Uncategorized

Best Bedtime Snacks

Bedtime Snacks

Foods to avoid or eat to ensure a good night’s rest

What do heartburn, trips to the bathroom, and insomnia have in common? They keep you from getting the quality sleep your body needs for optimal functioning. And they may all be caused by what you eat and drink in the hours before bed. Some foods hinder sleep while others actually promote it. It’s fine to have a small snack before turning in for the night as long as you’re smart about what you eat.

Here are a few of the worst and best foods to eat before bed.

Worst: Greasy, Fatty Foods

Wonder why you suffer from heartburn and indigestion as soon as you lie down? It could likely be that cheeseburger or bowl of ice cream you ate earlier in the evening. Extra stomach acids are produced to digest heavy, greasy foods with a high fat content and fatty foods weaken the esophagus muscles that are supposed to prevent stomach acids from backing up. These two factors combine to cause heartburn.

Keep heartburn at bay by avoiding fast food, ice cream, fried foods, and cheese before bed.

Best: Food Containing Melatonin

Melatonin, a chemical that helps regulate and promote sleep, is produced by your body and is also naturally found in certain foods. Many people take supplements of melatonin to help them sleep, but all they may need is to eat one of a melatonin-rich food before bed. Pineapples, oranges, and bananas increase the body’s production of melatonin. One study found pineapples to increase melatonin levels by more than 266 percent, bananas by 180 percent, and oranges by 47 percent.

Tart cherries are your best bet at natural melatonin. Can’t sleep or fighting jet lag? Chow down on a handful of cherries and rest easy.

Worst: Spicy Foods

Wonder why you can’t sleep after that delicious Indian food you ate for dinner? Spicy foods may cause heartburn, upset your stomach, and stimulate your senses, all of which keep you from a good night’s rest. Lay off the spice and your sleep will be nice!

Best: Food Containing Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts into serotonin and melatonin, two brain chemicals that help you relax and fall to sleep. Wonder why you feel so sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal? It’s tryptophan! Did your mother ever give you a glass of warm milk to drink before bed? Milk is high in tryptophan, too. Other sources include bananas, honey, eggs, seeds, and nuts.

Worst: Caffeine

For many people, avoiding caffeine before bed is a no-brainer. Caffeine is a stimulant, the last thing you need for a restful night. Coffee, caffeinated sodas, energy drinks, and dark chocolate—all high in caffeine—should be avoided in the four to six hours before turning in for the night.

Best: Complex Carbs

Other foods like turkey that promote production of serotonin are complex carbohydrates (whole grain crackers, cereals, pastas, and rice). Better yet, combine complex carbs with foods that contain tryptophan. A small bowl of whole grain cereal and milk or crackers and peanut butter are two options.

Worst: Foods High in Protein

Yes, your body needs protein. Just not right before bed. Protein is one of those foods that takes your body a long time to digest. Sleep slows the process of digestion even further. Your body may have trouble focusing on sleep if it’s working to digest a steak, pork chop, or chicken breast.

Best: Foods High in Potassium

Ditch the protein and go with potassium instead, as it helps your muscles relax. Foods like bananas and sweet potatoes are high in potassium as well as complex carbs, making them great bedtime snack foods.

Just Right

Both going to bed overly stuffed or hungry can disrupt your sleep, so eat a small snack of the right type of foods an hour or so before turning in for the night.


Stress – steps to manage

The Stressed Out Life

More than 75 percent of doctor visits are stress-related. Could stress be to blame for your ailment?

Stress is a normal part of life. Every day you face demands, pressures, and challenges you must deal with. The way your body perceives these stressors and reacts to them determines whether stress is positive or negative.

Positive stress, also called eustress, can be a powerful motivator to reach a goal, stay alert, or avoid danger. Negative stress on the other hand—also known as distress—can control you and affect your physical and emotional well-being when not kept in check.

How do you respond to stressors? Do you see them as challenges to overcome or as challenges overcoming you? What happens when you’re constantly in a state of distress and can’t seem to relax or escape what’s weighing you down? Read on to find out.

The Physical Side of Stress

It’s been proven that the mind-body connection is real. Mental anguish caused by chronic stress can exhibit itself in your physical health. What may begin as feeling overwhelmed at work or worried about a troubled relationship can easily translate into health concerns of your own to deal with.

Headaches, back or neck pain, dizziness, gastrointestinal disorders, frequent colds, arthritis, chest pain, asthma, ulcers, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, eating disorders, and weight gain can all be related to stress.

Does your child complain of a stomachache every morning before school? There may be something or someone causing your young student distress. Do you have trouble sleeping due to the worries on your mind? Before running to the doctor, take a hard look at what’s causing you tension and anxiety and deal with that issue first. It may give you the opportunity to solve your health dilemma without a copay or pill.

The Mental and Emotional Sides of Stress

Unmanaged stress can negatively affect your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. How many evenings do you come home from work feeling frustrated, angry, or short-fused? You may need to check your stress at the door. Negative stress can also play a role in nervousness, the inability to concentrate, depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, and irritability.

These emotions often lead to destructive behaviors and habits like substance abuse, overeating, under-eating, or social withdrawal. Get stress under control and you may avoid all of these negatives.

Steps to Manage Stress

Like stated before, stress is a part of life, so you’ve got to learn how to control it before it ends up controlling you. The longer stress goes unchecked, the worse its effects will be on both your mind and body. Sometimes stress doesn’t cause health or emotional issues, but it can make existing problems worse. If you’re suffering from stress-related issues, it’s time to take steps toward managing that stress.

The first step is to identify your stressors. Is it your mother-in-law, your boss, public speaking, or your messy house? Whatever it is, figure out the stressors and then make a plan on how to address the situation in the future. You cannot altogether avoid your stressors, so think of the best way to deal with them without being stressed out. Determine what would help alleviate your stress and work towards that end.

When you feel yourself getting stressed out, find healthy ways to release the stress before it builds up. Go for a jog, practice relaxation techniques, do yoga or Tai chi, take a hot bath, listen to music that relaxes you, do a hobby, spend time with a close friend, watch a funny movie, and get plenty of sleep.

Still feeling stressed? Make an appointment with a mental health professional who can help you identify your stressors and the most effective way of dealing with them.

Work It Out

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Exerting yourself through exercise increases your body’s production of endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for boosting your mood.


Diet or Exercise??

Diet Vs. Exercise:  Which has more impact on weight loss?

You know you need to eat the right foods and get regular exercise to lose weight. But when the thought of early morning workouts at the gym is overwhelming and the idea of counting calories is making you think twice about getting healthy, you may wonder, “Do I really have to do both? Could I only do one or the other and still see the results I want?”

What your question boils down to is this: Is diet or exercise more effective in the weight loss battle? Many people have asked the same question. Here’s the answer.

By a Landslide

For someone whose goal is to lose weight, diet is the clear winner. When it comes to weight loss, studies show that diet generally accounts for 75 percent of your success and exercise only pitches in 25 percent. This is good news. Think about it: it’s a lot easier to cut a few hundred calories in your diet each day than it is to burn the same amount with exercise. Would you rather skip that third piece of pizza or run a couple miles to burn it off?

One study of more than 700 people found that those who dieted and didn’t exercise lost 23 pounds in 15 weeks. Those who exercised without dieting only lost six pounds in 21 weeks.

This means it’s time to start taking your diet seriously if you want to lose weight. Watch your calorie intake and find a balanced diet plan that you can stick with for the long run. Yes, low-carb or crash diets will lead to fast results, but can you sustain such a diet for the rest of your life? Of course you can’t. So instead of crashing and burning, eat a diet that includes lean protein, healthy fats, whole-grains, fruits, and veggies and eliminate the junk.

If you cut enough calories, you’ll still lose weight even if you never set foot in a gym. Just don’t reduce your calories to an unsafe level. Women should eat at least 1,500 calories a day and men a few more.

It’s Still Important

Just because you can lose weight through diet alone doesn’t mean you don’t have to exercise. Physical activity is an essential part of health, long life, and weight management—not to mention faster weight loss. People who exercise in addition to eating a healthy diet lose more weight than those who diet alone.
Exercise not only burns calories, but it aids in weight loss in several other ways.

First, it’s an effective way to manage stress so you won’t be as likely to eat in response to your emotions. Second, it boosts your metabolism so you’ll burn calories more efficiently. Third, exercise builds muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Fourth, exercise helps your body lose fat, build muscle, and strengthen bones. Weight loss from diet alone often means a loss of bone density and muscle rather than fat. Lastly, people sleep better when they exercise. Since sleepy people are prone to overeat to stimulate their brains, working out regularly is your best bet against sleepy-time eating you’ll regret the next morning.

You may be tempted to lose weight through diet alone, but keep in mind the statistics for lasting weight loss through diet alone aren’t very hopeful. Only a small percentage of dieters are able to keep their weight off long term. Most find their weight constantly fluctuating as they go from one diet to the next. But those who use a combination of diet and exercise to lose weight have a much greater chance of keeping the weight off for at least a year.

Keeping It Fun

Exercise doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your life.


Is your goal a flat belly?

Goal: Flat Abs

The best exercises to tone and tighten your abdominal muscles.

Call it what you want: washboard, six pack, cut, or chiseled. What you desire are abs of steel. Defined, toned abs are a fitness goal for both men and women, and while belly fat can be tough to lose, don’t give up on those stubborn areas. Stick with your diet and exercise plan and you’ll be needing a smaller pant size in no time. Then, focus your attention on tightening and toning your abs with effective exercises like these.

The Plank

Think of a plank of wood: a flat piece of timber used for building purposes. That’s the shape you want your body to make. Get on the floor in push-up position, balancing on your hands and toes. (If you’re a beginner, get on your elbows and knees). Put your body in a straight line and keep your abdominal and glute muscles tight. Hold and breathe for as many seconds as you can.

You can also try the side plank. On the floor, balance on the side of your foot and your elbow, keeping your body in a straight line.

Crunch Variations

Tired of doing the traditional crunch? Try a reverse crunch. Lie on your back with your hands cradling your head. Lift your legs, bend your knees, and point your toes toward the sky. Tighten you abs and raise your tailbone and lower back off the floor. Lower back to the starting position and repeat.

A second type of crunch to try is the oblique crunch. Lie on your back and place your left hand on the left side of your head, your right hand by your side on the floor. Rest your feet on a bench or step. Lift your left shoulder and twist up until your left elbow touches your right knee. Do several reps and then switch sides.

The bicycle crunch is a third popular variation of the crunch. Lie on your back and lightly cradle your head with your hands. Bend your knees and bring your legs up so your lower legs are parallel to the ground. Now, lift your shoulders, being careful not to strain your neck, and start moving your legs in a pedaling motion as if riding a bicycle. As you bring your left knee up, reach your right elbow across your body to touch it. Now, extend your left leg and bend your right knee up, reaching your left elbow across your body. Continue alternating sides.

Side Bends

A third way to work your abdominal muscles is the side bend. Stand up tall with your feet placed shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell with your right hand, palm facing in. Rest your left hand on your hip. Keeping your back straight, bend at the waist to the right side. Hold. Then bend to the left side and hold. Switch the dumbbell to your left hand and repeat the movements. This exercise can also be done with a barbell on your shoulders or while siting on a bench.

Leg Raises

Another great way to build strong abs is with leg raises. Lie on the floor or on a flat bench and place your hands by your sides or under your glutes. Keep your legs straight or slightly bent, exhale, and raise your legs up until they’re perpendicular to the floor. Inhale and lower them back to the floor. Add intensity by holding a dumbbell between your feet.

Commit to a workout routine that includes 15 minutes of abdominal exercises three days a week and see the difference it makes. You’ll be swimsuit ready by the time summer rolls around next year!

No Machinery Necessary

Though there are a handful of ab-centric exercise machines out there, many of the best abdominal exercises require nothing but your body.


Habits – the ones that ‘make’ you

good-habits-bad-habits
What are your habits? 
Do you eat the same thing for lunch, go through the same exercise routine, and fall into bed at the same time each night?Or maybe you’ve made a habit out of eating whatever looks good, avoiding the gym, and staying up as late as possible.John Dryden famously said, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

Confucius said, “Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

And Aristotle noticed that, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

It’s pretty clear that the habits you adopt will shape who you are.

When it comes to your body, the two habits that define your physique are your eating and exercise habits. In fact, everyone that you know who is in great shape has dialed in these two important habits.

If you aren’t happy with your body, then simply adjust your eating and exercise habits. Here’s how to adopt a habit:

Making a Habit
Use these seven steps to create a life-improving habit.

1) Decide on the ONE habit that you would like to develop. It’s tempting to pick up 3 or 4 healthy habits, but choosing just one new habit is realistic and doable.

Here are some healthy habit ideas:

  • Do not eat after 7pm each night.
  • Bring your lunch to work instead of eating fast food.
  • Exercise 4 times a week after work for 45 minutes each time.
  • Only eat fruits and veggies as your afternoon snack.
  • Get up early and exercise for an hour each morning.
  • Work with a personal trainer 3 times a week.

2) Write your new habit down on paper. Also include your 3 main motivators for developing this new habit, the obstacles you’ll face, and your strategies for overcoming these obstacles.

Here’s an example:

  • My new habit is to work with a personal trainer 3 times each week.
  • My 3 main motivators are 1) to feel confident in my bathing suit this summer, 2) to have more energy, and 3) to fit into my skinny jeans.
  • The obstacles I will face are 1) not having the energy to go to my session after work, 2) not having enough money to pay for sessions, and 3) not having my spouse’s support.
  • I will overcome these obstacles by 1) doing my workouts before work instead of after work, so I have more energy, 2) cutting down on frivolous spending to ensure that I can afford it, and 3) asking my spouse to join me so we can get in shape together.

3) Commit fully to your new habit, in a public way. This could mean posting it on facebook, or simply announcing it at the dinner table. Put yourself in a position where you’ll be embarrassed to give up on your new habit.

4) Keep track of your progress. You could keep a detailed journal or simply make a check mark on each calendar day that you successfully exercise your new habit.

5) Keep yourself publically accountable. This means either status updates on facebook or verbal status updates at the dinner table. Your friends and family are in a position to offer you support, so don’t shy away from those close to you.

6) When you fail, figure out what went wrong so that you can plan around it in the future.

7) Reward yourself for your success.

Once your new habit becomes second nature, usually in about 30 days, feel free to add a second habit by going through the same 7 steps.

I’d love for my fitness program to become your new healthy habit! Call or email now to reserve your spot. If losing weight is something you’d like to do this year, then call or email to set up a consultation. I’m the kind of person who LOVES to see clients like you achieve their goals! Call or email today and I’ll help get you started on a fitness program that will quickly transform what you see in that mirror.  Give us a call to get started TODAY!

Like this tip? Subscribe for our weekly free recipe, fitness tips, motivation, and more!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
FREE recipes & fat loss information

How to get EVERYTHING YOU WANT in 2015

new-year-s-resolution
Here’s to a Happy New Year and to getting everything that you want out of 2015.

Today you have a clean slate with a brand new year spread out in front of you, filled with endless possibilities.

How will you harness your potential to create the very best you? I recommend using the teachings of Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his legendary book ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’.

Dr. Maltz created the original science of self improvement and success, so who better to turn to when you’re ready to take your life to another level. His teachings have stood the test of time.

Take the following and get all that you want out of 2012:

1) Use Your Imagination
If you thought that imaginations were only valued in preschool, think again. One of the key points in ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’ is the technique of using your imagination to reprogram and manage your self image.

You may have been exposed to self improvement strategies that tell you to ‘act as if’ or to ‘fake it till you make it.’ Those typically don’t work because your self image is still the same.

According to Dr. Maltz, your self image is the key to changing your actions and habits. If you want to lose 50 pounds, you first have to think of yourself as someone 50 pounds lighter.

Spend time in your imagination. See yourself 50 pounds lighter. Experience a day in your life at this slimmed down size. Imagine everything down to the smallest detail.

According to Dr. Maltz, this imagination time will begin to change your self image to that of a person 50 pounds lighter, and your actions and habits will fall into place.

2) Reject Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts will undoubtedly arise as you use your imagination to see your ideal self. “I’m not really going to lose 50 pounds.” “I’ve tried losing weight before and it never works. I’m always going to be overweight.” “This imagination stuff is bogus. It won’t work for me.”

Dr. Maltz says that the instant you receive a negative thought simply dismiss it. Don’t spend any time on it at all.

The quicker that you dismiss negative thoughts, the less impact they will have on your self image. Also you’ll find that fewer and fewer negative thoughts arise once you get into the habit of dismissal.

3) Be Nostalgic For The Future
It’s so easy to be nostalgic for the past, especially when you only remember the good stuff. But what good does it do for you to wish for things that are long gone?

Dr. Maltz recommends developing nostalgia for the future.

In your imagination you’ve already lost the 50 pounds, so start pining for the future! Your self image will lock onto that picture and your nostalgic feelings will fuel the fire.

4) I’m The Kind Of Person That…
What kind of person are you?

I’m the kind of person that loves sweets.
I’m the kind of person that hates exercise.
I’m the kind of person that can’t lose weight.
OR

I’m the kind of person that eats fresh and healthy food.
I’m the kind of person that keeps fit.
I’m the kind of person that maintains an ideal body weight.
Your self image will fulfill any label that you put on yourself. The power is all in your hands.

What kind of a person do you want to be in 2015?

If losing weight is something you’d like to do this year, then call or email to set up a consultation. I’m the kind of person who LOVES to see clients like you achieve their goals! Call or email today and I’ll help get you started on a fitness program that will quickly transform what you see in that mirror.  Give us a call to get started TODAY!

Like this tip? Subscribe for our weekly free recipe, fitness tips, motivation, and more!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
FREE recipes & fat loss information

Stop obsessing over your WEIGHT!

Close up of a slim waist with measuring tape.
You can control your weight.
Do you disagree with that statement? Ok, go stand on a scale and decide to lose 5 pounds.

Well, how’d that work out for you? Did your weight drop on your command, or did it not budge?

Nope, it didn’t budge.

And yet you spend your precious time obsessing about your weight as if you could magically control it.

The good news is that you have complete control over a couple of important things that influence your weight.

I’m talking about your choices regarding what you eat and when you exercise.

Thing about this…your current weight is the sum result of your choices with eating and exercise.

Take a minute to think back over the last three years of your life. What types of foods did you eat most often? How intensely did you exercise, for how long and how often?

Now look at yourself in a full-length mirror. You are looking directly at the result of your past choices.

If you are pleased with what you see then keep on eating and exercising the way you have been. It’s working for you!

If you’re not satisfied with what you see, then it’s time to start making different choices about food and exercise. Here are some suggestions:

Choices about food…

  • Choose to eat wholesome foods that nourish my body.
  • Choose to only eat when I’m hungry and to stop eating when I’m full.
  • Choose to not eat junk food, sugary drinks or sweets.
  • Choose to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

Choices about exercise…

  • Choose to get up early in the morning, when I could be sleeping, to invest an hour of my time in exercise.
  • Choose to be consistent with my workout schedule, giving exercise the same importance as a doctor’s appointment.
  • Choose to change my workout routine often, to always keep my muscles guessing.
  • Choose to push myself to new levels of intensity, in order to strengthen and tone my muscles.

Don’t spend another minute obsessing about the number on your scale. You are way smarter than that.

Focus your energy on the choices you make regarding what you eat and how you exercise. If you don’t know where to begin then please reach out to me, I’m here for you.

Call or email today and I’ll help get you started on a fitness program that will quickly transform what you see in that mirror.  Give us a call to get started TODAY!

Like this tip? Subscribe for our weekly free recipe, fitness tips, motivation, and more!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
FREE recipes & fat loss information

5 Reasons To Motivate You…Even In December

Look, I get it. It’s cold, you’re busy and you don’t feel like exercising.

Not today. Not on a Monday in December.

So I’m here to remind you of just how important exercise is and how great it makes you feel. Even on a Monday in December. Especially on a Monday in December!

These 5 Reasons to Motivate You will help you to stick with your exercise routine so that you’ll enter the New Year feeling energized and excited.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for motivation, since different things motivate different people, so explore all 5 motivators below…

Motivator #1: Health
Have you looked at the long list of health benefits that exercise delivers? Pretty impressive. Not only does exercise help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it also helps lower bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, while improving the amount of good cholesterol in your body.

Additionally, exercise strengthens your bones and muscles, lowers your risk of cancer, decreases stress, helps you battle depression, and even improves your sex life.

Motivator #2: Enjoyment
If exercise hasn’t been enjoyable for you, it’s time to find a way to make it fun. Everyone likes doing things they enjoy. You might hate running but enjoy swimming or riding a bike. Perhaps you don’t like being alone and would rather be social. So join a team! Or maybe you don’t like the idea of driving all the way to the gym, changing out, and exercising with a crowd. Find out when your local gym is least populated, and hit the weights then. Do what’s most fun for you and you’ll be less likely to stop.

Motivator #3: Increased Confidence
If you’re out of shape or overweight, it can take a lot of courage to start an exercise routine. Remember to be confident in who you are, no matter what size or shape. Don’t compare yourself to the skinny, toned figure strutting her stuff through the gym. Keep your eyes on your goal and don’t expect perfection after just a week of exercise. Strive to have your best body—not someone else’s.

Motivator #4: Goal Achievement
If you’re just getting started in the world of exercise, or if you’ve simply gotten stale, a good place to start is by setting goals. How much weight would you like to lose? How far would you like to run? Working towards a goal is a great motivator. However, don’t set up for failure by striving after unrealistic goals. Do this and you’ll soon feel overwhelmed and give up altogether. To avoid this, set realistic milestones. When you reach them, enjoy your accomplishment and then set new goals to take your good health even further.

Motivator #5: Rewards
Rewards are a great motivator. In fact, much of what you do in life is motivated by a reward of some kind, whether intrinsic or extrinsic. When it comes to exercise, a good reward probably shouldn’t be an ice cream sundae, but it may be that new pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing, or perhaps a night out with friends. Maybe for you, weight loss and lowered blood pressure are reward enough. Just know that your hard work is paying off and deserves to be rewarded.

I would love to help you find the motivation to create a healthier life for yourself and your family. Call or email today and I’ll let you know how simple it is to get started.

Together we will figure out exactly what motivates you!

Like this tip? Subscribe for our weekly free recipe, fitness tips, motivation, and more!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
FREE recipes & fat loss information

More addicting than cocaine and heroin - and you eat this EVERY DAY!

More addicting than cocaine and heroin – and you eat this EVERY DAY!

According the American Heart Association, men should consume less than 150 calories from sugar per day (9 tsp. or 38 grams), and they advise women to stick with 100 calories per day from sugar (6 tsp. or 24 grams).

sugar1

Why?

To avoid the increased risk of heart attacks, immune-system suppression and premature aging associated with sugar intake.  (Not to mention the storage of excess belly fat.)

So if you decide to drink just ONE can of regular soda, you’re toast. 

 

That’s not even counting all the “hidden” sugar that’s probably
going into your body every day.

And that’s really the question you should be asking yourself:

How Much Sugar Do You REALLY Consume?

cookien (12 of 1)_peUnfortunately, it’s probably a LOT more than you realize. You don’t always see the word “sugar” on a food label. It sometimes goes by another name, like these:

  • Agave nectar
  • Brown rice Syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Glucose
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Sucrose

Watch out for items that list any form of sugar in the first few ingredients, or have more than 4 total grams of sugar.

Sugar can hide in foods where you least expect it. Although they don’t seem sweet, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and pasta sauce can have loads of sugar. So can reduced-fat salad dressings, bread, baked beans, and some flavored coffees. Get in the habit of reading labels. Filter out high-sugar foods before they hit your shopping cart.

 

Sugar itself doesn’t cause diabetes. But lots of sugar splurges can point you there. Too much of anything, including sugar, can pack on pounds. Heavy bodies have a harder time using insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. When your body resists insulin, blood sugar and your risk of diabetes go up.

Honey, brown sugar, and cane juice may sound healthy. But sugar is sugar. Whether it comes from bees or sugar cane, it can cause your blood sugar to rise. Honey and unrefined sugars are slightly higher in nutrients, but their calories still count.

Sugar fuels every cell in the brain. Your brain also sees sugar as a reward, which makes you keep wanting more of it. If you often eat a lot of sugar, you’re reinforcing that reward, which can make it tough to break the habit.

 

Some people use sugary foods in ways that aren’t healthy, even though it may not be an actual addiction.

Some signs you may have a sugar addiction:

 

2ed (1 of 1)

  • You crave sugar and sugary foods
  • You lose control, and eat more than you planned
  • You get a rush when you eat a midday candy bar – the sugar in it — called a simple carbohydrate — is quickly turned into glucose in your bloodstream. Your blood sugar levels spike. Simple carbs are also found in fruits, veggies, and dairy products. But these have fiber and protein that slow the process. Syrup, soda, candy, and table sugar don’t.  You get that ‘rush’ followed by a crash.

Your body needs to move glucose out of the bloodstream and into your cells for energy. To do this, your pancreas makes insulin, a hormone. As a result, your blood sugar level may have a sudden drop. This rapid change in blood sugar leaves you feeling wiped out and shaky and searching for more sweets to regain that sugar “high.” So that midday candy bar has set you up for more bad eating.

Maybe you don’t have a sweet tooth but you still crave salty fries, chips bagels, and etc? These starchy foods are complex carbs that the body breaks down into simple sugars. Eaten without better foods, starches can make blood sugar surge and crash like sugar. White rice, white flour, and potatoes do this. Highly refined starches like white bread, pretzels, crackers, and pasta are the worst.

Can you beat your sugar habit by quitting cold turkey? Some sugar detox plans urge you to avoid all sweets. That means all fruit, dairy, and refined grains. The idea is to purge your system of sugar. Diet changes like this are too drastic to keep up. Changes that you can do only for the short term mean you’ll fall back to your old habits.

The good news is you don’t have to give up sweetness – just get it from other sources. Try fresh berries or pureed fruit on oatmeal instead of sugar. Explore fruit that’s dried, frozen, or canned (without too much added sugar).

Eating enough protein is an easy way to combat sugar cravings. High-protein foods digest more slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer. Protein doesn’t make your blood sugar spike the way refined carbs and sugars do. Pick proteins like lean chicken, low-fat yogurt, eggs, nuts, or beans.

Fiber also helps fight a sugar itch in many ways. First, it keeps you full. High-fiber foods also give you more energy. Because they don’t raise your blood sugar, there’s no hungry crash after. Choose fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Or smear some peanut butter on an apple for a protein/fiber combo.

Exercise can help wipe out those sugar cravings and change the way you eat in general. You start to feel better and want healthier foods. Do what you like, such as walking, riding your bike, or swimming. Start out slow, and work toward at least 30 minutes at a time, 5 days a week.

For some additional tips on how to avoid sugar cravings, watch this video!


SAD news (Research Study: What Really Makes People “Happy”)

smiley faceScience of Happiness, only 10% of whether you are happy or not is based on your current “life circumstances…”

…Things such as: not enough money, not feeling attractive enough, feeling too fat, too thin, single, or married, etc, etc.

Believe it or not, 50% of your happiness comes from your genetics.

What about the other 40%?

I’ll come back to that in a moment, but first, here are some eye-opening stats:

 

 

The World Happiness Report by Columbia University’s Earth’s Institute, produced a list of 156 countries in the world and how
they rate on a happiness scale (see top 10 list below).

Here are some interesting questions to ask yourself about the
data they found:

1: If happiness were about money, then why is Qatar, which is the wealthiest nation in the world, #31 out of 156 countries on that scale?

2: If happiness were about health and longevity then why is Japan (with the longest living inhabitants in the world) #44 on the scale?

3: If happiness were about living in a crime-free society then why is Hong Kong (lowest murder rate per capita) #71 on the scale?

The list of unlikely candidates are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland etc.

How can this be? Why do they rank among the happiest countries in the world?

They practice the other 40% = GRATITUDE!

Happiness chart

They have realistic expectations of life and they practice gratitude. If you have running water be grateful for that. If you ate food, be grateful for that. Are you breathing? Be grateful for that! That means you still have a chance to create your happy ending.

Do you know why gratitude is so powerful?

You can’t be unhappy while you’re grateful. Being happy eradicates negative emotions.

If you’re unhappy, practice gratitude – make a list of all the things you’re grateful for.

In fact, studies PROVE gratitude will automatically influence your hypothalamus, help you sleep better, fight off cravings, control your appetite, and relieve stress.

Gratitude even makes your brain release more of the neuro- transmitter – dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure center 
of your brain.  (This is the closest thing to a magic pill for happiness).

All you have to do to start experiencing the wonderful benefits is grab a notepad (journal) and a pen, make a list of things you’re grateful for and read them every day for a whopping 5 minutes.  IT WILL BE SO WORTH IT!

BTW…here is the Top 10 “happiness” list compiled by the
World Happiness Report Group for 2012:

1. Denmark
2. Norway
3. Sweden
4. Netherlands
5. Switzerland
6. Canada
7. Finland
8. Austria
9. Iceland
10. Australia

Which are the saddest countries at the very bottom of the list?

They are Rwanda, Burundi, & Central African Republic.

The United States is the 6th wealthiest nation, but still scored #17 on the happiness scale.

Whether you want a better body, better job, better relationships, more toned and sexy body, a nicer car, vacation, dream home, etc…

it all begins with being grateful for what you already have.