Category Archives: Feeling Rested

11 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting

diet-776158-mAs I finally start to see sunshine and a hint of spring, I’ve realized that I have been hibernating all winter. My pants are feeling a little snug after the winter months, and I am worried it will soon be time for shorts and bathing suits.

You may be thinking about making a change and losing weight, but the idea of overhauling your eating habits and daily routine may seem too overwhelming. What if you could learn to eat less without feeling like you’re being deprived or attempting a huge change?

Here are 11 ways you can create healthier habits and lose weight without dieting:

Eat more slowly
My husband eats like someone might suddenly grab his plate of food and take it away from him. Nutrition experts say that eating too quickly is not only harder on your digestion, your brain needs time to process that you’re full. Set a timer for 20 minutes and teach yourself to be a slow eater. Savor each bite, and you will be less likely to overeat.

Catch the eating pause
When you eat more slowly, you are also more likely to catch the “eating pause.” Most people have a natural pause while eating when they set down their fork for a couple of minutes. Watch for this moment and don’t eat any more. This is the signal that you’re full, but not stuffed. You can learn to recognize it.

Use smaller plates
It may seem silly, but using a smaller plate for meals can trick your mind into thinking you’ve eaten a plate full of food. It just doesn’t realize it was a smaller plate – and therefore less food. And, for some reason, eating off of blue plates tends to decrease your appetite.

Try more veggies
Serve more veggies with dinner each night, instead of just one veggie serve three, and you’ll eat more without really trying. More variety can also trick you into eating more food, at least the good types of food. Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to lose weight. The high fiber and water content fills you up with fewer calories and more vitamins and minerals.

Dine at home
A survey found that one of the top ways to lose weight is to eat home-cooked meals at least five days a week. You can find ways to make quick meals with lean cuts of meat, whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables.

Bring your lunch
Packing a lunch gives you the chance to have more control over your food intake. You can even bring leftovers from the meals you make at home. You’ll also save money while eating more healthy.

Drink water
Many people mistake thirst for hunger and grab something to eat. Drinking cold water can help your metabolism since your body will work harder to warm it up and burns more calories. Drinking water also allows your body to filter out toxins and keep you feeling full.

Sip green tea
Green tea can also boost your metabolism. The beverage has antioxidant power, so switch it up with drinking a glass water. Drinking green tea can also help you replace sugary drinks and cut calories.

Chew mint gum
Chewing sugarless gum with a strong flavor can also help you avoid a snack attack. Gum with a powerful punch can make foods not taste as good and deter mindless snacking. Brushing your teeth is another way to discourage additional snacking – most everyone likes that freshly-brushed teeth feeling.

Sleep more
Studies have shown that sleeping an extra hour a night could help you drop 14 pounds in a year. When sleep replaces other idle activities or mindless snacking, you can cut your calorie intake. In addition, getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night can rev up your appetite, making you feel more hungry.

Burn 100 more calories a day
You can lose 10 pounds in a year without dieting by burning an extra 100 calories every day. It’s easier than you may think to burn 100 calories a day. For instance, you can walk a mile in about 20 minutes, pull weeds or garden for 20 minutes, clean house for 30 minutes, or jog for 10 minutes.

The idea of overhauling your eating habits and lifestyle to lose weight can seem daunting. These simple tips can help you lose weight without dieting and allow you to create a real and lasting change in your life!

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10 Habits That Are Zapping Your Energy

too-tired-1752-mAre you tired of being tired all the time? That’s how I’ve felt for the past few weeks. I feel like I’m slogging through the days and fighting to stay awake.

It comes as no surprise to me that many of our habits that can drain our energy are also the same habits that cause us to feel like our lives are out of balance. We need to get back to the basic foundation blocks of living a balanced life.

Feeling tired not only robs you of your productivity and pleasure, it can also make you no fun to be around. The good news is that fixing your fatigue and lack of ambition may be as easy as making a few, simple lifestyle changes.

Here are 10 ways you can change your habits and put more pep in your step and energy back in your day:

Drink more water
We all know we need to drink more water, but how much to drink is more difficult to determine. Even if you’re not dehydrated, you can still experience the negative effects of not drinking enough water. Being tired and cranky can be a sign that you need to drink more. Water flushes out toxins, keeps tissues hydrated and increases your energy level. If it’s difficult for you to drink water all day, mix it up with 100% fruit juices, nonfat milk or unsweetened tea (preferably herbal or decaffeinated).

Eat smart
If you feel that your energy ebbs and flows throughout the day, it may make sense for you to eat five or six small meals a day. This strategy can help your blood-sugar level remain constant and give you a steady amount of fuel all day. Just remember that you still need to maintain the same calorie intake for the day, simply spread it out over smaller meals. You will find that your energy level stays more balanced.

Cut the sugar
While sugar gives you a quick energy boost, it also drops you back down hard when it runs out. Then, you start craving that energy high again. Along with eating small meals a day, try to avoid the sugar rush and keep healthy snacks on hand. By combining a few ounces of protein with complex carbohydrates, you can keep your blood sugar more stable and boost your energy levels. For instance, snack on whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, fresh fruit, lean turkey or chicken, or nonfat yogurt.

Watch the caffeine
Caffeine increases your energy levels, but it also takes away more energy than it’s giving. Like eating sugar or big meals, caffeine will boost your energy, but too much can cause a rebound effect and lead to fatigue. The best option is to quit caffeine by gradually reducing your intake However, if you can’t cut out caffeine completely, at least stop drinking caffeine in the afternoon and evenings.

Get more sleep
The need to drink caffeine during the day can also be the result of not getting enough sleep at night. Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep at the same time every night will put you on track for being rested and alert. Make it a habit to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. You can strengthen your sleep patterns and get a better night’s sleep.

Lose the clutter
Being disorganized or having clutter in your home or workplace can make you feel lethargic, as well as lacking in enthusiasm and optimism. Trying to remember where things are and searching for lost or misplaced things can be a huge drain both emotionally and physically. It’s important to cope with clutter so you can be more productive and quickly move on to doing more fun things.

Stop stressing
Trust me, I know it’s easier said than done. Conflict and stress can quickly deplete your energy and rob you of your ambition. Managing your stress levels is the best option. When you make time to take care of your inner self, you will find that you are able recharge and boost your energy. Relaxation takes different forms for different people. For you, it may mean sitting in silence, taking a walk and appreciating nature, working out or taking a bubble bath.

Move your body
With fitness, there are actually two ways to zap your energy. First, you can simply not exercise. Physical activity can energize us physically, emotionally and mentally. Without it, we are naturally more sluggish. Exercise also releases endorphins that make you feel good and enhance your mood. On the other hand, too much exercise can also cause problems. Over-training depletes your energy reserves, breaks down muscle, and makes you weaker not stronger. Find a balance by creating a healthy, fitness routine.

Say no
Do you say yes to everything? Spending time doing things you don’t really want to do can be another energy drainer. Think about how you spend your time each day. Do you do things that fuel you? Or do you spend your time on activities that deplete you? If you raise your awareness of where your energy is going, you can learn to say no to the things that deplete your energy. Then, energy can flow back into your life.

Make time for yourself
One of the ways to bring energy back in your life is to make time for yourself. Do things that make you happy and energize you. For instance, read a good book, go on a date night with your spouse, spend time with your kids, hang out with friends, focus on the good things, meditate or get a massage.

You can keep your energy levels in balance by creating more healthy habits that also will bring your life as a whole into balance. You can regain and maintain your missing energy!

10 Ways to Become More Resilient

I have realized recently that to live a balanced life, you must be resilient. Why are some people able to bounce back easily from adversity or misfortune while others fall apart?

Developing resiliency is part of achieving a more balanced life. People with resilience have a greater sense of control over their lives. You will have a more optimistic outlook and be willing to take more risks. You will also find more meaning and joy in your life.

Here are 10 ways you can become more resilient and stay on the path to achieving a more balanced life:

Be flexible
Change is a part of living. You may find that certain goals no longer work because your situation or circumstances have changed. The ability to accept what you cannot control will allow you to focus on what you can do. Resilient people find ways to adjust their goals and adapt.

Find your purpose
Do things that bring meaning to your life. If you have a sense of purpose, you can find ways to stay on track and move toward your goals.

Take action
Think about what you can do to improve a situation and then do it. When you’re resilient, you work on solving problems rather than getting caught up in negativity. It’s also easy to simply detach and avoid a challenging situation rather than face it head on. Make a decision and take action to make it happen.

Learn from your mistakes
When you have a negative experience or something doesn’t go the way you expected, you should see it as an opportunity to learn something. Focus on the positive lessons you can take away from a challenging situation.

Take care of yourself
Part of being resilient is staying physically and mentally strong. It’s easier to face adversity when you’re feeling your best. Take care of yourself by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and managing stress.

Maintain a positive outlook
A positive outlook will make you much more resilient. Many of life’s problems are only temporary. Not to mention, that often adversity brings new opportunities. I have often looked back on what I thought was a bad situation only to find that it actually led to something better.

Have a sense of humor
Even in stressful times, it’s important to keep your sense of humor. You need to be able to laugh at yourself and find the humor even when times are tough. Laughing and smiling helps relieves stress and can put things into perspective for you.

Let go of tension
Find your own way to express your emotions and let go of stress. You may find that writing in a journal, meditating or doing creative tasks like sewing, scrapbooking, painting or baking helps you relax. Or, you may discover that physical activity helps you relieve tension, such as running, kickboxing or yoga.

Make connections
Good relationships with family members, friends and others can help you be more resilient. It’s nice to have people who will listen to you and help you with your problems. You also know that you have their support no matter what happens. In addition, you can be there for them when they need your support and guidance.

Believe in yourself
Be confident in your ability to solve your own problems. Recognize your personal strengths. Take pride in your abilities and what you’ve accomplished. By learning to trust yourself and your instincts, you can build even more resilience.

Resilient people acknowledge when things don’t go as planned, learn from their mistakes and then move forward. If things don’t go as planned, view it as an opportunity to take another path on the journey to a completely balanced life!

8 Ways to Fit Healthy Habits Into Your Hectic Life

time-1128278-mDoes it ever seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to do? Lately, that seems like every day for me.

How can I fit in healthy habits when I don’t have any time? Then, I just feel more stressed and out-of-sorts because I didn’t fit everything in.

Decide what you truly want to accomplish and prioritize your life around your goals. When you make the time for healthy habits, you’ll have more energy, lower your stress levels and achieve more life balance.

Here are 8 ways you can fit healthy habits into your hectic daily routine:

Track your time
For a day or two, write down everything you do and what time you do it. Then, take a look at your routine. Does anything stick out to you? You may be watching more TV than you realized, or playing games on your phone. You might be able to break that time down and fit in your healthy habits.

Ask yourself: What tasks take longer than they should? Do I need to change my priorities to cut out things that are less important than more healthy options? What can I say no to?

Cut your to-do list
Highly successful people often have very short to-do lists. You may be overestimating what’s realistic to get done in a day. Cut your planned to-do list down by 25% to take into account all those things that can come up and derail your plans. Then, you can keep from overloading yourself. Make sure your healthy goals are at the top of the list!

Drink more water
Be sure you’re drinking water throughout the day. Water is an all-purpose, healthy drink. It helps your digestion, circulation, aids in weight loss, improves your skin and more. If you feel fatigued during the day, it could be because you aren’t properly hydrated. Water can also help you feel full and keep colds at bay.

Stock up on healthy snacks
One of the quickest ways to derail your eating habits is to grab an unhealthy snack when you’re hungry and on the go. When you go grocery shopping, pick up portable, healthy snacks. For instance, baby carrots, string cheese, fresh fruit, nuts, and single-serve packs of yogurt, applesauce, crackers, etc.

Buy frozen, healthy ingredients
One of the biggest deterrents to sticking to your healthy eating habits can be making time to prepare nutritious food. Purchase frozen, ready-to-cook ingredients. Frozen fruits and vegetables still have a high vitamin and mineral content. You can also buy frozen boneless chicken breasts and a variety of frozen seafood in single-serve packages. These are great options for quick, healthy meals.

Try interval training
A busy schedule means your workout may get left out. You can fit in a great workout in 20 minutes. Short bursts of high-intensity exercise can actually be more effective.

Walk it out
The average job means sitting at a desk in front of a computer for a big part of the day. Then, consider your commute to work, eating lunch and dinner, and then relaxing on the couch at the end of the day. You may find that you spend as much as 80% of your day sitting down. Sneak in some extra exercise by running errands on foot, taking the stairs, and parking at the end of the parking lot. All those extra steps you take add up!

Give yourself some slack
Are you trying to create a 4-course meal every night for dinner? Obsessing about creating the perfect presentation for work? Worrying about whether your kids’ favorite outfits are washed? Focus on getting tasks done, not striving for perfection. You can have leftovers or a quick, healthy meal for dinner. The presentation will be fine, and the kids have plenty of clothes to wear.

Go to bed
Sleep is one thing you can’t cut to get more done. When you don’t get enough sleep, you will be less efficient during the day, your energy level suffers, and your cognitive function is reduced. Lack of sleep can also make you more susceptible to getting sick. By getting enough sleep, you are more likely to have the energy to get more done during the day.

Making healthier choices may be a matter of making more time. Decide what you truly want to accomplish to create a more balanced life. Then, use these tips to fit your healthy habits into your daily routine!

10 Ways to Improve Your Memory

notepad-1066735-mDo you lose track of your car keys? Walk into a room and have no idea why you’re there? Can’t remember the name of your child’s teacher?

I recently read that our modern lifestyle plays a significant role in contributing to our memory and brain function. Our exposure to toxins, chemicals, an unhealthy diet, poor sleep habits and stress can actually hinder our ability to remember.

A healthy lifestyle can support your brain health and even help your brain grow new neurons. This process is called neurogenesis.

By simply making healthier choices, here are 10 ways you can improve your memory:

Stay hydrated
Your brain is 75% water so even mild dehydration means that your brain tissues are shrinking, and you may experience mild loss of cognitive function. You may have heard, “Drink when you’re thirsty.” However, when you feel thirsty, you’re already becoming dehydrated. You should shoot for 8 glasses of water a day. Of course, if you exercise or work outside in hot weather, you should drink even more. Learn more about the benefits of drinking water.

Eat real food
I often cook from a box, package or can. Prepackaged foods almost always contain unhealthy ingredients that aren’t good for your brain. The best diet consists of real food. Unprocessed food helps you avoid those chemicals and toxins that can hinder your memory function. Artificial sweeteners and MSG are both known to adversely affect your brain health. Here are some tips for swapping junk food for healthy food.

Cut back on sugar
Brain cells use twice as much energy as other cells, and they get most of this energy from glucose. Your brain cells can’t store energy, so they need a steady supply of glucose. That means you should eat more sugar, right? No, the key part of the equation is a steady supply. Real sugar, including high fructose corn syrup and maple syrup, is hard on your brain and memory. They send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride of spikes and dips. Too much refined sugar leads to poor memory formation, learning disorders and depression. It also impacts your attention span and mood. Here are more reasons to limit sugar.

Keep the fat
Many diets want you to cut out the fat. However, some fats are good for you. Not to mention, your brain is made mostly of fat. It needs healthy fats, such as the type you get from nuts, avocados, oily fish and olive oil. About 25% of your body’s cholesterol is found in the brain. Low fat diets have had a disastrous affect on our brains. We need good fats for overall health, as well as memory function.

Get more sleep
Sleep has so many health benefits. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep shouldn’t be considered sleeping in. You should strive to sleep 8 hours every night for your overall health and mental well-being. During sleep, your brain repairs itself, gets rid of toxins and consolidates memories. Lack of good sleep will impair your memory, creativity, judgment and attention span. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.

Stop multitasking
We’ve written before that there is no such thing as multitasking. You are simply switching from one task to another. Trying to multitask may actually slow you down, make you more prone to errors and make you more forgetful. You need about 8 seconds to actually commit a piece of information to memory. So, if you’re talking on the phone while bringing in the groceries, you are more likely to forget where you laid down your car keys.

Stay active
Our bodies are meant to move, yet you may spend 10-12 hours a day sitting. All this sitting can lead to memory lapses, brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. Exercise also moves more oxygen and nutrients to your brain. Getting more physical activity can help keep your memory sharp. Here are more benefits of regular exercise.

Reduce stress
Prolonged stress leads to anxiety, depression, poor decisions, insomnia and memory loss. Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can lead to a surplus of free radicals. These free radicals can cause your brain to shrink by punching holes in the brain cell walls and causing them to rupture and die. The next time you’re getting stressed out, take a deep breath and remember that you’re killing brain cells. Here are some more ways to reduce stress.

Check your medicine cabinet
A number of medications can affect memory, including antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and sleep aids. Don’t stop taking any prescription medicines without talking to your doctor, but if you’re concerned about your memory function it may be something to bring up at your next visit.

Keep learning
People who are cognitively active will have better memory as they age. How do you keep your brain going strong? Stay engaged in the world. Play games that make you think. Do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. Find ways to challenge your memory. For instance, if you meet someone new, make up a way to remember his or her name. Here are 16 Ways to Exercise Your Brain.

Your lifestyle and habits impact every part of your life, including your memory and brain function. A healthy, balanced lifestyle can improve your memory, mood and well-being. It’s just another reason to live a balanced life!

11 More Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

time-flies-1214482-mAlmost two years ago, we posted 11 tips on getting a good night’s sleep. While I have been working on my sleeping habits, I still have room for improvement.

It’s been proven that sleep, and getting enough sleep, has a huge impact on our overall health and well-being.

Modern life is filled with stress and so many distractions. I am guilty of watch TV or playing games on my phone while lying in bed. So, turn off the devices and use these 11 tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

Keep a sleep diary
To get a better idea of your sleep habits, write down what you do every day for at least two weeks. Keep track of what time you go to bed, how long it takes to fall asleep, how many times you wake up, and how you feel in the morning. You should also track what you eat and drink before bed and if you exercised that day. You might be surprised to see some patterns in your habits and how well you sleep.

Increase light exposure
Getting more sunlight during the day can help set your body’s clock and sleep-wake cycle. Soak up some sunlight in the morning. Try to spend more time outside during the day, even if it’s a few minutes at lunch or walking the dog after work. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to let in more sun.

Block the clock
When you go to bed, block the alarm clock. If you can’t glance at it in the middle of the night or start checking it in the early morning hours, you might find you get a more restful night’s sleep. Even the glow from your electronic devices, such as tablets and mobile phones, on the nightstand can interfere with sleep. The darker you keep the room, the better.

Turn on white noise
I sleep with a fan running at night. You can also use a sound machine to produce a low-level soothing sound. This white noise helps you tune out the noisy neighbors, a barking dog or the TV that’s on in another room.

Seal the mattress
If a runny nose, sneezing or itching is bothering you at night, your mattress could be the problem. You can develop dust mites, mold or other allergens. By using a plastic, dust-proof mattress cover, you can avoid these issues.

Get your neck in shape
If you wake up tired with a stiff neck, your pillow is probably to blame. Your pillow should keep your neck in a neutral position. It’s best to sleep on your back or side, since stomach sleeping can twist your neck.

Write down your troubles
What’s the most common sleep complaint? I can’t shut off my brain. Every night before bed, write down what’s on your mind. Make notes on chores you need to do, errands you need to run the next day, or calls that need to be made. I sit down with my day planner and jot down all the things I need do accomplish the next day at work. Then when my head hits the pillow, I don’t let myself think about it.

Create a wind down routine
In addition to writing a to-do list for the next day, you can also set your clothes out or pack what you need for work. Then, go through your bedtime ritual, such as washing your face, brushing your teeth or even taking a shower. Now it’s time to relax in bed with a book or practice deep breathing.

Stay put if you wake up
If you wake up in the night, stay in bed in the dark and do some deep breathing or visualize things that help you fall back to sleep. However, if you find that you’re worrying or becoming anxious, get up and do something quiet and relaxing until you feel sleepy again.

Review your medications
Some medicines for high blood pressure can cause insomnia, as well as antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft. If you’re having sleep troubles, you may want to discuss your medicines with your doctor.

Get it checked out
An occasional restless night is most likely normal. If you have difficulties sleeping or insomnia for more than a month, it might be time to take a deeper look. Chronic insomnia may merit a visit to the doctor to have your sleep habits evaluated.

Remember that everyone’s sleep habits are different. Finding out what works best for you may take some experimenting and learning by trial and error. Try some of these tips to discover the sleep formula that works best for you!

9 Ways to Make Lifestyle Changes That Stick

sticky-notes-and-pen-695000-mDid you make any New Year’s resolutions for 2014? Were you able to accomplish your goals?

As 2014 is quickly coming to an end, I’ve been thinking about my progress in living a more balanced life. I still stay up too late. I am working on a regular exercise routine, but I do lapse from time to time. I could definitely do a better job of managing stress – I worry entirely too much. I have been eating healthier, although I still enjoy my favorite junk foods.

So, how can we make lifestyle changes that last? Here are 9 ways to make changes that stick:

Think big
What do you want to change? You can create an overall road map for your journey to balanced living. Make a list of the lasting changes you want to accomplish. For instance, I need to get more sleep. There is so much research that backs up the importance of getting plenty of sleep. I also want to maintain my exercise habits. I would like to cook meals at home more regularly so that my whole family can develop healthier eating habits.

One thing at a time
All those goals sound overwhelming when you consider doing it all at once. That’s why you should pick one aspect of your life to change at at time. For example, I want to work on better eating habits for my family and myself. To improve my chances of success, I need to focus on making this change first before starting on additional ones.

Start small
Now that I have my goal of healthier eating habits, I can break that down into ways to achieve that goal. If I just say that we’re going to eat better, it will be difficult to accomplish. Start by making a plan and creating some steps. First, I’m going to make a list of meals I would like to prepare over the next week. Then, I can put together a grocery list of supplies I need to buy, adding in some healthy snack foods. Now, when I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired, I will have a list of meals I can make and the ingredients on hand.

Set goals
For more complex lifestyle changes, you can set additional goals to keep you on the right track. For instance, if you want to get your finances in order, you may want to set several goals to accomplish this task. You can start by reviewing your financial situation. Then, you can create a budget that will, in turn, help you set goals to pay off credit card debt, reduce your mortgage, and save for retirement.

Get a buddy
Knowing that someone is on your side can help you make changes that last. It can be your spouse or partner who gives you encouragement or works with you to achieve a goal. You can enlist a financial planner to help you put your finances in order. A personal trainer can help you develop an exercise routine and set goals so that you stay on track.

Share your plans
It’s okay to tell your friends and family about your plans. Having support can help you feel more confident about accomplishing your goals. Sharing your challenges and successes can make the work easier and may help others feel inspired to make changes themselves!

Reward yourself
Don’t wait until you’ve achieved your final goal to reward yourself. Rewards, however small, can help motivate you to keep at it. For short-term goals, set simple rewards. For instance, if I cook healthy meals for a week, I can buy a pair a shoes. Or, if I meet my exercise goals for a month, I can treat myself to manicure.

Be prepared for lapses
You will slip up. Everyone has lapses when trying to build healthy habits. You will eat that brownie a la mode. You’ll have a cold and skip your workout routine for a week. It doesn’t mean you failed. The only way you fail is if you give up. After a lapse, forgive yourself, learn from your mistakes and move on.

Do it again!
Once you feel like you’ve developed a healthy habit that will stick, start on the next lifestyle change you want to make. Finding a healthy, balanced life is a work in progress. Keep at it!