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New Year’s Resolution Check-In

Alright, so it’s been a month since you made that New Year’s resolution focused on reaching a healthy weight. How’s it going? Be honest with yourself. Have you been staying strong, trying a little bit or completely forgotten about it? Maybe it’s time to revisit your goal.

 

First, evaluate why you aren’t sticking to your resolution. Are you unmotivated? Is there something in your way? Maybe it just wasn’t a good fit for you in the first place? While the start of a New Year is good time for starting new goals doesn’t mean it always has to be like that because you can start a new goal literally any time you want. Stop saying tomorrow and start simply say today.

 

Maybe you are unmotivated. That’s okay. It happens. But now let’s focus on how to get and stay motivated. Consider an accountability partner is what you need or a reward system. How about telling everyone you know? The more people that know, the more accountability you will have.

 

Consider what obstacles are standing in the way of you achieving your goals. Are they obstacles that you can change yourself? If so, why haven’t they been changed yet? If not, is there a way to make sure they don’t negatively affect you?
You may feel a little overwhelmed with all the questions asked but it’s necessary to be honest with yourself in order to make change. Remember, if you ever need help or a little motivation, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone!

Keeping Active in Winter

Just when we think the snow has gone away for good, Mother Nature blows it right back in. However, it’s important to stay active during the colder months too in order to maintain a healthy body weight and healthy blood pressure. Not only that, but it helps improve your mood which is often affected by the weather. Here are some simple tips you can incorporate to your everyday routine:

1: Take the stairs instead of the elevator

2: Put on some music and dance while you’re making dinner

3: Walk around the mall (and leave the wallet at home)

4: Swim in an indoor pool

5: Pop in a fitness DVD at home

6: Shovel your driveway

7: The treadmill is your friend, not your enemy

8: Yoga

9: Take advantage of sunny days & go outside

10: Get a step counter to motivate you to walk more

11: Try an outdoor winter sport, such as ice skating

12: Deep clean your house

13: Run in place or do pushups while watching television

14: Park farther away from work

15: Play with your kids and pets

Getting Over That Cold

‘Tis the season for runny noses and sore throats. It’s easy to just brush it off and keep going on with your day, but not taking care of those early cold signs can lead to more serious illnesses. When you first feel your throat getting scratchy and your head hurting, take these precautionary tips to help you get over that darn cold.

  1. Rest. It seems simple but it’s so underappreciated. When you keep going and going, your body has to work harder to keep up, so when you’re feeling under the weather it just has to work that much harder. Take an afternoon (or longer) to relax, go to bed earlier and maybe push that snooze button just a few more times.
  2. Stay hydrated. Whatever is in your body needs to be expelled out of there. Water is usually good for this because oftentimes when we are sick, we get dehydrated from not wanting to eat or drink. But if you have a sore throat, try sipping some mint tea. It does wonders for the body.
  3. Add moisture to the air. One simple way to do this is with a humidifier. Besides a low hum, you won’t even notice it there. Oftentimes our throat and nose become dry which causes a lot of the harsh scratchies we feel.
  4. Relax. Sometimes we don’t feel that our bodies physically tense up from stress (even if we don’t feel stressed), which only adds to the growing cold. Stop, read a book, take a bath, do yoga.

November is American Diabetes Month

Did you know that 1 in 11 Americans today has diabetes? Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. It affects men and women, people young and old, and people of all races, shapes and sizes. Often there are no outward signs from the 29 million Americans who fight this chronic illness every day. That’s why there is a critical need to foster awareness and education while breaking down stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings about this growing public health crisis that affects so many of us.

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This is exactly why the American Diabetes Association marks each November as American Diabetes Month: to bring extra attention to the disease and the tens of millions of people affected by it.

This November, the organization will showcase real-life stories of friends, families and neighbors managing the day-to-day triumphs and challenges of diabetes. The 2016 campaign, sponsored by Colgate Total® (National Oral Care Strategic Partner) and Medtronic Diabetes®, invites us to use #ThisIsDiabetes to share our personal stories and to start a dialogue about what it really means to live with diabetes.

Diabetes is more than the medications and devices used to manage it. For many, diabetes dictates how they organize their day, what they eat at every meal, how they choose to be physically active and how they spend their money. People with diabetes can have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes, as type 1 and type 2 require very specific forms of treatment.

adm4Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and there is no known way to prevent it. Approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, which means their body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is critical in order for the body to transport glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes). Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; other may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults.

Some women develop gestational diabetes, high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy, which requires treatment to protect the health of the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes affects approximately 9.2 percent of pregnant women.

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There’s a way for everybody to participate during American Diabetes Month in November. Share your story, or encourage a friend or family member to share theirs using #ThisIsDiabetes. Be sure to also follow the American Diabetes Association on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

You can also update your Facebook profile picture to help raise awareness, sign up to become an advocate and donate to help the American Diabetes Association continue their critical work. To learn more and view #ThisIsDiabetes stories from around the country, check out diabetes.org/adm.

Why “Eat Less, Exercise More” Can Be Detrimental

When you tell your friends or family that you’re looking to lose weight, they probably adopt a didactic tone and tell you that you simply need to, “Eat less and exercise more.” That’s easier said than done. First of all, it makes most people want to throw up their hands and exclaim, “WOW, thank you so much! I’m cured! Why didn’t I think of that?” Second of all, though, that simplistic view of weight loss can be incorrect.

Any diet that recommends simply eating less than 1,200 calories per day (depending on your gender, age and weight) is almost 100 percent likely to be a step in the wrong direction. Although it makes sense to us that eating fewer calories will cause us to lose weight, you must be careful not to eat too little. Not consuming enough calories can cause your body to go into what’s called “starvation mode,” which is thought to have been an adaptation our ancestors developed for survival. During this time, your body stores the fat you consume and instead burns muscle to provide it with the calories it needs to function. Over time, this leads to a significant loss in muscle causing the metabolic rate to slow down. A slow metabolic rate means any weight loss you initially expected will not occur.  

Another problem with the “eat less” philosophy is it doesn’t take what you eat into consideration. If you limit yourself to a certain number of calories, (let’s say 2,000 just for the purpose of the upcoming example), and eat every single one of those calories in doughnuts, it’s guaranteed you will feel sluggish and/or sick. You won’t ever feel full and you will probably feel yourself losing most of your muscle and replacing that muscle with fat. After all, 2000 calories is only 7-10 doughnuts for your entire day and those doughnuts have practically no nutritional value. Eating less in general is important if you previously consumed four full plates of food at breakfast, lunch and dinner. But eating less junk food and more healthy food is just as important for your health and weight loss goals.

There isn’t really a set number of calories you can consume that marks the difference between experiencing weight loss and going into starvation mode. It all depends, as previously mentioned, on your gender, age and weight. However, being patient with your diet and allowing yourself to eat when you’re hungry can prevent you from reaching that point. Seeking guidance and making a weight loss plan (as opposed to letting your ‘diet’ consist of 10 doughnuts per day) can help you achieve your weight loss goals while receiving proper nutrients and ensuring your body is healthy.

Healthy Lifestyle: Looking Past the Diet and Exercise

If you want to improve your lifestyle, you’ve probably already tried changing your eating habits (for the better) and exercise. However, you still may not feel fulfilled.. Why is that? Mental health is just as important as physical health. Oftentimes when you feel good first, looking good naturally follows.

First you need to find out what is truly standing in the way of your happiness. Is it a dead-end job, a sour relationship or the same monotonous routine? For some, this may be easy to pinpoint. For others, this may be a challenge. Don’t hesitate to ask a person close to you for his/her opinion.  

Now you assume I’m going to suggest that once you find the problem you have to change it. Not necessarily. Some large decisions could be in the way: your kids, your extended family, your situation. I totally get that. But there could be some other things you can change to make those tough times seem not so bad.

Plan a weekend getaway. This doesn’t have to be extravagant or far away; it could just be to a local hotel or to a woodsy cabin. But when you get out of your familiar environment, you can take time to breathe and get your thoughts off of the things that have been occupying your mind.

Try something you’ve never done before. Have you always wanted to go skydiving? Or maybe your adventure level is more along the lines of trying that new Thai restaurant. Do it! What’s holding you back besides yourself?

Take as much time for yourself as you give to others. This is a foreign concept for many people in today’s fast-paced world. Whether you’re an extrovert, introvert or somewhere in the middle, you need to take as much care of yourself as you take care of others. And you are the only one who can determine what that looks like.

Develop a life plan. Sometimes the thing that gets us down is that we don’t know where we’re going. Determine what you truly want to accomplish in life and work towards it.

Slowly but surely, your mental health will start improving. And once that happens, everything else will fall into place.  

Four Weight Loss Myths Revealed

Single food diets really work.

Companies love to hype up juice diets and weight loss programs that force you to eat only one food or one type of food for a certain amount of time. Truthfully, most of these regimens, especially if they are exaggerated or not completed correctly, can actually end up being less healthy for you than your original eating pattern. The majority of these diets are based on the assumption or belief that your body can’t handle taking in multiple types of nutrients or foods, leading to digestive complications and weight gain. However, the opposite is actually true. There are very few foods that only contain one type of nutrient, so finding foods that consist of, for example, only carbohydrates or only proteins, would be virtually impossible in the first place. Not to mention, your body was designed to take in multiple nutrients at a time and to use those nutrients in conjunction with each other to keep your body functioning properly. Eating foods that help you achieve a balance of each of the five nutrients — carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals is the key to a healthy diet.

 

Fast weight loss is the best weight loss.

Programs that promise intense weight loss in short amounts of time are often leading you astray in your quest to lose those extra pounds. Although it is extremely tempting to adopt regimens that give you fast results with minimal effort, keep in mind it is almost always unhealthy to rapidly lose weight and that these methods are frequently unreliable. The only exception to this rule is a process of rapid weight loss that is prescribed by doctors to patients whose weight is causing them serious health problems and even then, these diets are closely supervised by medical professionals and the weight lost is often difficult to keep off. Losing weight quickly can often cause you to lose water weight or muscle as opposed to burning fat because it is difficult to burn fat in short amounts of time. Adopting a weight loss regimen that gives you a goal of 1-2 pounds lost per week is a realistic and healthy method to losing weight and developing habits that will keep the weight off for the rest of your life.

 

You should never eat fast food or “junk food.”

It is true that fast food is unhealthy overall – there is no disputing that. However, you don’t have to completely stop eating McDonald’s or Taco Bell just because you’re trying to lose weight. Eating well can be hard at first but it doesn’t have to be completely devoid of enjoyment. Now, if you previously ate a Big Mac during every lunch break or stopped to get a Cheesy Gordita Crunch daily, those habits need to be broken. But getting the occasional order of fries, isn’t going to break your healthy lifestyle. It’s only going to satisfy your craving and make it easier to stay faithful to your regimen later. Control your portion sizes and the frequency with which you eat unhealthy foods and you’ll find yourself enjoying your new healthy lifestyle while still reaching your weight loss goals.  

 

Watching what you eat is enough – exercise isn’t necessary.

We know — It’s hard to find time to get to the gym and it’s harder still to find the motivation to push yourself through a hard workout once you get there. While you will most likely drop pounds through healthy eating, you’ll miss out on a lot of health benefits if you don’t combine your smart food choices with exercise. Exercising helps you keep the weight that you lose from coming back, plus it improves mood, helps with sleep and can aid in disease prevention. It is recommended that you participate in 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise most or all days of the week. Thirty minutes daily helps with disease prevention. Sixty minutes daily helps with weight maintenance. Ninety minutes daily can take care of both, plus it’ll burn more fat and helps you lose even more weight. Developing a regular exercise schedule can also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and build healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Studies show those who were active when they were younger and stayed active throughout their lifetime developed fewer health problems and lived longer than those who were sedentary most of their lives. If you really hate traditional methods of exercise, find ways to get your daily dose that are enjoyable to you.