A Healthier You Starts With Picturing It Done

A Healthier You Starts With Picturing It Done

Imagine yourself living an active and healthy life. Image yourself sticking to your food plan and losing pounds without feeling the sacrifice. Imagine that you’re at your ideal weight and you actually enjoy looking in the mirror. Why all this imagination? Studies are showing that visualization can be a very effective tool for achieving weight loss and better health. And you don’t have to actually “see” the images in your mind for it to be effective. Getting Started The site HealthStatus.com says to start by taking 5 to 10 minutes to get relaxed. This makes visualization easier and more effective. Plan to visualize at least once each day for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Here are two areas where you can begin. Healthy Eating – Set your goals around food and then start picturing yourself easily accomplishing things like eating and being satisfied with smaller portions; enjoying salads and veggies with your meals; buying healthy food at the store and enjoying it when you eat them. Staying Motivated – Once you’re relaxed, tap into the feeling of being excited about taking action on your health and then imagine feeling that way about weight loss. “Imagine looking forward to preparing healthy meals and snacks, and feeling great because you are fueling your body with wonderful nutrition,” says the article. Jon Gabriel, author of Visualization For Weight Loss, concurs in an article on Heal YourLife.com. He calls it “magnetizing your future” and describes it this way: “As you see yourself months and years down the road, in your perfect, ideal shape and body, imagine that this future version of you...
Learning To Let Go Is A Key To Healthy Living

Learning To Let Go Is A Key To Healthy Living

Anyone who has struggled with overcoming a painful emotional issue has probably been told the value of “letting it go” in order to move forward and live well. The value of letting go is also a key factor in achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including effective weight loss. Choosing to be healthy requires us to let go of fear, of old thoughts about ourselves, and of habits that no longer serve us well. Here are some ways to begin. Put Fear In Its Place Why would anyone be afraid of looking and feeling better? According to mentor, coach, and author Valery Satterwhite, writing on the site SelfGrowth.com, it’s often because of poor self-esteem. Satterwhite states, “When you are in a state of fear you cling to your current comfort zone. This fear prevents action. It holds you back.” She goes on to say that letting go of fear “does not come from a place of disgust or self-rejection.” Fear recedes as we being to realize that we have value just as we are in the present moment. “You are not your body,” says Satterwhite. “You are your intuition, personal passions, truth and the voice of your inspiration. Get in touch with that part of you.” Change An Old Self-View Dr. Travis Fox, a noted speaker and lecturer in the field of human development, teaches that using your mind is a vital part of letting go. In a recent article titled 5 Tips to Use Your Head and Let Go of that Extra Weight, he states: “Many people don’t realize that a great deal of their weight is from stuffing...
To Achieve Your Weight-Loss Goals, Start Boosting Your Self-Esteem

To Achieve Your Weight-Loss Goals, Start Boosting Your Self-Esteem

For some folks, losing weight and keeping it off is relatively easy. For many of us, however, the process goes off course and we either don’t lose the weight or we gain it back after a short time—but not because we’re weak or uncommitted to healthy living. More and more studies are being done to show that our self-esteem plays a critical role in achieving and maintaining weight loss goals. The Self-Esteem Link To Weight Loss Writing on the website of the Obesity Action Coalition, psychologist and weight loss coach Sean G. Connolly, PhD, states, “The importance of self-esteem in achieving life goals, including weight-loss, is immeasurable. It is a factor in all our human endeavors. Understanding how our self-esteem has been shaped and influenced in our lives can help us gain the essential awareness for change.” In his article Losing Weight by Building Self-Esteem, marriage and family therapist Dr. Paul Hokemeyer states, “In my experience, issues with weight are directly connected with issues of self-esteem. The more self-esteem a person has, the better able he or she is to make healthy food and exercise choices.” Even without delving into all the psychology, the good news is that there are actions we can take to build (or re-build) our self-esteem and believe that we deserve a healthy life as much as anyone else. Simple Ways To Begin Building Self-Esteem According to Dr. Hokemeyer, you can’t just “think yourself better.” You need to take concrete steps to engage in what he calls “esteem-able” acts. These include: Doing even one small action every day “that positively impacts the world around you.”...
The Key To Being Lucky Is Bravely Taking Chances

The Key To Being Lucky Is Bravely Taking Chances

“In order to achieve anything in life we have to take positive, calculated risks.” – Angela Barnard – Coach, Author, Speaker   March may be the month where we look for the luck of the Irish to give us what we want, but maybe it should be the month where we learn to make our own luck and success from a willingness to take more chances in our lives. You can feel great—and have a great life—from doing things that are challenging, new, or even a bit scary. Risky Doesn’t Have To Mean Crazy “Risk-taking, simply defined, is just making a decision where there is an uncertain outcome. Which means you’re taking a risk when you are placing your bet on that craps roll or just deciding whether or not to have that third cup of coffee in the morning,” says a recent FoxNews.com article, “The Health Benefits Of Taking Risks.” Now this doesn’t mean that you have to go sky diving, ski jumping, or running with the bulls. “But since risk is part and parcel of every single decision you make every single day, even small risks can offer big benefits to your health and well-being,” states Fox News. The point is to do something, anything, that is out of your comfort zone and/or where you can’t reasonably predict what will happen. How Risk Helps Us Grow We can hope that we get lucky by finding a four-leaf clover or the leprechaun and his pot of gold, but we’re more likely to get the things we want by swallowing our fear and taking a chance when it presents...
Love Yourself Enough to Make Better Choices

Love Yourself Enough to Make Better Choices

  The month of February has become the time of year when we show people close to us how much we love them. It can also be a good time to assess how much we love and care for ourselves, because whether we think so or not, this determines how well we’re able to love and care for others. Do we love ourselves enough to do the things that will help us live a long and healthy life? The Choice Of Self-Acceptance More and more studies are showing a link between how we see ourselves and our resulting physical health. In a recent article, Naturopath Dr. Doni Wilson discusses this and shares information from author and researcher Dr. Brené Brown. According to Dr. Brown, deciding that we’re worthy and lovable can be the key to better health, including weight loss. Dr. Wilson puts it this way: “And so, as we embrace this way of being that involves seeing ourselves as worthy and loved as we are and apply this to our bodies as well as to ourselves, a different set of options become available to us. Instead of fighting with our body to get it to do as we wish, we now see that it is when we accept what our body needs and aim to give it what it needs that we work with, instead of against, ourselves. And our health begins to improve.” In working with her patients, Dr. Wilson found that low self-acceptance increases something called oxidative stress which can create a number of health issues. As patients chose to love and accept themselves, their oxidative...
Body Composition: Weight Is Not The Only Measure Of Health

Body Composition: Weight Is Not The Only Measure Of Health

If you’re trying to get healthier through diet, exercise, or both, you need to become familiar with the term “body composition.” Understanding your own specific body composition can help you more accurately determine your weight loss goals and how to effectively achieve them. A Quick Definition Body composition is a way to describe what our bodies are made of, including protein, minerals, fat, and water. However, a discussion of body composition generally refers to the amount of muscle and fat on a particular body. A recent article on InBodyUSA.com states, “Put simply, you’ve got to know your body composition if you are in any way serious about managing your weight and improving your quality of life. Without knowing what you’re actually made of, you can only guess at how much muscle and fat you actually have. Guessing leads to frustration, frustration leads to indifference, and indifference leads to quitting.” Body Composition And Weight Loss Being healthy is not just about deciding to lose a certain number of pounds. It’s about ensuring that your body as a whole is functioning effectively based on a number of factors, particularly the amount of body fat that works for you. Another InBodyUSA article puts it this way. “If you just track weight, this invariably leads to comparing yourself to someone else. Even though there could be significant differences in height, muscle mass, genetics, or other factors, all people hear when they talk about or think about their weight is the number.” Two people might weigh the same but have very different body compositions. One person might exercise regularly so the number on the...
You’re Not Done Once You Lose The Weight

You’re Not Done Once You Lose The Weight

You made the commitment. You stayed on track. You overcame temptations. You changed bad habits. And you hit your goal weight! If you’re suddenly feeling a little disoriented because there’s no longer that goal in front of you to keep you motivated, you’re not alone. Most people feel better and function better when there’s a goal in front of them. Once you hit a goal, it’s hard to know what to do next. Let Go Of “Before and After” A recent blog on the site Nerd Fitness says one way to gain direction is to stop thinking in terms of “Before and After” and instead go to “Before and Now,” because “we are never truly done.  There’s always a bigger mountain to climb, another race to run, another goal to achieve.” Look at your new, healthy life as “now” rather than “after the weight loss.” In this now period, you can find new goals to keep you just as healthy and motivated as you were in your diet phase. Binge On Progress Studies have shown that any kind of “win” releases dopamine into our system, which makes us want to keep progressing and feeling great. It can even make us smarter, says this article. As humans, says Nerd Fitness, “We love making progress so much that we can actually enjoy it more than getting the thing we wanted in the first place! It doesn’t need to be big progress, it just needs to be enough that we realize we are moving forward, improving….it’s why we play a game long after it’s ceased being enjoyable just to get that 100% completion trophy.” So now it’s...
To Stay Healthy, Stay Hydrated

To Stay Healthy, Stay Hydrated

Most everyone loves the summer. Long, sunny days provide opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways. However, those hot sunny days also come with the risk of dehydration—which simply means that more water is moving out of our bodies than we’re replacing through drinking. Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and other serious health issues, so it’s more important in summer to keep the fluids going along with staying out of the heat. And although there are lots of options, water is the best choice for maintaining hydration and overall health. Causes And Symptoms Of Dehydration In the summer, dehydration is generally caused by excessive exposure to heat combined with not taking in enough water. A sunburn or skin ailment can also cause dehydration because water is more easily lost through damaged skin. WebMD lists these symptoms of dehydration in adults, from minor to severe: Increased thirst Dry mouth and swollen tongue Weakness, Dizziness, Fainting Jumping or pounding heart Confusion Inability to sweat Decreased urine output   “If you are concerned that you are not drinking enough water,” says FamilyDoctor.org, “check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine is a sign of dehydration.” Benefits Of Proper Hydration Besides keeping you out of the hospital, staying hydrated has many other health benefits starting with appetite control. The site LiveStrong.com states, “Drinking water before a meal can decrease your appetite and help prevent overeating. Researchers from the American Chemical Society found that dieters who drank 2 cups of water before each meal lost 5...
4 Tips To Make Fast And Healthy Food Choices

4 Tips To Make Fast And Healthy Food Choices

Making the commitment to lose weight gives you a great feeling. You’ve taken control of your life and you’re looking forward to getting healthier day by day. But then reality steps in. Managing Food Temptations The fact is that it can be hard to eat healthy—not just in making the right food choices but in the extra time it can take to prepare those good-for-you meals and snacks. When you’re hungry, it’s so easy to reach for a bag of chips or box of cookies if there’s nothing better on hand or nothing you can fix in a matter of minutes. But with a little imagination, you can create meals and snacks that are not only fast, but also healthy. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Tips For Taking Control of What You Eat CREATE MEAL PLANS – This is often the hardest habit to get into, but once you start it brings amazing results. Take time on the weekend to plan out your meals for the week, or at least your dinners. Try one new recipe each week to keep things interesting. MAKE EASY-REACH HEALTHY SNACKS – Wash and cut your favorite fruits and veggies, then put them into containers in your fridge. Storing them at eye-level helps you spot them quickly so you can make a better choice. DONE-FOR-YOU SMOOTHIE PACKS – Put all your smoothie ingredients into a zip-lock bag and then freeze them. You can write any additional non-frozen ingredients or directions on the front of the bag. Then just grab a bag and throw in your blender or food processor for...
Want To Lose More Weight? Use Your Brain

Want To Lose More Weight? Use Your Brain

Open any magazine, watch any TV show, and you’ll see ads on the “science” of weight loss: what foods to eat, how certain foods affect your metabolism, the right time to eat—and more. While these are indeed important aspects of dropping pounds and getting healthy, studies are now proving that your mind also plays a huge role in your overall health and your ability to lose weight through the brain-gut connection. One mind-based strategy that could help you reach your weight loss goals is mindfulness, specifically mindful eating. Focus, Focus, Focus Research by the Harvard Medical School have shown “that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems and maybe steer some people away from processed food and unhealthy choices.”  One study indicated that mindfulness-based therapy helped binge eaters to enjoy their food more and control their eating with less difficulty. Mindfulness is keeping a moment-by-moment focus on our thoughts, feelings, and environment while doing something. Mindful eating entails: Taking small bites and chewing slowly Noticing the flavors, colors, smells and textures of the food you’re eating Not watching TV or reading while eating Eating with your non-dominant hand Putting your fork down between bites Your Body Gets It Darya Rose, author, PhD in Neuroscience, and owner of the site Summer Tomato, partnered with NordicTrack to create a great mindful eating infographic that explains just how your body benefits from this practice. Among the proven benefits are: Increased immune functions An enhanced feeling of fullness so you feel satisfied and don’t over-eat Decreased stress levels which can enhance gut health and improve overall mind function Improved...