Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Question of the Week: What motivates YOU to work out?

We all, including myself, have those days where we just don't want to move. A day consisting of lying in bed seems absolutely wonderful. 

But then, there's that little thing that goes off in our brain, a thing known as motivation, where suddenly it clicks that lying in bed for the day wouldn't feel all that great in the end. I know for me, motivation comes from my personal goals of being an overall healthy young woman. Working out makes me feel good inside and out, and on days I don't work out, a little something is missing; I'm not as bright, bubbly or energized as usual. 

Therefore, I strive to make my workouts fun, creating fast-paced playlists on my ipod, or signing up for exciting, challenging group fitness classes like Zumba. Changing up my routine keeps my workouts fun and exciting, to the point where  I find myself ecstatic about lacing up my sneakers to go to the gym or run those 3 miles. The adrenaline rush and flushed face I get from my workouts make it all worthwhile to me in the end!

Now, I'd like to know what it is that motivates YOU to work out, to keep striving for your goals. What gets you out of bed on those lazy days?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Healthy Tip Of the Day

My tip of the day actually has nothing to do with food, diet or exercise for a change. Rather, I think we all need to take more time to simply be. Whether that's being happy, relaxed, in love, passionate about a favorite hobby, we need to take some more time for ourselves to do what feels natural. It's strenuous to think and analyze so darn much about everything throughout the day, so don't. Take the next few days for yourself to realize what it is that you really want in life, and then go on and do it! It is never to late to do something you've always wanted or to change something about your life. In fact, there is never a better time than right n.o.w. . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

5 Little Things To Do That'll Make You Instantly Happier

1. Plan a fun mini-getaway trip with a friend. It can be anything, from roaming the streets shopping in an antique town together, going wine tasting or decking out in your best outfits and having a fabulous ladies night out!

2. Dig through all that clutter in your room and separate stuff into boxes for keeps, trash and giveaway (to friends or Goodwill, for instance). Not only will your room feel much cleaner, but you never know what you'll come across. (Think: old high school yearbook or that silly note a friend wrote you years ago.)

3. Make a fresh cup of iced tea, and add lemon or fresh mint to it. Then, sit on your deck with a good book and just RELAX for once. You deserve it! For the best flavor, boil tea as you normally would and then add to a plastic cup filled with ice and voila

4. Write a letter to someone you care about and send it off. Make it pretty, by adding your own little touches, like little drawings, stickers or personal "gifts" like a mini candy or a tiny homemade craft.

5. Take a few minutes today to look in the mirror and truly love your body, appreciating what you have and all that it does for you. (No negative, hate thoughts allowed!) Yes, even if you think you have big thighs or a chubby gut, you are absolutely B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L just the way you are. I mean it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Healthy Tip Of the Day: Get that H20

These days, none of us seem to be getting enough water. The other day, my sister taught swim lessons, then had to lifeguard all day in the treacherous sun, with little to no water in her system at all! 

This could be detrimental to our overall health and digestive system. It's not just a lack of food that can cause these terrible side effects, like indigestion, bloating and headaches. (Yuck!)

My advice for you is to guzzle down a large glass of of water or bottle of water upon waking up, first thing in the morning. Make it a habit so that when you wake up, your body and mind know to go for the H20 stat. Then, a rule to go by the rest of the day is a glass of water with each meal, as well as several throughout the day to keep you replenished. Trust me: you'll feel much better and your body will thank you later. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

12 Ways to Cope With Emotional Eating

Let’s face it. We all have those days where absolutely nothing in the world seems like it can fix our problems. I mean, c’mon we’re not perfect; we’re only human after all.

But those are unfortunately also the days we tend to look toward food to cure our problems, like it’s some kind of fix-all, magical medicine. In fact, it is not so get that out of your head now.

Food cannot fix your situation, no matter what you’re going through, and in fact can make matters worse in the end.

You may quickly loose control of yourself and end up eating everything in sight, filling up on sugary sodas, chips or even worse: picking at everything in the kitchen. A friend of mine recently admitted to me that whenever she’s stressed out or particularly moody, she just can’t stop eating. “It’s like I don’t have control….I hate it,” she said. 

So, make control! With these 10 tips, you will have all the control, rather than food controlling you. Take that, extra-cheese pizza!

1.    Stay Active: When angry or irritable, you may be inclined to take your aggression out on food, diving into salty tortilla chips or an entire jar of nuts. Instead, try getting up and being active. Maybe run or walk around your block, or go for a long swim. This will help calm you down and you’ll feel great after you sweat it all out!

2.    Chew gum: Chewing sugar-free gum is also a great stress-soother, because sometimes it’s not the food you’re craving but rather just wanting something in your mouth to chew on. Pick your favorite flavor, and chomp all those angry feelings away! If you’re not a fan of gum, choose another go-to fix like a mint or other mini candy.

3.    Go for a sweet pick-me-up: When you’re feeling blue, you may want to reach for the tub of Ben and Jerry’s but let’s face it, ice cream won’t solve your problem. Go for something a bit healthier like fresh fruit, a dab of honey or a small piece of dark chocolate to suffice your sweet craving.

4.    Phone a Friend: It’s been proved that cravings don’t last very long, often no more than five minutes. So next time you think you want that bag of chips, try holding off by calling your best friend instead. Most likely, after a few minutes of talking, you’ll forget about the food completely and instead be engaged in a great, lengthy conversation with a close friend.

5.    Hit the books: Try reading one of those books that has been on your shelf for years, the one you just never had the time to get around to. Well this is your time! If you want something a bit lighter, browse through your favorite magazine. Reading can really help by taking you to a different place, and taking your mind off food.

6.    Grab a pen: Journaling has been said to help you relax and sort your thoughts. So, grab a pen and start writing! You don’t even have to have a point behind your writing. Just let your mind do the work, as you let yourself unwind.

7.    Invest Your Time in a Hobby: Whether you like horseback-riding, mountain biking or playing the piano, investing your time in something you love will make you much happier and take your mind off of whatever’s going on. After all, fueling up on a beloved hobby is much better than fueling up on junk food.

8.    Prepare go-to mini snacks: Obviously, if all you have in the house is junk food, than that’s what you’re going to eat. Rather, fill your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks that you can quickly grab. Set aside mini plastic bags filled with portioned, homemade trail-mixes, unsalted nuts, cheese with wheat crackers or grapes, or veggies and hummus. Then, when your having a break down, you can reach for one of these healthy pre-made baggies instead!

9.    Breath: Yes, actually breathe. Sometimes we forget to take time for something as simple as breathing because we take it for granted. Try lying on your bed with your eyes closed, and simply taking long, deep breathes for five minutes at a time. If you want something more challenging, try practicing meditation or sign up for a yoga class.

10. Sooth Your Soul: Make a gentle herbal tea like chamomile or peppermint, which are both great for relieving stress. Or, try turning your home into a mini spa, by taking a long, hot bath and listening to soothing, quiet music. Maybe throw some candles in there for the ultimate relaxation experience.

11. Laugh it Off: Laughing sends off feel-good hormones so you’ll feel much better in minutes if you can find something to start you giggling. Watch your favorite comedy, call that hilarious friend of yours or search You Tube and the TV for great comedy bits.

12. Give in…Just a Little: If none of the above seem to work, give in to your food craving, but just a little bit. Maybe have 5 chips instead of the whole bag or a bite of that delectable brownie. But if you know you don’t have the self-control to stop when you should, I wouldn’t even mess around with temptation. 

Healthy Tip Of the Day: Give in to Cravings a Lil

Just 'cause you're trying to eat healthy, don't deprive yourself of something you reallllllly want, whether it's that melt-in-your mouth brownie or your mom's homemade lasagna. Rather, have half of it and fill your plate with other healthy sides, like a fresh spinach salad, fruit or piece of grilled chicken or fish. If you completely neglect your cravings, you're going to get upset, and possibly end up eating even more in the end. So just have a bite or two to fulfill your needs and move on. 

For instance, this morning my grandma made homemade blueberry buckle. Now, normally I wouldn't have even tried it, but it was homemade with fresh blueberries straight out of the garden, and it just looked so good. I could have very well held back and had a piece of fruit, but I actually really wanted it, so I let myself have a small quarter of a piece, and I was completely satisfied. 

However, also listen to your mind and your stomach. If you aren't actually hungry, don't just eat to eat. Instead, go for one of these strategies to curb emotional eating.

*Share you're tactics of what you do when you reallllly want something not so good for you, or tell me about that one food you'll always have a bite of no matter what. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to Eat Healthy All Around the World: Tips to Follow While Eating Out at all Your Favorite Cuisines

            When I went to Italy two summers ago, I was completely shocked when I sat down to eat dinner the first night. The food they served was nothing like the “Italian” food I was used to in the U.S.: huge portions of pasta and pizza loaded with creamy sauces, pounds of cheese and grease.  Rather, the food was prepared simple with Extra Virgin Olive oil, a small amount of cheese and delicious, fresh Italian spices.

“Now this is real Italian eating,” I thought to myself. I actually felt wonderful because it was easy to eat healthy, effortlessly. (I can’t say that about most pizza I’ve indulged in back home.)

 I’ve heard similar stories of people who have been to Spain, China, Mexico, and various countries around the world where they learned what healthy, authentic eating was all about. “If only we could eat this way back at home,” many say to themselves.

            But, fortunately you can. You don’t have to travel across the world to enjoy a country’s cuisine the healthy way. If you put some thought into the restaurants you choose and the food you order, you can bring that pure, ethnic flavor to you…guilt free.

            Below are some of our top favorite cuisines, with tips on how to indulge without feeling bad about it later on!


ü Ask for brown rice, rather than white rice or fried rice, to save calories.

ü  Opt for steamed choices like steamed dumplings or spring rolls.

X Avoid fried appetizers like crunchy noodles or egg rolls.

ü Start your meal with a low-cal Chinese soup to fill you up.

ü Chose a veggie dish or pair your meat dishes with vegetables (think: half and half like chicken and broccoli)

ü Ask for sauce on the side, because many people don’t realize how quickly those calories add up when poured on top of your meal. Rather, dip your food cautiously in the sauce. Even soy sauce is high in sodium which can leave you feeling extremely bloated!

ü Use your chopsticks if you know how, eat slowly and enjoy!


ü Ask for low-fat sour cream, or substitute it altogether with a tomato-based salsa.

X Take it easy on the cheese. Opt for guacamole (in moderation) instead.

ü Get your taco salad “naked,” that is without the fried, greasy taco shell.

ü When in doubt, opt for soft tortillas rather than hard taco shells, because they are baked, not fried.

ü Go for black beans as a side or on top of your dish! They are low fat and packed with protein.

X   Skip refried beans, which are usually high in fat and calories.

ü When ordering pizza, choose a thin crust variety packed with veggies, instead of fad-laden pepperoni or sausage.

X Hold off on nachos for an appetizer, which are packed with cheese and fatty meats, pretty much a meal in itself! Request simply chips and salsa instead.


ü Go for the grilled or baked dishes, rather than something heavily fried and breaded like Chicken Parmesan.

ü Use olive oil with vinegar or salt and pepper for a healthy, delicious salad choice.

X Try to resist the breadbasket, or ask the waitress politely to not bring it to ward off temptation.

ü Start your meal with a healthy salad or soup, like hearty vegetable minestrone.

X Avoid creamy, cheesy dressings and sauces, or keep them to a minimum.

ü Load up on vegetables, making them a good portion of your meal.

ü Skip dessert and order a coffee to end your meal, or ask for a few extra utensils and share a decadent dessert with your friends.

X Never finish your plate! Most Italian dishes served in America are enough to feed two people. Instead, wrap your meal up to eat the next day.

Indian/ Thai*

ü Spice your meal up with common Indian and Thai seasonings like lemongrass and curry for extra flavor and all around health benefits.

ü Request Basmati or brown rice to go along with your meal, rather than the deep-fried rice or white rice alternatives!

ü  Go for protein like tofu, shrimp and chicken dishes.

ü Pack on the veggies, making them a good portion of your meal.

X Limit dishes made with peanut sauces or coconut milk, which can pack on fat and calories quickly!

X Avoid fried foods, like fried spring rolls or crispy noodles.


ü Ask politely if the chef would be able to cook your food in a wine or broth, rather than oil

ü Fill up on Miso soup, a healthy, clear-broth Japanese staple. It’s low in fat and has tofu for an extra protein boost!

ü Choose edamame or a green salad as an appetizer, rather than fried choices like dumplings (or pot stickers).

ü Choose a meal that comes with plenty of vegetables, rather than heaping amounts of rice or other less healthy sides!

ü Go for sushi rolls like tuna, salmon or sashimi, but don’t go eating more than two rolls for a meal. (Stick to one roll with a healthy appetizer.)

X Avoid sushi that comes with a sauce, like spicy tuna roll, which is usually mayonnaise based.

X Also, steer clear of tempura, which means deep-fried.

ü Feel free to season your sushi or other dishes with wasabi, ginger and low-sodium soy sauce.

ü If you know how, use chopsticks. You’ll eat much slower and truly enjoy your meal!


ü Keep your meals simple because it’s easy to get carried away with fat and calories!

ü Go for broth based soups, avoiding creamy, fattening counterparts.

X Be wary of creamy, cheesy sauces, such as au gratin or béarnaise sauce.

ü Chose lean meats and seafood for the basis of your meal.

X Avoid fatty meats, duck and sausage.

Now that you’ve read the dos and don’ts for 6 different cuisines, here are some final things to remember no matter where you’re eating out.

ü Don’t clear your plate. Take some home for leftovers or split your meal with a friend!

ü Plan ahead. When you know where you’re going out to eat ahead of time, you can check out the menu online to find healthy choices that are right for you. Also, many restaurants these days offer nutritional information for their menu selections.

ü Ask the waitress (politely) for what you really want, including making substitutions or eliminating an unhealthy sauce altogether.

ü Keep it simple. Don’t order five different things. Stick to one or two and you’ll feel more satisfied.

ü Eat slowly to truly enjoy you’re food. After all, dining out shouldn’t be a marathon race.