making excuses not to take his walks.

Frustrated, he couldn't seem to understand why he struggled to stick to his goals for more than a few days at a time even though he wanted to lose the weight so badly. One day I asked John, "If you were able to stick to your plan throughout the week, and you began to experience weight loss, what would that look like and feel like to you?"

I don't know who was more shocked by his response, John or me, when he stated, "If I was to actually stick to my plan, I know I would lose the excess weight. I wouldn't be fat anymore. That idea feels so strange. Whom would I be if I weren't the fat, funny one?"

emoticon Case #2: Who am I to be perfect?
Margaret had the kind of life that others envy. She was a brilliant economist, had a devoted and loving husband, two great kids who were excelling at school—even her dog was well-behaved and a joyful companion. Margaret and her husband traveled to exotic locations when on vacation and entertained friends often in their beautiful home. Being a compassionate, smart and insightful individual, family and friends came to her for advice all the time.

The only area of Margret's life that she did not seem to have under control was her weight. She carried 30 extra pounds on her body that she had been trying to shed for many years. When we worked together, she tearfully said, "I've got everything I could possibly want, except a body I am comfortable in. I know what I need to do, and often do exactly that. But after a while, I fall off track and begin to self-sabotage. I find myself eating junk when no one is watching, and telling myself I just don't care. But I do care! This extra weight is making me miserable!"

I asked Margaret to spend some time visualizing herself as successful, to close her eyes and imagine a future where the self-sabotaging behavior was no longer a problem, and she was living her life in the body she desired. I told her to think about and even journal about the thoughts and feelings that come up when doing her visualizations. A few weeks later Margaret reported, "At first it felt fabulous. I imagined being in form-fitting clothing that was beautiful, looking in the mirror and feeling proud, being lighter and more energetic. But when I imagined my friends seeing me, I began to think they would be put off by the 'new' me or feel intimidated. After all, who am I to be perfect?"

emoticon Case #3: What if I find out I'm just not that interesting?
Bob was in his mid 40s when we began working together. He had an excellent job and was highly successful and respected, yet he still felt like a failure. Bob was unmarried and experiencing many moments of loneliness. He had always been overweight and extremely shy. Wanting desperately to find a woman with whom he could have a relationship, he attempted some online dating sites. Bob went on several first dates, but they never seemed to go any further than that. He was convinced women were turned off by his size. Bob thought that if he could lose the excess weight, it would increase his possibilities of women going out with him more than once, thus getting to know him better.

Despite being a highly motivated and creative goal-setter, he continued to fill lonely evenings with fattening junk foods. The pounds weren't budging. When we explored the pros and cons of losing weight versus keeping things as is, Bob stated that "the advantage to not losing the weight is I can continue to use it as an excuse for striking out with women. If I were thin, and they still rejected me, I would find out that I'm really just not that interesting. That would feel much worse than them not liking me because I am fat!"

emoticon Case #4: I'm keeping my family safe.
When Sue came to me for weight-loss coaching, she was concerned that she and her husband had steadily been gaining weight during their 15-year marriage. Particularly alarming was seeing two of her four children also show signs of rapid weight gain. Her own doctor and their pediatrician expressed concerns. She bought the groceries and cooked the meals, so Sue recognized the need to change her habits at home.

We worked together on planning healthier meals and snacks for her family. Although she made a few minor changes, there seemed to be a celebratory meal, holiday or guests visiting every week. At those times, Sue couldn't get herself to cut back on the lavish meals and treats her family was accustomed to. Although losing weight felt like an important goal, she couldn't stand the thought of her family or guests feeling deprived.

I asked Sue to chat with me about the role food played in her family when she was growing up. Sue was the only daughter of two parents who grew up during the great depression. As a child, she was told stories about the years her parents had little to eat, and how her grandparents used food stamps and rations to put meals on the table. Far surpassing their parents' lifestyle, her dad was a highly successful businessman and her mom a stay-at-home wife. Food and money were never issues. Holidays in her home were a gathering of grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins with tons of delicious food and treats, a tradition that Sue continued in her own home. Sue could remember her grandparents saying how lucky she was to live during a time when she could feel safe and secure that there would always be enough to eat. "Wow," she exclaimed, "I guess I am just trying to keep my family safe with food!"

emoticon Case #5: Food is love.
Lois was a chubby kid and grew to be an overweight adult. A bright, fun loving young woman with a promising career, she was concerned that her weight might stand in the way of advancement. She knew that to continue climbing the ladder, it would be necessary to get in front of management and customers more often. Feeling self-conscious because of her size, she noticed that she would stay quiet during meetings rather than speak up and share her great ideas. She decided that losing weight would increase her confidence and therefore advance her career.

When I asked her what she believed was her greatest obstacle to losing weight, Lois stated, "I feel happy when I indulge and miserable when I try to restrict myself. But of course, I feel more miserable after the fact. I tell myself I will abstain from the treats, but put them in front of me and I can't resist them. I have no willpower!" When I asked her what she thought about when she was indulging, she realized most of the time she was reminiscing about her childhood. Lois's dad left when she was only eight, so her Mom raised her alone. She remembered feeling sad and abandoned by her dad, and would cry often. Trying to cheer her up, her mom often took Lois out for ice cream or to the local candy store or bakery for treats. Those were her favorite times. Her mom unburdened by work or housekeeping, gave Lois her undivided attention, and was relaxed and fun to be with. Even if her Dad wasn't around, Mom took care of her and she was loved through food!

emoticon Case #6: You can't control me.
Terry could not remember a time since college when she was not trying to lose weight. She had tried every diet imaginable. Despite having some success, she would always put back whatever pounds she had lost and then some. When we started working together, she said this would be her last attempt. If she was not successful this time, she swore to give up trying.

We began with small lifestyle changes, building upon one another. It was slow and, at times, frustrating for Terry, but she began to consistently lose about half to one pound a week. Terry incorporated walking into her daily routine, learned to recognize when she was no longer hungry and stop eating, and modified her favorite recipes to healthier versions. When we celebrated a year of working together and a 48-pound weight loss, I asked Terry why she thought this time she had succeeded.

"You never told me what I could or couldn't eat. You helped me create a food plan that was flexible, and I could make decisions based on how I felt and what I thought I would enjoy," she said. Terry began telling me about her parents, a topic we had never talked about before. They were well-meaning and quite loving but incredibly controlling. She grew up with strict curfews, rules around how much TV she was allowed to watch, how many hours a day she had to study, and when she was allowed to visit or talk on the phone with friends.

Being "health nuts," her parents also had rigid restrictions regarding food. There was absolutely no junk food in the house, groceries were purchased at the health food store only and fried food and sugar were thought of as "poison." When Terry went to friends' homes, she would raid their fridges and pantries, indulging in all of the treats that were forbidden in her home. When she went off to the local community college (she was not allowed to go away for school), Terry purchased greasy foods in the cafeteria and always had dessert. At those times, always feeling that she was sneaking from her parents, she would think, "you can't control me!"

emoticon From these stories, I hope you are able to see how often we have the best of intentions, yet struggle to reach our goals. Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, introduce the theory of conflicting commitments in their wonderful book, Immunity to Change. Without an understanding of the reasons why we hold on to the very behaviors that keep us from getting where we so desperately want to go, sustained change will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Awareness is the first step toward breaking down the barriers. Once we are aware of why or what we are doing, and how it is in a sense protecting us and keeping us safe, we can begin taking small steps, or doing experiments to see what happens. For many, this is the road to success.

However, others will still struggle, and could benefit enormously from working with a mental health care professional. As a coach, I recognize a few signs that will tell me my client needs some additional assistance in order to move forward. When clients come to their sessions week after week having made goals but not following through, feel as if their sabotaging behaviors are uncontrollable, or are constantly blaming their situation on the past, others or circumstances, it's time to suggest working with a therapist.

emoticon So if your weight-loss journey seems more like an uphill battle that will never end, despite being highly motivated, do some thinking around what competing commitments you might be holding on to. A good coach or therapist, or even talking with a trusted friend, can help you shed some light on your situation. In the meantime, call upon your own self-compassion and recognize that you are doing the best you can, and weight loss is indeed way more complicated than just eating less and moving more.



Hope this article had some helpful points to keep you focused on reaching your goals!



Krys (EST)
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Thanks for the reminders.

Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

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What missteps might you be making in your journey to a healthier lifestyle? This article might give you some clues and solutions.


The 11 Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders Dietitians See

By Alexa Tucker


emoticon Losing weight can be tricky business: When you’re insanely busy, it can be tough to focus on your goals in a healthy, sustainable way, let alone work towards them at all. It’s easy to fall into pitfalls, but hey, knowledge is power—when you know the traps you’re most likely to fall into, it’s easier to steer clear.

Registered dietitians know these roadblocks all too well, and they’ve helped their clients get past them, too. Here are 11 weight loss mistakes registered dietitians warn against:

emoticon 1. FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU CAN’T EAT

“So many people embarking on a weight loss journey focus on what they can’t have—[such as] no sugar, no alcohol, no dessert, no bread, no cheese. I like to tell my readers to focus on what they can have and tally up all the filling and nutritious superfoods out there.”


emoticon 2. ADOPTING AN ALL-OR-NOTHING ATTITUDE

“[Don’t] eliminating foods you love. Too many people who are trying to lose weight develop the all-or-nothing attitude. This way of thinking can be detrimental in the long run. Instead of depriving oneself of foods they love, they should learn how to incorporate them into their diet in a healthier way. For example, love pasta? Instead of adding a creamy high fat sauce, add lots of veggies, grilled shrimp, and toss in olive oil and garlic. Can’t live without bread? Well, you shouldn’t have to. Make a healthy sandwich for lunch on 100 percent whole grain bread with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, and tomato.”


emoticon 3. NOT HAVING A SOLID PLAN

“Not having a solid, realistic plan [is a mistake]. People should set themselves up for success by coming up with small, challenging yet attainable action steps to work towards. Start off with a few actionable and specific goals for the first week. Once you master those, keep adding on. Before you know it, those action steps will become lifelong healthy habits.”


emoticon 4. CUTTING OUT AN ENTIRE FOOD GROUP

“When people are trying to lose weight, they often cut out an entire food group, like carbs or meat, but this usually just results in an unbalanced diet and even deficiencies in certain nutrients. Plus, for most people, this is not sustainable for a lifetime—I always say if you couldn’t do it for the rest of your life, it’s a diet that’s probably not going to work in the long run.”


emoticon 5. REPLACING MEALS WITH LIQUIDS

“Green juices and smoothies are very popular right now, and a lot of people will use these as meal replacements. Unfortunately, oftentimes these beverages aren’t made up of the right mix of nutrients. Green juices lack fiber and protein, which are key nutrients in keeping you full and helping you meet your nutrient recommendations, and smoothies are typically loaded in sugar from juice, sweeteners, or too much fruit, and can be really high in calories from oversized portions of healthy fat sources like nuts and seeds.”


emoticon 6. EATING TOO FEW CALORIES

“The biggest pitfall I constantly see my clients falling into is the calorie counting trap. Many women come to me struggling to follow a 1,200 calorie per day diet and ask me what would help them to feel more full during the day. My answer is always to eat more! We live in a culture that is so obsessed with calorie counting that oftentimes we are depriving our body of the very nutrients that will actually help us not only to live healthier, but lose more weight. In my practice I try and help my clients transition from counting calories to counting nutrients because at the end of the day, what you eat is just as important as how much you eat.”


emoticon 7. STEERING CLEAR OF HEALTHY FATS

“I find that many people are stuck eating low-fat or fat-free versions of food, a holdover from the fat-phobic days of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. A moderate amount of fat is important as it helps with satiety. Plus, people end up replacing fat with refined carbs, which we now know can have a detrimental effect on health and weight. Include healthy fat at every meal, in the form of nuts, seeds, liquid oils, avocados, oily fish, soy, and dairy products.”


emoticon 8. DITCHING FRUITS AND VEGGIES WITH HIGH SUGAR CONTENT

“[I see people] cutting out certain fruits and vegetables because they think they contain too much sugar. Sure, some do contain a bit higher amount of naturally occurring sugars, but they also contain fiber, which helps counterbalance the effect on blood sugars. Compared to highly processed snacks and drinks, there is nothing to be worried about.”


emoticon 9. RELYING ON WEIGHT LOSS PILLS

“The bottom line here is if there was a pill or a potion that really worked in the long term, then not one of us would be talking about weight management at all! The weight loss industry is…so successful because we are so desperate to find a quick fix. The only long-term effective weight management skill is to change the way think about fueling our bodies. We need to think of food as fuel for daily living and to fuel it the best way we can. The rest takes care of itself.”

emoticon 10. TAKING THE WEEKENDS OFF FROM HEALTHY EATING

“You should take the weekends off from your job, not your diet. Sure, you can still have fun and go out to eat on the weekends, but make an effort not to stuff yourself to the brim with food or drinks. Simply eating mindfully when you are enjoying good food can be enough to not wreck your hard work during the week. If the weekends are a problem for you, consider weighing yourself Friday mornings and Monday mornings. If you see that number routinely creeping up on Monday, try changing your weekend routine to include more exercise and healthier food choices.”


emoticon 11. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER

“A lot of my clients don’t drink enough water. Changing this habit is one of the easiest ways to help your health. Studies show that drinking water or eating a water-rich salad or broth-based soup before a meal can help decrease how much you eat during the meal—plus, staying hydrated helps prevent headaches, which can lead to stress eating. Figure out how you prefer to get your water: Do you like a bottle with a straw or a wide-mouthed top? Whatever your preference, keep a water container at your side as often as you can. You’ll reach for it a lot more if you don’t have to get up to fill a glass.”



Krys (EST)
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Seeing the words "diet" and "fun" in the same sentence might seem like an oxymoron. When we decide to lose weight, ideas of deprivation, boredom, sacrifice and even misery usually come to mind. But they don't have to. Weight loss CAN be fun and enjoyable—if you have the right attitude and set out on your journey with the right tools—and rules—for long-term success.

Research shows that what we tell ourselves is a predictor of results. A positive mindset greatly increases one's chances of success, and when we make the journey towards any goal enjoyable, we achieve it with greater speed and stick with it for the long haul.

So throw out the "dieting" rules that make you feel deprived and bored. To start, follow these rules of weight loss that not only work—but actually make the process more fun! And whatever you do, focus on enjoying the journey, not just reaching your destination.

Weight-Loss Rules You'll Love to Follow

1. Eat more often. Out-of-control hunger is a common predictor of overeating—and giving up on any diet. When you go too long without food, your blood sugar drops, your mood and focus plummet, and you often grab the easiest thing you can, which usually isn't healthy. Instead of skipping meals and starving yourself, don't go more than 3-4 hours without eating. This will keep your hunger monster at bay and keep you happy and satisfied on your program.

2. Treat yourself. When you decide that a particular food (or even an entire food group), is off limits for your diet, research shows that we focus on that one food even more than if we simply allowed ourselves permission to eat it from time to time. If you told me I could never eat cookies again, I probably wouldn't be able to stop thinking about how much I like cookies and would feel miserable that I couldn't have them. Since willpower is in such short supply in humans, there's a really good chance that anyone would cave in eventually—and likely go overboard. So give yourself permission—and make a plan—to make room in your diet for your favorite treats.

3. Stop searching for the best workout. What's the ideal workout for weight loss? The workout you'll actually do—not the one that worked for your friend, or that you heard burned the most calories. Research shows that if you can match the exercise plan to your preference and personality, you'll be more consistent. If you pick what works for others or what you perceive is best despite not enjoying it, you're setting yourself up for failure. When you find something that is fun, who cares how many calories it burns. In the end you'll burn the most calories when you stop making excuses to avoid a workout and actually want to do an activity!

4. Love what you eat. When you eat or drink anything, do so slowly, mindfully and without distraction. By doing so, you'll increase your enjoyment and slow down your eating which will allow you the time to notice when you've had enough. And if it's a treat you're having, you'll feel so much more satisfied even if eating less because you'll have relished every bite, guilt free.

5. Lie around and do nothing. If you've ever stayed awake burning the midnight oil, here's your excuse to shut off the lights: Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night is essential for weight loss. Individuals who are sleep deprived have higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and lower levels of the fullness hormone leptin, which causes them to eat more calories. Perhaps we should rename beauty sleep to slimming sleep!

6. Don't skip breakfast. Think you'll be saving calories by skipping your morning meal? Think again. After an all-night fast, the best way to jump-start your metabolism is to eat within the first hour of waking. Studies have shown individuals who skip breakfast tend to over-consume at lunchtime or later in the day, offsetting all the calories they saved by skipping breakfast. Even if it's something small, try a quick and healthy morning meal to help set you up for success later in the day.

7. Dig into carbohydrates! Lately, carbs have gotten a bad rap. But not all carbs are created equal. We'd all be better off skimping on the sweets, processed foods and refined flours that make up so many snack foods. Leave those on the grocery shelf! But there's no reason to give up all carbs, especially the whole sources you'll get in healthful fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains are dairy products.

8. Go out to eat. One of the first things people are told when losing weight is to cook more at home and stop eating out. This is good advice in general—but you don't have to give up on a fast takeout meal or your favorite restaurant in order to slim down—especially these days when restaurants are creating healthier, lighter fare than ever before, and sharing those nutrition facts on menu boards and their websites. There are loads of ways to enjoy eating out without blowing your diet. Many menus offer lighter options, and good chefs are more than willing to accommodate special requests. Because restaurant portions do tend to be larger than normal, bring a friend. Split an entree to save calories and money. Or, order an appetizer as your main course.

9. Indulge in gourmet delights. If you eat foods you don't enjoy, you'll feel dissatisfied and find yourself searching for more food, even if you aren't hungry. While budgetary constraints are real and you shouldn't spend above your means, you might find that occasionally splurging on high-quality foods (even if the portions are smaller) can really make your food fun and enjoyable. My favorite low-calorie luxury is lobster or Alaskan king crab legs. Or sometimes I opt for the small 4-ounce prime cut of beef because it tastes so much better than 8 ounces of a tougher, inexpensive cut. A few more budget-friendly luxuries might be gourmet coffee and tea or a small bar of rich, dark chocolate. Seek pleasure from your foods as much as your budget allows.

10. Keep your workouts short. If time or boredom are a problem and you find yourself skipping exercise because you just don't have an hour to spare, no worries! Short bouts, as little as 10 minutes at a time, done several times over the course of the day, have similar calorie burning and health benefits as long, sustained sessions. What's more, surveys of the most motivated and successful SparkPeople members found that those who exercised less than 30 minutes a day got better weight loss results than those whose exercise plans called for an hour or more a day.

11. Hang with your friends. Having support and camaraderie is a huge help while working on healthy lifestyle changes. Make weight loss a team effort by asking friends with similar goals to work out with you. Rather than go out for meals, cook healthy potluck dinners together. Join a bowling league. Participate in weight-loss forums such as the ones on SparkPeople. You can swap healthy recipes, share success stories and disappointments, and have friends to whom you are accountable and who are also there to cheer you on.

12. Go shopping! If you love to shop or hunt for bargains, then you'll have fun scoring deals on all the gadgets and gear you need to change your lifestyle. If part of your plan is to cook at home more, shop for the kitchen tools you'll need (think slow cooker, griddle pan or blender), fun storage containers, plus an insulated bag for your snacks and lunch. To make your workouts more enjoyable and effective, you can buy some low-cost equipment to help you reach your goals. As you lose weight, you'll notice your clothing getting a bit baggy. Ignite your workout by dressing in great fitting exercise apparel, and show off your toned body in smaller sized clothing. Weight loss isn't a big industry for nothing. If you love to shop, you'll find plenty of opportunities to shop for a good reason.

13. Don't diet. This may be the most important rule of all. "Going on a diet" implies a start and a stop, but that's not how sustainable weight loss is achieved. Diets often slow down your metabolism due to the drastic cut back in calories your body is used to, and many diets that are advertised today are just plain unhealthy. Following rigid plans requires constant willpower, something we know humans have only a short supply of! Change and adjust your lifestyle habits a little at a time and you will lose excess pounds and achieve and maintain the healthy body weight that is right for you. From now on, define the word "diet" as the food plan you use to maintain a healthy body weight, supply you the energy to support your busy lifestyle and keep you well.

Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
6/29/19 2:16 P

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Is it hunger or do just crave a food? The difference can be quite a few calories! This article helps us figure it out.

emoticon Dealing with Hunger and Food Cravings
Eat Better and Manage Your Weight without Deprivation
-- By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian

There's more to healthy eating and weight loss than simply tracking your food. How you think about food and respond to hunger, eating cues, and cravings also affect your diet and overall health.

emoticon As babies, we ate intuitively: We fussed when we were hungry and stopped eating when we were full. As we grew older, the world around us began influencing what, when and how much we chose to eat. After years of advertising, imposed meal times, cafeteria offerings, holiday meals, grandma's comfort foods, and yo-yo diets, many of us have completely lost touch with our real hunger and satiety signals. We confuse cravings with hunger and end up overeating—or emotionally eating—as a result.

But hunger and cravings are very different, and by learning to distinguish the two, you can be more satisfied with your meals and reduce your calories without feeling the urge to continue eating. Here's what you need to know to get back to your intuitive eating roots and manage your weight.

emoticon Hunger: Your Need for Food
By definition, hunger is "the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food." Simply put, hunger is a signal from your body that it needs food for energy. When you’re truly hungry, your stomach, brain, or both will give you cues to tell you to eat. Signals from your stomach may be growling, an empty, hollow feeling, or hunger pangs. Your brain may send signals such as a headache, trouble concentrating, irritability or fogginess. Some people even experience physical fatigue when they are hungry. Hunger does not go away over time—it only gets worse. And ANY food will satisfy your hunger and take the hunger signals away.

emoticon If you’ve fallen into the habit of ignoring hunger cues (eating when the clock says it's "lunch time" or eating when you are not even hungry), tune back in to your body. Keep a journal to track your hunger and satiety before and after eating. (You can also use the Nutrition Notes section on your Nutrition Tracker to record these sensations.) When assessing your hunger level, use the following scale to rank how your body feels in terms of hunger or fullness (also called satiety).

emoticon Hunger Level Sensations and Symptoms

1 Starving, weak, dizzy
2 Very hungry, cranky, low energy, a lot of stomach growling
3 Pretty hungry, stomach is growling a little
4 Starting to feel a little hungry
5 Satisfied, neither hungry nor full
6 A little full, pleasantly full
7 A little uncomfortable
8 Feeling stuffed
9 Very uncomfortable, stomach hurts
10 So full you feel sick

emoticon Once you begin paying attention to how you’re feeling before and after you eat, you can start to make changes in what and how much you eat according to your hunger. It’s best to eat when your hunger level is at a 3 or 4. Once you wait until you’re at a 1 or 2 and are feeling very, very hungry, you are more likely to overeat or choose less healthful foods. (Remember: Any food will quell hunger, so we often reach for whatever is easy and convenient when we're feeling desperate to eat.) At a level 3 or 4, when you’re just starting to feel some hunger signals, you can make a conscious decision to eat the right amount of healthful and tasty foods. It's important, too, to be aware of how much you eat. It's best to stop eating at level 6 before you feel uncomfortably full (7-10). Your brain registers the signals that you're full slowly, and learning to eat to satisfaction without overeating will take some attention and practice.

emoticon Another important strategy, as you become aware of your hunger signals, is to eliminate all distractions and make food the main attraction of your meal. Watching TV, reading, using the computer or paying bills while eating can reduce your ability to recognize satiety.


emoticon Appetite: Your Interest in Food
We talk a lot about appetite: "My son has a huge appetite!" or "I worked up an appetite at the gym." Appetite is not the same thing as hunger; it actually refers to an interest in food. It’s often said that someone’s appetite can override their hunger and fullness. When some people feel stressed, they could lose their appetite and choose to ignore feelings of hunger. (Others respond the opposite way, eating in response to stress or negative emotions despite a lack of hunger or strong feelings of fullness.) And how many times have you sat down to a delicious meal and continued eating even though you were experiencing sensations of fullness? That, too, is an example of appetite overriding the signals from your body. As you start becoming more aware of hunger signals, do not confuse appetite with physical signs of hunger.

emoticon Cravings: Your Desire for Specific Foods
Cravings are very different than hunger, yet somewhat similar to appetite. Look up "crave" in the dictionary and you will see "to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly." Usually, the foods you crave are not a necessity, nor do they serve a life-sustaining need. Cravings, unlike hunger signals, will change over time, even over a period of 10 minutes. They are usually triggered by emotions (stress, boredom, sadness, etc.), an attachment or fondness for a certain food, or proximity to appetizing food. Unlike hunger, where any food will quell the sensation, only one specific food will satisfy a craving.

emoticon Keep in mind that when you have a craving but are not physically hungry, you must look deeper into why that craving is there. Are you bored? Did you have a stressful day at home or work? Did doughnuts appear in the cafeteria and now all you can think about is eating one (a thought that previously hadn't even crossed your mind)? Dig into the reason behind your longing for a certain food. If it's an emotional need, deal with the emotion. If it's a proximity craving (you see appetizing food and therefore want it), try a distraction technique.

emoticon Certainly, it's important to take pleasure from food and get satisfaction from the foods you eat. Cravings are normal and have a place in a healthy balanced diet. But learning to satisfy them in a controlled manner will keep your relationship with food in balance. Constantly giving in to your cravings—or confusing them with hunger—can lead to overeating and an unbalanced diet, especially since many of the foods we crave are high in fat, salt, sugar, or a combination of the three.

emoticon emoticon This makes it even more important to stop and examine why you want to eat something. Many healthy eaters have come up with delicious and crave-worthy recipes that can satisfy their longings for a particular food without going overboard. Other times, you may simply choose to eat the food you're craving. Both situations are OK as long as you are making conscious decisions and practicing moderation.


emoticon When you stop to think about your hunger and fullness levels, your appetite and cravings (both the triggers and your response), the more in-control you'll be around food, which can help you return to an intuitive way of eating that helps you manage your weight without ever going hungry or feeling deprived. Now that's a recipe for good health and weight-management!


Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
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312,499
324,999
337,499
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
6/7/19 1:40 P

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emoticon Earn Team SparkPoints each time you check in and apply them to your favorite groups, teams, or organizations on SparkAmerica leaderboards!
Each day, when you earn SparkPoints by completing various goals on the site, you'll have the opportunity to select a few SparkTeams from your list that you want to give extra support. By awarding a particular team with a bonus SparkPoints "spin" (the amount awarded is like a lottery scratch-off; you won't know what it will be until you click), it gives that Team an extra boost—a nod to the fact that we're all in this together and, as different as we are, we all have a common goal of improving ourselves—and helping the world around us. Your healthy deeds and bonus Points will help your favorite affinities rise the ranks on our leaderboards in a friendly competition that encourages everyone involved to stick with their own healthy program so that they can help the Team reach a larger goal.

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#1
Finding Time for Healthy Living
20 Ways to Squeeze in Healthy Habits
-- By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach

emoticon You've made the decision to get in shape, lose weight or just live a healthier lifestyle. But you're worried about how you'll manage to find the time to get to the gym, shop and cook healthy foods, or even how you'll keep your goals in mind with so many other things already on it.

Your concerns are certainly valid. As a matter of fact, one of the most common statements I hear from colleagues and friends is, "When things calm down, I really need to start taking better care of myself." Here's the thing: If you are living a full and happy life, it is more often busy than not. And when you have so much to do, doesn't it make sense to take care of yourself and feel well?

There's no debating that you will need to dedicate some time to self-care, but it shouldn't mean you will have to drop your friends, ignore your family or neglect your business. Here are some suggestions of how to create more time for healthy living.

Eating well for good health and/or weight loss requires you to have nutritious foods available and make wise choices when eating out. Here are some ways to make the most of your meals when you're short on time.

emoticon Take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to think through your upcoming schedule. How many days will you be home for dinner, and what will you prepare? Do Monday morning meetings always last through lunch? If so, it makes sense to bring a brown bag lunch that day. Will you head to the gym straight from the office and need to bring a healthy snack to fuel you through your workout and hold you over until dinner? Once you have a picture of your week, create your grocery list and plan when you'll head to the store. This extra step will save you tons of time by avoiding multiple trips to the market, or standing in line at the take-out eateries on your way home.

emoticon At the market, consider purchasing healthy convenience foods. There are so many to choose from these days. Fresh vegetables, salad greens and fruit are available pre-cleaned and cut. Old-fashioned frozen dinners have been recreated to be low-cal, low- sodium, even vegetarian or gluten-free. Check the labels and know which ones to keep in your freezer for nights when you don't have the time to cook. Although you may think these options cost more, they are less expensive than eating in restaurants, buying take-out, or high blood pressure and high cholesterol medicines that often are required after years of unhealthy choices.

If you prefer to avoid the expense of pre-cut fruits and vegetables, invest in crisper storage containers. Spend a little bit of time washing and cutting produce on the weekends, in order to save loads of prep time during the week.

Call your local supermarket in advance of your visit and give the deli, meat and fish counter your order over the phone. They'll have everything ready and packaged for you, saving you time from waiting in line.

If you really don't have the time to shop, many supermarkets now have online ordering and delivery options. Not only will they save your weekly shopping list so you can go back to check off your frequently purchased options, they'll let you know which of your favorites are on sale.

Check out online food co-ops, produce and dairy markets. Many have memberships that will deliver fresh and/or organic goods on a scheduled basis.

emoticon Equip your kitchen with time-saving devices. A slow cooker allows you to quickly throw together ingredients the night before. Plug it in to cook in the morning and a hot prepared dinner is ready when you return home. A microwave will reheat leftovers or frozen healthy choices. An immersion blender quickly makes soups from frozen veggies or smoothies out of frozen fruit.

When you do cook, double the recipes. Keep old take out containers or purchase freezer-to-oven pans and create your own TV dinners or a second meal for the following week.

On days when you have a meal out, keep in mind that the average restaurant serves two to three times the appropriate portion size. Ask for a take-out container and pack away half for lunch or dinner at another time. Now you've kept to a healthy portion size and you don't need to take time out to prepare another meal the next day. Fitting in movement and exercise requires the same proactive thinking as eating healthy.

emoticon If you are going to join a gym, make sure it is conveniently located near your home or office. No matter how fabulous the gym in the next town is, if it takes too long to get to, you won't go when you're pressed for time.

emoticon Home exercise equipment is the best investment for the truly time pressed or those who simply dislike the gym atmosphere. You won't waste time traveling back and forth, and could pair your daily sessions with another activity you enjoy. Addicted to the evening sitcoms or news? Do your exercise while watching. You know you would take the time to get that one episode in anyway, what a great way to multitask! Need to catch up on trade journals? All cardio equipment today is equipped with a reading stand.

When squeezing in a formalized exercise session still seems impossible to do, know that several short bursts of activity has been shown to add up to great benefit. Whenever possible, take the stairs rather than the elevator, walk to your co-worker's office to deliver messages rather than emailing. Use the restrooms on another floor. Purchase and wear a pedometer. Measuring the number of steps you take each day can be highly motivating. Without even thinking about "taking the time out to exercise" you might just reach the 10,000 steps a day to achieve health benefits.

emoticon Suggest business meetings at the local walking track rather than the boardroom. Your colleagues may be delighted to squeeze in their activity as well, plus fresh air and being in nature has been proven to improve mood and creativity.

Combine exercise with family time. Rather than an outing to the movies, consider the roller or ice skating rink, miniature golf course, park or town pool. You and the kids will both get your exercise and quality time together.

You don't have to sacrifice time with your friends to get in a workout. Suggest an active happy hour after work rather than heading to the local bar. Go bowling, or join a baseball, basketball or soccer team. For the really ambitious, train together for an upcoming race.

Let go of your "all or nothing" exercise attitude. If you think a 10 or 15 minute workout is "pointless" when you don't have time for a full hour, think again. Every minute counts toward improving your fitness level, reducing stress and strengthening your heart and muscles. Plus a minute spent exercising always beats a minute spent sedentary. Stress reduction and sleep are important to self-care and a healthy lifestyle, but too often neglected when life is frantic.

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to ease stress and takes a mere 30 seconds. Begin to notice the physical signs you experience when stress is mounting. Neck tension, back pain, and queasy stomach are common. Stop what ever you are doing and take a few deep, cleansing breaths. A mantra such as "breathe" or "stay calm" may help. Stress leads to inefficiency and mistakes that then take more time to redo and correct.

emoticon Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, exacerbate illness and injuries and lead to lots of time spent at the doctor's office or home in bed. Take time regularly to manage your stress to avoid massive loss of time later. Experiment with what works best for you. Ten minutes of daily meditation, a weekly massage or just an evening out each week with your honey can go a long way to keeping you healthy. When you find yourself thinking "I don't have time for this" remind yourself how time consumed being sick or depressed is!

emoticon Many people believe they can gain more time by skimping on sleep. I hope you are not one of them! Just as too much stress will lead to more mistakes, inefficiency, depressed immune system and increased injury and illness, so will lack of sleep. Although an occasional night of reduced sleep won't have long lasting effects, a constant diet of sleep deprivation will. Trying to function on too little sleep will end up causing you to waste time rather than save it.

Chronic stress and sleep deprivation have also been proven to hinder weight loss. So if you are in hurry to see the pounds melt away, get your sleep and take time to relax, unwind and rejuvenate.

With some proactive thinking and creativity, creating time for healthy living should not be an insurmountable problem. Self-care can compliment and fit seamlessly into your lifestyle.


#2
50 Easy Ways to Burn 100 Calories
Torch Your Way to the Top with These Activities
-- By Erin Whitehead, Health and Fitness Writer


emoticon Everything you do burns calories—breathing, sleeping, standing, and all of the active pursuits you enjoy. But what does it take to burn just 100 calories? You may be surprised by how little—or how much—activity you have to do to achieve that goal! To put it all in perspective for you, we’ve gathered 50 different ways to burn 100 calories. From standard exercises you do at the gym, to everyday chores around the house, you can burn 100 calories in just a few short minutes of your day.

Keep in mind that not all movement is created equal. In order to classify an activity as a cardio ''exercise,'' you must be working at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. However, even though periods of less intense activity may not count as part of your workout, they still provide health benefits and burn extra calories. After all, the less sitting you do, the better!

50 Ways to Burn 100 Calories

(Values are approximate and are based on a 150-pound person.)

emoticon Workouts:
Biking: 23 minutes of casual cycling
Cardio dance class: 15 minutes
Elliptical: 8 minutes
Jumping rope: 9 minutes at a moderate intensity
Lifting weights, vigorously: 15 minutes
Pilates: 24 minutes
Rowing machine: 13 minutes
Running stairs: 6 minutes
Running: 9 minutes of running at a 6 mph pace
Swimming: 15 minutes moderate intensity
Walking stairs: 11 minutes
Walking: 20 minutes of walking at a 3 mph pace
Water aerobics: 23 minutes
Yoga: 20 minutes
Zumba: 11 minutes

emoticon Sports and Leisure Activities:
Basketball, shooting hoops: 20 minutes
Bowling: 30 minutes
Dancing around living room: 20 minutes
Darts: 35 minutes
Golfing, carrying clubs: 15 minutes
Ice skating, moderate: 18 minutes
Kickball: 13 minutes
Mini golf or driving range: 30 minutes
Playing catch with a football: 35 minutes
Playing Frisbee: 30 minutes
Playing soccer, casual: 13 minutes
Skiing,downhill: 10 minutes
Softball or baseball: 18 minutes
Tennis (doubles): 21 minutes
Tennis (singles): 15 minutes
Treading water, moderate effort: 23 minutes
Volleyball, recreational: 26 minutes
Water skiing: 15 minutes

emoticon Yard Work:
Mowing the lawn: 20 minutes
Painting house: 18 minutes
Raking leaves: 23 minutes
Shoveling snow: 15 minutes
Washing the car: 20 minutes
Weeding the garden: 18 minutes

emoticon Everyday Activities:
Carrying an infant: 24 minutes
Cleaning, moderate effort: 26 minutes
Cooking: 34 minutes
Doing dishes: 40 minutes
Mopping the floor: 20 minutes
Playing with children: 23 minutes
Pushing a stroller: 35 minutes
Rearranging furniture: 14 minutes
Shopping: 38 minutes
Sweeping: 23 minutes
Walking the dog, 26 minutes

emoticon Were you surprised by the amount of time it takes to burn 100 calories? Which of these activities can you incorporate into your life to burn an extra 100 calories per day? Pick one that fits into your schedule and go for it!


Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
5/11/19 11:48 A

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Calcium is such an important mineral no matter our age or gender. So how do you get more in your daily nutrition? This article should help.


15 Ways to Boost Your Calcium Intake

By Liz Noelcke


emoticon You’re careful about calories and fussy about fat. You crunch the numbers and keep track of your daily diet. But how conscious are you regarding calcium, the mineral that keeps both men and women strong and healthy?

emoticon Calcium plays an important role in strengthening bones and teeth. But what many people don’t know is that it also helps muscles and nerves function properly. Calcium isn’t something that your body can manufacture itself, so it relies on your diet to meet its needs.

Bones and teeth store about 99 percent of the calcium in the body, with the remaining one percent usually found in blood, muscles, and other bodily tissues and fluid. If your body isn’t getting enough calcium from the foods you eat, it will take the mineral out of your bones, essentially robbing them of some of their strength. A calcium deficiency can eventually lead to osteoporosis, which is the loss of bone mass. Because bones are continually repaired throughout your lifetime, it is essential to get enough calcium, no matter your age. Taking care of your bones now will aid you in later years.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_art
icles.asp?id=121


emoticon It is currently recommended that adults ages 18-50 consume about 1000 milligrams(mg) of calcium a day, while adults ages 51 or older need 1200 milligrams. (It is also worth noting that adequate consumption of vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium.)

emoticon The best sources of calcium are, of course, dairy foods. Just one cup of milk or yogurt contains 300 milligrams of calcium. Other good sources include cheese (200 mg. per ounce) and cottage cheese (77 mg. per 1/2 cup). Use caution with dairy products, however. While you can meet your calcium needs with three to four dairy servings per day, watch out for extra calories and fat. Often, these foods come in non-fat or low-fat varieties, many of which taste just as good as the full-fat versions yet still contain the same amount of calcium.

emoticon Green leafy vegetables are high in calcium, but low in calories. One cup of spinach contains almost 250 milligrams of calcium, while a cup of kale has almost 100 milligrams. Broccoli contains 80 milligrams, making it another healthy vegetable to include in your diet. Other excellent sources include canned sardines (325 mg per 3 oz), canned salmon (180 mg per 3 oz), nuts such as almonds, legumes like garbanzo beans or peas, and fortified tofu (130 mg per 1 cup).

emoticon 15 simple ways to increase your calcium consumption
There are many easy ways to boost your calcium intake by sneaking these foods into your daily diet:
1. Add beans to soups, chili, and pasta dishes.
2. Grate low-fat cheese over soups and salads.
3. Enjoy a smoothie made with yogurt .
4. Use milk instead of water in soups, breads, sauces, or salad dressings.
5. Add milk to tea or coffee in the morning.
6. Try plain yogurt as a vegetable dip.
7. Stir some nuts into a yogurt cup as a snack.
8. Include leafy vegetables in baked casseroles such as lasagna.
9. Buy juices and cereals fortified with calcium.
10. Drink skim milk instead of soda at lunch.
11. Eat hot oatmeal made with milk for breakfast.
12. Snack on crunchy broccoli instead of potato chips.
13. Substitute plain low-fat yogurt for recipes that call for sour cream.
14. Treat yourself to pudding made with skim milk for dessert.
15. Take a daily supplement, available in capsules or chewable tablets.

Think about how you will add calcium to your nutrition. If your body doesn't get enough calcium and vitamin D to support important functions, it takes calcium from your bones. This is called losing bone mass. Losing bone mass makes the inside of your bones become weak and porous. This puts you at risk for the bone disease osteoporosis



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
3/31/19 4:44 P

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Staying focused on our goals can be difficult, at best, some days. If you have one of "those" days, do you give up or (better yet) say it is over and I can start again to stay on the healthy choice path! These two articles, I think, are good motivators and can help us going no matter what kind of day we are having!


#1
6 Things Successful Dieters Have in Common
People Who Lose the Weight Have These Core Beliefs
-- By Ellen G. Goldman, Health & Wellness Coach


I'm sure you have heard people say, "Losing weight is easy. Keeping it off is the hard part."

Well, I disagree with this statement. I think losing weight is hard, but keeping it off is even harder!

emoticon Permanent weight loss requires a lot of change. And for most, change is difficult. You have to change what and how much you eat. You have to change your activity and exercise habits. You might have to change your sleeping habits, daily schedule and shopping habits. That's a lot of change!

emoticon However, the most important changes you can make aren't about what you do, but rather how you think. If you don't change your mindset, there's an awfully good chance you won't change your body—and certainly not for the long term.

People who have reached weight-loss goals and kept off the pounds often experience mindset shifts. They think differently than they did before. Here are some common attitudes and beliefs that show up time and time again when talking with successful "losers." If you were to interview them, this is what you would hear.

emoticon 1. I believe that I can do it. I am responsible for—and in control of—my destiny, and I am fully committed to getting there. I have a clear vision of how I want to live my life: healthy, vibrant, thin and active. I strongly believe in the possibility and the permanence of that vision, and I am confident that I am capable of achieving it. Exercise and eating healthy aren't things I do when it's convenient; they are what I have decided to do no matter what. I recognize my results are dependent on my own actions—not other people's or outside circumstances.

emoticon 2. I am proactive rather than reactive. I think in advance about how I will eat and exercise during for upcoming day. If I know I need to go to the gym straight from work, I make sure my gym bag is packed and in my car. When I'm going to have a hectic day at work, I pack a healthy lunch from home. I look at restaurant menus online before getting there so I know the best choices beforehand, and that's what I order. I take time at the beginning of each week to plan my meals, figure out when I can get to the grocery store and schedule my exercise. And I always have a Plan B so I can stay on track in case something unexpected happens.

emoticon 3. I am disciplined. Despite not always wanting to do what needs to be done, I do it anyway. There are plenty of times I don't feel like working out, or taking the time to prepare my meals. Whether it's exercise, skipping dessert, or cooking a healthy dinner rather than calling in for take-out, I do it. My mind is always focused on my vision. It's not about how I feel right now. It's about what I want for my future self.

emoticon 4. I share my goals and plans. My friends and family are aware that taking good care of myself and keeping the weight off is a core value of mine. I stand up for myself without apology. Sometimes I'll miss happy hour with the gang to go to the gym, or request that we change the restaurant choice because I won't go to a buffet—I am not embarrassed or sorry for speaking up. I also know I don't need to go it alone. When I am feeling vulnerable, I ask for help.

emoticon 5. I am resilient. When I stumble or fall down, I pick myself up and creatively figure out how to move on. Life throws curveballs all the time, but they aren't reasons to throw my healthy habits away. I know that soothing myself with food or TV won't solve my problems. I deal with the reality of the situation and creatively work toward overcoming adversity.

emoticon 6. I have self-compassion. I'm only human and there are times when things don't go as well as I'd like. I just do the best I can. When I slip up, I look at it as one individual episode, not a pattern that will lead to disaster. A "lapse" does not mean collapse. I just get right back on track. I do not beat myself up if a few pounds creep back on. The scale does not define who I am. It doesn't make me good or bad. It only tells me whether or not I am on track to reach my goals. If I am not, I recalculate.

emoticon Sustained weight loss requires a new mindset. In order to be successful, you must resist looking in the mirror and still seeing the old you. Permanent success requires you to think and act like a thin person even before you reach your goal. If it initially feels awkward, remember the old adage, "Fake it 'til you make it." The more you behave and think like a successful dieter, the sooner you will be one. Being healthy and thin will become part of your identity. It's time to leave the old one behind.



#2
3 Ways to Get Back on Track During an Off Day
By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger, SparkPeople Blogger


emoticon We’ve all been there. We had a few fabulous days of eating healthy and exercising and then—BANG—all of a sudden life happens. A late night out with friends, a last-minute business trip, a sick child at home. You’ve either missed your designated time for fitness or you simply don’t have the energy to prepare a healthy meal. Either way, you’ve hit a wall and are having an off day. Sometimes it can take several days before you find yourself inspired enough to give your nutrition and exercise program another shot. It’s the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting at its best, but it can be stopped.

As an expert of sport and exercise psychology, one of my objectives is to help my clients work through the off days we all inevitably experience from time to time. Here are three techniques you can use right now to not only get switched back on during an off day, but also to limit the amount of off days you have altogether. The end result is that you’ll give yourself the greatest opportunity to follow through on your daily goals and achieve your personal best mind, body and overall spirit.

emoticon 1. Undervalue the bad days and overvalue the good ones. Many people have been conditioned to harp on their mistakes while quickly moving forward from their successes. Consequently, this way of thinking and behaving robs them of the opportunity to develop maximum confidence—a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.

In sports, professional athletes and coaches will often say that the person who wins is usually the person who can best recover from errors. Top athletes have learned to identify their mistakes, but instead of dwelling there, they quickly learn from them and move on. They also take the time to pat themselves on the back for all of their achievements.

It’s okay to strive for perfection, but as soon as you start demanding it, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. When life gets in the way of following your diet and fitness plan to a ''T,'' take five minutes for personal reflection. Remind yourself that it’s OK if things don’t go 100 percent according to plan. It's helpful to identify the things you could better control for next time, but then quickly move on and focus on at least one achievement you have already made that day (or yesterday if it’s first thing in the morning). Taking your focus away from the negative and toward your personal strengths and accomplishments will create a boost of positive energy for finishing the day with a success.

emoticon 2. Change your environment. When people have an off day, they are experiencing a reduced level of motivation for healthy living. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this problem; research continues to prove that motivation and productivity increases when our environment changes. In fact, a commonly-used phrase in sports psychology is, ''A change is as good as a rest.''

Any type of change, such as stepping outside for some fresh air, turning on motivational music, finding a new healthy recipe, or getting off the treadmill and onto the elliptical can generate fresh motivation to help you stay on track with your diet and fitness plan. Whenever you feel a lack of motivation for your healthy lifestyle, change up at least one aspect of your environment and experience what it’s like to have your batteries recharged and motivation restored!

emoticon 3. Just move. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is get off the couch and just start to move. However, once you start moving and the dopamine kicks in, you’ll find it much easier to keep going. During off days, it’s less important to stick to the pre-planned exercises or routine and more important to just get up and do something. If you really don’t feel like lifting weights, get outside and go for a walk. If you don’t feel like spending 20 minutes in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal, choose something simple to eat (that’s still healthy).

The next time you experience an off day, challenge yourself to commit 5-10 minutes to taking action on one of the three techniques above. Once you start moving, you’ll experience an amazing shift in energy, focus, confidence, and overall commitment to your healthy lifestyle.






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Ask Yourself THESE Questions Every Day To Lose Weight Faster
By Jordan Davidson

emoticon "Will I work out today?" "Will I fill my plate with vegetables tonight?" Asking yourself simple questions is a uniquely effective technique for increasing healthy behavior and could even help you lose weight fast, according to a recent review of over 100 studies spanning 40 years.

"When you stop to ask yourself a question like 'Do I need another piece of bread?' you raise your thoughts to the level of consciousness," says Michelle Maidenberg, PhD, president and clinical director of Westchester Group Works in Harrison, NY, and a cognitive-behavioral therapist. "You're recognizing that you have a choice, and that usually leads to healthier decisions."

If you're uncomfortable chatting with yourself, the effect works just as well when your smart phone, friends, or family ask those questions. Here are some strategies for putting this powerful technique to work for you, whether you want to get to the gym, shed extra weight, kick-start healthier habits, or accomplish all of the above. (Take back control of your eating—and lose weight in the process!)

emoticon The best way to ask
The research suggests the most effective way to phrase the question is "Will I…?" It's called a prediction question, and it's a much better way to nudge yourself than asking, "Do I plan to…?" Or, "How likely am I to…?" One reason the phrasing works so well is that it puts the behavior front and center, with no gray areas, according to Loannis Kareklas, PhD, a marketing professor at SUNY Albany and an author of the review. The answer is either yes or no—another hallmark of an effective question. Will I hit the gym? Yes. Will I munch on leafy greens? Yes. Will I skip late-night snacks? Um, uh… Yes!

Kareklas encourages anyone looking to shed pounds or eat better to "ask prediction questions of themselves, or encourage those close to them to ask them such questions."

emoticon Note: Timing is key. The questions need to be about the present or immediate future. In other words, asking, "Will you work out this afternoon?" is effective. "Will you work out next week?" Not so much.

Writing out the questions and keeping them readily available is crucial, according to Deborah Beck Busis, LCSW, a diet coordinator at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy outside Philadelphia. She gives her clients a laminated reminder card that they read every morning and every night to help keep the questions in the front of their minds. They put the reminder card in a conspicuous place—on the bedside table or taped to the bathroom mirror, for example. They keep another copy in their pocket. Having continual reminders can prevent backsliding, she says. At the end of a stressful day, when her clients might feel inclined to reach for comfort food, they know to grab their card instead. Asking a simple question like "Will I end a bad day with something that will make me feel worse?" helps redirect their behavior toward a healthier choice.

emoticon Enlisting the support of your friends and family can be effective, says Busis—but there are caveats. It's great when the people around you are on board with your efforts and helping you eat better or be more active. You may want them to send you text reminders, or to ask you if you'll put your fork down between bites. But ponder how you'll feel giving someone else nominal control over your behavior: It might feel yucky. "It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out when and where the questions you're asked feel helpful and when they feel like badgering," she says. "Nobody wants to feel policed and that's especially tricky with a spouse." She advocates an honest, calm discussion about what questions work and when it might feel intrusive, offensive, overbearing, or discouraging.

emoticon Lebron James, Roger Federer, and even teenage Nobel peace prize laureate Malala Yousafzai all share a similar habit: They often talk about themselves in the third person. Turns out, it's actually an effective tool for changing behavior and reducing stress, according to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. When we talk to ourselves in the second or third person, we create psychological distance. Think about how much better you are at advising a friend than advising yourself. Creating distance offers a new perspective and may allow you to cut yourself some slack. (You wouldn't yell at or belittle a friend for making an understandable mistake, right?) The research suggests that somebody who uses the second or third person tends to recast stressful situations as challenges, rather than threats.

You'll find this especially helpful when you're facing food temptations, says Maidenberg. "We tend to bury or disregard unpleasant thoughts." But when you recognize the conflict, you become more thoughtful and less impulsive and make better decisions, she explains.

emoticon Mix it up
Having a question like "Will you exercise today?" posted on your bathroom mirror is highly effective—until it's not. Whether it's a pop-up on your computer asking if you will eat a salad for lunch, a reminder on your smart phone to do yoga, or a note posted on your fridge asking if you drank enough water, eventually you'll block it out. "Once your reminders blend into the scenery, they get ignored," says Busis. "It becomes easy to dismiss an alarm or walk past a Post-It." To keep your questions and reminders effective, "they need to be fresh," says Busis. She recommends changing their location, what they say, or who—or what—delivers them to you. (Here are 10 exercises that burn more calories than running.)

emoticon Tech is your friend here. Various apps and alarms keep your reminders new and novel. For example, Momentum, a Google Chrome extension, displays your main focus and an inspirational quote every time you open a blank Internet tab. If you use your phone as a prompt, try changing the alarm sound every week or so. Or rotate among written reminders, electronic reminders, and spousal reminders.



Krys (EST)
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*Personal Note: Many thanks to all who help our team stay at the top of the Spark Leader Board. Your red flag spins, even if you just get a one, are helping us along. If you need directions on how to find the red flag to help our team get points, just email me.


emoticon You are doing everything right, or so you think, to lose weight. Why isn't the scale budging? This article might shed some light on how to fix this!

emoticon 5 Unusual Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
By Will Owen

Weight loss can be tricky. We all know we need to consume fewer calories than we burn to lose weight, but sometimes—even when you’re doing all the right things—that weight loss can come to a screeching halt.

This can happen for a number of reasons, but, more often than not, it’s comes down to something that requires a serious lifestyle change to fix. Here are 5 of the most common, yet not-so-obvious reasons you’re not losing weight, plus some tried-and-true.

emoticon 1. You’re Stressed “Stress is the silent killer.” This is especially true when it comes to weight loss. Stress releases cortisol (often simply referred to as “the stress hormone”)—and in today’s society, excessively high cortisol levels are incredibly common. Cortisol degrades muscle tissue and encourages the storage of body fat, and is has been linked to other health issues that are a lot more serious than a few extra pounds around your waist.

If you want to get lean, then you need to make a serious effort to lower your stress levels. (Easier said than done, I know!) Try limiting the length of your workouts to 45 minutes, surrounding yourself with positive people, meditating, and getting plenty of sleep.

emoticon 2. You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep Not only does enough sleep reduce levels of cortisol, but it also produces growth hormone (GH). GH pretty much has the opposite effect of cortisol on the body—it encourages fat loss, supports your immune system, and helps to keep your organs functioning properly.

Sleep also balances the hormones that control hunger. If you’ve ever gone to bed hungry and woken up not hungry, this is why. On the flip side, if you miss a night’s sleep you are likely to eat more calories the next day. While it varies from person to person, most of us should aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

emoticon 3. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about how important water is to your health, but most people still don’t drink enough of it.

There’s a whole host of benefits to drinking enough water, one of which is proper kidney function. Dehydration impairs your kidneys, and when your kidneys aren’t working properly, your liver has to pick up the slack. Your liver is responsible for the metabolism of fat, which means fat cannot be metabolized as efficiently when your liver has to work twice as hard to remove toxins.

The solution is simple: when you’re thirsty, drink water. In particular, ensure that you are hydrated around workouts.

emoticon 4. You Have Poor Digestion The gut is incredibly complicated, and scientists are only scratching the surface when it comes to understanding how the natural micro-biome of gut bacteria works. But one thing is clear: whether you want to improve your ability to lose fat, boost your immune system, clear up your skin, or even just feel better on daily basis, it all starts with gut health.

Unfortunately, most people don’t usually realize their gut isn’t functioning properly until it’s too late. But there are steps you can take to help prevent any malfunctions: reduce stress, eat fewer meals or even consider periods of fasting to give your digestive system a break, minimize the consumption of legumes, grains, sugar and pastured dairy, and chew your food until it’s mush before swallowing.

emoticon 5. You’re Not Eating Enough Fiber Fiber aids digestive health and helps to create a sense of fullness, which makes consuming fewer calories easier.

It’s estimated that only 5% of Americans get enough fiber. Why are people missing out? Most of us assume we’re getting enough from grain-based products like bread and cereal, but the reality is these highly-processed foods have been stripped of their nutrients and fiber. Instead, eat more fruit and vegetables, and opt for whole grains, like brown rice and steal-cut oatmeal.

emoticon Could one of these issues be to blame for your weight loss plateau?



Krys (EST)
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For those of us affected by the time change, article #1 has some good tips. Article #2 talks about low sugar fruits that are not only good for us but won't trigger that nasty sugar craving!

#1
emoticon 6 Tips to Deal with Daylight Saving Time
Time-Tested Ways to Cope with the Time Change
-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator

It’s that time of year again, when we reset our clocks and try to readjust to the time change associated with Daylight Saving Time (DST). Some of us breeze through the change seamlessly, yet others feel out of sorts for days. If you have trouble dealing with this sudden disruption in your routine, it is for good reason.

Even though your brain knows that the time on the clock has changed, your body's internal clock does not. In the fall, when you’ve gained an hour of sleep, you might not feel tired, but you may get cranky when you have to wait an extra hour before your lunch break or when it feels like work should have ended an hour ago. When the clocks move forward in the spring, you'll be robbed of an hour of sleep. That night, you may not be able to fall into your normal sleep rhythms an hour earlier than you’re used to, and you won’t get as much quality sleep as you need.

Since its inception in the early 1900s, DST has been the subject of controversy. Studies are contradictory, showing that DST has both positive and negative impacts on health, safety, energy consumption, and the economy. A sampling of the issues includes:
Health: DST provides more daylight for outdoor exercise and yard work in the evenings, which could improve fitness levels. It also provides more opportunities for sun exposure, which triggers vitamin D synthesis in the skin. However, more sun exposure could lead to higher rates of skin cancer, according to some experts. And some new research shows that heart attacks increase the days following the spring time change (when we lose an hour), but decrease after the fall time change (when we gain an hour).

Safety: In the weeks following the spring time change, there are more traffic accidents. But overall, during the course of DST there are fewer traffic fatalities than during standard time.

Energy Consumption: While it had been hypothesized that DST would help to conserve energy, several studies have shown that DST leads to increased energy and fuel consumption.

Economy: Some industries, like retail businesses and golf courses, benefit from DST, as consumers have more time to shop and play. But other industries including farming, theaters, and prime time television suffer.

Despite the controversy, one thing is certain—DST will be around for a long time. So here are some time-tested tips for dealing with the time change:
Start early. The time change is usually scheduled for the wee hours of Sunday morning, in order to reduce the disruption of the workweek. To give yourself more time to adjust before the workweek begins, reset one of your clocks at the start of the weekend, such as Friday night or Saturday morning. Try to eat meals, sleep, and wake according to that clock. When Monday comes, you’ll be on your way to feeling adjusted. However, if you have activities and events during the weekend, make sure you don’t get confused about the correct time!

emoticon Exercise. Working out releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust. Exercise regularly, preferably outdoors, and early in the day. A brisk morning walk is perfect. Avoid exercising too late in the evening though, as this could interfere with the quality of your sleep. Learn more about the connection between exercise and better sleep.

emoticon Nap wisely. Try to resist the urge to take long naps late in the day. If you get tired, take a short, energizing walk around the block instead. If you must nap, keep it earlier in the day and limit your snooze time to no more than 20 minutes.

emoticon Don’t imbibe. Alcohol interferes with normal sleep cycles, so don't rely on a nightcap to fall asleep. Find out about other foods and drinks that help (and hurt) your sleep.

emoticon Digest. After the time changes, you may be hungry for meals earlier or later than before. Be sure to give yourself ample time to digest your dinner before heading off to bed. A heavy meal in your stomach will interfere with the quality of your sleep, too.

emoticon Lighten up. The right combination of light and dark can help your body's circadian rhythm readjust so you can fall asleep on your new schedule and sleep more soundly. In the morning, open the shades and brighten the lights. Try to spend time outside during the day, if possible. Dim the lights in the evening, so that your body understands that it’s time to wind down.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you adjust more easily to the biannual time changes. If you’ve tried all of these suggestions, and you’re still having trouble adjusting to the time change after a few weeks, call your health care provider for more assistance.

#2
Top 10 Low Sugar Fruits
emoticon

Fruits are always related to help lose weight naturally. Always people mentioned that reach your ideal weight by eating as much fruits as possible. But, does one know eating the wrong fruits might bring more harm than good? Like, excessive sugar in the body causes diabetes, dull looking skin and even a FATTER YOU!

So, go for fruits with lower sugar level.

1 – Apples

Can be found in red and green. Despite being low in sugar, apples also contain vitamin C and soluble fiber that eliminates toxins and aids cholesterol management.

2 – Apricot

A sweet scented fruits golden orange in color! Rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C as well as iron, potassium and calcium.

3 – Berries

Such as strawberry blackberry and blueberry have low carbohydrates. Also, blackberry and blueberry contained antioxidants that could reduce risk of certain types of cancer.

4 – Guava

Have the shape of a lemon and tasted like combination of strawberry and pear. In addition to low calories, guava is also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and dietary fiber.

5 – Grapefruit

A citrus family fruits that is rich in Vitamin C! Contains antioxidants that could prevent cancerous cell and also building the immune system against cold and infection.

6 – Kiwi

An egg size fruit which is brown at the outside and green in the inside. Supplies great amount of Vitamin C and also a type of enzyme that helps in extracting nutrient of the food.

7 – Peaches

A seasonal fruit which is often the favorite ingredient in fruit salad or pie! Still, it can be found in can throughout the year! Peaches are rich in potassium and Vitamin C.

8 – Pears

Often found in green color and very sweet scented when it is ripe. Pears are like apples, have soluble fiber and also rich in Vitamin C.

9 – Plum

Contains Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Also, it enhances the body to absorb iron! Plum can be enjoyed fresh, dried and even baked in pastries.

10 – Papaya

Can be eaten raw as vegetable and ripe as fruits. Contains a type of enzymes which could enhance digestion.

Pick the correct fruits today for a healthier you!

emoticon Have a wonderfully healthy week!

Krys


Krys (EST)
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This article is for both genders, but was written mainly for the male population. Ladies, you may have a male in your life that doesn't like veggies so this may be helpful for both of you!


Tip:

6 Vegetables That Might Save Your Life

HEALTHIEST LEAFY GREENS

~By Timothy Gower ~

emoticon If there's one food that no one -- not your doctor, your nutritionist or even your mother -- will tell you to eat less of, it's leafy greens. Calorie for calorie, chard, collards, kale and other leafy greens may just be the most nutritious food you can eat. They're packed with vitamins -- A, B, K and others -- but also rich in essential minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, as well as antioxidants, which protect cells against damage. Leafy greens contain phytochemicals, natural compounds that can help prevent hardening of the arteries and lower inflammation linked to heart disease. The greens' synergistic combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals helps detox cells and expunge free radicals that damage DNA, both of which may inhibit cancer cells from forming and multiplying.

emoticon Greens are also your single best source of natural nitrates, which get converted by the body into nitric oxide, a gas that lowers blood pressure, promotes blood flow and can even improve sexual function in men. You produce less nitric oxide as you age -- levels can dip by half after age 40 -- which means you need to eat even more nitrates to keep everything working properly, says University of Texas biochemist Nathan Bryan. As if that weren't enough, greens have been shown to boost mental clarity, prevent depression and reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer's. If you're looking to stay lean, high-fiber greens help speed digestion and make you feel full, and they're low in carbohydrates and calories, so you can practically eat as much of them as you want. At the very least, aim to consume three to five ounces of leafy greens a day, says Bryan. Here's how to get your fill.


emoticon 1
Swiss Chard

Why You Need It: This green is a top source of two important, lesser-known antioxidants: syringic acid and kaempferol. The former can help stabilize blood sugar by inhibiting ­enzymes that turn carbs into simple sugars, while the latter protects cells against cancer-causing toxins, lowers inflammation and may also reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

How To Eat It: Save calories while boosting your antioxidant intake by using Swiss chard instead of tortillas to make burritos and wraps. Cut leaves from stems, and steam leaves briefly. When cool, fill with your favorite healthy burrito staples: brown rice, quinoa, grilled shrimp or chicken, black beans, goat cheese, chopped tomatoes, sweet potatoes or other vegetables, beans, grains or grilled meats. Or sauté chard stems in garlic and olive oil for several minutes; add leaves, pine nuts and currants; and cook two to three more minutes before serving.

emoticon 2
Arugula

Why You Need It: Arugula has one of the highest nitrate levels of any leafy green, helping to ­increase blood flow and therefore enhance performance. It's also packed with flavonoids -- antioxidants that fight heart disease and even some cancers. New research suggests it may also prevent ulcers.

How To Eat It: Arugula can be slightly bitter, so dress it in a salad with a fruity vinaigrette to counter the bite.

emoticon 3
Collard Greens

Why You Need It: Of all leafy greens, collards are best at binding your stomach's bile acids, which can help lower your cholesterol levels and even protect you from some cancers. Collards also contain a special class of phytochemicals that nourish the body's natural detoxifying system.

How To Eat It: Boiled collards are a soul-food staple, but unless you eat the broth, you'll miss out on many nutrients. Steaming preserves more nutrients and increases bile-acid-binding activity. Jill Nussinow, a dietitian and chef, recommends kneading sturdy greens like collards or kale with olive oil for a few minutes before cooking to increase their flavor and make them easier to chew. Or massage with tahini and braise in garlic and lemon juice.

emoticon 4
Bok Choy

Why You Need It: Bok choy is one of the best sources of potassium, which helps build muscle and keep blood pressure low. It's also packed with vitamin A, which strengthens the immune system by increasing white-blood-cell activity and the body's response to toxins.

How To Eat It: Chop up and braise the lower, white portion of the stems in chicken or vegetable broth and sesame oil. Add leaves after two minutes, and cook another one to two minutes.

emoticon 5
Kale

Why You Need It: Kale is a prime source of cancer-thwarting compounds called glucosinolates, as well as kaempferol, which researchers believe combats cancer and may also, incredibly, protect the heart, lower blood sugar, strengthen bones and reduce inflammation in the body. Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help prevent eye disease and vision loss as you age.

How To Eat It: Briefly sauté kale in olive oil with chopped onions, and then braise in white wine or vegetable stock for five to 10 minutes.

emoticon 6
Watercress

Why You Need It: A single cup of watercress will bump you over your recommended daily value of vitamin K, which can help regulate blood clotting and reduce plaque on artery walls and may lower inflammation linked to chronic diseases like arthritis. If you could stand to eat watercress daily for two months, you would cut DNA damage to your white blood cells, reducing your risk of cancer and lowering your triglycerides (unhealthy blood fats) by 10 percent, according to studies. At the very least, eat more.

How To Eat It: Watercress adds a peppery crunch to grilled cheese and other sandwiches, and also works well in salads. Or take a tip from Julia Child and simmer a pound of potatoes, three cups of leeks and a little butter in two quarts of water for an hour; add a cup of watercress and simmer five more minutes before pureeing in a blender until smooth. Don't worry about losing nutrients: You'll retain them in the base of this flavorful soup.




Krys (EST)
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emoticon Tip:

10 Tips for Starting a Wellness Program Today
Easy Ways to Get Healthy

~By Carrie Myers Smith, Health & Fitness Writer

emoticon It’s never too late to begin your journey in wellness! Here are 10 steps you can take today to get started.

emoticon 1. Write out your goals and desires. What’s your wellness vision? Where do you envision yourself three to five years from now? Set three-month and weekly goals based on your wellness vision. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-oriented.

emoticon 2. Ask what, when and how. Make a list of the hurdles that keep getting in your way of living a life of wellness. Then determine which ones are true obstacles – things that you need to work around or find solutions to. And the excuses – ‘nuf said!

emoticon 3. Have a plan. Rarely, if ever, is any major task or project accomplished without a plan in place. Lay out a plan for accomplishing your goals, as well as solutions for overcoming the hurdles. This is your game plan – it should be flexible, but have fortitude, fun, but not “fluff.” And make it active. Include specific steps you will take to reach your goals.

emoticon 4. Start a journal. Your goals, desires, barriers, obstacles, excuses, solutions and plan should all be a part of your journal. Make your journal yours. Set it up so it’s easy to use so that you will use it. Include space to just let your thoughts flow. Use it to let out your feelings, vent, rejoice, or celebrate. You’ll be amazed at how freeing it is!

emoticon 5. Begin your journey where you’re standing now. Where are you right now, this moment, on your journey? Accept where you are and where you need to be and begin the steps necessary to bridge that gap. If, however, you find that old issues keep popping up, preventing you from reaching your goals, you may need to seek counseling. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to first go backward.

emoticon 6. Take one step at a time. What happens when a builder forgets an important step in building a house? Or a chef leaves out an important ingredient in a recipe? Doesn’t work so well, does it? It’s the same thing with your life. You must take certain steps in order to reach a place of well-being—and make it fit your lifestyle.

emoticon 7. Learn from your setbacks. Making mistakes and experiencing failure is all a part of being human and living. Rather than getting down on yourself, take that setback and turn it into something positive – something you can use to reach your goals. Sometimes life is indeed two steps forward, one step back!

emoticon 8. Spend some time “cleaning house.” This is intended to be both literal and figurative. When our homes are a cluttered mess, it’s impossible to function well. Ditto for our schedules. Create a list of your activities and decide which ones aren’t contributing to your overall purpose in life. “De-fluff” that schedule and concentrate on those activities that bring meaning to your life, and ultimately to others!

emoticon 9. Stop comparing yourself to others. We’re bombarded by images of “perfect” bodies every day. It’s easy to get caught up in all of it and feel as though we’ll never measure up – and chances are, we won’t. Let’s get real! These images are results of computer imagery, great lighting, professional make-up artists, self-starvation, plastic surgery and really good genes. Stop comparing yourself to a fantasy and just be the best you that you can be.

emoticon 10. Reward yourself. It’s OK to feel good about yourself! And it’s OK, and beneficial, to reward yourself for your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. A meal at your favorite restaurant, a date at the movies, a new outfit, a bubble bath… whatever you wouldn’t normally take the time to do, as long as it contributes to your well-being, is a great reward!


Krys (EST)
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2/13/19 10:52 P

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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
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5 Ways to Love Your Body
Let Cupid Take Aim at You

~By Carrie Myers Smith, Health & Exercise Expert~
While many of us have an easy time showering other people with love, we find that Cupid has yet to hit us with the "body love" arrow. Don’t wait for Cupid! Begin today to start appreciating, accepting and yes, even loving your body.

Stop picking yourself apart
Let’s face it: No matter how close-to-perfection body you have (and just what is the perfect body anyway?), chances are, there is something you would change about it if you could. Even celebrities and models who have been stamped with the media’s "perfect body" rating (most likely through the use of PhotoShop) have parts they dislike – their feet, their hands, their ears – and they don’t necessarily have high self-esteem either! Rather than pick your body apart, look at your body as a whole (and read the next point…)

Consider the marvelous functions of your body
There are millions of microscopic functions that go on in our bodies every day, and you don’t even have to think about them. They just happen! Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis or a tragedy, such as a brush with death, a go-around with a disease, or a debilitating accident for some women to realize that their bodies weren’t so bad to begin with and that their body hang-ups were a big waste of time. Don’t let that be the case with you! How much time are you spending each day worrying about your weight, your body shape, the size of your rear? What could you be doing during that time? Maybe you’re supposed to be the first female president, but you’ll never know because you’re too busy obsessing about your abs!

Get real
Did you know that most of the images you see on television, movies and magazines aren’t even real? A model for a magazine cover goes through hours of professional hair and make-up, has professional stylists, top photographers who know her "best side," professional lighting, and that’s all before the chosen photo goes to a company where they remove stray hairs, wrinkles, blemishes and "extra" curves. Sometimes Model A’s head is stuck onto Model B’s body. What you see is totally made up!

And it’s not just fashion magazines that are creating a fantasy. Most of today’s "fitness" magazines are following suit. On top of airbrushing and computer generating their models, fitness magazines now need to audition their models to be sure they’re strong enough to just do basic exercises! Muscles are even airbrushed in! It’s time to get real! Find real role models who emanate the qualities you desire. Educate yourself about what really goes on "behind the scenes." And realize that no one naturally "glows" the way those models in the magazines do!

Change your inner dialogue
It’s been said that we teach others how to treat us. If we believe that, the message that comes across to others is that we are not worth being liked, loved, or treated with respect. Most of it comes from what we’re not even saying. Choose to believe that you are worth taking care of and that you have the right to be respected and treated with dignity – and act like it!

Take care of your body
Diets, pills, quick-fixes, binging, not exercising, over-exercising, all these things disrespect one of the greatest gifts you have been given – your body! You only get one per lifetime, so give it the respect it deserves. You will not only feel better, but you just might become someone else’s role model!


Edited by: KRYS210 at: 2/14/2019 (09:56)
Krys (EST)
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2/2/19 3:22 P

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emoticon Tip:

The Biology of Weight Loss

Susan McQuillan, MS, RDN, CDN
Reviewed by QualityHealth's Medical Advisory Board

emoticon What actually happens in your body when you try to lose weight?

At one time, it was believed that weight control was simply a matter of balancing the amount of food you ate with the amount of exercise you got. Upsetting this balance resulted in either weight gain or loss.

"This is still true to a large degree," says Plano, Texas-based Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, LD, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "But we now know that what happens when you gain, lose, and maintain weight is much more complicated than a simple 'calories in, calories out' formula." That is, the idea that weight loss depends solely on taking in fewer calories than you consume.

emoticon It Starts in Your Head

Did you know that weight control is easier for someone who has never gained weight than it is for someone who has put on extra pounds and is now trying to lose? That's because when you try to lose weight you've gained, your body—or more specifically, your brain—tries to keep you at the higher weight.

When you diet, the control center in your brain slows your metabolism (the process by which the body uses food for energy) down to a lower-than-normal rate for your body size, increases your drive to eat, and even causes changes that make foods seem tastier and therefore harder to resist. Basically, you experience an increase in appetite and a decrease in your ability to burn calories. Why? Your body is trying to prevent weight loss, which it interprets as starvation.

This doesn’t happen to those who stay at a steady weight throughout their lives, and helps explain why some people continue to gain weight: Every time you gain weight, your body finds a new, higher "set point," or weight your body most easily maintains. You can lose that weight, but as anyone who has ever tried can tell you, sustaining your weight loss is very difficult. In order to maintain a lower weight, you have to overcome your body's efforts to get you back to the weight at which you started to lose.

emoticon Hormones Chime In

Hormones also play a role in weight maintenance. These chemical messengers carry signals from one part of your body to another through your bloodstream. Several hormones are involved in weight control, and one of the most studied is leptin. In a nutshell, when you eat, leptin sends a signal that tells your brain when you've had enough.

Normally, when you gain weight, your leptin levels increase, and your desire to eat drops. When you lose weight, your leptin levels drop, and your brain no longer receives the signals that you have enough fat in your body. This triggers the body's efforts to keep you from starving—namely increasing your appetite and slowing down your metabolism. This regulation helps with weight maintenance.

However, there's speculation that some obese people may have leptin resistance: They have the higher leptin levels that should signal that they don't need more food, but their bodies are less responsive to the hormone. This means they continue to eat—and continue to gain.

emoticon A Possible Role for Gut Bacteria

Trillions of bacteria live in your intestinal tract, and the overall makeup of this collection of microorganisms, known as the gut microbiome, is unique to each person. In addition to maintaining the health of the digestive tract, the microbiome appears to influence individual metabolism, or the rate at which you burn calories. This in turn affects an individual’s ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Researchers know that there are differences in the microbiome of lean and obese individuals and these differences seem to affect how efficiently individuals extract energy from foods, and are studying how these differences affect weight regulation in humans. Researchers suspect that altering the bacterial environment in the gut may help curb weight gain.

emoticon So, What About Diet, Exercise, and Calories?

Losing weight does require taking in fewer calories (through diet) and/or burning more calories (through physical activity) than needed to maintain your current weight. But the long-established formulas, which use variables such as height, weight, sex, age, and activity level to calculate calorie needs don't necessarily apply when you try to lose weight.

So what's going on? Scientists now know that once you lose excess weight, you need fewer calories than you would expect in order to maintain that weight loss. This is because when you lose weight, you also tend to lose muscle mass, which (unlike fat), is metabolically active and burns calories. Weight loss often means you no longer have enough calorie-burning tissue to handle the amount of food you eat.

emoticon A Strategy for Fighting Weight Gain

Is there any way to preserve muscle during and after weight loss? Yes: exercise. "Muscle tissue diminishes much faster when it isn’t challenged by exercise," Lemond explains. She recommends staying as active as possible, regularly engaging in strength-building exercises, and including foods that are high in muscle-building protein at every meal.


Hope this explanation gives you some insight, especially if you are like me and trying to lose what was lost and found its way back!
emoticon


Krys (EST)
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1/19/19 3:18 P

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Okay, January is half over, hopefully you are not 'over' working on your goal. Time, energy, shopping all seem to be working against you. Maybe this article will help!


Finding Time for Healthy Living
20 Ways to Squeeze in Healthy Habits

By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach


emoticon You've made the decision to get in shape, lose weight or just live a healthier lifestyle. But you're worried about how you'll manage to find the time to get to the gym, shop and cook healthy foods, or even how you'll keep your goals in mind with so many other things already on it.

Your concerns are certainly valid. As a matter of fact, one of the most common statements I hear from colleagues and friends is, "When things calm down, I really need to start taking better care of myself." Here's the thing: If you are living a full and happy life, it is more often busy than not. And when you have so much to do, doesn't it make sense to take care of yourself and feel well?

There's no debating that you will need to dedicate some time to self-care, but it shouldn't mean you will have to drop your friends, ignore your family or neglect your business. Here are some suggestions of how to create more time for healthy living.

emoticon Eating well for good health and/or weight loss requires you to have nutritious foods available and make wise choices when eating out. Here are some ways to make the most of your meals when you're short on time.

emoticon Take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to think through your upcoming schedule. How many days will you be home for dinner, and what will you prepare? Do Monday morning meetings always last through lunch? If so, it makes sense to bring a brown bag lunch that day. Will you head to the gym straight from the office and need to bring a healthy snack to fuel you through your workout and hold you over until dinner? Once you have a picture of your week, create your grocery list and plan when you'll head to the store. This extra step will save you tons of time by avoiding multiple trips to the market, or standing in line at the take-out eateries on your way home.

emoticon At the market, consider purchasing healthy convenience foods. There are so many to choose from these days. Fresh vegetables, salad greens and fruit are available pre-cleaned and cut. Old-fashioned frozen dinners have been recreated to be low-cal, low- sodium, even vegetarian or gluten-free. Check the labels and know which ones to keep in your freezer for nights when you don't have the time to cook. Although you may think these options cost more, they are less expensive than eating in restaurants, buying take-out, or high blood pressure and high cholesterol medicines that often are required after years of unhealthy choices.

emoticon If you prefer to avoid the expense of pre-cut fruits and vegetables, invest in crisper storage containers. Spend a little bit of time washing and cutting produce on the weekends, in order to save loads of prep time during the week.

emoticon emoticon Call your local supermarket in advance of your visit and give the deli, meat and fish counter your order over the phone. They'll have everything ready and packaged for you, saving you time from waiting in line. If you really don't have the time to shop, many supermarkets now have online ordering and delivery options. Not only will they save your weekly shopping list so you can go back to check off your frequently purchased options, they'll let you know which of your favorites are on sale.

emoticon Check out online food co-ops, produce and dairy markets. Many have memberships that will deliver fresh and/or organic goods on a scheduled basis.

emoticon Equip your kitchen with time-saving devices. A slow cooker allows you to quickly throw together ingredients the night before. Plug it in to cook in the morning and a hot prepared dinner is ready when you return home. A microwave will reheat leftovers or frozen healthy choices. An immersion blender quickly makes soups from frozen veggies or smoothies out of frozen fruit.

emoticon When you do cook, double the recipes. Keep old take out containers or purchase freezer-to-oven pans and create your own TV dinners or a second meal for the following week.

emoticon On days when you have a meal out, keep in mind that the average restaurant serves two to three times the appropriate portion size. Ask for a take-out container and pack away half for lunch or dinner at another time. Now you've kept to a healthy portion size and you don't need to take time out to prepare another meal the next day. Fitting in movement and exercise requires the same proactive thinking as eating healthy.
If you are going to join a gym, make sure it is conveniently located near your home or office. No matter how fabulous the gym in the next town is, if it takes too long to get to, you won't go when you're pressed for time.

emoticon Home exercise equipment is the best investment for the truly time pressed or those who simply dislike the gym atmosphere. You won't waste time traveling back and forth, and could pair your daily sessions with another activity you enjoy. Addicted to the evening sitcoms or news? Do your exercise while watching. You know you would take the time to get that one episode in anyway, what a great way to multitask! Need to catch up on trade journals? All cardio equipment today is equipped with a reading stand.

emoticon When squeezing in a formalized exercise session still seems impossible to do, know that several short bursts of activity has been shown to add up to great benefit. Whenever possible, take the stairs rather than the elevator, walk to your co-worker's office to deliver messages rather than emailing. Use the restrooms on another floor. Purchase and wear a pedometer. Measuring the number of steps you take each day can be highly motivating. Without even thinking about "taking the time out to exercise" you might just reach the 10,000 steps a day to achieve health benefits.

emoticon Suggest business meetings at the local walking track rather than the boardroom. Your colleagues may be delighted to squeeze in their activity as well, plus fresh air and being in nature has been proven to improve mood and creativity.

emoticon emoticon Combine exercise with family time. Rather than an outing to the movies, consider the roller or ice skating rink, miniature golf course, park or town pool. You and the kids will both get your exercise and quality time together.

emoticon You don't have to sacrifice time with your friends to get in a workout. Suggest an active happy hour after work rather than heading to the local bar. Go bowling, or join a baseball, basketball or soccer team. For the really ambitious, train together for an upcoming race.

emoticon Let go of your "all or nothing" exercise attitude. If you think a 10 or 15 minute workout is "pointless" when you don't have time for a full hour, think again. Every minute counts toward improving your fitness level, reducing stress and strengthening your heart and muscles. Plus a minute spent exercising always beats a minute spent sedentary.Stress reduction and sleep are important to self-care and a healthy lifestyle, but too often neglected when life is frantic.

emoticon Deep breathing is one of the best ways to ease stress and takes a mere 30 seconds. Begin to notice the physical signs you experience when stress is mounting. Neck tension, back pain, and queasy stomach are common. Stop what ever you are doing and take a few deep, cleansing breaths. A mantra such as "breathe" or "stay calm" may help. Stress leads to inefficiency and mistakes that then take more time to redo and correct.

emoticon Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, exacerbate illness and injuries and lead to lots of time spent at the doctor's office or home in bed. Take time regularly to manage your stress to avoid massive loss of time later. Experiment with what works best for you. Ten minutes of daily meditation, a weekly massage or just an evening out each week with your honey can go a long way to keeping you healthy. When you find yourself thinking "I don't have time for this" remind yourself how time consumed being sick or depressed is!

emoticon Many people believe they can gain more time by skimping on sleep. I hope you are not one of them! Just as too much stress will lead to more mistakes, inefficiency, depressed immune system and increased injury and illness, so will lack of sleep. Although an occasional night of reduced sleep won't have long lasting effects, a constant diet of sleep deprivation will. Trying to function on too little sleep will end up causing you to waste time rather than save it. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation have also been proven to hinder weight loss. So if you are in hurry to see the pounds melt away, get your sleep and take time to relax, unwind and rejuvenate.

emoticon With some proactive thinking and creativity, creating time for healthy living should not be an insurmountable problem. Self-care can compliment and fit seamlessly into your lifestyle.



Krys (EST)
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1/12/19 1:02 P

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Make Your New Year's Momentum Last-
Train Your Mind to Trim Your Body

By Megan Coatley, Behavior Expert

emoticon On January 1st, many of us are geared up to get healthy and fit. But, by mid-February, our diets are faltering and our fitness routines start getting stale. Falling out of a resolution can be a fast downward spiral. If you’re someone who thrives on novelty, how can you make sure that your New Year’s goals last longer than those tempting leftover holiday cookies? There are a few sneaky forces at work when unhealthy behavior spirals out of control, but you can stop that spiral and maximize your momentum using strategies from the field of behavior science.

emoticon Behavioral Momentum
Imagine yourself navigating the calorie minefield at a big holiday party: You start out innocently munching veggies and dip, migrate to more hefty hors d'oeuvres (they're tiny!), and slowly make your way to the buffet table. Before you know it, by the end of the night you’ve sidled up to a giant slice of pie, inhibitions thrown out the window. In behavior science, we have a name for this seemingly inescapable inertia: behavioral momentum. Each small slip-up we make paves the way for us to continue making similar mistakes in succession.

While behavioral momentum can work against us (think an obsessive, mindless feeding frenzy), it can also drive us to achieve difficult or challenging feats (like spending Saturday afternoon cleaning out the entire garage when you only went in to stash a box of holiday decorations).

You can let behavioral momentum drag you down, or you can use it to push you toward any healthy goal. At first glance, a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, eat better or exercise more can seem daunting and overwhelming. But, by breaking down your goal and using behavioral momentum, you can make steady progress through the weeks and months ahead. In the beginning, set a small goal (say three laps in the pool per workout or two home-cooked meals per week). Once you’ve mastered your initial goal, add a little more "oomph" to it each week (five laps in the pool, start packing your lunch, too). Soon, you’ll find that it will become easier to stay on track and that formerly rare behaviors are turning into habits.

emoticon Incentive Systems
Let’s face it, as much as we all know how important it is to practice healthy habits, the benefits of a balanced lifestyle aren’t as powerful or as immediate as the payoff of unhealthy behaviors. Sure, healthy people stay mobile longer, are less likely to develop degenerative diseases and generally live longer, more fulfilling lives—you already know that. But when you’re struggling to keep up with daily diet and exercise, there aren’t many instant, tangible incentives for your healthy choices that can compare with the instant (albeit fleeting) gratification you get from indulging in a double chocolate brownie
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_arti
cles.asp?id=186


Because the inherent benefits of nutritious eating and exercise aren’t always noticeable to the naked eye, it helps to program in external incentives for acting in healthy ways. Hold off on seeing that blockbuster movie, buying that new song for your iPod or having that fancy dinner out: You can use those favorite items and activities as incentives for working on your wellness throughout the week. That is why reward systems work so well when creating health, fitness or weight-loss goals.

Look at your resolutions and set a simple, specific goal each week (eat 5 veggies a day, drink 8 cups of water daily, walk 3 times a week, etc.). When you meet your goal, reward yourself! Building incentives into your efforts will help keep you motivated until your healthy actions become habits.

If self-managed rewards don't work for you, enlist your friends and family members to help. Pay them each $5-$20 (or more depending on your budget) and allow them to purchase a surprise gift for you with the money. The clincher is: You only get the reward when you reach your specific daily, weekly or medium-term goal.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_ar
ticles.asp?id=310


emoticon The Premack Principle
The Premack principle (named after well-known psychology professor Dr. David Premack) is the strategy of using a fun activity as a carrot for accomplishing a less preferred behavior. A good analogy for this strategy is something my brother and I often experienced at the dinner table as little children. When the meal was almost over and the smells of freshly-baked apple crumble wafted from the kitchen counter, we’d push aside our half-full plates to accept a helping of the sweet treat. Then, as if on cue, we’d hear my mother’s familiar refrain: "Not until you eat all your veggies!" Way back when, mom was using the Premack principle to make sure we ate a serving of healthy foods before we indulged in tasty desserts.

If you feel your enthusiasm for your New Year’s resolutions starting to wane, you can use the same strategy to incentivize your own healthy habits. Get your Saturday bike ride out of the way before you hit the mall to check out the post-holiday deals. Load up on fresh fruits and veggies at the beginning of your meals and save the salty, starchy sides or portion-controlled dessert for last. Get tomorrow’s lunch prepped early in the evening and then allow yourself time for a favorite TV show. With the Premack principle, you get your least favorite (or more challenging) tasks out of the way before allowing yourself to engage in more preferred (or easier) activities. This way, you’re more likely to stick to your goals and create healthy routines out of your resolutions.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/slideshow.asp
?show=40


emoticon These behavioral psychology tricks are proven strategies that have been used to tackle everything from writer’s block to learning a new language to marathon training. The key to keeping up momentum is to point your efforts in a healthy direction—and to celebrate each step along the path. Choose something to build (a solid running base, a pantry full of healthy food, a daily meditation routine) and then pat yourself on the back for each step forward. You’ll be surprised how quickly the year goes by as you accomplish goals that once seemed out of reach!

Have a safe and healthy week!

Krys


Krys (EST)
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
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With holiday parties and goodies, how do you stay focused? Moderation is the key word to help you. This article has good tips.


emoticon Moderation in All Things
How to Avoid the Diet Blues

By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert


emoticon What comes to mind for you when you hear the word diet? If you’re like most people, you probably imagine eating carrot sticks, going to bed hungry, and giving up your favorite foods—and that's why so many diets fail. Most people just can’t tolerate those kinds of restrictions for very long.

The more you try to eliminate your favorite foods, the more feelings of discomfort, deprivation and resentment build up. This can result in bingeing on all the foods you’ve been denying yourself, undoing all your hard work in a single day. But even if you can avoid that problem, are you willing to eat like a rabbit for the rest of your life?

Studies show that 95 percent of people who follow a highly restrictive diet to lose weight will put the weight back on when they return to “normal” eating again. So what’s the alternative? How do you manage to lose weight without eliminating the problem foods and problem behaviors that made you overweight to begin with?

emoticon The alternative is moderation—in your eating and, perhaps most emoticon What is Moderation?

On the surface, moderation simply means avoiding extremes. It involves finding strategies and habits that can be maintained over the long-term, without cycling between one extreme and the other.

At a deeper level, moderation is a commitment to balance and wholeness. It is rooted in the recognition that each person has many different (and often competing) needs, desires, abilities, and goals. Living up to your full potential means finding ways to incorporate all of them into your decision-making processes and choices.

Practicing moderation in your weight loss program begins with practical strategies, such as counting calories, measuring portions, learning about your nutritional needs, and planning healthy meals. Achieving a reasonable rate of weight loss (about 1-2 pounds per week) by combining a tolerable calorie restriction with exercise is the moderate way to go. Fad diets, eliminating food groups, severely cutting calories and using diet pills are just as extreme as completely denying yourself foods that you enjoy.

The idea is to follow a healthy, balanced, and enjoyable nutrition and fitness plan that you can stick with—for life. There’s no “ending the diet” or going back to “normal" eating or anything that will cause you to regain the weight you’ve lost. When you reach your goal weight, all you need to do is gradually increase your caloric intake to a level where you can maintain your weight loss.


emoticon Sounds simple, right?

Like many things, it's not quite as easy as it sounds. Chances are…you want results quickly. And you probably know that your current routine is problematic in one or more ways—too much fast food, sugar, or fat and not enough physical activity. Your natural inclination is going to be making big, sweeping changes to your diet and activity level right away.

In short, everything in you is clamoring for a very anti-moderate approach. You’re primed to play the extreme diet game, even though your odds of winning are less than five percent.


emoticon Moderate Your Thinking

To rescue yourself from your own impatience (and the clutches of the diet industry that feeds on it), you need to moderate your thinking. Here are two core concepts that will help you do that:

emoticon Concept #1: Food is not the enemy. There are no "good" or "bad" foods. True, some foods offer you a better nutritional deal than others. Refined sugar, for example, provides calories for energy but no other nutrients, while fruit is sweet but also provides vitamins and fiber in a low-calorie package. But refined sugar isn't evil or bad—it can have a place in a healthy diet. It's important to know what you need nutritionally and where you can find it, so you can take charge of balancing your needs for pleasure, nutrition, and fuel.

emoticon The Payoff:
When you stop labeling foods as good or bad, diet or non-diet, you won't feel guilty when you eat a food that isn't on your "approved" list. Instead you'll have more energy to learn about nutrition and improve your ability to make informed choices. And you won't have to give up your favorite treats if you find ways to work them into your meal plans so they don’t interfere with your health goals. Without the guilt and deprivation, you’ll be able to break the pattern of cravings, emotional swings, and binges that defeats so many diets. Without all those "diet" rules to follow, you’ll learn to trust your own instincts and make good judgments.

emoticon Concept #2: Progress—not perfection—is important.
To be successful, you don't have to always make perfect decisions and have perfect days where things go exactly as you planned. If you eat more or exercise less than you wanted to one day, you can make up for it over the next several days if you want, or you can just chalk it up to experience and move on. Remind yourself that what happens on any one day is not going to make or break your whole effort. This is not a contest or a race, where every little misstep could mean the difference between winning and losing. It’s your life—and you’ll enjoy it a lot more when you can keep the daily ups and downs of your eating and exercise routine in perspective.

emoticon The Payoff:
By refusing to be a perfectionist, you can take most of the stress out of weight loss. You’ll see small problems as what they are—very small problems, not major calamities that mean you've blown it. You'll be able to find pleasure and satisfaction in the fact you’re learning as you go and doing a little better all the time. No more making things worse because your perfectionism caused you to write off the rest of the day or week after one little slip.
There are many more ways practicing moderation can help you both with weight loss and with creating your healthy lifestyle. Be sure to check out the Wellness Resource Center for additional ideas on how to balance your life and meet all of your needs.

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/health-and-we
llness.asp



Stay focused on being healthy and happy and moderate.


Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
11/25/18 8:10 P

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Good article by Coach Nicole to remind us of priorities this upcoming holiday season!


25 Ways to Get Back on Track Today
Don't Give Up on Your Goals!

By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator


Not long ago, you were energetic and determined to start your healthy lifestyle. Starting with enthusiasm and hope, you watched your food intake diligently, exercised like it was going out of style, and even avoided the temptation that seemed to lurk around every corner. You were confident that you were going to reach your goals once and for all!


Then certain tragedy struck! You ate an extra piece of birthday cake. Realizing you had “blown” your diet, you ate another and another and couldn’t get it together the next day either. Or worse, you missed one workout, and that turned into a whole week away from the gym. After that, your momentum to start over again was gone, and your gym bag hasn’t left the closet since.


Every time you misstep on your healthy journey, you have two choices: to keep walking backwards, which will surely take you even further away from your goals; or to accept your lack of perfection as normal and forgivable, and take not one, but two positive steps down the path that brings your closer to the future you want.


If you’re reading this, you might have been walking backwards for a while. But instead of waiting for the next day, week, month or even year to overhaul your habits, start TODAY. And start small. You can’t go from the recliner to running or from burgers to Brussels sprouts in an afternoon. But you can do one, two or even a handful of small things that will help you regain your momentum for healthy living.


When you feel like getting back on track is overwhelming, try one (or more) of these small steps each day.


1. Try a short workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. For ideas browse our video library or workout generator.



2. Try a new recipe. Cooking healthy foods can be fun and it never has to be bland.



3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day, so start if off right! Get lots of breakfast ideas here.


4. Drink your water. Try to aim for 8 cups each day and you’ll feel the difference!


5. Look at Motivational SparkPages. Seeing how others overcome similar struggles and obstacles can be a great source of motivation.



6. Track your food today. No matter how it adds up, you’ll learn from it.

7. Update your SparkPage. It’s a visual way to track your ups and downs, but also your progress.


8. Share your goals. Whether you post them on the Message Boards or share them with a friend, you’ll be more accountable.

9. Exercise for 10 minutes. Jump rope, march in place, or do some crunches. Small amounts do add up to something big!


10. Find a buddy. Get support from friends, whether you need someone to listen or a mentor to give you ideas and encouragement.


11. Take a walk. Don’t worry about how long or far you go—just get out there!


12. Create a motivational collage. Include pictures of your goal and reasons why you want to get there.


13. Go shopping for some healthy foods. Use a shopping list for ideas. [Here are are some suggestions: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutriti on_articles.asp?id=1001&page=2 ]


14. Check the nutrition facts before you go out to eat. That way, you can make an informed choice.


15. Ride your bike. Even a leisurely ride has benefits for your body and mind.


16. Work in the yard. Gardening and yard work is a great way to add activity to your day.


17. Take the stairs. Even if this is the only thing you do all day, you’ll feel stronger for it.


18. Rack up those SparkPoints! You earn them for every healthy task you do on the site—talk about motivating! Aim for a certain milestone, such as 100 points, and then reward yourself with a SparkGoodie!


19. Listen to an inspirational song. Better yet, make a playlist of them so you can turn to it whenever you need a boost.


20. Re-start your SparkPeople program. Sometimes it’s easier to get back on track when you have a clean slate.

21. Measure your portions. It’s a simple way to learn how much you’re eating.


22. Eat a piece of fruit. Even if 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables sounds impossible to you, one is doable.


23. Slow down during meals. You’ll be less likely to overeat and more likely to enjoy your meal.


24. Play! What kids call “play,” we often call “exercise.” Play a sport, a game, or use the playground equipment to bring the fun back into fitness.


25. Learn something new. Sometimes simply taking a quiz or reading an article about nutrition, fitness, or health can change your mindset and get you back on track.


In tennis, losing one point isn’t the end of the world. It happens to the best of them. In fact, if you can consistently win a few more points that you lose, you may end up in the hall of fame. With healthy eating and exercising, as long as you’re consistently out-stepping your steps back, you’re ahead of the game. If you expect perfection (and many of us do), you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and guilt.


Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
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324,999
337,499
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
11/17/18 4:03 P

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The holiday season can present many challenges to folks. So why should you stay focused and work towards your goal? Hopefully this article has some answers for you!

*21 Benefits of Healthy Living

~~By: Nancy Howard, SparkPeople Blogger~~

emoticon 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.

emoticon 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 healthy 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 metabolism (which is not the case).

emoticon 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.

emoticon 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.

emoticon 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.

emoticon 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.

**Nancy's List of Healthy Living Benefits**

-Exercise increases lung capacity

-Exercise increases immunity fighting immunoglobulins

-Exercise increases our mood due to an increase in mood-enhancing chemicals-serotonin, dopamine and nor-epinepherine

-Exercise builds lean muscle mass and bone mass therefore we experience a decrease risk of osteoporosis

-Exercise and healthy eating habits helps lowers blood pressure

-Exercise helps lower our heart rate and build a stronger heart

-Over time your risk for cardio-vascular disease and type II diabetes falls

-Healthy living helps lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) levels

-Healthy living increases our HDL (good cholesterol) levels

-Healthy living helps lowers triglycerides

-Your runs, walks and other exercises become easier

-Healthy living cuts your cancer risk

-You feel better and have more energy

-You feel younger and more confident

-Improves posture

-Increases self-esteem

-Helps with sleep

-Controls stress

- Increases the volume of your muscle mitochondria which leads to burning more carbs and fats

-Doubles your muscles ability to use oxygen, therefore, you are better able to use fat as an energy source

-Allows me to take risks in life

emoticon As you can see, our body benefits so much more from embracing healthy habits for a lifetime. The number, as many of you know, is just that--a number. It cannot and will not ever measure our health and fitness.

emoticon We must be careful not to get too hung up on that number, nor can we expect to undo years of unhealthy habits in just a few days, weeks and months. While many members have seen rapid success, I will confess that it took me over 3 years to drop 80 pounds. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I once considered myself the Queen of Weight Loss but the Joker of Weight Maintenance.

emoticon In February 2005 I vowed that this was finally going to be the year I was getting off the diet roller coaster once and for all. I was no longer going to start a diet, only to vow to begin again the minute I experienced my first slip-up. I was not giving myself a timeline to reach my goal. What I was going to do was make healthy choices a part of my daily life, even if that took me the rest of my life to do.

emoticon Fast forward the years and I am still the same weight, give or take five pounds (I do not believe in having a goal weight, but a goal weight range) that I was when I reached my goal four years ago. This has finally become my way of living. I have reached the point in my life that it is more natural for me to choose the healthy options in life than the unhealthy ones. This for me is a much bigger success than any number on the scale or the size on the tag.


Hope Nancy's tips are ones you can use.



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
11/11/18 4:15 P

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With the holiday coming up; thought this article might be helpful!

11 Nice Ways to Say 'No' to Food Pushers
Politely Turn Down Food at Parties and Gatherings

-- By Erin Whitehead, SparkPeople Contributor-

emoticon During family gatherings, food temptations are everywhere. From stuffing and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving to eggnog and sugar cookies in December, to barbecues in the summer, the seasonal temptations are endless. It can be tough enough to navigate the buffet without having your great aunt force an extra helping of potatoes on your plate or resisting Grandma Dolly's pleas that you take a second piece of her famous apple pie. There's always some kind of event going on: birthday parties, family get-togethers, company meetings, bridal and baby showers--and all of these events have one thing in common (besides all the tempting food): food pushers.

emoticon Food pushers range from well-intentioned loved ones to total diet saboteurs. Regardless of their motivation, it's important to stick to your guns. You can always be honest and say that you're simply trying to eat healthier, but if that response gets ignored (or doesn't come easily), the following retorts to their food-forcing ways will keep you in control of what goes on your plate and in your mouth!

*The Push: "It's my specialty, you have to try it!"

emoticon Your Response: "I will in a bit!"

Why It Works: Stalling is a great tactic with food pushers. Odds are the offender won't follow you around making sure you actually try the dish. If they catch up with you by the end of the party to ask what you thought, tell them that it slipped your mind but you'll be sure to try it next time.

*The Push: "This [insert name of high-calorie dish] is my favorite. You'll love it!"

emoticon Your Response: "I had some already—so delicious!"

Why It Works: A white lie in this situation isn't going to hurt anybody. You'll get out of eating food you don't want or need, and the food pusher will have gotten a compliment on what probably is a delicious dish.

*The Push: "It's just once a year!"

emoticon Your Response: "But I'll probably live to celebrate more holidays if I stick with my diet plan!"

Why It Works: People can sometimes see healthy eating as vain—a means to the end result of losing weight and looking better. It's harder for a food pusher to argue with you if you bring attention to the fact that you eat right and exercise for better health and a longer life. Looking good just happens to be a side effect!

*The Push: "Looks like someone is obsessed with dieting…"

emoticon Your Response: "I wouldn't say obsessed, but I am conscious of what I eat."

Why It Works: Words like "food snob" or "obsessed" are pretty harsh when they're thrown around by food pushers. But don't let passive-aggressive comments like this bring you down—or make you veer away from your good eating intentions. Acknowledging your willpower and healthy food choices might influence others to be more conscious of what they eat. Sometimes you just have to combat food pushers with a little straightforward kindness.

*The Push: "If you don't try my dish, I'm just going to have to force you to eat it!"

emoticon Your Response: "Sorry, but I don't like (or can't eat) [insert ingredient here]."

Why It Works: It's hard to argue with someone's personal food preferences. If someone doesn't like an ingredient whether its sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or butter, odds are that he or she hasn't liked it for a very long time. If you'd like to get creative with this one, go into detail about how you got sick on the ingredient as a kid or how your mom says you always threw it across the room as a baby. Who can argue with that?

*The Push: "You need some meat on your bones."

emoticon Your Response: "Trust me, I'm in no danger of wasting away!"

Why It Works: This food push is definitely on the passive-aggressive side. Using humor to fight back will defuse any tension while making it clear where you stand.

*The Push: "One bite isn't going to kill you."

emoticon Your Response: "I know, but once you pop you can't stop! And I'm sure it's so delicious I wouldn't be able to stop!"

Why It Works: This is another situation where humor will serve to distract the food pusher from his or her mission. It's a way to say "thanks, but no thanks" while making it clear that you're not interested in overindulging.

*The Push: "But it's your favorite!"

emoticon Your Response: "I think I've overdosed on it; I just can't eat it anymore!"

Why It Works: If you have a favorite holiday dish that everyone knows you love, it can be especially tough to escape this push. If a loved one made the dish specifically for you, the guilt can be enough to push you over the edge. But people understand that food preferences change, and most have been in that situation of enjoying a dish so much that they can't touch it for awhile.

*The Push: [Someone puts an extra helping on your plate without you asking.]

emoticon Your Response: Push it around with your fork like you did as a kid to make it look like you tried it.

Why It Works: While putting food on someone else's plate can be viewed as passive-aggressive, it was probably done with love. (Let's hope!) Making it look like you ate a bite or two can be an easy way out of the situation, but you can also just leave it alone and claim that you've already had your fill. (After all, you didn't add that extra helping!)

*The Push: "Have another drink!"

emoticon Your Response: "I have to drive."

Why It Works: No one will argue with the fact that you want to drive home sober. If they do, you should have no qualms walking away from the conversation, period. If they offer a place for you to stay, you can always get out of the situation by blaming an early morning commitment or the fact that you need to get home to let the dog out. Kids will also get you out of everything.

*The Push: "We have so many leftovers. Take some!"

emoticon Your Response: "That's OK! Just think, you'll have your meals for tomorrow taken care of."

Why It Works: Not every party guest wants to deal with the hassle of taking food with them, and this makes it clear that you'd rather the food stay. If the host is insistent, you can feign worry that they'll go bad in the car because you're not going straight home, or it'll go bad in your fridge because you've already been given so many leftovers at other parties recently. Or be polite and take them. You'll have more control of your food intake away from the party anyway. So whether you don't eat the leftovers at all or whether you split a piece of pie with your spouse, you're in control in this situation.


emoticon These tactics can work wonders in social situations, but honesty is sometimes the best policy. A simple "No, thank you" is hard for a food pusher to beat, especially if it's repeated emphatically. Remember, too, that it's okay to have treats in moderation, so don't deprive yourself of your favorite holiday foods. Just make sure that you're the one in control of your splurges—not a friend, family member or co-worker who doesn't know your fitness and health goals!



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
11/3/18 4:03 P

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Some people make it look so easy to keep up with a healthy lifestyle. The rest of us struggle to keep a handle on it. Hopefully, this article will help with that!


~~4 Habits of Healthy People

~By: Jacob Warwick

emoticon Learning about the common habits of healthy people can be a particularly motivational experience, even for people who are already living an active lifestyle. Sometimes these extra reminders can be just the boost that we need to get back on track or even encourage us to continue on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

emoticon It’s generally pretty easy to spot someone that is living a healthy life and it’s usually pretty admirable—they seem to smile a little brighter, they always appear to be happy, and they are constantly on-the-go and productive. Learn about four of the most common habits that these people have mastered and how you can emulate these to improve and build upon your own fitness regimen.


emoticon They Are Actively Aware of Their Food Choices

Healthy people know exactly what type of food they put in their body and often make sacrifices to help keep their bodies running optimally. This means, when they go out to eat with friends, they won’t always be delving into a large serving of nachos or ordering that extra round.

They always read nutritional labels and scan for artificial sweeteners, tricky food additives, and preservatives, because they prefer avoiding over processed foods when possible.

While they are not always 100% perfect with their nutrition, healthy people often abide by general rules of thumb, such as, no alcoholic beverages during the week, no more than one soda a month, or other methods to do their best to avoid food that is unhealthy.

What this doesn’t mean, is that they are over top or obnoxious about their habits—they choose to lead by example. To start developing this healthy habit, pay close attention to the foods that you eat. Keep a food log that documents what sort of foods you eat and how often you eat them. If you noticed any questionable or unhealthy food choices, work on weaning them out of your diet.


emoticon Consistently Monitor Their Health

Aside from tracking their food and nutritional intake, healthy people also monitor their overall physical performance by regularly exercising to gauge whether or not their health has improved or worsened over time.

This means that they’ll often experiment with jogging longer distances or lifting heavier weights just to see how well their body responds to a more intense workout. If these exercises were more difficult than they had expected, it could be an indication that they should be scaling their efforts.

You should be consistent aware of how your body is supposed to feel so that you can understand when you aren’t working out enough, or even if you are working out too hard. Additionally, you should not be afraid to monitor your health by visiting a doctor for a checkup or consulting with a physical trainer when an outside examination is necessary.


emoticon Stay the Course Even When It’s Difficult

There are often going to be times when your fitness goals become unclear, you become physically exhausted, or you lose much of your motivation—hey, it happens to the best of us. But one habit that healthy people proudly focus on is a continual drive to fight onward, even when their health goals become overwhelming difficult.

Instead of painstakingly giving up, they stay consistent and add variety to their routine by incorporating new exercises which can make their healthy habits fresh again. They find other activities that make their lives more enjoyable, such as joining a gym with a friend, hiking with their dogs, or playing football with the kids.

To adopt this habit, focus on breaking any health plateaus that you experience by first realizing that it’s okay to not always be perfect. When times get tough and you start to struggle or question your motivation, this shouldn’t be considered a sign of weakness—this is a sign of growth and change, embrace the challenge.


emoticon Experiment with New Habits

Healthy people are always on the lookout for new habits, suggestions, or technology that can help them continue to grow stronger throughout their lives. They understand that their life really begins when they venture outside of their comfort zones and even avoid activity ruts by setting new goals and trying new sports.

Additionally, healthy people transition their new habit building beyond physical changes and introduce a variety of exciting new modifications to their diet—they cook new foods to surprise their metabolism and find new ways to balance their essential nutrients.

Think about how you can incorporate new habits to find the exercise and fitness routines that work best for you. Consider drinking more water, reading nutrition labels, getting annual checkups, scheduling more time for sleep, working out with a friend, trying new outdoor adventures, etc.

What are some of the healthiest habits that you have experienced? What are some of the areas that you are succeeding in and where could you use more help? Do you find developing healthy habits to be a beneficial process in your fitness routine, or more intimidating?


emoticon Summary

Healthy individuals have tips to staying on track and getting back on track when they’ve slipped. Watch what you eat. Regularly monitor against your performance goals. Consistently make time for your workouts. And keep on the lookout for new, healthy habits.




Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
10/28/18 5:10 P

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A good snack can hold you over without adding a ton of calories. Here's an article about energy snacks that might be helpful.


Choosing the Best Energy Bar
Edible Energy: Find the Right Bar for Your Needs

By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian

emoticon You walk into your local grocery or convenience store and inevitably stumble upon a sea of energy bars. Feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the plethora of health claims, you quickly buy an eye-catching bar with an appealing flavor. But did you really get the best bar to suit your needs?

emoticon Before making a purchase, think about why you are eating that bar—additional protein, a handy snack or a mini-meal replacement following a workout? Do you feel that because you are dieting, exercising or focusing on your health that energy bars are simply a must? Whatever your reasoning, know that energy bars are not a necessary part of a healthy, balanced diet. Before you buy, remember these pros and cons:


emoticon Pros

There are a lot of reasons why energy bars are so popular. In general, energy bars:
Can help meet your energy (calorie) needs
May help meet your nutritional needs protein, carbohydrates and fat
May help to meet other nutritional needs depending on the added vitamins and minerals. Some nutrients that are often added include calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, folic acid, protein and fiber
Are portable, convenient and pre-packaged
May keep you out of dangerous areas such as the vending machine or fast food drive-thru
Can help ward off binge eating if you become excessively hungry
Have a long shelf life and don't require refrigeration.


emoticon Cons

Consider these downsides.
Excessive nutrients. Energy bars can contribute to an excessive intake of nutrients, especially if you are eating more than one bar daily, are already taking a multivitamin supplement or are eating other fortified (enriched) foods and beverages. The dangers of over-supplementation vary from minor intestinal discomfort (diarrhea and constipation) to liver disease, nerve damage or even death.
Excessive calories. If using too many, too often, energy bars may contribute to a high calorie intake, which can lead to weight gain.
Cost. At $1 to $2 a bar, this convenience food can quickly become a major expense on your grocery bill.
Abdominal discomfort. Some energy bars (especially low-sugar, low-carb and high-fiber varieties) contain sugar alcohols and alternative fiber sources (inulin, chicory root); which can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea in some individuals. While these ingredients are safe to consume, monitor your individual tolerance.
Lack of data. There is very little research to support the actual need for energy bars. While many provide claims regarding weight loss, antioxidants and muscle building, they are not a magical food and should not be used as a constant replacement for whole foods in your diet.
Processing. Energy bars are a highly processed food, whereas whole, unprocessed foods should be the staples of a healthy diet.
Additives. Some energy bars contain additional herbal ingredients or weight-loss aids. There is no data to show that any of these are effective or beneficial to health. There are no standards regarding potency or safety or effectiveness in these supplemental ingredients—and many can result in medication interaction and possible dangerous side effects.

emoticon While no energy bar is perfect, do your homework to ensure the next bar you eat isn't just a glorified candy bar. Use the following criteria, based on your needs—meal replacement, afternoon snack or workout fuel. And above all, enjoy your energy bar! Find a flavor and consistency that you like. Make sure that your body tolerates the energy bar with no intestinal discomfort, especially if you plan to use the bar prior to an athletic event.

emoticon Meal Replacement Bars
When lunch is out of reach, an energy bar can be used on occasion. Adding a piece of fruit, some raw veggies and a serving of yogurt or milk can help round out this quick, on-the-go meal. Read the nutrition label to find a bar that contains the following nutritional metrics if replacing a meal:
About 200-300 calories
3 grams of fiber or more
Less than 20 grams of sugar
No more than 30% of your RDA for vitamins and minerals
Approximately 20-40 grams carbohydrates, 10-23 grams protein and 10 grams of fat or less.

emoticon Afternoon Snack Bars

For your afternoon snack, be aware that many bars have calorie and sugar level similar to candy bars. Use the criteria below to find a bar with a boost of protein and fiber, and be sure to use your snack bar wisely. The goal of this snack is to not only keep you energized until your next meal, but to keep you away from other tempting, high-calorie less nutritious snacks. Read the nutrition label to find a bar that contains:
About 100-200 calories
At least 1 gram of fiber
Less than 15 grams of sugar
No more than 20% of your RDA for vitamins and minerals
Approximately 10-25 grams carbohydrates, 5-15 grams protein and 7 grams of fat or less.

emoticon Workout Fuel

Before hitting the gym or starting a long run, your body needs carbohydrates. It is best to avoid protein, fat, fiber and sugar alcohols, all of which can delay the emptying time of the stomach and slow digestion, causing cramps and sluggish energy levels. Energy bars are usually too high in protein, fat, fiber and possibly sugar alcohols to be used for pre-exercise nourishment. Instead, try another quick-digesting food source before exercising. Read What to Eat before a Workout for ideas.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource
/nutrition
_articles.asp?id=1074


During your workout, energy bars are not an appropriate refueling choice because aerobic and high-intensity exercises require blood flow to the muscles, not to the stomach for the digestion of foods. After exercising for more than 60-90 minutes, consider a sports drink or sports gel to boost your energy levels, promote hydration and balance electrolytes in the body.

Energy bars may work for low-intensity, very long-duration activities such as a long, slow hike or bike ride. (During lower-intensity exercise, less blood is diverted to the muscles.)

After your exercise session, your body needs mostly carbohydrates (to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles), some protein (to help repair damaged muscle tissue) and a little fat (for cellular repair). Eating a "real" and complete meal is your best bet. But if you cannot eat a meal within two hours of working out, then an energy bar paired with a glass of water and a piece of fruit is a good option. Look for a meal replacement bar (see examples above) with at least 30 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams (or more) of protein and 5-10 gram of fat. Read What to Eat after a Workout for more tips and food ideas.

emoticon emoticon Bar None

Don’t ever feel that you have to rely on energy bars to meet your calorie and nutritional needs. These snack ideas provide energy, nutrition and flavor in a convenient, budget-friendly package:
Fresh fruits: apples, oranges, pears, plums, grapes, bananas
Individually packaged fruit and applesauce cups
Yogurt
String cheese
Whole grain crackers (plain or with hummus, cheese or peanut butter)
Whole grain bagels
Whole grain muffins
Homemade trail mix
Homemade granola bar
Packaged granola bars
Carton of low-fat milk, chocolate milk or juice
Graham crackers and peanut butter



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
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*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
10/21/18 3:18 P

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Thought this blog had some great tips that we can use from time to time. I think the author did a good job of presenting some guidelines. Hope you find something useful!


10 Tips to Stay on Track When Life Gets Tough

By: Nancy Howard, SparkPeople Blogger

Previously, I wrote about the trials of moving my 90 year old father-in-law from independent living, to a hospital to rehab and finally to his new home an assisted living facility not too far from where I live. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions and decisions and it can be tough to not feel as though the whole world is caving in around you. But as with every obstacle in life, when we face them head on, we usually come out stronger than we did before we were hit with them.

emoticon It's tough when you are being pulled in a million different directions and what seems like little time to get everything done. When one is working against the clock, this can only exacerbate the stress levels, which is why routine is such an important part of my life. Unfortunately, decisions have to be made and they don't always align with my schedule, but I have come up with some tips to keep me on board until I weather the storm.


emoticon 1. Ask for help

You do not have to go through life alone. It's OK to ask family and friends to help you out. You do not score any brownie points by trying to do it all. In fact you may find yourself so overwhelmed that staying committed to your healthy lifestyle is much harder than when you have others to help you along the way.


emoticon 2. Keep exercising

This can be tough when you feel as though you are being pulled in a thousand different directions, but I remember my former running coach telling me years ago, "no run, no matter how short is ever wasted." As many of us are well aware, exercise is a big stress reliever. Even if you can't keep up with your normal exercise routine, going for a quick walk around the hospital or even doing some stair climbing in the hospital stairwell can do wonders to clear your mind and more importantly reduce the stress.


emoticon 3. Rest is important, too

If you have children you know that when they get overly tired they are much more difficult to manage. Sleep and rest help us recharge our batteries. Even if you find yourself sneaking in rest when your loved one is resting, it may be just what your body needs.
emoticon 4. BREATHE

Deep breathing seems like such a simple act, but it can do wonders in helping relieve stress and tension we hold in our bodies. Just three short minutes of concentrated breathing can help lower stress levels and release tension and anxiety.


emoticon 5. Be sure to eat

Remember food is fuel for your body. It is what gives us energy especially when our meal time schedule is off. Sugary foods and junk food from the vending machine can actually leave you drained, therefore bringing healthy snacks is a great option, especially if you miss getting to the hospital cafeteria before closing. I keep nuts, raisins and a granola bar with me in my purse so that I never am without a little something.


emoticon 6. Talk with others

While it may seem overwhelming to have a loved one in the hospital sharing your concerns with other families who are experiencing similar problems can actually validate your feelings. As my therapist Ann told me months ago, validations of emotions can make us feel normal-- that it's OK to feel the way we do. And you may be surprised that sometimes others who have walked this journey can offer you help and insight to your own situation.


emoticon 7. Accept that you cannot do it all

This is by far one of the most difficult areas for me to accept. As a type A perfectionist, I do not like when I am forced to shorten my workout sessions, maybe not eat as well as I should, get upset with the way things are done or not done, etc, but this is life. A few weeks of not so healthy choices will not knock me down UNLESS I allow the guilt to consume me. I can only do the best I can do knowing that it will only be a matter of time before I am back to my normal, or maybe even my new normal, routine.


emoticon 8. Seek guidance from others

The social worker at my father-in-law's rehab facility was instrumental in helping us locate an assisted living facility in a very short time. While my husband and I did have to visit the places she recommended, we did not have to waste time wading through the lists of facilities. It is amazing how many people are willing to help, you just need to step out of your comfort zone.


emoticon 9. It's OK to let things slide

I love an immaculate home, but when I am spending more time packing and cleaning my father-in-law's place than I do my own, accepting that there is only so much time in a day to get everything done has become my new way of living. It's OK that I do not get EVERYTHING done. It will still be here when things settle down, but giving myself permission to let the household duties slide is a huge stress reliever, too.


emoticon 10. Smile

After 50 years on this planet, I am learning to accept that there are many things out of my control. I can either wallow in my sorrow or I can take on the challenges. Smiling can do wonders to lift our moods along with the release of the mood calming endorphins. It can make us more positive when things in life appear to be so challenging.

emoticon While there are many things in life we can't control, there are many things we can. Life is not meant to be experienced without sorrow and stress. As I have stated in many of my previous blogs, it is how we manage the curve balls or the obstacles in our life that allow us to grow, change and transform into the people we are meant to be. It doesn't mean it will be easy, but having a few tips to help you through can do wonders in making a not-so-great situation in to the best situation we are to deal with.

Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
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337,499
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
10/7/18 11:03 A

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Why do you eat? Certainly food is necessary for life, but do you sometimes eat for a different reason? This article deals with emotional eating.


Stop Emotional Eating Before It Starts
15 Ways to Turn Off Your Emotions without Turning to Food
-- By Nicole Nichols, Health Educator

emoticon Eating is more than something we do to nourish our bodies with vital nutrients. It's also an activity we do out of habit, like nail biting, hair twirling, or finger tapping. And sometimes, we habitually turn to food in response to certain emotions. Whether you feel angry, sad, bored—even excited—food can act as a buffer against these emotions, something 82 percent of you know all too well.

emoticon n Emotional eaters know that it's easier to stuff down our feelings with each bite. We know that the fleeting "high" we get from food blocks the pain or discomfort of dealing we might be feeling, even if only temporarily. We also know better; in the long run, we still feel bad and we know that we shouldn't eat for purely emotional reasons. But that knowledge isn't enough to stop what feels like an addiction to food and eating. So where do you start if you want to stop eating emotionally?

emoticon It may be cliché, but the first step is awareness, recognizing that you do eat emotionally—and WHY. Each time you reach for foods (or even feel a craving come on), ask yourself, "Am I really hungry or am I just responding to something else that is happening?" If hunger isn't the reason, it's not always easy to pinpoint the reason why you feel like eating. Tracking your food can help, especially if you note the times you eat and how you were feeling before, during and afterward. By tracking your food (and related notes) more regularly, you could notice trends, like a tendency to overeat on Mondays, for example, and then pinpoint your true feelings from there. Ask yourself what it is about Mondays that leads to overeating (Stress from getting the kids to school? Anger over going to a job you hate?) Notice if you tend to munch in the evenings. Is it out of boredom, loneliness, or an unhappy relationship? Journaling (or blogging), in addition to tracking your food intake, can help you examine the causes of eating episodes so you can pinpoint your feelings.

emoticon While emotional eaters soothe themselves with food to avoid feeling and examining uncomfortable emotions, that gratification is temporary—and still painful, just like the emotions you're trying to avoid. But if you learn to recognize the emotional triggers that lead to eating, you can also learn to stop emotional eating before it starts by choose healthier ways to deal with your feelings. Here are some alternatives to eating that can help you deal with three of the most common emotions that can lead to eating.

emoticon *Stress and Anger
Stress is part of our everyday lives, and it can create the same physiological responses as anger, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. If you are eating as a response to anger and/or stress, some of these activities will help you calm down and deal with the issue at hand, instead of covering it up with food.

Remove yourself from the stressful situation. If you’ve had an altercation with a friend or family member, take some time away from each other to calm down and get your thoughts together. Make a list of what you want to say to the person with whom you’ve had the conflict, and revisit the issue later when you're both calm.
Take some deep breaths. Deep breathing has been shown to reduce blood pressure and promote feelings of calmness. Try this simple breathing activity any time you need to de-stress.

Exercise. It's a known stress buster and you may even find that it helps you deal with anger. Go for a short walk outside, hit some tennis balls, or push around some heavy weights at the gym—these are all constructive ways to deal with stress and anger.
Listen to music. We can all think of some songs that calm us down. Make a special CD or playlist that you can turn to when you need it. Identify this as a trigger of emotional eating.
Prevent stress from happening again. If mornings are so busy that you're barely able to get out the door on time, put some time-management skills into practice so that you don't have to rush or feel stressed each morning.

emoticon *Sadness and Loneliness
These two emotions often go hand in hand. Loneliness can result in sadness, and sad people can often become withdrawn. Especially if you're dealing with grief or spending a lot of time alone, it's easy to turn to comfort foods or soothe yourself with foods that you associate with happier memories. Instead, work to replace these uncomfortable emotions with a positive action. Learn to use alternative activities as sources of gratification. Just as you've learned to turn to food for a pick-me-up, you can learn to use other activities in the same way.

Exercise. It boosts mood, releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals in the brain), and has even been reported to be more addictive than drugs. Anything you do to get yourself moving will work. Leaving the house for a short bike ride or walk will also help you avoid food temptations at home.

Play with your pet; animals have unconditional love and promote health and emotional wellness, too. If you don't have a pet, volunteer at a local shelter, which will expose you to both animals and more social interaction to combat your loneliness.
Write a letter to a friend. Reaching out to friends and family members, even if you haven’t talked to them in awhile, will remind you of all the wonderful people in your life who care about you. Spark up an old friendship!
Volunteer. People who volunteer feel better about themselves, and it's hard to feel down on yourself when you're helping others.
Post on the message boards! Even if you feel like you don't have a friend in the world, there is always someone here at SparkPeople who can help pick you up when you are feeling down.

emoticon *Boredom
We have hundreds of TV channels, phones that surf the web, online social networks, and movement-sensing video games, but when it comes down to it, we still feel bored in our lives. Eating adds another layer to our entertainment options (like popcorn at a movie) but also becomes an easy thing to do when we don't know what else to do! After all, eating is fun and enjoyable, and it passes the time. Fortunately, many boredom-busting activities don't involve eating.

• Pay attention to what you consume. Make a new rule that you will not multitask while you eat. That means no chips while on the computer and no ice cream while watching your favorite TV drama. If you're going to eat, you're going to be present and focus on the food you're enjoying to help avoid mindless overeating.

• Develop a new hobby. Even without cash to spare, you can learn to knit, join a local book club, or train for a 5K race. By scheduling these activities regularly, you'll have plenty to do—and practice! Make a list of all the things you ever wanted to learn, from cooking to speaking a new language, and start investigating how to get started.
• Read. We don't spend enough time reading these days, and while you may claim that you don't have the time, everyone has a few minutes here and there. Carry your book, favorite newspaper or magazine with you and steal minutes whenever you have downtime. Set a goal to read just 15 minutes each night, and you may find that stretching longer (and keeping your mind and fingers busy enough that they won't miss eating).

• Play a game. Remember how fun board and card games can be? Some even take hours! Bring out a fun game for your next party or set up a game night with your best friend. If you're by yourself, crossword puzzles are a good alternative.

• Connect with friends and loved ones. Some might argue that we feel so bored during this digital age because we're missing real-life interaction and friendships. After all, if you can post on your friend's Facebook wall or text your brother anytime, why call? Make a point to write letters, send personal emails, make phone calls and meet up with the important people in your life.

emoticon With an arsenal of activities you can do besides eating, you're on the right path to stop the emotional eating cycle. You might not be successful every time, but if you accept your mistakes and move forward, continuing to work on your issues by tracking, journaling and distracting yourself in a positive way, you'll overcome your emotional eating problems once and for all. With so many enjoyable experiences in life, food doesn't have to take center stage. Make sure you are taking time to enjoy all of them equally!



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
SparkPoints Level 24
KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
9/29/18 5:21 P

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The scale is NOT the only way to see if you are progressing towards a healthier lifestyle. Here are some measuring tips that can help you see progress when the scale doesn't show it!

How to Take Body Measurements
Track Your Progress with a Measuring Tape
By Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer

emoticon It's easy to get discouraged when you work so hard to lose weight and your efforts don't pay off on the scale. Seeing the same number week after week can make you want to drown your sorrows in a pint of Haagen-Daz. But wait! Before you pick up that spoon, take your measurements.

emoticon Body measurements can be a useful way to track your progress. Many times you'll see a loss of inches even if the scale isn't moving. To ensure accuracy, measure in exactly the same place and under the same conditions each time. Here are some instructions and tips to help you. When you're done measuring, you can track your measurements on SparkPeople to see how your body changes over time!

emoticon Common Body Measurements emoticon

~Chest: Place the measuring tape just under your breasts/pecs and measure around the torso while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.

~Waist: Place the measuring tape about a 1/2 inch above your bellybutton (at the narrowest part of your waist) to measure around your torso. When measuring your waist, exhale and measure before inhaling again.

~Hips: Place the measuring tape across the widest part of your hips/buttocks and measure all the way around while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.

You can use your waist and hip measurements to calculate your Waist to Hip ratio, an assessment that can help you determine your health risk. Use SparkPeople's Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator to determine your ratio. www.sparkpeople.com/resource
/calculato
r_waist.asp


~Thigh: Measure around the largest part of each thigh.

~Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf.

~Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm (above the elbow).

~Forearm: Measure around the largest part of each arm (below the elbow).

~Neck: Measure around the largest part of the neck.

emoticon Tips for Measuring emoticon

When taking measurements, stand tall with your muscles relaxed and your feet together.
When measuring, apply constant pressure to the tape (so it doesn't sag) without pinching the skin.
Use a flexible measuring tape, such as plastic or cloth.
Measure under the same conditions each time, such as wearing the same clothes (or none at all).
emoticon Measure yourself in front of a mirror to make sure the tape is positioned correctly. If possible, have someone else do the measuring for you.
The place to take some of these measurements will vary slightly from person to person. To ensure accuracy, just remember to take them in the same place on your body each time.

emoticon So don't let the scale get you down! Losing inches means you'll be wearing a smaller size in no time! Everyone will be commenting on how great you look and the number on the scale will suddenly seem a lot less important.


Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
9/22/18 4:19 P

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emoticon How harmful is too much sitting?
By: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

emoticon Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a number of health concerns, including obesity, heart disease and even cancer. Don't believe it? Stand up and read on.

emoticon It’s time to step away from the computer and read this: According to one study, people who spend more than four hours a day in front of a screen have a higher risk of early death in general and a higher risk of events related to heart disease, such as chest pain or heart attack.

emoticon But sitting in front of the TV isn't the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What's more, even fitting in some moderate or vigorous activity doesn't seem to significantly offset the risk of sitting most of the time.

emoticon The solution? Sit less and move more overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance.

For example:

Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.


emoticon Better yet, think about ways to walk while you work:

Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.


emoticon The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you'll burn more calories. This can lead to weight loss and increased energy.

emoticon Plus, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important reactions related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these responses stall — and your health risks increase. When you're standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.



Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


Total SparkPoints: 346,540
300,000
312,499
324,999
337,499
349,999
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
9/15/18 5:12 P

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It seems to be that time of year when seasons are transitioning, whether you are in the Northern Hemisphere awaiting Autumn or in the Southern Hemisphere awaiting Spring. Sometimes we feel blah and unmotivated. The first article is a nice selection of things that can lift your mood and keep you focused on feeling motivated! The 2nd article goes with the slogan: you are NOT just a number! If you are relying only on the scale to define you, know that other measurements are equally important. The scale might not move, but your clothes fit better, you feel better, etc. Check out various ways to see if you are progressing!


#1
15 Natural Mood Lifters
Quick and Easy Ways to Lift Your Spirit
-- By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach

emoticon One morning I awoke and decided it was the perfect day to mix myself a "happiness cocktail." After indulging in my happy hour, I felt more than ready to take on the day! Just in case you’re wondering why a wellness coach is reaching for a cocktail at the crack of dawn, let me explain.

emoticon While getting dressed, I thought about the many natural ways I could lift my spirits and then realized that I was already combining many of the approaches behavioral psychologists tell us are beneficial: I went outside for my morning exercise and listened to my favorite music on my iPod—all with my labradoodle, Ozzy right by side. Exercise, nature, music, my pet— these are the ingredients of my personal happiness cocktail. Any of these things alone help to lift my spirits when I’m feeling down, but together they can put me in a euphoric state. Talk about crisscross effects! No matter what may be weighing on my mind, an outdoor run with Ozzy always improves my mood and increases my optimism (not to mention all the other great things this activity does for my body).

emoticon As a professional wellness coach, it is vital for my mind to stay calm, open and curious when meeting with a client. A bad mood can certainly be detrimental to the session. And although I have a fairly sunny disposition by nature, even I feel down sometimes and need ways to improve my mood quickly and easily.

emoticon At times, we all need to lift our spirits in an instant. Luckily, some environmental and situational factors are easy to control. If you have a grumpy friend, you can simply walk away and call up an optimistic friend. If sad movies usually leave you feeling badly long after watching, you can stick to comedies or other uplifting genres. But if you are made to deal with a difficult individual who is a co-worker or family member, escaping may not be so simple. And you certainly can’t control the weather.

emoticon But we don’t need to be victims of circumstances—and we certainly do have control over our choices. If keeping your moods on an even keel and staying relaxed are things you would like to pursue, you’ll be happy to know it’s much easier than you probably think. Behavioral scientists are studying how we can improve our moods by taking control of our daily behaviors. The expression, "you are what you eat" has proven to be true—not just for disease management but our overall state of mind. If you find yourself irritable, fatigued, unfocused or even blue, it may be your diet. What you eat, how often you eat, and how much you eat are all factors that can dramatically impact your mood. So, if you can keep your blood sugar stable, your mood may follow.

emoticon We also know that exercise stimulates the chemicals in our brains that lead to feelings of tranquility and well-being. The release of endorphins are responsible for things such as the "runner’s high" or the incredible surge in creativity fitness participants often report. Even a leisurely stroll can increase the oxygen flow to your brain leading to a sense of calmness, greater energy and focus.

emoticon According to common sense, feelings are what cause our behavior. When we are sad, we cry. When we are angry, we rant and rave. However, a large and growing body of research shows that feelings often follow our behavioral choices. In other words, if we force ourselves to smile, we feel happier. And if we pretend to be excited, upbeat and energized, we begin to actually feel that way. This again proves that we are more in control of our moods than just the circumstances around us.

Here are a few more natural mood lifters you can try.

emoticon Eat often and eat light. When you eat at regular intervals throughout the day you will prevent dips in your blood sugar that can negatively affect your mood. Plan your meals and snacks to prevent yourself from getting overly hungry, aiming for three to six eating episodes (total meals plus snacks) each day.

emoticon Limit refined carbohydrates such as soda, candy, cookies, and white flour, which are concentrated sources of sugar. These foods may give you an immediate rush of energy, but they will cause you to crash and fatigue soon after.

emoticon Include a small amount of lean protein at every meal and snack. Protein will leave you feeling alert and productive for hours.

emoticon Eat foods rich in omega-3 fats. These foods have been shown to lift moods and can possibly alleviate depression. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon or sardines, canola and olive oils, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts.

emoticon Ramp up your B-12 and folate (folic acid). Scientists believe these nutrients help the body produce a neurotransmitter called serotonin—a known mood stabilizer. Shellfish, fortified cereal, oatmeal, wheat germ, and vegetables are some of the many foods rich in these nutrients.

emoticon Get your daily dose of exercise. Whether it’s a formal session at the gym, a walk with the dog, engaging in a sport or just playing with your kids, getting up and moving will boost your mood and energy level.

emoticon Stick to a regular sleep schedule—even on the weekends. Although most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, you might need slightly more or less to function optimally. The important thing is that you consistently get the sleep you need.
emoticon Go outside and breathe in the fresh air. Take a break from your home or office to get some air and sunshine. Even stepping out into cold weather will wake you up and refresh your mind.

emoticon Listen to music you love. When your mood is spiraling downhill and the little voice in your head is anything but positive, turn on your favorite tunes and sing along. Soon, sweet music will fill your mind instead of negative thoughts.

emoticon Indulge your senses. Sights, smells, sounds, tastes and tactile sensations can quickly change your mood. Light a scented candle that evokes memories of the holidays, bake cookies to remind you of happy times at your grandmother’s, buy your favorite flowers and revel in the smell (and sight) of them, or soak in a scented bubble bath while listening to soothing music.

emoticon Do something that brings you joy. Whether it’s going to a movie, reading a novel or having lunch with your best friend, take a well-deserved break from work or stressful situations and do something you love. The change in mood will lead to better concentration and efficiency once you return to the task at hand.

emoticon Play or cuddle up with your furry friend. Just petting your dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and evoke a sense of calmness, happiness and well-being. If you don’t own a pet, visit a pet store or volunteer at an animal shelter to get your furry fix.

emoticon Volunteer. There is nothing like the act of giving to those in need to make you feel appreciative of the life you lead. Walk dogs at an animal shelter, feed the homeless at a food shelter, teach English at a literacy program, or assist in programs for special needs children. Do your research and you will surely find a group that can use your talents and skills. If time is an issue for you, contribute through donations and you could evoke the same feelings of happiness.

emoticon Fake it till you make it. Researchers have found that the simple act of smiling seems to activate happiness centers in the brain. Keep smiling and in time, your mood will match your facial expression.

emoticon Create a list of natural mood enhancers that will work for you. Feeling angry? Write in your journal. Stressed? Try a yoga class. If you're exhausted, take a 20-minute nap. And if you’re feeling down, rent a funny movie. Remember, you have a choice and the ability to change your mood. With some trial and error, you will figure out the best strategies that work for you.

emoticon It’s quite natural for all of us to wake up on the wrong side of the bed now and again. If your self-care skills are optimal and you try some tips listed above, your pleasant disposition will shine through. However, if you still find yourself moody, angry, excessively tired or unhappy for an extended period of time, talk with your doctor. He or she will want to rule out any medical or nutritional causes before considering treatment for depression.

And if you would like, feel free to try my happiness cocktail. It just may work for you as well!

The nutrition information presented in this article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople's head dietitian, Becky Hand, M.S., Licensed and Registered Dietitian.


#2
Body Composition Measures Results
Use these Numbers to Track your Progress
-- By Nicole Nichols, Personal Trainer

emoticon Some people can measure their weight loss by the way they feel and look: firmer thighs, a smaller waist, jiggle-free arms. But then there are the number-crazy ones who desperately need some kind (any kind!) of concrete proof that all their hard work is paying off. They want to gauge their progress a different way. Give them numbers on paper, or some kind of chart and they’re ecstatic.

emoticon There are so many numbers to go by (pounds, pant size, inches), but not all are created equal. So, which figures say the most about your own figure? If you are someone who gasps when the scale shows a one or two pound weight gain ("I haven’t cheated at all. How could I be gaining?"), then learning about body composition will help you see real, measurable results.

emoticon Body composition. We hear a lot about it... but what exactly is it? Well, to be considered "fit," you have to meet minimum standards in 5 different areas, known as the Components of Fitness. Body Composition is one of them (in addition to flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and aerobic fitness). Body composition itself deals with four areas:

emoticon 1. Weight
Your total body mass. We’re all too familiar with this one, in most cases. But weight alone doesn’t tell you the whole truth about your progress or fitness level. For example, it doesn’t tell you how much fat you carry. People generically want to lose "weight." You could start lifting weights and actually gain weight…but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are tipping the scales towards obesity.

*How to use it: Forget your preconceptions about the number on the scale. Knowing your weight is good, but not crucial—you want to lose fat, not necessarily weight. If you must weigh yourself, don’t make it a daily habit. Weight tends to fluctuate throughout the day, and from day-to-day, by as much as 5 pounds or so. Most of these regular changes are due to food and water. If weight is an important record to you, then do it under the same circumstances (no clothes or shoes, first thing in the morning before eating, etc) and no more than every 1-2 weeks.

emoticon 2. Fat Mass Usually referred to as body fat percentage. This number tells you how much of your total body weight is actual fat. Men and women go by different minimums and healthy ranges of fat. For example, men need about 3%-5% essential fat at the lowest levels, whereas women need at least 12%-15% to be considered healthy and be able to sustain a menstrual cycle (and numbers this low could be considered underweight). A standard height and weight chart cannot accurately tell you if you are overweight, but body fat percentage, on the other hand, can.

*Track your progress: Observing change in body fat is the best way to measure "weight" loss. There are user-friendly formulas that can estimate your body fat percentage, but the most accurate readings come from a qualified fitness professional. To see a trend, reassess your body fat every four to six weeks.

emoticon 3. Lean Mass This is everything else that makes up your weight. It includes muscle, bones, organs, water, and all non-fatty tissues. Again, there is a gender difference. Thanks to much higher levels of testosterone, men have a greater amount of muscle mass than women. One pound of muscle takes up much less space than one pound of fat. So, as you exercise consistently and build up strength, your total body weight may actually increase. This can be confusing (and sometimes scary), but you are gaining muscle, while maintaining or even losing fat.

*Look for gains: Your lean mass can be calculated by subtracting your total fat (as a percentage or in actual pounds) from your total weight. This number will probably be relatively stable, or increase over time, as long as you are exercising. Gains in muscle mass will increase your metabolism, thus enabling you to burn more calories during every activity—even sitting! So, while you do want to lose fat, setting a goal of increasing your muscle mass will help you get there.

emoticon 4. Fat Distribution Ever notice how some people can have big bellies but lean legs? Women store most of their fat in their thighs, hips, and butt. These are examples of fat distribution, which refers to where your body typically stores the fat that you have. This is important because where you store fat can be a predictor of health risk. "Apple" shapes (fat storage around the belly) have been shown to have a higher risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, whereas storing fat in your lower half, known as a "Pear" shape, is actually a healthier site for fat accumulation.

*Room for improvement: Changes in fat distribution happen when you are losing fat and building muscle. Typically, the body burns fat all over, and just as typically, fat in the stomach is usually the last to go. There are no exercises you can do to speed up fat burn in any particular area. Cardio activity, utilizing large muscle groups, burns fat all over the body. So, don’t waste your time doing lots of crunches to lose the belly fat, or boxing to lose your arm jiggle. You can measure these changes with a simple tape measure, or just by how your clothes look and feel.

emoticon Whatever your fitness goal, measuring body composition will help you track your progress, not to mention leave little doubt that all those little (and sometimes big) changes you’ve made are moving you in the right direction. Bottom line: If your goal is fat loss, then measure progress by decreases in body fat percentage, and possibly improved fat distribution. If your aim is to increase strength, then lean body mass will tell you how much muscle you have gained. Breathe a sigh of relief, number-crunchers. These are the only numbers you need to help you meet your goals.



Krys (EST)
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
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Weekly tip:

Pretend Label (to go with article since I couldn't attach it here)

NUTRITION FACTS
Serving Size 1 cup (228g)
Serving Per Container: 2

Calories: 250
Calories from Fat: 110

Total Fat 12g %Daily Value = 18%
Saturated Fat 3g..............15%
Trans Fat 1.5g

Cholesterol 30mg.............10%
Sodium 470mg.................20%
Total Carbohydrate 31g...10%
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 5g

Vitamin A .........................4%
Vitamin C..........................2%
Calcium............................20%
Iron....................................
4%


~How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label~
Solving the Ninth Mystery of the World
-- By Laura Bofinger, Staff Writer

emoticon What do you look for when you’re checking out the nutrition facts on that macaroni and cheese box? Whether you’re one to zoom in on total calories or total carbs, you might be missing the real picture. Nutrition facts should be a part of your decision in what to eat or even what to buy. But interpreting the facts requires a bit of know-how, so make sure you aren’t misleading yourself.

emoticon *Understand the Power of "Serving Size"
The most important rule is to know your serving size and the number of servings in the package or can. If the label says "one cup" per serving size and "two servings per container," that means there are two cups in the whole package. If you know you’ll eat the whole package by yourself, you are going to consume two cups (1 cup x 2 servings/container = 2 cups). That means that you must double all the nutrition facts measurements to know your total intake of each nutrient – the good and the bad. Using the mac and cheese example, eating the whole package means you will have consumed 500 calories, 220 of which are from fat. You will have consumed 24 grams of fat, of which 6 grams are saturated fat.

The only time you can avoid doing the math is when you eat the exact serving size that is listed. Always compare the listed serving size to how much food you think you’ll eat and compute calories from there.

emoticon **Crack the Code in "Percent Daily Value"
Confused by what all those percents really mean? The percents refer to "percent daily value" and they’re a bit trickier to interpret. The FDA bases these percents on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. Looking at cholesterol on the mac and cheese label, the FDA says that you are getting 30 milligrams per serving, or 10% of the recommended amount of cholesterol for a person eating about 2,000 calories per day. (Remember, you’re getting 20% if you eat the whole package.) So how do you know if 10% is a good or bad number?

emoticon For ease of explanation, let’s break this down into a guide that will help us look at a percent and immediately know if it is high or low for one food source. The magic numbers are 5 and 20%. Anything listed in the percent daily value column that is 5% or less is a low number for nutrients. This is a good range for things that you want to limit (fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium), but too low for things you want to eat plenty of (fiber, calcium, and vitamins). Anything listed as 20% or more is high. This is a bad range for things that you want to limit (fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium), but a good range for things you want to eat plenty of (fiber, calcium, and vitamins).

emoticon Look at "Total Fat" on the mac and cheese label (up above). The 18% daily value is close to the high point, but if you ate the whole package, you actually ate 36% of the recommended daily amount of fat (well above our benchmark of 20%). That amount, coming from just one source of food in a day, contributes a lot of fat to your daily diet. It would leave you 64% (100% - 36% = 64%) of your fat allowance for all other meals, drinks, and snacks you would eat that day.

emoticon If your daily goal is well below 2,000 calories for your weight loss plan, then use the percents as a frame of reference (realizing you need to be below the percents shown, per serving). Or, you may find it simpler to keep track of grams and milligrams instead of the percents. The Nutrition Facts footnote gives a scale in grams and milligrams for recommended amounts of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, and fiber based on 2,000- and 2,500- calorie diets. (This footnote does not appear on small packages where there is no room for it.)

emoticon ***The percent daily value also offers a great way to watch your diet without completely giving up your favorite foods. For example, if you ate one serving of macaroni and cheese but ensured you had a low fat intake for all other foods you ate that day, you made a successful trade off. When you really want a food that is high in fat, always balance it with healthy low-fat foods in the same day.

emoticon ****Quick Interpretation Guide

Start at the top with Serving Size and Servings Per Container. Adjust all measurements below this point according to the serving size you will eat.
Look at the number of calories per serving (including how many calories are from fat).
Limit these nutrients: total fat (including saturated and trans fat), cholesterol, and sodium.
Get plenty of these nutrients: fiber, vitamins, calcium, and iron
Use the % Daily Value to determine what is a high or low number for your daily diet. 5% or less is low; 20% or more is high.

emoticon Don’t just use the nutrition facts to track the nutrients you want to cut back on. Use it to track the nutrients you want to increase (like fiber, calcium and vitamins)! Whether you’re a stickler for tracking every fat gram and calorie per day or someone who just wants a rough estimate of her daily nutrient intake, the nutrition facts label is a handy tool. Learn how to use it for foods you eat frequently and anything new that you are tempted to incorporate into your regular meal plan.



emoticon PLEASE always read the label! Important to know SERVING SIZE, CALORIES, CARBS and anything else you are watching out for health wise!





Krys (EST)
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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
9/1/18 8:00 P

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Do you set goals? Do you have short and long-range goals. This article is helpful getting these together.


6 Characteristics of Effective Goal Setting

By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert

emoticon Once you've created your vision statement (
www.sparkpeople.com/resource
/wellness_
articles.asp?id=695
) for weight-loss, you probably know the general direction you want to move. The next step is to work out the particular short- and intermediate-term goals that will get you moving in that direction, followed by concrete action steps you can take right now to get going.

emoticon If you’ve checked out the other resources available here at SparkPeople, you know that effective goal-setting is a major foundation of the program. There is a wealth of detailed information and practical suggestions on this subject in the Resource Centers, on the Message Boards, and built-in to the program’s stages and features. This article will simply summarize the basic elements of good goal-setting, so you will know how to formulate your own specific goals.

emoticon The 6 Characteristics of Effective Goals

emoticon Challenging: Your goals should be realistic and suited to your present capabilities. You can’t go from habitual couch potato to world-class athlete overnight, or recover the “look” you had in your 20's if you’re pushing 60 right now. Small, progressive steps toward reasonable, long-term goals are crucial to success. But your goals should also push you to extend yourself beyond where you already are. Otherwise you will get bored and quit the game.

Example: It's great to work on drinking those eight cups of water everyday, but people do not lose weight from water drinking alone. Get thee off thy butt and go do something that makes you sweat. Then you'll need the water and it won't be so hard to drink.

Attainable: Don't take the challenging characteristic (above) too far. Make sure you can actually achieve what you're setting out to do. Otherwise, you will get frustrated and quit the game.

Example: Sixty minutes of aerobic exercise may be better than 30 minutes, but two hours may not be—especially if you're so worn out afterward that you have to stop exercising completely for a while. You can always build up the time and intensity of your workouts as your fitness level improves over time.

Specific: Trying to "do your best" or "do better" is like trying to eat the hole in a donut. There's nothing there to chew on or digest. You need to define some very specific, concrete, and measurable action-steps that tell you what your goal looks like in real-life terms. Include how you will measure your results so you can tell whether you are getting anywhere.

Example: If you want to get a handle on emotional eating and you've decided that keeping a journal may help, set aside scheduled time to do your writing each day; set up some specific changes in your behavior that you want this work to produce (like not eating after your last scheduled snack); and create a time interval and/or method to figure out whether your journaling is helping you reach that goal or not.

emoticon Time-limited: Goals need to come with deadlines, due dates, and payoff schedules. Otherwise, they'll fade into the background with your daily hubbub, and you'll quit playing the game. If your long-term goal is going to take a while to reach, create some intermediate- and short-term goals. These will make your larger goal seem less daunting and keep you focused on what you can do here and now to help yourself get there.

Example: If your overall goal is to have the weight off in one year, make sure you set up some intermediate weight goals to serve as check points along the way. Otherwise, those small things you need to do every day, and the small successes you achieve, can seem so insignificant compared to how much further you still have to go that you may lose interest.

emoticon Positive: Goals should always be framed in positive terms. Humans are not designed to white-knuckle their way through life, always trying to not do things or to avoid certain thoughts, feelings, actions or circumstances. We are much better at approaching what we DO want than avoiding what we don't want.

Example: If you want to reduce the amount of “junk” food you eat, frame that goal in positive words like increasing the amount of calories you eat from healthy foods, and identifying which healthy foods you want to eat more. Instead of trying to eliminate chocolate treats, for example, plan a low-fat yogurt with fruit for your sweet snack. If you do this for a few weeks, your brain will disconnect the habitual association between treat and chocolate and make a new one with the yogurt and fruit. And you’ll be just as happy with this new treat!

emoticon Flexible: Good strategies and goals are always flexible, because nothing in this world stays the same for very long, and staying alive and on course means being able to adapt to changing circumstances.

Example: You are always going to run into circumstances that make it difficult to stick to your diet or exercise plan—special occasions, unexpected schedule conflicts, even just a really hard day where you need a break from the routine for your mental health. Your goals should include some contingency plans for dealing with these problems so that you don’t fall into that all-or-nothing thinking that lets one difficult situation become an excuse for ditching your whole plan.

And remember, meeting your goals is 90% attitude. No one is perfect, and you’re going to have days where you just don’t do what you set out to. Make sure you build up some good stress management habits and tools to help you deal with those days without losing sight of your long-term goals, or losing your motivation.



Krys (EST)
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OBIESMOM2's Photo OBIESMOM2 Posts: 15,629
8/27/18 9:15 P

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good info.

and sometimes, you have to put some distance between yourself and the negative people in your life. We all have those folks who just DRAIN us.

Remember, you cannot help people who will not help themselves.

emoticon

The most handicapped person in the world is a negative thinker; a person who has the skills, abilities, talents and tools, yet chooses not to use them.
~Heather Whitestone

Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen


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KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
8/27/18 5:02 P

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Remember that story about the Little Engine that Could? Well thinking helps you visualize what you can achieve and that's half the battle there. This article has some good hints on how to get there!


~Optimism and the Power of Positive Thinking
Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life!

By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer

emoticon emoticon “How do you do it?” my friend asked me one day over coffee. “You’ve had some awful stuff happen to you over the years, but you’re still so cheerful. What gives?”

My friend was right, my life had been rough at times. I’d gotten divorced and I’d been laid off a couple of times within a five-year period. I should have been angry and bitter, but I wasn’t. I was still looking forward to each new day and the possibilities ahead of me. While this was normal for me, my friend’s comment made me realize that not everybody felt the way I did. Why was I so optimistic, anyway?


emoticon The Definition of Optimism
Optimism comes from the Latin word optimus, meaning "best," which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. Even if something bad happens, like the loss of a job, an optimist sees the silver lining. For me, getting laid off was the catalyst that allowed me to start my own business. As I packed up my office, my mind was already whirling with the possibilities ahead. Without that push, I may never have made the leap to self-employment. Losing my job was a good thing after all.

The emerging field of positive psychology studies the positive impact that optimism has on mental health. Other research shows that optimism may be good for my physical health too—optimists are sick less and live longer than pessimists. Apparently, a positive outlook on life strengthens the immune system (and the body's defenses against illness), cardiovascular system (optimists have fewer heart attacks), and the body's ability to handle stress.


emoticon Happiness through Positive Self-Talk
Being an optimist or a pessimist boils down to the way you talk to yourself. Optimists believe that their own actions result in positive things happening, that they are responsible for their own happiness, and that they can expect more good things to happen in the future. Optimists don’t blame themselves when bad things happen. They view bad events as results of something outside of themselves. I didn’t blame myself for losing my job, but saw it as a business decision that had nothing to do with me personally.

Pessimists think the opposite way, however. They blame themselves for the bad things that happen in their lives and think that one mistake means more will inevitably come. Pessimists see positive events as flukes that are outside of their control—a lucky streak that probably won’t happen again.

Because of their thought processes, optimists have much brighter futures. A bad circumstance or event is taken in stride, viewed as a temporary setback—not a permanent way of life. Even if something bad happens today, a positive thinker believes that good things will come again in the future.

Optimists tend to share several other positive characteristics that increase overall happiness and promote health, while reducing depression and chronic stress:

They think about, reflect on, and emphasize the good things in life.
They are grateful and thankful for all their blessings.
They don’t complain when something bad happens.
They feel that nothing can hold them back from achieving success and reaching their goals.
They believe in abundance.
They are confident that the world offers plenty of opportunities for everyone to succeed.


emoticon Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
Luckily, you can change your thinking patterns over time. Even a pessimist can become an optimist with enough practice! All you need to do is to reframe how you define events. Instead of dwelling on the bad experience, analyze it to figure out what good can come of it. Even if a project at work is deemed a failure, think about what you learned during the process. What strengths did you discover within yourself, and when can you use those talents again?

Instead of blaming yourself for the failure, think about the outside influences that may have affected your project. Maybe you were delayed by outside vendors, so you couldn’t meet a deadline; or management decided to go in another direction, making your project redundant. Virtually any failure can be turned into a learning experience, which increases your potential for success in the future.

Optimism is a skill of emotional intelligence, which translates to a better career and greater success in life. Life is too short to be miserable, so start turning your thinking around! Positive thoughts, an optimistic outlook, and overall happiness can advance your prospects for work, relationships and other life experiences.


Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
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KENDRACARROLL's Photo KENDRACARROLL Posts: 3,662
8/23/18 10:27 A

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Thanks. - Especially for the reminder on water. Water has always been and continues to be a challenge for me.
As far as liquids go, I would tread lightly on the juice - too much sugar, not enough fiber, too many calories.

Kendra GA

When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.



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SADBINGER Posts: 1
8/19/18 4:17 P

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I love all your articles, thank you so much !
Jacqui

KRYS210's Photo KRYS210 Posts: 77,271
8/17/18 4:12 P

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Portion control helps keep us on the straight and narrow with nutrition, but what is the correct portion of foods that don't come pre-packaged? Article #1 is helpful with that concept.
Can drinking water be helpful, check out article #2 to find out!

#1
emoticon Visualize

Comparing food portions to common objects that you know the size of is genius when it comes to portion control, especially if you don't have your measuring tools handy. It’s not as cumbersome as measuring or weighing your foods, but still provides a good estimate about how much food you're eating.

emoticon Here are some common comparisons to keep in mind:

1 cup = baseball
1/2 cup = standard light bulb
2 Tbsp = golf ball
1 Tbsp = poker chip
3 oz meat = deck of cards
3 oz fish = checkbook
1.5 oz cheese = 3 dice

More at: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/slideshow.asp
?show=12



emoticon Water is a Secret Ingredient

Water: The Wild Card of Weight Loss

-- By Zach Van Hart, Staff Writer


Is water important? Well let’s see, other than making up 50%-60% of our bodies, regulating body temperature, helping our breathing, transporting nutrients, carrying away waste and helping our muscles function, water is pretty much useless. Oh, and you need water or, after three days without it, you’ll die.

So in other words, water is pretty darn essential. It can even be an extremely important (and often unappreciated) weight loss factor.

Somehow, though, water is one of the most neglected parts of our diet. Some of us possibly go an entire day at times without one glass! Every part of your body is dependent on and comprised of water, and the most important parts need even more. Your brain is made up of 75% water, your blood 82% and your lungs nearly 90%.

Besides being a vital component of your body, water also helps to reduce weight. The more hydrated you are, the quicker your metabolism works. When you are dehydrated – even before you start becoming thirsty – your liver has to help the kidneys function and can’t metabolize fat as quickly. Your metabolism slows down, causing some unwanted fat to remain.

If your body is used to not getting water, it actually stores more in ankles, hips and thighs. In other words, it doesn’t trust you to keep bringing water, so it keeps what it can get, like a thirsty cactus. Once it realizes the water will keep coming, your body will get rid of the stores and you’ll lose weight!

Plus, if you’re suffering from cravings or having trouble controlling hunger, drinking water is a quick, healthy way to feel full. Drink a glass when you normally snack, and have one before your meal and right before going out.

Staying hydrated is not restricted to drinking water; milk, juice and other liquids – even some fruits and vegetables – are good sources of water. But avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, soda), as they actually cause you to lose fluids and become dehydrated.

The recommended daily amount of water is eight cups a day, but don’t feel bad if you have neglected your water intake. Even if you constantly drink coffee or soda, you can make some simple changes to increase the water in your diet.

emoticon Here are just a few ways to get more water every day:

Find the water bottles with pop tops. They’re easier to carry around and use than twist off caps.

Keep a water bottle in the car.

Take a water break instead of a smoke break at work.

Set a rule with your water glass: once it’s empty, it gets filled back up right away.

Drink orange juice or eat fruit in the morning.

Get two water bottles, one for work and one for home. Fill up one every day when you leave to go home, and fill up the other before you go to bed each night.

Order water at restaurants instead of soda. Even if you have something else to drink, have water too.

Weekends are the toughest, so be aware of your water and fluid intake throughout Saturday and Sunday. Keep more than one water bottle in the fridge so you always have a cold one.

Follow the example of a SparkPeople member: this woman put a water glass on her windowsill with 8 pennies on one side. Each time she filled up her glass and drank it, she moved a penny to the other side, until all the pennies were moved. Great reminder system!

Hope these are helpful in keeping you motivated and progressing! This time of year can be a drudge - don't let it rule your best decision to get get fit and health!!

Edited by: KRYS210 at: 9/23/2018 (16:43)
Krys (EST)
*Leader - Angels Amongst Us teams.sparkpeople.com/AAU
*Leader - 10K Steps teams.sparkpeople.com/10K
*Leader - Teachers Learning to Lose teams.sparkpeople.com/TLL
*Leader - Fabulous & Fit Weight Club teams.sparkpeople.com/FWC
*Leader - Pre-Diabetic Sparkers teams.sparkpeople.com/PreD
*Leader - Georgia https://teams.sparkpeople.com/Georgia


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