Simple Ways to Eat Healthier

1151129_697957881. Go for smaller portions – Use smaller plates or ask for a smaller size. Eating large portions increases not only your waistline but increases your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Try sharing with a friend or family member when you go out to eat.

2. Get your calciumCalcium not only builds strong bones, it also helps reduce blood pressure. Drink a glass of milk a day. Check out the gotmilk website for more info and health benefits.

3. Add 1 fruit or veggie to your plate – Lower your blood pressure by adding a fruit and veggie to your meals.

4. Drink Water – Drinking water instead of coffee, soda or other sweetened beverages saves calories as it keeps your body functioning optimally.

5. Eat cereal for breakfastStudies show people who start there day with breakfast cereal have higher intakes of vitamins and fiber and lower intakes of fat and saturated fat.

6. Choose lower fat options Choose low-fat, high-fiber foods whose lower calorie density fills you up without filling you out. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are all excellent choices.

7. Eat tuna/salmon – It is recommended that you eat these types of seafood twice a week. Fish is high in two kinds of Omega-3 fatty acids, which according to the American Heart Association are beneficial to your heart.

8. Go meatless – Consume less fat and saturated fat, plus increase fiber intake by going without meat at least once a week but two to three times if you can.

4 Tips for Beating the Winter Blahs

Over at MSN‘s Health & Fitness section, Lisa Farino wrote an article on Beating the Winter Blahs. She has practical ways to to help you beat those winter blahs.

If you find your energy slumps in winter – while your carb and sugar cravings spike – you’re certainly not alone. Use these simple tips to put a spring in your step and kiss the winter blahs goodbye.

Limit Caffeine – Caffeine provides a tempting solution for seasonal energy slumps. But over reliance on caffeine can create more problems that it solves.

Exercise Outside – Exercising in the morning sunlight will boost your energy and mood and can help lift that morning fog that plagues many of us in the winter months.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet – Be careful about relying on sugar and carbohydrates to deal with low energy. Such diets can lead to dramatic swings in energy level. They’re also a likely cause of winter weight gain.

Maintain a Consistent Wake-up Time – Although winter weekends seem like the perfect time for sleeping in, many experts say this habit is counterprodutive. Sleeping in on days off allows the internal clock to drift later, forcing a correction on Monday morning. For some people, these repeated weekly jet lags can trigger major mood shifts that might take several days to clear up.

For the complete article CLICK HERE.

Look At Life With A Laugh

With all of the crazy things going on in our world, it is easy to look at things and say, ‘what’s the point’ or ‘why bother?’ As the winter months are upon us, seasonal depression can be prevalent in homes and communities throughout the U.S. While I’m not as smart as any doctor, I’d like to offer a remedy to the winter blues: Laughter.

In an interview at Laughter For Health, “Liz Brunner reported that the average American child laughs 200 times per day, while adults only laugh about 15 times.” What is it about kids that make it easier for them to laugh. Is it because they have less problems, less things to worry about? Or is it something inside them that is still open to looking at the world ready to laugh?

About.Com says that, “Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits.”

Laughing can reduce the level of stress hormones in your body, provide a physical and emotional release, give you an internal workout with your abs and diaphragm and be a distraction. Along with the social benefits of laughter, bonding through telling jokes or laughing with a friend. Laughter can change your perspective. It can make you feel more optimistic, excited about the future, assured that things will work out. Often when a perspective changes, so does an attitude, followed by an action, followed by a result. Laughter CAN change your outcome.

Having the perspective of looking at life with a laugh can be a great resolution for this new year. Looking at things with a different lens. There were two business names I saw this past week that made me laugh and change my perspective. One was “National Self Storage”…a place to store yourself? Or “Sheriff Detention Center” where the cops go when they misbehave in class.

So put on laughter lenses this week and take a look at life with a laugh.

5 Tips to Help Beat the Holiday Weight Gain

Everywhere you look people are offering you Christmas goodies and high calorie sweets to eat and enjoy. Although they taste great and we usually only get to enjoy them during the holidays, the amount of fat and calories that are in them is enough to put you over your ideal weight, making it tough to shed those pounds once the new year begins. Its not only the sweets that add those pounds, sugary drinks, specialty lattes, spiced eggnog(or other alcoholic drinks) and rich festive foods are also a big problem.

Here are some things to consider before you get too far into this holiday season:

1. Count your calories – Before indulging on large quantities of food or drink, check out the calories on-line at nutritiondata.com. Be prepared before you go to a party or gathering. At Nutrition Data they have a BMI and Daily Needs Calculator that will tell you where your recommended daily intakes should be.

2. Snack a little between meals – A handful of nuts will help keep you from eating a big lunch.

3. Chew gum – Chewing gum will keep your mouth busy and not thinking so much about food. Research on monkeys has demonstrated that chewing helps release cholecystokinin, a powerful hormone that helps make you feel full.

4. Choose fruit over Juice – An apple will satisfy longer than drinking the same amount of calories in an 8 oz glass of apple juice.

5. Stay on your exercise routine – It may seem that you don’t have time with all the holiday happenings but you must make your exercise routine a priority if you want to keep your girlish figure.

Now this doesnt mean you have to miss out on all the great food the holidays have to offer, it just means you need to be selective, chosing lower fat options and puttng limits on the amount you do eat.

10 Ways to Lose Unwanted Pounds By Christmas

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years on its way, it would be nice to lose some weight and look great for all those festivities, along with the many photos that are taken! If maintaining your weight is important these can help with that also.

As was mentioned on greenglancy yesterday, here are 10 Ways to Shed those Extra Pounds by Christmas:

1. Start with a healthy breakfast! Don’t skip breakfast; thinking it will help you loose weight because it actually does the opposite. It takes calories to digest calories, so eating in the morning fires up your metabolism. Breakfast options: Whole grain cereal, two pieces of whole wheat toast with two tablespoons of peanut butter and add a banana or an apple.

2. Snack Healthy 2-3 times a day. If your place of business doesn’t offer healthy choices for snacks, then you have to start bringing your own snacks. Plan ahead and try to have snacks on hand. Healthy snacks: An ounce of nuts, pretzels, or string cheese; a medium piece of fruit; six graham cracker squares; or six cups of low-fat microwave popcorn.

3. Cut your alcohol consumption in half. I know it’s hard, especially at this time of year but alcohol can really pack on the pounds. Check out this article 5 Ways to beat the beer belly.

4. Switch to drinking green tea. Drink two cups of organic green tea a day. With each sip of green tea, you get health-promoting substances: two potent flavonoids — anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin — and a healthy dose of catechin. It also is a proven, natural metabolism booster.

5. Drink lots of water. Even if all you did was start drinking more water you would likely lose weight. That’s because the body needs to be fully hydrated in order to maintain a healthy metabolism.

6. Start a weight-training regimen. You’ve heard that muscle weighs more than fat, but did you know that muscle burns more calories? Building lean muscle through weight training causes the body to burn more calories throughout the day. When combined with regular aerobic exercise, weight training can help you lose more weight.

7.Don’t eat after 8pm. This gives your body a break from digesting while you sleep.

8. Go for lighter choices. If you drink 2% milk, switch to 1% or non-fat. If you use butter, switch to low fat margarine. In any area that you can go low fat try the switch.

9. Share! When eating out start sharing meals. This stops you from eating too much and lets you leave without that awful full feeling.

10. Last but not least, don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself rewards every now and then to keep you on your diet. Indulge in conservative amounts of your favorite foods once a week. But remember a serving should be the size of an average apple.

It’s Flu Time Again – Are You Prepared?

For Most, influenza(flu) means about a week of feeling rotten. But for the older people and those with chronic illnesses, it can become deadly. Influenza is Italian for “Influence”, centuries ago Italians attributed the seasonal outbreak of illness to the influence of the heavens or the devil.

Symptoms -Usually show up suddenly and last for a week or so: high fever, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy nose, muscle aches, loss of appetite and extreme fatigue.

Is it Contagious? The flu is very contagious. It spreads through tiny droplets expelled in a cough or sneeze or even breathing and through physical contact such as shaking hands. Most people with the flu are infectious starting one day before the symptoms show up until 5 days later.

This Years Vaccine – From the CDC, “Each of the two types of vaccine contains three influenza viruses, which are chosen based on information about recently circulating strains. Each of the three vaccine strains in both vaccines – one A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus – are representative of the influenza vaccine strains recommended for that year. Viruses for both vaccines are grown in eggs.”

The Bottom line – In a typical year, the flu sends more than 200,000 Americans to the hospital and kills about 36,000. Most die of respitory failure or heart failure triggered by flu complications such as pneumonia.

Should You get a Shot? From the CDC, “In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, it is recommended by ACIP that certain people should get vaccinated each year.

People who should get vaccinated each year are:

  1. Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
  2. Pregnant women
  3. People 50 years of age and older
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
      a.   Health care workers
      b.   Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
      c.   Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated”

Get your family in for flu shots now, before you lose days or weeks of work due to the illness taking over you family. It will save you money in the long run.

Eating For A Better Mood

In an article by Joy Bauer, she suggests that eating certain foods and how long you wait between meals directly affects your mood.

The next time you feel blue or irritable, you may want to take a look at what’s in your fridge. Researchers who study the food-mood connection have found that certain vitamins and other compounds in food can change brain chemistry. Foods influence the activity of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that convey information from one neuron to the next. Anything that affects these chemical messengers affects your mood—making food a pretty powerful “drug” when it comes to how you feel and act.

A hungry brain is an unhappy brain. Try eating every four to five hours and see how much better you feel.

Click for the full article.

How to Beat the 3 O’ Clock Sleepys

What happens at 3 O’clock that makes me feel like I have just been hit over the head with a pillow from the sand man? I can work productively all morning, have lunch and still do pretty well until about 2 or 3 when all I can think about is taking a nap.

Common causes for afternoon fatigue:

  • After eating lunch, an increased amount of energy will be diverted to the stomach for digestion, leaving less energy for you brain.
  • What you eat for lunch matters. From Exchange Morning Post: “For example, meat and starches in combination are slow to digest. Then, eating fruit, or drinking fruit juice with a meal, will greatly increase the digestion time as well. Thus, fruit or fruit juice should be consumed at least 30 minutes before, or 2 ½ hours following a meal. Eating a lighter lunch, and chewing thoroughly, speeds up digestion.”
  • Anemia – Check with your Dr, but if you are anemic you will feel tired most of the day.
  • Low Thyroid – Again check with your Dr, the most common symptoms associated with a hypothyroid condition are fatigue, depression and inability to concentrate.

What can you do to beat the fatigue?

  • Take an walk. On your break take a quick walk around the neighborhood, boosting your energy level and helping you finish off the work day fully awake.
  • Deep Breathing. Most people breath very shallow, which tires you out, and reduces your stamina and endurance. Deep breathing releases stress and will help you get to that 5 O’clock hour with ease.
  • Sniff some essential oils. From Associated Content: “There are certain scents that can give you an immediate lift. Rosemary, peppermint and orange peel are three scents that are good fatigue busters for the four o’clock fade.”
  • Refuel with a Healthy Snack. When blood sugar is low and you need to refuel, check out the healthy snack recipes from Snacks to beat brain drain instead of hitting the vending machine which can lead you down the wrong path.

I have not personally tried all of these but I can attest to the deep breathing and how important it is to take deep breaths. I was amazed at the difference it made in my daily routine to stop and intentionally think about taking deep breaths.

5 Steps to Boosting Your Self-Image

Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every area of you life, including relationships, your job, and your health. You can raise your self-esteem to a healthy level even if you have been harboring a negative self-image.

From the OHSU employee wellness program:

Step 1 – Identify troubling conditions or situations.

Think about what conditions or situations about your life you find troubling and that seem to deflate your self-esteem.

Step 2 – Become aware of beliefs and thoughts.

What do you tell yourself? What do you believe about yourself?

Step 3 – Pinpoint negative or inaccurate thinking.

How do you react? Emotionally? Behaviorally? Do you experience physical symptoms(stiff neck, stomachache, back ache)?

Step 4 – Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking. Mental filtering. Jumping to negative conclusions. Mistaking feelings for fact. Self put-downs.

Step 5 – Change your thoughts and beliefs.

Use hopeful statements. Forgive yourself. Avoid ‘Should’ or ‘must’ statements. Focus on the positive.

It may take time to get yourself to think in a new way and change the negative thinking to positive, but over time you are bound to notice change and continue developing your new self-image.

What do you do to improve your self-image?

5 Tips to Help You Stay Sane at Work

Is your job making you crazy? Are your co-workers like those off of The Drew Carey Show? Do you feel like everytime you turn around someone else has added another task to your list? Spending 40+ hours a week in a stressful environment can take a serious toll on both your mental and physical health. Anxiety, depression, obesity, ulcers and high blood pressure are just a few of the common conditions linked to stress at work. How do you make it better, how can you stay sane at work?

1.) Plan a vacation – Its been proven that workers who take regular vacations have lower stress levels and are less likely to experience burnout. A vacation is a way to get your battery recharged so you can work to your full potential when you return to work.

2.) Take a walk – This is more of a mental health break than exercise. If you only have 15 minutes, get away from your desk and take a walk around the block. Combine this with the deep breathing and you’ll be relaxed and ready to get back to work in no time.

3.) Make time for activities that energize you – If you’re not getting the fulfillment you need at work, you have to make time for your passions after hours. Without a regular dose of joy in your life, burnout is inevitable.

4.) Take a mental health day – A day away from the insanity can be a great way to get some perspective. This is the same concept as taking a vacation, you will perform better when you have had time away to refresh.

5.) Take time to breath – Deep breathing can amazingly calm you in just minutes. We tend to breath more shallow when we get stressed, causing less oxygen to flow to your brain cells, making it difficult to think clearly or calmly.