Tag Archives: healthy habits

Health magazine April 2012 cover

5 Habits of Successful Dieters

Health magazine April 2012Sure, most of us avoid the word “diet” like the plague, but sometimes we have to give in and give dieting a try. Here’s how to make your next diet less daunting.

I’d rather live a healthy lifestyle than go on a diet any day–that’s for sure. But sometimes I just have to buckle down and actually diet in order to get rid of those pesky five pounds that keep staring back at me from the scale.

It sounds easy enough: Eat less, move more. But it takes a little more than that, doesn’t it? In the April issue of Health magazine, motivation expert Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson offers up five strategies for making your diet work for you.

1. Be specific: Don’t just tell yourself you want to lose weight. Be specific about your goal and what it will take to get there. For instance, if you weight 170 and want to weigh 150, you know very specifically that you’d like to lose 20 pounds.

2. Plan ahead: Tell yourself what you want to eat and stick to your plan. If you’re going to a business lunch, tell yourself ahead of time that you’ll eat a colorful salad–and then do it.

3. Track everything: Keep a handy-dandy notebook with you at all times and take note of every bite that goes into your mouth, every workout, every emotion, every success and every challenge.

4. Practice realistic optimism: Losing weight isn’t easy. Losing 10 pounds in two days (as some fads would promise) isn’t realistic. I know I’ll never weigh 120 pounds, so I don’t beat myself up about not getting there. Set realistic goals and work to achieve real results.

5. Strengthen your willpower: Practice other activities, like sitting up straight instead of slouching, that work your willpower. Then, take baby steps from there. Instead of going totally junk food-free overnight, eliminate chocolate chip cookies first and replace them with a piece of fruit.

By following these five healthy habits of successful dieters, you’ll get there. And I will too!

Health Magazine March 2012

How to Headache-Proof Your Home

Health Magazine March 2012Headaches often hit when we least expect them, but Health magazine suggests a few tips for making your home a headache-free zone.

I love the sunshine. I was sitting in the airport just yesterday with my face toward the windows, not a cloud in the sky, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my skin. About two minutes into relaxing in the glow, though, a terrible headache came out of nowhere.

I packed up my diet soda and my magazines, and I moved to the other side of the gate, out of the brightness of the sunshine and out of my headache. I don’t know why it affected me so quickly, but it made me realize that extremely bright lights and sunshine might not be the best idea when I’m trying to relax and read.

It sounds like the editors at Health magazine agree. In the March issue, they list several ways to headache-proof your home, including turning down the lights. They say that a soft glow is much less likely to make your head feel like it’s been hit by a truck. If you’re reading in that soft glow, they suggest getting tinted lenses on your glasses, which can help reduce glare and subsequently reduce headaches.

Other tips for keeping future headaches at bay:

  • Vacuum upholstered furniture once a week to free your home of allergens. What? Aren’t we all vacuuming our furniture once a week already? I’m sure my husband wishes I would.
  • Get rid of strong odors in your home, including that cupcake-scented candle. Masking bad odors with delicious ones can sometimes make the combined odors worse, and unfortunately some candles contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — the same ones found in paint and floor varnish — that can really trigger a headache.
  • Watch what you eat and drink. The artificial sweeteners in my favorite diet soda and the MSG in some packaged foods can quickly trigger head pain as well.

When my headache hit in the airport, I got a cold bottle of water and a couple of painkillers from the bookstore in the terminal. My headache didn’t last long, but I do kind of miss that comfy spot I was occupying in the sun.

Is Your Bottled Water Safe?

Is Your Bottled Water Safe?

Men's Journal magazine March 2012

Men's Journal March 2012 with Redesigned Logo

It’s convenient and tasty, but is bottled water as safe as you think?

When you receive your March issue of Men’s Journal magazine, you’ll notice a slight redesign in the new logo on the cover. “Rugged, elegant, unadorned” is what the magazine says they were going for, taking inspiration from European car racing posters from the 1930s. Although the logo has been tweaked a few times in the magazine’s 20-year history, this is the first total overhaul. I didn’t love it at first glance, but now it’s growing on me.

Once I could tear myself away from the logo and start flipping through my copy, one article stopped me in my tracks with the title “What’s Really in Your Water?”

According to another magazine, Fast Company, Americans spend about $15 billion dollars a year on bottled water. Yep, I said “billion” with a B. But are we getting more than just water in that bottle?

Imagine if the ingredients listed on the back of that bottle you have on your desk right this minute also included lead, copper, cleaning solution, asbestos, chlorine, paint thinner and cocaine. You probably wouldn’t be so quick to take another sip. Yet the FDA allows a certain amount of contaminants into our water. Yuck.

As I read the article in Men’s Journal, I kept expecting the author to tell me exactly which bottled water was best to drink. Instead, he warned of the dangers of improperly installed home-filtration systems and changing the filters too infrequently. Then he mentioned the problems with drinking out of plastic bottles. It all made me want to reach for a diet soda instead of another sip of H2O.

So what are we health-conscious, water-loving folks to do? Opt for natural spring water that isn’t overly processed and purified. And drink it out of glass instead of plastic.

Yoga Journal magazine February 2012

5 Ways to Care for the Caregiver (You)

Yoga Journal magazine February 2012

Yoga Journal Feb. 2012

If you’re caring for a loved one–be it a parent or a newborn–here are some practical ways to keep yourself as healthy and stress-free as possible.

I work full-time. I volunteer. I’m giving extra love to a 15-year-old dog. And Mom is still in rehab following her stroke. I’m exhausted, and I don’t even have kids. I don’t know how you parents do it sometimes!

I see Mom every evening after work and on the weekends. I know I need to stay upbeat and healthy as I continue to care for her on her road to recovery. I’m quickly learning that it’s all too easy to let healthy habits break during times like this. I need to remind myself that my health is important along the way, too–especially when I’m simultaneously caring for the health of someone else.

Caregivers sometimes let themselves go, focusing more on those around them who seem to need it more. I’m learning along this journey that taking that route is not the best way to do things. If you’re caring for someone–from a new baby to a parent following a big health event–here are some things you can do to keep yourself on top of it all:

  1. Get enough sleep. Easier said than done, right? But it’s so important to feel rested, rejuvenated and strong. A good night’s sleep–every night–will help you feel that way.
  2. Eat a balanced diet. It can be easy to hit the drive-thru and just grab a burger on the way home from the hospital each night, but I’m trying instead to plan dinners a full week ahead of time and do my shopping so I have no excuses.
  3. Stay hydrated. If you opened me up and looked inside me right now, you’d find diet soda and coffee running through my veins. Not good. I’m making a big effort to drink more water each day. It’s hard, but I know my body will thank me for it.
  4. Let someone care for you. Accept others’ offers to help. Let coworkers cook a meal for you. Let that sweet neighbor do a load of laundry. Let the kids across the street walk the dog around the block. I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m not Superwoman. I’m thankful to have a support system around me while I serve as part of Mom’s support system.
  5. Keep stress under control. Take a few minutes and get away once every couple weeks. A trip to the mall for a new pair of shoes. A massage. A pedicure. I’m finding that it’s quite reenergizing to be pampered a bit.

To help with that last tip, I’ve even been considering meditation. Who knew there were so many types of meditation? Yoga Journal magazine certainly did, and in their February issue, they break down each type to help readers choose the best one for them. From visualization to using mantras to meditating while you walk, the writer explains what each type does best and for whom it might be best suited. It sounds like I may need to try the walking meditation. I don’t have time to sit down these days!

Prevention magazine February 2012

Eat and Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Prevention magazine February 2012In honor of February being Heart Health Month, Prevention magazine gives some tips on becoming “heart-attack proof.”

I’m starting to get the message: Eating right and living a healthy, active lifestyle is about much more that maintaining a healthy weight. It’s also about keeping your heart strong and beating.

A recent article in Health magazine outlined seven heart-smart foods, and now the February issue of Prevention magazine is reiterating that advice.

Prevention’s heart-healthy foods list overlaps Health’s a bit–healthy fish and nuts are included on both–but Prevention also adds oranges, dark chocolate and garlic, among others. The magazine suggests that living for a healthy heart starts with the foods we put on our plates. We all know that what we eat is important to our health, and I keep hoping that the more I hear it, the more I’ll live it.

To multiply the health benefits of a healthy plate full of food, Prevention also includes a fitness routine in the pages following the diet advice, complete with a weekly workout schedule, illustrations of the moves and the benefits of the whole regimen. The magazine also outlines many alternative medicines that can help heal and keep our hearts strong, as well as the latest and greatest in medications for heart disease.

Bottom line: Love your heart, and it will love you right back.


The Benefits of a Four-Legged Workout Buddy

We’ve always heard that working out with a buddy has great benefits. A friend who is expecting you to meet her at the gym makes you more likely to get up and get there. A workout partner can inspire and encourage you to reach your fitness goals.

And the same can be said if a dog is your workout buddy!

A recent survey of more than 1,000 adults found that dogs are the reason for 66 percent of the walks their owners take each week. And 25 percent of families with children and pets regularly visit parks and outdoor spaces in their communities because of their dogs.

“I’m fascinated by what a great motivator dogs can be,” said Dr. Sandra McCune, co-editor of the book “The Health Benefits of Dog Walking for People and Pets,” in a recent Reuters article.

McCune says that healthy activities that include your dog can also strengthen ties with neighbors and others in your community.

“If people go out with a dog, they’re more likely to have a conversation,” she explained.

If you’re wanting to enlist your dog as your workout buddy, you can do much more than walking. Playing fetch, Frisbee, jogging, agility training, even “doga”–yoga for and with dogs–can be great activities to do together.

I can’t resist the puppy-dog eyes that I wake up to every morning. They get me out of bed and lacing up my walking shoes no matter how hot or cold it may be outside. Even on days that I don’t get to the gym, I am happy knowing that I’ve gotten a good, long walk and some fresh air in. And the dogs are too.

Photo credit: Summer Huggins