Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Fun Fact Friday

  • The custom of putting candles on cakes dates back to the ancient Greeks, who believed the smoke carried their thoughts up to the gods.

  • Loners, people who feel like outsiders tend to become more confident over time and are more likely to be great leaders.

 

 

  • Singing helps to reduce depression and anxiety, increases the oxygen flow to your lungs and helps you have better posture.

  • Depressed people tend to speak with longer pauses and fragmented sentences.

 

Happy Friday!
source: @Fact
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A Birthday Introspection

One of the best things I like about birthdays is the opportunity to reflect. For better or for worse, I tend to do this often enough, but especially at this time even more so.

I love me. It’s been quite a journey to get to a place where I can say that. There have been many, many days where my self esteem has been very poor (and there are still days where insecurities temporarily win battles) … but I now am at a place in my life where I can say that I am proud of who I strive to be and some of the twists and turns that have brought me here.

It’s a funny thing … you have to love yourself to be successful, yet you have to also try not to be too self centered. Self love, empathy, gratitude, focussing on the positive aspects of life, being able to forgive yourself , trying to be humble – yet confident… all these aspects of trying to strike a balance to be a thriving, healthy, successful individual. It’s hard to be objective about yourself … I hope I am close to that sweet spot somewhere in that healthy middle ground … all I can do is try my best.

Who am I? How did I get here? How’s life?

There are many things I love about who and where I am today … I am healthy, debt free, active and proud of many things. I am far from perfect, but I hope that my intentions lead me to positive places more often than not..

One of the things I struggle with at times these days is that inside I still feel like I`m in my late 20`s … but physically, I am quite a bit older. I`m sure that`s a common thing … I feel younger than I am, and in many ways that`s good. They say “you’re as young as you feel”  🙂

I try to continue grow, improve, and learn. I aim to be open, to be aware and empathetic. I look for win – win opportunities and strive to make the world a better place in little ways here and there.

I have had a fun and interesting journey …
I’ve been a wolf cub, a roadie, an extra, a delivery driver, and actor, a Dee Jay, a cab driver, a husband, a waiter, a salesman, a draftsman, a stage manager, a step father … I am an educator, a traveler, a web designer, a blogger, a cyclist, a volleyball player… and the journey continues 🙂

Of course there have been struggles … those challenges have helped make me who I am. There are good days and not so good days … just like most of us. Some days I feel invisible … some days I feel happy, present and successful. My struggles pale in comparison to many others. I am grateful for my struggles – they have brought me resilience, confidence and character. I have learned to take care of myself. I have learned that there is no better advocate for my own well being than me. I have learned that I have the strength to overcome challenges that life has brought my way … nothing is permanent, and I have what it takes to succeed.

I am so grateful … there’s food in the fridge, gas in the tank (of my Camaro) , I have air conditioning, a dishwasher and in suite laundry in my apartment, I am debt free, I have jobs I love, I am healthy and active …  My life is filled with travel, live sporting events and concerts … I am so blessed – thank you universe 🙂

I have learned much in my journey so far, and know there is much more to learn as well. I am proud of who I am and continue to look forward to further adventures, good times and making new happy memories. In this huge machine we call mankind, I know I am just a small cog … I have a good heart, strive to live a life of meaning and have faith that even better things are on the horizon 🙂

You have to love yourself. 
If you don’t, you owe it to yourself and those that love you
to find out why you might not, and work on it.

THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SELF-LOVE

“Who we are is more important than what we do.”

“We are valuable. Nothing can change that.”

ABOUT MISTAKES

  • Self-loving people know that they often make mistakes.
  • Since they live their lives for the joy they can find, they do a lot of experimenting and try many new things.
  • Since they aren’t dumb (or self-destructive), these experiments work out well most of the time- but sometimes they do go wrong.
  • When this happens, self-loving people are not surprised!
  • They simply apologize if necessary, fix anything that can be fixed, and move on…..
  • Self-loving people are responsible, not guilty.
  • Self-loving people don’t make many excuses especially to themselves.

IN RELATIONSHIPS

  • Since self-loving people tend to treat themselves well…
  • They see fun and enjoyment as a primary goal most of the time (even when it is hard to attain).
  • They do not tolerate mistreatment by others.
  • They are caring toward others. (It feels better to be that way.)
  • They never put anyone else first. (Even those they love are “a close second.”)

I hope to continue to evolve, grow and improve … ( and share much of things I learn with you) … I know that I make mistakes, and that’s OK. I am human. Mistakes have taught me much over the years 🙂  I try to learn from missteps when I can …
There are lots of days when I struggle (like many others) … but  Today, I celebrate ME.

━═★ [̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅]  [̲̅̅B̲̅][̲̅̅I̲̅][̲̅̅R̲̅][̲̅̅T̲̅][̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅D̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅] ★═━ 

 


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20 Tips to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays

The holidays are an exciting time of year. But between the parties, stress and baked goods, it’s also a time when people tend to gain weight.

In fact, between mid-November and mid-January, adults gain an average of one pound, or half a kilogram.

This may not seem like a lot, but most people don’t lose the weight they gain over the holidays. For this reason, holiday weight gain is one of the biggest contributors to total yearly weight gain for many people.

The good news is that weight gain during the holidays is not inevitable.

Here are 20 tips to help you avoid weight gain during the holiday season.

1. Be Active With Family and Friends

Sedentary activities, such as sitting on the couch watching sports, are common holiday traditions for many families.

Inactivity may contribute to weight gain, especially when lounging around is accompanied by eating excessive amounts of food.

Doing some type of physical activity while on holiday with your family may prove to be beneficial for weight control.

An activity as simple as a family walk can provide benefits, as it will get your mind off food and allow you to bond with your loved ones.

You can also be active during the holidays by signing up for a workplace or community fitness competition or event. Running races are popular options.

2. Be Smart When Snacking

During the holiday season, unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies tend to be available for you to take as you please.

When treats are easy to access, unnecessary snacking or grazing is more likely to occur.

At home, this problem can be solved by keeping treats out of sight. However, that strategy is more difficult to avoid in situations that you cannot control, such as your workplace or a family dinner party.

You can overcome these situations by being mindful of your snacking habits. If you find yourself snacking just because there’s food available — and not because you’re hungry — then it’s best to avoid snacking altogether.

However, if you are hungry and need a snack, opt for real foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are filling snacks that don’t contain added sugars or unhealthy fats, both of which can lead to weight gain.

3. Watch Your Portion Sizes

When the holidays arrive, it can be easy to overdo it on your portion sizes.

Those who eat larger-than-recommended portions tend to gain weight more easily than those who don’t.

The best way to overcome this is to weigh and measure your food, or eat off of smaller plates, which is discussed more below.

To determine an appropriate portion size, read food labels and the recommended serving sizes listed on recipes.

If you’re in a situation that leaves you unable to measure portions, use your best judgment to fill your plate with a reasonable amount of food.

4. Practice Mindful Eating

People are often rushed and on the go throughout the holiday season, which frequently leads to multitasking during meals.

Studies show that those who eat while they are distracted are more likely to overeat. This is because they are unable to pay attention to their body’s fullness signals.

To prevent this from happening, eat mindfully without distractions, including work and electronics.

Another way to eat mindfully is to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, which will allow you to better recognize your body’s signals of fullness and consume fewer calories.

It can also be helpful to take a few deep breaths before you start eating. This can induce relaxation and help you keep your full attention on your plate, rather than your to-do list.

Several studies show that those who engage in mindful eating practices are less likely to gain weight.

5. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep deprivation is quite common during the holidays, and it may cause weight gain.

This is because those who do not sleep enough tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and get less physical activity.

The reason behind this is that sleep restriction may increase your hunger hormone levels, ultimately leading to higher calorie intake.

Additionally, inadequate sleep has been linked to lower metabolism. This is believed to be due to alterations in your circadian rhythm, which is known as the biological clock that regulates many bodily functions.

6. Control Your Stress Levels

Keeping up with the demands of the holidays can be stressful.

Those who are stressed commonly have high levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s released in response to stress. Chronically high cortisol levels may cause weight gain, as they have been linked to greater food intake.

Additionally, a stressful lifestyle may cause more cravings for junk food.

For these reasons, it’s important to keep stress levels under control throughout the entire year, but especially during the holidays when you might be plagued with more tasks and surrounded by unhealthy foods.

There are plenty of things you can do during the holidays to reduce stress. Some options include exercise, meditation, yoga and deep breathing.

7. Keep Meals Balanced With Protein

Holiday meals are typically rich in carbs but lack protein.

However, it’s important to include some protein with every meal, as it promotes fullness and may be useful for weight maintenance.

In fact, eating protein with meals may automatically reduce calorie intake by reducing hunger and appetite.

Protein is also beneficial for weight control because it increases your metabolism and levels of appetite-reducing hormones.

For these weight-management benefits, you should include at least 25–30 grams of protein in each meal.

Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish and some plant foods like beans and quinoa. Ensure your holiday meals include a serving or two of these foods to reduce the likelihood of overindulgence.

8. Focus on Fiber

Fiber is another important nutrient that induces fullness.

Some studies show that increased dietary fiber can reduce total calorie intake, which may be a method to prevent weight gain over the holidays.

Unfortunately, many common holiday foods lack adequate amounts of fiber. Do your best to incorporate fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, into your meals.

9. Cut Back on Taste Testing

Many people spend a lot of time cooking and baking during the holiday season.

Surprisingly, this can lead to weight gain. That’s because along with the cooking and baking comes taste testing, and even small bites of baked goods and holiday dishes can add up in calories.

Tasting your dishes can be important, especially if you are cooking for others, but a small bite of less than a teaspoon is probably more than enough.

You should also make sure that you aren’t hungry while cooking, as it’s much easier to go overboard on taste testing when your stomach is growling.

10. Bring a Healthy Dish to Share

Holiday parties can be a common setback in the battle against holiday weight gain. In these instances, you often have no control over the food that’s served.

The good news is that you can have control. Simply bring your own healthy dish for yourself and to share with others.

This way, you can be sure you’ll have something to eat that aligns with your weight goals.

11. Choose Desserts Wisely and Savor Them

Dessert is everywhere during the holiday season. This often leads to excessive sugar consumption, a common cause of weight gain.

Instead of eating every treat in sight, it can be helpful to focus on your favorites. Eat the ones you really want and ditch the rest.

Another trick is to savor the desserts you do indulge in, which may leave you feeling more satisfied and less likely to overdo dessert.

To savor desserts, eat them slowly and mindfully so you can really taste and enjoy them.

holiday-buffet

12. Limit Liquid Calories

The holidays are a time of year when alcohol, soda and other sweetened beverages seem to be unlimited.

These beverages can contribute a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain.

Additionally, alcohol consumption is often linked to increased appetite and is a risk factor for weight gain.

If you’re trying to control your weight, it is best to limit liquid calories during the holidays — and all year long, for that matter.

13. Use a Smaller Plate

Dinner parties and potlucks are common occasions during the holiday season.

While people often think of these as diet disasters, they don’t have to be if you eat from a smaller plate.

This is based on the fact that people tend to consume larger portions off of large plates, which may lead to overeating.

By using the simple trick of choosing a smaller plate, you can control portions and therefore reduce the likelihood of holiday weight gain.

14. Reduce Calories in Recipes

Excessive calorie intake is a primary cause of weight gain during the holidays.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of things you can do to lower the calorie contents of recipes. Here are some ideas on how to reduce calories in baking, cooking and beverages:

Baking

  • Replace butter with applesauce, mashed banana or pumpkin puree.
  • Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie substitute such as stevia, erythritol or xylitol.
  • Add dried fruit instead of chocolate chips or candies.
  • Flavor recipes with extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint instead of butter and sugar.

Cooking

  • Flavor dishes with herbs and spices instead of butter.
  • Use cooking methods such as baking, steaming or grilling instead of frying.
  • Substitute low-fat or skim milk for heavy cream.
  • Replace cream cheese, sour cream and mayo with Greek yogurt.

Beverages

Use club soda or sparkling water in place of sweetened beverages.

  • Flavor drinks with freshly squeezed lemon or lime rather than sugar. Cinnamon can also add flavor to holiday-themed beverages.
  • In dairy-based drinks, use low-fat or skim milk in place of heavy cream.

15. Weigh Yourself Regularly

Stepping on the scale regularly during the holidays may help prevent weight gain.

In some studies, individuals who weigh themselves regularly are able to maintain or lose weight better than those who do not weigh themselves.

Do what works best for you when it comes to weighing yourself. Some find it beneficial to check their weight daily, while others are successful weighing themselves once or twice a week.

16. Use the Buddy System

Many people report success with their weight goals when they have a partner to pursue them with.

Finding a health buddy who has similar weight goals may be useful over the holidays, as this person can keep you motivated and accountable.

Reach out to friends, family and co-workers to find someone willing to partner with you in your effort to prevent weight gain.

17. Avoid Processed Foods

The hectic holiday season has led to the increased availability of processed holiday convenience foods, such as boxed mashed potatoes and stuffing.

While these may be quick and easy, they often contain excess sugar and unhealthy fats that are not good for weight control.

To prevent weight gain, opt for whole foods this holiday season. Focus on making meals and baked goods from scratch instead of a box.

That way, you can control what goes in your food and stay on top of your weight.

18. Plan Ahead

All of the suggestions in this article come down to planning ahead if you are watching your weight over the holidays.

If you have events that involve food on the calendar, take matters into your own hands. Find out what types of foods will be served and if you need to, bring your own dish. Decide what and how much you will eat ahead of time.

It can also be helpful to gather a list of healthy holiday recipes, so you always have a go-to when you need to bring something to a party.

19. Skip Seconds

Often times, holiday meals are served in a buffet style, with several options to choose from in unlimited amounts.

This leads people to serve themselves seconds — and maybe even thirds.

The calories from double helpings can add up and contribute to weight gain.

To overcome this, assess your hunger when you finish your first plate. If you’re still hungry, have a little more food. If you’re not, then you’ve probably had enough and can move on to enjoy other aspects of the gathering.

20. Draw the Line

During the holiday season, many people have an “I’ll start tomorrow” mentality, which can end up being a vicious cycle of unhealthy habits.

If you are serious about controlling your weight over the holidays, it may be helpful to draw the line, set limits for yourself and stick to your goals regarding food intake.

Decide which foods are worth it to you and which ones are not. Know that it’s okay to say no to certain foods and habits that don’t align with your goals.

It’s also important to be aware that you might have a slip-up or two.

Often times, people abandon their goals after this happens. However, there is no need for this. Simply move on and make a healthier choice the next time you eat.

By Brianna Elliott, RD

 


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11 Life-Enhancing Habits to Adopt

AgingCare.com   January 8, 2015

There’s no time like the present to reaffirm your commitment to your own health and well-being. The best part? You don’t have to adhere to any grand resolutions, just try to adopt a few of these simple daily health habits:

Make yourself a priority: It’s easy to put your own health needs on the back burner, especially if you’re balancing family obligations,work responsibilities and a social life. But, even if it seems more convenient in the short-term, avoiding the doctor’s office, gym or produce section of your local grocery store will only hurt you in the long run. Make a commitment to prioritize your physical and mental well-being this year.

Get organized: The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to clear the clutter from your life and to stop making excuses for putting things off.

Make more meals Mediterranean: Following a Mediterranean-style diet—full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats—has long been upheld as a paragon example of healthy eating. So feel free to indulge your inner-Greek with foods like salmon, spinach, tahini, couscous, olives, arugula and red wine (in moderation). Just be sure to stay away from the baklava!

Stay social: Maintaining strong social connections is essential for warding off depression and other chronic diseases. Experts have also found that serious isolation—both self-imposed and unavoidable—can significantly degrade an individual’s quality of life.

Get a brown bag checkup: So-called “brown bag checkups” are a great way to ensure the safety and efficacy of the medications you are taking. During a brown bag checkup,  bring all of the medications you’re taking—both prescription and over-the-counter—to your pharmacist, who will then make sure that none of the drugs could be negatively interacting with one another.

Do clean teeth protect against heart disease?



Be diligent about brushing: Take a few extra minutes each day to attend to your chompers. Poor oral health has been linked to a variety of ailments, from dementia to heart disease.

Get active: Absence of physical activity is one of the top 10 Things That Age You. Indeed, sedentary behavior can contribute to the development of not only physical but mental decline as well—especially as you age. The good news is that exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery. Go for a hike in the woods, walk around a local park or just play a game of tug-of-war with your dog–anything that gets your blood pumping and amps up your endorphins.

Seek a serene mindset: Anxiety and fear can do a number on your overall well-being by kicking your stress response into overdrive and causing widespread inflammation in your body. While you may not be able to completely escape feelings of angst, practicing mindfulness and meditation on a regular basis can help you attain a calmer state of mind.

Safeguard your sleep: From memory to metabolism to mood management, research has shown that getting enough sleep is a key component of a healthy body and mind.

Celebrate the simple things: Ignore the cliché nature of this tip, and check out this story of a woman who learned to place more value on life’s simple experiences after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease: The Simple Things in Life With Alzheimer’s.

Be more open-minded: A recent investigation of aging Finns discovered that older adults who adopted a more cynical worldview had a much higher dementia risk than those who were more trusting of other people. These findings held true, even for people who were not clinically depressed, or economically or educationally disadvantaged. Aside from the detrimental health effects of cynicism, consider how much better off the human race would be if there were a little less judgment in the world and a little more compassion and forgiveness.