Tag Archives: healthy balance

How to lose weight safely and effectively

How to lose weight safely and effectivelyEveryone wants to know the secret to weight loss. Well, I’ll tell you. The secret is changing your habits. It’s that simple. There are no fad diets or magic pills that will allow you to safely and effectively lose weight and keep it off.

The key to successful and healthy weight loss is balance. It’s about balancing the energy – or food – you take in with the amount of energy you burn. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.

You can also help balance the scales by exercising to burn off extra calories. I like to eat. I especially enjoy snacks that may not be the best choices. I know that they come at a price. I will need to put in extra time exercising to burn off those added calories.

Here are some tips to help you find balance and lose weight the safe way:

Forget about short cuts
For many of us, it really is a matter of changing our mindset. There is no easy solution to losing weight and keeping it off. There are no shortcuts. It takes consistency. It means eating a healthy diet and exercising for the rest of our lives. Once you change your outlook, you’ll realize that finding a healthy balance is the only way to achieve long-term success.

Reduce your calories
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you are taking in. However, don’t cut your daily calorie intake below 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. While you may lose weight more rapidly at first, it will eventually backfire on you. Your body will go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism. You may also become deficient in important vitamins and minerals.

Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories than most meats, snack foods and pre-packaged foods. By eating fresh fruits and veggies, you will be less inclined to eat those unhealthy foods, and you will be able to reduce your calorie intake.

Chose whole grains
Whole-grain cereals, breads and pastas are much more healthy for you than processed foods. They contain fewer empty calories. Whole grains also add fiber to your diet which is good for your cholesterol, blood pressure and digestion.

Consume fats
You can eat fats, but it should be the right type. Saturated and trans fats can contribute to weight gain and should be left out of your diet. These fats are found in fried foods, potato chips and snack foods. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that can help you lose weight. These good fats are found in olive oil, salmon, nuts and avocados.

Add snacks
It’s okay to snack. You can eat three smaller meals a day and add in regular healthy snacks to keep you from getting hungry and making poor food choices. Eating at more regular intervals actually helps keep your metabolism working steadily so that you burn calories more efficiently.

Go with water
Drinking empty calories just adds to your daily caloric intake. If you avoid sodas, juices, sports drinks, and any sweetened beverages, you have more calories you can use for healthy, filling foods. Drink water, skim-milk or flavored waters with natural sweeteners to avoid adding unnecessary calories.

Get more exercise
Like we mentioned earlier, you can burn off more calories with exercise. It’s recommended to get 30 to 60 minutes a day to promote weight loss. Try to find activities you enjoy doing. I don’t like to run, so I don’t have much success when I try to start an exercise routine that focuses on running. I do like to play sports, such as volleyball and softball. I also like to bike, walk and do aerobics in the swimming pool. By finding ways to exercise that you find fun, you are more likely to keep at it.

Build muscle
Building muscles can help you burn more calories because muscle burns more than fat. Start lifting weights or doing other strength training exercises. You’ll not only become more toned and fit, you’ll also increase your metabolism and lose more weight.

Work in cardio
Make sure you are getting your heart rate up when you exercise. The simplest way to get the heart pumping is to run. However, you can also do a cycling class, swim, take a Zumba or kickboxing class, or play tennis. Giving your heart a workout helps you burn calories and lose weight.

Mix it up
One of the keys to maintaining a successful exercise routine is to continue to mix things up. Doing the same thing over and over can get monotonous. Add in new types of exercise. You may also be able to modify your routine based on the season. For example, go ice skating in the winter and rollerblading in the summer. Play tennis when it’s nice outdoors and racquetball on cold or rainy days. Try new things and mix it up!

I know we all wish there were an easy way to lose weight and keep it off. It comes down to balancing a healthy diet with plenty of exercise. Do you have any tips to help others lose weight safely and effectively?

10 tips to a happy marriage

happy marriageMy husband and I have been married for 20 years. We dated for 5 years.That means we have been together for 25 years. I have to say it just astounds me that we have been together that long. I don’t feel like I should be 25 years old, let alone be in a relationship for that many years.

What does it take to make a marriage last? I can honestly say that I haven’t really given it that much thought. In the United States, couples marrying for the first time have approximately a 50% chance of divorcing. What are the other 50% doing that makes them stick it out?

Here are some tips to creating a happy marriage:

Plan for the long haul
When my husband and I got married, we both knew it was forever. We talked about the fact that divorce would never be an option. I think once you take that choice off the table, it’s much easier to plan for the long haul. I have friends who threaten divorce on a regular basis. I always think: Be careful what you wish for. A happy marriage is a committed marriage. Each party knows that the only option is to create a long, memorable life together.

Be best friends
While I believe it was love at first sight for my husband and me, I also feel that we are best friends. We trust each other. We are willing to do dumb and embarrassing stuff in front of each other. We have each other’s backs. When you’re best friends, you truly enjoying spending time together. You have a shared history and inside jokes. You can communicate without talking. You may even annoy the people around you (which is part of the fun). You may also annoy each other from time to time, but underneath it all you still value and respect your spouse.

Keep the spark alive
In any good relationship, sex is more than just a physical act. It’s a vital part of the health and emotional well-being of a marriage. It’s a connection that only the two of you share. Obviously, over the years, your sexual relationship will evolve. The sparks may fly when you first meet, but when you add jobs, a mortgage, kids, sleep deprivation, and a few decades, it can be harder to keep the romance burning. You have to discover ways to fan the flames and nurture your relationship with each other.

Share a dream
To be happy, you and your spouse need to create shared dreams. You should have the same vision. For instance, it may be buying a house, taking a certain vacation or starting a family. Obviously, the shared dream will change and evolve over time as your current dream is realized. You can also have separate dreams. For instance, one partner may want to switch jobs or go back to school. It’s important for couples to be supportive of each other’s dreams as well.

Accept your differences
Even the most in tune couples have differences. That’s what makes us individuals, and frankly, more interesting. My husband is Catholic, and I grew up Methodist. I am about as liberal as you can get, and he is conservative. He goes hunting, and I can’t squish a spider because I worry that its spider babies will be orphans. I love shoes, and he loves power tools. (It works out – he can build shelves for my shoes.) We have learned to accept that we are different. In fact, I think the differences are what makes us more compatible. And it definitely keeps things exciting.

Put each other first
Your spouse comes before your parents, your friends or your siblings. When you are first married, it’s easy to go crying to Mom or Dad when things get tough. However, it’s important to talk to your spouse when you have problems, rather than talking about them to your family or friends. My husband and I moved 250 miles away from home right after we got married. I actually think it was good for our marriage because we didn’t have friends or family nearby. We had to face the good and the bad together.

At the same time, you should stay connected to your parents. In recent years, my husband and I have moved back home and live within a few miles of our families. I talk on the phone with my mom every few days. My husband helps his dad with household repairs. We are close to our families, but we also maintain our own relationship.

Fight fair
There’s fighting that means having a heated discussion or bickering about trivial things. And then there is fighting as in screaming, yelling and throwing things. My husband and I both grew up in households where our parents discussed issues, argued their points of view and then came to a compromise. We argued more when we were first married, but now we rarely have serious disagreements. We have learned it’s less stressful and less time consuming if we just work it out.

Happy couples learn how to fight fair. They learn how to talk things over constructively. You listen to each other and don’t try to find a solution until both sides have had their say. You may need to table the discussion so each person can think about it. There is no blame. No one is called names or belittled. It’s not a power struggle. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about what is best for you as a family. You give and you compromise.

Find balance
My husband and I have learned that we can’t spend every waking moment together. We get on each other’s nerves. We enjoy spending time together, but we also like to be away from each other. There should be a healthy balance of family time, spouse time and alone time. You may think you’re spending time with your spouse, but it may actually be time with your kids or other family members. You and your spouse should find time to have a conversation that doesn’t involve kids, work or household chores. Happy couples find the time to strengthen their connection. And they do things on their own that make them happy, too.

Face it together
At some point, your relationship will be tested. There may be a serious illness, job loss or a death in the family. The tough times will put the biggest strain on your relationship. The stress can pull a couple apart. But, if you stick together when things get rough, you will come out on the other side with a stronger marriage than ever.

Laugh about it
Laughter is the best medicine. It’s good to laugh together or at your current situation. Humor can help diffuse an argument or lighten the mood. Good marriages keep the humor alive. My husband can even make me laugh while I’m in the middle of a teary breakdown. He knows when I need to take myself less seriously. That is true love.

And, don’t forget, being married might help you live longer, so that’s another reason to stick with it. How long have you been married? Do you have tips to creating a happy marriage?